League of legends at its core is a game of skill and teamwork. Is having RNG in League of Legends a “bad game design” if we could still have the game without it? The answer is yes. Why risk having RNG deciding games and bring “competitive integrity” into question, when we could just remove it from League of Legends as a whole?
Saying that it is unlikely that RNG will ever impact a game of League of Legends is a very poor reason to not try to fix the system. It is a very lazy way of looking at the system where RNG doesn’t have to be involved at all. I tried very hard, and I couldn’t think of a single reason why this random fact was ever beneficial to League of Legends at all.
RNG in League of Legends comes nowadays from two major sources: drake spawns and critical strike chance. The RNG in critical strike chance is a more complex issue, however, the randomness in the drake spawns is a very easy system to be fixed. The logic that “every dragon is useful”, which Riot uses to explain and justify the RNG behind dragon spawns is extremely flawed. The dragons are obviously not at the same power level, and there are a lot of games where “clown drakes” (cloud drake) and ocean drakes are actually entirely useless.
This punishes teams that are able to take multiple ocean and clown drakes earlier, as they are not compensated for having an early hold over the game. This often drags out games where multiple ocean and clown drakes spawn, which is incredibly boring to watch as a spectator. The extremely easy way to fix this is to just buff them until they are on the level of the mountain and infernal drake. Unfortunately, tuning the numbers might not work, or it might simply take too much time. This is why I call for a new system that removes these two drakes and takes away the RNG in drake spawns. For those who want to still argue about the strength of the drakes, casters like Jatt and Papasmithy said that mountain drake and infernal drakes are the two most powerful drakes, as they are always relevant in any game scenario – taking objectives and getting kills will always be important.
A lot of people like to offer criticism or like to point out problems without offering any kind of solution. I am however not one of them, therefore I would like to present some proposals regarding the current dragon spawn issues.
The first easy solution, which could create more interesting, aggressive games, and limit the RNG in League of Legends is simple: delete the ocean and clown drakes, and have the infernal and mountain drakes alternate spawns from the beginning of the game. In this system, there is no RNG regarding drakes. You would simply have to choose which one should spawn first. Since every dragon would be very valuable, there would be a more interesting game-play, as teams are forced to make actions considering the higher importance of the objectives on the map at all times. This also allows teams to create team compositions accordingly, as they won’t be punished by the dreaded RNG: you wouldn’t get punished for having an early game team comp by a bunch of clown dragon spawns.
This also fixes the lane swaps we currently see in the competitive environment. Personally, I am fine with lane swaps existing in League, however, back in previous seasons, teams had to “pay a tax” if they decided to lane swap. In season 4, this “tax” was handling the opponent team the first dragon of the game. Now, the fact that the first drake spawn would always be a relevant one will limit the amount of lane swaps, because keeping your botlane on the bottom side of the map is a crucial factor in order to prevent giving up free dragons to the enemy. Also, even if the raw amount of lane swaps stays the same, it will still cut down their duration: it might be not that bad giving away the first infernal drake, but will teams give up an infernal AND a mountain drake just to avoid a lane match-up?
I think the elder dragon is fine in this system, however I don’t understand why it takes so long to spawn again – 10 minutes – after dying. This seems silly, as it can drag games out longer than needed. The buff should also probably last a little longer. If teams recall after killing it, odds are, the buff won’t go to much use. It is pretty easy for a team to ignore fighting and to just wave clear the minions. This forces the team with the buff to use what little time they have left to poke the enemy champions, or to immediately dive the tower. The elder dragon buff in my proposed system would be very strong, since all the individual dragons are also strong, so there might be some adjustments that have to be made, but that wouldn’t be difficult.
The second proposed change would mean that the different dragon systems Riot has introduced the last two seasons were ultimately a failure: my idea is to simply go back to the old school version where the drake used to give out gold. This makes it a highly contestable objective early, as it was in Season 4. Although by the end of the game the gold from drake would fall off, games ended quicker back then due to the early fighting over objectives by teams. Riot originally created the 5-dragon system because they wanted League of Legends to be a more team oriented game with longer game times. They got way more than they asked for, as game time really shot up over the last two seasons of competitive play.
The thing I never understand about Riot’s logic is that team-fighting requires a lot of coordination as a team. Calling out targets, peeling for carries, hard engaging and many other elements I left out are vital skills teams have to learn by working together in order to execute properly. How are these things not classified as teamwork? What Riot ended up getting by changing the system was a lot of lane swaps and long game times – a worse worse spectator experience, overall. If people really want League of Legends to become “mainstream”, or to be broadcast on TV, they should consider the fact that as it is right now, the game is not a spectator friendly “sport”. You might find lane swaps or snooze fests interesting, however, some random person flipping through the channels surely won’t.
I also wanted to touch on the casters that have to try to fill in these extremely boring lulls in games that can last over twenty minutes. I feel so sorry for these guys. I have been watching the Korean games more often since the LCK casters are very good at providing banter or interesting side discussions to fill in the void of the games. The LCS casters often get a lot of flak from the community about trying to joke too much, however, can you really blame them? Some of the games are so boring they have to do whatever they can to liven up the cast as a whole. You want in depth analysis, but there isn’t any to go around until something happens in the game. I wanted to take a chance to commend all of the League of Legends casters that have had to fill in the lulls of these games since they shouldn’t have to. I also wanted the community as a whole to think twice before flaming a caster since they have to make the best of bad situations.
Now we have to talk about removing critical chance out of League of Legends. There aren’t very good reasons to keep it into the game, and at the moment, it is stymieing the diversity of build paths with the ADC position in League of Legends. If Riot created a bunch of new balanced items, it gives them a chance to diversify the ADC meta for the first time in a long time. I honestly cannot remember the last time more than 3-4 different ADCs were truly viable. It would take a lot of work, and this is why I am actually ok with Riot taking their time with removing critical strike from the game.
It would require an overhaul on certain champions and items as well, but I think Riot should take a look into removing it from the game when they are updating it for the next season. This would give teams ample time to test the different attack damage carries with the new items. Although it is hard to trace a game won by an ADC critical striking more than the other, but it might have happened, and this calls into question “competitive integrity”. Have you seen the video of a Renekton with just one percent critical strike chance managing to hit a crit? It is a pretty hilarious video, but there is no reason why this should be possible in League of Legends.
Overall, there is no need for RNG in League of Legends, and there are a ton of solutions to the problems the game as a whole faces at the moment. I have been very critical of Riot, but I wanted to take a chance to commend them. The new system, (although not perfect) has spiced up competitive play and I hope they continue to work on this system.