Originally Posted by Wuloric
I think we can agree on one thing that releasing new champions at a slower rate can help with this
A lot of unpolished champions (note that not bad, but unpolished) was released in 2012. As mentioned and admitted by the Reds Zyra and Syndra, etc.
At least the developers are seeing this and have made the thread sticky, add to that the recent visual updates on champions like LeBlanc and Master Yi~~ a sign that 2013 is going to be a year of polishing League as a whole.
I think this is an interesting topic overall, because we have the best of intentions with this, but it turns out game development is hard!
In 2009-2010, we had a giant canvas to paint with - most skills would be unique, so you could throw things like Amumu ult and Morgana Q at kits to make them distinct. Basically, the more pressing problems is "how will League of Legends, as a game, work out?" There's some cool champions in the original 40-60, but it was pretty inconsistent and balance tended to be pretty scattered (Launch TF and Xin come to mind). It was good at the time because of the craziness and discovery, and some of those designs are still core characters today.
2011, in my mind, had a number of problems and was our toughest year in champion design. This is where you actually have really rushed characters - Yorick, Volibear, Sejuani, Karma, etc. The big issue here, I think, is we got so worried about balance we dialed back interesting hooks, gimmicks or patterns to be flat. Graves is a great example of a bold opportunity that we flattened too much. I think the players were really feeling the squeeze here.
2012 is a year I was much happier with - even though there's lots of room to grow still. We started looking for more uniqueness and being bolder - interesting mechanics and patterns (Ziggs, Varus, Draven, Zyra, Syndra's orbs, Kha'Zix's evolves, etc) were again the order of the day - and have primed us to explore further in 2013.
So, I don't think champion numbers is the problem, there were fundamental issues of patching frequently overall and us not agreeing on "what next"? for champions at several points. I'm really proud of the champion team's ability to level up and make more interesting kits, and with characters like Vi, Tresh and other ones I can't mention yet, I think we can keep cranking distinctiveness this year.