This past holiday season Riot was kind enough to dish out 450 RP to any summoner who had not been the subject of punitive action over the course of November and December. It was a nice gesture, though the surprise gift didn’t do much to incentivize ongoing good behavior. Riot did mention that the gift was the beginning of a much larger project aimed at rewarding the kind and persistent.
That project starts…at an undisclosed time. Once a summoner reaches level 3, a staggering feat to be sure, he will be gifted 400 RP, just for sticking around. Yes, level 3. No, you don’t get it if you’ve been level 30 for the past two years. Apparently the 450 RP in December was for you…and everyone else over level 6. Honestly, these initiatives confuse the hell out of me and seem to stir up a real shit storm for the folks at Riot. Almost the entire first page of comments on that post fall in line with this sentiment, courtesy of GuardiansAngel:
“How about you start rewarding the guys playing thousands of games of league of legends before you reward the guys who play a few games and quit.”
Those posts have hundreds of upvotes while the actual announcement has less than 100. Now, it could be that the malcontent level 30 summoners are the majority of the players on the forums, but it could just as easily be that the people committed to the game don’t like to see new players get incentives just for being new.
I understand that this is meant to be a gesture, but here’s the thing: gestures are usually thoughtful ways to show appreciation, gratitude, or praise. Key word in there is thoughtful. Riot’s efforts in this regard have been historically careless, and feel much more like a marketing gag to get their hooks into new players than an actual gesture of appreciation. The 450 RP this December was the exception – that was a nice gesture. This, this is just a marketing gag.
I’m also curious, why level 3? Is Riot struggling with new player retention and, if so, is 400 RP at level 3 going to change that? I don’t believe that this is an actual strategy for keeping players around, but then why do it? Level 3 can be accomplished by winning two games – is this really something worth pumping RP into? Maybe the numbers simply worked out that when players are given a certain amount of RP, X percentage of players will double down and buy RP to bridge the gap for a more expensive purchase. If that’s the real reason this RP is going out, well, good for Riot I guess. I’m just so confused by the whole thing that I’d be happy with such a logical conclusion.