Hello. I am writing this post to give arguments for why League of Legends is still a good game, despite what a good amount of people on the boards saying negative things about the game, mostly related to balance.
First, I will give some arguments, and then I will give my answer to the point that a good amount of people are arguing about.
1. The core gameplay of LoL has pretty much remained the same since the beginning.
- Since the game was released, the core gameplay and objective of the game has remained the same. This is of course the most important aspect of any game. If you have been playing for many years, or since the beginning, then you can't argue that the game has changed in its core. The objective of the game is still to destroy the enemy nexus by way of taking down towers and enemy players, by way of various strategies and teamwork, with the help of neutral objectives like dragons or baron nashor.
2. LoL greatly popularized Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).
- League of Legends is the main reason why MOBAs are still so popular today. Of course LoL developed and was a direct result of DoTA, but without all the continuing work that has been put in LoL, with patches and new game modes, new items, new champions, skins, it would not be to where it has gotten today. Surely millions of people wouldn't play a game that is bad?
3. LoL continually updates their game, especially when it comes to gameplay balance of champions and items, as well as neutral objectives/monsters/towers/gold.
- Riot Games puts a surprising amount of work into trying to balance their game in terms of gameplay. Of course, being a company as large as they are, we would think they should put work into making sure the game is balanced as best as possible. But, we should still appreciate the time and energy that is put into making sure the game works well. Not all their changes are good, but most of them are. If the balance was as bad as some people make it seem to be, then this would show directly by many players (many meaning millions) complaining a lot, and many players quitting the game. Some players of course do complain and some have quit the game, but it is not significant enough to be attributed to bad gameplay balance.
I will now answer why I believe many are complaining about gameplay balance in LoL.
The main argument brought up, the one most people discuss related to bad balance in LoL, is that the damage in the game has been slowly increasing over the years, and now is at a very high level, such that champions die within a few seconds (sometimes faster) and games end quickly. Together with this, it is said that this makes the game less skill-based, and more whoever kills the other first, and that this makes the game less fun than it used to be years ago.
Now, it is true that damage is higher than it has been in the past. This does indeed mean that as a champion, you die faster than before. But, I will argue that this makes the game even more skill-based than before, when it took longer to die.
The argument is simple: if you can die quickly, you need to react quickly at any given moment. In addition, you need to be more careful with how you move around the map, and think more before deciding to do something, whether engaging, retreating, ganking, etc.
Let us think of a scenario to demonstrate a point. Say we have two gamemodes: one where champions deal 1x amount of damage, and the other where champions deal 2x amount of damage, given equal health on champions in both gamemodes. Now, in the 1x damage gamemode, would you not have more freedom to act how you want, given that it would take longer for you to die? Stated differently, you are allowed to make more mistakes and play more carelessly in the 1x damage gamemode, given that mistakes are not as costly. Now, in the 2x damage gamemode, the same mistake done here that was done in the other gamemode would be twice as costly, and thus more risky.
Now lets think of another scenario: we have 2 gamemodes, one where the damage over the length of game remains constant no matter what items are purchased, and the other where the damage increases slowly by a certain percentage (for example, 10% per 5 minutes). In both gamemodes, players would need to adapt to various situations in the game of course. However, would not the gamemode where damage increases slowly require even more adaptation, as now you have to account for higher sources of damage at different times of the game?
I have given these two scenarios to demonstrate the same point: higher damage requires quicker reactions and more thought before taking any action. Or, stated differently, it requires one to adapt quicker. At this point someone may argue: "But doesn't less damage mean you have more time to fight until you die, meaning more time to decide how to fight, and more time to think during a fight to see what's the best thing to do?" Sure, but I do not think this is harder than having less time to react to any situation.
Now, I am not saying this is objectively better or not. It seems that most players are fine with more damage all around, since, as stated earlier, most are still playing the game. Maybe some don't like it, as it means they need quick reactions in order to do well in the game. However, the parts of the game that are good are greater that what is bad, so they still play the game and enjoy it. On the other hand, some players even prefer the higher damage in the game, as this makes for more intense fights and matches, and rewards having a better reaction than your opponent.
At this point, some would say that "Well, you just need to get better and adapt". Well, I would not say it quite like that, but I would say that you can improve at anything with more practice. And if you think about it, what is so bad about practicing? If you really like the game, you will put in the extra time in practice in order to learn how to deal with more damage in the game.
For a while before I made this post, I was thinking "well, those people that complain just aren't good enough at the game, and don't wanna bother improving." I now see that is not the right thinking to have. What is better is to look at the positive side of things, and say "well, those people can practice more and learn and be able to play the game as it has evolved."
Or perhaps, in the wise words of Bear Grylls:
"Improvise. Adapt. Overcome."