Riot didn’t make much of a stink about the League of Legends birthday last year, but it seems this year there’s going to be something of a celebration. As part of the festivities, Riot put together a timeline that follows the development of the game since October of 2009.
I think this is a pretty cool tribute to the development of the game, but I hope Riot sees the timeline like I do: a reminder that they can do better. When I look down the list of developments I see several things that I never use, a couple things that were hyped up and underwhelmed, and one real thing that has the potential to extend the life of the platform for a player.
Twisted Treeline started out strong but quickly dried up when players realized that only so many champs are actually viable on the map. With the rise of Tanky DPS I’ve been playing Treeline again, mostly because there’s more variety there, but Riot stopped worrying about balance for that map a long time ago. This one doesn’t add any life to League of Legends. It’s an occasional diversion from the big show.
Season One also looked pretty cool at the beginning. Ranked play brought us draft mode, a feature that I had really been missing prior to its release. But Season One went on so long I forgot it was even happening. In that time the game remained relatively unchanged, seeing just a few meta-shifts along the way.
Riot did start to develop a spectator mode for the game, which helped the visibility of the larger tournaments. This would be a nice injection of life for the platform, giving each player more ways to learn how to improve at the game. On the whole, though, Season One doesn’t add much to the platform for the average player.
Battle Training & Co-Op vs. AI
I have never used Battle Training and never will. I’d also say chances are good that once a player has seen the mode a couple times, they won’t be going back either.
As for Co-Op vs. AI, my experience with the mode was poor enough that I haven’t gone back. My allies constantly flamed me for any and every decision I made. I’d rather have the ragers from ranked than the trolls from this game mode. That said, I know some players enjoy it and it’s certainly kid friendly. This one seems okay for a very small subset of the player base. I would love to see more data on who is playing Co-Op vs. AI.
I’m still surprised the Tribunal made it to the live feature list before things like achievements or spectator mode. I realize Riot must have been swamped in complaints about player behavior, but for me, the Tribunal just isn’t worth the time. I can’t even imagine the amount of management it takes on the back end. And frankly, my games haven’t improved dramatically since the Tribunal released. People are still rude. People still afk. There are just too many players for this kind of system to effect dramatic change that we can see on a player by player basis.
This is the big, shiny pot of gold at the end of Riot’s timeline. When Dominion launched I played it like a fiend. I haven’t played a ton in the past couple weeks, but a few games here and there have still been fun. It’s obvious that Riot is committed to keeping this game mode balanced, which puts it ahead of Twisted Treeline as far as diversions are concerned. I don’t think Dominion is perfect, but it’s something new with totally new gameplay and I think a lot of players are enjoying it.
None of this is to say that I don’t like League of Legends. I love it. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on it, both in playing and in writing for this blog. The day is coming, though, when some shiny new toy will steal me away from LoL. When I look at this list, I don’t see much that will pull me back should my new toy grow stale. I hope Riot has a few tricks up its sleeve.