If you haven’t hopped on League of Legends for the past week, you might not have noticed that the new-and-improved Summoner’s Rift map is now available to play through the Team Builder and Co-op vs. AI modes. The access will be considered by Riot Games to be a “beta” build of the re-imagined map, and is aimed at gaining personal and statistical feedback from players.
The purpose of revamping the Summoner’s Rift, which has been the stapled map in the center of League of Legends’ success for the past five years, has been outlined by Riot through a series of developer blogs. Riot has focused heavily on defining a visual style for the Rift, as well as optimizing its performance for all players.Visually, Riot aims at simplifying the playable areas of the map, establishing a visual lucidity and more accessible cohesion to the way areas function during gameplay. The developer expressed a disappointment in how the original map lacked a clarity in the users’ ability to decipher player actions during more complicated battles.
Quite simply, in every second of a game of League, we’re communicating a ton of information. So when we talk about working to improve clarity, we’re talking about improving the accuracy and usefulness of all of this information and enabling players to more easily digest what’s going on during gameplay.
In addition to the artistic direction of the new Summoner’s Rift, Riot also wants to improve the technical performance of gameplay for all players through optimization. With an overhaul of the environmental visuals, Riot is also introducing a lot of new animations, character models, and functionality in the new Rift. Though this might concern some players that are already having their computers stressed through the current version of the Rift, Riot promises that this new experience will be a step forward in those regards.
We’ve done a lot of testing on this, and most low spec computers should run faster on the update to Summoner’s Rift. Every computer is different, so, while this can’t actually be guaranteed, we feel comfortable saying most people will have better frame rate performance now.
The developer did a Q&A on more detailed questioned features of the new map, some which might not be accessible in the current playable version. They have also released a fully functional interactive map in order to familiarize players with the new layout and functionality of their updates. The roll-out of this beta experience has surfaced a few bugs, composition issues, constructive polarizing opinions, and the typical petty gripes and complaints, but so far has proven to be a healthy update for a game exploding with popularity.
There is no announced time frame for the duration of the new Summoner’s Rift beta, though players are given the opportunity right now to earn two exclusive Summoner’s icons by winning a match through the Team Builder mode on either team (red or blue) to collect a respectively themed icon. This might imply that this beta will be short-lived, much like some of their other experimental game modes.