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Enter sandman: Riot talk new League of Legends champion Azir, Emperor of the Sands

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Enter sandman: Riot talk new League of Legends champion Azir, Emperor of the Sands

Here, there’s somebody Riot want you to meet: new League of Legends champion Azir. A nuisance at the beach but an asset in the lanes, the Emperor of the Sands can summon dusty soldiers to do his bidding. And when he’s not reclaiming his rightful place as ruler of the Shuriman desert, Azir can channel the sand to throw his enemies high in the air. As you’re about to see.

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League of Legends' new Ascension mode offers unlimited power

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League of Legends' new Ascension mode offers unlimited power

Riot has introduced a new featured game mode for League of Legends: Ascension. And it’s all about getting unlimited power - which is lovely. 

Ascension sees two teams of five pitted against each other, both attempting to defeat the Ancient Ascendant Xerath and steal his big ol’ buff. That power makes a champion vastly more powerful, though not so much that the opposing team can’t take him down with a coordinated assault. 

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Road to Worlds documents the journeys of League of Legends pros

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Road to Worlds documents the journeys of League of Legends pros

The final of League of Legend’s 2014 World Championships is little over a month away. It’s unlikely that - given that the arena in Seoul is expected to sell out - you’ll get to see it in person, so you’ll probably just have to enjoy the streams. 

Starting today, you can also follow some of the pro players as they work to earn their spot in the championships. The first episode of the Road to Worlds documentary is available already, and you can take a gander below. 

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League of Legends lore rewrite will stay true to the "soul" of characters in the old canon

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League of Legends lore rewrite will stay true to the "soul" of characters in the old canon

Riot Games prompted applause and alarm over the weekend with the announcement of a partial retcon of League of Legends lore. The game’s very premise, an institute where political conflicts could be resolved in orderly and relatively bloodless fashion, had proven too restrictive for LoL’s narrative designers.

They’ve resolved to push their character bios and event plotlines beyond the boundaries of the League - but have reassured concerned fans that their favourite champions will only benefit.

“We believe in a philosophy in which story should spring from the characters naturally, not from a very arbitrary plot built around them," said Riot writer Devon Giehl. “Character drives plot."

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League of Legends champion designer explains Riot's approach to choice

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League of Legends champion designer explains Riot's approach to choice

Riot continues its commendable efforts to make League of Legend’s continued development transparent. Earlier today, lead champion designer Andrei Van Roon broke down what Riot considers one of the key tenets of League of Legends and putting a beating on other people online, generally: meaningful choices

Van Roon reckons that its these choices that give PvP games depth. “The ability to make decisions that directly impact that state of the game is of absolute importance in driving satisfaction and mastery," he says.

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Riot know League of Legends' Tristana "needs nerfing" - but change is unlikely before Worlds

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Riot know League of Legends' Tristana "needs nerfing" - but change is unlikely before Worlds

League of Legends lore has it that Tristana always has a “kind word for everyone" - though in the lanes she’s equally generous with the buster shots to the face. In fact, the yordle commando is currently proving marginally more effective than her peers, and Riot know it. But they’re not planning to get busy with the nerfs until after this year’s Championship Series concludes at Worlds.

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A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

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A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

The five game final in the North American playoffs between Team SoloMid and Cloud9 was all about pride, and getting the best possible seed at 2014 Worlds. But while TSM won by the skin of their teeth, both teams’ reputations were secure. They remain the clear masters of the North American LCS division, and their real test is yet to come.

But for Counter-Logic Gaming and Curse, the playoff season was one of heartbreak and disappointment. Despite the two teams’ tremendous efforts to change their fortunes this season, and surprisingly strong showings from both of them over the course of the 2014 campaign, the bitter end of the season crushed both teams’ high hopes.

It also showed that, for these once-proud American teams, the road back to the top of competitive League of Legends is a lot longer than one season.

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The League of Legends World Championship final is expected to sell out Seoul's Sangam Stadium

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The League of Legends World Championship final is expected to sell out Seoul's Sangam Stadium

The League of Legends World Championship final is expected to sell out Seoul’s massive Sangam Stadium, says Riot’s Dustin Beck. 

The Championship’s stages will play out across four different cities, with the final taking place in South Korea on October 19th. And it looks like you might have to be fast if you want a ticket. 

