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League of Legends pros play one patch behind everyone else for the sake of preparation

League of Legends pros play on an older patch because if preparation.
League of Legends pros play on an older patch because if preparation.

The reason professional League of Legends players are on an older patch than everyone else is because of preparation.

In an “Ask Riot” post Thursday, senior manager of league operations (known as Grza) explained the process is done to ensure pro players have enough time to adjust to changes. Further, if the professionals were forced to play on live patches, they would then have to spend a lot of time in the game’s Public Beta Environment experimenting with the changes. That would come with the risk of pros playing with potential changes that don’t get applied at all, resulting in an inconsistent practice environment.

“The extra week after the patch goes live gives pro teams the opportunity to evaluate the patch and adapt their strategies and play styles accordingly before they have to compete,” Grza wrote. “The current patch cadence provides teams with about 10 days to practice on a live patch before having to play a professional game on it.”

The extra week also gives the dev team time to deal with any pressing issues such as bugs or over-tuned champions, preventing the professional league from being affected by such aspects of the game.

Player statistics show Riven isn’t broken

Before Yasuo, Riven was often mentioned the one-trick-pony magnet that always seems to carry the enemy team but feed on the allied team. Since then, the complaints regarding Riven have died down somewhat, and associate game designer Matt “PhRoXzOn” Leung-Harrison answered a question about the state of Riven’s balance with some context.

“Riven is a champion with high execution requirements,” he wrote. “She has a steep mastery curve (in the top 15 percent of champions), but is heavily one-tricked, which leads to both inflated win-rate numbers and distorts the win-rate curve pretty heavily (when a Riven player has to play something else because of bans or an opponent picking their champion, they are more likely to lose than the average player, which depresses their MMR).”

Riven’s kit also encourages players to go aggressive with high mobility tools that allow her to leave an engagement, as well as defensive tools that scale off of her offensive stats, leading to the perception that she snowballs very quickly. But that doesn’t mean players are translating those tools into game wins at an unusual rate.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games

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