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The Elements of Fun – Why League's Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) Mode is a Success


The Elements of Fun – Why League's Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) Mode is a Success

If you’ve logged onto League of Legends sometime during the past week — or you’ve been diligently reading some of our articles – you’ve probably heard about the newly implemented Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) mode. The mode is essentially Riot Games’ April Fool’s Joke created in homage to Urf the Manatee who lost his life on April 1st 2010 when Warwick the Werewolf attacked him and then took his skin for his own in-game skin. So as we discuss the merits and downfalls of URF mode, we should also pay our respects to Urf – the brave manatee who just wanted to join the League of Legends.

Warwick wearing his Urf skin.

Warwick wearing his Urf skin.

As I’ve expressed countless times before, League of Legends is a stressful game. This isn’t always a bad thing, because competition inevitably leads to a certain amount of tension – but sometimes it’s a good idea to distance yourself from the constant desire to win. Riot’s Team Builder is part of the initiative to make the League experience just a little less stressful for the less-competitive folk (or even competitive folk who just want a break) and it has been a great success so far, wholly appreciated by the community. URF mode is another rung in the ladder of silly game modes that Riot has been releasing over the past few months in order to create a “just for fun” environment. But what exactly is it about URF that makes it so much fun?

If you’re not familiar with URF mode, it’s essentially a mode in which all champions are given 80% cooldown reduction, ranged champions have their attack speed doubled and their critical strike damage increased by 25%, abilities require no resources (mana or energy, health is still used), and tenacity and movement speed are increased by 60 and 25 respectively. Even if you don’t play League of Legends, you can probably see how that kind of change in a game can cause complete and utter chaos. It’s true – URF mode is likely the most chaotic experience you could possibly have on Summoner’s Rift. Somewhere amidst the chaos between dodging skillshots and wishing you’d chosen a champion that had short cooldowns already, you find yourself thinking: “what is going on right now”. It all comes down to a very simple formula: chaos is fun.

TSM's TheOddOne being interviewed as he's playing in the TSM vs. Cloud9 URF Match.

TSM’s TheOddOne being interviewed as he’s playing in the TSM vs. Cloud9 URF Match.

URF mode is awesome because anything can happen. Champions that are usually considered bad or not viable in the regular League meta are suddenly overpowered and banned out. I never thought I’d see the day that someone banned Malzahar because of his attack damage (AD) capabilities, but it happened in URF mode. People are constantly trying new things and learning what every single champion’s abilities would do if they could be spammed every second. Because everyone is trying new things and playing champions they wouldn’t normally play, there is hardly any toxicity. No one takes URF mode seriously because there is no way to take it seriously. Riot has expressly created this mode as a joke, and they’ve promoted it as such through the TSM vs. Cloud9 URF mode game that went live on April Fool’s Day (which was definitely hilarious and you can watch the VoD here).

If Urf the manatee were still with us today, he’d probably be proud of the great strides Riot has taken in his name. URF mode is the kind of game type that anyone can enjoy, from the most casual of players to the professionals of TSM and Cloud9. If you want to check out URF mode, you’ve still got a little bit of time! The game mode will be available until April 7th at 11:59 pm PDT.

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