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Riot's plan to ensure relegated LCS teams "don't just disappear from the business"

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Riot's plan to ensure relegated LCS teams "don't just disappear from the business"

This year’s North American LCS playoffs have been tumultuous and surprising. Teams like Curse and CLG had built strong new rosters for the 2014 season, and made commendable efforts to recapture old glories. But that wasn’t enough to keep some of the scene’s favourite personalities from dropping out of the Championship early.

Their relegations have made an old question more pertinent than ever. Deep prize pools may make the headlines in eSports - but how do Riot plan to support the also-rans?

“We want to build an ecosystem where teams who make it into LCS are ready," said Riot head of EU eSports Jason Yeh. “And when teams get relegated out of LCS they don’t just disappear from the business."

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League of Legends hits 4.15 and another champion, Azir, is on its way

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League of Legends hits 4.15 and another champion, Azir, is on its way

Riot has been busy lately. With 4.15, the League of Legends developer has buffed newcomer - and Gremlin - Gnar, introduced the new Master Tier and improved the client patcher. And, in an effort to minimise the eventual Summoner’s Rift update, some of the finished parts are being patched into the live game. 

A new champion’s been revealed to boot: Azir, the Emperor of the Sands. He’s a snazzy-looking mage with a heavy Egyptian vibe. 

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Riot on bringing back Featured Gameplay Modes: "No mode is off the table"

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Riot on bringing back Featured Gameplay Modes: "No mode is off the table"

Riot spend most of their time chiseling away at a five-year-old sculpture. Featured Gameplay Modes are their chance to just hack at a piece of rock and see what emerges. First implemented last year, the system has seen extreme and absurd variations on League of Legends introduced to the game for short stretches.

It’s worked rather well: in fact, Riot might yet succumb to players clamouring for the return of their favourites.

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Drink of champions: League of Legends spotted on Coca-Cola bottles

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Drink of champions: League of Legends spotted on Coca-Cola bottles

Coke bottles in the UK are currently emblazoned with a random name picked from a hat, on the off-chance that somebody in your party might be named Wesley. But in Korea they’re more colourful.

Riot Games president Marc Merrill this weekend revealed a range of Coke bottles plastered with some of League of Legends’ champions ahead of this year’s World Championships.

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Riot wants to help eSports players plan for old age, otherwise known as mid-twenties

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Riot wants to help eSports players plan for old age, otherwise known as mid-twenties

ESports is a young person’s game. While retiring fairly young is common in sports generally, it’s even more pronounced in eSports, with mid-20s being the average for retiring from professionally playing League of Legends, for example. 

But Riot’s trying to prepare pro players for a career once they hit that age bracket. 

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League of Legends' Gnar is always angry in its Champion Spotlight

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League of Legends' Gnar is always angry in its Champion Spotlight

League of Legends’ Gnar may be a smaller little critter, but don’t let appearances fool you. Once he’s angry enough he’ll hulk up into a monstrous creature, with hobbies that include smashing his opponents with his mega-sized fists and throwing boulders (sometimes houses) into his enemies face.

Riot’s champion spotlight have given us the scoop on what Gnar exactly does and how best to play him. If you’re at all curious how this deceivingly cute champion can cause death and destruction to your foes, it’s worth a watch.

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League of Legends patch 4.13 will improve match loading speeds by 10-30%

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League of Legends patch 4.13 will improve match loading speeds by 10-30%

While Valve take a moment to roll about in the success of the 2014 Dota 2 International, Riot Games are feverishly chopping and changing ahead of the League of Legends World Championships. Patch 4.13 cuts wide, not deep: its remit is absolutely everything.

“We’re ramping up our efforts to promote more diversity in competitive play," write the developers. “Boy are you going to hear this a lot." 

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Yordle-ay-ee-oooo: meet League of Legends' pointy-eared new arrival, Gnar

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Yordle-ay-ee-oooo: meet League of Legends' pointy-eared new arrival, Gnar

The sheer size of League of Legends’ roster means Riot Games can make champions for all types. Gnar is a player character for fans of the noise you make when liquid inexplicably travels the ‘wrong way’ down your throat, despite a lifetime of practice.

From what we can tell, he sports big claws, tusks, red eyes, and a vague resemblance to Hollywood’s Gremlins.

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