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Riot’s Preseason Q&A on the forums has now concluded. Follow the links below for all the responses from the balance team:

 

 

Preseason QA

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re about wrapping up now, we’ll have a finalized rundown later this week, but thanks for participating! We’ll probably close up comments by end of tonight.

Preseason Q&A

Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we’ve had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we’ll have a more high-level overview.

In the meantime…


Preseason so far

It’ll take a while for things to shake down, but I’ll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there’s anything not mentioned you’d like to get our thoughts on, we’ll be answering questions between 1pm-3pm (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).


General Game Elements

  • Masteries

Overall, we’re pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord’s Bloodlust, and we’ll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery’s just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.

On the other hand there are also some champions that aren’t sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we’ll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn’t feel like it offers many champs a good choice.

  • Minion Blocking

We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We’ll be looking to adjust this to make it feel “right” again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking’s calculated in 5.23.

  • The Jungle

We’re seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We’ve got some buffs to Hunter’s Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We’re also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you’re currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.

As far as Rift Herald goes, we’re seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we’d hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it’s a bit too punishing, so we’re reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.

  • Turrets

We’re currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that’s assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it’s also going to be due to a bug that’s removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We’ll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.


Champions:

  • Marksmen

Graves is significantly too strong, Kog’maw definitely too weak. We’ll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today’s hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast’s getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we’ll need to make further adjustments as well. We’d rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.

Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we’re looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we’ll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe’s Q that should help her out a bit. We’re also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren’t sure yet whether we’ll have changes we’re happy with for 5.23 or not.

  • Assassins

Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we’re looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha’zix/Zed), longer term we’ll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).

  • Other Champion Changes

It’s not preseason specific, but we’ve also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn’t from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.

The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there’s to align champion size better with each champion’s role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more…squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian’s not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).


Other Stuff

  • Items

Statikk Shiv’s looking too generically strong. We’ll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.

Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we’ll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we’ll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.

  • Clean Up, Bug Fixes

We’ve got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.

  • Game Duration

Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we’ve spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it’s looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).

In terms of direction, two of the big things we’re looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We’re also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that’s something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we’ll need to make some follow up changes.

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Have surrenders become more common this Preseason

Meddler Final PortraitYes, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in surrendering around the 20 minute mark post 5.22. That’s pretty standard after a major patch like this, given some champions tend to be out of line and people are experimenting with new stuff, so games can feel decided pretty early on. It’s something we’d expect to drop off noticeably over the next couple of patches though as we address major issues and people figure out what works and what doesn’t post changes. If that doesn’t happen we’ll need to dig into what else is going on.

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What other Champion groups are on your radar

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve just started talking about which class (or sub class) to look at next. We’re currently trending towards immobile mages. Given the need for preseason followup though it’ll also be a little while before the team’s ready to start heavy work on whichever class we go with.

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Would you say Preseason buffed Armor stackers like Taric too much Taric Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, we’re also seeing Malphite and Rammus, other champions who are rewarded for stacking armor, do well right now given the number of AD damage dealers being played. I don’t think we’ll make any changes to those champs individually until we’ve got the bigger picture balanced, it seems reasonable to believe that they’re just reflecting a temporary meta state rather than themselves generally overpowered.

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Which Riot employees are responsible for the Preseason patch

Asyrite Final PortraitThere were 4 teams responsible for the in game changes:
Game Systems – things like Masteries, Items, minions etc
Live Gameplay – Rift Herald, ongoing balance tuning
Champion Update – Marksman
Playtest – Sanity checks on content before it goes Live

It’s really a bigger team effort though, and the collaboration between teams is pretty huge.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitAlso worth calling out that we had help from individuals on various other teams as well. Some of the champion team helped out with masteries, couple of folks from the team that worked on the Bilgewater event helped with Rift Herald’s model etc.

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What is the average game length that Riot aims for

Meddler Final PortraitOur goal with preseason was to keep games around the same average length as they currently were (around 33 minutes on average). Games in 5.22 look like they’re a couple of minutes shorter so far, at around 31 minutes, that’s likely to change though in 5.23 as we get in changes that either missed the cutoff for 5.22 or were bugged (minion changes, tower scaling defense respectively).

