It is rare a company would introduce a brand-new game mode into an established game. But as the success of games like PUBG and Fortnite has shown, the gaming community is always up for a fresh challenge.
This is precisely what League of Legends developers are hoping to catalyze with their new Clash Mode. Riot wants to attract both new gamers and former players to try out this new, more inclusive and player-friendly variation.
Team creation for Clash Mode starts May 21, with the first Clash tournament slated to begin May 25.
How will Clash Mode work?
Speaking to esports-news.co.uk, Riot Senior Producer Leanne Loombe explained the decisions and reasoning behind Clash Mode.
“Essentially, League of Legends is a team sport, and it’s best when you play with friends, with a team that you care about, like you do with other sports.
“Right now, in League, there isn’t really a reason to play with your team, and there’s not really anything encouraging you to bring your friends together and play. We’re currently lacking that motivation to really team up, get coordinated and play with your friends … that’s where we saw the opportunity space.”
What are the criteria for playing?
Riot has attempted to create a fair system in its new Clash Mode. The tournaments themselves will take place across long weekends, Friday through Sunday. To qualify for a team, each player needs to have at least Honor Level 2 and have completed their ranked placement matches.
Clash Mode will allow players of all differing skill levels to compete on the same team and play against teams with a similar collective ability. For example, if your five-person team consists of mainly Bronze players and just one Silver player, then you will face a team that has a comparable composition.
One nice touch is that all the Champions in League of Legends Clash Mode are available to select. Players have five days before the tournament to put their team together and prepare. Once entered into a tournament, players have 30 minutes to lock in and confirm participation.
When paired with an opponent, players can see their current stats and top picks. Opponents can also see your stats and top picks too. As a result, you will likely see teams strategically ban the Champions that feel will do the most damage.
To enter a team in Clash Mode, players need a virtual ticket. This gives you and your team the most basic of the rewards on offer in the game. Alternatively, you can enter with five ticket; this counts as a premium entry. As a result, you will gain access to better prizes.
There are a number of ways to win, earn or buy virtual tickets: from missions, from teammates, or via purchase from RP or blue essence.
After each match, a team’s performance will yield points. After two completed tournaments, these points can be utilized to access a number of different rewards: trophies, banners, and capsules that contain lots of in-game bonuses.
How are the Clash tournaments structured?
Clash tournaments take three days to complete. Initially, they will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
On the opening day, teams will compete in a four-team bracket where they have to win two matches to progress. This increases to an eight-team bracket on Day Two. On the third and final day, this increases further to a 16-team bracket, where the teams compete for the championship.
Isn’t Clash Mode just a way of offering tournaments for lower-skilled players?
Yes, that is precisely what Riot has done. And in truth, it’s a shrewd strategic move.
While LoL remains hugely popular, there are only so many top-quality, Diamond-level players. That leaves the vast majority of LoL players without the opportunity to compete in meaningful tournament action with their friends. The Clash Mode certainly aims to meet that need.
At the moment, the ranked games determine who the top League of Legends stars are. Many players lose heart at trying (and often failing) to maintain and improve their rank to open up greater tournament opportunities.
Clash Mode will offer them a chance to play tournaments every weekend, crucially without some of the frustrations that come with ranked games.
The fact that the tournament is open to all League of Legends players regardless of ability levels, and that it will match teams based on ability, will also help to ensure competitiveness. Riot has already stated it has safeguards in place to stop players from smurfing in the game.
Will the new mode work?
Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco revealed that learning about the new game mode for League of Legends has encouraged him to return to the game after he quit ranked League of Legends in 2017.
It is likely this sentiment will be echoed by the many players who have also quit the ranked events.
Plus, Clash mode will allow friend groups to team up and play in their spare time from Friday through Sunday. I have to imagine this will appeal to teenage and college-aged young people in particular.