Let’s face it – Ultra Rapid Fire was probably one of the most amazing things to come out of Riot recently. This is in no way discrediting their other, wonderful products and features – but for an April Fool’s Joke, URF just had something magical that the community perhaps didn’t know they wanted.
I had a blast (literally, Karma RQ fo days) these past few weeks playing this game mode and was happy to see that it would be extended through PAX East, which I attended. But it also made me really appreciate the delicate process of champion balance. And now that the mode has been disabled, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a bittersweet farewell that I felt came just at the right time. URF needs to be put to rest for now, otherwise some severe and long-term damage to League could be inevitable.
Surely, URF will be terribly missed, but there is something extremely dangerous (and broken) about a mode like this staying permanent. A lot of it has to do with the community and player mentality, and a lot of it boils right down to mechanics and being realistic about Riot’s grand plan for League.
Some mechanical reasons are completely obvious, judging by the slowly expanding list of champions who had to be straight up banned from the mode – URF favors a very specific subset of play style while axing a specfic need for control and elegance to game play. This mode severely punished certain champions who general scale better with time and patience – they often got obliterated by those in which cooldowns and energy costs were an extremely necessary restriction to curb their power.
AP champs, for example, start out fairly strong and scale extremely well with items almost immediately. Traditionally, cooldowns and mana restrictions keep them from being able to faceroll at level 2, but not so in here.
If you didn’t know your champion intimately enough to execute their cocaine-infused kits well, you were probably in for a hard time. Tanking and defense become almost completely useless and it boiled down to a race for which team can out damage the other faster, with little to no weight put on other tactics that make League whole. And of course, players started to just take it too damn seriously.
Already there are complaints about the switch back to normalcy – everything feels slow, and in some extreme cases completely less enjoyable. This is the result of prolonged exposure to handicaps in a game. Lots of players, especially ranked, are opting to take a break either completely or to settle with normals for a while until they can re-train their fingers and brains to normal play.
Outside of the technical, there’s also the issue of popularity. Obviously, queues for ranked, normals, and arams dropped considerably during URFs reign, and there was a big risk that URF would just be more favorable in the long-run to any other mode. And why not? It’s fast, powerful, and chaotic enough to be the perfect storm for addiction, and I feel that would take away from the other very delicately created worlds Riot has set up for their community.
This obviously isn’t doomsday it won’t take long for fans to get back into the swing of things, surely, but I think URF’s was a drug that’ll be harder to shake for a lot of players. I’ll be glad to see it come back in the future, but for now I am relieved to see it take a breather and to get back down to normal
To The Readers How did you like URF? Love it? Hate it? Miss it? Do you want it to be permanent? Why or why not?