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Custom MOBA Maps and the Future: Why ARAM Won’t Cut It

ARAM is cool and all and a great mode to play with friends... but what if there was more to be had?
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

As a rare creature of both the League of Legends and DOTA 2 universes, I like to think that sometimes I have a unique view on the overall “MOBA” genre and where it is going as a whole. With the launch of Riot’s official “ARAM” (All Random, All Middle) map that was custom-made with the community’s rules in place, the door opened for more custom game modes in League of Legends. From then, modes such as All for One (your team votes on which Champion gets played by everyone at the same time) or the Snowdown Showdown (1v1 or 2v2 mode played on the ARAM map) have made appearances in the League of Legends client.

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The MOBA genre of galmes, of course, started as a community modification itself of Warcraft 3 (well, Starcraft‘s Aeon of Strife, if you really want to get technical), so there is no big surprise in the community wanting to further mod it. Riot’s “All for One” mode actually arose from a bug that some people found out about, allowing multiples of the same champion in a game. There were some champions that were unplayable without Riot adjusting some things (Orianna for instance), but all in all the mode was a community driven idea that Riot ran with.

Unlike Warcraft 3 and Starcraft, the places from where the MOBA genre sprung forth from, the tools needed to edit the game and make maps playable with other people online are not openly available for League of Legends. If Blizzard had not been as open with their map editing tools, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

What makes me think about this subject in particular was a post I saw on JoinDota, a premier DOTA 2 community. While map modding has been around in DOTA 2 in some capacity for over a year now (D2Ware, a JS script based system that allowed for custom game modes to be loaded up), only recently has modding in DOTA 2 really taken off. With the Frostivus event, which saw the rise of the “Wraith King”, there was also the rise of modding in DOTA 2.

With the release of the Frostivus event also came the “Vscript”, an official modding tool that Valve used in the programming of the even that allows mods to be written in Lua. With that one change, the gates have been opened to tons of old favorites in DOTA, such as “Pudge Wars” or “Legends of DOTA.” Mods of a mod may seem overkill, if the fans want it, they’ll be sure to put it in. A game that the fans themselves program, for FREE, to play? Sounds like a game company’s dream.

And this is where my concern for League of Legends and the future of their custom game modes rises. Without Riot giving the kind of help to custom game makers that Valve just did, how can League custom game modes take off? Sure there’s other fan playmodes that people try to mess around with in groups of friends such as the “Donger Dash,” but without the ability to make actual modifications to the game, the custom maps will always be limited.

So basically, Riot pls. Let us modify maps to make custom maps like Valve does over in DOTA 2 land. There’s no drawback to this and will only encourage more play of your game!

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As a die hard gamer and a 40 foot tall mutant hunting robot, I love to analyze and pick apart video games to be able to play them at high levels, and of course, to look good and be flashy while doing it ! Currently the NA eSports Analyst at, a League of Legends fansite, I've decided to branch out and blog about more broad concepts. If you want more focused League of Legends content, be sure to check out my work at, otherwise stay tuned to my new GameSkinny account for all kinds of articles covering a wider range of games, from League of Legends and DOTA2 to Fighting Games and even the occasional Hearthstone piece !