It just hit me the other day, but I’ve been playing League of Legends for ten years now. I only remember the anniversary because I started playing the week my favorite jungler, Nocturne, came out. My relationship with Riot’s MOBA is a complicated one, and I’m no stranger to its troubled history as one of the most toxic places to hang out on the internet. Yet Wild Rift takes the very worst part about League of Legends and drops it, well, kind of. You see, in League of Legends on PC, everyone has a keyboard and boy do they use it, but in the mobile version, Wild Rift, no one talks — I love it.
I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, even if you don’t play, but League of Legends on PC is a hellscape. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s a game I’ve sunk thousands of hours into with friends, so I feel like I don’t know how to quit, but I’ve had some truly jarring experiences in the MOBA. My in-game name actually matched my Twitch name for a while, and I once had all nine other players in the match (yes, including the people from my team) go into graphic detail about what they’d do to me because I’m a woman. It’s ugly. I hate it.
I’ve got this love-hate relationship going, though, because it’s actually what bonded me to a few close friends. Now, whenever I go into a League of Legends match on PC, I’ve just started instantly muting everyone so I can focus on my friends. It’s a sad state of affairs, and I should probably quit playing, like tons of other friends around me keep advising. And you know what? I have, kind of.
Enter Wild Rift. Yes, it’s still League of Legends, but it has replaced my messy affair with the PC version, and I now happily tap away at its mobile counterpart. I have to give it to Riot, it’s a great, scaled-down version of Summoner’s Rift, just like I mentioned in my preview. However, that’s not even why I’m so hooked. I love Wild Rift because no one says a damn thing to me, like, ever. In Wild Rift, everyone just shuts up and does their own thing. Sometimes it’s a little chaotic, but I don’t care. It makes the mobile version my favorite way to play League of Legends.
I haven’t had a single exchange of words with anyone in Wild Rift, not even to say nice things like “thanks for saving me” or the fleeting “gghf” — my little mobile keyboard never comes out. I spent the first month of Wild Rift actually thinking that it didn’t have a chat function (oops), because I never saw anyone speak. It was only when I accidentally tapped it and saw someone send a simple “ty” in the chat that I realized people could talk in this game.
And that’s mostly why I’ve abandoned League of Legends for it. Why on earth would I play a game where someone constantly calls me slurs when I can play a much more pleasant, quiet mobile experience? I’m not patting Riot on the back for this one, because none of this reads as intentional given League’s history, but I am thankful it was designed this way. Given my sad history of continuing to crawl back to League even when it’s awful to me, it’s doubtful I’ll quit, but I’ve at least got this replacement that’s not such a plague on my mental health.
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Andrea Shearon is a news editor at TheGamer who loves RPGs and anything horror related. Find her on Twitter via @Maajora.
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