People have been complaining about towers and damage and snowballing for a while now, so I looked into it from around when I started league, having seen some of my favorite junglers and strategies just not working anymore.
What I found is that:
* first towers have lost durability,
* base towers have lost damage,
* minions push waves better if you're ahead,
* neutral camp buffs offer more damage against towers and to champions,
* supports are gaining damage,
* towers didn't have resistances/penetration adjusted for tank update,
* bot lane has too much gold at stake there,
* runes added 10%+ damage across the board to champions,
* items are increasingly adding damage and/or decreasing cost,
* less gold/xp from jungle camps,
* catchup xp was added,
* more mobility from runes and modern kit design
All causing a heavy snowball meta with high damage and weak towers. It needs to be recognized that these aren't just rants but are backed up by statistics and that people don't like it. It also needs to be recognized that while players don't like those games that go on forever if they are too common, they don't like snowballing 15 minute or less games any more. There needs to be a balance between comebacks and a definitive push to victory.
Note: This is a complex topic, and a tl;dr cuts out the evidence and makes it seem accusatory/negative in tone. Please read the whole article if you have the time and patience. :D
Now that pre-season has settled for the holidays and we have all gotten a chance to see where the meta lies, I feel it's a good time to point out what we want changed early this season.
At this point it should be obvious to most players that something is amiss in games, game times aren't lasting as long, and less games are satisfying to play. But wait, that may just be personal perception. Lets look at some statistics then.
Okay, about 27 minute average across all of league, that's certainly lower than what it used to be, but not by too much. Maybe a 5 minute drop since I started playing 2 years ago. But Challenger has an average game length of 15 minutes, that can't be right. Games should rarely be that short let alone average games. So maybe there is a problem. Lets look at what it used to be 2 years ago to be sure though.
Average game time around 34 minutes across all of league, with Challenger being 31 minutes. Wow, that's less than half the game length for Challengers from 2 years ago.
So games are shorter by about 7 minutes. That doesn't seem like much, until you consider that those 7 minutes made up 20.5% of average game time 2 years ago, which is a really high percentage. Makes sense why so many people have been complaining about it. So what's the cause? Lets come back to that.
The game still feels less satisfying to play, that's something we need get into before we can figure out why this is happening. What feels less satisfying though? The common complaints center around towers, bot lane, and snowballing.
Let's start with the controversial issue of towers. People feel they are to too weak and "made of paper mache". Lets review the changes to turrets since patch 5.22(since that's around when I started playing, and thus can accurately speak on).
OUTER TURRET HEALTH 3500 ⇒ 4000
INNER TURRET HEALTH 3500 ⇒ 4000
-Towers straight up gained some durability.
_Outer & inner turret damage_
Turret damage increases by 37.5% for the second and third shots against champions, then 25% for the following two against a single champion (resets on target change) ⇒ 40% for the first three shots
“Heating up” damage no longer partially resets when turrets switch targets
MAX DAMAGE 225% over four shots ⇒ 220% over three shots
BASE HEALTH 4000 ⇒ 3300
BASE ARMOR 0 ⇒ 40
BASE MAGIC RESISTANCE 0 ⇒ 40
TURRET PENETRATION Turrets are now subject to armor and magic penetration effects
Blocks 30 damage from champion basic attacks ⇒ 35% damage reduction from all sources
No longer grants 200 armor and magic resistance
Physical and magic damage is now reduced by 66.66%
_Ability power damage vs. turrets_
When your ability power is more than double your bonus attack damage, your basic attacks against turrets scale with 50% ability power instead of 100% bonus attack damage
Basic attack scaling off of ability power now deals magic damage to turrets (base damage still physical)
-Towers lost 200 health since 5.22, gained 40 resistance, reinforced armor gives same resistance but isn't subject to penetration, penetration now works on tower's resistances, AP users do more damage against towers(penetration and basic attack changes), damage from turrets easier to read, damage from turrets ramps up faster, turrets do slightly less damage when heated up, turrets take 35% less damage from minions and less damage from champion autos mid and late game, towers take slightly more damage early game from champions.
