How Riot plans to balance virtual exclusivity and player support
In deciding to re-release some of its most exclusive character skins, League of Legends
developer Riot is attempting to address the nature of limited virtual goods while also compensating its long-term players.
As announced via its official store blog
, Riot will be rolling out limited-time rereleases of some of its rarest skins, in order to make them accessible to players who missed them during their original sale windows.
"We believe skins are primarily about self-expression and fun, not exclusivity," says Riot associate producer Steve 'Udyr' Mieczkowski, who adds that the team considered multiple solutions including a trading auction or unlocking the limited skins through achievements, but dismissed them as too problematic.
"While it's important we solve this problem for the majority of players, it's equally important that we preserve value for those who do own these skins," he says.
Riot's answer to this problem is to introduce "vintage" features to signal which players purchased the skins during their original run, as well as gifted Riot Points "equal to the price they paid for the skin."
This way, Riot hopes to satisfy veteran players as well as decrease the overall rarity of some of the skins, some of which Mieczkowski noted are so exclusive they might turn up once in over 100,000 games. It's an interesting solution to reseeding items into a virtual economy without alienating a contingent of a game's playerbase.
The rereleases are limited to skins that were at some point sold through the game, not any of the exclusive skins earned through competitions. The first of these are expected to drop later this October.