I've been a casual player of your game for about a year. I get in less than 10 games a week and I don’t play ranked, yet. I really enjoy playing LoL; it’s fun, competitive and has strong teamwork and strategic elements. I even enjoy watching pro players and You Tubers strut their stuff on The Rift. The effort you've put into making the game a dynamic competitive environment should be commended. However, while the game elements are strong, the parts surrounding the game are quite disappointing.
I've been playing games a long time and come across all sorts of reward, levelling, customisation and purchasing systems. The systems in LoL are clunky, outdated and don’t mirror the effort you've put into the game. You’re probably aware of this, but as each patch goes by it seems less likely that any of these issues will be addressed. Of course your emphasis should be on the game play element, but creating a fun, accessible, rewarding experience around the game enhances player experience and brings in new players.
As one game critic said: _‘It is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects’_ So, I am going to be critical of the parts of LoL that in find lacklustre. These criticisms are opinion, based on my own gaming experience and are not saying ‘LoL is bad’.
I think most players will agree tutorial and bot match ups are pretty average and in no way represent the actual game. If you only play bot games you’ll have little understanding of the underlying strategy of the game in PvP situations. Summoner Spells, Runes, Masteries, jungle tactics, warding, global objectives, these are not sufficiently covered in the tutorial or represented in bot games.
Playing to level 30 is not enough to prepare someone for competitive play, especially when ‘normal’ play puts you in a pool of players that can range from 0-500+ PvP wins. Now that the XP required to reach level 30 has been halved, there is even less preparation. There needs to be better environment for new players to come to terms with the tactics and skills required to play competitively.
Your champion skill pages are so outdated they’re actually misleading. Also, while you’re at it, insert the numbers along with the skill description. Stop relying on third party sites to give details on champ skills and bring this information on your client. It’s hard enough to understand champ skills and practice them without starting with misinformation.
I think Stonewall008 summed up LoL’s lack of tutorial and sandbox mode in this [video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_pbH1iBHHk). Trigger warning: DOTA2 content.
What does level 30 mean? You can play ranked and have unlocked all the mastery points. Why does it stop at 30? It would make sense to continue the level system to create some stratification in casual play, rather than being tossed in with players who have a lot more experience and can’t understand why you’re not performing to their expectations. The lack of stratification in casual games can create frustration for new and veteran players.
Once I reached level 30 with my first account I started another so I could get more practice in lower levels. It worked; I’m more confident and have gone back to my main account. But this is not the way it should be done. I should have been able to have that experience in my main account and expanded my champion pool there.
The problem is, as soon as you reach level 30 everyone thinks you can play well. This is definitely not the case and I can see it as a barrier to new players.
I have two rune pages, which are the pages I started with. I've managed to fill both of them by sharing runes between them. The price point for a new page is too high and tier 1 and 2 runes are irrelevant. I would rather be spending my IP on champs and I won’t get new runes because I have nowhere to put them. Also, the unlocking system is pointless; just give us all the rune slots from the beginning so we can play with it before getting to level 30. In fact, wouldn't it be better to unlock runes as you level up? They only cost IP anyway, which is an equivalent to time spent playing. It means we wouldn't have to decide between champs and runes.
Again, these are locked behind a pointless progressive barrier and there is no context to explain what they do for new players. I currently have 12 pages and I know there are players that would have more than that. As much as it is a good customisation system, it is still too convoluted. Keystones were a great addition, but I would prefer further simplification based on play style rather than champion selection. Give us pre-made selections that actually mean something to our play style. I want to spend time playing the game, not messing with Mastery Pages every time there is an update or I unlock a new champ. And again, give us complete access early on.
Hex Tech Crafting
I was excited about Hex Tech Crafting. The idea of being rewarded for playing well appealed to me and the chance of getting some free skins was pretty cool. Then I saw the restriction of [one chest per champ, per season](http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/site/2016-season-update/champion-mastery.html). So, maybe not too bad, it encourages you to play a variety of champs, over an entire season. But, it discourages you from playing a champ once you get that chest, for the entire season. It doesn't even have to be you getting an S to lock that reward away for 12 months. Your buddy can have a good game and your champ is done rewarding you for the season.
I could understand if it was once per month, but a whole season seems a bit ridiculous. To get better at LoL it’s better to specialise in a few champs and play them a lot. This system actively discourages this type of development. Getting an S rank is actually a huge achievement, regardless of how good you are with a champ. Can you imagine going into a ranked game and someone picking a champ they are sub-optimal with because they’ve already got a chest on their best champ? That is what this system encourages. Sure, they may have a smaller chance of getting a chest, but it’s better than getting an S and not getting anything for it.
