For those of you out there that have played League of Legends, you may be familiar with the special game mode they released roughly a year ago called Ultra Rapid Fire or simply URF. For those that missed URF or don’t play a lot of League, it was essentially a “god” mode for the game where the normal balancing constructs like cooldown timers and resource-gating on spells were almost completely removed from the game. What ensued was a fast-paced spam-fest of of team fighting.
The game mode was an instant success, and tons of people jumped in to play. It got so competitive that Riot eventually just had to auto-ban certain champions from being picked because the player base deemed them too overpowered (see Sona, Soraka, Lux, Ezreal, and eventually Hecarim). The frenzy grew and grew until the game mode was phased out.
For the past year, the League forums and subreddit have been littered with desperate comments begging for Riot to bring URF back. It seems like the first couple comments on every patch notes announcement go something like “#NoURF #NotWorth.”
Conversely, there’s also been fairly vocal opposition from the rest of the community that got tired of URF and is sick of people constantly asking for it to come back. Nearly everywhere you find someone in favor of URF, you will soon find someone staunchly opposed to it.
I will admit that URF was a silly fun mode to play, but I only ever played it against bots. The number of horror stories I heard about PvP matches was enough to keep me from playing against other people (regardless of my natural aversion to playing against other people in anything).
So when data-miners started seeing “URF” pop up in PBE patches, everyone started losing their minds with excitement. “URF IS COMING BACK WOO!” URF was originally last year’s April Fool’s joke, so everyone began anticipating its triumphant return this April along with the funsy skins that had been revealed (like Urf, the Namitee seen to the left).
However, Riot threw in a twist. This year’s URF, the New Ultra Rapid Fire mode, would take the same concepts of the old Ultra Rapid Fire mode but turn them 180 degrees. The new NURF mode will feature essentially doubles the cooldown time and cost of spells, halves auto-attack speed and damage, and greatly reduces your movement speed. Now instead of running around the map like ADHD kids hopped up on Monster and chocolate, the game will take a painfully slow pace.
There’s already a huge uproar from the URF fans who act as though they’ve been asking for ice cream and were instead given a handful of hot coals. Some are already calling it the most boring game mode to date. Some are excited to play. Some are still holding out that NURF is the actual April Fool’s joke, and that Riot will bring back normal URF afterwards.
To me it seems like this kind of game mode would require flawless decision-making skills as every action has a much longer period of time for the consequences to play out. I feel like it is a huge opportunity for people who haven’t developed lightning-fast reaction speeds to learn how to analyze all the different aspects of LoL gameplay from positioning to attacking to learning greater map control. I’m actually looking forward to trying this out with some friends and seeing how it changes the dynamic of the game.
Riot is apparently running a developer contest while the NURF game mode is available. The idea seems to be that slowing down the pace of the game will allow more people to look at the data of a League match and come up with fascinating apps to examine and analyze various aspects of the game. I would love to participate in something like this if I weren’t already strapped for time 🙁
So it would seem that NURF mode isn’t a total troll mode from Riot, and that they actually have given some forethought. Similarly to the previous Nemesis Draft, which seemed to have mixed results, it looks like Riot is trying out different psychological tactics to stimulate the thinking process of its player base. There’s a lot of people who seem incredibly upset with their methods, but I definitely think Riot is onto something here.
As for myself, I would love to see URF come back, but maybe in an ARAM sort of venue where people aren’t always picking the most obnoxious “OP” champions they can think of. URFARAM. That’s a game mode I could get behind 😛