The dynamic of the game hasn’t changed at all, you’ve simply added more time on average for people to sit through games that are practically decided in the first 5-10 minutes. Snowballing is still a problem, but it’s not a problem in that it exists - it’s a problem that it is simply too overwhelming once it begins. The name of the game is to snowball, there’s no denying that but it happens too quickly, decisively, and effortlessly. It is often times 1-2 plays and the game is lost from there.
I should point out a few things that have always been true, but things are quite different now. For example, percentages have always dictated that teams that take the first tower win the majority of their games - this likely holds true now as it did then. Does this mean taking FB tower automatically wins games? No. Correlation is not causation. It’s likely that teams that take first tower are likely already ahead and rolling, so taking first tower is simply a byproduct of what’s taking place. I bring this up because it is a point people always make in contrast to me when I say games are still too snowbally (the point that this isn’t true because the team taking the first tower wins most games).
The second thing is that, again, extended average game length does not indicate snowballing has toned down - it merely means you’ve extended the game by an arbitrary amount of time. If we are assuming extended game length by average indicates game health, then help us god - we are in trouble. That is a hilariously flawed interpretation. Certainly it offers some clues, but once again, correlation is not causation. And moreover, gamelength alone does not equal game health.
So what do we need to do? We need to focus on tangible game mechanics and processes and determine if there’s balance between them. Let me admit off the bat: I have no access to statistics in front of me, and chances are there aren’t websites that track these things (and I’d question the accuracy of them if they did because I’m not sure Riot even does). This is pure armchair psychology, so nothing I say is absolute truth. What I hope it does though is shift discussion into a direction that can highlight what people really want when we say a game that isn’t decided in 10 minutes, because it seems Riot defined this as extending game length.
So what’s the issue? Really, this goes back to the game disproportionately favoring offense over defense. In the long run, it is necessary for offense to favor defense. But the game practically favors offense from the onset, whereas defense is working from a disadvantage right away. How can anything defensive ever expect to excel in a world where this is true? Moreover, how are you ever supposed to slow snowballing down if offense is this favorable? Well it’s simple, you can’t. Pointing this out is one thing, but what do we do? Let’s look into that...
Keystones need to be removed or completely reworked so that offense isn’t the name of the game. Even on the one, bread and butter TRUE defensive keystone, offense is attached. This has to end. Not only do you not have a plethora of defense options for keystones, you give ambient damage to everything so even the “defensive keystones” are offensive in nature. This makes defense less valuable. In short, keystones are one of the biggest problems and they need to be gutted and reworked across the board.
This means that defense needs to be re-evaluated by items. As it stands, armor is useful when ahead but only for a short duration. However, when tanks stack armor (especially bramble vest, which just needs to be deleted) and current keystones exist, they snowball in the same fashion: they just beat you down with absurd damage. This can’t be fixed until tanks have their damage toned down (especially champions like Poppy and Sion) so that defense can actually feel like defense. As it stands, when you’re behind - armor feels like total dog shit. But you can’t allow the defensive items to be buffed either because tanks would just dominate.
So you’re stuck in this impasse where defensive items probably need slight buffs, offensive items need slight nerfs, tanks need their damage toned down (for the most part, tanks have good innate defensive tools so they’re fine on this end) but you can’t do any of this because keystones still disproportionately moderate offense and simply tweaking numbers on items won’t change any of that. Even with keystone reworks, numbers on items across the board need to be redone and items need to be looked out (some need to be outright thrown out).
The problem is entirely systematic. And you need to break it down systematically, and then address it piece by piece. This is assuming riot is willing to do this. As it stands, all you’ve done is added plates on towers which has actually just contributed to snowballing, a great example of how extended gamelength =/= snowballing reduction. And towers still come down entirely too easily. But that’s moot, it doesn’t matter if a tower dies quickly or not - if the enemy is so far ahead that he can burst you, that tower won’t do much to prolong the game and even if it does, we still have the aforementioned dilemma of extended game length does not mean snowballing is on the decline. It just means you have to suffer through an ass-whooping even longer. We harped on towers being weak last season a ton, and we did complain about damage but we didn’t really systematically look at it. And the problem is in keystones then offensive items being too powerful (offense in general though). Until these things are addressed, games are going to continue to feel like absolutely shit.