PBE Update: Champion & Item Changes; Xerath’s New Kit Revealed, Ironstylus on Future Skins and the New Rotation/Sale!
Cheaper spells and changes to Oracle’s Elixir in the latest PBE update, Xelnath goes in detail on Xerath‘s remake, various tidbits from Xypherous and Scarizard, Ironstylus discusses the issues with creating skins as well as ideas for future ones, Woad King Darius available in the store and the latest Champion Rotation and Sale!
- Scarizard – On Shyvana’s Changes
- Xypherous – Oracle’s Elixir & Stealth
- IronStylus – Skins for Diana, Rumble and Bikini Leona
- IronStylus – Difficulty in working on skins
- Previous changes to Pillar of Flame and Conflagration have been reverted.
- Mana costs still reduced from 100/150/200 to 100 at all ranks
- Mana cost reduced from 100 to 50 at all ranks
- Mana cost reduced from 30/35/40 to 20 at all ranks
- Base attack damage reduced from 51.3 to 47
- Duration reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
- Health per level decreased from 108 to 96
- Damage reduced from 600/700/800/900/1000 to 500/625/750/875/1000
- Mana per charge reduced from 4 to 3
- Duration reduced from 5 minutes to 4
You’ve seen Xerath’s evolution discussed in a recent article. What’s the outcome of all these changes? See below!
- Basic VFX direction is solid
- Design direction is complete
- Ability design is basically locked in
- Balancing phase is starting
We almost cut the auto-attack replacer, but after several playtests where playtesters insisted it was the most fun thing on his kit, we decided to keep it.
What is Xerath now?
Q) Xerath’s Q is still a line-nuke which instantly deals damage along the entire length. W) Live Xerath only has 2 spells with an obvious flow. E->Q. W->Q. Then his ultimate combo E – R – Q – R – R. To resolve this, we “split” Locus of Power’s play pattern into two parts.
- The W -> Q poke combo has been baked into “Q”. Arcanopulse (Q) can be charged, charging the attack takes slightly longer than W-Q, but you can move while charging.
- The W -> R total annihilation combo has been moved into the new “R”. Read down to see more.
New W) We’ve given Xerath a new basic spell, name TBD, which works like 1 pulse of Arcane Barrage with a mild slow on a short cooldown. However, it has a “bullseye” effect in the center which deals bonus damage.
E) The new “E” has all of the old range W gave to Mage Chains baked in baseline, plus its now a skillshot missile that stuns, making Xerath’s targeting paradigms line up smoothly.
R) During the new Locus of Power, you are immobilized and your spells are free, but you drain mana over time. You can remain in R as long as your mana lasts. Your spell ranges increase dramatically. Instead of 3 huge pulses, you have a very large number of smaller attacks that bombard the target location with aoe explosions. R has a reasonable, but high cooldown. Passive Xerath’s passive provides early game mana regen, plus bonus spell penetration as he purchases mana items. This gives him early game sustain, allowing him to farm into a large-game mage hypercarry if left unchecked. Problems we’ve run into and their solutions:
- Major Mindshare during ultimate is insane
- Major 3000 range with nearly unlimited duration is overwhelming.
- Major Xerath is regularly unaware when he is under attack in locus.
- Minor Xerath E isn’t reading naturally as a stun.
- Minor Xerath ultimate auto-attack replacer was impossible to land.
Old Xerath has 2 spells, plus a bursty moment when R was up. New Xerath (Xerath 2.0) has enough spells to keep him busy. So much so that during his ultimate, getting a free 5th spell has proven almost overwhelming. One option was to cut the auto-attack replacer completely, but it was so consistently positively reviewed that we instead decided to make it cost additional mana during Locus of Power. This means that casting your spells is your primary task, but if you need to finish someone off, you can drain your mana pool to fire a rapid sequence of small attacks to finish them off.
2) 3000 range with unlimited duration is overwhelming.
