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Riot Games, Xbox Game Pass, and You: What These Games Are and What the Benefits Mean

We’ve talked about the Riot Games partnership with Xbox Game Pass before, announced at the last Xbox Summer Show, and what said partnership entails. But we never got around to talking about why these benefits are great for Game Pass members and in particular for players unfamiliar with Riot Games and their ecosystem of large free-to-play games. So, this article sets out to do just that: provide a bit of history of the company, details about the games receiving benefits, and the Game Pass benefits themselves alongside an explanation of why they’re worth picking up.

Riot Games is a video game developer out in West Los Angeles with a primary focus on free-to-play PC games. Starting out with their famous multiplayer-online battle arena (“MOBA”) title League of Legends, the company has since released plenty more games across other genres such as first-person shooters, card battlers, and auto chess. And they’re not done yet—their upcoming fighting game, Project L, and untitled MMO are also in active development. Even if you haven’t played their games, you’ve likely seen plenty of them thanks to how much they’re streamed on sites like Twitch, especially around tournament time.

Instructions on how to link your Riot Games and Microsoft Account can be found right here on Riot’s website. Just make sure your Xbox app client is up to date via the Microsoft Store.

Now about those games…

League of Legends

It’s like tower defense but a bit more involved. (Thanks to MindYourGames)

As mentioned earlier, the MOBA League of Legends is Riot Games’ baby. Their first foray into video games released way over a decade ago, a spiritual successor of sorts to Defense of the Ancients (“DotA”). As a free-to-play game, it made its money off of cosmetics and has since done so for the many years it’s been running. This series has since spawned many a spin-off, such as its mobile game Wild Rift, two console games (with a port of Wild Rift on the way!), and a highly rated cartoon adaptation that you can watch on Netflix.

League of Legends is a mechanically fun and sound game (even if balancing varies) that has the player working with four others to guard your home field’s Nexus while trying to destroy the enemy team’s. Players pick a role, a lane, and an associated champion and work with their teammates from an isometric view of a sky island, filled with defense towers and monsters. Although there’s only one map to play on, the combination of playable champions and the design of said map allows for endless play possibilities that can be satisfying or soul-crushing. Ranked is where everyone plays, but there’s also a casual and custom game mode that players can have fun with, too.

So, those benefits. Game Pass members will receive:

  • All 160+ champions
  • Access to every new champion as soon as they’re released
  • 20% XP boost

And for the similar yet just different enough League of Legends: Wild Rift:

  • All 80+ champions
  • Day-one access to every new champion as they’re released
  • 20% XP boost

In League of Legends, not every champion will be available to play immediately. You need to unlock them simply by playing and saving up currency to buy them. Levelling up helps, too. But as you can imagine with a roster that big, you’ll likely never get around to getting them all. Which is why this benefit is great: you get every single champion! And not just the ones that are currently available but future champions too. That’s a great time saver and lets you get right into the action, learning your character and whatnot, especially as a new player.

There’s also a “story”. But don’t get too invested in it—Riot will likely retcon what you just read a month later.

League of Legends is available on PC with Wild Rift being available on iOS and Android. A console port of the latter will happen at some point, maybe it’s closer than ever!

Valorant

Valorant has a distinctive art style that helps it stand out, in particular because of the low-end computer specifications it targets. (Thanks to Throneful)

One of Riot’s newer games, Valorant is a competitive first-person shooter similar to the likes of Counter Strike but with a few twists: each ‘Agent’ has access to a set of skills they can fire off when needed. Sometimes, these skills can be game changing. Other times you or someone else will get made you used a skill too soon. Either way, since its release in 2020 the game has picked up a tonne of steam and it’s only gotten better to play.

Valorant’s gameplay is simple: players of five on each team choose an Agent and then work together to either attack the enemy’s positions by planting a bomb or eliminating the opposing force. Winning a round grants monies players can spend to equip additional gear to help them out next round, or by changing the kind of position they want to take (such as going for sniping rather than close quarters). And as mentioned, Agents have skills similar to games like League or Overwatch that can be used to turn the tide of the game. Ultimately, winning 13 rounds is the goal to claiming victory.

There’s a lot of ways games can go in Valorant, especially depending on your chosen Agent and skill level. Game Pass members will get:

  • All current Agents
  • Access to every new Agent as soon as they’re released
  • 20% Match XP boost given to Battle Pass, Event Pass, and active Agent Contract progress

The same kind of benefit package that League gets only it’s even better for Valorant. See, getting characters in Valorant isn’t hard, but it’s fairly time consuming. Having immediate access to Agents is a great deal, which means less grinding and more focus on having fun (or sweating). Same idea goes for grinding out the Battle Passes, which includes neat cosmetics you can spend more time starting at rather than playing!

Valorant is currently available on PC.

Legends of Runeterra

Card games are best described by their experts. (Riot Games)

Legends of Runeterra is a spin-off strategy card game based on the League of Legends series. Runeterra’s gameplay revolves around levelling up your ‘Champion’ cards and using new abilities to clear out your opponent’s field and eventually, their deck. Ever deck you can build will have a win condition you can decide on, and there’s plenty of cards to go around.

Speaking of which, Game Pass members will get:

  • All cards in Foundations Set

It might just be one bullet point, but that’s a sizeable 300+ cards you get just by being a member. The Foundations set launched with the game in 2020 and comes with 24 Champions unlocked and ready to be used. If you ever find yourself having trouble playing a game like this, there are plenty of guides on YouTube and the like that can help you get started.

Legends of Runeterra is available on PC, iOS, and Android.

Teamfight Tactics

TFT is pretty fun, although it’s not a personal time waster of mine. (Thanks to Exil)

Teamfight Tactics (“TFT”) is yet another spin-off League of Legends title that, this time, takes place in an Auto Chess environment. First launching as a DotA 2 mod, it has since grown so popular (especially in Eurasia) that Valve and Riot Games would eventually develop their own standalone versions of the game genre.

Let’s talk about the basics. Every game of TFT is 8 players duking it out with each other by building the strongest army possible and letting said armies clear out the board. The winner is the one left standing. Planning out your method of attack (such as looking to build a Champion’s ultimate faster) will help you gain advantages against your opponents. Of course, there’s also a good chance you get critical’d off the game, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

Since there’s not much in the way of gameplay mechanics being earned, Game Pass members will get:

  • 1-Star Rare Little Legend Tacticians
  • 4 Arena Skins available until April 2023, and 1 Arena Skin that’s on a monthly rotation thereafter

You’re basically getting cosmetics to show off. Which isn’t bad for a small game like this. Try it out if you ever need to take a break from the other games!

Legends of Runeterra is available on PC, iOS, and Android.

What a Riot!

These are your Riot Game benefits with Xbox Game Pass. Sadly, none of these games are currently available on the Xbox console but that could change in 2023. Still, all of these games target low-end computers and can be easily run, so the benefits are definitely worth claiming. On a side note, these games can be very addicting, so use caution and particularly if you’re someone that can get caught in a gameplay loop. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind, but I’ve seen my fair share of League and Valorant players that I feel it’s worth mentioning.

If none of these games are for you, there’s always Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and the surely-someday upcoming Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a bunch of freebies.

Genghis "Solidus Kraken" Husameddin

I like video games, both old and new. Nice 'ta meetcha!

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