Sunday, April 6, 2014

League Analysis: Incentives to Play Other Maps/Modes

With Ultra Rapid Fire drawing to a close and everyone returning to the normal Summoner's Rift, I thought it would be a good time to go over the other standard game map/modes that are generally overlooked (mostly Crystal Scar's Dominion and Twisted Treeline). While there are communities for each game mode, Summoner's Rift is generally the most popular due to the ranked solo/team queue, more fleshed-out design, and similarity to the original DotA map design that helped to popular the MOBA genre. The lesser popularity of the other maps/modes has sparked suggestions to provide incentives of all sorts to play them, whether it's for custom games such as hide and seek on the Crystal Scar or to simply provide more players to match against.

In this analysis article I will offer some suggestions to provide players with incentives to try other maps or modes. Some (if not all) of these suggestions, as usual, may not be completely original, but the provided suggestions were either thought up by me or inspired by posts in various places.

Advertise the Other Modes

The simplest and cheapest way to get people to try other modes is to actively promote them. For instance, providing alerts as a player levels up to try other specific modes as they unlock (at least more so than currently) may be enough to motivate people to try them. Altering level requirements so that modes unlock gradually as opposed to all at once may also help. In addition, featured replays could also feature play from the Crystal Scar (Dominion), Twisted Treeline, and Howling Abyss (ARAM) on top of Summoner's Rift (ranked) replays under their own categories. More replays featuring the top players from each mode could be posted under client news on a regular basis (like with U.R.F. at the moment) to provide further visibility.

Award Bonus Influence Points

A more direct way to provide players with incentive is to give them some sort of reward for playing other modes. At the moment, Dominion seems to provide some bonus Influence Points (or IP) for playing the map, so such a bonus isn't out of the question. In fact, Dominion is known to be the best mode to farm IP. However, a small bonus amount of IP isn't the only method that could be used. For instance, the following could also be used to provide an IP bonus incentive for other modes:
  • Feature a mode on a weekly basis that provides a larger amount of IP. For instance, Twisted Treeline could give 30% bonus IP during a given week.
    • This could also be done on a day-to-day basis.
  • Bring back IP boost weekends by increasing IP gains from specific modes during weekends. For example, IP gains are doubled for ARAM and Dominion for one given weekend.
  • On a daily basis provide bonus IP gains for playing each mode (sort of like the first win of the day suggestion on Reddit, which was suggested, though this would and should award less IP than that).
  • All of these suggestions could also apply to experience gains or be replaced with experience gain bonuses only to bring in lower level players and potentially increase their interest in other modes.
Provide Daily/Weekly Objectives

For anyone who plays the CCG of Hearthstone, you may already know where this suggestion is going. However, for those who don't quite know, Hearthstone provides daily quests that require you to fulfill a specific objective (such as win a specific number of times with a certain class or play a bunch of spell cards) to earn the primary currency of the game (gold). While this suggestion wouldn't replace IP gains completely, it was thought of with the spirit of Hearthstone daily quests in mind. Suggestions could be like this:
  • Daily quests could be stored (up to some number of daily quests like with Hearthstone in case a player can't play every day) up and have specific objectives, which have a fixed IP award (such as 50). Example objectives are below:
    • Play three matchmade matches of Dominion or ARAM.
    • Play three matchmade matches of Summoner's Rift or Twisted Treeline.
    • Play five matches on any map (includes bot matches and customs)
  • Weekly quests could also be provided, which provide larger awards but also have larger objectives. These quests could provide other rewards as well, such as a random rune instead of IP.
  • As mentioned above, these quests could also provide experience. On that note, it is recommended this suggestion is not paired with the previous in terms of implementation (players would probably gain IP too fast).
Have a Free Champion Rotation Based On Map

It is understandable that IP gains (or even XP gains) could cause unprecedented issues with current design (such as what Riot thinks about IP gain based on time played). In addition, not everyone appreciates suggestions to increase IP gains or reduce IP costs (and anything similar). With that in mind, this final suggestion provides some passive incentive without the aforementioned mess.

As the title of this section states, free week champions could be altered to provide free champions based on the map played. For instance, a global pool of five champions would be available on any map, but then each map would have five different champions available to play for that map only. Here's an example of such a free week rotation:
Since 25 champions is a lot to put up for "free" on a given week, there could be a bit of overlap or more global champions (and less map-specific champions).

In conclusion, while these suggestions probably won't be received too well given how many featured game modes we've been getting lately on League of Legends, it would be nice to get people to try them all.

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