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League of Legends just hit 100 million players but here’s why I walked away

League of Legends is a massive success with equally massive issues.

league of legends

League of Legends is a massive success with equally massive issues.


If you have been following the news, you may have heard that League of Legends hit 100 million worldwide players. That is an amazingly large player-base and absolutely should be applauded.

However, with all the fanfare and celebration, I want to point out that I effectively stopped playing League of Legends earlier in the year. I feel that anyone hearing the news that this IS the game to play also needs to know what to expect from the company behind the game as well.

I started playing League of Legends in June of 2011. I know this because when I first started, Leona and Wukong were just debuting. For the next 5 years, I played this game whenever time permitted. I spent over $1100 in the game and I can honestly say that with all the time I put into it, the money was worth it.

A little over a year ago, I noticed that people I had been playing with for almost half a decade started to drop off. A few friends left because they received bans, which they deserved. Many other people I played with left because they felt the game wasn’t for them anymore. At first, I thought that notion was silly but I spent some time reporting on professional play and I began to see where some of the issue was. Somehow, over the course of the last five years, League of Legends stopped being a game for everyone.

All these champions, but only 25% were playable

LeagueOFLegends

To explain that odd statement, it’s important to know that there are 154 different champions in League of Legends. These champions fill five different roles and have a skill set that is designed to make them unique and successful in their role.

A long time ago, my friends and I used to “theory-craft” by trying to use different champions in roles not originally intended for them. This was a lot of fun and we found some incredibly powerful combinations by doing this. Initially, this was something that Riot Games actively encouraged, as the ebb and flow of power sometimes made a champion less effective in their assigned role. I even played one of these roles in a game with Riot staff, but was surprised when I heard them comment that using the character in that manner needed to be fixed.

Turns out, that more often than not, these alternate character roles were getting patched out of the game. Eventually, a Riot member confirmed that playing a character in a role that they weren’t clearly created for could result in punishment. To this day I suspect it has a lot to do with the professional scene. Complexity would mean that there’d be more choices and that would make pro games much harder to keep up with if there wasn’t an abbreviated meta.

Your experience depends on the efforts of 4 other players

league of legends

Riot then gave their behavioral system an overhaul. The way the system used to work allowed players to review reports and basically confirm the player was an issue or that the report was without merit. It was by no means a perfect system, but I know many of us hoped there was a Riot-backed catchall in the back end that could filter out things that got through the crack.

Eventually Riot switched over to a mostly automated system. In my experience, this has allowed people to game the report system and use it to their advantage. I played with a friend that told another player that wasn’t working with the team that he wouldn’t help him if he continued to play how he was. The player’s friends were the other 2 members of our team and they announced that my friend was saying inappropriate things. The system automatically punished him after the reports were filed after the match. There was too much power in toxic players’ hands. My friend is no angel and had gone off the handle before in the past but he was clearly punished in a situation he did nothing wrong in.

lol

Toxicity is a huge issue in League of Legends as well. A normal game can take up to an hour or so to play and there are players that will go out of their way to make sure that you feel like all the time you spent in a match is a waste. If you get stuck in a situation like that, you are forced to deal with the abuse until the end of the match or you may be punished for leaving the game. If a player leaves the game, you are permanently down until the end of the match as well. This especially sucks when you are down a player or two but the enemy team isn’t good so the game gets dragged out before your eventual defeat.

After doing this over the course of a few years, you begin to wonder what else you could have done in the 30 minutes you were absolutely not having fun. When I tried to convince new players to join and play, many were turned off by how they were treated as they tried to learn the game at low levels. It’s absolutely trial by fire.

I still had fun for 5 years though

league of legends

The last time I played league was late May. In all fairness, I’ve heard a lot about some new things implemented that maybe will fix some of the issues I dealt with that caused me to stop playing. I don’t want to dissuade anyone from actually getting into League of Legends, but instead want people to know that while the game is wildly popular, there’s some major issues. I did reinstall the game right before writing this, but I still haven’t been able to convince myself to play the game.

Have you had any experiences with League of Legends? Are you still playing or did you move on too? Let us know!

Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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