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Monday, September 26, 2011

Will Dominion "trammelize" League of Legends?

With the launch of Dominion, League of Legends has entered into a new era. We will soon see what effect, if any, this new game type will have on Summoner's Rift. I wrote earlier that I think Dominion will be unpopular because it does not require much champion skill but instead rewards map tactics that are unique to Dominion. I still think this is true, but admittedly Dominion will be very popular for the next few months. Because champion skill is unnecessary in Dominion, I am concerned that we will see Dominion dumb down, or "trammelize" the rest of League of Legends

"Trammelize" is derived from Trammel, which is the name of the second facet in Ultima Online (an mmorpg that was released in the late 90s). When Ultima Online first launched, there was only one facet, called Felucca. Felucca was what made Ultima Online such a great sandbox game. Here, players were free to attack anyone and pvp was a fun free for all. This meant that anyone who wanted to explore dungeons, gather wood/ore, or even tame animals had to stay on alert and be ready for a fight. This feature made pvp on meaningful and fun.

Trammel created a copy of Felucca, but in Trammel players could not attack each other. This had two effects: (1) most of the playerbase flocked to Trammel because it was easier and (2) many players lost all of their pvp skills. Months after the release of Trammel, the pvp in Ultima Online became a shadow of its former self. Aside from those who refused to play in Trammel, most players forgot how to pvp effectively.

    Similarly, my concern with Dominion is that it will trammelize the League of Legends playerbase. Like Trammel, Dominion is the polar opposite of the League of Legends we're accustomed to. Up until now, players needed to be patient, utilize champion skill, and function effectively in team fights to win games. This is not the case in Dominion, and players will become sloppier in Summoner's Rift - forgetting how to properly last hit and how to properly function in team fights. After all, farming is all but obsolete in Dominion and the game is designed so that full team fights should never happen (if a team runs around together in Dominion, they will almost always lose the game because their nodes will be vulnerable).

    Deaths mean less in Dominion
    In sum, I fear that Dominion may create more unskilled players in League of Legends. Once the hype around Dominion fades and Summoner's Rift returns to being the primary game mode, we may see an influx of unskilled players who feed, don't understand team fights, and have no patience for a 30-40 minute game. Dominion may trammelize League of Legends, but hopefully I can raise my Elo before "Elo hell" becomes even deeper.

    The future playerbase of League of Legends?

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