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How do you intend to fix the Champion kits and builds that Preseason broke

Asyrite Final PortraitHey man! We’re going to be watching, reading, listening, and playing a lot over the next few weeks to get a feel for where the new lay of the land is. Right now win rates are still being highly impacted by people learning new optimized item builds, masteries, abilities etc. Vayne as an example has an~8% delta in win rate between her most frequent build and her highest common win rate build (referencing champion.gg in this case since that’s available to everyone). If you look at the why, it’s because a subset players are still rushing BORK, which looks like it’s proving to no longer be the optimal build path. Just pulling that as one example. Over the next few weeks, as players discover those optimal builds, I’m expecting we’ll see the standard deviation for individual champ win rates get smaller, time will definitely tell though!

I know you referenced Kha’zix in particular, and he’s definitely taken a hit this preseason (to me it feels like it’s actually more about the removal of Trailblazer as opposed to Tiamat passive, but that’s just my $0.02). We’re investigating how we can give him a bit of love, but want to wait for things to settle before getting more aggressive with changes. Also note I used to play Kha’zix a fair bit so I feel your pain :).

Hope this at least touches on some of your concerns

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How about putting a short CD on Quinns ult and removing the cast time Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYes! I’ve given quite a bit of thought to this actually. One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don’t have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I’m keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches.

What I’m currently feeling is that it’s too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.

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Why was Quinn heavily reworked in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitI think on the Quinn update generally, we actually didn’t see her as “heavily reworked.” What we intended for her was primarily the changes to her ultimate, and then supporting changes to make that work well. Admittedly, we missed the mark on the proper supporting changes, hence our reaction to re-institute a utility-focused Q in 5.23, but we do think that the changes to her ultimate open up a lot of doors for her both strategically and tactically. That said, I know there are old Quinn mains that won’t agree with that.

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Do you think Quinns current ult may make her a problem in pro play

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s certainly a possibility that we’ll be looking out for. If she ever becomes popular, players will be quick to pick it up and let us know.

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Quinns current Vault E makes it impossible to proc W and chase targets

Repertoir New PortraitFollowing that conversation, I made some adjustments to where E places you when you cast from max range in hopes to address this issue a bit. I don’t currently think her chase is too bad at the moment, but that isn’t to say I couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

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Why is Caitlyn allowed to stack her passive on towers again

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CertainlyT New PortraitThis was done on purpose. Caitlyn is a (perhaps the) premiere siege marksman. She should feel good about attacking towers. We added this mechanic back in on Caitlyn because it made sense that she wouldn’t feel a tension between shooting towers and minions.

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Do you plan on buffing weaker ADCs to the level of the stronger ones

CertainlyT New PortraitI’ll go into some elements of our approach. As an individual contributor to the marksmen updates, it will only reflect my perspective, but hopefully it will be helpful:

1) Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors.
First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen.
Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren’t trying Essence Reaver on Sivir).
Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you’ll have to pick them in the right circumstances – If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you’ll probably be worse off than if you’d picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.

2) We aren’t sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players’ perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can’t just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn’t lead to a satisfying experience.

3) That is all very nebulous. So here are some specific answers.
We’re hotfixing Graves and Kog’Maw today (nerf and buff respectively). I’d look some obvious changes in 5.23 and a substantial amount of fine tuning in 5.24.
Caitlyn’s Q is indeed too weak. Even if we had to nerf other elements of her, it would be worth buffing the ability to let her actually reach towers and make skillfully avoiding it matter when playing against. I believe duo bot Twitch is very powerful and that players who are routinely failing with him are probably not good at the champion or are fixated on a strategy that is now less effective (teamfight AoE) as opposed to opportunistic assassination. Even the data supports this. His win rate is almost 50% when played in his best role. He’s not doing well in the jungle, and we’ll have to assess how much we can support him there.
* I don’t have a good sense for Sivir and Ashe’s balance right now, so perhaps someone else can reply to that. Anecdotally, they feel effective given their utility.

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Do you ve plans for Kha Zix Khazix Single Banner

Asyrite Final PortraitHaving played a decent bit of Kha’zix both in normals and ranked over the years, he’s definitely someone that was hurt more than we’d like due to the preseason changes (looking at you Trailblazer). While we want to avoid any heavy handedness right now due to the number of things that have changed, there’s definitely room to give him a bit of love, especially in regards to his early game.

I played him last night in order to get a better feel on Live, and after Twitch accidentally took my large Krug early which kinda boned me (hit lvl 2 at 3:55), I still managed to do alright. Like I said though, definitely want to show him some love in the near future, as well as potentially look at something more long term.

Hope that helps!

