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League Of Legends Going Free-To-Play In September

The DOTA-style hero arena game from Riot Games will join the ranks of Battlefield Heroes and BattleForge when it releases later this year.

Play it gratis. 
Say you're a new developer working on an up-and-coming online action game. What's the best way to court a gigantic player base that's gotten used to playing its favorite game for free for the last six years?

If you're Riot Games working on League of Legends, you could always just make your game free, too. The game--which is inspired by the disgustingly popular free Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients--will release in September as a free-to-play downloadable client, Riot announced today.

Of course, there will be microtransactions included to propel the free client toward profitability, and a $30 retail version will be on offer that will have a bunch of exclusive stuff in it. Here's a breakdown from the press release about how that stuff will work. (Riot also has a FAQ up going into more depth on this model.)

Influence Points will be earned by simply playing the game, while Riot Points will be available for purchase with real money. Both currencies will be used to unlock additional content customization options, whereas only Influence Points will be used to unlock content such as Runes, which enhance the power of playable characters. Gamers who spend money in the game will not have a power advantage over other players; they will have access to rare visual customization options.  The system is designed to empower the player with a huge number of mechanical choices that deepen the level of the strategic thinking in the game.  
 
Riot Games will also offer a League of Legends Collector’s Pack that contains exclusive items, such as two unique Champion skins, as well as a number of Champions, Runes and Riot Points. Players who pre-order the Collectors Pack at www.leagueoflegends.com or at retail outlets GameStop and Best Buy will also receive an exclusive Champion skin that will only be available with the pre-order. The Collector’s Pack will retail for $29.99.


The big question for me is how many champions (i.e. playable characters) will be in the free client, and how many will be locked up in the Collector's Pack, since characters are the only piece of content that will really influence the way the game plays. If I'm reading this preorder page correctly, it looks like 20 of the "over 40" characters will be exclusive to the retail game. That seems like a decent value, if you play the free game and decide you want the whole experience.

How's the whole free-to-play model working out for you? Anyone playing Battlefield Heroes or BattleForge and getting suckered in by the microtransaction model? Are you more likely to play League of Legends now? This is still an emerging business model in the West and I'm really curious to see if it will catch on.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
Play it gratis. 
Say you're a new developer working on an up-and-coming online action game. What's the best way to court a gigantic player base that's gotten used to playing its favorite game for free for the last six years?

If you're Riot Games working on League of Legends, you could always just make your game free, too. The game--which is inspired by the disgustingly popular free Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients--will release in September as a free-to-play downloadable client, Riot announced today.

Of course, there will be microtransactions included to propel the free client toward profitability, and a $30 retail version will be on offer that will have a bunch of exclusive stuff in it. Here's a breakdown from the press release about how that stuff will work. (Riot also has a FAQ up going into more depth on this model.)

Influence Points will be earned by simply playing the game, while Riot Points will be available for purchase with real money. Both currencies will be used to unlock additional content customization options, whereas only Influence Points will be used to unlock content such as Runes, which enhance the power of playable characters. Gamers who spend money in the game will not have a power advantage over other players; they will have access to rare visual customization options.  The system is designed to empower the player with a huge number of mechanical choices that deepen the level of the strategic thinking in the game.  
 
Riot Games will also offer a League of Legends Collector’s Pack that contains exclusive items, such as two unique Champion skins, as well as a number of Champions, Runes and Riot Points. Players who pre-order the Collectors Pack at www.leagueoflegends.com or at retail outlets GameStop and Best Buy will also receive an exclusive Champion skin that will only be available with the pre-order. The Collector’s Pack will retail for $29.99.


The big question for me is how many champions (i.e. playable characters) will be in the free client, and how many will be locked up in the Collector's Pack, since characters are the only piece of content that will really influence the way the game plays. If I'm reading this preorder page correctly, it looks like 20 of the "over 40" characters will be exclusive to the retail game. That seems like a decent value, if you play the free game and decide you want the whole experience.

