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League of Legends fans angry over Riot Games’ latest monetization effort

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A for-pay achievement system is not what players were hoping for

Twitch sits on a pile of gold coins and flips a single coin with his thumb Riot Games

Riot Games has used cosmetic skins and icons to monetize the free-to-play League of Legends for years. However, the company’s recent turn to other monetization methods has upset the playerbase.

The latest method that’s made its way onto the Public Beta Environment is a system called Eternals, an achievement system that’s specific per champion. However, to unlock one set of three missions, it costs 850 RP — which costs around $7 in real money.

Once completing the achievements, players will get an upgraded mastery emote. While the emote that appears for each champion depends on your mastery score (or how many games you’ve played the champion, rather), the little addition to the emote from Eternals isn’t particularly unique. Players with Eternals will also get a call-out banner appearing in their games when they reach a milestone.

Yasuo and Soraka stand next to each other, comparing mastery emotes. Both emotes are tier 7, but Yasuo’s emote has a single blue bar over the top of his.
The upgraded Eternals mastery emote (left), compared with the regular tier seven mastery emote (right)
Riot Games via Polygon

To players who’ve been waiting for a more meaningful achievement system to show off their skills on specific champions, this feels bad. Since Eternals was announced, countless Reddit threads have popped up on the League of Legends subreddit, trashing the system.

“There are a shit ton of things I would gladly pay for: announcer packs, minion skins, skin maps, loading screen backgrounds, simple team esports chromas or map accents. But no they decide to release simple stats that most games just show you anyway for money,” said reddit user PixlCake.

Riot Games did note that Eternals “were a huge undertaking to build” and that the developers “want to support and expand upon this feature for years to come,” thus justifying the price tag. While nobody is denying the amount of work that went into making the system, players want something to show for their accomplishments, outside of an edited emote.

“Like if they did this right with actually champ specific rewards for earning the achievements I would be all for it. I am down for exclusive ziggs emotes, icons, chromas, and skins for earning achievements through a paid ziggs pass. On the other hand I have no interest in a mastery emote reskin, and a tracker to let me know how many times my underpowered abilities actually killed someone,” said Reddit user Nalkul.

Riot has experimented with different forms of monetization in the past. Hextech Crafting, League’s loot box system, released in Jan. 2016. The first League of Legends event pass surfaced for the 2017 World Championship, though the idea was reworked until the following year, where it made a comeback for the 2018 World Championship. It has returned in some form every couple of months for a new themed event in-game.

The Prestige Point system was introduced in Jan. 2019 and it originally was only given out if you bought bundles of Hextech Crafting boxes. To get certain Prestige skins, players would typically have to grind a ton of games using one of Riot’s event passes, but a handful of skins were only available with Prestige Points. That being said, a bizarre, forced incentive to buy over $100 worth of loot boxes was not great. Eventually, after heavy push back by players, Riot made it so that players could also grind for Prestige Points using their event pass system, though it required more grinding than usual to get enough Points for a skin.

K/DA Kai’Sa comparison
K/DA Kai’Sa compared with her rare Prestige version
Riot Games via Surrender@20

With the launch of Teamfight Tactics came the launch of Little Legends, cute mascot creatures that serve as a player avatar during the game. Of course, to unlock better, shinier, Little Legends, players have to test their luck by buying a loot box. The loot boxes for these are split up, so you’ll get one of three species per “egg” and each egg is a little under $5 worth of RP.

The launch of Eternals isn’t the first time League players have been upset and it’s surely not going to be the last. Riot Games has proven that enough outcry will result in a change, but whether the Eternals blowback is strong enough to yield a reversal is still up in the air.