For my Champ of the Week features I always try to play a mix of normal and ranked games because I think it’s important to see how each champion plays in the different environments. In my experience, ranked games tend to be a bit more focused – teams attempt to pick solid team comps, fill each of the roles, and at least someone on the team will try to ward and control dragon. Normal games are a bit less organized – I see very little warding, team comp is kind of all over the place, and map control isn’t as important as getting kills. On the whole, I think normal games tend to be much more fast paced and much more fun, but that’s been changing and I think the tournaments are to blame.
Lately my normal games have been against focused players with tournament comps. I just got out of a game against a Rammus/Anivia/Xin Zhao/Lee Sin/Soraka. Was it a perfect comp? No, but it was way out of my team’s league, and the fact that they also had Clairvoyance made it even worse. The game went long, mostly because I think it was full of decent players, but it was insanely boring. Let’s face it, the cautious play seen in high-ELO matches just isn’t that fun in practice. Kill counts are painfully low and most of the game is a dance about who will initiate a fight. That’s not what got me into League of Legends in the first. I fell in love with LoL because it was active and engaging and rewarded aggressive gameplay.
I’m not complaining that the game is getting more challenging. In fact, I would love it if that were the case. I would love to have closer matches. I would love to see less surrender votes. Instead, I’m seeing slow tedious games that make me reconsider playing more than a game in each sitting. The excitement is rapidly disappearing from the game as more players turn to the tournament meta.
The only cause I can see for the shift in gameplay is the accessibility of tournament streams. I think it’s wonderful that League’s competitive game is getting a lot of attention, but it’s making the lower ELOs a boring mess to play. As this dominant metagame trickles further down the ELO chart it becomes increasingly important for Riot to make major adjustments to the game. Support has to get nerfed. Tanky DPS has to go away. Riot needs to address all of the attrition reduction mechanics in the game, not just the new ones.
What do you think? Are you seeing the same comps every game? Does the game feel less exciting to you or is it just me?