Those who’ve been getting sick of playing the same game every day is in for a treat. Riot announced a new mode for League of Legends: Teamfight Tactics (TFT). Unlike the URF mode, this one’s here to stay alongside ARAM. Upon the reveal of the new mode, Riot’s Gameplay Product Manager Richard Henkel answered some questions.
What would be some distinct features that your new mode has compared to the Dota 2 Auto Chess?
When we first started trying to figure out if we could even make TFT, we asked ourselves what kind of experience we wanted it to be - casual, competitive, both? We went back and forth a bit, but narrowed onto the term “playfully competitive” - think Super Mario Party meets Clash Royale. A game that let you play.
Do you have any thought of making it as an esports?
For now, we’re just focused on making TFT the best game it can be, and really building it with the community. Ultimately if the game is popular enough, and the community wants it, I could see us finding ways to make top tier competitive TFT a reality - but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves - we still need to ship the game and then figure things out from there.
Is there a separate ladder ranking for this new mode?
TFT will have two queues - a free-for-all normal queue you can play with up to 7 of your friends, and a separate ranked ladder that is similar to the ranked system used in League of Legends, but tweaked for TFT. This will release on the first patch as we want to make sure we get game balance/stability in check, but we’re hoping to release it two weeks after we’ve gone live.
Will there be any kind of special characteristics based on the champions’ lore or the in-game role (assassin, mage, bruiser, etc)?
Champion Lore and the in-game role will loosely tie to some of the champions that will exist in TFT, but we’ve also deviated from our lore in order to give us flexibility in how we develop future sets of content. If we stuck with some of our factions like Ionia, Demacia, and Piltover - we can’t really slot different champions into them to create exciting sets of champions, but if we're to use something else...say Project, or Star Guardian...well then the possibilities are almost limitless.
When did you start developing this mode?
We started developing this mode at the beginning of March. We went through a few months of experimentation to prove that we could fully realize an autobattler in the League Universe, and officially started building the game 9 weeks ago - boy has time flown.
What is the official name of this mode?
The official name is Teamfight Tactics.
Will it be a rotating game mode or will it be a fixed mode?
This will be a fixed mode within the League Client that includes its own unique rank system, customization content, and development support. While the auto battler genre is only 6 months old, we think that it’s here to stay, and we hope to be a part of bringing the amazing experience of the genre to fans around the world for a long time.
How many champions can we expect and what kind of standards did you have when choosing those champions?
We’re launching with about 50 champions. We chose them based on our ability to build a compelling set 1 of content, one that would keep players coming back to try to perfect new strategies, or experience with some cool synergy they think of. Since this is our first set, that’s the primary thing we focused on, but in the future, we hope to be able to expand in crazier and crazier things, and bringing champions back in future sets in different ways.
Different compared to ARAM which goes with the regular LoL patch notes, this mode seems to require a separate patch. Will there be a new team for it? Did you have any difficulties?
We have a separate development team focused on TFT that we formed with a number of developers that have worked on League for a long time. That team will be focused on fixing bugs, balancing the mode, building new features, running the ranked season, and really giving TFT it’s own separate gaming experience in a way that we haven’t done with modes in the past.
How regularly will this mode be updated?
We plan to update it as much as we do League, especially right after launch. If you’re familiar with hotfixes in League of Legends, players can expect us to be shipping bug fixes and balance tweaks to outliers daily as we try to stabilize the game as fast as possible. We’re really excited by the possibilities of what we can add in the game, especially once players can have the chance to tell us how they’d like to see it evolved in the future. Building a game with a community is an incredible thing, we’ve seen what it can do for a game like League, and now we get to see how it can help TFT become incredible.