League of Legends top lane “satisfaction” fixes promised, but not until Season 13

Yorick in League of LegendsRiot Games

Top lane in League of Legends is memed on for how dire it is to play at times. Riot is aware of the notoriety and is aiming to ship some “satisfaction” fixes for the role, but players will have to wait until Season 13 for relief.

Top lane players have suffered through seasons of constant changes with little relief in League of Legends. The role has evolved to a point where sometimes it feels like Summoner’s Rift is just a 4v4 map with a duel happening completely disjointed from the game at hand.

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System changes to the Teleport summoner spell as well as towers have brought this on, and general staleness in champion picks has seen the player base flock to other roles.

Riot originally flagged some Teleport changes ⁠— nerfing its pre-14 minute cooldown by a minute ⁠— to try and stem the power of split pushing. However, the community revolted and got these reverted after believing it would continue pushing the role into the gutter.

While Riot isn’t shipping those changes touted for LoL patch 12.14 to “focus on stability for the rest of the season”, top lane is still a high priority for developers.

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Pulsefire Fiora splash art for League of LegendsRiot Games
League of Legends’ top lane is in a dire spot, and players want fixes now. Riot is waiting until Season 13 though.

“Top lane satisfaction is high prio to fix once Preseason launches,” developer Matt ‘Phroxzon’ Leung-Harrison promised players, “but it’s a challenging problem with all ‘easy’ solutions having large collateral damage or optimizations that subvert design intent.”

The Teleport changes would have affected champions like Fiora and Yorick who can just divide the map up with ease and carve through side lanes. That’s the meta Riot was trying to avoid with the floated changes ⁠— even if players believe the state of split pushing isn’t bad right now.

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“There are downsides to split push focused metas. They are less understandable for viewers who enjoy watching teamfights. Advantages play out over long time frames, are overly focused on unsatisfying strategic advantages like burning teleports and rotations.

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“I don’t think split should be bad, but we do need to consider the needs of the game outside of pro [play] while keeping it healthy.”

Some players, however, think Riot’s actions speak louder than words. They’ve argued changes to Dragons in LoL patch 12.14 will make the bot side objective more rewarding and ultimately detract from the already minimal attention top lane receives in-game.

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Riot disagrees with the sentiment, saying the buffed dragon rewards will come at a cost of them being harder to kill: “While Dragon reward is being buffed, we’re also increasing the required time investment which should increase teams’ abilities to either mount a successful contest or trade sides and get a Herald trade [and] dive off,” Phroxzon continued.

“It’s at least debatable that [the] best teams prefer prioritizing first herald over drags. They commonly do this and don’t deem [first or second] drag worth contesting. That’s a reasonable tradeoff.

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“I agree it’s a problem and we’re creating some design debt with these changes, but I also think some of the ‘easy’ solutions like nerfing respawn rate by a minute just carry way too much collateral damage for many of the other values and principles we care about.”

While Riot are aware of constant pains pressuring top lane players in League of Legends, don’t expect changes before 2023’s Season 13 ⁠— outside of a few champion adjustments here and there like planned nerfs for Gangplank in the upcoming LoL patch 12.14.

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