Quick Impressions: League of Legends: Wild Rift Alpha

Written by Louis

June 10, 2020

The game is fun.

The past few days have been really eventful for the Filipino and Brazilian gaming communities as both the Philippines and Brazil were the first to get a taste of the much-awaited mobile port of Riot Game’s League of Legends, League of Legends: Wild Rift. First unveiled during League of Legends 10th year anniversary event together with other new Riot Games IPs and other League of Legends spinoffs, Wild Rift is looking to be a big hit, in the Philippines at least, where mobile games have become dominant and have welcomed a new breed of Esports fans especially since the introduction of Mobile MOBA titles.

By a stroke of luck, we here at Reimaru Files have been invited to be part of the initial wave of Alpha Testing for Wild Rift and of course, we welcomed the opportunity with open arms, especially since I, personally, have been really fond of MOBA games ever since DotA got popular. So, how does Wild Rift hold up?

To explain it very briefly Wild Rift feels like an exact clone of the original League of Legends title, with the core mechanics present and gameplay being very identical. While at first, I did have a bit of skepticism as to how Riot Games will pull off League of Legends for Mobile, their lengthy experience in MOBA development proved me wrong as the game handles pretty well despite the Alpha client having slightly higher spec requirement than the soon to be launched actual client.  I was using a Huawei Y7 Pro 2019 version which runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 540 1.8 GHz, an Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB of RAM and Android 8.1, nearly identical to what the Alpha client requires meaning that I had less to no headroom for additional overall processing power, however, I was still able to hit decent framerates, although it’s still nowhere near 60.

DEMACIA!

As you may have noticed latency seems to be an issue but we’re not gonna dwell on that since it’s one of the problems that I anticipated for the Alpha test phase. Moving on to more gameplay comparisons, compared to other Mobile MOBAs, Wild Rift’s current gameplay is pretty long, averaging at around 20 minutes, despite the experience and gold gain mechanic tweaked to fit mobile gameplay, meaning farming and leveling up is much faster. For comparison, another popular Mobile MOBA title has its gameplay average sit at 15 minutes, meaning that Wild Rift is at least 5 minutes long and that’s not even counting the pre-game pick phase and load times.  The current experience could also be attributed to the fact that the majority of the Alpha Testers are probably previous League of Legends players and are implementing the same approach instead of possibly trying to hit record times on how fast the game could get.

AI Matches are obviously shorter.

Auto-targeting is a thing in Mobile MOBAs but Wild Rift would have you relying more on your decision making when it comes to landing skill shots. The setting itself is present in the game although it’s a little unreliable, and you’re more likely to miss skill shots or have your champion lock on to another unit rather than your intended target, still, the game is in Alpha so the behavior itself could just be my own chance encounter, and I believe that it will be tweaked and improved on as more community feedback is collected from the alpha testers.

Being on mobile, and even though the overall gameplay is identical, one should still expect some key changes to how a few things work, one of which is the map. Playing on the other side, or the Red Side (even though your team’s colors still show blue regardless of which side you’re on) flips the map around switching positions of your jungle objectives such as the Dragon and Baron Nashor. Itemization is also tweaked as Boots now have a secondary upgrade path on top of the original Boots upgrades which allows you access to utility and additional mobility items Righteous Glory, Hextech Protobelt, and, check this, Teleport.

Hey guys, was the dragon really this big?

Summoner Spells are still present in the game, although Smite has been reworked to let you choose between Challenging Smite and Chilling Smite once you hit a certain level instead of the upgrade being dependent on items. Also, we have noticed that there are no jungling items present in Wild Rift, but that doesn’t mean that Jungling could become a pain as Jungle monsters are much easier to take down and you could even take down either the Blue or Red buff monsters even without using the leash mechanic so, yeah, the Jungler role is still present and we could always have someone to blame once the game goes south. Now, another thing present in Wild Rift that is not very common in other mobile MOBA titles, and is also expected to be included, is the presence of vision wards, trinkets that provide extra vision on possible gank entry points, helping protect your champions from being taken down easily during the early stages of the game. Over time you could also swap your wards or vision item for a Sweeping Lens which allows you to detect hidden units helping you find enemy ward placements a tactic usually done when preparing for a major team skirmish or when preparing to claim objectives.

Scanning

Overall, League of Legends Wild Rift is able to provide a near-identical MOBA experience to League of Legends while also attempting to be its own game as there are still more to uncover as the Alpha testing goes on. The relatively longer games and the additional layers of complexity might throw new players off but in true MOBA spirit, the metagame could change and will change over time as more and more people will be let into the testing phase, and ultimately, once the flood gate opens during game launch. Will this be a contender for being the top Mobile MOBA? Even at Alpha it already seems to be challenging the crown from the likes of MLBB and Arena of Valor although we’d have to wait for the bigger community reception once the game fully launches sometime later this year.

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