When we made Xerath’s R duration limited by his mana pool, it meant that the length of time he could remain in Locus was much, much higher, based on build. So to counter it, we are allowing Xerath to be knocked out of locus of power when stunned. During Locus of Power, Xerath is immune to knockups/knockbacks and pulls. However, they will cause him to be stunned briefly and end Locus of Power. This gives enemy teams a strong objective. Get to Xerath and stop his ultimate! His max rank range has been slightly reduced so that seeing Xerath attack you means you can reasonably reach him.
3) When Xerath is under attack during R, he doesn’t notice.
We’re hoping that by allowing opponents to stop locus, it makes the moments where you need to turn and fight the guy attacking you more clear.
4) Xerath E isn’t reading as a stun.
We’re going to make the new effect more lightning “shocky” feel and perhaps steal some visual queues from Syndra.
5) Xerath’s R is too hard to hit.
As an auto-attack replacement, Xerath’s R attack was too hard to consistently time and land. We’ve since removed the effect from his auto-attack timing. Instead, during Locus of Power (R), he cannot auto-attack, but his right and left clicks will trigger a missile under his cursor every 0.5 seconds. These attacks can be queued up by dragging your cursor across the screen while holding down right click.
tl;dr I’m feeling *very* positive about this direction. His R feels like the same “blow up the world” feel, but less toxic and frustrating than his old R. It brings area domination on a good cooldown. His new “W” gives him a fun core experience without his ultimate. His new passive, while needing good tuning, makes him feel like the same strong late-game character.
How does Xerath auto-attack during his ultimate?
Xelnath: Basically, during his ultimate, he ceases to auto-attack, but when you right click you fire a missile barrage at the location below it. You can hold down the cursor to fire these as a stream, draining your mana rapidly, but dealing continuous damage.
How do you justify having so many mechanics on his ultimate?
Xelnath: Only Xerath could do this – we don’t have another long-range character whose defining quality is being immobile. Him being sessile has opened up several control paradigms that can’t work on anyone else.
What’s the cooldown of his ultimate currently?
When will he be available for testing on the PBE?
Xelnath: I believe we have a while to go before Xerath will be on PBE. There’s a few other things which need testing there first. I need to talk to Pwyff about the timing of Xerath among other things.
Here is the current skillset of Xerath that I gathered based on Xelnath‘s posts:
Grants Xerath increased mana regeneration and additional magic penetration based on his maximum mana.
Xerath fires a line-nuke which instantly deals damage along the entire length. Can be charged to gain extra range. Xerath can move while charging the spell.
Xerath fires a single blast that damages and briefly slows targets in an area. Enemies caught in the center of the AoE take bonus damage.
Xerath fires a line-nuke which deals damage and stuns targets hits. Range is comparable to what Locus of Power was granting to the old version of E.
Roots Xerath in place, granting him massive cast range but draining mana-over-time. During this time all of his spells are free-to-cast. Xerath can stay in Locus mode for as long as his mana pool allows it.
But wait there’s more!…
The second part of Xerath’s ultimate lets him fire multiple small blasts that deal damage in an AoE. This part has a relatively high cooldown, but the mana-drain stance doesn’t have any so… this is quite confusing.
In case you’ve missed the changes to Shyvana, you can click here for an update.
Dragon Form doesn’t have its CD reduced with CDR items or while Shyvana’s dead
Scarizard: To touch on this, the current changes aren’t just to increase fury generation per auto-attack – Leveling Dragon’s Descent also increases the rate at which you gain fury passively – thus lowering the maximum cooldown the spell can have. This should mitigate the feeling you have about her being ‘forced’ into attack speed, but Shyvana is also designed in such a way that basic-attacks benefit you immensely. Building fury is just the tip – Decreasing the CD of your double-attack, increasing the duration of your Burnout and damaging targets with Flame Breath are all pretty powerful when combined with even a moderate amount of Attack Speed.
