League of Legends has recently had issues with its abused bounty systems, so Riot Games has explained its reasoning behind adding return mechanics to LoL.
Riot developer Phroxzon turned to Riot’s regular Quick Gameplay Thoughts series to explain why bounties exist and why Riot Games added them. Riot’s ideal use of feedback mechanics in LoL encourages smart play and rewards mindful play.
Why are there feedback mechanisms in LoL?
Riot’s approach to implementing and adding feedback mechanics is condensed into three crucial aspects. First, bounties provide a clear but risky path to victory for losing teams. Individual bounties force players to target the most dangerous members of the enemy team, while objective bounties offer the chance of the winning team fighting you at the objective site. However, pushing the game too far in favor of feedback or snowballing mechanics means games are either too punishing or too volatile, leaving Riot with a careful balance to manage.
Second, feedback mechanics allow winning teams to be stronger than they would be without them. With an opposing force in play, winning teams become stronger when they have a lead. As part of this, the ideal bounty system encourages winning teams to be smart about how they use their prospects. Play too risky and that lead can be thrown away.
Knowing you could be giving up hundreds more gold, winning teams are hopefully less likely to go deep into enemy territory without vision or support. This can prevent unnecessary losses while encouraging the losing team to focus their efforts on map objectives or enemy champions that matter most.
Riot also acknowledged that the current system is not perfect and that some extreme cases make it difficult to answer on the implementation of the feedback mechanism. The bounty system was changed most recently to account for supports taking Smite and dropping top lane, and future changes seem inevitable.
Riot isn’t saying anything about its next steps for bounties in League of Legends, but it’s clear the developer is keeping an eye on return mechanics throughout LoL.