Since it first came out, League of Legends has become a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of players logging in every month. Now Riot Games’ oldest child is a living and thriving entity that changes constantly and it’s almost unrecognizable from what it once was.
We all love League in one way or another, or otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this post and you wouldn’t be reading it. And we all miss different eras of League of Legends.
For some players, season 3 was the peak for this game. For others, it was season 5. But we can all agree that LoL’s history is full of periods and features that we all universally liked and enjoyed.
Well, today I’ll take a look back at the 10 most beloved features Riot Games added and then removed from LoL. This will be a nostalgia hit for all the veteran League players and an interesting exploration for the newer members of our community.
That said, let’s begin with a dear friend of ours – Twisted Treeline!
1. Old Twisted Treeline
Thinking about Twisted Treeline takes me back to the countless after-school evenings spent playing 3v3 ranked matches with two of my closest friends. For each game, we’d employ different strategies and combo 3 champions that we thought would work well together. Super fun times.
For many veteran players, Twisted Treeline was an exciting alternative to the primary 5v5 gameplay on Summoner’s Rift. It offered a unique 3v3 format on a smaller map, where matches were shorter, faster-paced, and full of fights.
Twisted Treeline had its own jungle with unique monsters and jungle paths. There were two spawn points on each side of the map. And the map’s main villain was Vilemaw, the Baron Nashor of Twisted Treeline. Vilemaw was a scary creature, a big spider-like thing that was difficult to bring down and it required all 3 players to do it together.
But the magic that captured so many hearts about this game mode was its spooky ambiance, its dark appearance, and its gloomy feeling. One look at Twisted Treeline tells you that it offered a one-of-a-kind experience that League of Legends simply can’t give you now.
Unfortunately, Riot Games removed Twisted Treeline due to issues like “low player base” and “difficulties maintaining balance” on November 19th, 2019. But out of all the game modes that they ever created, this one was the most universally loved.
I don’t know a single LoL player who wouldn’t want this map to make a comeback.
2. Dominion Game Mode
Dominion was another game mode that coexisted with Twisted Treeline and was fairly popular in the early games of League of Legends, at least up until season 3 or 4. I fondly remember Dominion because it was fun for me to capture points and fight for their control. It was something that Summoner’s Rift lacked and still does to this day.
Dominion was added in 2011 and it was removed in 2016. The game mode focused less on lane-pushing and more on strategic territory control. There were 5 capture points scattered on the circular map that was called Crystal Scar.
Dominion was a 5v5 mode just like Summoner’s Rift but the goal there was to make the enemy team run out of points sooner than you. And you could do that by capturing and holding more base points than them.
Honestly, Dominion was a breath of fresh air for anyone who wanted to take a break from ranked solo queue. It was also pretty fun for new and casual players who didn’t even play ranked. The pace was frantic and team fights occurred all the time which led to pretty exciting games.
For me, Dominion offered a similar experience to playing a battleground in World of Warcraft. The game mode required constant map awareness and repositioning.
But Dominion’s popularity waned over time, leading Riot to take it out of the game completely. But they can’t erase all the fond memories of those who enjoyed playing the Crystal Scar.
3. Old Runes System
The LoL community is divided into two groups – those that loved the old runes system and those that are glad it’s gone. I definitely belong to the first group because I loved the fact that I must earn my in-game power.
And in my opinion, this system offered way more customization and personalization than the one we currently have where everyone uses the same rune page for a specific champion. When was the last time you saw Yasuo with a keystone other than Lethal Tempo?
Anyway, the old runes system required you to collect the in-game currency I’ll talk about below – Influence Points or IP. You could use IP to buy rune pages and runes that you’d insert into the slots. This gave you lots of variations to play around with.
But the system wasn’t without its flaws. It was very “grindy” and new players had to sweat to collect enough IP (which was also used for buying new champions) to purchase a single rune page, then sweat some more to buy all the runes they actually needed. And there were 3 tiers of runes, with the strongest being way more expensive than the basic ones.
This system worked in combination with the old masteries system in League of Legends. But because it was so complex, Riot combined the two into the system we have nowadays – simply runes. The new system is also free which helps a lot when it comes to newer players.
But there are millions of players that loved the old runes and masteries systems!
4. League of Legends Legacy Cursor
The Legacy Cursor was a part of LoL for nearly a decade. Riot Games gave it a modern facelift in 2018 and replaced with the arrow one we had today. When that happened, I immediately toggled back to the old one – the new design just didn’t feel the same. And I prefer that one to this day.
The Legacy Cursor is not completely removed – you can actually toggle it on in the game’s settings. Not too many people are crazy about the Legacy Cursor but some never made the change. For instance, Faker still plays with the Legacy Cursor instead of the new one.
For many players, the new cursor lacks the charm and distinctiveness of the old one. And I can’t blame them!
5. Tribunal System
The Tribunal System was Riot’s innovative approach to managing in-game toxicity and unsportsmanlike behavior. It was added in 2011 and it allowed players to review and judge reported cases of misconduct.
