League of Legends: Covered in Patches
League of Legends is a popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game for PC. It was initially launched in 2009 and has since grown to be one of the most popular games in the world. I spent the years of 2012 and 2013 almost exclusively playing League and now I haven’t played a game in over a year. It may seem strange, but the reason I have not been interested to come back to league is because of all the patches Riot puts out on a regular basis.
Riot patches League almost every other week and it has done so for at least the past 4 years. This results in the game being changed hundreds of times and makes older versions of the game seem almost unrecognizable. Watch a game of League of Legends from 2010, and then compare it to game from 2016 and you will see how different the game looks and feels. This can be an issue when trying to watch older videos of the game to learn strategies for certain champions. If you go back to videos that are even a month old they may be irrelevant. Each time the game is changed, all champions are affected since they all interact with the changed champions even if they are not changed themselves. All these patches can hurt a player’s ability to understand the game from watching videos of other players since it is likely those videos will be outdated and not on the current patch.
League of Legends requires too much effort to learn the changes from a player who has taken a break from playing the game for a lengthy period of time. Every time I have tried to pick up and play a game after not playing for a few months, I am bombarded with new champions, items, and mechanics that are extremely overwhelming. Part of the fun of the game was creating builds each game and learning how to play my champion in certain matchups, but when the game is so vastly different from what it was a few months ago, I don’t understand all the new items enough to create my own builds. It is also almost impossible to know the ins and outs of the new champions unless you have played them, and without money it takes a lot of games to gain enough to unlock them. It would seem that to come back and enjoy the game at the level I used to play it at, I would need to invest time studying the changes and playing multiple trial games to get back into things. The changes alone ask too much of the player who has taken a break when the game was at a different place.
The constant patches also really stifles the competitive scene of the game. The players cannot become masters at the game if the rules keep changing every two weeks. It is like you have been practicing Basketball for the past few weeks every day and then suddenly the weight of the ball is slightly different, or the distance of the lines have changed. The players are forced to constantly adjust to the changes and a lot of them suffer as a result. The competitive scene of League is constantly changing with old players leaving and new players coming in with each season. This means we will never be able to see what a team can do when they become true masters of the game in its current state. The way we understand games change over time as people play and understand the game to a deeper level, but if the game constantly changes then we can never see how the people change the game when the game hasn’t changed itself.
Overall I think Riot’s decision to constantly patch League of Legends hurts the game overall. It certainly keeps the game feeling fresh if you are keeping up with it, but it really destroys the ability to master and practice the game. It requires too much of players to pick the game back up if they have taken a break, and it also makes studying older videos irrelevant as time moves on.