It’s not about your potential power, but the power that you display.
Selecting which character you want to spend your gaming life with is a difficult choice, no matter how temporary the experience. You choose your character depending on what you think looks cool, what role you want to play as, what you think will get the job done when push comes to shove, how well you can synergize with your teammates. You’ll be spending the next game life becoming accustomed to your character and your team’s characters so you want to choose someone that you won’t regret spending that life as.
League of Legends is no exception to this, and with over 100 characters to choose from, 5 roles and a number of different play styles for each character and role, a player has a lot of choices to make in deciding how their next gaming-lifespan will be experienced. Not all play-styles work so some people take up the task of writing up guides on how they play, what works for them, what items to pick up and contingencies based on who you are playing with or who you are playing against. Sites like Champion Select, Solomid and Mobafire where guide writers impart their wisdom with certain characters and prospective new comers learn and rank what guides work best.
I’m not here to talk about which guides are better than others, but to research and impart knowledge of which characters the League Community likes best.
Singles found at the bottom
Disclaimer: Data is from Google Trends which reports data as a percentage of searches over time compared to a search’s best frequency. If you had a 100 in week 1 and a 10 on week 2, that means week 2 had 10% of the searches compared to week 1.
There is no easy way of showing the frequency of the 100+ characters of time, but we need a way of talking about the types of characters that players are interested in and in a meaningful way.
Those that we want to try
The characters that players try often are those that don’t see many searches outside of their free rotation week. The trend we see for characters in this category is something like this:
We only really see a surge in player’s interest when the character is free, otherwise only a small pocket of players might actually play the character.
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Those that we love to play
There are characters that get picked more consistently than the last category. Characters that are easier to play, easier to dominate others with, better at working well with an unknown team composition. These are the characters that we love to play and are spread across the community a bit more evenly.
LeBlanc is one of these kinds of characters. Sure, she gets as much interest when she’s free like the previous category, but she is consistently picked more often than the previous category when she isn’t free. Her ability to burst down opponents gives her great offensive advantage against most that she has to fight against and having a great distance closer which doubles as an escape mechanic gives her great situational utility and survivability. And these mechanics get translated to those players that play her during free– week so her popularity sticks and she becomes someone that you see fairly often in a game of League.
Those too OP to not play
These are the characters that get picked not just consistently, but you’re hard-pressed to find a game without them in it. They have something that makes them an essential part of any team, either because they syngergize with whomever they work with, are a great counter-strategy against nearly anyone they play against, or can just dominate/help dominate the game regardless of the situation.
Taric is a character that didn’t get a lot of love early in his league career, much like LeBlanc. In late 2011, Taric started getting a surge in play and until earlier this year was one of the go-to support characters to play and you would almost always see him a game either as an ally or enemy. Able to stun and weaken opponents, and abilities buff and heal your teammate? Of course he would be picked why wouldn’t you pick him? Oh wait, Thresh was released January 2013? Might explain something…
It’s weird seeing that certain characters are more popular than others in a game that wants to be touted as balanced. That being said, there are a lot of characters in both the Too OP and the We Love sections so there are a lot of options for players to choose from, so in that sense the game is pretty balanced.
In the days of DOTA, there were really only a dozen or so characters that were played competitively and playing outside of these characters was essentially pointless unless you find some synergy to exploit.
In a perfect world, all characters would have equal popularity and picked equally often so that for both Riot and the players purchasing these characters they feel that the expense is worth it. You as a developer don’t want to devote thousands of man hours developing a character that no one will play, just like you as a player don’t want to spend money on a character you don’t want to play unless you have some OCD about having all of the champions in your collection. I may or may not fall into this category, but I will neither deny nor acknowledge this at the moment. </Shift eyes>
I think the take away is from this post and this data is to find try and find a balance, someways of getting he We Try category higher in standing so that they don’t become a wasteland on failed attempts.
If you want to see the last League of Legends Data Post, find it here.
Other gaming data posts can be found here.
October 27, 2014 at 14:59
I think the champion pool and data skews the further up the leaderboard that you go. If you watched Worlds at all, you’ll see that for the most part, the same small pool of champions were picked from, with a couple of exceptions in a game here or there. It almost started to get boring because there wasn’t variety. In Bronze league, you’ll see all of the characters getting played, some more than others, but it seems that the “most OP” characters (for that given patch, as it is ever changing) are sorted out of the pack the further up in league you go. I’ve not made it past Silver, but I noticed a marked difference between usage of champs between Bronze and Silver. I think it’s good to have the variety, but it is such a large pool now that some champs are just bound to be better than others.
It seems that mobility is a big factor in new champions that the OG champs didn’t have, which is why anyone that is more mobile or has outstanding utility ends up being picked more often. The meta has shifted in that way, but it’s by Riot’s champion design, not necessarily because that’s what the players chose/wanted.
October 27, 2014 at 15:21
I completely agree that the pool is much smaller as you go up in ranked, but that doesn’t mean that we should just forgo all of the other champs in favor of new ones. Reworking old characters helped mitigate their lack of use, but it is still a slap to the face to those that bought the character when they used to be balanced and later became obsolete. They could easily spend more of an effort rework older characters, but instead focus on other aspects. The new Rift, the small increase in champs this year, the branding of being an e-Sport to name a few.
But I wanted to try and leave any inclinations on Riot’s part out of the analysis because I don’t have Riot’s data, only data from the players. Riot could still do something to help the OG/early champs in the future, but it takes some time to not break the game when making incremental changes.