What Makes League of Legends So Successful?

Since October 2009, when the League of Legends (LoL) was officially released, the number of players and popularity of the game has been steadily increasing. Riot Games, the company who made the game, estimates that last September, there were 100 million active players each month.

Some players also have more than one account like LoL accounts from AussyElo. The fact that people have more than one account and that some are willing to pay for them, shows how much the game is popular.

LoL is also among the leading players in eSports (a form of competitive tournaments of video games, constantly rising in popularity), and in streaming media like YouTube and Twitch. Just last year in the World Championship, there were 43 million unique viewers with the prize pool over 6 million dollars.

Beginnings

There are several reason why the game is successful, but one of the main ones is probably because it capitalized on huge popularity of DotA (Defense of the Ancients, a custom map for Warcraft 3). DotA was immensely popular. At the time people from all around the world were downloading the map, and its official page was getting a million downloads per week.

But, it was only a custom free map and as such it was restricted to Warcraft 3. That meant there was no official matchmaking, no progress, no punishment for the leavers and trolls. The mechanics, the game engine and lots of other stuff were also limited by Warcraft 3.

Development decision

The game’s initial design and decisions were tailored to the huge base of more casual DotA players and many of the more hardcore ones. Because League of Legends was its own game, it fixed all of the mentioned issues. Also, Warcraft 3 was an old game and a lot of players were using old hardware so when League of Legends came out, its requirements were lower compared to the other games of that time, which also helped with the player base.

LoL is also free to play with microtransactions (you can buy cosmetic stuff, nothing that gives you an edge over other players), which was a bit new back then. However, it also meant that millions of DotA players could just switch to League of Legends and play it with less trouble (because a lot of DotA players were running a pirated version of Warcraft 3 and as such needed third party software to play online).

Of course, the game also had many gameplay improvements over DotA and was also catering to more casual players. For the most part, LoL simplified things and addressed major issues with DotA’s gameplay like reducing crowd control (things that make your character unable to move, slow or hinder in any other way) and added some general improvements overall.

Conclusion

With 134 champions to choose from (there were 40 champions at the start) and an increasing number of players and popularity every year, League of Legends is constantly growing and will probably continue to do so in the future. With thoughtful design, bit of luck and an excellent timing, this is a game that is hugely successful and popular with no signs of declining.

Image Credit – Wikipedia

Amol Wagh

Author of Game Marketing Book: Market Your Indie Game Like A Pro! 7 years of Tech Blogging & Digital Marketing. Co-founder at Dotline Inc & a Gamer. Follow me on Twitter @amolwagh, @amol.wagh