How's the whole free-to-play model working out for you? Anyone playing Battlefield Heroes or BattleForge and getting suckered in by the microtransaction model? Are you more likely to play League of Legends now? This is still an emerging business model in the West and I'm really curious to see if it will catch on.

Posted by Bigandtasty

That's quite the acronym there.


Also I'm kinda iffy on microtransaction models. To an outsider who has never tried such a game, it seems like "get suckered in while it's free, buy stuff when you figure out you need to pay to stay competitive" sometimes. Maybe that's not the case with this game though.
Posted by Bubahula

 im not sure how i feel about free to play. i guess if you can compete well without micro transactions then its all fine and dandy.

Posted by HeliumSpoon

Comment! HAAAAAA!!!

Posted by phlegms

Interesting, very interesting indeed..

Posted by NickM

Dota! I HEAR YOU MAN!

Posted by Crixaliz

Smart move on them it was probably gonna get pirated and played on things like Garena otherwise

Posted by MeatSim

Again, you can't beat free.

Posted by Reverseface

Give me YOUR FREES

Edited by Chocobo_Blitzer

I've been having a blast with Battlefield Heroes, so this sounds like wonderful news. The microtransaction model is a little dangerous, I can see how someone could get carried away and end up spending double, triple what a game is actually worth. But a little caution and this model could be real satisfying.

Posted by Flaime

Really good idea

Posted by Kohe321

Looks great, I'll probably pick it up

Edited by Luke

OK, why does everyone always give "DoTA" so much credit and make it the fore-front of everything?  "Aeon of Strife" was first and was created during the StarCraft days.  DotA is a rip-off of it. 

League of Legends is based off of "DoTA All-Stars" which is based off of "DotA" which is based-off of "Aeon of Strife". 

I wonder if "Aeon of Strife" is going to return in StarCraft 2, or it's just going to be "DoTA All-StarCraft2" and "Aeon of Strife" will just die-off and never get proper credit? 

Posted by ParadoxControl
@Bigandtasty: Except thats not how LoL works. You can unlock everything you need to be competitive with out spending a dime. What changes when you start spending money is the speed in which you unlock stuff. You'll never buy items for your heros in game with real money, and your not going go buy stat boosts for your heros either. All the items you get either make the game easier when it comes to unlocking stuff (like champions) or gives you cosmetic changes to the Champions you have, so you can stand out a little when you play. 
Posted by Bigandtasty
@ParadoxControl: thanks for the clarification. I'm sure there are games like that out there, I just can't think of any other than gunz which was pretty dumb anyway.
Posted by astonish

I was so excited for this game, now im even more excited! Being free will bring in a nice big player base which is exactly what this game from a unknown dev needs

Posted by drevik

Looks like Warcraft III. Except a few years late.

Posted by EvilTwin

I'm suddenly interested.  I actually really do enjoy popping into Battlefield: Heroes for a few games any time I find myself a bit bored.  I can definitely see myself doing the same with this game.

Posted by Slaneesh

Wonder what will convince Dota players to switch.

Posted by Ferginator4k

This is now a a must play for me

Posted by InsanePotato

Definitely getting free client... problably pay for the characters anyhow :P

Posted by Amilmitt

im wondering why everyone thinks this model is so new, its a old model that works very well.
everything you buy does not imbalance the game in any way. people may level faster or get some things faster but they still cant get more powerful.
plus most are just visual changes so they stand out from the crowd.

Posted by Media_Master

I can't stand little girls ugh

Posted by PureRok
@Media_Master said:
" I can't stand little girls ugh "
I love little girls... er..

That came off a little creepy...
Posted by Meltbrain
@Bigandtasty said:
" That's quite the acronym there.