-Overall turrets became slightly tankier in most situations, but a lot weaker against those building penetration. They do more front loaded damage.
Towers now additionally absorbs 66% of true damage when the backdoor bonus is in effect.
-Reinforced armor now works on true damage, tankier slightly
SHARED LOCAL GOLD 300 gold ⇒ 250 gold
HEALTH 3300 ⇒ 3500
FORTIFICATION DURATION 7 minutes ⇒ 5 minutes
FORTIFICATION DAMAGE REDUCTION 35% ⇒ 50%
REMOVED MORTIFIED Fortification’s damage reduction no longer applies to bottom lane turrets
_Turret First Blood_
BLOOD FROM A STONE: The first turret killed yields 400 total bonus gold to its killer's team
SHARED LOCAL GOLD 275 gold split between nearby champions
GLOBAL GOLD 25 gold per champion
-Outer turrets got tankier pre-5-minutes, but lost significant durability from 5-7 minutes, bot-lane tower nerfed significantly durability-wise, gold generation from towers decreased by 150 gold with an alternative +250 team gold if your team gets first tower.
-Overall nerf to tower durability as not much tower pushing happens pre-5-minutes and because of resistance duration nerf. Bot tower had its resistances dropped early and first turret blood was introduced, making it more of a target, so large durability nerf to those towers.
Inhibitor and Nexus turrets melt enemies with lasers ⇒ fire laser bullets like all other turrets
Summoner's Rift Turret bullets now deal a fixed percent of minion max health:
MELEE ~45% health per bullet
RANGED ~70% health per bullet
SIEGE ~14% health per bullet
SUPER ~5% health per bullet
-Base towers lost 45% armor penetration, became dodgable(reseting aggro or time it takes to fire and whatnot), became easier to CS under tower.
-Large nerf to tower damage, becoming much harder to holding map advantage and making combacks harder. Tanks become more useful at tanking. Turrets gain some value in holding gold advantage over lane if pushed under.
LOCAL BONUS 275 gold ⇒ 300 gold
REMOVED GLOBAL BONUS No longer grants 25 gold to all teammates
TOTAL BONUS 400 gold ⇒ 300 gold
-Tower gold value reduced for most turrets.
All turrets on Summoner's Rift have gained 300 health.
Minion reduced damage to turrets reduced to 40% from 50%.
-Turrets don't gain much if any durability. Really unsure of point of changes. Minions do 9.1% more damage if accounting for health changes, but there's more health for champions to have to go through if you can keep champions as the only damage dealers. So actually a slight nerf to durability.
So since Patch 5.22 lane towers have gained some front loaded damage, but a bit less for really long fights under towers. The first lane towers became vulnerable earlier, with bot lane losing a lot of early resistances. First tower blood introduced and turret gold value lowered making it even more important. Turrets became vulnerable to penetration and AP users became better at pushing turrets. Base towers lost significant damage making them much easier to tank and dive. Second tower in lane has about the same durability as patch 5.22.
Minions play a strong role in towers and are heavily tied to their durability. Maybe there were changes made that countered these durability changes that we didn't take note of.
_NEW BUFF - PUSHING ADVANTAGE_
If your team's average level is higher than the enemy's:
Your minions deal 10% bonus damage to enemy minions.
If your team has taken more turrets, this damage is increased by a further 10%.
Your minions take 1 + (turret differential × level differential) less damage (flat) from enemy minions.
If your average level is at least 3 levels higher and you've taken 2 more turrets in a single lane, your minions become Enraged:
The bonus damage is increased by a further 90%.
The flat damage reduction is increased by a further 7.
Initial gold increased to 20 from 18.5.
Gold growth reduced to 0.125 per minute from 0.17.
Initial gold increased to 17 from 13.8.
Gold growth reduced to 0.125 per minute from 0.17.
Initial gold increased to 45 from 36.8.
Gold growth reduced to 0.35 per minute from 0.425.
