League of Legends, as far as most people are concerned, has two maps. It has Summoners Rift, the main map that 99% of people play on. There’s also Howling Abyss, the map mostly used for ARAM games. But there used to be other game modes and other maps too. The Crystal Scar was a weird control-point-based map for 5v5. And then there was Twisted Treeline. A 3v3 map, built around the same premise as Summoners Rift, except spookier.
Basically, it was a 3v3 version of the standard gameplay.
The concept was simple. You have a smaller map with less players, with much more pressure to push and kill. There’s only two lanes in the Twisted Treeline, at the end of which there’s a Nexus, waiting to be blown up. But Twisted Treeline never actually was “Summoners Rift but smaller”. It had its own little perks and curiosities. There were different camps, different paths, a health pad and a whole new mechanic, featuring altars.
These altars granted vision and small boons when both of them were captured. They were similar to the control points in Dominion, where you have to stand on them for 9 seconds. The idea was that you’d go for far more action-filled gameplay, with two laners and a jungler who would constantly apply pressure on the enemy. But the altars always seemed at odds with the faster action, since you’d have to stand around to capture them. The altars were kinda strong though as they gave extra movement speed and extra gold if you held both.
It never really took off.
Twisted Treeline never got off the ground. It garnered some early interest and even had a ranked system matching that of 5v5 gameplay for years. But because of the lack of continued interest and support, no one really got into it. After all, why play a 15-20 minute 3v3 game hen you can play a 20-25 minute 5v5 game and not have to work as hard? The 3v3 gameplay did reward heavy ganking and more killing and murdering, but Summoners Rift did all of that anyway.
What made matters worse was that Twisted Treeline, with the games being shorter and less people around, ended up being filled with bots. A smaller population with smaller reporting power meant that leveling bots ran rampant in not just Coop VS AI but in normal games as well. Combined with almost zero matchmaking due to the low player base, Twisted Treeline simply couldn’t offer anything to draw players in.
The location though was awesome.
I mean, it’s a spooky, haunted forest! There’s monsters, creepy backgrounds and all sorts. The atmosphere is far eerier than the normal Summoners Rift, but it’s eerie in that rather cute, almost World of Warcraft-like style. Spooky but with nice hints of colour from the two bases, blue and purple. The map appears rather enclosed, more so than Summoners Rift, but since it’s in the middle of a haunted forest, I can somewhat understand that. Even though Twisted Treeline never got updated to be in line with other, more popular maps, it does have its own charm.
The Twisted Treeline actually had some awesome lore implications as well. The big epic monster, Vilemaw, is actually the same entity that gave spider-based champion Elise her powers. The whole map is swimming with Shadow Isles lore, and there’s custom voice lines for when Shadow Isles champions are around.
Sadly, Twisted Treeline died a boring death.
The last update Twisted Treeline got was in June 2015. It was then ignored for years, pretty much untouched. Basically, Riot realised that people didn’t care about anything that wasn’t Summoners Rift. Even with event game modes like URF and Hexakill, Twisted Treeline held basically no interest. It didn’t fill a niche that Summoners Rift and 5v5 were already holding. The only game modes that did become popular were ones completely separate from your standard MOBA gameplay… like Team Fight Tactics.
Twisted Treeline was completely removed in November 2019. But by then, most people weren’t interested anyway, aside from the vast minority that had grinded to get ranks in this strange game mode…