League of Legends’ gameplay producer says that he hopes to limit the impact that the game’s professional scene has on the majority of the player base. In a forum post, Riot Maple Nectar says the team have discussed ways to maintain balance across both casual and competitive gameplay.
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The comment was made in reference to a post expressing frustration that balance focused around the needs of a tiny group of competitive players. In response, Maple Nectar said that “I have a desire/goal for a future where we don’t have to make as many changes to champions based on their performance in pro play nearly as much as we do now.”
The problem lies in the fact that Riot want pro play to be “as exciting as possible,” and have to make sure that the professional scene is balanced to allow that to happen. Unfortunately, balancing the professional scene often means changing something that is not unbalanced for casual players (92% of League of Legends’ player base play in the game’s bottom three ranked tiers.)
Maple Nectar uses the example of Zed, who when compared to Ryze in a low-ping, highly coordinated professional environment, is not very good. But in order to counter that disparity in pro play, Riot would need to buff Zed considerably, making him incredibly overpowered in the game that most players actually play, which is obviously not a viable strategy. Maple Nectar goes on to say that Riot are “currently putting brainpower in how we could help shelter pro play from specific points of imbalance, letting us put less focus on pro play in regards to balance and focusing more on the regular game.”
In simpler terms, that means preventing characters from becoming overpowered in specific ways. A possible way to do that is by “exploring changes to the drafting phase beyond 10 bans,” but at the moment, there are no solid plans in place – even if there were, it’ll be a long time until we see them implemented.