Over the course of the past few months, Riot has significantly upped the pace at which new champions are being added to League of Legends. After only getting three champion releases throughout the first 10 months of 2019, two characters have been released onto the live servers over the course of the past month. And now, with a third character, Sett, being revealed just a few days ago, there’s reason to believe that the pace at which champions are being released is increasing at an extremely rapid pace.
It’s no secret that after releasing a boatload of champions in the early stages of League’s lifespan, Riot has substantially slowed down how often new champions reach the roster. Back in 2012, a new champion was practically getting released every two weeks. By the end of that year, Riot had released 19 new champions, adding to an already stacked roster.
However, in recent years, the company has changed its initiative dramatically, as an incredibly crowded lineup of champions (147 of them, to be exact) doesn’t need to see dozens of new additions each year. After that year of 19 new champions, Riot only released 8 newcomers in 2013, 6 in 2014, 5 in 2015 – the list goes on from there.
Last year, the game set a record low with only 3 new champions hitting the Rift, and it was believed that the trend of characters being released at a ridiculously intermittent pace was going to continue.
And throughout the majority of 2019, it did. Before Senna was released last month, we had gone just about four months without a new champ being added to the game. Now, with two in the span of a month alone, and one more hitting the live servers potentially by the end of the year (if not, in early 2020), the question has to be raised: why is Riot suddenly releasing all these champions at such a brisk pace?
Perhaps the company had all of these champions on backlog waiting or the perfect time to release them. Or, maybe now that the year’s ending, and only three champions had been released, two of which were launched in the first half of the year, Riot could be trying to prevent another slow year in the release department.
Another theory that could easily satisfy this question is that Riot didn’t want to release any more champions during the competitive season. After seeing how big of an impact Qiyana had on the professional scene with a pick/ban presence of 35% this summer – not to mention the fact that Yuumi and Sylas both were in the top 5 in that category – it’s totally reasonable to assume that Riot wouldn’t want to drop a bomb so late in the year with another character release.
It makes sense that Riot would want to get these champions released now during the preseason, as the competitive scene, as well as the game’s general population, will have plenty of time to adapt before the new season kicks off in January. If anything, it’s much more reasonable to get these releases out of the way now, than having the characters shake up the meta midway through next year.
Photo Credit: League of Legends, Riot Games