-Minions do more damage to enemy minions if your team is ahead by level and/or turrets. In terms of turret durability there is no direct effect, but the indirect effect is they are pushing up to turrets faster. Gold from minions more front-loaded, with individual minions being worth less than before after 34 minutes. Changes also makes CSing more complicated.
Minion reduced damage to turrets reduced to 40% from 50%.(already addressed above)
NEW EFFECT: After 20 minutes, minions gain +25 movement speed. (This change was enabled several days into the patch so Riot could more accurately track its impact.)
-Minions approach turrets faster after 20 minutes. Again indirectly causing turrets to take damage faster.
**WHAT IT MEANS, DEFENSE PENETRATION, OBJECTIVES, AND MORE**
So lets put this all together now and see what it means.
Turret gold has been heavily emphasized on first turret blood, while taking away gold from other towers. This has encouraged snowballing due to gold advantage first turret blood gives, as well as making comebacks harder due to lowering of turret gold values(harder to close gold advantage gap). On top of this minions were given more gold value early on, meaning we get items earlier and those early minions are more important to kill than before. That's where more snowballing comes in, it's hard to CS early if you don't have items, but if your team gets a little ahead from first turret blood you can buy that item earlier, CS better, outlevel, and push harder again. Frankly there's too much tied to first turret when you look at it. Not only do you get a big early gold advantage, but your minions do 10% more damage, helping you "push the advantage", which helps all lanes push and helps to outlevel, giving another 10% damage.
Lane turrets have actually gained a bit of damage since Patch 5.22, so the community needs to stop saying that they hit for nothing. However if you want to talk about base turrets, then yes, they have lost a large chunk of the damage they used to do now that they do not shoot lasers anymore. As far as turrets feeling like "paper mache", there's some truth behind that if you are comparing to Patch 5.22. The amount of damage you can do earlier on to turrets is higher due to the lowering of the early game resistance duration. Yes, the value of the damage reduction was increased, but that's only for about 3 minutes of laning phase, as the first 2 minutes don't have minions yet. Not all of those 3 minutes will you be able to reach the enemy tower either, as it takes time to clear the enemy wave and get to the tower. Bot lane no longer even gets that bit of resistance, making it all the more appealing to take early in a lane where you already can get a gold advantage from kills alone. Not to mention that chances of first blood are highest bot lane already.
So we have a little bit of extra early damage on turrets and bot lane has a plethora of ways to get an early gold advantage(first blood, first turret, 2 lane opponents to kill), that's not too bad of a change by itself, it's not like other lanes can't get first turret or first blood after-all. Well, there's still the minion buffs for being ahead on top of that little snowball effect, which does add to the snowball. Not only that, but it becomes hard to make a comeback because of how hard the losing laners are being stat checked(enemy extra items and minions waves being pushed harder by enemies and minions alike).
Outside of laning phase there's the issue of penetration having become effective against turrets. Turret health values haven't changed much over all these patches, nor have their resistances changed much, but penetration now works on them. Initially when turrets had the ability to be affected by penetration added, they got 40 armor and magic resist to compensate a bit. But now there's so much penetration in league that it means almost nothing. The fact this also helped AP users assault towers in addition to them dealing AP scaling auto damage to towers as magic damage really didn't help this situation. It made it harder for tanks and fighters to do damage to turrets, but made it easier for ADCs, assassins, and mages to deal damage to them.
It almost feels like Riot is so paranoid that a player will complain a game went on too long that they refuse to let there be any give in advantage gained earlier in the game. So they just keep adding ways for towers to be taken down faster if you are ahead.
Edit: On that note lets look at some other changes that have been made since 5.22 that follow this same pattern.
Crest of Cinders true damage now affects turrets(red buff).
Rift Herald added.
-Buff to red buff, slight nerf to tower durability from it. Rift Herald is a split push buff, further giving a slight nerf to tower durability.
Base auto-attack damage decreased to 105 from 120.
Current health on hit decreased to 4% from 6%
-Rift Herald becomes easier to take, slight nerf to tower durability
Base damage reduced to 95 from 105.
Base level changed to 6 from 2. Its stats at level 6 remain the same as its current stats at level 1, but this affects how quickly it levels passively.
