Join Xypherous as he discusses the changes that are currently on the PBE server and lends his opinion on Galio, LeBlanc, Nunu, Nami, Warwick, Quinn, Caitlyn, Lux, Diana, Olaf, Rammus and more! Learn about the problems with balancing Melee Carries, the future of Rengar and the mysterious templar who’s been stalking on the forums!
Xypherous on Patch 3.7
Xypherous discusses the changes that will be coming in the next patch, some of which you’ve already seen in the latest PBE updates.
Xypherous: Hey guys, I’m going to be talking a little bit about some of the more subtle things that are in Patch 3.07 that we’ve been tentatively working on – as well as hopefully stir some conversation up over the changes that should be in the PBE patch, depending on when that gets deployed.
Note that this isn’t a full list of changes, only ones I have sufficient context to talk to you about or are things that are hard to notice, and they reflect the content in the next PBE build, so certain things like the minion damage reduction isn’t currently on this version of the PBE patch – but will be in a few days.
Minion Damage Reduction?
Minion Damage Reduction
* Ranged Minion Damage goes from starting at 23 –> 22.
Spell dominated top-laners are currently problematic right now in top lane, forcing a wide variety of heavy sustain starts in order for proper play to exist against them on anyone but other spell dominated top-laners.
Rumble and Renekton, for example – are both problematic spell based top-laners. They both benefit from having a harassment pattern that frequently doesn’t draw minion aggression, leaving more traditional auto-attack centric harassers behind.
We’re well aware of the dominance of certain traditional AP or AD ability based bruisers but the disparity of performance between melee basic attack centric top-laners and spell based top-laners was becoming increasingly obvious that if we balanced around the current damage disparity, we’d have to significantly overshoot or undershoot the power level of the top-laners involved.
* Twilight Shroud now grants vision around the area of effect.
* Essence of Shadow charge time reduced to 30/22.5/15 seconds from 35/25/15
We hit Akali’s lane dominance in the last patch – but we’re still unhappy with how Akali feels like her defensive options are limited to basically overpowering her opponents.
With the following two changes in concert – this gives Akali the ability to perform some interesting jungle and lane jukes by first casting twilight shroud to gain vision of a jungle monster, and then using shadow dash as an escape tool. While we don’t think this will dramatically increase her power – it should be a new cool neat little trick that Akali can do.
* Consume now heals for less (roughly 75%) – both base and AP ratio.
* Consume now deals more damage with a slightly longer cooldown
* Consume now gives bonuses depending on if he used Consume on a Monster for 2-4 minutes
* Lizard Type monsters (Red Lizard / Dragons / Nashor / Mini Lizard) grant Nunu’s attacks and spells bonus magic damage equal to 1% of his max health
* Golem Type monsters (Blue Golem / Golem / Mini Golem) grants Nunu increased size and 10% maximum Health
* Wolf and Wraith type monsters grant Nunu “After he kills a unit, he gains a 15% MS buff for 3 seconds”
This is undoubtedly a nerf to lane Nunu, whose effectiveness is questionable for the majority of our playerbase – in many ways Lane Nunu simply won his lane and lost the game, while being annoying and frustrating along the way. This wasn’t the greatest of patterns – especially while Jungle Nunu sits there on the sidelines where the cool objective control and gank patterns are being unused.
Above all, we want Consume to be a cool spell. Consume has traditionally languished as being kind of useless late game, for everything besides objective control and making Consume an attractive spell by adding this level, I feel, better fulfills the fun part of the spell (big Yeti running around eating tasty things) and gives Consume a strong rank-up incentive.
This is also a test to see if players would like to see more of these Jungle monster type interactions – if people find them cool, it opens up space for us in two ways: We’ve introduced this mechanic as a precedent and it allows us to play around in this design space.
* Infinite Duress channel time reduced to 1.5 from 2.1 (total Suppression duration unchanged at 1.8)
* Infinite Duress now places Warwick in front of the target, rather than at a random spot around him
Just QoL stuff for Warwick. It’s a little silly given the current speed of the game for Warwick to be channeling longer than his opponent is suppressed. The positional change is mostly such that if Warwick is trying to stop a fleeing opponent, he directly bodyblocks his opponent but is in a riskier position – but if Warwick is trying to stop a charging opponent, he remains closer and out of risk of being interrupted by the enemy team.
