More accurately, Riot’s lack of a philosophy for balancing top lane. For what it’s worth, I’ve never really been one that has subscribed entirely to Hashinshin’s beliefs because he often draws illusionary correlations and falls victim to cyclical logic as a result (ranged champions are OP because they’re OP). Nevertheless, I’ve always thought highly of him as an intuitive thinker and his rants are, at the very least, entertaining and thought provoking.
For the sake of clarity, what I am referring to specifically is that Hashinshin often maintains that one of the biggest reasons Riot doesn’t balance top lane well is because they don’t have a top lane player on their staff. I don’t know if this is true, I wouldn’t even know how to verify it but I’ll say that it certainly feels that way. Moreover, top lane has become (and quite frankly it has always been) the lane where rejected mages go and they bully out melee champions. Throw in your other ranged champions like Jayce, Quinn and Urgot (in his defense he plays more like a melee champion but still has some annoying poke), and top lane simply isn’t fun for melee champions.
We tend to go through this phase a lot. We cycle back and forth between ranged champions/melee champions dominating top but traditionally ranged champions have always been given a much larger leash in terms of balance. Melee champions might dominate top for a few patches, maybe half a season - ranged champions will dominate top for years. And because many ranged champions (this is especially true for mages) have a lot of built in utility, they scale much better. So your incentive for playing melee champions is not high and revolves around winning hard early and shoving it down as fast as possible - this is another point Hash makes pretty consistently and I tend to agree with him.
For some reason, this seems to be okay. And riots response is usually by simply over-stating melee champions to combat this, but it often doesn’t work until you’ve over-stated a bunch of melee champions and then they feast off each other until riot nerfs them, and then we return to Kennen, Jayce, Vlad, Ryze, etc. I don’t even mind these champions being top because diversity is a good thing. But the problem is fundamental and systematic as well as balance philosophy: this game favors range way too strongly over melee. I don’t pretend to have all the solutions, let me be clear on that. The obvious solution is fix ranged vs melee interactions, but that simply isn’t happening - it would take too much time and I doubt Riot sees it as a problem that is pressing enough to warrant such a task.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t things Riot can do, but these things get ignored and it’s why top laners that play melee oriented champions feel so disgruntled with riot. Creep block is a big one. It continues to religiously fuck over melee champions, ESPECIALLY IN MELEE VS RANGED matches. Riot says this required too much energy and time to fix, but they’ve also been saying that for nearly 5 years. Honestly, you stop caring about that because it’s still something that could have been done at some point in the last 5 years and it only continues to get worse, so it’s not it’s something that just exists as static. In short, I’m tired of hearing “it would take too much...”
It didn’t take too much when ADCs were shit and you overhauled their items
When assassins dominated mid in season 3, you guys introduced a item to help ranged champions/mages deal with assassins in a matter of months (seekers - remember, old Zhonyas used to build out of Lagre rod + chainvest).
You guys gutted the potential for anything to go bot lane in a matter of months when ADCs cried about it, and that is still one of the biggest systematic changes to this date.
You guys didn’t mind scrapping a rune/mastery system that was simple and worked for everyone only to add keystones that largely favor damage over durability and this disproportionately gives ranged champions advantages even when the keystones attempt to adjust for it (but then you realize poke keystones are still strong across the board whereas melee keystones often get nerfed).
So I’m sorry, I’m not trying to hear that shit anymore. You’ve clearly got the resources to fix it, you just don’t. And going back to Hash, he tends to highlight this all the time and I agree with him on it: you guys just choose not to do shit that helps melee champions consistently but if it’s ranged champions, you guys turn the world over to fix it. It’s why mages can go to any lane still and nobody bats an eye at it but let a bruiser or assassin do well mid and it’s suddenly the end of the world.
I’ll be honest, I just feel frustrated playing top lane. As a melee player, my options are often play bruisers and brainlessly split push or play maokai/Malphite and brainlessly engage. Nothing I do really matters because bot/mid have way more control over the map and the jungler is free to decide whether I even get to lane or not. And you’ve only done things to hurt this (nerfing TP into the ground instead of just reducing its global effectiveness; gutting sustain in many champions; making defense feel worthless unless you invest strictly into it, then it’s OP during early/mid game). Like I said, I like Hash and tend to believe he falls victim to extreme thinking. But honestly, at this point I find myself almost always agreeing with him and I think it’s time you guys try to win your top lane players back - just go watch any top laner stream and you’ll have salt for days. And that’s honestly not really their fault either, that’s the hand we are dealt by riot