Riot Shows the Love for “League of Legends” Community
with Interactive Experience at PAX East
The Inspiration Behind Riftwalk
After easing back from exhibiting in recent years, Riot Games was looking to make a big splash at the 2016 PAX East gaming show in Boston. The game developer wanted to create a fun, interactive experience that would serve as a big thank you – a love note of sorts – to its community of fans, cosplayers, YouTubers and artists that supports its flagship game, League of Legends.
Riot also thought it would be cool to host the experience in a separate space outside of the main hall. The intent was to transport guests away from the show floor of PAX East onto Summoner’s Rift – the map that is central to the game’s landscape.
Riot also wanted to provide a VIP space for the cosplayers. These super fans show their dedication to the game by dressing up like favorite League of Legends characters at events across the globe, which ultimately promotes the game.
In addition, Riot hoped to showcase the contributions of the creators and artists who bring the characters of the Rift to life, onscreen and off. This includes the artwork that gamers enjoy within the game as well as pieces created by talented fans, many who collaborate to build elaborate 3-D recreations of the game’s characters and scenes (such as the Thresh character featured in photo op No. 4).
Finally, it was important to Riot to celebrate the mythology that is integral to the game’s story, while sharing the evolution of the game with fans. League of Legends has gone through a dramatic graphic update since its launch in 2009, and Riot knew its loyal fans would enjoy revisiting the past.
OVERVIEW: Founded in 2006, Riot Games is a video game developer, publisher and e-sports tournament organizer. In 2009, the company released its wildly successful debut title, League of Legends, the most successful competitive video game in existence.
INDUSTRY: Gaming and E-Sports
HOME BASE: W. Los Angeles, CA
FUN FACT: More than 67 million people play League of Legends every month.
Key Project Goals
Riot asked The Trade Group® to pay tribute to the League of Legends community by bringing the game’s map of Summoner’s Rift to life. With this insight in hand, our design team set out to accomplish several key goals.
The Trade Group’s Solution for Riot
DESIGNING THE RIFTWALK SPACE – A GUIDED TOUR
For the PAX East event in Boston, the design team had to come up with a plan that would transform a traditional hotel ballroom into the immersive, Rift-like look and feel that Riot required. The design would also need to offer flexibility, so it would be easy to modify for other locations and for union laborers to install.
To bring Summoner’s Rift to life, we created an immersive, interactive journey and guided tour through the Rift. In addition, the team created 27 engaging experiences where guests could:
- Interact with key features – and characters – of the game.
- Shine a spotlight on work by the community’s creators, fan artists, YouTubers and cosplayers.
- Tell the story of the evolution of the League of Legends game.
POPULAR CHARACTERS WERE CENTRAL TO THE FUN FACTOR AND THE FLOORPLAN
Riot wanted fans to get up close and personal with the game and their favorite characters – or “Champions” – so The Trade Group devised a zigzag floor plan that guided guests to four separate and unique photo opportunities in the space. (Check out the Spotlight on Photo Opps below.)
The design included queue lines near each photo opp, to keep guests moving in an orderly fashion. The experience also included other fun, interactive experiences throughout the space for guests who didn’t want to wait in line:
- Interactive kiosks and video displays were dispersed throughout the space to tell the League of Legends story through the years. Guest’s RFID- embedded wristbands triggered custom content.
- A space with six before-and-after busts of League “Champions” allowed fans to see the evolution of their favorite characters in 3-D – and take photos.
- Popular cosplayers mingled throughout the attraction and alternated through a designated area where fans could take selfies with their faves.
- A wide array of artwork from creators and fans in the community was displayed in multiple locations.
To erase the ballroom vibe and create the feel of Summoner’s Rift, The Trade Group’s design for the space included the following features:
• FABRIC: Sheer, 15-foot high, fabric graphics printed with scenes from the game’s landscape were trussed up and used for both perimeter and divider walls.
• FLOORING: Custom carpet was hand-painted and airbrushed to look like the same cobblestone featured in the game.
• 3-D FEATURES & FOLIAGE: Faux, 3-D stone features were created from foam and placed along the foot of the fabric walls along with ferns and other plants to give the space an organic feel.
• LIGHTING: All ballroom lighting was turned off and custom, colored lights and smoke effects were used to mimic the vibe and colors of the game.
• AUDIO: Ambient audio was customized for each unique space including a welcome greeting, League music and sound effects such as animals moving around in the brush and minions marching.
• COSPITALITY ROOM: Designed specifically for cosplayers, including a costume repair area, dressing rooms, lounge and designated photo area.
No. 1: Animated GIF photo opp at Blue Platform feature, included a choice of weapon props.
No. 2: Bullet-time, Matrix-like, 180° photo opp with 14.5’
tall Baron Nashor character sculpture.
No. 3: Slow-motion photo opp at Red Platform feature.
No. 4: Forced perspective photo opp with 13’ tall Thresh character puppet appearing as if fans stood inside Thresh’s signature lantern.
RFID TECHNOLOGY AMPS UP PERSONALIZATION AND SOCIAL SHARING
We partnered with FISH, utilizing their software to generate hype and a “take home memory” for the attendees with the RFID Bands system. The RFID Band’s purpose was to connect to each of the four photo ops that would then be stitched together and delivered to attendee emails as a professional quality video of their personal Riftwalk experience. These RFID wrist bands allowed attendees to reserve spots in advance, register their favorite character and share their favorite parts of the game by filling out information online. During the event, the RFID bands would trigger monitors in each station of the exhibit and present content related to the attendee’s registered info. The combination of an interactive exhibit and the RFID wrist bands provided fans with the opportunity to share their experiences with friends on social media.
LEAGUE OF LEGEND’S FAN FEEDBACK
Despite the long lines, the Riftwalk was a can’t-miss experience for the League of Legends community of fans, cosplayers, creators and artists.
“After speaking to many fellow attendees, it was expressed that their favorite parts of the Riftwalk were that you can actually touch the displays and take multiple personal and unique photos with them. It was like actually being there in Summoner’s Rift.”
– Bryan Pichardo, VIDEO GAME TIDBITS
“If you are at PAX East and call yourself a League fan you have to go. The lines are insane but they are totally worth the wait.”
– Steven Asarch, iDigital Times