Caitlyn / TF / Varus / Zed / Zac / Rumble
I’m not really qualified to talk about nerfs or buffs, other than – we’re kind of iterating on what we’d like these nerfs to be overall – but regardless these characters need to be tuned down as they are all slightly too dominant at the moment.
Diana / Lux
* Shield values generally nerfed across the board
* Shields stack now instead of refresh
We’ve been unhappy with the power level of these shields, mostly because their maximum effectiveness case is both swingy and out of the control of the user a large portion of the time.
We’re trying out a stacking system rather than a refreshing system to see whether or not these shields can still fulfill the multi-hit scenario without necessarily being randomly excessively powerful based on what/when they refreshed.
* Twin Fang is now classified as a single-target spell for the purposes of item effects
And I am terrified – but it should give Cassieopeia builds more flexibility, something that she has traditionally found hard to access and made worse by the fact that Cassieopeia play tends to be demanding and damage-focused.
What this allows her access to is Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Muramana and Furor Boots – all of which actually kind of make sense in her arsenal.
* Changes reverted
First, let me get this out of the way, Galio is not intended to be an AP mage that simply destroys other AP mages because he scales off Magic Resistance.
As for the changes, we were experimenting with Galio to give him lower cooldowns for the later game – allowing him to more freely use his Resolute Smite ability as a consistent peeling / initiating ability for later game team fights. However, the net results of this change seemed weird in isolation – as the rest of his kit doesn’t feel quite right in the support tank role. While Bulwark and Wind Tunnel seem to work currently, they both seem to be lacking somewhat in the support tank role. We’re going to continue looking at Galio so that we can bring him more in line with his role / intent.
* Recipe is now: Faerie Charm + 120 Gold = 300 Total Gold
* MP/5 Aura reduced to 5 from 6
* Shard of True Ice total cost reduced by 100 gold due to this change.
Third time’s the charm – Let’s see if Mana Manipulator can feel good as a starting item before we work on upgrades for it.
As an aside, I really wanted to improve Shard of True Ice – before realizing that no matter how good I make Shard of True Ice, getting Mana Manipulator always feels narrow and constraining at the moment.
* Recipe is now: Philosopher’s Stone + Chalice of Harmony + 920 Gold = 2500 Total Gold
* 300 Mana –> 0 Mana
* 0 HP/5 –> 7 HP/5
* 9 MP/5 –> 18 MP/5
* Active now changed to heal 10% of the target’s maximum health instead of 15% of their missing health.
* Missile speed is now fixed at 0.2 seconds, from variable depending on distance to target.
Internally, Mikael’s Crucible was a very different item until the very last moment, when it got changed from healing the target based on your current mana to a combination heal and cleanse effect.
We’ve seen some players use it well – and it generally hasn’t been too toxic to the game to allow supports access to it, so we’re going to adjust it to be slightly more usable with more synergistic statistics (high MP/5 + Chalice passive) and slightly less target constrained (Not caring about missing health). We don’t want Mikael’s Crucible to be a mainstay to any build – but it should be a valid tool in the support arsenal.
Will Nunu be able to keep more than one buff up?
They also persist through death – as it might be slightly annoying to recollect all the buffs every time you die.
What are the reasons behind the Galio changes?
Galio has trouble peeling or initiating consistently a lot of the time, because he only has one true CC spell – the intent was to lower the cooldown of the spell considerably such that Galio could grab picks and targets much more frequently.
We’ve since reverted that change because it felt weird in isolation. His kit just doesn’t quite work as a support tank overall without some more changes.
Why are you shifting Galio to a support tank role?
Xypherous: An AP mage that destroys other AP mages because he’s immune to their damage is way more fun than most characters. It’s also something that can never be competitively viable, because on a strategic level – it just means that Galio shouldn’t exist.
