April 17, 2024

Is League of Legends: Wild Rift Dying in the Western Gaming World?

League of Legends: Wild Rift is considered a powerhouse in mobile gaming, which is huge in the Asian market; however, Riot’s smash hit is facing a few challenges in the West, leading to concerns among the player base and content creators. The situation has gotten a lot worse after Riot withdrew support for the Western Esports scene, boosting the feeling of being left out, which was already widespread among mobile gamers in EMEA and the NA regions.

While initially released as a beginner-friendly alternative to League of Legends, Wild Rift failed to gain momentum in the West. Despite some initial interest, the game struggled to capture widespread attention, dampening its growth in the region.

Wild Rift Esports

Despite being hailed as one of the top mobile games available today and reaching the 1 Billion USD mark in terms of revenue, League of Legends: Wild Rift’s lack of growth in the west, particularly in terms of content creation and Esports, is quickly becoming a problem. While its fast-paced gameplay sets it apart, issues such as balancing and matchmaking persist, especially for high-elo players.

Wild Rift content creator Kerxx highlighted a flaw in the matchmaking system, where better individual performance seems to result in poorer-quality teammates, leading to a destructive and toxic environment. This sentiment is echoed by his observation that, regardless of rank, games often devolve into chaotic experiences.

Amidst this chaos, maintaining a positive outlook becomes very hard, and some redditors on r/WildRift have suggested we should look at the ranked mode as a form of entertainment rather than a serious competition. However, this disillusionment has tangible consequences, as evidenced by Wild Rift content creator HellsDevil's loss of motivation to create content for the game. His dissatisfaction stems from a decline in his enjoyment of the game, particularly following a change in the matchmaking system that changed the nature of gameplay and reduced the appeal of high-level competition. This disillusionment ultimately leads to a shift in focus away from Wild Rift towards other games that still evoke genuine passion and enjoyment.

Wild Rift’s gameplay experience may be polished, with decent balancing and quality-of-life boosting that sets it apart from other titles in its genre. However, the crux of its problems lies within the high-elo pool, where the best players find themselves punished rather than rewarded for their skills, leading to a fractured ranked experience.

As a result, content creators find themselves in a love-hate relationship with Wild Rift.

While they appreciate its strengths, they are also frustrated by the ongoing issues in the high-elo environment. Moreover, top-ranked players are losing motivation to continue their grind, particularly following the collapse of the game's Esports scene. These factors collectively contribute to a sense of uncertainty surrounding Wild Rift's future among both creators and high-elo players.

Wild Rift Poster

The shutdown of the Western Wild Rift esports scene in 2023, primarily due to low viewership, dealt a blow to the game's community. With Riot withdrawing support and funding, professional organizations and players found themselves without any backing, leading to the retirement of many prominent figures from the Wild Rift community.

The impact of the Esports scene shutdown extends beyond the competitive sphere and into content creation. English-speaking content creators, often involved in Esports activities such as coaching, tournament coverage, and casting, saw their credibility within the community diminish. Riot decided not to boost this slice of the community, and this decision has directly affected content creators like Jinko and HellsDevil, who relied on their involvement in the Wild Rift Esports scene for validation and support.

Without intervention and changes from Riot, the outlook for content creation in Wild Rift remains bleak. While the game experiences organic growth, it is not enough to sustain and expand content creation efforts. Creators struggle to produce engaging content once the initial wave of each update passes.

If Riot fails to address the community's longstanding concerns and provide adequate support, western players will continue to lose interest in Wild Rift, and the game might fade away in time.


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