For something that’s supposed to encourage diverse champ play, why is it locked for champs you don’t own? It has effectively relegated the free champ rotation to bot games only. Why would I want to play them competitively when there is no chance of a reward if I play well? The point of a reward system is to actually reward people for good play, no matter what.
I could understand the restrictions and lockouts if the rewards were pretty spectacular, but they’re not. The best bit about Hex Tech crafting is watching the disappointment on You Tuber’s faces when they open $100 worth of chests. Champion shards? Are you serious? Oh, and two types of essence so you can’t convert champ shards into essence you actually want and can use. The only good chest was the first one we got as a gift, a misleading example of the mediocrity to follow. We have to work pretty hard to open a chest. First get an S for the chest, and then win games to get key shards with an unknown drop rate. The chances of you winning games is probably going to be lower because you’ll be playing champs you haven’t got a chest with yet.
At this point, I'm assuming the system is designed to frustrate people into buying chests and keys, or if you’re like me, just ignoring it all together because it’s not worth the effort and definitely not worth your money. Also, the UI is clunky and has redundant button pushing. Open, Forge, Add to Loot. Just let me click on a chest and let the magic happen.
Just when you thought this was pretty straight forward and in no way connected to Hex Tech Crafting, patch 6.10 proves us wrong. I didn’t mind the original system, it may have been a bit easy to get to level five (30-40 games), but it was reachable and encouraged you to play a single champ. Level five meant you could be confident with the skills of that champ.
_Now there is level six and seven; levels that rely on you getting S ranks to unlock. Fair idea; in theory. You should have mad skills with a champ to get to those levels. But, if you’re playing a popular champ that has high play in high ELO, good luck, because ranks are based on regional performance.
‘It’s based on the champion and role that you just played in a game. So, for example, we look at Annie mid differently to Annie support. We take a series of performance metrics and compare how you do to all other players in your region in your champion / position combination. It is percentile driven - so earning a high score means you performed in the top x% of players on that champ in that position. The grade itself governs the point gains.’ _
So, it’s not going to be easy to get these new levels, which is fine, it shouldn’t be. But for some players it’s going to be near impossible, no matter how much they play the champ. For those that excel, all it takes is getting some S ranks and you have proven yourself worthy of next mastery level. Well, almost.
HEXTECH MASTERY: Combine Mastery tokens for a specific champ with that champ’s crafting shard, permanent loot, or blue essence to unlock their next mastery level
ZOINKS!:We’re adding a new mystery champ item to the store for RP or IP in a future patch that’ll help offset the RNG of finding champ shards and permanents in chests
I’m not even sure what those mean, but if it means it’s tied to Hex Tech Crafting, count me out. BTW, while you’re earning those extra S ranks you’re not getting those chest rewards till next season.
Skins & RP
I think Pants are Dragon summed up [my feeling on skins](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjTz3fAcOkQ). I prefer the DOTA2 customisation system (though I really dislike the game) of being able to mix and match different parts of a champ with micro-transactions. I can actually customise a champion the way I want. That kind of control is important to me and makes my gaming experience unique.
I would like to spend more money on LoL but the initial investment is just too big. I would rather spend a dollar here and there than fork out $10-20 to get a good deal on RP. Even ward skins, which no one really sees, are almost $6 for an OCE player. I’d pay $2 or $3 for one. Give us some more micro transaction options than forcing us to make that big upfront spend.
Most skins are not micro-transactions; they are pretty big transactions, especially here in OCE. Top skins are usually 1350RP, to see how much this is in dollars you can look at this comparison based on what $10 will get you:
US $10 = 1350RP
AUD $10 =1100RP
For $10, OCE players can’t get a top skin. The rationale for the price discrepancies is described in this [post ](http://boards.oce.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/announcements/MXv9uHnL-rp-adjustment-in-oceania)
The issue I have with this rationale is that global economic factors are not the controller of RP; Riot is. They set the value and have control over the price in each region. RP is not Bitcoin or represents any form of real currency. $10 to a person in Australia is the same as $10 to a person in the US and should give us equal spending power in a market that is solely controlled by the vendor. If you want to pretend that global currencies play a part in this pricing, just sell everything direct in $US and cut out RP all together.
This is going to be the final and shortest section. You only need to go to the [Player Behaviour](http://boards.oce.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/player-behaviour) part of the boards to see what the general feeling is on this subject.
Rather than focusing on punishing toxic players, why not reward positive players? Got one of those Honor Ribbons? Earn 10% more IP. Haven’t had a restriction or ban for six months? Have a rune page. Promote the good along with punishing the bad. Let toxic players know they are missing out on more than just a few games.
Thanks for reading. If you didn’t here is the TL;DR
LoL is an amazing game, but everything surrounding the game needs to be better to enhance player experience.
A casual LoL player