I wanted to discuss the points he brought up with the direction of the game. His views reflect some others who have left. And I find that, even though I'm not anywhere near his level, the game is less satisfying and fun than it use to be for the same reasons.
I'll link the video at the end of the post but I am going to give some bullet points of what he said so you don't have to watch a five hour video.
He's masters level. Streamer. Coached 1200 different players over the years. Even traveled to Korea to make Diamond 2 with masters MMR in less than a month from unranked. He also almost got hired as a playtester at riot.
I have always felt like his analysis of what it takes to win in soloque was the best of anyone else on youtube. Not just because he knows what he's doing but because he's able to analyze and articulate concepts in a way that a lot of top players aren't. Which makes him a better teacher.
**Overview and summary of conclusions from streamer’s video:**
Problem 1: The newbification of the game, and the removal of individual skill expression from the game.
---Every game goes through this phase where they try to make things easier on newbies. Newbies whine about dying to X because they aren't good. Rather than expect newbies to just learn and get good, X is nerfed.
---Increased passive gold gain makes it harder to tell the good players from the bad.
---They keep taking away skill expression that allows people to solo carry. The point is not that any one particular change is a problem, but when taken as a whole they all point towards riot's goal being to raise the skill floor of the game and lower the skill ceiling, constantly taking away the things that skilled/knowledgeable players use to get an advantage over their opponents.
--- Laning is boring now. Easy sustain in top lane with stuff like Resolve and Doran’s Shield makes laning phase non-interactive and a waste of time. If he takes those two things, you can be the best top laner in the world but you'll never stop him from just passively farming. He invented the smite top tryndamere strat so he would actually have a way to impact the game when facing all these passive farming top laners. He would go kill the jungler, proxy farm, and take jungle champs after pushing his wave.
---Whenever one dimensional playstyles and tanks become viable, skill expression goes away.
---Winning lane doesn't even matter anymore. Laning is a waste of time.
---It's harder to be a playmaker in this environment. And you're rewarded less for it. Punished too hard if you fail. High elo games are just about farming and not dying until it's time to do objectives or turrets.
---Outplaying people doesn't matter much anymore for determining the outcome of a match.
---Taking risks is not as rewarding. You're better off avoiding fights in most cases.
---You're losing your ability to have control over the game. All roles feel like they have no individual agency to win the game.
---You're also can't come back like you use to. It takes 40 minutes to lose a game that was already decided early on and the whole time you feel like you have no agency over the direction of it. It's not only unfun but it's bad for your streaming audience.
---All of this is why LCS is so boring.
---You use to be able to just laugh at the idiot troll on your team because you had confidence you could carry them anyway. But now all you can do is resent them and get angry at their stupid decisions because they are a barrier to your victory. (I wonder if this is why many people say the game feels like one person can lose you the game but one person can't win the game. Kind of like HotS; when you take away people's ability to solo carry then your team is only ever as strong as your weakest link. And if you have a really weak link then all the enemy team has to do to win is just not be as as incompetent as the weakest link on your team).
Problem 2: How they balance. And the attitude towards competitive.
---Your gameplay pattern is never safe. You learn something, you master it, and they pull the rug out from under you constantly.
---Riot doesn't balance objectively based on what is actually overpowered and what isn't. They balance based off how players feel. Newbs cry and feel bad because they don't know how to counter something or can't be bothered to change their playstyle. So the game is changed to make them feel better about being bad at the game.
---Riot's balance team of top players doesn't have the final input on balance changes. Too many departments, with too many different levels of skill, have too much input on how the game is balanced. By trying to balance the game to be easier for bad players they are removing the skill expression from the game that allows good players to shine.
---Riot postures themselves as a serious competitive game but really they are a casual game pretending to be a competitive game.
---The playerbase also is not that competitive either, even in diamond/masters ranked. He regularly has that one guy on his team who wants to troll, or doesn't care about winning, or wants to try something he's never played before in ranked. And this is at masters level. This isn't good for streaming either, to have so much of your time wasted. It's frustrating because he is serious about wanting to get better and win but too many at that level of play don't feel the same. (This probably wasn’t as much of an issue until the game became harder to solo carry).
----After coming home from the Korean server he was disappointed by the low quality of gameplay on NA. And it sucked having 70 ping instead of 7 ping.
**End of summarizing conclusions from streamer’s video.**
**Now, the following is my personal take on it:**
Although I am not anywhere near his level, I do feel the impact of a lot of this and it effects my desire to continue playing.
I definitely feel like winning lane doesn't mean what it use to years ago. Winning lane moderately doesn’t mean anything. You either need to crush lane and roam to have an impact or you need to find a way to roam without winning lane. You can even completely lose your lane but it doesn’t mean anything as long as you can snowball bot lane by roaming.
It also feels like comebacks are not realistically possible like they use to be. You can’t stall things out and farm up. You can’t meaningfully mount a defense anymore under turrets.
I definitely feels like sustain is too easy and nullifies a lot of the advantages you would otherwise get over your opponent in trades. And the late game sustain of ADCs nullifies skillful poke or makes them immune to skillful assassination in many cases.
I am also surprised that people would play a champion for the first time in ranked. As someone who seriously wants to win and climb, it's annoying to have people trolling in ranked without a serious intention to win.
A similar processes of newbification is why I lost interest in HotS. I didn’t really like the game’s lack of carry potential until I discovered splitpushing with the playstyles some heroes offered (You can't play anything like Sgt Hammer, Abathur, Lost Vikings, or Azmodon in LoL). In a game of shared levels and no items, strategic macro and pressuring lanes was the only way to have control over the course of the game. But eventually they stripped away the strategic elements of the game to be 100% teamfight brawler and made all the specialist heroes I loved playing useless. (I love pushing style heroes. Even since the original early days of Dota, I was always drawn to the ones that could push relentlessly). They basically removed the siege/push class from the game outright and I left, never looking back. Even though it was a fast and simple game, it still had enough strategy that I found it fun. When they took out the strategy and individual carry potential, there was nothing there left for me.
I think what hits the hardest in LoL, though, is constantly feeling like the rug is pulled out from under me. Anytime I find a champion I like it gets nerfed into the ground until it’s either unplayable or simply not as fun as it use to be because they gutted what made it fun in the pursuit of balance.
I played viktor before the LCS discovered him and he was my favorite champion. Now he's an unplayable mess.
Azir was my first favorite champion, but LCS loved him too, so now he's a joke.
Teemo? Nerfed into ground.
Kassadin? Another one of my first favorite champions. Now completely unplayable.
I liked the old Fiora and Gangplank but their reworks robbed me of the playstyle I use to enjoy (I enjoyed fiora's all in 1vs9 carry potential, and gangplank's crit rune splitpush style). And I paid real money for the champions and skins. Now they sit on the shelf, unused. Because even though they may be good or viable they are no longer the champion I paid for.
Swain. No longer fun for me after the rework. Completely different playstyle. Not the champion I bought. Wasted money again.
Malz. Just not as fun as he use to be with void spam pushing down a lane.
Talon. I like the rework conceptually, but he just isn’t that viable anymore.
I have one champion right now in mind that I want to try to main, but I am certain it’s only a matter of time before they get gutted and nerfed to. Even though they aren’t a high winrate right now. Do I really want to waste my time like that?