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RiotX Arcane: Bringing The Hit Show To Life Within Wild Rift

RiotX Arcane League Of Legends Wild Rift
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League Of Legends: Wild Rift has been a pretty big hit with players since launch, though I don’t think anyone anticipated how much of a success Riot’s new animated Netflix series, Arcane would be. To help celebrate the release, Riot launched an event called RiotX Arcane that spanned across its collection of games, including Wild Rift.

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with the developers to discuss how the team brought the show to life within the game. While also maintaining a level of quality the studio would be offering to the PC version of League Of Legends.

It was a neat look into the work the developers put in to make sure everything went smoothly. And as big fans of Wild Rift, and now Arcane, we couldn’t be more excited for everything RiotX Arcane had to offer. You can read our interview with Juno Blees from the Wild Rift team below.

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Bringing Arcane to life within Wild Rift through the RiotX Arcane event

RiotX Arcane League Of Legends Wild Rift 2

Justin Diaz

Hi Juno, Nice to meet you. As a big fan of League of Legends and League Of Legends: Wild Rift myself, I can imagine your excitement for adding to the quality of the game by integrating elements from the Arcane series. What are some of the things from this event that you’re most excited to see come to Wild Rift?

Juno Blees

Hey Justin, thank you so much for being a player. It felt absolutely incredible to be a part of the RiotX Arcane moment. We’ve had a lot of challenges along the way, but I am so happy about the launch of the show and our Wild Rift events. There are a lot of things I am excited about out of this event, but the thing I’m most hyped about is the design of the Hextech Heist event. We had a vision to take players on an interactive investigation through Piltover, and I am so proud that the team pulled it off.

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Justin Diaz

The Hextech Heist is definitely one of the most fun parts of the event for me too. I can’t wait to finish it! In regards to the team pulling off this task, I know you must have had a huge part to play in all of it. You have an extensive background in the games industry, leading back to Localization QA Product Lead at Blizzard for World Of Warcraft starting in 2008. How has your time at Blizzard, Cryptic, and your time in various roles at Riot helped with making sure the event goes off without a hitch?

Juno Blees

I think because I’ve worked in many different corners of game production I am able to think about the developmental process more holistically. As a product lead, you have to consider every little thing from ideation, design, implementation, to iteration, testing, deployment and more.

Sometimes it’s really hard to keep everything in order about every stage of development and all the teams that have to contribute and work together. But because I’ve worked in areas like QA, Loc, Release and Live, I try my best to give those teams the time and information they need to do their jobs well, and they never disappoint.

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Justin Diaz

They certainly didn’t disappoint. So far I think the event has been great and I bet fans feel the same way. Speaking of Wild Rift fans, can they expect more unique events like this in the future?

Juno Blees

Absolutely. As we grow the team and our capabilities, we can do bigger, better events! At Riot, we always try to push boundaries and try new things, and I am sure Wild Rift will be there every step of the way.

Justin Diaz

This doesn’t really relate to RiotX Arcane, but I’m curious. Who’s your favorite champion?

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Juno Blees

This is a hard question to answer so I am going to cheat a little by giving you a few answers. Jhin is my favorite champion that I can’t play well. I love his art, champion kit, story, and music. Lulu is my most played champion on Wild Rift, she is just so versatile and can really turn the tide of team fights.

Justin Diaz

Its’s always interesting to me to hear who people enjoy playing. While I’m far from understanding every single champion in the game, I have played League Of Legends on PC for years. So I am familiar with Lulu. I’ve not had the chance to play her yet on Wild Rift, but she definitely has some versatility. Which I think really makes her a valuable choice.

It sounds like you probably play a lot of different champions. I’m curious what your highest rank tier is, and how hard was it to climb that ladder.

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Juno Blees

Fun story, I reached Challenger in 5s on League PC. Every year at Riot, there is this internal tournament called Riot Rumble. Different divisions of players are scouted and drafted to form teams to compete with one another and it gets super competitive. So my teammates and I formed a 5s team and practiced every day because we had a good chance of winning.

We lost in the Riot Rumble final and got second place, but we still felt like winners because our team climbed to challenger on NA while we practiced. On Wild Rift, I am currently Diamond and hoping to make a shot at reaching Master.

I didn’t have too much trouble climbing until I reached Emerald because up until then, I can snowball pretty hard in the early game and use the lead to win. But in higher elo, it’s a little harder to rely on snowballing because opponents are better and more coordinated.

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Justin Diaz

That’s awesome! Maybe one day with enough practice I’ll pull myself out of the Bronze and Silver tiers. Ok now that I’ve been faced with my own awful skills, let’s get back to the RiotX Arcane Wild Rift event, lol. With some of the content that’s getting added being unique to Wild Rift, do you think PC League Of Legends players will feel left out?

Juno Blees

I do think some players on either side will look to the other game and feel left out because at the end of the day, we are 2 separate development teams that are creating different content for 2 different (but connected!) games. But I hope our players will look at the success of both games as glass half full and not half empty. If something does really well on one side, we might consider bringing that to the other game as well in the future. So please be patient with us.

Justin Diaz

That makes a lot of sense. The grass is always greener right? Having said that I do think many players will be/are excited about what’s on offer for which game they choose to play. When I was finally available to play Wild Rift for the first time, the first thing I wanted to do was see all my skins that I had acquired in League PC. And even though some or most weren’t there, I was excited at some of the new skins that had showed up.

