Jungle Timers and their Controversy

Riot has announced that they plan on adding jungle timers into the game which will keep track of the respawn times of the buff monsters, dragon and the baron. Almost there were members of the community raging and making threads on Reddit and on and the League forums expressing their outrage over Riot's decision. There seems to be very little middle ground where some members of the playerbase expressing pure hatred for the change while others welcome it. As expected, both sides have certain good arguments on their sides although the camp expressing hatred has more silly ones. I personally do not see them as a big deal and welcome the change into the game.

For starters, the change will not affect competitive play and will likely not affect top level play either as most of the players, even non-junglers, took timers already. This just removes the burden of bookkeeping from these players. In the lower division games it will make an impact but for the better. I will explain this in a bit but first I have to expressed that I firmly believe that taking jungle timers is not an example of being skilled. There is no real skill involved in knowing timers and jotting them down. The only thing that taking timers shows is that you are considerate for others and/or not lazy. Taking timers is absolutely pointless if you do not bother to utilize the knowledge of said timers. This brings up the next point of this argument in favor of the jungle timers.

What good is knowing when the dragon spawns if your team does not gather to contest it? What good is knowing the enemy blue buff if you did not prepare to steal it or even utilize the time the enemy jungler would be doing one of their buffs to go do something else? Having timers is pointless if you or your team does not actually put them to good use. Even if you give players automatic jungle timers it may not change the fact that some players may not even bother to assist you. Taking down jungle timers is not skill but utilizing the knowledge you gained by doing so is. Just because a player is given the timers automatically now does not mean the player will actually know what to do. However, at least they will now have the timers and have no excuse for not knowing. The "strong" and "skilled" players will still have an advantage over the players who did not take the timers. As my friend Foxdrop said, if the only thing standing between you and a player you consider inferior is jungle timers, you got a whole load of other problems.

Having the timers will, at least in my opinion, help players become stronger. This community baffles me sometimes when they promote videos, people, articles, and anything that can "help" a player improve yet condemn things that want to subconsciously improve players. This change will definitely help lazier and weaker players but will not do the actual work for them. It will keep the timers for them but will not tell them how to approach an invasion, a gank, a dragon, a baron or anything. The players will either already know what to do so it will be no change for them and the less experienced players will hopefully start learning by coming face to face with failure and laziness.

There would be no excuse for simply not knowing the timers. The only way to gain the timers for a buff or objective a team lost is to have had sight of them die. You may have lost dragon but if you had it warded you will still get the timer, unless they kill the ward of course. Your team cannot excuse itself for failing to group up for dragon, for failing to defend you when you are doing a major buff and you had been invaded throughout the game, or for not keeping the baron area ready for any fights that could occur. If players are exposed to this and they begin to see the importance of taking action then they will slowly start adapting their play. Once they adapt their play and reap positive effects of doing so either because they secure more objectives and buffs or perhaps win more then they will learn why doing these things is seen as such a good idea. I am aware I am repeating myself but it is important that readers understand this. Truly lazy and bad players will not take advantage of these timers while more observing players will.

Some people cried that this is making the game too easy and that it is only a matter of time before Riot adds things like enemy summoner spell timers and ultimate timers or some last hit indicator of some kind. The major difference at play here is that jungle timers are always static. A camp or objective will always spawn at a set amount of time. Enemy abilities have runes, masteries and items that can alter their cooldowns by even milliseconds and their opponent could have no way of immediately guessing the exact cooldown aside from when a player has 0% or 40%. The jungle timers never change so it is not like one is exerting a lot of effort to simply add a number to the time that they died.

I can understand why some people would be upset about the timers although I still believe they are exaggerating too much in their anger. In every instance of Riot adding more clarity to the game there has been a group of people, sometimes small and sometimes large, who cried about the changes. When smart pings were added some players though that would make the game too easy. When aggro indicators for towers and minions were added some players were upset. When a tower aggro sound was added there was yet another group who were pissed at that. Some players hated the idea of smart cast saying it would be too easy to cast combos now and some players hated the idea of new missile displays which would make skill shots too easy. There were even camps of people who cried about Riot adding clarity to champion abilities such as range indicators or buffs/debuffs becoming more noticeable. Yes they technically made the game easier but the changes did not exactly detract from the game. If some of these changes improve the playerbase then the entire game was improved as a result as a higher quality of game could now be expected. At worst, if the jungle changes do result in terrible things for the game, which I doubt it will, then Riot could simply remove them and things will go back to how they used to be. If the jungle timers work out then it will only result in the same way all these other "easy mode" changes did.

I agree that the jungle timers will remove this advantage from some junglers but the advantage has nothing to do with the timer itself but the action taken with knowing said timer. If by "dumbing down" the game Riot can help the playerbase improve then so be it. If you play in a division where taking jungle timers is so common both team always have them, then why does it even matter that timers are given automatically to you and your opponent? If you always keep timers yet you are constantly facing opponents who do not and in fact you are lower division than some of them, do simply knowing jungle timers make a massive difference? Once again if you play in a division where timers are so common, why do you care that a division much lower than you that normally does not take timers has automatic timers? If suddenly some of these players who never took timers become much better because they start adapting their play, were they really bad players?

I simply do not understand how low division players act as if taking jungle timers is something that makes or breaks a player or why players who normally play with timers against other players that take timers care so much that other divisions will be getting them automatically. I am leaning towards all this outrage simply being a knee-jerk reaction towards it and the less insightful of the community being the loudest. If the changes work then they will be kept and they will be removed if they do not. We pretty much have nothing to lose for experimenting with them. As of now, it is just the same loud group that comes out anytime Riot wants to make a change to the game.

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