League of Legends Preseason Update: The 3 Big Changes
If you’ve been completely away from League of Legends the last few months, you most likely missed the preseason update announcement and release. Developer Riot Games released a game-changing update last November 8, a full two months before the 2018 season starts in January 2018. It’s the biggest update in the history of League, dwarfing all the other previous updates and patches and making League feel like a whole new game.
Outsiders have always criticized League for being boring and repetitive, with each Champion not having much of a variety apart from cosmetic differences. The preseason update changes that. Riot Games didn’t just rearrange the furniture to artificially shake things up and make the game look fresh. They gave the gameplay a significant facelift, enough to make veterans and professional gamers rethink their playing styles and strategies.
In this article, we’ll go over the most important changes included in the huge preseason update. Go and grab a pen and paper. Seriously, there’s a lot to take in, so make sure you write down some notes. And get a slice of pizza and a can of soda as well. This is going to be a long read, folks.
Introducing Runes Reforged
Runes and masteries have always been a key ingredient in League. Both give Champions bonuses which distinguish them from the same Champions used by other players. However, the metagame isn’t really open to a lot of variations when it comes to setting up runes and masteries. Champions are usually just pigeonholed into a specific setup or two, which prevents them from having any individuality.
Riot Games changed all that with the brand-new system called Runes Reforged. Runes Reforged is a combination of runes and masteries, a streamlined system which is definitely more accessible to new players. In Runes Reforged, you get access to two rune paths. Riot Games introduced five playstyles, namely, Precision, Domination, Sorcery, Resolve, and Inspiration. Each playstyle includes three keystone runes – the most powerful runes – and nine other runes, for a total of 60 new runes.
The primary path includes one keystone rune, one greater rune, and two other runes. The secondary path includes some sort of statistical bonus and two more runes. The statistical bonus largely depends on the playstyle you choose for the primary path. The best part about Runes Reforged is that all 60 new runes are available for free right from the start. This gives you the chance to experiment with different combinations without the same restrictions present in the old system.
With Runes Reforged, Champions become more dynamic. They will no longer be strictly pigeonholed into just one or two predefined setups. And the new system changes a lot of existing strategies and tactics. Each and every Champion is affected by the new system brought in. Some Champions benefit from the changes. Others get shafted so hard they turn from powerhouse to pedestrian. New and creative strategies and builds will surely arise when all the changes are fully implemented in the 2018 season. You can count on the League community to spend countless nights crunching numbers and analyzing every possible strategy in order to come up with new standards.
Riot Games also made changes to almost all the existing Champions, marking the first time the developer has implemented changes to over 100 characters with just one update. The changes are meant to better equip each Champion for the sweeping changes in the preseason update. Because as mentioned above, some Champions got the short end of the stick when the huge update arrived. The Champion changes mainly included statistical boost and other enhancements.
With the new Runes Reforged system in place, only one thing is certain: the League landscape will never be the same again come 2018.
Blue Essence Fully Replaces IP
Runes and masteries aren’t the only ones that got streamlined and combined into one package. In the preseason update, Riot Games merged IP with Blue Essence (BE), which was first introduced last year. All items which previously used IP will now cost BE, including loot and the champ store. But don’t worry about certain Champions suddenly becoming expensive in the store. The BE requirement for Champions remains the same. For example, Champions which previously cost 6,300 IP still costs 6,300 BE.
If you decide to refund a Champion you bought using IP, you will now be completely refunded in BE. But what if you have tons of BE lying around? What can you do with it? Well, first off, all existing BE prior to the preseason update gets converted into the new BE. Riot Games multiplies the amount by 6.5 and then adds them to the total IP, which, in turn, is converted into the new BE. For those who already have unlocked all the Champions and now have tons of BE lying around, you can exchange BE for cool goodies in the limited-time special BE store.
The low-end items on the special BE store include a mystery icon box (1,500 BE), chromas (2,000 BE), and a “Mystery Mini” icons box (2,500 BE). The most expensive items include the exclusive URFWick skin (150,000 BE), a “Money Bags” emote (75,000 BE), and a “Make it Rain” emote (50,000 BE). Riot Games has teased that the limited-time special BE store might include different and unique items whenever it returns every year, which should excite hardcore players who are looking for more reasons to rack up BE.
Riot Games also has a couple more goodies for veteran players in the preseason update. The first of which is a sort of recognition in which you get a special emote depending on the number of hours you’ve logged in League. The cutoff is August 31, 2017. Playing approximately 500 hours nets you the “Defender of the League” emote. Having logged about 1,500 hours gets you the “Champion of the League” emote. Grinding for about 2,500 hours rewards you with the “Conqueror of the League” emote, which is no doubt the ultimate proof of one’s dedication to the game.