-Easier to kill, slight nerf to tower durability
Dragon's Wrath / Dragon Slayer buff Dragon buff (second stack)
Basic attacks burn turrets for 10 - 180 over 2 seconds.(no longer +15% damage to towers)
Dragon's Dominance / Dragon Slayer buff Dragon buff (fourth stack)
You take 20% less damage from turrets.(no longer +15% minion damage)
-Slight buff to tower durability, slight nerf to their damage.
Dragon is now randomly one of the following dragon that grants a unique stacking buff:
Infernal Drake Infernal Drake
Grants +8 / 16 / 24% attack damage and ability power.
Mountain Drake Mountain Drake
Grants +10 / 20 / 30% bonus true damage to epic monsters and turrets.
Cloud Drake Cloud Drake
Grants +15 / 30 / 45 bonus movement speed while out of combat.
Ocean Drake Ocean Drake
Every 18 / 12 / 6 seconds, restores 10% of missing health and 10% of missing mana.
After the 35 minute mark, only the Elder Dragon Elder Dragon will spawn. It grants a 120 second buff that increases other dragon's buff by 50% while also granting a burning effect on basic attacks.
Basic attacks and spells burn the target for (45 × Elder Dragon Elder Dragons slain) (+ 45 per Elemental Dragon Mark) damage over 3 seconds and increases the strength of Elemental Dragon buffs by 50%. This stack only lasts 120 seconds or until death.
Enhanced Infernal Drake Infernal Drake: + 12 / 24 / 36% attack damage and ability power.
Enhanced Mountain Drake Mountain Drake: + 15 / 30 / 45% bonus damage to epic monsters and turrets as true damage.
Enhanced Cloud Drake Cloud Drake: + 22.5 / 45 / 67.5 bonus movement speed while out of combat.
Enhanced Ocean Drake Ocean Drake: Every 12 / 8 / 4 seconds, restores 10% of missing health and 10% of missing mana.
-Nerf to turret durability, slight buff to turret damage.
Damage per second changed to 4 - 38 (based on level) from 5 - 22 (based on level).
Total damage over 3 seconds changed to 12 - 114 (based on level) from 15 - 66 (based on level).
NEW EFFECT: Now applies damage three times: on-hit, then 1.5 and 3 seconds after.
Melee slow increased to 10% / 15% / 25% from 10% / 15% / 20%.
Ranged slow increased to 5% / 7.5% / 12.5% from 5% / 7.5% / 10%.
Health regeneration increased to 1 / 3 / 9% of maximum health from 1% at all levels.
Health regeneration is now disabled when in combat with champion or epic monster.
NEW EFFECT: Buffs last 120 seconds the first time a buff camp is cleared, and 90 seconds on subsequent clears.
-slight nerf to tower durability
Base health increased to 8000 from 5000.
Base armor increased to 60 from 40.
Base magic resistance increased to 50 from 20.
Base attack damage increased to 105 from 95.
Backstab damage taken reduced to 12% maximum health from 15% maximum health.
Initial spawn increased to 6 minutes from 4.
REMOVED: Respawn once killed.
Now has MONSTROUS TOUGHNESS: Effects that scale with the target's health (maximum, missing or current) are less effective.
REMOVED: Doom's Eve buff Doom's Eve.(single person baron buff essentially)
Now grants Doom's Eve buff Glimpse of the Void:
While there are no allies nearby, you take 5% damage reduction from enemy champions and generate X / Y Corruption stacks per second. At 100 stacks, your next basic attack consumes all stacks to deal 15 / 270 bonus magic damage. Works versus structures, damage halved for ranged champions.
Lasts for 20 minutes and is retained even if slain.
-Slight buff to turret damage, slight buff to turret durability.
-Overall nerf to tower durability, with a slight overall buff to damage. Also notable damage creep added.
Cloud Drake Cloud Drake buff
Out of combat movement speed increased to 25 / 50 / 75 from 15 / 30 / 45.
-Slight nerf to tower durability as champions can get to them faster. Slight mobility creep.
