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Essay incoming. Don't start what you can't finish.
Over the last 2 years, I've enjoyed a few thousand games on the Fields of Justice, and it's been a roller coaster. Like most, I've encountered my share of annoyances, desires, victories and defeats, and learned a few valuable things along the way.
Looking back now, I notice a few things that I, as well as a great many others, would definitely have benefit by then, and even more so now; 2 competitive seasons has cemented LoL's place as an E-sport, but I think by now the game deserves--nay, has EARNED more than that for its success. Below are a few items, in no particular order, that I feel would be a huge step towards opening up the game to more players and encouraging better, more organized, and more productive play.
To this day, info is hidden from us. Info which does not need to be hidden. What's Sivir's base attack speed? What's Alistar's health per level gain? Exactly HOW MUCH damage does Garen's ult do? While the answers to these questions ARE documented, and can be found with a little research, or by getting into a game...why should we have to? Why is detailed info like this not available right in the client? Why must we have to use an external source of info to glean info like this when it could be found right in the game itself?
Leaguecraft, Solomid, Mobafire, and surely various other sources exist that have documented these things, but --why should they need to?-- Wouldn't it make perfect sense to have all the info on your champion (and the game's items) available right there in the client? It would save us all time and resources tracking down info, and would definitely present a more welcoming and encouraging face to those really wanting to learn the game without having to go hunt down answers we should already be able to see.
I know this has been hit on many times, but it bears rephrasing: Ashe does not usually need Thornmail. If you know what that means, you understand where I'm coming from. If not, then you'll understand this:
"Stay behind your minions..."
"Stay behind your minions."
"Stay behind your minions!"
"STAY BEHIND YOUR MINIONSAH!!!" (thanks for the laughs, Rick. awesome vid.)
The tutorial maps, especially the battle training, were a tremendous leap when first introduced. But we've been at this for, what? Going on three years now? We have over one hundred champions with about as many items, runes and masteries. This is not sufficient education anymore. As with item 1, external info sources exist. However, there is tremendous benefit to keeping them in-game/client. Not only does it cut down the aforementioned time and resources, but it would also allow opportunities for tracking of patterns and behavior in said tutorials to help designers learn more as well.
Even just better in-client documentation would help. An article on laning, or the basics of the jungle, or even just some overviews of the maps, would be great for those getting into the game and those who wish to review certain facts without having to sniff them out on the internet somewhere.
For the tremendous (and steadily increasing!) learning curve this game presents, a greater effort to educate new players would make massive strides towards bolstering not only the community, but the competitive scene. And we all know what a better scene means...No? Well, it obviously means a better game, better rewards, and more fun and profit for all, duh!
In a similar vein as the tutorial topic, I feel there's tremendous potential in developing some kind of in-client simulator, wherein players can plan out an item build with runes and masteries, load up a contained test program with their champion and targets of choice, and see for themselves just how much damage they do and just how much effect their experiment will have.
The ability previews in the profiles are a step towards this, but a controlled simulator would save everyone the trouble of having to go into a custom match, grab anyone willing to come along, pick your champs, wait for the loading screen, and farm for ~20-30 minutes to get the items you want to test! Want to find out how it would work against a different champion? "Welp, time to exit and start a whole new game!" This is unnecessary!
We know there's existing code for the items, the champs, and all the possible interactions, so why don't we have a tool that just removes the map and lets us test this stuff right in the lab, so to speak? It would allow naysayers to see for themselves just how much armorpen helps, or which items really do make you tankier against a given assault, or just how much faster that extra 10% attack speed really looks, WITHOUT wasting time starting up a test game and killing minions for half an hour. I know it can be done. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY.
Keep in mind, I fully understand that implementing anything in a system of this scope takes time, effort, and money. I don't expect these things to magically appear one day because I posted them. I also don't promise that they'll suddenly double the profit margin of the game. But I DO promise that any or all of these things would be recognized, appreciated, and well-used by the community, as well as any new players who will be grateful that a game takes the time to teach them how to really play. And THAT probably WILL mean better business.
Egoraptor (of Sequelitis fame) made an important point here: What's unique about video games is that there are ways you CAN teach a player as they play. If LoL took the time to do this, there would be no daunting intro curve where people not only don't get taught how to play, but often get shown the WRONG ways to play (and behave) by a community who's experienced the same thing. Vicious cycle incoming.
Riot, you have the opportunity to prevent this; you can influence entire generations of players by taking the time to provide more material to introduce people to your game. Not just the website, or the forums, or links to other fansites; I'm talking right there, in our hands, right when we sign into the game. You know it can be done, and you must see the benefits will be impactful and lasting. Give it some thought, will you?
TL,DR? No chance. if you're not gonna read, don't comment. Don't like reading? Why are you on a forum then?
EDIT: realized im a doofus and moving this to PVP.net forum.