A massive pirate invasion hit Riot’s popular multiplayer game League of Legends last night. And by the developer’s description, there are only going to be more pirates to come in the next few weeks. Thankfully, these are the good kind of pirates.
League of Legends seasonal campaign kicked off last night with the 5.14 patch, which, among other things, dropped a reskinned map into the game called “Butcher’s Bridge.”
Butcher’s Bridge is technically just a surface-level redesign of Howling Abyss, a well-liked but still secondary map in League. Putting a new coat of pirate-themed paint on Howling Abyss is a welcome change. Unlike the central Summoner’s Rift map, Howling Abyss only has a single lane for both teams to fight back and forth on. It’s used for a special game mode called “All Random, All Mid.” As its name suggests, ARAM matches start with each player being assigned a random champion to take into battle. This element of randomness, as well as the fact that there’s only a single lane that funnels all ten players into a non-stop team fight, makes ARAM the closest thing closest thing League has to a casual-friendly “for fun” mode. I like to think that adding more pirate-y goodness helps amp up ARAM’s silliness factor.
League’s new pirate stuff doesn’t end there, though. Riot is also dropping a bunch of new themed character skins in with Butcher’s Bridge, as well as specific challenges for the game’s nautical-themed characters like Gangplank—who also got a makeover recently to look a tad more...grisly. The influential League of Legends news site Surrender at 20 has some before-and-after screens for comparison:
Butcher’s Bridge is part of a larger seasonal campaign Riot’s putting on for League called “Bilgewater: Burning Tides.” Named after the city in League of Legends lore that all of the game’s seafaring characters come from, this summer’s event is introducing a bunch of visual and mechanical overhauls to League’s gameplay. Following Butcher’s Bridge, for instance, they’re adding a special game mode to Summoner’s Rift that lets you hire customizable mercenaries to bring into battle.
While new stuff is always exciting, I think the part of Bilgewater that has fans especially thrilled is that they’re finally getting to see a central piece of League of Legends’ notoriously inscrutable lore brought to life within the game itself. Hopefully we’ll keep seeing inventive projects like this in the future.