> The more complex a game, the harder it is to balance.
> Therefore: every element and system that ADDS complexity is primarely problematic, as it makes balance harder.
> However, the element is tolerated due to the benefits it offers.
> As a result we can conclude: Every single element that brings more problems than use to the game should be removed immedeatly to assure overall quality and an easier job for the balance team.
This is pretty much the basis on which my call to abolish the whole Runes/Mastery/Whatever-System stands on. Not revert to how it was before, not make minor changes, but get rid of it ENTIRELY. And there's good reasons for that!
1.) Runes need to be significant in power, or they are unnoticed and therefore useless. This however results in a conflict with the actual experience the game itself is trying to deliver as a power-fantasy specific to the champion you are playing.
2.) Offensive Runes are always the prefered go-to option as damage is the way of effectively winning the game - the other runes are just utility so either you can do more damage, the enemy deals less, or someone else on your team can do more damage thanks to you. But why jump through extra hoops when you might as well just take the damage-option, as this is what the game requires as a win condition? Combined with the fact that Runes need to be noticeable to function, this leads to inevitable power creep, noticable now given just how easy people can now delete each other starting at level 3.
3.) And worst of all: the existence of a Runes-System is a balancing nightmare, as a) no champion must be broken with ANY sort of rune combination and b) to not be a joke in of itself, there must be no "optimal runes" for every champion, or the whole idea of playstyle customization, the absolute primary reason we have this system in place to begin with, falls apart completly. Because what is the point in customization if all deviations from the norm are strictly worse in every single aspect?
So that was the problematic parts of the system, but what about it's benefits? In point three I mentioned "playstyle customization", and maybe in the early days of League that might have been an issue, you know, with only 40 champions and all, but in this day and age? When we have 141+ champions? If you do not like the playstyle of one, go play another, it's not like you have at least literally two dozend choices per position. Not to mention the diversity the item system was supposed to offer to begin with. So in this day an age, calling the Runes system "necessary" for this goal is downright wrong. I might have made sense in the past, but the game, with it's roster having more that tripled in size, has simply outgrown it - and at this point I have the feeling we are jzst sticking to the idea because of "we have always done it like this, so why should it be any different?", and that's not what the guideline for design should be.
I doubt many people would miss Runes in the long run, and so many issues could be fixed: damage creep, balancing troubles, champions could be balanced more directly, and the power can be put back into items and, much more important: CHAMPION KITS. This is a game about champions. Not runes, not items, but about THOSE CHARACTERS THAT DO COOL THINGS. And it sucks with the current system because as of right now it all just boils down to "who can abuse the strongest rune currently". You are not playing with "cool champions" anymore, but with generic "rune-proxies", mere vehicles for another system with no value or identity in of itself. And given that League IS undoubtetly a game about champions, that is A BAD THING.
So how about we just trim the hedge a little and cut back on the systems that do more harm than good? I mean, the balance team sure won't have any issues with this, as it effectively makes their job at least easier by a third. Instead of having to juggle Champion Kits, Runes, and Item-systems and their relation to another, they could now just easily drop one ball and make sure the other, much more important ones, fly well.
Also Riot, if you really wanna claim the casual crowd, as some on the boards here accuse you of doing, getting rid of that system will be more efficient than every single ingame design-decision. Because all the knownledge needed to work through optimize such a system for your champ, especially from a newbie perspective? Gone. League would become a simpler game focussing on the things it is supposed to do good, and it would smoothen out the learning curve a little. And all that without stepping on the toes of the self-proclaimed "non-casuals" as they probably wouldn't miss seeing the systems go as long as their champions can still function without it.
So no matter what perspective you see this from, the abolishment of the Rune-system has only benefits:
* For the Dev-Side, balancing becomes way easier
* For the New-Player side, the game becomes smoother to get into
* For the "regulars" increased game quality
Benefits for keeping this outdated concept alive? None, unless you like having systems in your game that just annoy literally everyone, players, newlings, and devs alike.