The Value of League of Legends Gemstones
The preseason in League of Legends is the testing grounds for changes that will be implemented in the upcoming season. Each year the game changes in some way, both in regards to gameplay and to aspects outside of gameplay as well. Hextech Crafting was arguably the most notable non-gameplay addition to be added to League of Legends throughout its history. Released in March 2016, it introduced significant changes as to how champions, skins, and other related items could be obtained. One such addition to this system was League of Legends Gemstones, released in patch 6.3. Gemstones are not essential to the League of Legends experience, but they do have value to both champion specific fans and collectors alike.
What is the primary purpose behind gemstones?
- Framed as a type of currency
- Used to get various loot
Gemstones can be thought of as a currency used to obtain other items in Hextech Crafting, including exclusive skins, chests, and keys. While that purpose may be rather simple, obtaining them is far from a simple process. In fact, the percentage chance of obtaining gemstones is quite low, a 3.6% chance. This showcases the recent trend in online games towards promoting gambling in its player base, an issue that has only gained traction in recent years. In having a hard to obtain currency, Riot Games is advocating for players to seek it out and satisfy a thirst for rare content.
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How can I get gemstones?
- Obtained through chests
- Small percentage
- Bad luck protection
- Available through leveling
Gemstones are tied to another addition to League of Legends that was introduced during Hextech Crafting, that being chests. Gemstones can be obtained by opening either a Hextech Chest or a Masterwork Chest with a Hextech Key. As mentioned previously, there is a 3.6% chance of getting a gemstone when opening the chest and this percentage can increase up to 4% with bad luck protection.
Bad luck protection prevents players from being completely locked out of content. What this means for gemstones specifically is that a gemstone is guaranteed once in every fifty chests obtained. The small increased percentage is a direct result of the gemstones also being obtainable through bonus chests. However, it should be noted that League of Legends gemstones can be obtained simply by playing a lot. Starting at level 150, a gemstone will be given to the player every 50 levels. This shows there is some recourse for players outside of chests.
Are chests the only means of obtaining gemstones?
- Historically other means were made available
- Essence Emporium
- Spaced out events
Chests are not the only ways in which players have obtained gemstones. In fact, there have been a number of different ways historically. The most accessible means for the average player is the Essence Emporium. The Essence Emporium is a sale that only happens twice a year where players can purchase normally difficult to obtain items with blue essence. Alongside an icon, these gemstones can be purchased with 50,000, 75,000, and 100,000 BE respectively.
Outside of the Essence Emporium there have been several events where gemstones could be obtained outside the normal means. During the World Championship in 2017, the Worlds Master Pass could be purchased which included not only a gemstone but the Words Master Pass Icon as well for either 1,000 or 1,300 RP. Another such event was the Lunar Revel event where a gemstone could be purchased with the Puppy Warwick icon for 1,350 RP. The chances are high of gemstones being made available in the future in similar events, so there is always hope if luck is not on your side.
What can I purchase with gemstones?
- Gemstone exclusive skins
The biggest draw to gemstones is their ability to unlock gemstone specific skins. These skins can be unlocked after 10 gemstones have been obtained. Such skins include Hextech Annie, Soulstealer Vayne, and Dreadnova Darius. The other rewards include a chest and key unlocked with one gemstone and the Hextech Ward unlocked with 5. It is the exclusivity of the skins that make gemstones so worthwhile for many players. Riot understands this all too well which is why they not only have a small percentage of dropping but are tied to monetary passes as well.
What do gemstones indicate about the future of League of Legends?
- Not going away any time soon
- Too valuable for the developer
Before the World Championship this year, many fans were up in arms after Riot indicated it would not be sending casters to Korea to cover the event, seemingly in an attempt to cut corners and save money for the beleaguered company. One reoccurring source of revenue for Riot is Hextech Crafting. As other games have shown, players are more than willing to spend money on cosmetic items.
Loot boxes, despite the controversy within the past two years, do make money. As long as players continue to spend money within Hextech Crafting, it will remain in the game. By having this system in place, Riot is extending the lifespan of League of Legends. Players hopeful for a removal of chance elements should quickly dash said hopes. By having gemstones in the game, Riot is making a statement that the sales are more of a concern than the ethical implications. The same can be said for many other companies, and with Riot having to answer to Tencent, the bottom line is more important than ever.
Gemstones are simply a form of currency in Hextech Crafting. While they can be used to obtain exclusive skins, they are notoriously difficult to get because of their 3.6% chance to drop after opening one of two types of chests. There are a few different ways to receive gemstones outside of chests but they are either tied to spending a significant amount of time playing or to events that are few and far between. The gemstones ultimately show that profit is an increasingly important concern for a developer rumored to have a heightened relationship with its owner, and if you enjoy pursuing them, fear not like League of Legends Gemstones are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
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