2022 was an eventful year for League of Legends (LoL) players. There were new items, many champions reworked, and a handful of new champions introduced. However, some changes were so big that they shook the LoL meta for good.
Some of these changes were uncomfortable and were met with resistance by players, while others integrated well into the LoL ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at five of these changes that got the League community talking in 2022.
LoL introduced Challenges in May this year, and while it doesn’t change the meta or the gameplay, it gave players of all levels the chance to feel rewarded throughout the season in their own way.
This meant that players who aren’t as keen on forever playing ranked games but have achieved other unique titles through their playstyle or, sometimes, by sheer luck.
Points for five categories, namely Imagination, Expertise, Teamwork and Strategy, Veterancy, Collection, and Legacy, can be gained by accomplishing specific achievements stated on challenge cards. While it’s not yet in its final phase, it sure spiced up the game for those who loved certain aspects of the game.
The new drakes were introduced in the Preseason of 2022 as a way to shake up the Elemental Rift that players have started to get used to in 2021.
Two Drakes arrived on the Summoner’s Rift and were promptly received with mixed criticism by solo queue and pros alike.
The Hextech Drake, which gives ability haste and attack speed, and opens gates that teleport toward the other side of the jungle. It sounded like a crazy, scary addition at first, but as soon as the season changes began to settle in, it was quite a success. The teleport gates were great tools to disengage, juke, and outplay the enemy team. It also made for exciting chess-like cross-map plays that made esports a bit more fast-paced and unpredictable.’
On the other hand, its undead brother, the Chemtech Drake, was met with much frustration from the entire LoL community. When the Dragon was initially introduced, killing it granted the team a damage increase of up to 6%, which was particularly useful when facing off against foes with bigger health pools.
Slain team members bleed out after four seconds and do 40% less damage. Champions revived by the Chemtech Dragon Soul have a zombie state indicator on their health bar.
On top of the Chemtech Dragon Soul, the Rift is altered too. In Chemtech Terrain, bushes evaporate, and toxic gas is unleashed in the jungle, camouflaging champions and limiting their leap and gank abilities. The rift change crippling bush ganking champions like Rengar, Maokai, Fiddlesticks, and Sion.
The “zombie-drake” was too game-changing that it got disabled as early as the end of January, when devs went back to the drawing board after receiving tons of player backlash. This Drake was eventually reintroduced in Preseason 2023 but with a different and less distressing kit.
Teleport is one of the most popular Summoner’s Spells on the Rift, and many players, including pros, have used it often to disrupt the early game quite often.
To bring back some balance, devs have decided to reshape the spell so it doesn’t disrupt the early game as much but has more impact later in the game. The teleport changes were launched as early as patch 12.1.
The regular teleport can no longer target ally minions and wards and no longer gives bonus total movement speed on arrival, with its cooldown increased.
At the 14-minute mark, it transforms into the Unleashed teleport, where you can teleport toward the target allied turret, minion award, and grant the bonus movement speed.
Doing this made the laning phase less chaotic and allowed both teams to farm more or less peacefully. Junglers and Solo laners had to be creative with their movements to keep up, which led to some unreal situations in competitive play.
However, the change also isolated the solo laners even more. It led the dev team to make changes so the the solo lane could be more relevant to the game.
In 2021, games had many chances to snowball most of the time, and there was no chance for the other team to recover. However, in 2022, objective bounties were introduced, as a way for the team that was falling behind to find a way to a comeback.
Objective Bounties are similar to Champion Bounties. But instead of putting a bounty on the head of a single champion and giving the money to that player, the bounty is now spread out across the map. So if an unexpected Bel’veth or Graves snowball occurred, players still had a chance to win the game.
This meant that players and viewers never knew until the very last minute if a team is going to win or not, unlike last year, where most of the time, after watching the early game, you know who was going to win more or less, unless the opposing team has pulled off some miracle.
It got to a point in Spring where it was too disruptive that some players on solo queue intentionally lose to win the game. After a few adjustments into the mid-year, however, these were effective in setting up a comeback, but without destroying the chances of the winning team.
And finally, the biggest and most important change is the Durability Update. In the previous couple of seasons, it was all about damage, but there was too much damage. Devs said that increased durability will help players showcase their skills since it allows for more counterplay.
Changes to Base Health, Health per Level, Armour per Level, and Magic Resist per Level were increased. And with this simple change, a wave of nerfs and buffs on champions, the Baron, Turrets, and mana regeneration followed.
In fact, this was so impactful that it changed the state of the game. More champions were viable in the new meta, team fights were longer, and it made for some really thrilling, intense moments in LoL esports. Because damage didn’t one-shot some champions as often, we saw how pros used the champion skills in every angle possible at Worlds 2022.
While not perfect, it certainly brought more balance to the game. Players kept finding more ways to abuse durability with the changes integrated into the Preseason, so devs continued to find ways to tweak this by boosting tanks, nerfing a couple of features, and more.
There’s certainly still a lot to improve in the game, and we may have a couple of things on our wishlist for 2023, but we say cheers to a fruitful 2022 in LoL and looking forward to the new season!
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.