Ok. Before we just... jump into it, let me clarify a few things.
I love League, which is why I am communicating my opinions. I want to criticize League because I love it. Not because I hate it. Criticism will hopefully lead to improvement. You may disagree with my criticism and that is totally fine, I want this to be a conversation, not a monologue (from either side), just please do it in a healthy way. If I commit any fallacies, let me know. But also try to see my points, genuinely. Some of my points will be based on personal experience (anecdotal evidence), if you know of any way I can get statistics that refute or counter my point, please let me know. I will be comparing League to Dota 2, now, I don't think one is better than the other, nor do I think we should compare the games, the moments where I will be doing this serves only the purpose of making a point. Additionally, I am not claiming I know better than Riot and its employees, this is merely my opinion, be it supported by facts or not. I am not a game designer and I know it is extremely hard to balance a game. With all of that being said, let's just jump into it.
1) There's too much damage in the game.
From what I can tell, there's too much damage in the game. Everyone dies in instants. Now, some people may like this, I personally don't. Teamfights seem to end way too quickly. There's no back and forth between the teams, and I believe this is due to the insane amounts of damage in the game.
Furthermore, towers. When the plates are gone they fall too quickly. Now towers can only be auto attacked (except by empowered autos), in my mind, this would mean that AP champions shouldn't be able to take towers very quickly and AD champions should. This doesn't seem to be the case, they seem to be able to take towers with roughly the same ease. Doesn't this cut the depth of having two kinds of damage?
Remember when the dodge mechanic used to be in the game? Yeah, me neither, because riot thought it was unhealthy saying "we don't want rng in our game" (or something to that extent), so they removed it fairly quickly. So what's up with all this RNG?
Dragons are randomly generated. I believe the scuttle crab is random to some extent after a certain period of time(?). Zoe's passive that makes some minions drop summoners and item effects is also random (although some drops are banned). Cleptomancy also is random and can, quite literally, turn the tide of a fight or a gank by itself, by giving an elixir or an extra ward to the user. What is the purpose of all of this? Is it to shake up the game? There are better ways to do that! Please! Consider reviewing and replacing all of this RNG for something better.
3) The Meta
Now, I am not here to complain about the current meta, quite frankly, I do not know what the heck is going on. But there is a meta. I remember thinking that all the patches and changes to the game were in the name of balancing. After years of playing this game, it is quite evident that a lot of changes are for the sake of change.
Personally, I would prefer if a variety of strategies were viable and if most champions were viable. I understand that a lot of people like a meta. A cycle between what is good and what isn't. I also understand that having a meta is the most economically viable option for Riot. They make skins for whatever is the strongest and people are more likely to buy those skins, at least it seems that way (to some extent). I also understand that eventually, people will figure out an optimal strategy, but that takes a long, long time, and it will never get to that point if changes keep being pumped out. There has got to be a middle ground.
What's up with all these gimmicky champions? Ornn, Zoe, Pyke, Neeko, Syllas, Yuumi, Reworked Akali and now Reworked Mordekaiser. These are gimmicks and unbalanced ones at that. One thing is to come up with clever abilities that change up how to play the game, another thing is to pump out small mechanics that break the game.
- Ornn being able to buy from wherever he wants and upgrading his teammate's items. Sounds cool, but it doesn't change the game in good ways. He just ends up being either too strong or too weak. Perhaps a good idea would be to remove his ability to purchase from anywhere. Then he can be buffed up and he becomes a hyper late game threat because now the enemy can have better stats and thus you have to end the game before it gets to that. That could be good.
- I don't think Riot realized how broken it is to be able to have extra summoner spells. The amount of value is insane. Sure, the champion isn't (or doesn't seem to be) viable anymore, but what's the point of introducing this mechanic if you're going to (essentially) remove it after? Also, everyone hated being one shot from miles away by a Nidalee, why would you reintroduce this but even better? Zoe is fun to play, but it definitely isn't fun to play against.
- The support has a lot of jobs depending on what type of support you're playing. One of the jobs they always have is to set up vision (thanks for removing sightstone, btw - yes, I am a support player). They should engage the enemy (and survive), peel, shield and heal their carries but they should never, ever be stealing kills (unless they absolutely have to secure it). The whole point of support is to be the player with less gold, that's why there are all these items for them to make gold, that's why their items used to be the cheapest, the ones with most utility and not just raw stats... If people want to play assassins or nukers, fine. But they'll have to do it mid. That simply isn't the job of the support. Pyke should not share the gold from his kills. Perhaps do what smite did, and have him donate ALL the gold from the kill to his carry. That'd be better in my opinion.
