Thursday, November 7, 2013

League of Legends Season 4: Hopes & Suggestions

Magma Chamber? A dream or possibility in Season 4?
With Season 3 coming to a close in the near future, I reflect on the season of the past. I can't believe it's been a whole season since I have started this blog. I have definitely achieved my goals, which is actually nothing I would argue this article, this season and am looking forward to playing and writing about League of Legends in the future. However, with Season 4 not quite here I thought I would write an article about my hopes for Season 4 in regards to this game, personally and technically.

See my hopes for Season 4 after the jump!
The Tier and Division System 

If you've read anything about Solo Queue, etc. that I have written you'll know how I feel about this system. To be blunt, as someone who has played 200+ games of solo queue, I feel like this system is absolutely garbage in more than one dimension. Particularly, it fails to do two things that any ranking system of a game should do: ranking, and recognizing.

Take a look at the picture. The fact that this is even possible is INSANE.

A ranking system should be able to appropriately rank their players. This is the fundamental aspect of any ranking system (hell, it is so fundamental it is part of the name for fucks sake). That means that a player who is 100,000th should be higher, in terms of the system, than a player who is 200,000th and the system should accurately portray this. Unfortunately, in the Season 3 system what a player is seen to be is different from what they actually are due to how Tier changes are done. The fact that a player can't drop a division, given that they actually keep playing, means that a player who is in Bronze V can actually be higher on the ladder than a player who is in Diamond V but is not represented so. This. Is. Fucking. Garbage I am absolutely appalled at the fact that Riot thought this would make for a good ranking system. Sure, the Season 3 system is all nice and dandy to "encourage players to play more solo queue" but you don't sacrifice a ranking system's fundamental features for supplementary features. If you wanted to encourage players to play more solo queue, you should have given players more material incentive to play (I don't know, maybe give players a permanent border for the season when they reach a new division?) I'm not even going to mention how players in Challenger are getting fucked by Riot this season. These players have proven themselves to be the elite of the elite in their region and can still be denied Challenger rewards.

I'm not even going to go into the huge sociological mistakes Riot has made in terms of how they reward proper play in Division 5. The employee at Riot with the PHD in psychology (I'm very sure they hire these kind of people) should hand his degree back to the College he graduated from so his professors can shred it and use it to feed the undergraduates. If I was Brandon Beck I would fire the entire division who created this system; unfortunately, I am not because if I was this system would never be put in the first place. Anyways, enough with the rant. It is clear that the Season 3 system fails to properly rank players. Sure, players MMR properly ranks players similarly to the previous ELO system; however, a ranking has always been, and will continue to be in any competitive game, transparent. You don't see FIDE daring to tell Magnus Carlsen that he's "somewhere in the top 100" and that he can be dropped from the top 100 because he didn't play a match this week.

Not only has the Season 3 system failed to appropriately rank players transparently, but it's also failed to recognize it's players. As someone who has achieved the "best of North America" tier of Diamond, I actually feel like my ELO is worse this season than it was in the previous one. The fact is, Diamond is no longer Diamond. Diamond is Platinum, Platinum is Gold, Gold, is Silver, Silver is Bronze, and Bronze is <1200 ELO. I do not feel a sense of recognition just because the Tier system is so twisted and warped that it has actually changed the meanings of the Tiers. There are actually as many Diamond players this season as there are Platinum players. As such, the feelings of recognition are actually falsified to boost peoples egos. The diamond players this season, I would argue, are actually worse than the gold players from last season. I played with better players last season when I was grinding to platinum than I did this season when I had Diamond III MMR.

What kind of competitive game company sacrifices a traditional, transparent ranking system to stroke the egos of their players?

As such, my biggest hope for Season 4 is for Riot to abolish this system and create a proper, ranking system.

Jungle Balance

Despite the two week period where SoTLE Blue Build Ezreal was rampant, I would say that Riot actually created a very fun jungle meta this season. We saw a very large pool of champions played and used in competitive play from Volibear to Nasus to Zac to Elise to Evelyn to Lee Sin. Of course, a lot of this is due to the influence of yours truly, Diamondprox, but this doesn't take away from the fact that the structure allowed these champions to be played and gain traction in the game.

Whenever there are big jungle changes, usually during season switches, there is always discussion on creating a diverse variety of effective and efficient jungle champions that can be played. Of course, people always want to be allowed to "carry from the jungle." Personally, I have a huge feud to grind with these individuals who say this because that statement is, for the lack of a better word, retarded. First, how does one even define "carry;" the definitions of carrying different from every player and division. Second, I firmly believe that junglers can carry from the jungle now. Hell, even supports can carry. However, this is because I believe that carry doesn't imply that you have to be the one taking the kills and doing the damage. I believe that carrying is doing your role above and beyond what is expected from you.

With that being said, I feel like Riot will once again try to allow more junglers more diversity. However, without tackling the fundamental conditions that plagued the past seasons, Riot is going to find themselves with the same problems. Of course, one can't really say that Riot is actually trying to allow every champion in the game to be able to jungle effectively and play their defined role efficiently out of the jungle. Riot will always have pre-determined concepts that should be applied to the game.

I guess to answer my initial question, my hope is that this season Riot doesn't try to implement crazy changes to appease the crowds. Instead they work towards reforming the current system such that junglers have sustainable gold incomes without sacrificing incentive to apply map pressure.

Some suggestions include:

  1. Increasing gold and experience from camps, however decreasing the respawn times 
    1. Make camps give more gold and experience over all. This gives junglers more incentive to clear camps but not give up all pressure they can create. A proper rhythm of jungling can be created with this method. 
  2. Make camp difficult scale with time, making camps more difficult overall
    1. Camps are too easy to do at the moment. If i'm playing something like Kayle mid, I can easily clear the wave then take a camp before losing a single CS in the lane. This incentivizes junglers to gank instead of farm because the team doesn't lose money when they gank but the team loses opportunity cost when they farm. 
  3. Emphasis the damage given by upgraded Machete items
    1. Increasing the percentage based damage on Machete will allow camps to be strictly jungle specific. Laners who want to take camps be punished such that the will lose lane CS for a camp. 
  4. Don't allow junglers to have a larger influence on the game than they already have 
    1. Junglers already have a very huge influence on the game. Don't give them more gold to allow them to control objectives, determine early game pressure, and be huge threats in team fights. Riot needs to remember there are four other players in the game too. 
  5. Make baron a reward, not an objective;
    1. Too many times we see games are completely one sided because the defensive advantage of towers is mitigated by Baron baits, teams who want to press their advantage should have to do so dangerously. 

Personal Goals

As for my personal goals for Season 4: I hope I retain my Damond and, finally, be able to play a game with or against TheOddOne. Hopefully, I can build my personality in the League of Legends community up. I am going to be focusing on studies and work for the majority of Season 4, so I probably won't have any eSports related goals.

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