Also I'm kinda iffy on microtransaction models. To an outsider who has never tried such a game, it seems like "get suckered in while it's free, buy stuff when you figure out you need to pay to stay competitive" sometimes. Maybe that's not the case with this game though.
"
I have to say, I'm not a fan of microtransactions, either.
After paying what... £5 for the ability to wear a fucking hat in Battlefield Heroes whenever I please, I'd rather just pay for the damn game.
Posted by Heartagram
@Luke said:
" OK, why does everyone always give "DoTA" so much credit and make it the fore-front of everything?  "Aeon of Strife" was first and was created during the StarCraft days.  DotA is a rip-off of it.  League of Legends is based off of "DoTA All-Stars" which is based off of "DotA" which is based-off of "Aeon of Strife".  I wonder if "Aeon of Strife" is going to return in StarCraft 2, or it's just going to be "DoTA All-StarCraft2" and "Aeon of Strife" will just die-off and never get proper credit?  "
Why do you care so much
Posted by TomA

This is awesome, I was thinking about buying this game but now i dont have to, game does look great.

Posted by Crono

glad its free but that doesn't change the fact that Annie is lame.

Edited by MrKlorox
That's cool. I play BF Heroes a few times a week for about an hour or two each session. I bought 10 dollars worth of battle-funds (1400 total I think) and spent all but 140 points on one piece of permanent, beta members only clothing item for each of my three characters (eye patch, black summer pants, ninja mask). They sent out 200 BF to beta members when the it ended and I haven't spent any of that yet. I won't pay real money for something non-permanent.

I downloaded Battleforge but haven't been able to bring myself to play it. I'm a solo RTS player though so I'll probably not get into this either. However I like the RPG side of it.

@ParadoxControl
said:
" @Bigandtasty: Except thats not how LoL works. You can unlock everything you need to be competitive with out spending a dime. What changes when you start spending money is the speed in which you unlock stuff. You'll never buy items for your heros in game with real money, and your not going go buy stat boosts for your heros either. All the items you get either make the game easier when it comes to unlocking stuff (like champions) or gives you cosmetic changes to the Champions you have, so you can stand out a little when you play.  "
You just described the BF Heroes model as well.
Posted by bretthancock

Looks good and free never hurts.  Will definitely be checking this out as right now DOTA is a little to intense for me.

Posted by CrazyNinja

Free is good. I'll at least give the game a try.

Posted by DaylightPointer

It has honestly shocked me that western companies haven't adopted the "free to play/micro transaction" model more often.  There are a ton of games, mostly from Korea, that have been around for years with this model.  So many of them are garbage, but they still manage to survive.  It will be interesting to see what kind of longevity LoL ends up having.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

If the retail game comes with all the stuff I can get via micro transaction, and releases packs of any new stuff that I can buy in chunks, maybe I'll do the retail version. But I think this should just be a retail game, with maybe some extra micro stuff down the road,  but nothing really important. If the retail comes with all I really need and want though, I'll go with that. Why they don't just make this a retail game with free online is beyond me, but hey, I guess it's cool that they have so many options.

Posted by NoXious

Now I'll give the game a shot - otherwise I would've waited for StarCraft 2 and a DOTA release on that.

Posted by phrosnite

I wasn't going to get this game but now I will try it for sure ^_^

Edited by ParadoxControl
@Bigandtasty: Battle Field Heros fallows the same kind of idea. All the Pay For content are outfits that have a limited life (IE: X$ for a hat that lasts 1 month, or Y$ for a permenent hat, where Y > X). 

The Asian market has been trying this model for a long time, but the things they sold wond up making things worce. As one of the devs for LoL put it in the beta forums "We don't want the free costomers to be the easy content for Paying Customers" (or something to that effect)

One interesting thing here is the $40 (or is it $30) "pre-order" package. Now, I don't think the Champions are going to be exclusive like Braid is saying in the artical. But instead its just 20 champions that you wont have to buy with the points you earn from playing. Others will eventually get those Champions, but for a while, you might be the only ones running around with them in game. I think its a great idea to be honest. I'm sure there are people who had decided they wanted to buy the game before they knew it was going F2P. This gives those people something to actually buy when the game launches, and not feel totally ripped off with what they got. 

