Tag Archives: balance

League of Legends’ Sustain Problem

There’s a pursuit that’s been going on in high level League of Legends for years. No one brings it up, no one talks about it, I’m not even sure most people realize what they’re doing when they’re looking for it, but it is constantly in play: it is the persistent search for the next great source of free or cheap early game sustain.

You could argue that this goes back to the days of Doran’s Blade, Crystalline Flask, or even Long Sword/Boots + Health Pots, but for the first half of League of Legends’ lifespan the options remained fairly stagnant. It was really the introduction of Warlord’s Bloodlust at the start of Season 6 that made people realize just how powerful early game sustain could be. And thus began a cycle: high-level players would discover a source of early game sustain, one that was cheap or free, and they would use it to bridge champions’ weak early games, or make their oppressive laning even stronger, by mitigating opponents’ ability to trade against them.

How Did We Get Here?

If sustain is such an early-game inhibitor and Riot wants to encourage early-game aggression and player-to-player engagements, why have meaningful early game sustain at all? Well, the answer is simple: sustain feels good. Continue reading League of Legends’ Sustain Problem

Turret Plating and Early-Game Variance: How well did Riot manage the metagame for the 2019 spring split?

Turret plating was introduced to League of Legends for the 2019 season as a way to improve and extend laning phase. That change, along with some other factors, had the potential for huge impact on the pace and metagame of pro LoL. After a full split of domestic and international play, it’s time to evaluate the results to see whether Riot’s changes produced the intended effects, and just as importantly, whether or not they created any collateral damage to the game’s balance.

Spoiler: things worked out pretty well!

Where did the shift come from?

In a development update going into the preseason, Riot stated:

“[Turret plating provides] a more protected and slightly longer laning phase, but still rewards those early push or strong lanes types with the opportunity to destroy a lot of barricade segments and reap the gold rewards.”

Essentially, the goal was to make the first 15 minutes of the game less volatile, but still give it a high influence over the outcome of the game. There was also a sub-goal of bringing down game lengths, partly seen in Riot saying that they wanted to see “decided games resolve faster.”

The goal was not to make the laning phase or early game a more influential part of the overall game flow, and that is the most important aspect of what we’ll evaluate below. Continue reading Turret Plating and Early-Game Variance: How well did Riot manage the metagame for the 2019 spring split?

Unstable Meta: Who Benefits and Who Suffers from Patch 5.18?

On August 19, Riot Games announced that the 2015 League of Legends World Championships would be played on patch 5.18. This was literally game-changing, because every competitive region but China had wrapped up its professional play on either 5.14 or 5.15, just before patch 5.16’s “Juggernauts” changes ushered in a sweeping set of item additions and champion reworks, noticeably shifting the metagame.

How will patch 5.18 affect the Worlds landscape? How do teams adapt? Does a brand new meta narrow the gap between top and bottom teams, or widen it? Who will benefit most from patch 5.18, and who will suffer?

Here are some thoughts to chew on as we await the full answers to those questions.

Continue reading on Unikrn