What Can e-Sports Teach League about Improving Performance

By Ishaan Khatri
League and “Optimization”: What League Can Learn From Other e-Sports

Rethinking League of Legends Meta Strategy

In League of Legends, the meta is constantly changing due to Riot’s balance adjustments. These changes force players into specific strategies and champion picks. However, Riot’s intervention can sometimes have a negative impact on the game. For example, KOO Tigers’ decline at IEM Katowice can be attributed to these changes. Despite these constant modifications, the overall setup of the game has remained consistent. Most teams stick to the traditional roles and spend their time adapting to the current patch rather than exploring new strategies. It’s worth considering what could happen if players had the opportunity to optimize their game without constant patches.

An Old Dog Can Learn New Tech

Compared to games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, League of Legends is still in its early stages of meta optimization. The Melee community has been able to shape and improve the game over time, even discovering techniques that were not initially intended by the game developers. They continue to find new ways to play the game and improve their skills. Melee’s offline console limitations slowed down the learning process, but in an online game like League, players have more freedom to explore different strategies and share them through internet resources. The potential for a new meta to develop and spread quickly is much higher in League.

Counter Strike and Counter Strats

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is another example of a constantly evolving meta without frequent balance changes. Valve, the game’s producer, takes a relatively hands-off approach, allowing players to dictate the meta through their own creativity. One notable example of this was when the Brazilian team Keyd Stars used a unique strategy on the map “Mirage” to defeat the top team, Fnatic. This shifted the balance of the map and forced other teams to strategize and adapt. Valve’s approach has its flaws, but it demonstrates the benefits of allowing players to shape the meta without constant interference.

So what is the goal?

Rather than constantly changing the game, Riot should focus on observing how the current meta is optimized and plays out at Worlds. If it allows for differentiated playstyles and team compositions, Riot should consider being more hands-off. Allowing the best players to adapt to their opponents’ strategies, rather than relying on constant patches, fosters innovation and creativity. When the meta becomes stagnant, Riot can step in and make healthy changes. But constantly changing the game without giving players a chance to problem-solve undermines their abilities as strategic thinkers.

keywords: League of Legends, meta optimization, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Counter Strike: Global Offensive

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