I just wanted to throw some thoughts down here and see what everyone has to contribute. I have played LoL for 4 seasons now and two thing I have consistently heard RIOT emphasize is the want to
1) Allow teams to feel like they have a chance to come back in a game.
2) Make LoL a team game with a healthy and balanced in-game environment.
However, many updates in the past two seasons have gone against this. Whether RIOT wants to admit it or not, LoL has become extremely volatile ("tending to fluctuate sharply" - dictionary.com) in Bronze, Silver, and Gold (probably in higher levels as well, but this is all I can speak for). Meaning games are not close, there is a low chance you can actually impact your game in a positive way, and there is not a balanced environment. Here were my two tests:
1) Play 50 ranked games in silver 1/silver 2 and mark subjectively whether or not I felt like they were "competitive".
2) For those 50 ranked games, was there a player on either team that 7 kills in 10 or less minutes (we will call this fed).
For the first test I found that only 13 games were competitive in the 50 that I played. For the other 37 games one team dominated from start to finish, taking most of the objectives, having lane pressure in all three lanes, collected the majority of the kills, and won rather quickly. (Side note: In my opinion, game times in Bronze-Gold would be considerably shorter if people knew how to finish. I think that the data RIOT collects on game time at these levels is deceptive and doesn't actually represent how long the game is competitive.)
For the second test, I was AMAZED to find that in 31 games there was a player that had 7 or more kills by the 10 minute mark. This means that well before laning phase ended, more times than not, there was a player on the map that had a huge item and gold advantage and could steamroll the game.
To me the correlation is very clear. As these updates have provided more and more ways for players to "carry", "get fed", and "impact the game", that is exactly what is happening. The problem is, the way that it is happening is UNHEALTHY for the game. I went back and looked at the same 50 games and found that in 29 of those games, a player had died 7 or more times by the 10 minute mark. In 20 of the games, one of the bot lane pairs had died a combined total of 10 or more times in 10 minutes. Out of the 29 games, only 2 games were won by the team that had a "feeder" and only 1 game was won by the team that had a "bot lane duo feeding".
This is alarming to me.
_**What this is showing is that winning a game of League is highly correlated with you not having a feeder on your team, more so than anything else.**_
In some ways this is the nature of the game. If someone on your team is bad, or is having a bad game, you are going to lose more often than not. What is NOT okay is that when you have a player on your team that is bad, you have close to a ZERO percent chance of winning. ESPECIALLY, when the LP system is set up to only reward a win!
LoL is a 5-man team game. One player should not be able to wield the sort of power to throw a game so consistently. _Again, every 3 in 5 games had a "feeder" and if the "feeder" was on your team you only had a 6% chance to win the game._ This virtually means that only those who hard carry will be able to climb, and even that is not true to a certain degree, you also need to get lucky and not run into "feeders".
In an attempt to be optimistic, here are some potential solutions:
1) Tower Strength
- Increase how hard towers hit. Literally every player in LoL is calling for this and there are posts every day showing tanks sitting under tower taking 50-100 tower shots and walking away with half health. Allow towers to protect players and reward them for playing safe - this will allow "feeders" to feed less.
2) Base LP gains at least partially on performance:
- Why is this not a thing? RIOT had a huge post-season summary for each player showing how they performed in many areas. So why not use this in the MMR and LP system? I personally laughed for about 10 minutes when I saw my statistics. As a mid-laner main I averaged a 3+ kda over the course of 300+ games last season. This along with every single other statistic put me in the Diamond tier level. Apparently I ward at a master tier level. The problem is I play safe and conservative, I die less than 5 times in 99% of my games, but I rarely average more than 8 or 9 kills. Trust me RIOT, I am an Economist by trade, I understand the perverse incentives by basing some LP gains on performance, but if you make it black-box and marginal its a win-win.
3) Stop rewarding boom and bust playstyles
- Over the past two seasons, towers have been made weaker, minions give you more gold, and kills/objectives give you more gold. Which _already rewards those who are carrying._ Sadly, the new rune system now incentives carrying even more. Runes like eyeball collection and many others that give adaptive AD and AP based on kills has led to the average game consisting of 1 person getting massively fed, and many players "busting" and being extraordinarily weak because they are going for the "carry rune and item setup". Again, carrying is great, but should you have a 94% chance to win based on you having 7 or more kills at 10 minutes alone? Should this really be the only factor? Why can't the player that is up by 20 farm and hasn't died by the 10 minute mark and has picked up one or two kills be rewarded as well? There are not runes for that play style.
In summary, I am sorry for the long post, but I hope it really leads to some good discussion here on the boards. A comment from a RIOTER would be on point and greatly appreciated. I have a lot more data and thoughts to back each of these points, so please feel free to directly ask me questions below, I just didn't want to make the post any lengthier.
Salt and Light1
PS: I did not post the games because it seems like those posts always get taken down. But feel free to contact me and I will screenshot them to you. In addition, I don't think any of the above statistics are that surprising if we are honest with ourselves. LoL feels volatile at the moment. No one I am talking to is playing close or competitive games consistently.
Edit (17 hours after initial post):
Wow thank you for all of the comments guys! I want to address two concerns that I am seeing mentioned in some comments. The first is sample size and subjectivity. I am not trying to pass this off as a scientific finding or perfect study. I completely understand and agree that there is a ton of room for flaw here. My main goal was to just start a conversation based on some observations that I had made over the course of 50 games. Second, please don't comment if the only thing you have to say is, "if you were good enough you would climb". This isn't helping anyone. Instead, how about you post some helpful tips that allowed you to climb - I know many people here would be interested in that, thanks! :)