April Fools Day is a growing phenomenon especially on the internet and within gaming. Each year it becomes increasingly tough to top the April Fools’ Day pranks of the previous year and fool a skeptical internet audience.
Riot does not hold back with their April Fools’ Day creations. Two years ago, the company released a stand-alone game named “Cho-gath Eats World,” which was a very well-made Rampage clone, filled with all of your favorite League of Legends champs. Fans wait in anticipation for what new twist Riot will throw at them next. Last year, they truly outdid themselves when they introduced Ultra Rapid Fire mode, or URF mode for short. The name “Urf” is a nod to League’s gone-but-not-forgotten character Urf the manatee. According to League lore, Urf was killed by Warwick but lives on through tributes like URF mode and a handful of champion skins.
URF mode basically flips league on its head by introducing these game changing mechanics:
The second I played URF I was hooked! It gave me that ignorant bliss I felt when I first started playing League. Everyone was on the same skill level, exploring each champion’s new value. People were not as hyper-critical of others’ playstyle and mistakes. Players’ rage-fueled gameplay was transformed into humor-filled strategies. Champions like Hecarim, Skarner and Urgot were the popular kids on the Rift while Lee Sin, Udyr, and other overplayed champ were the social outcasts. URF mode was the fantastic break that everyone needed from the stressful game that League of Legends can be.
URF was only available for a few weeks. Toward the end of URF’s lifespan, admittedly the fun begin to decline.Many people tried to exploit the mechanics of URF mode. “Broken” champions, far too powerful to be fair, would plague the Rift just to secure the win. People’s attitudes were slowly devolving into the toxic rage that we know all too well from our games on the Summoner’s Rift. URF mode became more about guaranteeing victory than the fresh experience Riot intended. Don’t get me wrong–people LOVED URF mode and message boards were flooded with the typical “Riot plz” post begging to keep it alive forever.
Riot heard the internet’s pleas, but the company’s stance on keeping URF temporary stood strong. The League community grieved, but seemed to move on, with the occasional “bring back URF” plea surfacing from time to time.
With fan feedback and presumably endless analytics on Riot’s end, odds are they were aware of the success of URF mode. Riot has already unveiled a handful of skins–some of the best skins I’ve seen in a while, I might add–set to come out on April 1st. There have also been a few leaks with implications that URF mode will be back under the new name “NURF,” New Ultra Rapid Fire mode. Riot teased that NURF mode will offer new buffs that seem almost the opposite of the buffs that URF mode had last year, essentially slowing down gameplay to an extreme degree. Riot claims this mode will release on March 31st, a day before April Fools’ day.
I have a suspicion that Riot will bring back old URF mode, seeing that NURF was a failure in comparison. This idea is all speculation, because it is doubtful that the slow, arduous play style of NURF mode will last for more than a day.
What does this April Fools’ Day have in store for us? If URF mode became a permanent gameplay mode, it would be a nice option to have for those of us who love League but need a break from the Summoner’s Rift. As previously mentioned, however, people quickly began to adopt the same rage-filled tendencies into URF mode that we find in regular gameplay. These toxic players ruin the fun, non-competitive mode for the rest of us.
Ultimately, Riot’s decision to remove the mode was wise, because it would be a shame for the mode to lose its charm. It is hard to replicate that the initial excitement a player gets exploring League with all of it’s aspects of gameplay. URF mode closely replicates that feeling, which is tough to do. If URF mode remained a permanent game mode, it would quickly run its course, and end up like Dominion. The beloved URF mode would just become another mode that lost its initial charm Riot wanted players to experience.
With NURF/URF mode potentially rolling out for Riot’s next April Fool’s “joke,” it leads me into my question: Should Riot keep URF around for good?
Drop a comment and let us know of what you think of URF and whether it should stay or go-!
(Article written by friend of the show, Vexxx. More to come in the future.)