Riot Games Riftwalk Tour 2016

Riot Takes the Riftwalk Experience on the Road Across the U.S. and Canada
Riot asked The Trade Group to create a fun, interactive experience that would serve as a big “Thank You!” to the community of fans who support and play Riot’s flagship game League of Legends (LoL). On average, 67 million people play LoL every month. The Riftwalk experience originated at PAX East in 2016 in a separate space outside of the main hall in an effort to transport guests away from the show floor and into the custom-designed experience.

The interactive Riftwalk experience was designed to mimic Summoner’s Rift, a map central to the landscape of the LoL game. The experience featured opportunities for social media activations tied to RFID technology, a large, custom stage for supplemental eSports activities, several “shareable” photo opportunities, fan artwork, six character statues created by celebrated artist Steve Wang, a merchandise store, sponsor tents and an adjacent VIP space – the Cospitality Room – where cosplayers who dress as popular LoL characters could relax, mingle, repair costumes, take photos and access dressing rooms.

 

The PAX East experience was so popular with LoL fans, Riot added five more cities to the Riftwalk tour, where the experience was open to fans for three days per stop. The second spot on the tour was the kickoff of the Riot Games 2016 League of Legend’s World Championship Tour in Toronto, Canada. At this eSports event, teams competed to win a slot to vie for the LoL Summoner’s Cup. Next, the tour traveled to San Francisco for Riot’s two-week Group Stage event, then moved on to the LoL Quarterfinals in Chicago. The semifinals in New York came next, followed by the last stop, the World Championship Tour Finals in Los Angeles.


Strategic Company-Wide Objectives

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 that support its flagship game, League of Legends. In addition, Riot wanted to showcase the contributions of the creators and artists who bring the characters of the Rift to life, onscreen and off. This included 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. Riot also wanted to celebrate the mythology that is integral to the game’s story, while sharing the evolution of the game with fans through an interactive guided tour. 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.


SOLUTION 1: TRANSFORMING A BALLROOM INTO THE SUMMONER’S RIFT WITH REUSABLE COMPONENTS THAT COULD BE ADJUSTED TO FIT EVENT SPACES AT A VARIETY OF VENUES

TO ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK THE TRADE GROUP CREATED A DESIGN PLAN

THAT FEATURED:


SOLUTION 2: Excite and engage fans with 27 different photo opportunities

Along with fan and contributor artwork and Steve Wang’s character statues, The Trade Group created four distinct photo ops throughout the space that could easily be shared on social media (see RFID strategy below). These key photo opportunities included:

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.

SOLUTION 3: Utilize rfid technology to optimize personalized engagement and amplify the riftwalk experience via social media.

The Trade Group utilized software to generate hype and a “take home memory” for the attendees with the RFID wristbands system. The RFID wristband’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 wristbands 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 wristbands would trigger monitors in each station of the exhibit and present content related to the attendee’s registered information. The combination of an interactive experience and the RFID wristbands provided fans with the opportunity to share their experiences with friends on social media.


BY THE NUMBERS

The Riftwalk experience was so popular that many attendees waited in queue lines for up to five hours with great anticipation for their turn to experience the Riftwalk. Fans thoroughly enjoyed the experience and said the Riftwalk was definitely worth the wait.


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