League of Legends going free-to-play

DOTA-inspired RTS/RPG hybrid will use a microtransaction system; players can pay to cosmetically accessorize avatars but can't buy improved character performance.

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Gamers may be familiar with the custom scenario for Warcraft III, Defense of the Ancients, which one prominent industry group called "likely the most popular and most discussed free, nonsupported game mod in the world." Now, the modders behind DOTA have revealed that their new project, League of Legends: Clash of the Fates, will be like the Warcraft III mod in at least one respect: It's also free.

Are you hooked?
Are you hooked?

"One of our goals at Riot has been to set a high-quality bar for core games that are available for free online as we believe that a relentless focus on delivering tremendous value to online communities will earn player loyalty," said Brandon Beck, cofounder and CEO of developer Riot Games.

The LA-based studio--which includes talent from Blizzard Entertainment and the mod community that made DOTA--said the online real-time strategy/role-playing hybrid would generate revenue from a microtransaction system. Riot Games asserts its business model will not allow players to buy their way to victory, as users can purchase only novelty items and upgrades to their character's appearance.

In League of Legends, players will control champions who destroy as many creeps, heroes, and enemy structures as possible. The champions will be controlled by summoners, which will be accessorized with vanity items from the game's upcoming virtual store. For further details on this PC-exclusive title, check out GameSpot's hands-on preview.

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