A champion who auto-wins lane is obviously fun – it’s also not something that actually belongs in this game where we kind of assume players can do meaningful things against each other in lane.
What are your thoughts on Caitlyn?
Range tends to be the most powerful statistic in the hands of competitive play – but using above average range to its maximum potential is always going to be something that it only going to be seen in the highest tiers of play.
Unfortunately, it’s just kind of a truism that when different champions have different strengths, they’re going to be vastly more powerful or less powerful for different audiences. That’s basically Caitlyn in a nutshell – vast power – but terribly hard to appreciate strengths.
Although to be fair, I believe the changes we’re doing now is making it so Headshot doesn’t stack on towers and adjustments to her attack speed scaling with items (I.E. slightly less base attack speed, slightly more attack speed per level) – essentially nerfing the super heavy push Caitlyn strategy that is seen in high level play.
Why did you give Quinn such poor range?
Xypherous: Range is a double edged sword. It’s the most powerful statistic in the game – but also one of the hardest to use well when it is above average, which makes it so that the character’s true strengths are only seen in competitive play a lot of the time.
As for Quinn specifically, I believe Volty’s design intent was to create the most melee centric ADC that still had a ranged autoattack in lane. And the strengths of the rest of her kit are pretty damn overpowering to make up for it.
Can you clarify on the Lux/Diana shield changes?
Xypherous: It is an intended nerf for these characters. The correct number was actually pretty hard to assess for Diana – because often in lane the shield is popped early without incoming damage from the opponent, simply due to the fact that Diana has dived in the enemy minion line – so the average case in lane has typically stayed the same or gone up except for her tower dive case, which is lower overall.
Do you consider Rammus a viable pick?
Xypherous: Overall, Rammus is very effective – but he’s not seen a lot. However, if you pick Rammus, you’ll win far more games than you’ll lose – right now I think of him as a sleeper, perhaps lacking in a bit of competitive viability due to the current push based meta – but very effective if people remember his strengths.
What are the problems with Warwick?
He’s billed as a jungler – but jungler strengths have increased around him such that his current kit, while effective, isn’t really what you want in a jungler. His power level is really high – but he doesn’t bring a whole lot of strategic utility that the other junglers do.
Why is Olaf being neglected?
He’s also a simpler character archetype which, oddly enough, means you need a high degree of mastery over every other aspect of the game to take advantage of his strengths.
In short, yeah – we’d want to make Olaf better – but with his current kit design, he tends to be a very volatile force in high tier play. Essentially, Olaf’s power is too inacessible and often only good against players who are very skilled – and thus any changes to Olaf either has to be reorienting his power or making his power more relevant to a wider range of opponents.
Can you fix Leblanc’s powerlevel curve?
Roku actually really wants to take a step back and look at augmenting Leblanc so that you can have more clever plays – but thus far, none of the mimic experimentation seems to be doing that well, unfortunately.
What about making Nami’s passive scale with level?
Minion damage & PBE Community Website
Why are you reducing minion damage?
Xypherous: In Season 2, top laners reduced minion damage by 4 through masteries – 2 from minion block, 2 from damage block. This made them effectively immune to minion damage a lot of the time, as it was post-mitigation.
While this probably isn’t going to make a huuge difference overall, it certainly helps us to not having to make bigger changes to characters than needed. Consider how many 6 second engagements there are in a typical lane scenario – and then think about us having to adjust someone’s health or damage by 18-20 per engagement. It adds up.
Will the minion damage reduction mastery return?
Why doesn’t Riot post patch notes on the PBE?
Everything that we’re currently working on and playtesting, you are almost seeing the exact things on a day by day basis. We are actually incredibly transparent about what is our build and what is going out – it just makes the exact book-keeping of all these changes incredibly hard to manage.
For example, whenever I do a thread like this, it generally consumes 2 or 3 hours of my time. If I were to do that on a consistent basis, I would talk more about the patch than actually work on stuff in the patch.