- This isn't Team Fortress 2. A champion that camouflages as another ally... what's the point? To fool your enemies? Do you honestly think pro players will be fooled by it? The way League works doesn't support this kind of mechanic. It makes sense in Dota 2, where Monkey King can mascarade into a lot of things, effectively fooling the enemy (because he can turn into trees and whatnot), it doesn't make sense in League...
- Stealing someone's ult... Before we get to his ult, the rest of his kit is the most generic thing I've ever seen. Every champion now has some dash, wave clear, heal, etc. But his ult, holy moly... This is actually broken. Dota 2 has had a Hero capable of this for a long time. Rubick. But I think his design is far more insightful, I don't know if Rubick is balanced or not, but one thing is certain, he has a lot of counterplay and is very hard to play properly. A lot of that is because of his ult that steals abilities. Yes, he can steal any ability, which is a good and bad thing. He steals the last ability used by an enemy. In my opinion that is infinitely better: You can make some truly interesting game-changing plays and the enemy can counter you by using an insignificant ability right before you steal it. Now that is a clever ability. Not pressing a button to steal the best ability of X champion (yes, there are exceptions, but who plays Udyr?).
- Do I even need to explain why true stealth/obscured is stupid? Do I need to explain why removing enemies from play is broken? Do I need to explain why being constantly untargetable is insane?
5) Runes and Masteries
I do not believe anyone is fully satisfied with these runes. Some of them do such specific things that they're a nightmare to balance. The old rune system was simple but complex and elegant. Complex doesn't mean complicated! It was there so that you could cover up for some of your champion's weaknesses! That was amazing! You could do so much with it! It allowed for a lot of weird and niche strategies, it allowed OTPs to play their champions in almost every scenario, etc. The only downside is that you couldn't edit it during champion select. Just toss this trash out of the window, get the old runes and masteries back and make both editable in champion selection. Riot has said enough times that they "want masteries/runes to have a noticeable impact on the game". I don't think they saw what they had. Buffs lasting longer, having a higher cast range on wards/trinkets, recalling faster... Those things have huge impacts.
Notably, a lot of the problems items have seem to occur because they're trying to make up for the lack of runes and masteries. For me, it doesn't make sense that an item should have an active, AP or AD, CDR and some other stat like health or armour. People should have to make a choice: Do you want to deal enormous amounts of damage? Ok, but your abilities have long cooldowns. Or vice-versa. They shouldn't have everything at their disposal. On the other hand, a lot of items don't have enough. There are games where having 50 MR and 200 MR seems to have the same effect: Instant death.
7) Summoner Spells
I know that summoner spells are a big part of League's identity, but some (flash) have massive problems. Flash is just too versatile. An engage and disengage tool. It's such a good spell that everyone has to take it. The cases where champions don't take it only exist because they either have some broken synergy with another spell or they have something akin to flash in their kits. Because of flash, the game becomes a game of waiting for someone to use their flash. and that's what we see in pro play. Someone is ganked and is forced to flash but lives, and then they continue being ganked because now they don't have flash and are easy kills.
Whoever is in charge of making skins at Riot, props to you, you're doing an amazing job, skins look better than ever. Everything else should be at the same level and frankly, I don't think it is. I am only criticizing League because I love the game. I feel like it has a ton of potential and it is being wasted. People love your characters and your Universe, you could easily make books, comics, films, etc. about this Universe and people would pour their money out of their wallets for it. But I do not think your philosophy developing the game has been the best.
I know you want your game to look cool and flashy and like there's a lot going on. But you're sacrificing the core of your audience by promoting some very unhealthy and unfun things within the game. There's too many dashes, blinks, X hits triggers something mechanics. Champions seem to be constantly overloaded, having abilities with walls of text because they have 3 actives and 3 passives stacked on it. Not only does this play against riot's "philosophy" of visibility it also doesn't make any thematic sense...
I hope I was able to communicate my thoughts and feelings. What's your opinion? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know, let's talk about this. I hope a rioter sees this and comments on it. Again, I don't mean any disrespects to anyone at Riot or to any player. I am merely trying to get a better experience out of the game I've loved for so long.
Have a good one everyone!