League of Legend’ new game mode, Teamfight Tactics, might be off to a flying start, but its success has drawn Riot’s attention to some of the game’s less-beloved features. And while TFT has now been confirmed as a permanent game mode, the end of this season will be the end of one of League of Legends’ most long-standing maps.
In a dev post published last night, Riot said that at the end of the 2019 season, 3v3 map The Twisted Treeline will be retired from the game. In the post, principal game designer Stephen Mortimer revealed that player numbers for the map were lower than the already-retired Nexus Blitz, leading to “long queue times, poor matchmaking, and ultimately an unsatisfying PvP experience.”
As a result, Riot debated increased support for the map, but said that “the lack of growth from the previous efforts […] led us to the conclusion that it just wouldn’t be enough to make Treeline a healthy long-term mode.” As a result, the end of the current season will see the map removed as a matchmaking option.
Reaction in the community has been mixed. Dwindling player numbers mean that much of the community seems content for Riot to focus its efforts on other game modes, but the section of the community keeping Twisted Treeline alive is understandably upset.
This isn’t the first time Riot has abandoned a game mode. Dominion was removed from League of Legends years ago, while plenty of other short-term game modes have come and gone over the years. Now however, the developer says that modes like ARAM and ARURF+ will return, and that the focus from here on out will be “focusing all of our attention on improving the existing long-term game modes and discovering new, potentially long-term modes that you can play for years.”
Sadly, there’s still no word on whether Riot is working on anything that’s actually distinct from League of Legends. Rumours suggest we might one day see anything from a fighting game to a LoL MMO, but for now, the future of the franchise is still anybody’s guess.