Mar 15, 2018

8 Things Riot's Balance Team Never Wins On

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The history of League is filled with massive paradigm shifts, mostly at the urge of player feedback. To their credit, Riot is great when it comes to accommodating requests. However, there are just some things the player community can never agree on. Players will request them, get them, and others will complain and wish the changes reverted. It keeps the balance team busy, but who's to say what's right? Either way, keeping the game dynamic and interesting is always a challenge, but one that's been met year over year. Check out some of the most controversial changes below!

Introduction

The history of League is filled with massive paradigm shifts, mostly at the urge of player feedback. To their credit, Riot is great when it comes to accommodating requests. However, there are just some things the player community can never agree on. Players will request them, get them, and others will complain and wish the changes reverted.

It keeps the balance team busy, but who's to say what's right? Either way, keeping the game dynamic and interesting is always a challenge, but one that's been met year over year. Check out some of the most controversial changes below!

Team vs Solo Impact

The old adage was, "It doesn't matter how well I do. If one of my lanes feeds, then the game is over."
Now it's become:
  • "It doesn't matter how well I do. If my team doesn't play together, then the game is over."; or
  • "Whoever wins bot lane wins the game"
Technically speaking, bot lane has two players, and that makes up 40% of your team...Essentially, players want to feel like they can solo carry games but don't want other players to be able to.

Shift to Item Damage

If a no-item enemy champion can beat an enemy champion with items, players cry foul even if other factors are involved. As a result, League shift a lot of power out of base stats and into items instead. 

However, this results in a more powerful snowball effect once one champion out-farms the other. As a result, losing lanes sometimes end up impossible to come back in without outside assistance. Players want to be able to press leads and come back from mistakes. Just not too much of either.

Ranged vs Melee Power

Ranged champions kite melee champions unless the melee has gap closers. Melee champions need survivability to beat ranged champions while they're closing the gap.

To make matters more difficult, multiple ranged champions can hit a single melee champion from multiple angles. In order to accommodate for this, melee champions generally win 1v1 match-ups from melee range.

Since ranged champions tend to build damage items that scale off each other, Riot introduced a scaling tank item to the game, Ninja Tabi. We all know how much the community loves that one.

Champion Diversity

Before, players complained the same 10~20 champions were pick/banned every single game and if you picked a different champion you were asking your team to lose.

Now, players don't just want different champions, they want different champions with different viable strategies. For example, the most common complaint is that all marksmen have the same role, which is glass cannon auto-attacking. This essentially makes all marksmen viable, but that's not enough to make players pleased with the result.

Support items/role

Long ago before the major support overhaul, nobody wanted to play support. It was a thankless, low impact role in the eyes of players. Nowadays, support players control the laning phase and establish the majority of vision control on the map.

The new complaint? Supports have too much power early game for having no items or CS.

Minion Damage and Passive Lanes

Players used to moan about being minions far too strong and promoting a passive laning phase. Any time you tried to trade with enemy laners, the minions would eradicate you off the map. 

To encourage a less passive lane phase, Riot's removed a lot of the minion damage and tweaked aggro AI. However, they realized that the changes favored heavy harass champions too much and revamped the AI to be a little more defensive.

Increased Baron Siege Power

The increase to Baron siege power was largely a result of games that were too passive on the professional scene. However, by increasing the power of Baron, this resulted in massive snowball effects. Now games can sway from a slight advantage to a complete domination position, or from a large advantage to a suddenly even position.

Lane Freezing vs Tower Pushing

Back before first tower gold and reduced turret HP, solo queue games often featured lanes that were completely frozen and one side completely zoned off both the minion wave gold and XP.

To counteract this, Riot implemented reduced turret HP and first turret gold to incentivize sieging instead of freezing. However, the new complaint is that this massive momentum causes most solo games to end too quickly with lane rotations and poor team responses to the rotations.

Conclusions

Not every game you play in League is going to be perfect, and in every game there's a winner and a loser. The best Riot can do is make you feel like you had a chance in winning, but if they're doing their jobs properly you'll generally win half the time and lose half the time.

If you're winning most of the time, either the game's not balanced, or you're not balanced you future LCS star you.

What do you think about Riot's balancing? Are there other things they never manage to satisfy the community on? Comment below!




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