Riot Games employee gives hot take on assassins and burst damage

Hunter C. May 18, 2019

Riot Games’ August Browning has given an opinion on champion balance that’s sure to leave some League of Legends players scratching their heads.

August gave an opinion on “one-shot” champions, claiming that part of the impressive longevity of League of Legends was due to the fact that it did support many different styles of play.This included the extremely powerful assassin class.

“Rengar (and champs like him) instantly one-shotting you is GOOD FOR LEAGUE OF LEGENDS [sic],” August said on Twitter. “The game becomes a lot more bland when every single matchup gets reduced down to ‘dodge the skillshot to see who's ‘Faker.’”

August’s opinion surely isn’t going to be popular among many of the game’s players. Getting struck down by a single shot form an opponent is often annoying and offers little opportunity for counterplay, so it’s understandable why many players are often frustrated by such mechanics.

But August does have a point. Strong assassin champions help to make every game of League of Legends a little bit different. Sure, having an assassin kill you in a split second isn’t very fun, but for every game that happens there’s another game in which the assassin never reaches that power level, or is put so far behind that they’re rendered fundamentally useless.

High risk high reward play is an integral part of any competitive game. August is correct in that games could get very stale if they featured only the same things over and over again. League’s longevity is somewhat tethered to its variety, making all sorts of playstyles acceptable as part of the competitive meta.

There is still an argument to be made on the behalf of the more casual player, who will likely get frustrated with the mechanic and may not return to the game after being made its victim. It can’t be fun for a strong mechanic like this to be abused in games for newer players not as familiar with the potential variety of possible outcomes.

But getting assassins are a part of the game that they’ll just have to learn to better deal with in the future. The Riot Games balancing team has decided that it’s a necessary mechanic, and it’s hard to argue with nearly a decade of success.