Rjcombo: The motivations were actually pretty straightforward. On the gameplay side we wanted to address the issues of champion balance and game length. On the presentation side we wanted to create the best looking map we've ever delivered, and reinforce the theme of the Shadow Isles as a flavorful, memorable region in Runeterra.
The game length "problem" was resolved, but champion balance was actually made worse due to the higher starting gold, altars, and removal of wards. The map now favors high CC/high mobility champions that are tanky enough to capture the altars reasonably easily and deal enough damage to be strong in 1v1: in other words, bruiser type champions are heavily favored on the map as it currently stands, while Mages and ADCs are severely limited due to a general lack of high mobility skills and being squishy, and pure tanks are not worth playing because they don't deal damage and generally lack mobility. In the original TT, champion balance was actually rather good; in fact, it was as good as, if not better than, 5v5 champion balance. There were very few champions that were not playable. Games could be long, but that is just part of the game, and with how altars work, snowballing gets out of control on the new TT, and snowballing is made easier for mobile tanky dps champions due to the lack of wards. With the new TT, you can't
turtle effectively, which means that whichever team gets the lead early on wins with very few exceptions.
The only truly good thing that came with the new 3v3 map was the inability to blink over the wall to snipe the Nexus.
Nome: One of the design points we noted very early on was that a small map could not support the level of warding and counter-warding that Summoner's Rift could due to the presence of natural choke points and limited pathways. We knew that wards had to go, so we pursued alternative schemes of vision control. One thing we toyed with was the idea of capturable lanterns – neutral wards that the player could control, either through channeling or lighting with a consumable "lamp oil.” This idea slowly transformed into the idea of altars as we added more tangible rewards and purpose to controlling them.
We experimented with every aspect of altar capture and rewards, but found that players universally enjoyed altars more when there was a sense of permanence to their capture. It also pushed the pace of the game, as you could capture an altar without fear that your progress would be reversed as soon as you left or died.
Yeah, put a speed shrine in the middle and make altars that give massive bonuses, but not allow wards and have ridiculously long lanes... That couldn't possibly be bad for balance... /end sarcasm
The lack of map vision is one of the main problems with the new map; as mentioned before, it just makes snowballing even stronger, and with the huge length of the lanes, there isn't any reliable way to stop snowballing, and ganking is almost too
easy. With snowballing being so easy, if one team manages to capture both altars while they have a lead, it just becomes even more punishing, because the bonus gold and 10% AP/AD boosts have such a large impact.
The old map was better, Riot; you should really consider putting it back in and adding this one as a new map called Shadow Isles. Don't forget that removing the original Twisted Tree line screws up Maokai's lore, too.