In other words, the community played a huge role in shaping and maintaining a healthy gaming environment. It gave us a sense of responsibility and a feeling of connectedness. To this day, the Tribunal System is the most fair system Riot Games ever came up with for dealing with toxic players.
But there were downsides to this system too. It was slow, and the sheer volume of reports often resulted in cases taking a long time to be resolved. Due to these issues, Riot replaced the Tribunal with an automated system in 2014.
The new system proved to be faster and more efficient, but players lost the sense of community and involvement when it came to punishing toxicity and unsportsmanlike. It was like removing the jury from the courthouse.
I still remember one case I reviewed. A player was reported for toxicity but he wrote a huge apology in the post-game chat so I opted for a lighter punishment. It felt like the right thing to do. It feels good to this day.
6. Unique Champion Abilities
Truth be told, Riot Games have done an amazing job of coming up with unique mechanics and abilities for their champions. Throughout the years, they’ve added many unique abilities but they’ve also removed some for good.
For instance, old Mordekaiser’s ultimate ability to command a ghost of slain enemies was simply epic. You could take the enemy Taric’s ghost and heal your allies if you wanted to.
On the other hand, Mordekaiser could even possess the ghost of the slain dragon and take it to the enemy turrets to quickly take them down. In a game where there were no Rift Heralds, this was probably the best push there could ever be. But with Morde’s rework, this ability was completely removed.
Even though Riot Games proceed to launch new champions very frequently, most of them nowadays feel like combinations of a few older champions. Take Yone, for example. His abilities are a mix of Yasuo’s and Zed’s abilities. There’s nothing unique to him whatsoever.
I only hope that Riot Games explore these removed abilities and effects with future champions and reworks.
7. URF (Ultra Rapid Fire) Mode
When it first came out, URF was the best thing that happened to League. It was a part of an April Fool’s event but it became a fan-favorite mode very quickly.
And even though it’s not completely gone because Riot Games adds it every now and then (sometimes ARURF or All Random URF), it feels like a removed feature that should actually be a constant game mode.
URF is an adrenaline-packed mode that throws all the strategies of League of Legends out of the window. It removes mana cost from your abilities and reduces their cooldowns significantly. This makes it so you can always fight which you do by constantly casting spells left and right.
Some champions are ridiculous in URF. For instance, Ezreal can jump every other second so you can never catch him. And you can never escape Fizz because he’s always jumping.
Despite its popularity, Riot found that the mode led to player burnout and thus decided to remove it. But whenever it makes a comeback, EVERYONE plays it!
8. Influence Points (IP) and the Old Reward System
Before Blue Essence, Influence Points (IP) served as the primary in-game currency. Players earned IP simply by playing the game, and they could use these points to purchase champions, runes and rune pages. The system was a constant progression treadmill, with each game feeling rewarding.
When Riot introduced Blue Essence back in 2017 and removed IP, the intended to simplify and streamline the process of acquiring new champions, especially for the new players. I can’t say that they did this successfully however because you get a random amount of Blue Essence only after you level up. And that takes a lot of games.
Personally, I prefer the Influence Points system. Earning IP each game gave me a constant sense of progression. It felt like every match counted. And if I wanted to buy Zed, for instance, I knew exactly how much I needed to play to unlock him.
And I hope Riot Games changes Blue Essence in this direction.
9. Original Champion Lore
It’s no secret that Riot Games improvised a lot with Lague’s early lore. They created champions based on different mythologies in order to populate the game faster. But even though that was the case, each champion had a unique role.
In time, Riot Games would develop a totally new lore for League of Legends and the whole of Runeterra. They created a cohesive universe for the game. This led to them retconning many things, including specific champions’ backstories and adding new ones.
Nowadays one can read the lore of LoL and enjoy its connected universe. I personally love that! But I also enjoyed reading random short stories that made no sense in the grand scheme of things. For this, I recommend Mordekaiser’s old story.
10. Old Summoner’s Rift Map
Summoner’s Rift has undergone multiple changes since League of Legends first came out. But the version that most players loved was the season 3 map.
During this time, Summoner’s Rift had a unique charm. The art was unique and the colors were very vibrant and warm. It was a magical forest full of danger. It had the power to instantly immerse you so you’d forget about the outside world.
But the major update to Summoner’s Rift in 2014 brought a more visually sophisticated map with higher fidelity graphics, improved jungle monsters, and several other changes aimed at enhancing gameplay clarity.
However, the rustic charm of the old map is still remembered by all the veteran players, including me. It was a symbol of a simpler era in League’s history. A time we all wish to come back.
Being part of League of Legends for over 10 years, I’ve witnessed most of its changes. And even though some are excellent and very appreciated, others strike heavily on our hearts.
Me and many other players had to say goodbye to things like Dominion and Twisted Treeline, modes that we played almost every day. And all because Riot Games as a company had other plans for us.
But the good thing is that League continues to grow and change despite the direction it’s going. And we can only hope that it sometimes gives us the opportunity to revisit our beloved features, be it as temporary game modes or otherwise.