The basic goal of the changes to R are to first allow her more up-time on Dragon Form, especially for how reliant she is on it for any meaningful late-game fighting, but to also increase the amount of time she can stay in that form while in combat. The counterplay to it is still present – kite her, and she’ll run out of dragonbatteries – but now when a Shyvana’s deeply entrenched into the front lines of a fight Twin Biting repeatedly (and on multiple targets) should make you feel like you’re actually prolonging a window of power. People should -want- to blow cooldowns and make the decision to get you away from a battle, rather than just ‘oh lemme ignore shyvana cause dragon form’s just gonna time out anyways.’
tl;dr is that these changes -do- decrease the cd of dragon form passively (though not at rank 1 – the values are unchanged) but more fighting=more beastmodes
If you’ve missed this PBE update to Oracle’s Elixir, you can see the changes here. Or you can check out Xyph’s explanation below.
Just updated the Oracle elixir stuff with the secondary set of changes
- Now persists through death
- Reveal Radius reduced to 600 from 750
- Duration reduced to 4 minutes from 5 minutes
- Now has a particle denoting the radius of effect
We are aware that making Oracle’s elixir persist through death decreases the risk involved in the item and reduces the overall skill in using Oracle’s.
The question is whether or not the skill involved in using Oracle’s is the right skill we want to encourage for the game – the answer right now seems to be no: It promotes camping the Oracle’s wielder and oracle users not participating in team fights. It also funnels the responsibility of Oracles only in champions that either cannot die or do not fight.
We also wanted to stop the snowball factor from influencing Oracle’s as much because frequently Oracle’s is only an option for champions who were not at risk of dying – something that is much more likely for the winning team than the losing team. While the counterplay to the current Oracle’s is clear – it is not actually doable in most settings when Oracle Elixir is in play – we want the decision points around Oracle to be ‘How do I use this effectively? When do I use this?’ rather than ‘Man – How can I avoid participating in anything that might murder me for the next 4 minutes?’
Note: I just put in these changes now, so they won’t be reflected on the PBE build that is there currently but will happen with the next PBE build.
Aren’t you indirectly nerfing stealth champions like Evelynn with these changes?
The new oracles reveals champions within 600 units. Oracle Elixir has never actually been effective at combatting Evelynn from revealing her early and now effectively never actually does anything versus Evelynn.
How does the Ward bounty system work?
Xypherous: Basically, the ward bounty system simply checks for nearby Oracle holders and whoever placed a Pink Ward and credits them for a portion of the gold. If you kill a ward without the usual resources – it still does this check, because we didn’t want to create weird pressure incentives where ‘man – I shouldn’t kill this ward as soon as I see it, because then the ward gold will be split.’
You’re working on a skin for Diana?
IronStylus: REMEMBER! “In the works” can mean months out from actual release. We aren’t yet to model with this skin yet, so depending on prioritization, could be a little while. However, we’re cognizant of the fact that she hasn’t gotten a 3rd skin post-release.
What sort of theme are you going for?
What will her hair be like?
Perhaps a helmet like on the Dark Valkyrie skin and cloth armor instead of metalwork?
Any love for Rumble?
IronStylus: So, not to derail this thread, but I can offer some insight on this. If we’re going to make any skin for Rumble that involves anything that isn’t his current wonky mech, we have to essentially completely remake his rig and animation sets. This is one of the reasons it’s been difficult to get the bandwidth for a Rumble skin that isn’t just a geometry shift.
There are tons of amazing pieces of fanart I’ve seen of Rumble skin ideas, and some fantastic ideas! The only catch with putting Rumble inside anything from a high-tech mech, to a Sherman tank, or any other contraption, is that he’s almost a completely new champion in terms of rigging and animation. That aspect of a champion, or skin, is a lot of work. It’s presented problems in the past when we had more restrictions on bandwidth.
Fear not though, we have something in the works. Animation right now is going to have the bulk of the work for any subsequent Rumble skin however.
When will Sunbathing Leona be released?
If you’re unfamiliar with this skin idea, you can find an official concept art here.
Which champions are the hardest to make skins for?
