After the Worlds group draw, which took place yesterday morning, the biggest sign of Riot Games’ massive end-of-year League of Legends championship tournament being on the horizon has always been the release of the Worlds patch. In this afternoon’s patch 11.19, we will see the game exactly as it will be played at Worlds 2021. Well, with one twist: the Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) game mode is back for the second time in 2021.
For those unfamiliar, URF is a for-fun, limited time event mode that Riot Games brings to League of Legends once or twice a year, where players have extremely low cooldowns on their champion’s abilities, a catapult at spawn that instantly launches them across the map and infinite usage of their champion’s mana or energy pools.
The wildly popular URF game mode also has a counterpart event in ARURF (All Random Ultra Rapid Fire). What sets the two modes apart is that URF allows players to select champions instead of getting a random draw.
Changes to URF in Worlds 2021 patch 11.19
This edition of URF comes with some balance changes that Riot elaborated on in their patch 11.19 notes blog. These changes involve a new balancing strategy that tackles game mode-specific adjustments.
“Historically, we’ve aimed for 50% ideal winrate without incorporating how champions were balanced on classic Summoner’s Rift (SR). We realized it didn’t quite make sense for us to be toiling at something that already has a great solution, so we’re choosing to align closer to existing numbers in classic SR,” said the League of Legends dev team.
“Instead of aiming for 50% winrates across the board, our new strategy is to adjust champions in URF (and future game modes) to be closer to their SR winrates. This better accommodates the varied circumstances for why champions don’t sit at 50% on normal SR, such as low playrate or niche gameplay.”
This new balancing strategy will likely have implications on how Riot Games approaches its other limited time game modes. As active players already know, League of Legends hosts at least one unique event queue each month. The rotation of these special event modes includes Nexus Blitz, One for All and the new Unsealed Spellbook event, which released earlier this year.
Other tweaks coming to URF in this late 2021 edition include changes to shielding and gold values. Shield reduction in URF is changing from a 50% ratio reduction to a 30% overall reduction. Minions in URF will give slightly less gold overall.