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League of Legends: Pro players, an obstacle for developers? A developer takes stock

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Game News League of Legends: Pro players, an obstacle for developers? A developer takes stock

League of Legends has been part of the landscape for over 10 years now. Popular, competitive, closely followed by developers and constantly evolving, the title has established itself as the symbol of esports. But is the professionalization of competition a problem for developers?

The secret to the success of League of Legends lies in several things. First, its principle: two teams compete with different characters, and try to destroy the opposing base.

League of Legends: the balancing puzzle

The idea is simple and effective for anyone who has taken the time to understand what is happening. Then, its profusion of Champions, always more numerous, which do not cease to evolve the meta of the game, along with balance patches. But the development of these would be made difficult by professional players.

The phenomenon has been observed on several levels, the meta being different depending on the ranks, but has only rarely been addressed by the developers. A situation that has recently changed, thanks to a personal stream made by August ‘Riot August’ Browning, one of the main creators champions. The latter began by explaining that in reality, it is the practice that guides the patchesand not the objective functioning of the champions, which sometimes creates strange situations:

There was a period where Caitlyn didn’t appear in any pro matches, but we thought she was OP and would be picked by the pros. We have made a small improvement only intended for competition. It went from 0 to 100% spawn rate overnight. Then we had to (decrease her performance) even more than we had improved her) so that she wouldn’t be in this situation.

So there was a moment (…) when the professionals were not choosing the champion “correctly” (…) She should have been chosen in her basic state. What has changed is not its power, which has changed little. What has changed is the perception we had of her.

The problem with adapting champions to practice is that it doesn’t always show in matches, August Borwning explains that a character may be 5% stronger objectivelyhe will be ever less efficient than an inferior champion on which the best players have trained. Also, and within the competitive scene itself, it is difficult to do tests to evolve the meta without the intervention of Riot:

Pros don’t want to practice against non-meta comps. Let’s say your team develops an alternative strategy and tries to use it (…). Opposing players may get angry and say something like “Why are you playing this troll stuff?”. You make workouts even less enjoyable. (…)

As training is limited, players therefore tend to remain cautious, and therefore not to innovate at the meta level, and which limits the panel of champions used. But Riot still hopes to narrow down the number of changes made for the pro scene. The perfect balance of the game, it is not yet for tomorrowand it’s not even sure if Riot can reach it.

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