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/dev: Let’s Talk About URF

We’re bringing back URF as a one-time experiment to celebrate League’s 10-year anniversary.

Hello friends! 

Happy 10 years of League of Legends! As announced during our 10-year anniversary stream, URF will be coming back for a limited time, starting on October 28, 2019. Not ARURF. URF! 

You may be confused as to why we’re bringing back a mode that we said would never return, and the truth of the matter is that this is an experiment. We’re trying this “new” version of URF for this special League of Legends milestone, but we still think the game mode is a risk when considering churn for players. That being said, we know that players have been asking for URF’s return, and we want to do our best to make it work. 

But we’ve been asking for URF’s return for a long time, why now? 

If there was ever a time to try and bring it back, 10-year is absolutely the time to do it. We’ve made a host of changes to (hopefully) improve some of the issues with the mode, and we want to give something back to our community, even if it’s for a limited amount of time. 

We’ll be looking through any and all feedback from you on this version of URF—as well as analyzing the same data points that helped us make that first decision to retire it—to see the impact of the changes we’re making.

So is it all URF from here on out? 

No, definitely not. This is an experiment. We hope we’ve improved URF in meaningful ways, but we’re planning on this to be a one time thing. We’ve been transparent in the past that URF seems to have a lot of detrimental effects on players in the long term—in particular, it makes people burn out and stop playing League all together. If this becomes the case again, even with the changes, we’ll have no choice but to keep URF’s return as a one-time special event. 

We hope we’ve improved the sources of some of these problems with the changes we’re making to URF, as well as the improvements we’ve made to Summoner’s Rift and champions over the years. We are, however, far from certain that we fixed things.

What are the changes?

First off, we’ve added bans to Champion Select. Teams will lock in their bans first and then go into a standard blind pick. Mirror matches will be possible.

Second, after weeks of testing, we did a full balance pass on all 140+ champions, similar to the way we’ve been balancing champs for ARAM. We’ve also dramatically upgraded the process we use to hotfix champs, allowing us to react more quickly when we discover champions are out of line and adapt some of the balance tools and techniques that we’ve been using to improve ARAM. We know that the ability to pick champions puts extra emphasis on the balance of the mode, and we’ll be watching to make sure we keep things in a reasonable state. 

And finally, we’ve added in some of the pacing elements from Summoner’s Rift that were introduced after URF’s debut (like turret plating) and tuned down our last pass at Elder Dragon to give more champions a time to shine.

Is the Catapult of Champions coming back?

Yup! We’re keeping all the changes from ARURF that are doing good work, so the cannon returns, Elder Dragon remains powered up (though a little less so), and a host of other smaller changes should keep games nice and snappy.

That’s it for me! See y’all on the Rift, and happy 10-year!

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