The Separation of Church and League

Posted: January 28, 2012 by qqwerthy in General, Metagame

League of Legends is one of the largest online competitive games in the world today. With so many games played daily, there are great moments, rage moments, epic wins and total fails. But there are two completely different divisions of this game.

The League: This is where everyone plays, good old Summoner’s Rift. Countless hours are spent here perfecting champions, tweaking item builds, practicing match ups , and LAST HITTING.

The Church: This is where everyone prays to. This is where we all want to be. These are the guys we all watch on a Sunday afternoon. The Pros, teams like CLG, TSM, SKgaming, Dignitas, Fnatic, etc.

And it is about time that they get separated.



Riot games has done an excellent job in the development and continual tweaking of League of Legends to create a fun and dynamic game. Their philosophy has always been to create a highly rewarding environment where players feel good for doing things correctly. Nothing worse is playing perfectly only to lose a game. So in that regard Riot has been successful and satisfying to the player base.

With that being said, this makes for extremely boring professional level games.

I’ve watched every major tournament since DreamHack, I constantly watch the Pro-teams stream scrims, and this recent IEM at Kiev got me thinking about this current meta which has been named “the snowball meta”

For those unfamiliar with what this means, the snowball meta describes the tendency of having a champion win very early game and progressively get more powerful until the opponents are left with no option or counter and lose. And by winning early game it could be as simple as making them leave lane to heal for 1 wave worth of creeps and that can snowball into a victory.

Like I said previously this is a great thing for the average player since it rewards players for playing well. But it makes watching professional level games exceptionally one sided.

How many times have you watched a match and the scoreboard is 4-2, and one team has 3 towers down, the other team has 1 or none down? Just about all of them. And you know how those games end, the team with their outer towers down lose.

The only pro-game I can recall where I honestly didn’t know the outcome until well into late game was the recent match of Against All Authority vs. Sypher at IEM Kiev. But thats not because both teams were evenly matched, it is because both teams made slight errors and the other team was able to capitalize and gain a little momentum.

And theres the problem. At the pro level people don’t make mistakes often, if at all. Usually the first mistake snowballs into a defeat.

Think about it like this, how boring would it be to watch a soccer game and one team scores within 20 minutes and the next 75 minutes don’t matter because you already know who is going to win. Thats what league feels like right now. First team to get a tower usually wins, first team to get 3 towers almost always wins. Shoutcasters constantly talk about how teams can still turn it around and what they need to do, but its never enough and it never happens. Teams need a way to make comebacks.

That is why I propose a Separation of Church and League. There is no reason why the Pros should be playing with the same set of rules as everyone else.

The tournament realm should have different mechanics that affect gameplay in a drastic way.

The way I see it there are a few different approaches to this problem: Changes need to be made to either Gold, Death, Timers, Towers, or Items

All advantages in League of Legends boil down into two things: Time and Money… and since Time is Money, let’s talk about Gold.

Gold in league of legends translates directly into the power of your character, more money more items more power. The gold counter on a shoutcasters stream is the main meter of determining who is winning.
So losing teams need a way to gain gold faster than winning teams if they want to make a comeback. But you can’t just give them gold passively or make their minions worth more, that would be unbalanced.
The best way to do this is to increase the killing spree gold bonus back up to 1,000. This would allow teams that are winning to maintain an advantage, while allowing the losing team to turn the game around and even the playing field if they make a great play. Maybe even have killing sprees be unlimited on tournament realm.

Another idea would be to change the way sprees work. The amount of gold you are worth per kill should be increased. So getting 1 kill would mean you are now worth 350 instead of 330. This would allow players that are behind to catch up faster.

Conversely I think it would be good to make repeated kills worth less faster. For example, after your first death you are no longer worth 273 gold instead you’d be worth 250, 200, 145, 90, etc. Perhaps kills should even be worth less to start. Maybe start at 200 instead of 300. This would mean a lane that is losing would lose less, making the snowball effect less drastic.

Also it would truly separate the pros from top 2000 elo players. Top players are good at getting kills and kills generate gold. So killing for the sake of killing is good. But if kills weren’t worth that much gold then the real advantage of a kill would be the time a player is spent dead and what a team can do with that. Pro players would need to utilize that time more critically to gain advantage. Instead of just gain an advantage through gold, the Pros would need to take jungle buffs, take dragon, or take towers in that small time window.

