I’ve been skeptical about the League of Legends preseason changes before. I didn’t believe in Elemental Drakes, I was afraid of plants. But nothing has ever come close to my fears about the Runes Reforged system. “If anything could ever kill League, it’s this,” I thought.
As usual, I was wrong. Riot has created the most dynamic and interesting system added into League in over five years.
Runes Reforged has only been live for about two days, but I feel this constant pull to play it. The last time I was this eager to go home and play LoL, I was just starting my journey to level 30. There’s always something special about preseason, relearning the game you’re so familiar with. But with Runes Reforged, it feels as though League has finally evolved.
There’s a big difference between changes like the Drakes, Rift Herald or plants and Runes Reforged. The previous preseason changes have been improvements that feel bolted onto the same old League of Legends. That isn’t to say anything negative about any of them. The “same old League of Legends” is still very good and adding even more great features is a huge plus. But this preseason is something else.
League and other games like it have always been about finding what’s best. Sure, you can tell the difference between a good and bad player by how well they adapt their build and playstyle to a game, but it’s always been about min-maxing. There was a correct answer for runes and masteries. There were certain items you had to build. While we may only be a few days in, Runes Reforged is the only system I have seen that could potentially break that cycle.
While it won’t take players long to start arguing about which new rune path is best for Jax, the system feels flexible. You may like Press the Attack on him while I want to take Predator or Lethal Tempo. These runes matter in such a way that they can completely alter your playstyle. Press the Attack will probably end up as the most popular, but that doesn’t make Predator a bad choice. A messed up rune choice doesn’t always have to be a disaster, it’s just an experiment you haven’t tried yet.
In games like LoL, there will always be the “right answer” to every build solution. But Runes Reforged feels like it can take your wrong answers and make them viable. We have a season ahead of us filled with pros debating rune choices and annalists analyzing interesting rune drafts.
A game like League can begin to feel old after so many years. Not in anyway that makes you love it less, but simply familiar and boring. It’s extremely refreshing to see that Riot has found a way to make League of Legends feel like a whole new game again.