Why Summoner’s Rift Isn’t Fun

Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley

Summoner’s Rift is the main game mode of League of Legends and is the map that is played competitively by professional gamers. Unfortunately, it is also one of the worst game modes in League of Legends. Such a bold statement may initially shock the conscience so read on before angrily commenting, dear League player. Here are five reasons why I believe Summoner’s Rift is simply not a good mode.

1) It’s Too Slow Paced

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Summoner’s Rift is excruciatingly slow paced and boring. Every Summoner’s Rift game plays out in basically the same way. The first 20 minutes of each game you walk in circles last hitting minions to farm gold. You barely ever actually engage in full-fledged combat with enemy players during this time frame other than to poke and harass in order to force them to recall so they lose out on farming experience and gold from last hitting minions. There might be a handful of kills early on if someone gets overly aggressive and gets caught out but otherwise it’s pretty much a PvE game in that you’re killing minions. That is boring.

The game doesn’t even actually start until the laning phase is over and the match progresses into the team fight phase. Now you’re actually playing League of Legends. Unfortunately, early team fights are too often determined by who has farmed the most gold by last hitting minions in the laning phase. More often than not this means the entire match is therefore determined by who was able to last hit better. I don’t want to pit my last hitting skills against someone else’s, I want to actually face them in combat and determine who the better player is THAT way. Maybe the name of this map should be changed to Last Hitter’s Rift.

When you think about it, last hitting doesn’t even make sense from a lore standpoint let alone gameplay wise. Why would your unit walk around in circles, merely observing while the minions they are supposedly battling alongside are fighting for their lives, only to spring into action when an enemy minion suffers catastrophic injuries and is close to death? Players should earn gold proportionally based on the amount of damage they have inflicted upon a minion. This would be much more realistic and encourage you to actually fight alongside your minions rather than stand around waiting to last hit.

2) Ganking Doesn’t Take Skill

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I’m sorry to be blunt but ganking doesn’t take skill to get a kill. Ambushing someone puts you at a significant advantage in terms of combat and means that you will likely be able to kill them even if that player is far superior to you. That is why insurgents ambush American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. American troops are better equipped and better trained. They are better soldiers in every measurable sense. And yet American soldiers are unfortunately still able to be killed because they get ambushed. Not even the best training in the world and constantly maintaining vigilant awareness can prevent EVERY ambush. This real world example goes to show that ambushing doesn’t take skill to be successful.

The same holds true in video games like League of Legends. Ambushing someone in LoL doesn’t take skill, especially if you are using multiple people to gank. I was playing Caitlyn earlier this week and utterly dominating my lane (against Vayne and Alistar). Then I got ganked by an Annie and a Master Yi, who both ulted me. The Vayne I was facing in lane also ulted. I first caught wind of the incoming gank when Vayne ulted and came at me, because I had been bullying her all game thus far so her suddenly getting aggressive was unusual. Then suddenly Master Yi comes charging out of the river bush like a bat out of hell, having already popped his ult. I used 90 Caliber Net to put some distance between me and him but obviously Yi can’t be slowed while in his ult so it didn’t help as much as it normally would have. I had to burn my Flash to get away from him but then here comes Annie, popping out of the jungle near my lane turret. She ults me and I died in one hit. Three ults and multiple enemies ganking me isn’t skill. Yes ganking is part of the game but perhaps it shouldn’t play such an integral role. For example, there are no bushes in lanes on Dota 2 and yet that game plays just fine.

3) Feeding Makes Games Unbalanced

Feeding shouldn’t be a thing. I don’t just mean intentional feeding by trolls but the ability for a champion to become “fed” in general. Let’s be honest, the fact a player can feed off weaker teammates and then become too powerful for YOU to fight yourself is stupid. In the game where I was Caitlyn, their Annie was 7/0 before she ever even came on my screen. I was only 2/0. At that point how am I supposed to kill her now? It was impossible. She was simply too fed. Why should she be rewarded for bullying weaker players? Why should I be punished for it? I’m not even sure how to fix this one. Perhaps players shouldn’t earn so much gold for champion kills but then last hitting minions would be even more important.

4) Games Take Too Long

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I play a lot of Dominion and a Dominion game lasts anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. I only started playing Summoner’s Rift again just recently and the shortest game I’ve had was half an hour. The longest was almost an hour and a half. This is simply way too long for one game. Who wants to be stuck in the same game for an hour and a half? Nobody. Especially if your team is behind and you’re losing. When a game drags on like that and your team is behind, it’s just not fun anymore. You try to surrender and your team won’t. Then you don’t want to play anymore and just end up standing around or idling until the game is over. This is one reason why there are so many AFKers in this mode. When things start to go south, they don’t want to waste the next hour of their life fighting what is inevitably a losing battle. They just want to move on to the next game but games are too long. Dominion games are much faster. You can play three or more Dominion games in the span of one Summoner’s Rift game. That means more variety which ultimately means more fun.

5) There’s Too Much Emphasis Placed On A.I. Enemies

Before getting back into it, I hadn’t played Summoner’s Rift in years. Literally years. This was the first time I had actually played on the map since they redid all the neutral camps and it is pretty obvious neutrals play even more of a role than they used to. For example, killing the Dragon gives you a permanent team-wide “Dragon Slayer” boost? That is unnecessary and absurd. There’s also a lot more monster camps than I remember before which makes it easier for junglers to earn gold now. Jungle used to be one of the most skill intensive roles and now they’ve made it easier.

Speaking of “noobifying” things, why are there visible timers for each neutral camp? Remember when you had to actually have knowledge of the game and MEMORY of when camps would respawn? Now the HUD simply tells you. Why did Riot feel the need to make things even easier on Summoner’s Rift players?

Not only is there too much emphasis on neutrals, but again there’s too much emphasis on last hitting minions as well. As I previously mentioned, the first 20 minutes of every game is devoted to last hitting minions. That’s not fun for me. I don’t want to kill A.I. units – I want to fight against people. If I wanted to spend my time fighting A.I. controlled units I’d go play a game versus bots.

I don’t understand why anybody would ever want to play on Summoner’s Rift. I think that the only reason anybody thinks it takes any skill at all is because it is played at the professional level. In reality, none of the things I mentioned above require any semblance of skill at the game. Summoner’s Rift is boring and I don’t plan on playing on it ever again.

Disclaimer: This week was the first time I had played on Summoner’s Rift in over two years. I actually did pretty well in my games all things considered, going 16/6/12 as Ezreal, 7/5/13 as Yasuo, and 4/3/5 as Caitlyn (the only player who managed to put up a positive KDA on my team) so it isn’t as if I got owned and then penned this article to vent. These are opinions I have held for many years which is why I stopped playing Summoner’s Rift in the first place. I was curious about the changes that Riot has made to the map and mode since I last played it, thinking maybe it was improved. I was wrong; it is worse.

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