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Riot's Jeffrey Lin mulls over how to design a good MOBA endgame

Riot's social systems design chief Jeffrey Lin speaks to Rock Paper Shotgun about how the company is tackling a fresh challenge: building a satisfying endgame for a never-ending MOBA like League.
"Games like World of Warcraft have an extremely rich end-game raiding experience that most players can aspire to experience and enjoy–what does a truly top notch end game experience look like for a MOBA?"

- Riot's Jeffrey Lin, lead designer of social systems on League of Legends.

A significant portion of MOBA game design discussion seems to revolve around attracting new players and making them feel welcome by (among other things) culling toxic behavior in your community.

As lead designer of League of Legends' social systems, Riot's Jeffrey Lin is often a prominent voice in those discussions --  earlier this year he spoke at length about how he and his team are tweaking League of Legends player behavior through game design. But in a recent interview with Rock Paper Shotgun the designer mulled over a different question: how do you encourage players to approach a MOBA as a storytelling medium?

"One of our end-game goals for League is to give each match a meaning and purpose, and to give players more ways to show off their story in League," Lin told RPS. "We don’t celebrate accomplishments very well in League today, and we definitely don’t do a great job of showing players what’s their next goal as a player."

Sports/eSports are appealing in part because they provide a backdrop for stories of success and failure. Thus, it's interesting to see a major MOBA designer mulling over how to create game systems that let every player chart their own rise (or fall) in order to make the experience seem more meaningful.

"What does the end-game of League of Legends look like? How does a player build a legacy in League of Legends?" Lin said. "We’re not happy that our current Ranked Solo/Duo Queue is the 'end-game experience' that most players will have, and a very small population ever sees the lights of the [League of Legends Championship Series."

Check out the full interview for more of Lin's comments on MOBA endgame design and how the League of Legends design team chooses where to focus its efforts.

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