Is League of Legends Headed to a Subscription Model? | EarlyGame
It is already being tested in China

Is League of Legends Headed to a Subscription Model?

League of Legends
league of legends subscription model
League of Legends with subscription. Can that work? (Credit: Riot Games)

Normally, MOBA games like League of Legends are free-to-play and do not have a monthly subscription model. However, Dota 2 has proven with its Dota Plus model that it can work. Is a similar system now coming to League of Legends?


League of Legends was first released in 2009 and has been free to play from the beginning. Even though you can buy champions you want to play, you can experience all aspects of LoL without having to pay money.

However, this is not the case everywhere. There is already a country where League of Legends has a subscription model: China! Is it possible that this system will soon spread in the rest of the world?

How Does the League of Legends Subscription Work?

For what would be €8.79, you can subscribe to LoL in China. In return, you get these advantages in the game:

  • The opportunity to test new skins for a month
  • Three codes that can be exchanged for skins
  • Double XP
  • Free name change
  • Automatic upgrade to level 30 after 2 months of subscription
  • Free server transfer after 3 months of subscription

That doesn't sound too bad at first, but some of these points are really strong advantages compared to players who don't have a subscription. On the official website, the LoL subscription is advertised with cute pictures, but it leaves a bad taste in our mouth.

league of legends abo
A flying piggy bank. That says it all. (Credit: Riot Games)

What Do Players Say About the League of Legends Subscription?

League Of Legend China release its own monthly membership from leagueoflegends


Most players actually don't see the subscription as that problematic. Some compare the system to the Fortnite Battle Pass and see it as a sensible source of revenue for Riot Games. However, the quick level 30 boost could lead to balance problems in Ranked or even more bots.

In any case, the price seems more than fair and even quite generous. Even if one should bear in mind that the value of the Chinese subscription cannot be transferred 1:1 to western systems. Prices of skins differ too much and for other countries, the whole thing would surely be calculated differently.

Will League of Legends Also Have a Subscription Model Elsewhere?

Riot haven't hinted that this system will come to us anytime soon. It is conceivable that the Chinese market will serve as a test run. Depending on how successful it is there, it could later be introduced in the West as well.

This is not the first time there has been talk of a subscription model in LoL. Six years ago, a survey was circulated by Riot about a payment system for League of Legends. Of course, the whole thing quickly found its way onto Reddit.

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What Would a Subscription Model for LoL in the West Look Like?

We don't want to sound arrogant, but Western players have different expectations. Above all, we want such subscriptions to remain fair and not to offer any gameplay advantages that you can't earn for free. Skins are purely visual, but with XP and massive level jumps, things get a bit different.

So, is a LoL subscription model here impossible? Not quite. Systems like Dota Plus have already proven that it can work. You just have to adapt the subscription to the player base and make it clear: we treat all players the same, whether you give us money or not.

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Original article by EarlyGame's Laura Pippig.