Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
The League of Legends 5.22 patch is one of the most complained about patches ever released in the game’s history. Many people on the forums are claiming it has completely ruined the game for them. The 5.22 patch did indeed make numerous sweeping changes which altered the way League of Legends is played on a fundamental level. Most of these changes are for the worse, however. This article will convey my opinion on why I believe the 5.22 patch broke League of Legends. Listed below are five reasons I think the game is worse off after this patch. This is by no means a comprehensive list of problems but just what I have personally found to be the most glaring issues based on my own experience playing as well as monitoring feedback from other players.
1) Too many changes
The first thing that annoyed me with the 5.22 patch is just how many changes there were. I understand this is supposed to be a large patch for “preseason” but come on. There is only so much that someone can digest in one sitting. The patch notes page Riot Games placed on the official website contains over 17,000 words. The average adult reading speed is roughly 300 words per minute. This means you literally would have to sit there for an HOUR to read the long-winded patch notes. Not to mention all the numerical stat changes. That is obviously way too much for someone who just wants to play a video game to comprehend at one time. Sorry but it’s just too much reading. I want to be informed as to what got changed so I can be prepared in-game but I’m not going to waste an hour of my life scrolling through a novella of patch notes.
They really should have released this in stages. Do the Marksmen rework first and release that, then do everything else like the turrets, items, and mastery changes in a separate patch the next week or something.
2) New masteries are horrible
Speaking of masteries this moves us to our next point. The new mastery trees are terrible. The way they are set up restricts you a lot more than before as to how to customize your mastery pages. In the past, players would have numerous mastery pages with each one specifically customized to a certain champion or group of champions. Now you can really only have three or maybe four different combinations of masteries that are even worth having. There’s not really much customization anymore between players outside of perhaps one different choice in the same role.
The mastery trees sometimes force you to take points in something that won’t even necessarily help you for the role you want to play, but you HAVE to take just to get to the next level. For example, as an ADC I want to take points in Merciless. Bonus damage to low health champions is always good for ADCs. To get that though, I have to take either Runic Affinity or Secret Stash. Neither of these things will help me much as an ADC, especially on Dominion which is what I play. It’s a wasted mastery point. Also, why is Merciless even in the “Cunning” tree? Shouldn’t it be part of the “Ferocity” tree with the other offensive masteries? Splitting this up is nonsensical.
Why do I have to choose one side of the tree or the other? For example, why can’t I learn both Recovery AND Unyielding for my tank? In the past I could pour all 30 points into defensive masteries if I wanted to and make my tank into a true survivalist. Now you can only put a measly 18 points into any one tree. The other 12 mastery points then have to be spent on random stuff you might not even want for your intended role.
Furthermore, some of the mastery options are incredibly overpowered. It is painfully obvious that Warlord’s Bloodlust is too strong. How did this ever make it past testing? Did Riot forget champions like Yasuo exist? How is it balanced for him to heal for 15% damage dealt and receive 20% bonus attack speed on pretty much every attack just from a mastery point?’ Windspeaker's Blessing has also proved to be pretty OP.
3) Turrets are too weak
This one has affected Summoner’s Rift games significantly. Riot nerfed the turrets from 100 starting armor and magic resist all the way down to ZERO. Now they gain MR and armor every two minutes but max out at 30. In other words, they are much easier to destroy. This has quickened the pace of Summoner’s Rift games exponentially. Lots of players on the forums have posted that many of their games are ending in less than twenty minutes now.
As a Dominion player, I’m all for quick games but this is simply not how Summoner’s Rift is supposed to be played. The change has made games snowball too often and basically removed the team fighting phase from the game. That is the most fun part of League of Legends, though, so why make changes that remove it? Getting an early lead now allows players to push lanes harder and faster and it is much more difficult to stop them so games end in the laning phase more frequently. Perhaps Riot wanted to hasten the pacing of Summoner’s Rift, which makes sense because it gets tedious, but they took away from the wrong phase. They should have reduced the time it took from transitioning between the laning phase to team fighting, not made the laning phase the entirety of the game!
Riot is also apparently planning on giving minions “pushing bonuses” in the next patch that will empower your minions if your team is higher level than the other team. Hopefully they reconsider because once this change goes into effect, pushing lanes will becoming even easier and as a result games will snowball even faster.
4) Too many removed items
As a game designer myself, I can’t understand why Riot would want FEWER items in the game than they could have. Sure they also added new ones but why remove items at all? Usually the more item choices players have access to, the better. More items allow for more customization and different player builds. There seems to be no reason to remove items like The Brutalizer, Zephyr, or Twin Shadows. These are all popular items that players have gotten used to building. Why take them out? The only reason I can think of is that Riot can’t properly balance the items with the other 5.22 changes so they removed some to make it easier on themselves.
On the subject of items, it seems that players no longer see the recommended items screen in some Dominion games. This is clearly a glitch but proves that the patch didn’t receive proper testing. The bug doesn’t happen every game but has affected me personally in two out of four Dominion matches played before penning this article (I saw other players complain about it in one of the other games as well). This bug is certainly something that would be noticed RIGHT AWAY when you first start playing and should have been fixed long before this patch ever saw daylight.
5) Are AP mages even viable anymore?
Squishy ability power champs got dinged from every angle this patch. First of all, Clarity and Mana Potions both got removed from the game thus making it a lot more difficult to regenerate mana early game. Core AP-centric items like Zhonya’s Hourglass, Rod of Ages, Rabadon’s Deathcap, Luden’s Echo, and Void Staff all got cost increases and some got stat nerfs (just to name a few). Trinity Force and Sheen no longer give AP for some reason.
While AP items got cost increases, nerfs, or removed from the game altogether, many of the newly added items are AD-based such as Death’s Dance, Rapid Firecannon, Lord Dominik's Regards, and Mortal Reminder. Critical strikes are not only more prevalent due to increased frequency from newly reworked Marksmen abilities and buffs to items like Zeal, Trinity Force, and Runaan's Hurricane, but they are more effective as well thanks to the Warlord’s Bloodlust keystone. Combine that with the Marksmen revamp and it feels like ability power champions got totally left in the dust. AP mages in particular now melt faster than an ice cube on a hot summer’s day.
A few people have tried to defend the patch by pointing out it’s the preseason patch so things will inevitably get tweaked. This is no excuse. The game should not REVOLVE around eSports. Tens of millions of people play this game. Not everybody cares about eSports. Competitive LoL shouldn’t be negatively affecting everybody else so that things can be tested out in a trial patch. Intended changes should be tested on PBE, not the game itself.
In the intro to the patch notes Riot Games employee Patrick "Scarizard" Scarborough wrote, “From the champions you pick, the masteries you choose, and the way you express yourself with items, 2016 is all about meaningful choices.” This mentality doesn’t seem to be reflected in the actual changes, though. If 2016 is all about meaningful choices why did the changes to masteries REDUCE the amount of customization available to players? Why were several key items removed from the game thus reducing how many viable player builds there are? Why does it seem like players are now being FORCED to play certain champions in very specific lanes and very specific ways? None of these changes advocate meaningful choices because the choices are being made for you.
The 5.22 patch has upset a lot of veteran League players. If the number of complaints on the official boards is anything to judge by, Riot will need to act quickly in cleaning up some of this mess before people start getting too discouraged and stop playing altogether.