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Fans' Reaction To $450 League Of Legends Skin Is "Justified," Riot Says

League of Legends' game director has commented on the fan backlash to Riot's expensive Immortalized Legend Ahri skin.


League of Legends' controversial Immortalized Legend Ahri skin is available now for those with a spare $250-$450 to spend, and fans are still not happy about it. Game director Pu "PuPuLasers" Liu spoke with PCGamesN about the backlash, saying it's "justified."

"People were very upset about it, not just a little," Liu acknowledged in the interview, adding, "I also think it's kind of justified." He noted that with the game being over a decade old, League of Legends players are "used to everything living under a certain price point."

Despite that, he defended the expensive bundle, explaining that products priced at this level were a rarity, and even taking some time to explain how they fit in with League of Legends' monetization strategy as a whole.

"These kind of products are designed for a very small percentage of our players to be able to purchase and flex," he explained. "In terms of what role [they're] going to play in our portfolio of skin products moving forward, it will continue [to be] a very small minority. I think last year we probably released over 130 or 140 skins, of which less than a handful were priced at that point. I would expect it to continue to be a minority rather than a majority."

"It's very important that we share with our players the situation that League of Legends is in," Liu continued. "It's a game that's competitively orientated; we only sell cosmetics, we don't want anything that even infringes upon pay-to-win or pay-for-power. As a consequence of that, the vast majority of our players play League, watch esports, enjoy all the content, cinematics, and music for $0. The majority of our revenue comes from a small, single digit percentage of players; it's just the reality that the hobbyist deep spenders are a disproportionate amount of business viability."

Liu shared some of the thought that went into pricing the premium-level bundle "on the morality side," comparing it to Warhammer fans who spend $200 a month on their hobby. He added that Riot prefers to target cosmetic items to those players who already have a history of spending in-game, rather than trying to convert players who aren't currently spending.

"We believe there's such a thing as having too high a percentage of your players spending on a free-to-play game," Liu adds. "That means your free-to-play experience relative to your paid experience is not good enough."

The contentious skin, Immortalized Legend Ahri, was revealed as part of the Hall of Legends event created this year to honor Faker, one of the game's most successful and well-known esports players. The skin can only be bought in a bundle--either the $250 Immortalized Legend collection, which includes the skin along with a number of unique VFX and extra cosmetic items, or the $450 Signature Legend collection, which adds even more exclusive effects to the skin, more exclusive cosmetics, and a handful of chromas for other Faker-related skins.

The skin is so extravagant--with unique voice overs, animations, and other visual effects--that Riot created a new skin tier called Transcendent just to describe it. The previous highest tier is called Ultimate, with each Ultimate skin costing around $23.

The high price of the new skin celebrating one of the game's most popular figures didn't sit right with fans, with many promising to permaban Ahri in retaliation, and others pointing out the irony of releasing a $450 skin to celebrate a player who famously doesn't use skins in matches.

The Hall of Legends event is live now and will run until July 8.

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