Riot Games has been no stranger to controversy as of late. Whether it’s the sexism lawsuit that they just endured or the Rick Fox situation with Echo Fox, they seem to be in the spotlight constantly, whether it is directly their fault or not. And this, in part, comes down to their massive game League of Legends, which has a lot of monthly players. This huge game pulls a lot of revenue for Riot Games, whether it’s merchandising and advertising for their very successful esports scene or their in-game cosmetics.
However, Riot Games has seemed to go in on milking their free game with the introduction of “Eternals.” Eternals would allow the player to track certain achievements for specific champions, showing off more depth in character knowledge and skill rather than having “Mastery 7.” Unfortunately, each set of achievements is held behind a paywall of 850RP, or roughly $7.
Understandably, many people on Reddit are upset. Even now, r/leagueoflegends is filled with varying amounts of posts that detail their disappointment for the new Eternal system. Riot Games has said that Eternals was a “huge undertaking to build” in their blog and that they want to continue to build the Eternals system in the future. But, the way I see it, they need to figure out how they’ll market it now because otherwise, it will flop.
And this isn’t the only time that Riot Games has tried to monetize their game with huge backlash from their players. Earlier this year, they released the “Prestige” skins, which would, essentially, be golden chromas for certain champions that could be unlocked by purchasing certain event passes, which would then unlock orbs or points that would then unlock that Prestige skin. It was a lot of work for a skin that was, essentially, just a recolor of new skin.
Not only that, but if you wanted to save your prestige points for a skin you wanted in the future, you have to rebuy the event pass in order to purchase that skin.
And on the initial release, Riot Games was just content with selling Prestige skins for $100 each.
This was just the tip of the iceberg. Riot Games main avenue for monetization is through cosmetics, as previously mentioned. However, the quality of the skins and the aesthetic of the skins have been underwhelming as of late.
In a Reddit post by u/_TheyCallMeJinx_, they commented on the dwindling quality of Riot Games’ Legendary skin. In the post, they quote Riot Games’ “Guide to Skin Price Tiers,” which explains Legendary skins as:
“A complete reimagining of the champion from the ground up, with total and complete immersion in the fantasy.”
And they have upheld that standard with PROJECT: Ashe, as she got a completely new animation set as well as changed visuals and voice lines. However, with this year’s PROJECT event, the Legendary skin for Pyke barely got any changes. The model, the animations, etc. all look the same. And the Legendary skins for the next event, Star Guardian, seem to follow the same trend.
And yes, these are all optional and not necessary to play the game. But there are many people that are willing to spend the money to get skins for their beloved champions, as long as it’s done correctly. Riot Games has done an amazing job before with the creation of skins such as Dragon Trainer Tristana, Solar/Lunar Eclipse Leona, and High Noon Lucian.
It just feels like Riot Games has decided to cash in on just the name of their skins and not deliver on the quality. Not to mention that they have so much content that they could capitalize on instead of Eternals. They have already done lines for Ahri and Gangplank, so it wouldn’t be difficult to release them as an Announcer Voice Pack. They have already made minion and map packs for certain events, such as PROJECT, Pool Party, etc., they could sell those as well.
Maybe they already have these things set for the future, but their lack of mobilization and monetization of pre-existing content is inexcusable for a multi billion company that’s at the forefront of the industry.