Red Post Collection
Single Posts – Stale Balance, Skarner, Support Gragas
Awesome news – Guinsoo is back and he’s ready to deliver on the fantasy of dueling Champions with a French fencer lady!
Guinsoo: Hi guys. I’d just like to weigh in on what some of the Fiora goals are. The main problems we see with Fiora’s current kit are that thematically, she doesn’t deliver on the fantasy of being a skilled duelist/fencer, and mechanically, her game presence / play pattern / role doesn’t line up with being a skilled duelist/fencer.
As far as the duelist fantasy goes, at least when I think of Fiora, I expect her to be extremely mobile but not just going in, she needs to be good at dancing in, out of, around and about combat. She should be about finding weaknesses in the opponent’s play and finding the proper occasion to go on the attack. She shouldn’t be about running in and bursting enemies down, she should be dealing high, steady DPS over time that is relatively target agnostic.
Mechanically speaking, I’d expect a duelist type champion to be mechanically intense. I expect opportunities to use my abilities at optimal times to counter out the enemy’s champion. I want to have a lot to keep track of, but with clear success cases when I do well.
At the end of the day, live Fiora is a ball of stats with some untargetability thrown in; she pushes her buttons pretty much as fast as she can without a second thought, and she’s also extremely snowballey. In short, she’s bland with no cool opportunities to exchange gameplay between her and her lane opponent.
Some of the current goals including switching Fiora from an assassin to a melee DPS, and moving her lane from top to mid/jungle, and adding tons of ‘outplay’ functionality on her kit, as well as more mobility especially in terms of being able to disengage and re-engage at optimal times.
I can’t share too much of exactly what the plans are for her kit, as I’m sure it’s going to change tons during development, but I’ll leave this here to hopefully stir up some excitement for our favorite rapier wielder. Also bear in mind this is an early, experimental Blade Waltz, and could certainly change drastically between now and remake launch time.
I also understand it’s hard to understand exactly what this sample Blade Waltz does, given the lack of context on her basic spells… but rest assured, there are significant tweaks (or more) to all 4 of the other abilities, so hopefully your imaginations run wild
Do you think this new ultimate will accomplish what the old one did?
Guinsoo: A great question. I’m not going to directly answer it, but I’m going to pose a theoretical question.
If one assumes that Lunge is _kind of_ like Blade Waltz’s jump around and hit things function, and that Riposte is _kind of_ like Blade Waltz’s untargetability, is it hard to envision a scenario where you don’t get the current functionality of Blade Waltz if you’re allowed to rapidly cast your basic spells? But with options around when each individual jump and spell block comes from, as well as considering how many jumps to use vs spell blocks vs disengages, when, how many auto attacks to weave in, when to focus more DPS vs more survivability vs more mobility, etc.
The goal behind the current ult was to sometimes emulate the behavior of the old one, but make it more timing and decision based, add more options, and add more counterplay for the opponents. I feel like the new ultimate offers far more opportunities than the old one, if one assumes that R/Q emulates the feel of her live Blade Waltz.
Do you think Fiora’s rework will allow her to duel the current top lane picks?
Guinsoo: Right now to me the ‘natural’ top laners are people like Renekton, Shyvana, etc. I feel like in order to make a melee ADC (ala Yasuo) compete with those types of champions in the top lane, we’d have to make other sacrifices to her core design (e.g. putting life regeneration on her kit, I really don’t like her current passive but I worry that without it she’d really struggle top lane).
As a fencer, Fiora should be about one-hit knockouts, not poking enemies
Guinsoo: OK, I feel like I used the wrong terminology when I said “poke enemies down.” I edited my first post to “deal steady, high DPS that is relatively target agnostic.” While I mostly agree with you that fencing is all about scoring OHKOs, well obviously that type of gameplay isn’t great for any type of PvP game.
The way we’re choosing to handle this is to give her strong, steady DPS, but have it come in bigger chunks that one might anticipate from a steady DPS champion. For example her Riposte has heavily negative implications on her outgoing DPS… unless she blocks a significant spell or attack, at which point she can respond with a very hard hitting Thrust.