Another game that I think people should check out if they're in to the AoS style DOTA clones is "Heroes of Newerth" which is being made by S2 Games (the guys behind Savage 1 and 2). If anyone understands a nitch market for games, it's these guys. Not everyone is a fan of the FPSRTSRPG genre, but S2 games has figured out how to make it work. So when it comes to a Team Tactics Roll Playing Game (or whatever you want to call the Dota genre) I think they'll have a good idea of how to make it work. From what I've played so far, its a super "by the numbers" Dota clone. That is to say, you'll find some of your favorite Heroes from Dota in HoN with a new look. Its really interesting to see how Dota has gone from a custom map in WC3, to a full blown genre in such a short time. 
Posted by ahoodedfigure

There's a microtransaction model for some of the Puzzle Pirate servers, and we have spent a few scrip getting some extras. But if everyone paid as much as we have, I think they'd go bankrupt.

Posted by ToxicFruit

Another one... still this one is from the dota guys but we already have HoN(beta), demigod and the original dota.
09 the Dota year

Posted by CitizenJP

This game looks pretty interesting...F2P so there's no sense in not giving it a try...which I will...when it's out... :P

Posted by yorro

They became desprate because of HoN's arrival in the market.

Posted by ToxicFruit

"How's the whole free-to-play model working out for you? Anyone playing Battlefield Heroes or BattleForge and getting suckered in by the microtransaction model? Are you more likely to play League of Legends now? This is still an emerging business model in the West and I'm really curious to see if it will catch on"

Well i almost bought the retail  of battleforge to get points and cards but luckily i did not and no i am not more likely to buy this game. i like my dota and am getting more into HoN,.

the funny thing is saying it Free but then you find out if you want to be good and get the whole experience you have to pay does not sound free to me

Posted by Chokobo

LoL looks halfway decent, lol.

Posted by MythDarK
@slaneesh:
Better game play in League of Legends i guess. Icefrog is driving DotA down into the abyss. Guinsoo was great when he worked on DotA, and now he's working on League of Legends. So i'm really looking forward to this game a lot, based on my experience of DotA maps made by Guinsoo, and also based on how the resent DotA maps have been even worse then the one before lately.
Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

If the game is good, it doesn't matter if it's free or costs money.  I looked at the trailer & it didn't impress me very much. If they offered it over the Xbox, I'd probably check it out.

Posted by G0rd0nFr33m4n

I just preordered this game, it looks great and Im fucking tired of the fucking assholes who play DotA, wouldnt mind getting into a game before they're are "pros" or "vets" at it. So that I become one and can say things like "newb"  >:)

Posted by thecleric

The thing that's dumb about the BF Heroes Pay shop is the fact that it's temporary. Like, I feel they REALLY missed the ball on that part.

Posted by PorkLord

This looks good but I'm glad it's free, after playing the (also free) Heroes of Newerth BETA it's got some competition.

Posted by Exorte

All champion will be Free to pay by the end. They need to be unlock by influance point which you earn every game depenant on you perfemence.The pre-order pack will unlock 20 at first if not pre-order you will get 6 the other must be unlock by yourself.

Posted by Exorte
@Luke said:
"OK, why does everyone always give "DoTA" so much credit and make it the fore-front of everything?  "Aeon of Strife" was first and was created during the StarCraft days.  DotA is a rip-off of it.  League of Legends is based off of "DoTA All-Stars" which is based off of "DotA" which is based-off of "Aeon of Strife".  I wonder if "Aeon of Strife" is going to return in StarCraft 2, or it's just going to be "DoTA All-StarCraft2" and "Aeon of Strife" will just die-off and never get proper credit?  "


 

Because DotA: Allstar was what made it popular. The first DotA like game was a game where there is only "hero" from starcraft (ex: jim) is it fun?? personally I think it is unbalanced. 

Edited by artofwar420

I haven't played this yet, but I am actually enjoying the Heroes of Newerth beta a lot. Anyone play League of Legends and HoN? What's the difference?

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