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League of Legends ‘set free’ by Riot Games publishing in SEA

League of Legends will now be published by Riot Games in Southeast Asia from January 2023 as the biggest MOBA game changes hands after twelve years under Garena

League of Legends SEA - Assassin champion Akali in a blue outfit with bright red hair

League of Legends is changing hands to Riot Games self-publishing in Southeast Asia from January 2023, marking the end of a twelve-year partnership for the biggest MOBA game. Since the 2009 launch of League of Legends, the Southeast Asia servers for both it and spin-off strategy game Teamfight Tactics have been handled by Garena, with many players in the region expressing frustration with the differences caused by this deal. Notably, Riot’s latest games including Valorant and League of Legends: Wild Rift have already been self-published in the region. Now both League and TFT are set to follow suit.

In its announcement post, Riot says it is making the move to “make sure players in Southeast Asia have the same League and TFT experience as people who play our games all around the world.” It adds that it is also planning to expand efforts in countries such as Japan and India, while also “establishing new local offices in key countries including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia” to ensure that those territories have their own dedicated Riot team.

Players in affected territories will need to migrate their League accounts from Garena to Riot, but will be awarded “a suite of in-game rewards as a gift,” along with several events and local activities set to help celebrate the hand-over. There is a full migration tutorial and FAQ provided on the League of Legends website. Players in SEA who currently use accounts on servers outside of the region will be able to transfer to the SEA server, but the move is one-way and players will not be able to transfer back out once they have moved.

Riot also assures players that all cosmetics, loot, RP, mastery, eternals, and level will carry over, along with summoner names and your associated friends list. However, it notes that Garena’s Shells currency cannot be transferred into Riot Points, and also warns that if players have not completed the process before December 31, no compensation will be made available in the case of any lost account data.

Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad calls it a “Big move from Riot and one that makes sense for the company.” He notes that Garena is still partnered with Tencent, the parent company of Riot Games, for several more of its titles. As for fans, the League Reddit post is filled with players excitedly exclaiming that they are finally “free from Garena” – citing issues with the client, limited skins, no esports drops, and slow patch times among other concerns.

Recent League of Legends ARAM nerfs have hit the multiplayer game’s popular chaos mode, while League of Legends patch 12.21 introduces its newest champion, K’Sante. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “How much have I spent on League of Legends skins,” we have an answer for you – though you may not like it.