In general we want her to feel good (and be greatly rewarded) for using her abilities properly. While that can’t be in the form of OHKOs, I think the next best thing is “big chunks of damage.”
Off-topic: Why were you gone for so long?
Guinsoo: Truth be told, 6 years of intense video game development got to me and I really needed to take some time to destress. I spent about a year traveling and relaxing and now I’m locked and loaded and ready to pump out some sweet content.
Why would Fiora be picked over Yasuo?
Guinsoo: Here are 3 reasons off the top of my head to pick her over Yasuo. Please note I’m talking about her new kit with new abilities, not her old kit with a new ultimate. I just spoiled the ultimate for funsies
1) Kayle ult with a few catches on a normal slot
2) Weaker engage, but much stickier than Yasuo
3) Built in disengage
Will her Reposte be able to block tower shots while Fiora is using her ult?
Guinsoo: I doubt it. I’m not a great fan of tower diving. I think her kit still leaves her much better positioned to tower dive than the average champion even without being untargetable/immune to turrets. I’m not completely opposed to her having some turret mitigation capabilities. But I’d rather avoid it, and so far my instinct tells me she’ll do okay with out it just due to the sheer mobility on the kit.
Do you feel her passive is underwhelming?
Guinsoo: That’s kind of what I’m driving at – the passive feels lame, it’s especially lame in tense moments like battles with other champions, and its only real use is allowing her access to a lane that I don’t really feel she belongs in in the first place. It’s power without gameplay, and plus it feels useless too. It’s effective, but totally lameballs. That’s pretty much the opposite of where I’d like her passive design space to lie.
Why would a duelist be a jungler? It doesn’t seem thematic
Guinsoo: That’s an interesting consideration. But I still think mid lane works fine for her; perhaps you’re right that jungle isn’t where she belongs.
How will you balance Fiora’s damage spike from her new ultimate?
Guinsoo: Originally I was debating how to primarily balance this implementation of Blade Waltz. There are two obvious limiting levers, duration and number of casts. The version of which I posted a screenshot is clearly more duration limited. In this iteration I was counting on the various “drawbacks” / nuances of the abilities to limit the ultimate – e.g. travel times, delays, parry times, etc.
In the end with the directions we took for some of the other , and the more recent version is more moderate 8 second duration, with a limit of 4 / 6 / 8 casts (still needs tons of tuning). Also note that right now Blade Waltz doesn’t provide any bonuses to how hard the skills hit, to emphasize mobility and tactics over brute force during the ultimate (obviously when casting that many spells in succession, it’s going to be doing a certain amount of brute force work).
You’re partially right that an ultimate that uses stronger versions of your basic skills requires a sharp tuning knife to make it feel good with and without. But in this case, I think there are some “under the hood” things that we can do to make the ultimate feel like a thing of its own. For example right now when you activate it, it resets all your cooldowns so you can start your comboing or dancing immediately, you get X number of casts chosen pretty much any way you like, and afterward it puts the cooldowns back where they were. I think this really helps make the ultimate feel like a spell all of its own. Additionally, the more potent the “spell modifications” that Blade Waltz offers, the more it feels like the ultimate is a collection of different spells. I think the W captures that well right now, the E to some degree, and the Q not nearly enough.
She definitely pulls a lot of weight with all her spells. In fact, she’s decidedly spell based and mostly weaves autos between them, but still plays a lot like a melee ADC because she can cast so many spells within her windows and (conditionally) deal steady spikes of damage. As far as the actual itemization, that is yet to be determined. Right now, she does have an attack speed steroid elsewhere on her kit (originally it was on the ult, but that doesn’t fit for obvious reason), but it’s not clear to me yet if that will or should stick. That is one of the balancing levers for her that partially determines if she’s more assassin or melee ADC; in an ideal world I’d like her to play exactly like a melee ADC without any basic attack steroids, but that’s a lofty goal that’s probably not possible. I also don’t want her to rely exclusively on her auto attacks like for example Tryndamere, I think it should be somewhere int he middle.
And I don’t really have any thoughts on jungle Fiora at the moment. I’m really not sure if that’s a reasonable expectation or not. It has not yet been tested, and it’s definitely not the primary focus/intended role for her.