Spawn time increased to 10 minutes from 6.
On-spawn attack damage reduced to 119 from 147.
-Makes the split push buff easier to get, but with a smaller window to obtain. Slight nerf to tower durability.
Duration increased to 120 seconds, for all buffs, from 90 beyond the first.
-Slight nerf to tower durability
New appearance and animations.
Attack damage changed to 100 - 250 (based on level) from 119 - 361 (based on level).
Attack speed reduced to 0.5 from 0.667.
Attack range increased to 250 from 150.
Eye opening cadence increased to 10 seconds from 3.
NEW EFFECT: Eye's opening cooldown reduced by 2.5 seconds for every champion attack.
NEW EFFECT: Eye will not open if the Rift Herald is below 15% health.
NEW EFFECT: Can walk outside of the pit without losing aggro.
Rift Herald is more lenient towards swapping targets and leashing.
Gold reward changed to Gold 25 to the killer from Gold 50 globally.
NEW EFFECT: At the start of the fight, Rift Herald winds up and charges forward, knocking aside enemies she passes through and damaging them for 200% AD.
NEW EFFECT: At certain health thresholds, Rift Herald winds up for an attack that deals 300% AD in a cone in front of her.
REMOVED: Dropping Doom's Eve buff Glimpse of the Void buff.
NEW EFFECT: Rift Herald is captured in the Eye of the Herald when killed. Any member of the team that killed Rift Herald can pick it up, temporarily replacing their trinket. Eye of the Herald grants Empowered Recall Empowered Recall while held and expires after 4 minutes if not used. Channeling Eye of the Herald for 3.5 seconds will crush it to summon Rift Herald from the void as your team's ally.
Has 4000 - 6400 health, 425 movement speed, 80 - 200 attack damage.
Basic attacks deal 3% of Herald's current health bonus damage, in addition to base AD.
When Rift Herald approaches turrets she winds up and leaps into melee range, dealing 150 damage (+ 25% of her current health) to the turret and herself.
Eye opens every 3 seconds.
Poking Rift Herald's eye deals 20% of her maximum health as damage.
Rift Herald can be affected by most forms of crowd control.
Rift Herald disables turret backdoor defenses even when no allied minions are nearby.
-Rift herald becomes much easier to get, and deals more damage, as well as becoming a lot more desirable. Significant nerf to tower durability. Facilitates snowballing now.
Rift Herald gold reward for killing increased from 25 gold to 100 gold.
-Slight snowball increase.
Rift Herald initial spawn timer reduced to 9:50 from 10:00.
-Microscopic nerf to tower durability.
The culmination of these changes creates an overall nerf to tower durability. Although they are all situational, the amount of tower affecting buffs to players has increased significantly, and the damage each does individually has greatly increased as well. With the availability of red buff alone and it being given tower pushing power alone makes these changes; but now there's also Rift Herald almost every game, and the dragon tower damage is on average higher and easier to obtain.
**BOT LANE SNOWBALLING**
Let's face it though, these changes created a gold sinkhole bot-lane where junglers need to get them fed early or the team suffers later. As well as over-emphasizing a bot-lane-meta and the huge early gold advantage that can come with it. At the same time, towers were made easier to push by ADCs, minions were buffed to be harder to push against if behind, more gold was added early game via minions, and non-first-blood-towers were lowered; all of which increased snowball speed and gold difference early on, contributing to whole feeling of ADCs being feast or famine for a while now.
That brings us to our next question, how come it changed from an ADC feast-famine-meta to seemingly whoever gets someone fed in the first 10 minutes wins the game? We've already shown that this at least has some shred of evidence to back it up just off of Challenger game lengths, so lets see why.
**AFFECTS OF NEW RUNES**
Let's start off our basis on community complaints like before, as it seemed to at least have a shred of truth to it. There have been a lot of complaints about power creep and mobility creep in the community over the last two years. The same complaints have popped up with the new runes as well. I won't go over power creep and mobility creep in items or kits(at least not in depth), as that would take too long and be to difficult; so lets just take a look at the rune system for now.
