In recent years (id say since around season 5), it’s become fashionable to say that league has declined as a game, that the new designers don’t care about the players. While some level of complaining is legitimate, the argument that all around (that is, not just on any specific quality, but overall) league has declined is clearly false.
1. Quality of life
From the client update to better graphics to role preferences, the game experience has gotten more streamlined and less irritating as a whole. I’ve played since late season 3, and I remember when you weren’t guaranteed your main role, or your off role, but had to go with the luck of the draw. This caused constant trolling and flaming in lobbies, and was one of the biggest issues in the game. Now, I get auto filled maybe one out of every ten or twenty games. This issue will never be entirely solved, but it has gotten unbelievably better. But there are other things too - the graphics have gotten better (compared old and new nunu), we have a sandbox mode, and new game modes are added to the game quite frequently.
2. Champion design
People love to bitch about reworks and new, over complicated design, but champion design has gotten better, not worse over time. Old champions rarely felt particularly unique in important ways - they were often created in mere weeks, with abilities that often didn’t particularly fit their gameplay fantasy. Take, for example, Pantheon - what about his gameplay screams “badass hoplite warrior”? Now, champions add mechanics that not only make them unique, but fulfill their gameplay fantasy. Fiora is a great example of this - with her passive and ult, it actually feels like you’re in a duel and trying to find the openings of your opponents defense rather than just being another right click machine. Warwick, too, feels very satisfying since the rework. For new champions, almost every new champion adds new, exciting mechanics to the game. Some of them feel a little jammed in (for example, Sylas’ últ stealing in my opinion feels a little forced), but some like Neekos disguising feel both unique and thematically appropriate.
Overall, I would not say league has gotten particularly more balanced over time, but it hasn’t become much less balanced either. People complain about stuff like new Mordekaiser, but league of black cleavers was a thing. Kassadin being op for an entire season was a thing. Cinderhulk health stacking was a thing. The game has always had metas that are dominant - it’s part of the nature of competitive games, and riot does a good job of keeping the metas fairly fresh.
4. Build paths/unique champions
One common complaint that I see is that riot has been removing “unique” champions who have random ratios in their kit that don’t make sense together. Maybe these players think league should be a single player rpg, where you can “experiment” and just fuck around, but in a competitive game, players will very quickly find optimal ways to play champions, forcing generalist champions who can’t be as easily min/maxed out of the meta. Unless you want every champion to be like old nunu, there isn’t room for champions to not have optimal build paths.
Just my thoughts on some key issues. I think league gets better basically every year.