Will Fiora’s kit be overtuned to fit the Melee DPS archetype?
Guinsoo: I think there are levers you can tune to allow a character to be very mobile while not being completely out of hand. It’s definitely a hard goal, and melee DPS seem to be one of the hardest classes to get right. I certainly would like to try.
Can you make Fiora’s dash work on allies?
Guinsoo: It’s something we’ve considered; ultimately I don’t think it fits the fencing fantasy well so I’d rather try to go other routes to get the mobility we like. But we’re not opposed to it if other methods fail.
Why are you reworking Fiora when some people don’t want her changed?
Guinsoo: People don’t like change. It’s in our nature; if we like something we don’t want it to change. But that doesn’t mean it’s not for the better. I’m confident we can deliver a new Fiora kit that delivers most of the same mechanics that the old one has (including the important ones like the Blade Waltz experience) but creates new gameplay and makes her actually feel like a duelist.
I prefer to focus my responses toward posts that are more constructive.
Warwick will soon be getting a full balance rework, complete with a visual update. More from Zenon.
ZenonTheStoic: We have a full relaunch slated for Warwick, but the question is indeed when. Currently our highest priority in terms of full relaunches is Sion; as for visual only stuff we’re excited to bring you Twitch very very soon.
I’d love to say Warwick will happen at some point this year, but who knows. The landscape of what needs work most is ever-shifting. For what it’s worth, I have a kit I fully believe in ready for further work.
Is Warwick getting a full ability rework as well?
ZenonTheStoic: Yup! Blood Scent stays (but receives a toggle) and Hungering Strike becomes Hungering Strikes (still with a very similar purpose), but other than that a lot of things will change.
Will Warwick’s other skins get the running animation from Blood Scent that Hyena Warwick has?
ZenonTheStoic: That’s a very good question! I do want special animations for all skins when he goes into Blood Scent, but I like that Hyena gets something special. Maybe the other skins will get somewhat more vanilla wolf running animations? That’s a conversation I will need to have with my animator once the pod comes online (once we start working on the art).
Will WW’s balance rework ship before his visual update?
ZenonTheStoic: We had the discussion on whether or not we can ship WW without art, but some of the things we’re doing would just look very, very derpy without new art, so I’d rather wait. WW is at least a niche pick right now, unlike Heimer who was simply unpicked before the remake.
Is Warwick going to retain his life-drain tank niche?
ZenonTheStoic: Absolutely! If anything he’ll be more of a drain tank. He currently gains self-heal with bonus health, so if you want to drain tank you no longer build AP on him. He has a passive that stacks up on himself when he attacks stuff and his self-heal also increases with those stacks, so he needs to be in combat for a while before his drain tanking really comes online. It creates some pretty tense “can I live through the first 10 seconds of this and then become IMMORTAL DOG” situations.
What’s your favourite thing about this rework?
RiotScruffy: My biggest like about the warwick gameplay changes in progress are that they give him many more important decisions and high moments. He will actually be able to make “big plays,” which is really great.
After extensive research, it turned out Nidalee is anti – fun. Rioters are on the case to bring Nidalee a shift in balance, along with some welcome QoL changes to her Cougar form.
RiotRepertoir: Hi guys! As has already been mentioned here, I’ve been doing work on Nidalee for some time now, and I definitely think things are headed in the right direction with her. I can’t really share specific details of the kit changes just yet, but I can share some of the primary (there may be others, but these are the forefront ones) problems that we’ve identified and are working to solve.
-The way Nidalee utilizes both forms to succeed is out of whack. She very regularly doesn’t have to use Cougar form as part of her killing pattern. This is not only unfair to enemy players, but also just a bit lame as a shapeshifting character.
-Nidalee doesn’t put herself at enough risk of death when she succeeds. I personally think it’s okay if Nidalee averages a high number of kills every game, but the number of deaths she accrues needs to be a bit higher to reflect that.
-Nidalee is pretty hard to control in Cougar form, and she just feels clunky much of the time. Even in pro games we see people Pouncing/Swiping in the wrong direction while farming or faceplanting into walls they meant to hop over.
