Update on 12/10/11 at the bottom
I started playing LoL way back when I read a Kotaku article announcing some random free to play game was just released. I've enjoyed this game since that day through thick and thin, hell, I even played back when there was an uproar on the forums when Riot hadn't put the store up for 2-3 months after launch. I had a great time with this game for a long time, and at my best I was able to reach top 40 in the solo queue ladder (with just AP Gragas way before he was buffed <3). But I finally closed the client for the last time 2 months ago, and I feel like I owe it to Riot to at least come back tell them why.
In short, its Morello. Its not that he's bad at what he's doing, its just the direction he took the balance of League of Legends is one that I personally was not a fan of even though I know most others are pleased.
The game used to be balanced so that each of the champions were surprisingly versatile, had many unique builds, and can be played in tons of different ways. I loved being surprised every few games at some unconventional builds that seemingly came out of nowhere but were effective at times (Sunfire Shaco comes to mind). You never knew what to expect because the champions could be played in so many different ways, and could fill so many different roles. For example, I still remember the time that my friend said to me that he could make any character able to jungle, so I challenged him to try Annie just to make him eat his words. Much to my amusement, the very next day he showed me his jungle Annie pattern hitting level 6 in just 6:30.
Sure, the ones who were made for jungling were better than the ones who weren't, but it was a testament to how flexible the game was to allow you creative freedom with each champion. Characters could fill so many different roles that the possibilities were endless! Fastfoward to post-Morello, where now only champions that were designed to be able to jungle are able to do so. Morello decided to balance the game so that each champion is balanced according to a single role. Before all the changes, I used to be able to decide what I wanted to do every game with my favorite champion. If I wanted to tank, I could build tank items on my mains (even if its less effective) instead of being forced to pick a traditional tank champ. But now if your team needs a tank then you have to switch from your favorite champion to whichever the best available tank is at the moment.
The end result of Morello's balance isn't a bad thing, though. It encourages players to use more champs and makes the game easier to balance with their breakneck speed of adding new characters every 2 weeks. The reason I hated this direction is because out of a cast of 70 different champions, some players like myself only really enjoyed a tiny handful of them. Personally, I "mained" 2 champs (Gragas and Gangplank) and played them nearly every single game, only switching rarely for certain situations because I could spec for nearly any role between those two. The game had enough depth that I was able to make tons of different viable builds for my favorites and optimize them over time. It didn't matter to me if I won or lost a game because I still got experience out of it and learned a way to adjust the build I was using, so I was having fun every game I played.
With Morello's method, however, I wasn't getting experience from games I lost. Instead of enjoying every game I slowly became frustrated and angry over games I lost because there is only so much you can do by yourself in a 5 man team. So to try and stop this frustration I needed to start playing to win. I found myself picking flavors of the month just to win, and I would be stuck playing boring 40+ minute games with champs I didn't enjoy using. After a little while it dawned on me: I wasn't having fun anymore. The games I won were boring and the games I lost were frustrating.
I didn't WANT to play different or new champions, I wanted to play the 2 that I enjoyed more than anyone else. I liked it when there were 2-3+ viable ways to play/build/spec each champion instead of just 1 with a little bit of wiggle room. To me, the game became nothing more than a formula and a repetitive grind where every game I played had an obvious "best" way I was supposed to play with everything else not being viable. I didn't enjoy what League of Legends became. I missed jungle Annie. I missed sitting in class and thinking up a new quirky build idea. Most of all, I missed the creativity that would have me theorycrafting for hours on end and have me coming back for more.
TL;DR = Annie can't jungle anymore.
I'd just like to bump this thread in recognition of the major changes Morello has been implementing to the game recently. I still play off and on (only with my friend) and try to at least browse the patch notes. I'm truly impressed with how much effort is being put into expanding the variety available.
Well played, Morello. Clear evidence that you truly do listen to what the players have to say.