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Speaking of the game’s release, Wild Rift was in a regional open beta for about a year, and just recently launched in select countries at the end of October. What was it like seeing the game evolve from a testing phase to a fully launched title?

Juno Blees

I’ve always worked on games post-launch. So it was a first for me to go through the pre-production and launch of a game and I’ve learned a lot about different stages of development. I joined the team when we had less than 30 people and we are now 150+.

So for a very long time, none of the work we were doing was shown to players because we didn’t launch yet. The team was also working on the game without any player feedback so we were flying mostly blind doing what we hoped players would like. Now that the game has launched, we have more teams working on all aspects of the game, and with player feedback coming in constantly to help us improve.

Now my favorite thing is to be working on an event, and seeing it go to players within just a few months. Some days it still feels like a dream to me.

Justin Diaz

I can imagine the feeling of presenting something to players that you hope they love, especially when you love the game yourself. It seems like it would be a surreal experience to work on events like the one for RiotX Arcane and Wild Rift. There are no doubt times in the development cycle where there are difficulties though.

What were some of the biggest challenges for you and the rest of the team in adapting one of the most popular games on the planet for a mobile audience?

Juno Blees

The pressure was to be one of the best because the expectations from players were already so high from League PC. I think the League PC team is a well oiled machine and they have a decade of experience and learnings over us. So it’s very hard for a young team like Wild Rift to follow the footsteps of a giant.

Not only that, but we also were the first mobile focused team at Riot, and a lot of us really had to learn the fundamentals of mobile gaming to understand players’ wants and needs. So while we had to deliver the authentic League of Legends experience on mobile, we also needed to make some bets to adapt to the mobile market. That was probably the most challenging aspect.

Justin Diaz

When did the idea to bring the League Of Legends franchise to mobile first come up?

Juno Blees

I can’t say for sure since I joined Wild Rift in 2019, and the team had already worked on a mobile prototype for years. Riot wanted to reach more players and go where players are, so mobile was a very obvious choice to bring League of Legends to.

Justin Diaz

Was Riot’s decision influenced at all by the massive success of Honor Of Kings?

Juno Blees

While we’re big fans of a ton of different mobile titles, we’re focused on creating an excellent global experience for League of Legends players, and we want to keep improving on what’s already great about League – competitive fun, teamplay and mastery, and a vibrant world of interesting and colorful champions.

Justin Diaz

I’d say you and the team have certainly succeeded in keeping the competition fun. And there’s no shortage of teamplay and mastery of the large and diverse set of champions.

In regards to RiotX Arcane and Wild Rift content, fans have been waiting for Caitlyn and Jayce to enter the Rift for a long time. What prompted the decision to wait until this particular event to release these two champions?

Juno Blees

The Champion roadmap is determined really early on because champion development takes a long time. With Arcane’s release on the horizon, we thought it’d be a wonderful opportunity to synchronize the release of two of the main characters from the show to Wild Rift! We love the idea of players finding out about Caitlyn and Jayce on their couches through watching the show. Then getting to play their MOBA iterations after the episode ends in game.

Justin Diaz

What was the main inspiration in bringing unique Arcane content to Wild Rift?

Juno Blees

Arcane has a very different style and tone than Wild Rift. So in order to celebrate Arcane but also stay true to the game, we had to pick elements from the show that were translatable to Wild Rift.

After watching Arcane, I thought there were very memorable moments that I kept thinking about. Such as the stuffed bunny Vi showed to Powder to remind her of her bad days and how precious their relationship was at that point. Because of moments like that and how artistic the show is, it was easy to find inspirations.

Justin Diaz

I totally get that. I thought Arcane was really well done in that way. There were some very emotional, and dare I say it, Wild moments throughout the show. Powder’s monkey bomb comes to mind.

I regards to the in-game content, do you have any predictions on what players will love most?

Juno Blees

This feels like picking a favorite child. I really hope players will like all aspects of this moment. Including the events themselves, the champions, the skins and rewards, Guild vs Guild, and the publishing effort outside of the game. So many teams across Riot worked really hard to bring the experience to life. And I hope everyone can find something they love.

Justin Diaz

Let’s say there are things players both love and don’t care so much for. Will player feedback on the RiotX Arcane event shape the possibility of future Wild Rift events?

Juno Blees

Always. We try to be data informed (not data driven) when we make decisions for future events. If we see good engagement on certain event designs or features, we will likely double down on them and bring them back in the future.

Justin Diaz

You started as the Senior Producer/Product Lead for League Of Legends: Wild Rift back in March. Then moved into the Manager of Production role in September. And before all that you were in the Game Producer role. What has it been like having a hand in so many aspects of the game’s development?

Juno Blees

Every bit of opportunity and experience I’ve had in the industry has helped me do my job better today. And working on Wild Rift when the team was smaller required me to wear multiple hats. So even though it felt really scrappy, I actually enjoyed taking on design and creative responsibilities. Which is not something all producers get to do and I hope I never have to stop.

Justin Diaz

Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the players about this event and its content?

Juno Blees

I hope that you enjoy the Hextech Heist and Arcane Experience events! I appreciate each and every one of you for playing our game and supporting us every step of the way. I can’t wait for you to see our future events that we are currently working hard on. Much love as always and see you on the Rift.