Biased Review: Why is League of Legends so Toxic?

I’ve recently revisited League of Legends after not touching my level 8 account in several years. The game kept its steam going all these years and a lot of my friends are getting back into it amid these COVID-19 times. I wanted to join them and see what all the rage has been about all this time. I figured maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance the first couple times around, so lets hard commit this time. I set out on a journey to hit level 30 and begin my ranked journey.
Full disclosure: I was a longtime Heroes of Newerth and Dota 2 player.
I did hit level 30 and I did begin playing both ranked solo/duo and flex. How did it go?

Toxicity
Probably one of the biggest topics on League of Legends. I have played a lot of competitive games over the years – Counter Strike, Overwatch, Rainbow Six, Fortnite, Dota, HoN, Valorant, etc., I was used to intense attitudes and game rage.
I HAVE NEVER ENCOUNTERED PEOPLE AS BAD AS NEARLY EVERYONE IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS. Unranked, ranked, it didn’t matter, everyone in League was a POS. I rarely had any decent interactions with anybody in the game over the span of roughly 200 games. Even if you’re winning, people are still trash talking non stop.

In one instance, we were crushing the enemy team, I was still new and my team was constantly insulting me for no reason, I was doing well, I won my lane and pushed it all the way and got the inhibitor, we were winning in all aspects – pushing, farming, kills, etc. We won that game even while everyone was hurling non stop insults at me. I was lucky enough to queue up for my next game and get the same exact team again. They immediately resumed trash talking, then proceeded to ban my hero that I designated, and then also banned the previous hero I was using – keep in mind as a newer player, I didn’t have many heroes unlocked for my specific lane, I had nobody else to pick. This was probably the most petty thing I’ve ever seen people do, especially following a win, they were bullying me as a trio. I had no choice but to dodge the game and quit. I didn’t understand why the game was like this, and I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but this is the state of the game and this toxicity is in almost every game. I didn’t understand why anybody would want to play this game.

Game Play
Lets move on to the actual game itself. Coming from Dota 2, a lot of things bothered me in League, but after a couple hundred games, I adjusted to…some of it. I generally hated most of it. The animations seemed pretty lackluster, the most notable one is Blitzcrank’s hook, it’s just so ugly and has no fluidity to it, it looks like a static image that moves across the screen.
The current meta is also pretty cheesy. Essentially everything revolves around maximizing 1 hit combos, so currently, assassins dominate the game. Their job is to just run around 1 shotting everyone as soon as their cool downs are done. The majority of the game is just watching this happen, team fights are often short and involve someone getting nuked and then one team walking away. Everyone also has a blink/dash/mobility skill, so if you chose a hero without one, good luck. The cool downs and mana management in this game are both almost non existent. In Dota 2, you had to actually consider the ramifications of spamming your spells due to long cool downs or loss of mana. In League, everything feels less significant, you don’t need to consider your mana much as mages have enough to last a long time, while many tanks barely use mana or don’t even have a mana bar at all.

Essentially, League is a game of how many times you can spam your spells in lane or on creeps, while also spamming your combos to one hit everyone else. You missed all your skill shots? That’s OK, they’ll be off cool down in 3 seconds. Finally out of mana? Just teleport (infinitely) back to base and walk back.
Sure I might be exaggerating slightly, but there is truth to it.

Blitzcrank’s hook animation

The jungler will also control most of the game, which brings us to the going joke that everyone just blames the jungler anytime lanes are losing, because they really do control a lot of the game. Playing the ADC (attack damage carry) just means getting creep kills and praying the other lanes don’t gank you, or that your team doesn’t feed.
Items are also less complex, builds are a lot more linear than in Dota and there are far less activatable items, you’ll have at most 1 item with an active ability. Lastly, there is an issue of balance among heroes. Riot really takes their sweet time balancing heroes; Balancing is always a tough job, but when the same heroes are seeing bans in almost every game…you’d think they’d take a hint by then. But whatever, I’ll just keep getting body slammed by Sett a couple hundred more times or throw few more spells at Yasuo’s walls. The game has about 150 champions, but you end up just seeing the same ones over and over, probably also due to the pay wall as well along with the balance issues.

Ranking and Matchmaking
Ah yes, I’ve finally made it to level 30 and I’m ready to get ranked!
First of all, whatever toxicity I saw in unranked mode, it just multiplied itself by at least 10x.
Second, after my first game, it tells me I’m IRON I. Yet the following solo games that I play are full of all gold and silver players. I did not come across a single other iron or even a single bronze player (yes I put in the effort to look up everyone in my games). How can the game continuously pit me against gold and silver, while keeping me in Iron ranking? The amount that my ranking increased after wins against these silver and gold players, was not anywhere near enough to place me anywhere above bronze II by the end of placements, assuming I could even win all the placement matches. Was the matchmaking purposely holding my rank back, just to tilt me more while matching me with people not even within 1 entire metal tier of my own rank? It didn’t make any sense at all.

Overall, this game was OK at best when I played with friends, but it quickly became far too toxic of a place to be. Rankings hardly seemed fair; I wasn’t annoyed that I was low ranked, but I was annoyed that I couldn’t even play against people of the same rank at all during my placements. The game felt less responsive than other MOBA games and as much as I tried to like this game to play with my friends, I instead just became agitated everyday by this game. Runes also add completely unnecessary complexity to the game and probably makes it that much harder to balance.

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