League of Legends, Design, Concept, History and Future
Before starting digging inside the problem, we must do a small review to better understand where from we’re going.
Warcraft III map with great success what we all played it at one time, in one form or another, is called DotA – Defense of the Ancients.
The concept used in Warcraft III variant is one taken from a Starcraft map called Aeon of Strife. I will not go into details on this because it has no point at this moment.
DotA, as we all know it had an outstanding evolution. Initially, there were many creators who were inspired from left and right and laid the foundations of the final map that we all know today.
It began with Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and continued in the next expansion, The Frozen Throne, naming here three main pillars: Eul who had the most solid foundation for its version, Guinsoo who concealed many more heroes on the foundation of Eul,a nd, not least, IceFrog who took over DotA All Stars from Guinsoo and managed to introduce that level of balance that has propagated this Warcraft III map among e-sports.
In fact, here I wanted to get to, because the tremendous success of the map was due mostly to IceFrog, because he was the only designer who managed to balance a version of DotA until that point that could be considered an e-sport.
Guinsoo and Pendragon continued the to work together on the project that became known as League of Legends, a MOBA on an engine by itself, without the inherent limitations imposed by the World Editor and Warcraft III engines.
Their goal was to take the enormous DotA phenomenon to even higher peaks, pushing the design forward, adding elements that could not be introduced by the World Editor.
Obviously, it started from the foundation left by Guinsoo in DotA All Stars, but the balancing IceFrog’s efforts could not be ignored. After all, for this particular reason the map extended and its reputation bursted everywhere in the world due to the fact that it offers so many possibilities for strategies.
En extremely important thing must be understood: the mechanics we adored in DotA were well thought out by the designers at Blizzard – rotation speed, attack speed, animation, abilities could’ve been stopped during the cast animation, shadows dynamic environment that offers a wealth of tactical options and the list goes on.
Corroborating this with the possibilities of itemization, it reaches a point where the individual’s skills could count more than team efforts. Efforts to give these possibilities were overwhelming. Perhaps because of this IceFrog was taken by Valve who has graciously handed the invitation to lead the DotA 2 project. Nobody else could do what he did.
After we had a little more laborious intro above, we come to the issue of today.
As pointed out earlier, I believe that the people who put the foundation of League of Legends wanted to do exactly what IceFrog did, but things went to the next level. Those were separators elements from other games of genre (Masteries and Summoner Spells) but they needed to keep the general direction of the brain’s complex design project called “DotA 2”.
What do I mean by this?
If we analyze the early League of Legends, we’ll find the following:
- although there are so called “specialized” champions (e.g Ryze not sparing rations have ever had the skills Attack Damage) from the beginning they wanted to introduce an extra level of customization through masteries, summoner spells besides itemization that they had at hand.
- in the beginning, League of Legends didn’t present this bloody structure called “holy trinity”, well known in MMos for tanks, dps and heal. We find that neither thought so, they wanted the players to innovate and, at least, the games were really random in terms of composition.
- due to the fact that there wasn’t this forced introduction of “holy trinity” , you got to see some pretty weird itemization options on certain champions, but that does not mean that the games weren’t fun.
Like I said, they wanted to get going with IceFrog‘s map – to offer true champions customization options, different paths for each one and the most important, in my opinion, to keep alive the element of “awesomeness” that is torching inside a DotA game.
Unfortunately, they broke something in the process. By their refusal to provide real options of itemization, they were forced to set a limit and stopped at runes, masteries and summoner spells. Again, we see that the this particular way broke huge chunks of their direction of design.
It reached a point where there was no real customization options. There is no way to play a champion other than in a certain way , you are forced to play the same way with every season, the road began to narrow more and more.
They wanted to offer the option of customization because they were stubborn not to do the itemization and were forced to remain in the runes, masteries and summoner spells area.
The road was a difficult one. They continued to develop DotA champions old archetype without offering counter-play possibilities that existed in DotA. They just woke up that doesn’t work that way. They continued to change direction and restore the beautiful pawns to their places, because it is easier to do that balancing if each one has a well-defined role. You do not have to struggle adding counter-play options since the enemy champion will always do the same thing and you always play the same role.
Holy trinity is the balancing option for the poor. They could not continue on IceFrog’s way, because they stubborn not to implement elements from DotA and we will continue playing a boring and predictable game…
Corroborating lack of “brass balls” with the need to build an exagerating user-friendly product, it reached a point where they cannot solve the huge amount of CrowdControls which we were offered to the place it is now “tons of HP” in less than 20 minutes.
Anyway, I’ve only touched the surface of the two problems.
- Design direction has led to a misinterpretation of customization.
- Construction of the new archetype does not match what existed in the beginning. and these two thing heavily collide and it’s impact is in every League of Legends game.
Does League of Legends still have a customization? How do you see this problem?