The Issue of Power Creep in League of Legends

League of Legends is one of those Esports titles that continually has new champions and items being added on top of the balancing and patching the game.  


Unlike Call of Duty, which rarely sees significant new content, and only really sees patches, the League developers Riot have a hard time when it comes to balancing LoL. 


It’s not just some nerfs and buffs that the team has to think about, it also needs to think about the effects that new champions are going to have on the meta and what counters exist for it. 


This is where the issue of power creep comes in. 


For those that aren't aware, power creep is an issue that is exclusive to champion based Esports titles, although not limited to MOBAs. Games like Rainbow suffer from it, too. 


With power creep, the issue is that as new content and champions are released, the power of the old, preexisting items and heroes continuously decreases. 


You see, to make a new champion worth playing and buying, it needs to be more powerful than what already exists, meaning that the next released hero needs to be even more powerful, then the next, and so on. 


Eventually, you see an exponential power difference between the new champions leading the meta, and the OG champions that have been left behind. 


It is a complicated thing to combat against, and Riot recognizes that. 


One of the most significant barriers to fighting against power creep is based on how League is designed. It’s not a rock, paper, scissors design of champion A beats champion B, and so on. Instead, it’s champion A beats champion B unless champion B does X and Y and specs for Z, and champion A doesn’t do X, Y, and Z. 


Hopefully, you can see the issue there. 


Regardless of how difficult it may be, Riot is a multi-billion-dollar company. League of Legends alone is worth $15 billion dollars. This means that there can’t be too much room for forgiveness when you’re operating on a scale that is by far at the top of the industry.


Hopefully, we can see Riot more successfully combat power creep in the patches going forward because as the game is right now, it is becoming hard to play against the meta using any of the older champions, which is making the game stale and boring.