GamingRiot Games MMO Predictions

Riot Games MMO Predictions

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Over the past few years, the MMO genre has gone through a semi-resurgence. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14, the two titans of the industry, retain an estimated daily player count of 2 million users. Lost Ark, after years of hype and anticipation, finally launched for the western market in early 2022. While not as popular as WoW or FF14, it still manages to retain over 300,000 active players per day. Heck, even New World, for all of its faults, managed to persuade over 1 million gamers to purchase a copy on the day of its release. If nothing else, this showcases that gamers are willing, and eager, for the next big hit.

It should come as no surprise then that Riot Games, who have actively been expanding into every known genre, expressed interest in developing a game within the MMO space. Conformation of this rumour was lackadaisically announced on Twitter, via Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, thus fulfilling a long-time request of the LoL fanbase.

Unfortunately, Riot hasn’t revealed much about what this game will entail. However, this does allow us to have some fun. In this article, I’m going to be discussing, and predicting, 4 different topics. Why 4? Because, as all Jhin mains know, 4 is the perfect number. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it.

Gameplay Systems

There are a number of different gameplay systems that Riot could take advantage of. Each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and there isn’t really a right or wrong decision. Let’s analyse a few of the options.

Tab Targeting

Popularised in 1999 by Everquest, Tab Targeting continues to be one of the most prolific systems used in the MMO landscape. The name, unsurprisingly, originates from pressing tab to lock your camera onto an enemy in the game. While this helps to keep things fairly straight forward, some people in the community disregard this mechanic as being old and outdated.

Unfortunately for the players in this camp, Ghostcrawler, who is one of the leads on this project, and who previously worked on World of Warcraft, has recently given his approval of the Tab Targeting system. Regardless, I personally wouldn’t slate this as the primary choice.

Real Time System

Players who dislike Tab Targeting usually prefer a more transformative gameplay approach. While games such as Black Desert Online focus on PvP for their late game content, there is no reason as to why a real time system couldn’t be incorporated into a PvE setting.

Having said that, I think this design choice has the least likelihood of appearing in Riots MMO. It hasn’t been proven on a particularly large scale, and that may scare Riot from going down this route.

Isometric ARPG

Although some players may want a traditional style MMO, it would make a lot of sense for Riot to settle on the currently popular MMOARPG genre.

Inherently, MOBAs and Action RPGs share a lot of similarities. This means that translating the gameplay of LoL would, in practice, be thematically straight forward. It would also allow longstanding players of League to comfortably transition over to their MMO as well. If I was betting on it, this would be the style I’d expect them to go with.

Playable Races

The world of Runeterra, and beyond, is inhabited by a plethora of unique creatures. Narrowing it down to what will be playable is no easy feat. Though, at the very least, we can take an educated stab at it.

Races

Humans

Humans are the most prevalent race in all of Runeterra, inhabiting practically every region. Almost every MMO has them, and this one will be no different. Examples of humans include Yasuo, Akali, and Jinx.

Yordles

These tiny adorable creatures were, until recently, considered to be a species with a limited population. LoR showcased a variety of brand new Yordles, which seemingly indicates they will indeed be playable in the MMO. Some examples of Yordles include Tristana, Teemo, and Heimerdinger.

Vastaya

These are the species that share both human and animalistic traits. They are incredible prevalent throughout history of Runeterra, and many of them play a vital role within the lore. Some examples of Vastaya include Ahri, Xayah, Rakan, and Neeko.

Golem

These are sentient beings which have been created artificially. Though deemed immoral by some, the motives of these creatures are usually indicative of their creator. Examples include Blitzcrank, Orianna, and Galio.  

Subraces

Undead

These are creatures that have been kept within the physical realm after dying, usually through a physical object or magical entity. Some examples of undead include Kalista, Pyke, and Sion.

