Over the past few days, Riot, the developers behind League of Legends, have been teasing their fans with hints of an upcoming announcement on their twitter and on the game’s official forum. Speculation was on the release of previous announced new features, such as replay/spectator mode, or the upcoming Magma Chamber map.
However, at some point last night, the news leaked that a new game mode was under development for League of Legends. Riot then went into what could have been full panic mode, shutting down their forums and even putting the game into an unscheduled maintenance. Early this morning, they broke the news officially – the big announcement was in fact the new game mode, called Dominion.
Why is this huge news for League of Legends? If you’re even remotely connected to the DotA / MOBA scene, you’d know that the strong majority of these types of games follow the same tried and true format – minions push from one base to the other, down three separate lanes, in an attempt to destroy the enemy base, and your job is to assist those minions while taking out enemy champions along the way.
Almost every game that has come out in this genre (with the notable exception of Bloodline Champions) has used this same format. So, the announcement of a new game mode for League of Legends is not quite the same as an announcement for a new game mode in, say, Team Fortress 2. It’s a completely different way to play the game, and if you like League of Legends, you really should be excited.
Details are fairly scarce, but apparently the mode is playable, and has been under development for close to a year. Instead of attempting to destroy the enemy’s base by pushing minions across the map, Dominion sees players capturing and holding five nodes scattered around the map. These nodes each have a turret, but instead of destroying these turrets, the opposing team attempts to capture the node, claiming the turret for their own. As you hold these points, the enemy team’s Nexus loses health at a rate based on the number of points your team controls – capture more points, and the enemy Nexus falls faster. Games usually last around 20 minutes (instead of 30-50), making this mode very fast-paced and intense. The mode comes with a new map, called the Crystal Scar, which has a circular format with a “jungle” style area in the center, rather than three distinct lanes.
While there is no word yet on the large list of other improvements and features Riot has been promising for League of Legends, it is known that Season One will be ending at the end of August, paving the way for Season Two, which may hold more surprises. Perhaps Magma Chamber, replays, spectator mode, and the new graphics update League players have been waiting for will be released at the start of Season Two, or simultaneously along with Dominion.
Dominion will be releasing sometime by the end of this year. You can check out the official website, which has some first-ever gameplay footage of the mode in action.