League of Legends was the most profitable free to play game of 2017. In a year full of horrible loot boxes and micro transactions, League managed to not piss anyone off. Instead of a roulette, League allows players to buy the skins they want, when they want. That’s cool, that’s great, but it doesn’t explain why people buy so many damn skins.
If you’ve ever tried to explain how a free game like League makes money to someone who doesn’t play, you’ve probably gotten a confused and concerned look. The very suggestion that you would pay money for something that’s only cosmetic is strange to people. It may have even sounded strange to you when you first started playing.
I remember a few days after I first installed League. I thought, “This is really cool, maybe I’ll let myself buy a skin every 50 games I play.” Needless to say, I have not stuck to that promise. I’ve also spent over $1,000 on League in the five years I’ve been playing it. All that money spent on cosmetics and I don’t regret a damn thing.
League of Legends is a game that allows you to see your skin at all times, view it through your god’s eye point of view. Even better, all the other players in the game can see it too. League is about its champions, so being able to make your champions look cooler is a pretty easy way to make a buck.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t do anything. Maybe it’s a new rig, maybe it has new effects, maybe it sounds a little different. But the function of the champion itself never, ever changes. These are micro transactions in their purest form. They make you feel good to look at, but they don’t ever change the game.
But that’s not how I justify spending so much on skins. League is a game that I have put thousands and thousands of hours into. No matter what other games come out, League is always a game I can log into, play a game or two and log out. It pairs with whatever I’m interested in at the time. So I support Riot by buying their cool skins.
I could look back and think about all the money I’ve spent on video games over the years, and I would find myself overwhelmed. I’ve loved a lot of games over the years, by few even get close to League. But League is free and has never required me to purchase anything.
To me, the idea of not supporting a game I care about as much as League is silly. This isn’t a cry to rally behind Riot and give them your money. In fact, it isn’t a suggestion for anything. You may buy skins, you may not. You support Riot just by playing their game, by telling friends about it, by watching the LCS. When I buy a cool skin I don’t think, “Wow, I can’t wait to support Riot and buy this.” I think, “What cool skin, I need that.” But knowing that it helps keep League going makes me feel a little better about it.
I can’t tell you why you buy skins. All I can say is why I do it. I love supporting Riot and I love making my champions look different. It keeps the game fresh and fun for me.
How about you?