Lets be honest: League's concurrent player base had stopped growing since 2014 (basing that statement on the fact that they haven't bragged about their concurrent players since 2014) and their is numerous variables at play that can cause it. The best thing to do is to identify the biggest variables at play and fix them. Now, Riot Games are the ones with all the stats and info, and are in the best position to identify these variables, so I could only speculate. It feels like I could write a whole novel about this so I will only be focusing on "New Player Experience" and "The Community".
Back Story (You can skip this if you don't feel like reading, I just like writing) :
In 2011 I heard two guys in my class talk about a game they played online the previous night, we had just gotten internet (this is South Africa and we usually play outside with the lions and stuff) and thought: 'hey, this could be fun!'. So that same day the one guy came to my house with his bike and he installed the game on my parent's computer (didn't have my own, had a lion though) and I copied the LoL File from his external. Been playing since then when I had the chance. I had IT and told my parents we work with 3D stuff and I need a computer with a graphics card, and that was the last PC they bought me, 'never falling for that trick again' they said.
The thing is, I went through all that trouble because the game was fun to play. I got hooked right away, probably because of the idea (the dota core), before League I've only played on my PS2: Fifa 09, and GTA san andreas, and in computer class in school we LANned Half Life 1 (still searching for that game). So one could say I changed with the game, tbh season 3 was the last time I played it because it was fun. In my first year uni I only played dota 2, because in SA dota has a much larger community and everyone at uni played dota. We were 5 guys in our student home and that was a whole team. I played LoL and 3/5 played Dota, so obviously me and the other guy were going to play dota. South Africans have a much better attitude and respect towards other players than Europeans (just generally, probably because we are a 3rd world country and we'd rather be nice to each other than being %%%%s, but generally). There is a South African dota server, we play League on euw or eune.
Like I said earlier, I changed with the game, so when playing dota I started noticing how bad community league has and how I was part of that bad community, I flamed and raged, but that realization and the fact that I actually grew up a bit made me a better person on league and part of growing up is not accepting everything like it is, like the bad community of league. Obviously I cant do anything about that. I can only give suggestions for solutions on the boards and give my opinions.
Main (start reading here, if you skipped the top):
tl;dr league has a shitty community and we have lions in South Africa.
New Player Experience.
My suggestion: Drop lvl 30 and experience points. Mainly work on MMR that resets every 3 months per player (on normals). That way weak/new players will play with weak/new players and good players will play with good players. That way you know you will be matched with people at your skill level and new players don't have to deal with smurfs. Which leads me to smurfs: I have no problem with smurfs, only the fact that they can ruin a game for new players, but I still feel a smurf account should still do some grinding before playing ranked, which leads me to ranked. Keep ranked as it is, I feel ranked at the moment is in a pretty good space (I have some problems with it), instead of reaching level 30 to play ranked, make it anything from: having at least 5 champs at lvl 5 mastery and owning 20+ plus champs, OR have at least +- 200 normal game wins. 5 easy bot games to play intermediate and normal blind pick. 15+ owned champs to play draft pick. 100 draft wins to play ranked. (These are all suggestions). And teach new players the importance of farming and the dangers of towers.
This is actually hard, because I am writing to the community at the moment. Here it goes: You are a kid, your mother has cancer and you should go kill yourself. Where does this come from? This doesn't happen often when I hear from a 12 year old kid that my mother has cancer, but I don't remember it happening when I started playing this game. It has gotten better this season tbh, so whatever riot is doing, it is working a little bit... which leads me to Riot... Riot Games... at least they try... and are generally doing a good job, this season is actually great time to play league, but...
I've watch a youtube video of a guy who explained why league isn't fun anymore. He said that it's become so team orientated that individual skill isn't that important anymore (that), and people want to feel that their individual skill is the reason they won the game, and solo carrying a game with yi or yasuo is not individual skill (easy in bronze and silver, but try it in plat+). So learning a hard champ and not get rewarded for it is kind of discouraging. You can also blame yourself when losing.
I do agree with him. My personal reason is the lack of diversity. What I enjoyed when playing dota is that you can almost take any champ, any lane and play any role and it's ok. Now, thinking from the top of my head, you can take yas, block every particle with your windwall, buy redemption and be a support. So the new items does allow it, but it is still not optimal to do so, which is right, but if you do it, and it actually works you'll get perma banned.
And their lies our biggest problem (to me): Riot Games. If a redemption yasuo is played on lcs, the casters will shred that player, even if it works, they hate the 2 lockets per team idea. They perma ban a player who supports with singed. I didn't follow the story, but he shouldn't have been banned in the first place.
Conclusion of the community chapter:
If you have noticed my main focus was around what made league fun. "If you have fun while playing, you wont feel the need to flame, a loss wouldn't be as bad and you would want to play again. That means: less ragers/tilters/flamers, more mature gamers wanting to play, better mature:kid ratio. It all starts with having fun" - The words of Master Roshiii. And Riot Games' biggest focus is on pro-play and trying to get the non-pros to play like pros. Play meta and get rewarded, play out of meta and get perma banned. And their state of mind gets carried over to the community and everyone wants to become pros and no one should have fun playing league.
Conclusion of everything: For new players drop the reach lvl 30 thing (forgot to write about runes and masteries, oh well...) and for the community, Riot Games should put their main focus on having fun. Competitiveness by itself is fun, that is why we have sport, player 2 on the console and online gaming, so why focus on the competitive side on something that is competitive by nature?
To those who read the back story:
I am the only one who still plays League, the other 2 guys are playing heroes of the storm.
Feel free to write anything in the comments, I'd like to hear more suggestions or even why you think I'm wrong. This is the first My thoughts post