Cyborg

Although similar from the outset, Cyborgs are different than golems. They are classified as a race which was naturally birthed, then partially augmented/upgraded. Some examples include Camillie, Viktor, and Urgot.

Future World Events

World events are a big part of every MMOs content lifecycle. Thankfully for us, Riot has numerous possibilities at their disposal in this department.

The Void Invasion

Created during the birth of the universe, The Void is an endless space of nothingness. No sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell existed inside this plane, until, one fateful day, when a gateway to the Physical Realm appeared. The inhabitants of the Void, known as the Watchers, attempted to pass through this rift, but ultimately failed due to Lissandra’s intervention.

The Watchers then created the Voidborn to act on their behalf inside the Physical Realm. Their ultimate goal is to return The Void back to the way it was before the rift opened. They are incredibly powerful creatures, and it will take the combined efforts of each region to stand a chance of defeating them.

Aurelion Sol Unleashed

In the early years of Runeterra, the Aspects of Targon imprisoned the celestial being known as Aurelion Sol. Through the use of a magical Golden Crown, they were able to command him to do their bidding. However, it appears as though the magic that is restricting his powers are starting to diminish. If he regains his free will, then he will undoubtably enact his revenge upon all of Runeterra.

An Empire Reborn

The civilization of Shurima was catastrophically wiped out during the botched Ascension of its last Emperor. Rumours have begun circulating around the deserts that Emperor Azir has arisen from his slumber, and along with him, the resurrection of the Shurima capital city.

The world of Runeterra has changed dramatically since he was last in power though. Noxus, for example, is currently invading the shorelines of Shurima. Azir may intend to lead a counter attack to drive them back, effectively starting a war. He may also plan to Ascend some of his loyal subjects into unstoppable killing machines. Whatever he ends up doing, only time will tell if it has any repercussions.

Villains and Antagonists

Lastly, no MMO is truly complete without a villainous fiend for the players to overcome. World of Warcraft had The Lich King, RuneScape had Sliske, and Runeterra has… well, a lot. Let’s take a look at some of the evil doers.

Mordekaiser

Twice slain, and thrice born. Existing for over 1000 years, Mordekaiser has one goal, to control both the living and death realms. He is basically indestructible, so, naturally, we will probably defeat him in a final expansion raid at some point.

Viego

The Ruined King might have been thwarted by the Sentinels, but it’s safe to assume that Riot have imprisoned him temporarily to be released at a later date. A story full of tragedy and edgy goodness, Viego is already solidified himself as a fan favourite. As such, I believe he will be the initial villain we face in the game.

Thresh

Thresh is a character that is always multiple steps ahead. A relentless and sadistic force, his true motives are rather ambiguous. Regardless of what he has planned, the Chain Warden will continue to obtain and torture souls until he is stopped. I anticipate that he will be used during Viego’s plotline since they are both interconnected.

Aatrox

Bound to his weapon and forever seeking death, Aatrox brings destruction to wherever he roams. Branded as a Darkin, he is desperately trying to enact revenge on the Aspects who imprisoned him in the first place. Although I hope I’m wrong about this, I don’t think Aatrox will be a key enemy in the game. However, I could see him being sorted into a Shurima related dungeon.

Veigar

The tiny master of evil was once a happy go lucky Yordle. However, after being imprisoned and tortured by Mordekaiser, he now seeks to use the power of the stars to inflict his sinister will… though, these plans usually end up backfiring for Veigar. I expect to see our very good, very evil villain in a Yordle-based questline.

Release Date?

MMOs take an incredible amount of time create, and while no specific date has been provided by Riot, we can safely assume that it is still 2-5 years away from completion. You can rest assured though that when new information is revealed by Riot, we will be the first to provide coverage on it.

Need more League of Legends related content? Check out my Ruined King review here.

Lee Fairweather
Lee Fairweather
A lifelong video game lover turned games journalist and historian. You can find me playing anything from the latest AAA PC releases, all the way back to retro Mega Drive classics.
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