As for Javelin Toss, I know this doesn’t provide a definitive answer on that subject, and once we have more definitive details on a direction, I’ll be happy to talk about them. At this rate, I wouldn’t expect Javelin Toss to undergo fundamental changes to its mechanics. It will almost assuredly remain a “deals more damage at greater range” ability, and it will hurt to get hit by. Furthermore, it probably won’t have cooldown reducing mechanics or ramping mana gates or something like that on it. None of that really matters if the Javelin that does hit you or your carry drops them from 100% health down to 40% at the beginning of the fight, because you’re still just forced to leave. In that case, we’ve just condensed the window of frustration rather that targeting the frustration itself.
Looking forward to sharing more details with you guys once we’ve something a bit more well-defined to talk about!
Any major changes to Javelin Toss?
RiotRepertoir: Basically, I think we can put Javelin Toss in a good state that leaves it satisfying without added intricacies to the reasons or timing of casting the spell. With a kit to support this, of course.
Will this impact bruiser Nidalee’s viability?
RiotRepertoir: Bruiser Nidalee should be fine following the changes, if not more fun to play.
Currently tested kit
ZenonTheStoic: Piggy-backing on this: we do have a kit in testing, designed by RiotRepertoire. That kit mostly tones down Javelin Toss’s mid range damage and creates a follow-up opportunity to encourage more time spent in cougar form (which is currently the wave-pushing and teamfight clean up form) (plus strategic map movement I guess).
However, to set expectations appropriately: just because we’re testing changes doesn’t mean those changes necessarily see the light of day. We test a LOT of kits, sometimes with crazy experimental changes (a Brand kit from last year comes to mind where Pyroclasm slowed down after each bounce but could bounce INDEFINITELY so long as the enemy team stayed together), and often the answer is “probably not worth doing”.
This is a strength of our design process. We’re highly iterative and we realize that there’s only so much value to be gained from theory-crafting it all out in your head. There’s a time and a place for spreadsheet design, and IMO that’s in the very beginning of a design idea, when you just want to get a rough read for the power level. After that there’s no substitute for “just put it in a playtest and see how it goes”.
My personal feeling is that while everything Repertoire’s changing about Nidalee is a positive change compared to live (a couple of GREAT QoL changes like pounce and swipe going toward mouse cursor), we’re not addressing the truly grating aspect of live Nidalee, which is random spears chunking you down to 50% health. In theory, Nidalee is mana gated and can’t just throw out spears all day. In practice, blue buff exists and Athene’s is a gold-efficient pickup even without the mana on it, so yeah. May not be a Nidalee problem. May be a problem of how we’re failing to do mana gating in modern League.
But the kit is still in testing and it’s way too early to tell where it’s going. Definitely don’t expect it to hit live any time soon; these things take time.
After the big changes to Rengar in Patch 4.5, it’s time to sit back and not get one-hit from stealth. What’s the community’s take on the rework?
Is Rengar getting shifted from an assassin to a fighter?
RiotScruffy: To be clear about Rengar’s role in a team, we wanted to leave this mostly unchanged. He is still the guy that hunts the enemy squishies and can stalk around choosing his prey at will. His damage is lowered some, but we still want him to be a strong damage threat.
He is unique from some of the other assassins like zed or khazix because he has much more versatility with his ferocity skills (CC, Damage, Heals, many options here). On the other hand, some other assassins have escapes, where he does not. Considering he doesn’t have a reliable escape once he has engaged, we gave him some more tools like durability and speed so that once he is in, he has a means of contributing.
As far as items, we’re not designing towards any “right” way to build Rengar. He scales well with both offensive and defensive items and that is something that is cool about him as a character.
Keep in mind, we’re not going to leave Rengar out to dry if he has problems/needs changes. We already have a bunch of changes planned for the next patch like speeding up the Q attack animations significantly, and some ult warning changes that we have been talking about in this thread. We should have a bunch more data soon, which will help inform us if he needs more changes, and where.
I appreciate all of the feedback, and I know that change can be frustrating on a character that you know and love so well. Don’t fear for Rengar, he’s not going away anytime soon.
Any changes you’re planning for his ult?
