League of Legends developer Riot Games has walked back plans to charge players $10 to change their Riot ID, after an attempt to limit players' abilities to alter their in-game IDs provoked a community backlash.
This all began on October 16th, with a Riot Games blog post titled "Transitioning from Summoner Names to Riot IDs". In the blog, Riot states that Summoner Names, Riot's old way of denominating players "doesn't sync with the lore and hasn't for a while." So it planned to ditch Summoner Names, and have players identified by their Riot ID.
Which all sounds innocuous enough. But this change would come bundled with a bunch of alterations in how players could use their RiotID. Under these initial plans, players would be limited to changing their Riot ID once a year, and would be charged $10 for the privilege.
Needless to say, Riot's community wasn't happy. "Super disappointing move by Riot. I really enjoyed coming up with fun ground names with my 5 stack" said Reddit user MorningStaa in the r/VALORANT subreddit, while enprezzo stated "I understand making it more than 1 month between name changes but charging for it is just greedy." Malcolm_chaotician wasn't impressed with Riot's explanation either, stating "Their attempt to justify this with lore is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen."
Now, as reported by Eurogamer, Riot has partly walked back these plans. In a new blog post titled "Reworking the Riot ID Transition Plan", Riot explained that it has ditched the $10 cost for changing your RiotID, stating "Under our new plan, we think we found the right balance with time alone." Said time restriction on changing your Riot ID name has been altered from the original 365 days, to the "good sweet spot" of three months.
While there's an element of conciliation to the blog, Riot remains committed to ditching Summoner names, and the blog provides some more detailed explanation as to why. "The process of picking a unique Summoner Name is a terrible new player experience," Riot explains. "It takes new League and TFT players an average of 5 minutes and 8 rejected attempts to pick a unique name, and thousands of players give up before finding a name they like."
Moreover, as Riot Games' titles stretch far beyond League these days, the company believes that the current Riot ID system is not fit for purpose. "Some players across VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, and Wild Rift have gotten used to changing their Riot ID every 30 days. Candidly, it was never our intention with Riot ID's that they'd be changed so often; we want them to be a lasting way to identify yourself."
That certainly seems like a more convincing explanation than "because lore". Riot's library has expanded greatly in the last ten years, and ensuring player IDs are consistent across those games does make sense. Riot's original plan may have been unnecessarily restrictive, while charging people to change their username was never going to fly. Nonetheless, Riot has had the sense to see that, and made what appears to be a far more reasonable compromise.