Will Riot Fix League's Power Creep Problem?

We take a look at power creep and how this problem has ruined League of Legends. What is Riot doing to do to fix this issue?
Crystal Rose Akshan splash
Was he overpowered upon release? | © Riot Games

League of Legends, like many other games, has the problem of power creep. This has become more obvious in Season 12 than ever before, but what is power creep, and what is being done to stop this phenomenon? Can Riot even stop it?

With the release of Zeri as well as Akshan and Samira, we see a pattern start to emerge and in a recent stream, former LEC player Nemesis has hit the nail on the head – there is too much damage in League of Legends.

What is Power Creep in Video Games?

The term power creep actually doesn’t come from the video game industry. Instead, this is a term that was used in tabletop games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, as well as card games like Magic the Gathering.

It refers to the act of new content being added to the game, stronger than any content previously. This is done to keep the content entertaining for players, but if the base power level is raised too much, well, then older content, characters and champions could become completely obsolete.

Aaron Forsythe, Vice President of Design of Magic Design at Studio X, explained in 2004, “[power creep is] a phenomenon that occurs when we feel that we constantly have to outdo ourselves in terms of the power levels of cards from set to set.”

He might be referring to trading card games, but this sounds an awful lot like champion design, right? Right.

Does League of Legends Have A Power Creep Problem?

Throughout the years, Riot has worked to try and make older champions stay relevant. This is done by updating their kits, reworking champions from scratch and balancing patches constantly. Has this worked though?

Not completely. In the video, Nemesis shows a 1-vs-1 between Olaf and Veigar and points out that in today’s League of Legends environment, Veigar would be dead within the first few seconds of the fight – even against an Olaf with half the items of the one in the video.

So, while Riot is working to renew champions, the fact that items have also been made stronger over the years to keep up with the constant demand of damage, as well as the innate healing which has crept into League of Legends throughout the last few years can not be ignored.

What Is Riot Doing To Combat Power Creep?

Riot has been trying to figure out a solution on how to slow power creep down – because if we’re being honest, you cannot completely stop power creep from spreading into any game that is constantly being updated with new content.

But it seems that for us League of Legends fans, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. On the Reddit thread showcasing Nemsis’ rant, Riot Axes replied with the following.

We are actively working on finding the good, nuanced version of reducing overall damage in the game.
We are hoping to ship during the season if possible. There's not a good update I can give right now other than we're working on it, we're hoping to ship it when it's ready, and we're willing to ship it during the season instead of having to wait til preseason if we're able to land it, aside from specific launch windows like playoffs/MSI or the leadup to Worlds.

Riot Will Announce Power Changes Soon

According to Riot Axes on Reddit, Riot is going to be revealing just how they wish to change the massive amounts of burst damage. Team fights in recent times have shortened to an average of 14 seconds, which is ways away from the past where fights and skirmishes could last up to 50 seconds thanks to tanks and healers influence.

We believe League of Legends is best when it's fast-paced and exciting, but yeah I think it would be fair to say it has overcorrected towards damage, which is hitting away at clarity.

When Will Riot Make Changes to Power Creep?

These changes will likely not hit the rift for a while. Riot has explained that they won't be making big game-changing changes in the MSI and Worlds patch cycles which this type of change would definitely influence. With the development team stating that info will be released soon, we can assume that it's going to be a while before we see these changes.

So, expect a cut to power to be added after Worlds or during pre-season. But it could be sooner. Riot hasn't stated a specific time or date yet though, so for now we can just be patient.

Is it finally time for League of one-shotting to end? Hopefully, Riot figures something out. Zeri was another extremely overloaded champion – get it… she’s an electric champion…. – and Akshan really wasn’t the most well-received champion either. Hopefully, with the inclusion of ASU’s, older champions will be up to snuff by the end of Season 12.