The second treat for veterans is the rebates on the IP and RP spent on old runes and rune pages before the start of the 2017 season, which are now extinct because of the new Runes Reforged system. You get 100 BE for each tier 3 marks, seals, or glyphs you turn over. You get 300 BE for each tier 3 quints you hand back. You get a whopping 1,500 BE for each rune page you purchased with IP. And finally, you get 1 epic skin for a Champion you own for every four pages of rune pages you bought with RP. For runes bought after the start of the 2017 season and until September 1, 2017, you get the full IP cost, which gets converted into BE.
For hardcore players who are no longer eligible to receive epic skins because, amazingly, they already own every skin available for Champions they own, Riot Games has something special for you. Just send them a shout out and “they’ll take care of you.” Sweet. And that’s it for the BE and IP changes in the preseason update. Let’s move on to another huge shake-up of the old system.
Goodbye, Level Cap
Players like it when they have some sort of number to check to see how they’re doing in a game. It gives them a sense of accomplishment for achieving a high number, most especially in online competitive games. But to the disappointment of many, Riot Games has stubbornly kept the level cap in place in League. In the old system, League had a level 30 cap for all players. Meaning, once you hit that magical number, things suddenly become a bit less interesting. But with the preseason update, everything changes in the leveling system.
With the preseason update, Riot Games has changed the level cap. Guess what the new level cap is. We’ll give you three seconds to guess and—Okay, there’s none. There’s no longer a level cap in League. Like, seriously. Instead of putting a number on the limit such as the typical level 99 like in most RPGs or even level 9,999 like in the grind-fest Disgaea games, Riot Games went for an infinite level cap. There are some changes to the rewards system when leveling up, too.
Most importantly, you no longer receive IP or BE after every match. Every time you level up, you will receive an unlocked chest – or loot boxes, in other words. These loot boxes typically contain champ shards, which can be converted into BE. Reaching specific levels will get you special rewards such as milestone emotes and even gemstones at much higher levels. The great thing about this new rewards system is that you are constantly excited about what kind rewards you will get every time you level up. Most especially once you break past the level 1,000 mark. Good luck with that. And it’s a win-win situation, really. By playing a lot, you get rewards and you get to enhance your gameplay skills at the same time.
With the preseason update, everyone is basically starting from scratch. Even those who have been at level 30 for a very long time already. If you’ve been at level 30 for years now and have no doubt participated in hundreds of games while in that level, you will still start at level 30 in the new system. You don’t get to start at a higher level based on the number of games you’ve played while at level 30. It’s a good decision by Riot Games, to be honest. Players who start at higher levels would suddenly get a bucketful of rewards once the new system kicks in, which defeats the purpose of having something to shoot for. Makes sense, right? No? Just deal with it.
Riot Games also tweaked the leveling system in the preseason update. It will now take a shorter amount of time to grind from level 1 to level 30. This should be good news for impatient newbies who just can’t wait to enter ranked matches and get their asses immediately and mercilessly handed to them. Not only that, you also earn more BE while grinding toward level 30. Since all the new runes are available for free right from the get-go, you will be able to save more BE, which you can spend on Champions. Meaning, by the time you reach level 30, you will have bought more Champions.
The rewards from level 1 to level 30 are also tailored to suit new players. The rewards are designed to make new players comfortable in League, which should encourage them more to continue leveling. For players who are already sitting at level 30, Riot Games has made it clear that you won’t retroactively get all the rewards given when leveling from 1 to 30. The reason is that you already earned IP when you climbed from level 1 to level 30 in the old system, which means you already got your rewards. So why would Riot Games give you double the rewards? That would be unfair. Besides, if you’re already sitting at level 30, you should now be more focused on the other rewards ahead of you.
The biggest takeaway from all the changes to the leveling system is that the new system feels a lot more like Overwatch and other games where loot boxes play a huge role (no, not you, Star Wars Battlefront II). But Riot Games has promised that the loot boxes you get after leveling up won’t be too reliant on luck. All the loot boxes are balanced out, so don’t worry too much about being ripped off with absolutely garbage rewards at higher levels. Lastly, like all other games with a leveling system, the higher your level, the longer it will take for you to reach the next level in the new system. We can only hope that Riot Games has excellent rewards for players who reach much higher levels.
That’s it for the three biggest changes in the game-changing, landscape-altering League of Legends preseason update. It’s a lot to take in, we know. Make sure you have a full grasp on all the changes before the 2018 season kicks in.