Just from a development standpoint (not asking for timelines), are there any other champions that fall under the umbrella of “hard to create a new shell”? The third outlier in the “skin pls” threads after Udyr and Rumble is probably Skarner. Is it hard to give him something that isn’t a scorpion body because of animation, or is it just hard to think up a skin for him that isn’t spider/scorpion?
IronStylus: Oh, that’s a really great question. Skarner isn’t as hard as you might think. You can make him into pretty much anything, from a bug, to a lobster, to a robot. Not sure the particulars as to why he hasn’t gotten a skin yet, though.
Hmm, actually it’s sort of multifaceted. Because there’s champions who are hard to make skins for logistically (lot’s of assets/models/particles/etc to make), conceptually (base lacks large silhouette landmarks, “big hook”, etc), or technically (older champions, outdated rigs, etc).
So, here’s a list of what just comes to mind for various reasons:
- Evelynn – Technical.; Outdated model/rig/animations/etc
- Fiora – Conceptual. Lacking large visual landmarks, she’s mostly just a lady in a costume.
- Heimerdinger – Technical. Mostly, outdated.. everything.
- Lissandra – Logistical. Holy ****, so many particles! All of those particles are separate models with seperate, and possibly, custom animations on them.
- LeBlanc – Conceptual. She’s actually one our most standard of standard human females.
- Malphite – Technical. Not so much unusable rig, but still has it’s challenges.
- Master Yi – Technical. Pizza feet…
- Rumble – Technical and logistical. As stated.
- Shyvana – Logistical. Basically two champions in one.
- Sion – Technical. Yikes..
- Sivir – Technical. Outdated model/rig/animations/particles.. So yeah, rework first.
- Swain – Technical. Outdated assets, basically also two champions.
- Taric – Technically outrageous. Outdated assets.
- Teemo – Existential. Every subsequent skin we make for him unlocks another gateway to hell.
- Twitch – Technical. Very outdated assets, he’s actually missing legs I think.
- Udyr – Technical and Logistical. Fairly outdated, but pretty much 4 different champions depending on complexity.
- Varus – Conceptual. Dude with a bow and purple pants.
- Xerath – Logistical. Piles of particle work and strange rig voodoo I have no idea how to even describe.
- Zac – Conceptually and logistically. Virtually no differentiated landmarks on skins, pretty much all texture or animation behaviors can be leveraged.
- Zilean – Outdate assets, but not really an animation nightmare. He floats.
- Zyra – Conceptually and logistically. On her body, not a ton of distinquishing landmarks. All of her plants require new models and new animations.
REMINDER! The above list doesn’t mean these champions a) will not have a skin for them any time soon b) are huge challenges to overcome c) don’t already have stuff in the works despite challenges listed. This isn’t a blacklist, this is just what comes to my mind when I think of champions we’ve had challenges with. Each of these challenges can be solved in it’s own particular way. Things are solved sometimes in just updating the assets, like in the case of Tyrant Swain or Battlecast Urgot, or sometimes with a complete rebuild like any relaunch/VU we make. Very much depends on the champion and what we have to work with.
Who wouldn’t pay 975 RP to see a Game of Thrones version of Darius?
The following champions will be free-to-play until June 25th!
- Blitzcrank – 3150 IP / 790 RP
- Caitlyn - 4800 IP / 880 RP
- Gangplank- 3150 IP / 790 RP
- Jarvan IV – 4800 IP / 880 RP
- Jax – 1350 IP / 585 RP
- Quinn - 6300 IP / 975 RP
- Taric - 1350 IP / 585 RP
- Vladimir - 4800 IP / 880 RP
- Warwick - 450 IP / 260 RP
- Xerath - 6300 IP / 975 RP
Enjoy the following champions and skins at a discount until June 21st!
Olaf – 395 RP
Orianna – 440 RP
Rengar – 487 RP
Bandito Fiddlesticks – 260 RP
Baron Von Veigar – 487 RP
Woad Ashe – 260 RP
… reworks, reworks everywhere…