League of Legends: Marc Merrill Q&A

League of Legends is set to take the gaming world by storm in 2009. Designed to give players the opportunity for epic multiplayer arena battles, League of Legends seeks to blur the line between traditional role-playing and strategy games.


1. Please introduce yourselves and give us your game development histories.

Hello! My name is Marc Merrill, I’m the Executive Producer on League of Legends. We actually have quite a few people working on very hard on League of Legends, so it would be a tragedy to not introduce everyone – we’ve taken a stab at having some fun with our bios so if you’re curious about who is behind the game, come take a look at all of us on our website: http://www.riotgames.com/insider/team/

2. What is the background of “League of Legends”? How long was the idea floating around before development began?

The idea really began to take shape around the end of 2005. It took almost a year to get Riot off the ground and open our initial office in September of 2006, which is really when we began to build the team to start on development.

League of Legends came to be because a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so fun and innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre and deserved to be its own professional game with significantly enhanced features and around-game services. Riot’s CEO Brandon Beck and I co-founded Riot and partnered with some of the key creative minds behind the creation of DotA-Allstars – Steve “Guinsoo” Feak and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon to accomplish this mission – and League of Legends was born.


3. How many people are working on development?

We have roughly 40 people working on League of Legends including our robust technology platform to service and operate the game.

4. Where are you in the development cycle of League of Legends?

We are gearing up to hit beta and will be making an announcement around when we start accepting users into our initial closed beta test very shortly.

5. How soon before you’re ready for alpha/beta testing?

We’re far into Alpha and are very close to starting beta. We can’t wait to let users get their hands on the game. We’ll be making several announcements around Beta on our website and boards, so players should definitely check out http://www.leagueoflegends.com

6. Will you have a closed and/or open beta?

Yes and we’ll be announcing this very shortly – stay tuned!

7. Do you plan any cross-platform development?

We believe that League of Legends has significant potential to be a cross-platform title but we are currently focused on the PC release.

8. What is the back story for League of Legends?

For centuries, the Rune Wars ravaged the nations and resources of Valoran, decimating populations and wrenching the earth with maelstroms of arcane magic. In the wake of such destruction and desolation, the nations rallied together and assembled the Institute of War, a multinational governing body that would settle all disputes and put an end to centuries-old fighting.

Within the Institute of War lies the League of Legends, where powerful magic users and delegates from each realm assemble to vie for the chance to rule the land. There are no long-winded speeches or ornately drafted documents. Conflicts are resolved on the Fields of Justice, where head-to-head combat between teams of highly trained champions decide the fate of the universe. The stakes are high with the balance of power shifting with every victory or defeat. With the lives of millions of citizens on the line, there is only one rule among those in the league: Winner rules all.

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We will be releasing additional details on the back story in the near future as well – there is a rich world behind League of Legends and we look forward to sharing more details.

9. Where did you get your inspiration for League of Legends?

The concept of the League was formed to provide players with a feature that allows them to drive the direction of ongoing content/story. The rule of the League of Legends states: the Winner rules all. Players will have the opportunity to compete and become the Winner, earning the right to determine the fate of Valoran and its denizens.

10. Where did you get your inspiration for “champions” in League of Legends?

Champions are the tools that Summoners use to do battle on their behalf on the Fields of Justice. Champions are assembled from the most powerful beings in the realm and as a result are extremely diverse in appearance, skills and backgrounds. The world of Valoran has a magical, rich and diverse history that leads to the creation of many fantastical creatures and powerful beings.

11. What category would you put LoL into: RPG, RTS, FPS, a combination? Why do you feel that way?

League of Legends is a very unique and fun style of play that falls outside of the RTS or RPG genre. We like to think of League of Legends as a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA for short. It encompasses the fast-paced elements of PvP combat found in games like WoW Battlegrounds and Warhmmer Scenarios without the need to grind for levels and items. The players are primary content – and as a result, every game is different!

12. How is multiplayer incorporated into LoL?

League of Legends is fundamentally a multiplayer game. The players are the content that makes League of Legends so compelling and replayable – we seek to give players a really fun set of mechanics and really cool characters to bash each other with on a variety of different map scenarios.

13. Is there a single player game? If so, how is it differentiated from the multiplayer game?

Single player is incorporated into the game in a “skirmish” gameplay type fashion where the player can play against AI controlled opponents to practice their skills. We are exploring doing some additional single player campaigns, but those are not scheduled for launch.

14. Will LoL be available as a physical product or as a digital download only? Why was that decision made?

It is extremely important to us to make League of Legends very accessible to players. We plan on having both physical product and the game made available for digital download.

15. For whom are you developing League of Legends? Would you categorize it as a “tweens-friendly” game?

We’re making League of Legends for any online gamer who likes fun, fast paced battle action. League of Legends really boils down the best elements of MMO-style pvp into short gameplay sessions.

16. Will there be “safe environments” for younger players? How will you ensure a minor’s safety?

League of Legends is designed for players ages 13 and above.

17. What type of subscription model with LoL follow? Will it be a monthly fee, microtransaction or some combination of the two?

We’re currently experimenting with pricing models and will let you know as soon as we lock it down. Our goal is to make League of Legends as accessible as possible to our players while still continuing to allocate significant development resources to the game post-launch. We have a vision of evolving and continuing to grow the game for a long time to come while making it as cost-effective as possible and not passing a big cost burden on our players.

18. Does Riot Games have any other games in development? If so, can you tell us anything about them?

We unfortunately can’t talk about this at the moment.

19. If no other games are in development, does RG have plans for other games? Do you plan to keep the same sort of model for the target audience?

We are currently 100% focused on developing League of Legends to ensure a quality and fun experience for our players. And as we release League of Legends, we want to continue building content for its players on an ongoing basis. Before any announcement or plans for other titles, we want to make sure players enjoy League of Legends.

20. Please add any other information that you’d like.

As we quickly approach Beta, we will be selecting members of our community for early access, and we highly recommend players to participate in our community at http://www.leagueoflegends.com

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Our thanks to Mr. Merrill and the League of Legends team! We’ll keep you posted on further happenings!

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