Can League of Legends Stand the Test of Time?
As time goes on, online games come and go like the tides of the ocean or something as poetic as that. When games get older and communities get larger, some people long for the simpler days where there was fewer people and fewer items to keep track of, such as Team Fortress 2 before the infamous "hat" update that changed the game forever. World of Warcraft itself is a great example. With every expansion pack comes people longing for the previous one, and their explanation of why normally breaks down to "the good old days".
Whether or not the good old days exist is up for eternal debate, but subscription numbers in WoW show the game has "past its peak" if you compare subscription numbers between Wrath of the Lich King and Mists of Pandaria.
These tidings of doom have started to appear more frequently at popular discussion forums such as Reddit or the official League of Legends forums even. While of course these threads are simply conjecture and not fact, it makes you turn around and think for second, can League of Legends last as long as games like World of Warcraft or the DOTA franchise?
A graph of WoW subscribers over the years, provided by thegoldencrusade.net
Dustin Beck, Vice President of eSports as Riot Games, says with confidence, yes.
“Baseball has been around 110 years. I’m not saying League of Legends will be around that long, but we see the shelf life of LoL as hopefully decades.”
With Riot's commitment to growing eSports and League of Legends, I don't doubt their ability to keep people interested in their game.
However, without some changes to their approach on the game, the amount of people starting to play League may fall behind the amount of people stopping to play League. With the ever-looming Heroes of the Storm on the horizon, Riot has failed to amend their heinously outdated in-game Tutorial system, which fails to properly explain many of the mechanics and ideas of the game. Additionally, they lack the public map editing tools that DOTA 2 has recently released to their fanbase. With the acquisition of Ghostcrawler, ex-WoW community lead, maybe Riot's quest for longevity will not seem as absurd as we thought.
It sucks to say only time will tell, but this is the kind of question that only gets answered with time. I can say though, with some confidence, that Riot will have to adjust their new player experience and maybe update their client/release some custom game editing tools in the coming years to keep the internet interested.