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Riot on League of Legends’ cancelled Magma Chamber: one does not simply create a map

Magma Chamber: a cancelled 1v1 or 2v2 map for League of Legends. Sort of a fiery feel to it.

About a year ago, Riot debuted a new map for between two and four players at their 2013 All-Star game; in January, they cancelled it for good. The studio weighed the workload of optimising Magma Chamber for public consumption against public interest, and decided to walk away.

As one Riot staffer now points out: “there’s more to creating a map than simply, well, creating a map”.

“Before I joined Riot and while I was new at Riot, I definitely wondered why there weren‘t more maps,” wrote Riot engineering manager J. Aaron Farr. “I’ve come to better understand not just the amount of effort new maps require, but the impact multiple maps can have in splitting the player community.”

Farr wouldn’t promise whether the studio would make more new maps for LoL in the future – instead suggesting the likelihood of more experimental game types under Riot’s existing Featured Game Mode model.

“We’re definitely exploring new modes of play via the featured game modes like Showdown and URF mode,” he said. “These let us, as a whole community, explore what’s fun and what works.”

Riot ceased work on Magma Chamber after discovering that players spent less than 1% of their in-game time with the similar Showdown mode a week after its release. The dev team concluded that 1v1/2v2 wouldn’t be “sustainable” as a permanent mode.

“We know we changed our minds after making a commitment and we’re sorry,” they wrote at the time. “We hate doing it. The biggest promise we make, and the one that makes us believe this is the right decision, is that we aspire to be the most player-focused game company in the world.

“We’re always trying to make decisions that we think are in the best interest of players and in this case, we think that the best path forward is to perfect 1v1/2v2 as a Featured Game Mode.”

Do you agree? Or would you have liked to see the studio push ahead with their brimstone-built Magma map?

Thanks, Reign of Gaming.