Rest in Peace, Dominion

Just like Team Fortress 2 and Arena mode, League of Legends has a game mode with a hardcore but very small following. Dominion was basically a cross between Robot Destruction and 5CP, but done in a MOBA-esque sort of way. I’m pretty sure Dota 2 has a similar game mode but I don’t know what it’s called. Either way, it is a simple, fun little game mode with more focus on killing the enemy and capturing control points, rather than farming minions and moving towards the enemy nexus. Dominion also had the bonus of being a much faster game mode, as the map was smaller, you didn’t need to wait for wave after wave of minions to take down turrets, and killing the enemy actually scored you useful points towards winning the game, rather than just EXP and gold.

A game of Dominion
Well it’s kinda like TF2 control points, I guess?

Unfortunately, it had a very small following. About 0.5% of the League of Legends population, according to Riot’s word, which could mean anything since Riot never has any publicly available sources for their numbers. But if there’s 27 million players every single day, or 7.5 million people during peak times, that’s still 37,500 people playing Dominion. That’s not a number to be sniffed at. Despite those numbers, Riot left the game mode alone for a long time. They did very few updates (none at all in the last 6 months), they never enabled Champion Masteries and other little tidbits in Dominion and they never added a ranked mode, despite it being promised from the start, when Dominion was released. There was also a steadily increasing number of bots, since Riot pushed them all out of custom games, then flushed them out of Summoners Rift, forcing them to flock into Dominion and pre-level-30 Twisted Treeline. Nothing was ever done by Riot to try and do, well, anything for Dominion.

So on Thursday 11th February, Riot announced that they’d fucked up. But rather than, I don’t know, maybe try and salvage some of this stuff, perhaps make one, final patch and leave it at that, or announce something awesome like they’ll be revamping the old map or adding some new, Dominion-only content, they’re just going to delete it.

Vel'Koz is sad about Dominion
“But there is still so much to discover…”

When I say delete it, I mean completely delete it.

They’re removing the game mode entirely from the game. You won’t be able to play it in normal matchmaking, nor will you be able to play it in a custom game, or use the map for a custom game mode.

Why? Because Riot believes it’s a waste of their time, and also “that alternative game modes work better in short cycles rather than as standalone queues.” Which makes no sense. Apart from seasonal game modes, you don’t see Dota 2 removing game modes. You don’t see TF2 removing Mannpower because it sucks. When you’ve got more people playing Dominion and custom modes on the Dominion map than you have people playing a large number of games on Steam, it seems inconceivable to just say “yeah we’re gonna delete it.”

This art style is pretty much gone from the game.
This art style is pretty much gone from the game.

Riot has made it clear that, as long as you play on Summoners Rift, that’s good. If you don’t, well, good luck to you.

And what do all those loyal Dominion players get for losing their game mode? An icon. That’s it. No custom ward. No skin. No fancy anything. All they get is a flat, boring icon they can display in a little square during loading screens. That and a very muted, uncaring apology.

So if you play League of Legends, get out there and play Dominion before it disappears forever on the 22nd of February.

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