With the old rune system, on Warwick, I would take runes giving +10.2% AS, +9 armor, +12.1 MR, +4.5% lifesteal, +3.8 lethality. And masteries giving +4% AS, +3% damage dealt, +2% damage taken, +2.5% lifesteal/spellvamp, +1% damage for each unique kill, +4.2% armor pen, +2.8% magic pen, fervor of battle, +5 auto damage against minions and monsters, +2% damage against enemy champions while no allied champions are nearby, +5% damage to champions below 40% health, and bandit.
This would be +14.2% AS, +9 AR, +12.1 MR, +7% lifesteal, +8% damage late game, +3.8 lethality, +4.2% armor pen, +2.8% magic pen, +5% damage against champions below 40% health, and ramping up damage from fervor.
Now I take Press the Attack(small burst damage + 12% extra damage after), Triumph(restore 12% missing health on takedown), Legend:Bloodline(+8% lifesteal at max stacks), Last Stand(+5%--12% extra damage while below 60% HP), The Ultimate Hat(+15% R-cooldown), and Celerity(+3% MS, +8% bMS as AD/AP). [+18% AS from path].
To compare that's 3.8% more AS, -2 AR after rune compensation, +8 AD from rune compensation(just about accounts for my pen), MR was compensated in item balance so lets assume -3MR(based off AR after compensation), +1% lifesteal from before and Triumph on top of it, +3% MS, +12%--24% damage based on situation as opposed to 8%--15% based on situation, triumph gives gold bandit used to, +8 AD from rune compensation, and then there's Ultimate Hat. So I got more AD, AS, lifesteal/sustainability, MS, CDR, and %damage multiplier on the new system from the old as well as allowing allies to get a damage boost, and doing a little burst damage. And all I lost was a bit of AR/MR. So it does seem that there has been a lot of damage creep from new runes, as well as a bit of MS creep.
Lets gloss over some champion changes that highlight damage creep in the game for a second as well.
**CHAMPION AND ITEM POWER CREEP**
First let's look at Alister. Alister was previously known as a single target lock down champion with low damage, a small heal, and really tanky. He still maintains his tankiness, but his heal is now stronger, his abilities more damaging, now has an extra CC, and is expected to build at least a bit damaging. Not necessarily a bad thing, in fact I quite liked his mini-rework. Ardent Censar now gives AP scaling off of mana-regen, helps give supports a way to itemize for heals, and get some AP. Janna used to routinely rank lowest damage dealt of any champion for the longest time, but it was fine and she was one of the strongest supports because she had so much utility. Now she still does just about everything she did before, but she does decent damage as well.
None of these are problems in and of themselves, the problem becomes when this is happening across the board, which it is. One of the reasons I am seeing for this is that Riot wanted to make the support role fun for more people. Well, for most people it's not that much fun to play a ole where you do almost no damage, which was the support role. So what did they do, they gave them damage options, and they made some more mage supports viable. Lets take a moment and think about why that might be an issue based off what we already discussed. With bot lane already being the most gold teetering lane in the game, Riot added more damage to the lane, further exacerbating the snowballing or feast/famine effect down there.
**CULMINATED EFFECTS AND MISC. CAUSES**
That's when preseason came along. All that damage and mobility added on top of this not only made it extremely hard for ADCs to position and incredibly easy for their lane to snowball, but for other lanes to snowball as well. Warwick isn't a bot lane champion, and he gained large damage buffs from runes, with little to no trade-off. So now champions have gained little tankiness and are putting out 10%+ more damage, as well as having tools to get around mana problems in almost every tree. The meta immediately shifted to a burst meta, and not only did whoever happened to(almost seemingly by sheer luck) get first kill bot snowball from it, but other lanes started bursting their opponents and snowballing too. This is why people are complaining about one sided games; because with the amount of burst and the ease to take towers(we haven't even mentioned demolish yet), it's hard for anyone not to snowball off of a single kill. That and the mountain to climb to make a comeback just keeps getting higher.