This brings me to my next topic Death and Timers. If you make Death timers universally lower then the advantage of killing is reduced. It allows the loser to get back into lane and continue farming. It also makes each second that more important, which would really define Pro-level play.

But perhaps there is a better way to go than just universally lowering death timers. What if death timers increased with the amount of total gold you had earned? The winning team wouldn’t be too negatively affected by this because winners don’t typically die. But this would mean a losing team is dead for less time so they can get back up and defend. Also in the event of the losing team turning the tide it would afford them more time to push objectives and make that comeback.


The next potential change would be to Towers.

Towers are a hard thing to mess with because they are crucial to the game. The best idea I came up with was this.
Picture top lane.
Blue team takes down Purple Outer Turret. From that point on Blue Outer turret takes 1 damage every 10 or 5 seconds.
If Blue takes out Purple Inner Turret, then Blue Outer Turret takes 1 point of damage every second, if it falls then Blue Inner Turret takes 1 damage every 5 or 10 seconds.
If Blue takes out Purple Inhibitor Turret, then Blue Outer Turret takes 10 or 5 damage every 1 second, then Blue Inner Turret takes 1 damage every second, then Blue Inhibitor Turret takes 1 damage every 10 or 5 seconds.

What this would do is allow a losing team to turtle for a little bit to maybe get back into the game. It also gives Pro players incentive to push an advantage to the maximum before their towers are automatically downed. Should create exciting gameplay.

The last, and probably most important topic, Items.
Early game items set the pace for the rest of the game. They make early ganks happen, or deny the enemy team completely. Of course I am talking about those magical items called wards. To make the game more exciting and not so one sided the number of wards purchasable at level 1 should be limited.

My vote is for 1 ward at the start of the game. That makes it a critical ward, how is it going to be used? Use it for a jungle invasion, use it for jungle protection, use it to protect bot lane, or use it if you think an early gank is coming up top. Only 1 ward every 3 minutes should be purchasable up to the 9 minute mark. I use this because at around 9 minutes bot lane should be level 6 and have their ultimates, meanwhile mid and top should be well past 6. This would give a lot of ganking opportunity.

Also perhaps make the first oracle only purchasable after the 12 minute mark. Giving teams the ability to contest map dominance. It might also recreate a niche for champs that grant map vision, like the now underplayed Ashe.

The last item worth discussing is health pots. You tried nerfing them and it wasn’t enough. So why not limit the maximum that you can have in your inventory at any time to 2 or 1 at a time.


This is all just food for thought. So to Riot I say, try some of these ideas. Play with the client. Bounce ideas off the pros. Take feed back from the community. Set up a small scale online tourney with some of these new rules/mechanics, have the advertising donate to charity, just to test it.

Worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work out and you revert to the old patch before a real Tournament.

And a side note, if you want to change the flash meta, limit the number of summoners able to select flash to only 3 per team.

  1. qqwerthy says:

    Also there is a poll up on League forums. Check it out

  2. Jonathan says:

    I’m sorry, but these ideas are seriously atrocious. Most of these handicap a player for doing well… which besides being totally counter-intuitive, makes no sense. Limiting starting items is not the way to stop snowballing. The only idea I could possibly go with is lowering the base amount of gold earned per kill, as this could definitely lessen the snowball effect without handicapping anybody. I dunno how necessary that really is, though.

  3. damndirtycat says:

    I think the Dominion game mode demonstrates some of your points brilliantly, qqwerthy. The reduced death timers, no wards, and time limited oracle makes for very exciting gameplay and is hardly the snoozefest of farming that occurs in most game. Changes like this on Summoner’s Rift would stop the farm meta and bring League more in line with its more exciting competitors, DotA and HoN, without changing the dynamic differences it brings to the table.

  4. Badger says:

    But for some reason, the community hates Dominion. Most players have less than 20 Dominion games, and almost immediately dismissed it as crap – probably because the pros do not play Dominion.

  5. xenocidebrm says:

    I think that these ideas are solid in some regards, but I disagree with some of the execution. You talk a lot about limiting the number of items, but I think there must be better ways to incentivise players to not do the things you don’t like without setting artificial hard limits. Limits only decrease the amount of creativity and variance that we see from game to game, which I think makes things more boring to watch. Also, while some things like increased streak gold seem sound, I agree with Jonathan that turret damage just seems to punish winning players and take something they value (their towers’ health) out of their control.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s