Riot Games Dev Diaries Behind Wild Rift Events

Hey, I’m Juno and I am the product lead on the Wild Rift Events team. Our team has created more than two dozen in-game events over the year including Lunar Beast, Masters of the Hunt, Broken Blades and most recently, Sentinels of Light. Since this is our very first dev blog and we might not be able to answer all your questions, please keep sending them in and we look forward to answering more in the future!


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A WILD RIFT EVENT?​

We start with an opportunity, a goal, and an idea. We first look at the calendar year to plan out how many events we can run. Then, we work with many teams across the organization to figure out the best ways to show off new content. For example, we often group champions with narrative connections together because we love to tell stories! Afterwards we dive into design, starting with goals we want to achieve.



UX wireframes are created using placeholder assets. The main purpose is to mock up the player journey so we can simulate how the player can experience the event from start to finish. [image 2]After, UI elements and assets are created to fully bring the event to life.

Events can help players get to know champions, or fall in love with new skins, or feel the spirit of competition during esports seasons. Goals like these help us come up with design ideas that make up the “player journey”. This is how we plan for players to experience the whole of an event from start to finish including missions (what players do), mechanics (how players progress), and rewards (what players get). We then work on the user interface, art and visuals, and animation effects. Every single event UI has some unique visual element to them (yes, even Pool Party).
  • We often partner with other teams to work on additional elements, such as art rewards, story elements, comics and even cinematic animations! The more teams we collaborate with, the more complex the project gets and the longer it takes for us to finish development.
In conclusion, end-to-end development can take anywhere from three months to more than a year for bigger, cross-product experiences. We are constantly looking to improve our capabilities so that we can deliver not only more, but also better events in the future.

- Riot Junosaur, Events Lead

HOW DO WE DETERMINE THE QUANTITY AND TIMING OF EVENTS?​

We think of events as temporary moments that spice up your Wild Rift experience. Unlike other systems such as the Wild Pass and Ranked seasons, events should provide short(er)-term ways to progress, earn rewards, and have fun! So... they’re like small bites of dessert rather than a main course. As such, having desserts all the time might make them feel less special. Therefore, we think having good pacing and “cooldown” periods between events is just as important as having lots of them throughout the year. This also allows us to focus our efforts on creating higher quality events, which we think is a better approach.

Besides our reasoning behind keeping them seasonal and special, events take a lot of work to build from across many different teams. So while we love to innovate, new mechanics or designs take a long time to produce! We have to constantly balance repurposing past designs and shipping fewer but more innovative events. Because there are players who enjoy both, balance is the key here.

Finally, events are just one of the many systems that create enjoyable Wild Rift experiences. We have multiple teams dedicated to developing new, permanent features to make the game even more interesting and fun, and can’t wait to get them in your hands in the future.

- Riot Junosaur, Events Lead

WHAT ARE SOME DESIGN SECRETS BEHIND MISSIONS?​

Before we dive into this subject, I just wanted to note that we’ll be talking about event missions and not other mission types (like the Wild Pass or Challenge Missions, for example). Due to the time-limited nature and the unique mechanics in each event, there are different sets of design philosophies that we follow.



It’s important to us that you can progress while still sticking to your preferred playstyle. What that means is that we won’t force you to kill a ton of lane minions if you are a jungler or to get a triple kill as a support player. If you see these mission objectives, they’ll either be attached to an “OR” condition that is more broad, or that particular mission won’t be necessary to get all the rewards. It may make things easier or faster if you decide to pursue them, but it should never hard block your progress if you decide it’s not for you.

So for instance, if we look at the Pool Party event, the mission ”Grab A Buddy” rewarded XP if you played in a premade party, while “Suit Up” rewarded XP if you had a Pool Party skin on your team. While it was difficult to complete this pair of missions for solo players, we made sure to make the “Win 1 game” mission grant more XP than normal. We also made the event last longer, so players who only complete the “Win 1 game” mission could still get all the rewards. In summary, we believe players should always be able to progress through events regardless of their play style!

- Riot ShinKaigan, Game Designer

WHAT ABOUT EVENT REWARDS?​

Generally, we want events to reward you with:
  • Additional ways to express yourself in and out of game
  • A way to look back on your memories through your earned rewards
  • More ways to earn different currencies (like Blue Motes) and content (like champions)
Thus far, we’ve offered a lot of champion rewards as we know many of you want to grow your champion pools as fast as possible. For those that want to play more games during an event, we have stretch rewards that are more cosmetic. That’s why accessories like icon borders, limited icons, and poses are typically positioned towards the end of a reward track.

To understand how many rewards we can give, we have to look at complexity and difficulty. Smaller events are less complex and easier to complete, and thus, they are more accessible even if you can’t commit to playing a lot. Larger events require more games to complete and may require more interactions outside of gameplay alone; but… they also have more rewards! We try to space these out throughout the year to keep things fresh and have something for everyone.



Fun fact: The Lunar Beast event featured a token shop with Xayah, Rakan, Valentine & Lunar accessories, as well as a stretch reward for a random skin. Of the players that earned enough tokens, about 40% went for the random skin while 50% decided to obtain both champions instead! (The other 10% of you mostly went for a grab bag, a full accessory loadout… and boosts!)

- Riot ShinsukeTakasugi, Revenue Strategist

HOW ABOUT SKINS?​

While players may prefer different types of rewards, we’re asked most often about skins. As with other cosmetic content, skins are typically stretch rewards, and they may comparatively be highlighted more or less in various events. Real talk here: we’re unlikely to change this stance anytime soon as skins fuel our ability to continuously reinvest in new products and cool experiences for you in Wild Rift.

Like champions and Blue Motes, skins can be obtained just by playing through in-game currencies (Poro Energy and spending Poro Coins), which you can find in many features around the game, including events. This provides flexibility for our team to:
  • Deliver additional, permanent progress towards your next free skin over time across multiple event types like Broken Blades and Pool Party
  • Give you a chance to pick up a skin within a single event, like in Lunar Beast (with event currency) and Sentinels of Light (with Poro Energy and Poro Coins)
Between these two approaches, we’re able to highlight and inspire you to come play Wild Rift in exciting major events throughout the year, as well as supplement your existing progress towards skins. That being said, we’re always looking for more ways to spice up rewards in the future. We’re committed to experimenting, evaluating data, and listening to your feedback in order to improve!

- Riot ShinsukeTakasugi, Revenue Strategist

WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON?​

We have been working on some special events that will ship later this year, featuring new formats and designs that we think you’ll enjoy. 2021 has been a big learning year for us, and we are going to continue to learn more as you keep playing. Our current focus is on making it easier to find and claim your earned event rewards, and we’ve already started brainstorming new events that will be shipping next year.

Your passion and feedback is always welcome, and without you, none of this would be possible. We hope we can continue to raise the bar and can’t wait to talk to you about this topic more. Thanks for reading, and we will talk to you soon!

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