Another thing perpetuating this meta is the keystone options, recent jungle changes, and mobility creep. With mobility being more available than ever due to new champion design philosophy and new runes, junglers who don't have that mobility are being left unviable at the moment. Not just them either, but also junglers who can't burst/chunk opponents and counter-junglers have become unviable. If your jungler doesn't have mobility then they can't catch the now faster-than-ever laners. Even if your champion does have mobility, if it's just a movement speed buff, it may not be enough. As far as jungle changes go, experience and gold has been reduced to the point that you don't lose out on much if any gold/XP from camps if you spam gank. And the keystone options again make anther group of junglers sub-optimal and unviable. Given all this, high damage junglers with dashs that run a spam-gank strat have flooded the meta.
Edit: There of course is also the obvious effects of all of this damage creep, that being more damage means more damage to towers. With all of this damage creep towers are just flat out dying faster. If we look at the changes to Warwick's pre-game-system damage above, we see its about +10 to 15 AD(not even counting items adding more AD which adds about +10 AD to my build by itself) and +4% AS. A considerable amount of AD added when considering items and rune changes. Of course some of it being on items means it doesn't show up right away, but even then it adds up quickly when it happens across the board to all champions because of runes and items. There's also the effect damage creep has on tower dives. With more damage, tower dives need less time to be successful as they have to be under tower less.
**SOLUTIONS AND CLOSING**
So given all this, what do we want Riot to do about all of this?
Well, for starters, the damage values in runes, save maybe keystones, needs to be toned back so that it closer matches damage output of old runes. This should help with the part of the problem that runes are causing.
As for the current jungler meta, some gold and xp needs to be given back to camps. Not much, but camps should always be the better gold generation for the jungler when considered alone(not necessarily highest gold generation for teams). As far as XP goes, it doesn't need to be the fastest way, but it should be comparable. What this aims to fix exactly is make counter-junglers or more passive jungler playstyles viable again. As for the rest of this problem, I believe it lies in damage creep(I mentioned that solution above), mobility creep(I will get to), and Keystone options(Riot is already working on making more).
As for mobility creep, I would suggest having Magical Footwear give +5 MS, with the full +10 MS getting acquired once upgraded. I would also suggest lowering Waterwalking's MS by 5, maybe compensating with health regen or more damage. With how often it can prock, Fleet Footwork probably doesn't need to be that effective of a MS tool, I'm not entirely sure how much it contributes to this problem, but changing it to a 25% MS buff or it's duration to 0.9s (not both) would probably help. Predator has an indicator of approach, so I want to say it's fine and Relentless Hunter might need a small nerf, but I'm hesitant to say so whole heartedly as MS is all it gives. Of course mobility creep still needs to be addressed in champions. I would suggest looking at some of the least mobile champs in the game like Dr. Mundo, Malphite, and Udyr when making new champs and think about how hard you want it to be for them to lock down the new champion.
I think the way the changes to the support role have played out has not been for the best. Part of what appealed to long-time support players and support mains was that they didn't have to focus on doing a lot of damage to be good. They could focus on timings, who to use it on, active items, some positioning, predicting the fight, and vision to contribute to the team. Bringing damage into that mix almost feels to me like ruining this beautiful thing Riot had where I could play a champion, doing almost no damage, yet I still felt like one of the biggest contributers to the game. Rakan was a good return to this non-damaging support concept. It's fine if you want there to be damaging supports bot-lane, but they need to be differentiated better and all playstyles should still be viable. On that note I think support scalings and base damage needs to be looked at, not necessarily changed across the board but decided on if they want people building damage or not on them, how much, and to make sure that the AP ratios for damage are fair when compared to how much AP you expect them to have for utility. I would also like to note with the balance of the gold generating items being pretty solid, it might be a good time to give supports some higher item costs with more stats. You could differentiate stat lines better this too this way(I think).
