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League of Legends Swarm fixes LoL’s summer event problem

New League of Legends mode Swarm is a Vampire Survivors style experience, and it's Riot's answer to player demands for Odyssey-style PvE.

A purple haired anime girl with a feather-like headset stands at the front of a group on a beach as a huge monster looms behind them

Riot has finally unveiled League of Legends’ four-player Vampire Survivors style mode, Swarm. Fully PvE, you and three friends (or just you, whatever you prefer) are thrust into the colorful shoes of the Anima Squad and tasked with fending off legions of cascading Primordians. League of Legends Swarm is the first non-PvP mode we’ve seen in quite a while, with Odyssey: Extraction being the last one back in 2018. At an exclusive event in Riot HQ in sunny Santa Monica, Los Angeles, I ask the team why they’ve decided to bring back PvE after all this time.

Across 2023 and 2024, Riot has upped its game when it comes to new modes. Once upon a time, following the release of Arenas, League of Legends‘ product lead for modes, Eduardo ‘Cadmus’ Cortejoso, told PCGamesN that the team was planning to branch out from “MOBA-like experiences,” and Swarm does just that.

Harkening back to things like Star Guardian: Invasion in 2017 and Odyssey: Extraction in 2018, Swarm feels like a breath of fresh air – after all, even Arenas was PvP. It’s something that a lot of LoL fans (myself included) have been waiting for, so I ask the team why they’ve decided to release it now, and whether or not the pressure to diversify the game’s modes has had any part to play in Swarm’s conception.

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“I started creating this prototype because it’s something we’ve never seen before,” VFX artist and Swarm creator ‘Sirhaian’ tells me. “The only ones we’ve had already are Odyssey: Extraction and Star Guardian: Invasion, which were five or six years ago.”

“We have heard the community talk about desiring a PvE game mode, product lead Sope May continues. “With that in mind, we wanted to create a novel and unique experience bringing back PvE, but not exactly like Extraction or Invasion.”

Creative director Ben Skutt also notes that “with our previous summer events, a lot of the thematic has been experienced in ‘around game experiences’ like Tournament of Souls [Soul Fighter], which acted as a mini-game last year. There was a big desire to allow people to enter that world [summer event thematics] together.”

An image of three League of Legends characters standing in a street-like map, small enemies running towards them

While my favorite League of Legends event will always be Spirit Blossom (sue me), I do feel like everything since Odyssey has been exactly as Cortejoso says: single-player side content. As a result, the event feels secondary to the base gameplay, and doesn’t have the impact Riot clearly wants it to have. Hopefully Anima Squad will change that – I know it did for me.

But Anima Squad isn’t the only exciting thing that’s dropping this summer; new League of Legends champion Aurora joins the fray on patch 14.14, and we took her for a spin ahead of time. Alternatively, if your mind is on the present, we have a LoL tier list to help guide you towards some sweet, sweet dubs.

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