RiotScruffy: We have an ult change coming in the next patch that will not alert enemies if you wouldn’t be visible to them outside of stealth. This is really big for when he is ganking or approaching his targets from a brush or near walls. It was pretty silly to alert the enemy when Rengar wouldn’t have been visible out of stealth anyway, you guys were totally right on this one.
Also, the Q and Empowered Q attack animations are getting significantly sped up. This will fix a lot of the “my Q didn’t go off” cases, and it’s a non trivial buff in his dps output over time.
This isn’t the end, but it’s what I can say is coming with certainty right now.
Can you bring back Rengar’s Q+Auto Attack chain from brush?
RiotScruffy: The Q from brush will be working better after our next set of changes as well. Also Q does currently and will still reset his auto attack.
Are damage a likelihood if Rengar proves too weak after his rework?
RiotScruffy: Things like damage numbers are never set in stone. We will make adjustments to his damage if we overdid the changes. Real data will give us lots of information about how the changes turned out: Is his early game too weak? Is his late game too strong? etc.. Depending on what we find, adjustments will be made. It’s unfortunate that we cant play millions of test games with any changes before they release, but the least we can do is respond to the real data once the changes are live.
Are LoL Champions being standardized like the classes in WoW?
Ghostcrawler: Flattening unique and powerful abilities was something WoW had to embrace to some extent or else players would just stack classes with the most valuable unique mechanics and neglect the others. In Sunwell, you needed one shaman per melee party for Windfury, and in Throne of Thunder, you wanted several warlocks for Demonic Gateways and perhaps even Healthstones.
This is largely a function of the noble desire for boss encounters to have different mechanics, though it does exist in WoW PvP to a lesser extent. The sweet spot is having classes feel different without actually being dramatically different. Too many differences leads to lack of diversity, because your group composition becomes inflexible. You are forced to play Tetris to min max the class mechanics you need.
League is a different kind of game. Champs have fewer abilities than WoW classes, but the fights are also less predictable, so you don’t know that you will need a certain ability to solve the puzzle. Blitz’s grab or Sona’s auras are useful, but hardly mandatory, and you’re giving up something else to bring them. The game rules also don’t allow you to stack champs, One For All not withstanding. In this case, it’s important for champions to be as different from each other as possible. If two champs have similar mechanics, it’s easy to evaluate which one is the best choice, usually just based on higher damage or stats. In this case, not having enough differences can lead to lack of diversity. While it’s advisable to build teams with some synergy, there’s a ton more flexibility and much less of the Tetris feeling.
TLDR, champ similarity isn’t a League value.
Upcoming Buffs for Rumble
Morello: Right now, the balance team is looking into Rumble buffs for an upcoming patch. With All-Stars, we’re unsure if that will be 4.6 or 4.7 (or later…), but there’s a few top laners we’d like to bring up – Rumble is one of them.
Can you give Vandal Twitch his green shades on his visual update?
Morello: We’re investigating changes on this now.
State of Skarner
RiotScruffy: We still have plans for Skarner, mostly in the realm of bringing excitement and a bit of the old identity that people liked about the old Skarner back.
We can keep a lot of the gameplay gains (versatility, windows of power/weakness) and add a bit more stickiness/cc control that people liked about the old kit. I’ve been in ongoing discussions about these changes with a lot of the team, and I should get down to implementing them sometime next week. When we have a more final changelist, I’ll let you know what we intend to do.
Is Support Gragas a possibility after the rework?
Riot Zephyreal: When I first saw his kit on the community beta thread I immediately thought support Gragas. He now has 3 forms of CC at 6, his knockback on E is either tied or slightly further back than Thresh flay, and his Q slow is pretty heavy if there is any sort of charge up time (which you can set up with combos with his E or even more impressively his R).
His passive is also pretty sweet since he has to go kind of close with his body slam for trades, so that extra heal is nice if he can manage the passive timer well. But also given the fact that the E knocks back and stuns, he pretty safe to begin with if he wants to do an E+Q combo for harass. I’m literally chunking people for 35-40% HP (depending on Q charge) and walking away without a care in the world.
The one downside is that you’re not flanking much in laning phase as support Gragas to maximize the displacement on body slam, but again if you can combo a Q through an E (super easy with practice), it should be easy for your lane partner to follow up.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo.