Riot's design team creates a custom 1v1/2v2 map for their All-Star Tournament.
As I wrote last week, Riot Games has been taking major steps to begin integrating more and more content into League of Legends, ranging from bigger tournaments, to updated champions, and even to new in-game quests. Additionally, they've been expanding their international scene, growing the game's fanbase in places like China and Korea, where professional e-sports are taken as seriously as Americans take contact sports. In apparent support of that initiative, a Chinese League of Legends fan site leaked a video yesterday morning, showing a brand new volcanic-themed map featuring 1v1 and 2v2 combat, as well as several in-game changes that have until this point only been speculated about.
Riot representative RedBeard commented on a Reddit post addressing the currently unnamed map, saying that it was created for a specific All-Star event by Riot coders. "This 'first blood' map was dreamed up by some Rioters who wanted to make an awesome 1v1/2v2 map just for the All-Star game. They brewed it up during the 'Thunderdome,' which is a regular all-night hackathon Riot holds to explore cool new stuff," RedBeard said. "Wickd vs SoAZ's 1v1 extravaganza was awesome to watch and got me even more hyped up for this event at the All-Star game. Because it was created solely with the idea of using it in the All-Star game, it's not something that we have any concrete plans for besides the event."
Riot recently announced the teams that will be taking part in their All-Star Series, taking place in Shanghai May 24-26. In their release, they also announced that they would be featuring Skill Events, in which the top contenders for each position (top, mid, bot, etc) will compete 1v1 (or 2v2 for the bot lane) to see who the best at each position is worldwide.
The video also features several changes on champions, most noticeably a Heimerdinger who can be seen at approximately 0:26 with three turrets rather than his current capacity of two. This suggests the leaked video was using a future build of League of Legends, so that the competitors in the tournament will be familiar with new strategy by the time the end of May rolls around.
While RedBeard's comment makes it pretty clear that this map will be the one used during the All-Star Tournament, it's interesting that there are no current plans for implementing the new map for player use. In the past, Riot has been very protective about letting their users have access to the more sandbox elements of the game, such as creating custom maps or settings. Hopefully this trend does not continue, and Riot opens the map to the public. Although maps like The Crystal Vale and the Proving Grounds give good evidence that League of Legends can only be balanced for one game style at a time, allowing players to test their skills in a 1v1 or 2v2 environment would certainly quiet some of the noise coming from the 0/6 top laners who insists their team is the reason they lost.