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Hands On With League of Legends' Dominion Game Mode

Riot Games unveiled League of Legends: Dominion in an exclusive press event earlier this week. Curse was on hand at the event and had a chance to spend some time with the new game mode and map.

Dominion is a capture and hold, domination-style game mode where players must claim 5 strategic points on the brand new map, The Crystal Scar. Capturing these points and defending them from enemies is the only way that players will win in Dominion.

From our time with the game mode, one thing was apparent right from the outset; Dominion is a much faster-paced style of play than League of Legends normally sees. This is visceral, fast-paced player vs player experience that keeps the action going from start to finish.

Capture and Control

Dominion is a 5 vs 5 contest that typically lasts 10 to 20 minutes. There is no match timer in Dominion, but rather a points system that is determined by how your team captures and controls the points on the map; each team starts with 500 points and when you reach 0, you have lost.


As each round starts, there is a brief 'waiting period' while all players are confined to their base as the match is prepared.

Spread around The Crystal Scar are five Towers that players must capture, hold and defend in order to win the game. In contrast to static capture points in other domination-style game modes, the Towers in Dominion will actually spawn minions for your team while they are under your control. Towers have three states; Neutral, Aggressive and Friendly.

Champions must 'channel' these Towers to convert them from Agressive or Neutral to Friendly. Disrupting enemy Champions' efforts to channel a Tower will cause that team to lose points, which is the goal you will be striving for. You can also cause them to lose points by earning kills and completing mini-quests (more on these later).

Riot Games has optimized Dominion for League of Legends, ensuring that the game is fully balanced and fine-tuned for an amazingly fun and fast-paced experience. This means that some items and buffs have been removed or tweaked to make sense in Dominion.

Dynamic Game Systems

As David Turley, better known as Riot Games' Phreak, tells us: "There are no hopeless moments, only heroic moments."

This couldn't be more true in League of Legends: Dominion where the action doesn't cease until the match is over. The way Dominion was designed, with multiple dynamic game systems, there is no clear winner until the match has ended - battles continue right down to the wire and with a good team of players on your side, last-minute comebacks are never out of the question.

The way items are purchased in-game has been changed as well so that, even though matches of Dominion are shorter in comparison to traditional League of Legends gameplay, bigger items can still be purchased while you are playing.

The rate at which players acquire gold in Dominion has been increased and balanced so that players are still able to pick up those 3K or 4K gold items.


Additionally, Riot has introduced a dynamic quests system where players are given mini-objectives in-game and rewarded upon completion. These 'mini-quests' are an extra way to tilt the tide of battle in your favor. An example would be two Towers standing next to each other. One is friendly and the other is aggressive to your team. One of these Towers will be designated as your 'quest objective' and the task will be to capture the enemy tower before they capture yours.

Succeeding in these objectives earns your team an XP and gold bonus which can really help swing the battle in your favor. These dynamic quests create points of conflict in the match, where the battle will be focused on while each team strives to take their opponents Tower before their own is taken.

Veteran League of Legends players can think of Dragon & Baron. These two monsters give teams gold, buffs and other rewards for killing them. In any given battle, these monsters create conflict points where the battle tends to be centralized on. Players want to conquer them quickly or, at the very least, stop the other team from beating the monsters. Riot is working to create the same effect in Dominion, with the dynamic quests system they've built.

Games wouldn't be games without an amazing soundtrack and League of Legends: Dominion is no exception to that rule. The music is designed to build in pacing and volume as the match reaches its pinnacle. Music in games that are close in score will build up even more, further adding to the heart-pounding excitement that each match offers. This dynamic music system provides for a really exciting and engaging experience, immersing players in the battle at hand.

Creating these immersive moments must have been a challenge on Riot's behalf, but they really do change the game up and make it so that each Dominion match is different from the last, keeping players on their toes.

Extras

League of Legends: Dominion offers a lot of really amazing content, and we wanted to touch on a few more highlights from our time playing the new game mode.

We don't have full details on this just yet, but we know that Riot Games is planning on having it so that Normal Mode in both Dominion and Classic is done in Draft format. In other words, teams trade off selecting champions and no team can have two of the same champion. This changes up the way you choose your players in multiple ways. First, you may need to change your Champion of choice if another teammate selects that Champion. Additionally, you will want to keep your eye on how the opposing team is set up and how you can effectively work against them.


In Dominion, players will enjoy a revamped User Interface for the in-game scoreboard and the post-match summary is a much deeper offering this time around, with more information on the previous battle.

We had an absolute blast playing League of Legends: Dominion and will be doing so again at PAX Prime this month! Dominion will be on display at both Gamescom in Germany and PAX Prime in Seattle. 

For more information on League of Legends and the upcoming Dominion game mode, head to http://na.leagueoflegends.com/.

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