Dominion was officially retired in League of Legends five years ago, but fans of the game mode are still longing for its return.
The fast-paced game mode was one of the first to hit the League of Legends servers after Summoner’s Rift. After being introduced in 2011, Dominion quickly became a place where players could duke it out without trying too hard to win. The main focus of Dominion was to have fun while playing a new game mode with different objectives compared to Summoner’s Rift.
So why was Dominion removed in the first place, and will it ever return to the League of Legends client?
Dominion was League of Legends’ answer to Capture the Flag. Dominion was played on the Crystal Scar, a circular map with five different capture points. The game mode was five versus five just like any other League of Legends mode, and the objective was to take down the enemy Nexus.
What made Dominion unique was the fact that killing the Nexus with champions wasn’t an option. Instead, players had to capture the different points around the map and defend them. Controlling the points dealt damage to the enemy Nexus, meaning that the team who controlled most points for the longest time would eventually win.
This type of game mode gave players a completely new way to play League of Legends and introduced people to a fast-paced style that had never been seen before. A game of Dominion was usually very quick, just like players know it from ARAM today.
Even though Riot originally intended to have Dominion as a permanent game mode, this changed as League of Legends as a whole developed over time. Dominion was permanently retired after being available in the game for five years.
The reason for the shutdown was based on a few different things when Riot made the decision back in 2016. One of the main reasons for retiring the long-standing game mode was because it just wasn’t going anywhere according to Riot, and not a lot of players were interested in playing Dominion on a regular basis. It had gotten to the point that many of the active Dominion players were bots that were used to level up new accounts.
Another big reason for Riot to remove Dominion was balancing and matchmaking. The Dominion player base had shrunk to the point that it was hard to match players evenly, as the pool of players was simply too small. Riot also realized that balancing the Crystal Scar would require different changes than the ones being made for Summoner’s Rift. This ultimately meant that Riot had to prioritize resources to balance Dominion from patch to patch, something that seemed like wasted work at the time given how few people were playing the game mode.
While many players miss the good old days when Dominion was an option, it’s unlikely that the game mode will ever return. Since the removal of Dominion, Riot has introduced other featured game modes that only become available in a limited time. These game modes like URF, Nexus Siege, Nexus Blitz, and others. Unfortunately for the Dominion fans, the game mode has not been introduced back amongst the rotating game modes.
Not more than a couple of months ago, Riot Reinboom commented on the matter and said that “The Crystal Scar is dead.” Instead, Reinboom provided fans with some hope that a game mode similar to Dominion, known as Ascension, could potentially make a return.
“Ascension is unlikely to come back in the form you’re familiar with. If it’s coming back, it’ll come back on a different map,” Reinboom said. “Currently, we’ve actually considered modifying the Nexus Blitz map for it (given how rounded the Nexus Blitz map is).”
This essentially means that there is a slight hope that the game mode will return in some form, but likely never as the old Dominion mode that fans remember.