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League of Legends almost had a much more metal name

Triumphant Ryze Splash Art

League of Legends (or ‘LoL,’ if you prefer) has been a fixture of PC gaming for long enough that it, like World of Warcraft, has ascended into the realm of acronyms. Nonetheless, if you ever wondered about its full name, co-creators Marc ‘Tryndamere’ Merrill and Brandon ‘Ryze’ Beck have an answer for you: why did they call it League of Legends?

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“Well, we almost didn’t call it League of Legends,” Merrill reveals. Its very first name was simply ‘Hero Wars,’ a bland placeholder that arose in “like the second week, when we started putting files in folders.” Both co-creators look appropriately embarrassed about it.

“For a while we had the name Onslaught, representing the constant barrage of minions from both bases,” Merrill says. This was rejected for being “way too metal.” At some point, they hit on the name ‘League of Legends: Clash of Fates,’ then simply dropped the subtitle, winding up with League of Legends.

“It feels like it fits from an IP standpoint,” Merrill says. “there’s so many different legendary characters, and they’re so interesting, and the game is really about them.”

Merrill and Beck were speaking on the latest episode of Ask Riot, a regular Q&A show for the League of Legends community. They answered several other questions, such as which other games they enjoy (Beck is a PUBG fan, and Merrill can talk about The Elder Scrolls Online in exhausting detail), and how closely they follow the big League of Legends competitions – Merrill reckons he’s “probably only missed 20 percent or so of the matches that we’ve ever had in Worlds.”

Triumphant Ryze

One notable question for Beck concerned the champion from which he derives his handle – exactly what does he think of Ryze, and his many reworks?

Stunningly, Beck admits “I don’t actually play that much Ryze, so it doesn’t affect me as a player that much.” No wonder the poor guy can’t find a stable place in the meta.

“What I will say on a serious note, is that we don’t like doing reworks for the sake of change,” Beck says. “We only want to rework something if we’re actually improving it, or fixing a problem in the game. A lot of reworks is a sign that we’re not really nailing it, so yeah. I don’t feel great about that. I wish we didn’t have to do so many, and all our champs were in awesome shape.”