There’s also things like translations / localization / etc – that we simply don’t have time to do on the schedule we operate on. Stack that on top of the fact that we ship the last known good build to PBE means that daily patch notes is actually incredibly time consuming. Apologies – but the gains here aren’t worth the significant time investment we’d have to sink in.
Melee AD Discussed
If you recall from a previous article I posted, Fiora, Master Yi and Tryndamere are currently being looked at for future improvements.
What’s the current state of Melee Carries and how will you change them?
Does this mean they are competitively viable? Probably not.
Does this mean they are strategically viable? Probably not.
They’re hardly in the dust, however. They’re actually doing well in most games. If you play these characters, you will win roughly half your games.
The problem with Melee Carries is:
1. People expect to be able to build glass and accomplish what a Ranged AD carry does. This will simply never be true, due to the nature of the game.
2. People expect Melee Carries to be consistently performing, rather than wildly swingy. This is something that won’t be true, due to the nature of their kits (Fiora or Yi, for example.)
3. These characters do not have a proper strategic role to fulfill – therefore they are not viable in competitive games as they cannot be cornerstone strategic pieces.
These all point to these problems being kit-centric rather than item-centric – and the win rate data suggests that it’s not a effectiveness criterion that’s lacking either.
It’s something more intrinsic to how we’ve designed these characters from a base.
The question is: Are these characters worth protecting like a carry? Can these characters output significant team fight contribution if they are protected? Right now, the answer is ‘No’ to both of these.
However, silly changes like buffing their damage or their health doesn’t actually make them into better examples of the melee carry role. It just makes them more effective at whatever they’re doing now – but what the vast majority of them are now are either fighters or assassins.
Rengar buffs soon!
You’re probably aware of Morello‘s recent announcement to work on our forgotten Pridestalker. Well, now we finally have news and it’s from non other than designer Classick!
The main point to emphasize is that we’re not trying to change Rengar’s feel at all. What we do want to change is some of the not so appreciated components of Rengar that make him difficult to balance.
One of these problems is the fact that his Ferocity effects are more powerful based on the rank of the spell. As seen since Rengar’s release, builds that capitalize on double casting the ability you’re maxing has been problematic (early double Q all-in builds/Tank splitpush double W build). The current solution for this problem is scaling his Ferocity effects with his level across the board (like his heal currently does).
This will make the Ferocity effects equal in power regardless of what you are maxing, allowing you to choose the Ferocity effect that is best suited for the situation you are in instead of being obligated to use whatever spell you have the most points in. This will also allow us to put more power into his base stats and base abilities which should help with his jungle clear.
Another change we’re currently looking at is tweaking how his ultimate works. Currently Rengar jumps at you out of no where and it’s very hard to react to him because there’s not much information being conveyed to the opponent. Now when Rengar activates his ultimate all enemies that Rengar sees will be made aware that he’s in the area. What this does is gives the opponent more information so that they can react to the situation.
With this change it allows us to put a lot more power into the ultimate, increasing the duration and speed. While Rengar may lose the ability to jump on an unsuspecting enemy, it enables him to create really cool mind games and toy with his opponents which we’ve seen from internal testing. On top of that Rengar can get to a location much quicker and stay in stealth much longer retaining the feel of hunting down wounded opponents or scouting an area for priority targets.
Nothing here is set in stone but it’s currently the direction we’re going, hopefully that helps shed some light on the upcoming Rengar changes.
Edit: While Rengar may lose the ability to jump on an unsuspecting enemy is getting misinterpreted as his leap is being removed from his ultimate. Should have described this in another way , he still will keep his leap while the ultimate is active.
How do you plan on buffing Rengar?
Will you change how Rengar feels?
What will his role be in the end?
What are you changing to Rengar’s taunt during ultimate?
Potential champion concept leaked!
Here is an interesting piece of art by Eoin Colgan, a fantasy artist who has previously worked for Riot.
He is referred to as Lucian, the Gun Templar. Note that this picture is a leak, meaning it’s unconfirmed. Buut, given how the industry works, leaks like this tend to be legitimate. =P
If you enjoy Eoin’s work, I urge you to visit his art blog.
The Hunt will soon be on!