Springboarding off of supports for a second here, I think a lot of champions would benefit from relooking at which role you clasified them under, and whether they are differentiated enough to safely fit in that role. For example a lot of mages don't feel differentiated right now. Partially because of bad itemization, but also partially because of this burst damage meta. It's become less about poke vs burst vs artillery and more of who does the most damage right now. It should feel like I'm playing a definitively different playstyle if when I'm playing Veigar as opposed to Xerath. And as far as itemization goes for mages, it would be good to have an item specialized towards each subrole/subclass' specialty (an item meant for poke mages, an item meant for artillery mages, an item meant for burst mages) kind of like zeal items do for marksmen.
Back to where we started off from, I should probably address towers here too. I think the best solution for the paper towers would be to give towers an ability so that they take reduced effects from penetration(maybe not put it on the first turrets in each lane though). Towers also need to be compensated penetration, and armor based on the Tank update and preseaon changes. Lastly, I think base towers need to be given a bit more damage. They don't need all the damage back that they lost when they lost lasers, but there should be some turrets that make it harder to tank. Nautilus and Dr. Mundo shouldn't be allowed to tank a turret for a minute if they wanted, no champion should, so at least make that not possible in the base.
The ADC meta has a couple problems as well. Reducing gold cost on overall build was not the right solution to this problem. All that was give some ADCs a cost advantage, and allowed for earlier snowballing. Sure, zeal should be cheaper so they can get that earlier, but fully built items should not be cheaper. First blood gold should be reduced to at least 360 gold, if not 325 gold, with an assist bounty lowered to 165 gold. The point of first blood should be to incentive people to not farm up forever, and to try to get the game in motion quickly. It should give just enough gold to get them a basic item material and no more so that they have an obvious gold advantage they can press, but not so much that its insurmountable. Now, I say 370 gold because the champion should have at least some gold already, and the most expensive basic material is null-magic mantle. Specifically that they should have cleared at least one wave before backing, and assuming they only missed one minion, they should have at least 91 gold. 360+91=451 gold which is enough to buy null-magic mantle, and thus they can press the gold advantage off one kill. The assist value was lowered with partial proportion to kill value, and also max assist gold for regular kills. Likewise to first blood, first turret should offer the same minimal advantage so as to create an advantage, not a snowball. Outer turrets offer 100 global gold+ 250 local gold, first turret offers 300 local gold. Three people would earn 203 gold, 2 would earn 293 gold, 1 would earn 570 gold. I would instead change it to regular tower gold + 175 local gold + 125 global gold. With this change 1 player would earn 470 gold, 2 would receive 257 gold each, 3 would receive 186 gold each. Ends up about the same for more people involved, with the same team gold advantage, and less snowbally for single tower takedowns.
The neutral objective/jungle buff changes are causing some of this issue too. However all these objectives get a large portion of meaning from these buffs, and to nerf them too hard would make them almost meaningless. Obviously we don't want any of them to become old Rift Herald level of popular. So, I would say the solution for this part of the issue might just be a simple +50 HP to turrets(per row number, first gets +50, second gets +100, base gets +150) to allow for a little more time to respond to them and play around them.
All of this is what is causing these short games and unsatisfying feelings. I think I have laid out some good proof of this and some well thought out solutions(but I've been typing this for 5+ hours so who knows). Hopefully this wasn't too much of a pain to read and it gets some attention. (And hopefully its coecive despite my sleep deprivation at this point). Anyways, hope this explains the meta and what can be done to fix the things players have been complaining about for over a year now without any real attention.
And on that subject of it not getting enough attention, I would like to point out some bad justification real quick before I go to bed. Riot keeps saying that this isn't the majority of the community on here and that we are a minority. They also keep saying these boards can get pretty toxic and echo-chambery. While that is true, I would like to point out that since the change to how we vote, there have been less rant posts and more constructive posts, even if they are a bit baity. So the fact that posts about snowballing, towers, etc. are still reaching the top means its a real issue. As for part of Riot's justification as to how we are only a minority, being that Reddit doesn't make posts like these, its at least partially because of their strict posting rules. Anything that comes off as a rant gets deleted, and this post certainly is in part a rant. They also aren't supposed to rile up the community, but for these sort of posts to be effective, you need to do it to some extent.
P.S. Tell me if I missed something, I'm very tired and don't have the energy to proof-read/edit.