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Whats the balance teams stance on the Grievous Wounds debuff

Meddler Final PortraitWe see GW as a useful safety valve on healing/high sustain champions, and one that’s probably best accessed in game in response to an enemy getting out of control (e.g. a really fed Swain), rather than accessed via champ select before you know how needed it’ll be. GW on individual kits has the potential to lead to hard counter situations, and while we do want to reward good choices in champ select we’d like to avoid games that feel predecided before the loading screen.

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Only Teemo has Blind now do you think Blind is a good mechanic

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to remove blind from Teemo and I’d imagine will at some point look to use it on at least one other champion. Would want to improve the visual/audio feedback for the blinded player to help them play around the effect before doing so though. The important thing would be putting it on a champion where it doesn’t leave the enemy without sufficient means to respond. Teemo’s really range limited, doesn’t burst people down generally and lacks other survivability tools when in the thick of the fight. Quinn by contrast had much longer range on her blind, has a powerful mid fight reposition and is adept at forcing fights with targets of her choice.

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Thoughts on Twitch

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Repertoir New Portrait I’m excited that the changes for 5.22 did not seem to make him too powerful, and given that, I’d like to keep pushing that direction in an upcoming patch if there’s an opportunity. An example of something we tested internally but didn’t end up shipping (for power concerns) was that the reset on Ambush had more Movement Speed and dropped into stealth instantly instead of with the 1.5 second fade time. This isn’t necessarily exactly what we’d do with him moving forward, but making that added mechanic feel right is probably the basic idea.

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Why do mages have such a hard time efficiently hitting 40

Pwyff Final PortraitI know Jag had a very specific reason as to why he kept Herald a one-person buff, so I’ll poke him to answer here.

For the CDR topic, I wonder if the ideal state of Mages is that they are guaranteed to hit CDR cap without much tradeoff or if they can be balanced in a way that investing into CDR is a meaningful decision (ie: giving up MR and maybe even Sorc Boots to double down on cooldowns for the additional utility). A world where a mage decides between high-damage, higher-cooldown abilities vs. lower-damage, utility-focused, lower-cooldown abilities seems like an interesting decision if done well.

In other words, right now there’s a large mentality shift of “I will always hit the CDR cap” to “I need to think try very hard to hit the CDR cap.” Additionally, since outside of the keystone masteries there hasn’t been anything more powerful injected into Mages, it might feel like a power decrease but we have a lot of noise and data we’ll need to parse through to see if this is actually true. Are mages weak? Are mages properly calibrated against their core stats (CDR, AP, mana regen)? Honestly speaking I want to see more before just saying “if you raise gold costs on AP and make it more difficult to hit the CDR cap, of course mages are going to be weak,” – it’s hard to assess that without seeing how the ecosystem of the game actually plays out, not to mention the strength of Deathfire Touch.

[edit]

Additional note on other champions getting more ‘free’ access to CDR than mages. These kind of comparisons are really weird to me, because CDR is one of those stats that’s very closely tied to the balance of the kit using it. CDR on marksmen tends to be very singular in purpose – damage – and often dependent on proper positioning to use well. Most Mage abilities tend to be fight-starters or fight-stoppers, meaning they have the ability to dramatically change the landscape or flow of a fight on a single ability cast. CDR to them is far more valuable and, in their natural item builds, needs to be ‘priced’ accordingly.

If stats were just generically priced without accounting for the stat affinities of the classes purchasing them, I think we’d get some really, really weird scenarios.

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ADCs can deal AA damage yet they reach the CDR cap easier than mages

Pwyff Final PortraitI edited in an answer regarding that, but I do feel like we’re in a bit of a vacuum comparison. A mage using abilities on cooldown can often stop or outright deny a champion threat. A marksman can do the same via a steady stream of damage but we’re basically talking variance in power. Mages have high variance – high highs, low lows (no abilities to cast), while Marksmen have less highs but more consistent output. In a balanced world, these two types of damage output would be well balanced against each other, but Mages also get the addition of utility, which needs to be considered as well.

I suppose this is a long way of saying damage isn’t the only thing to compare and Mages vs. Marksmen can’t really be boiled down to individual stat comparisons and who gets access to what. A reverse example (not totally comparable) might be if Marksmen were demanding total AD scaling on Trinity Force procs, similar to Lich Bane.

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Pwyff Final PortraitI think I’m saying that Mages have access to a lot more breadth of power than Marksmen and their itemization currently reflects that as well. If a Mage were to become a magic-focused Marksman I think it’d be easier to balance them, but then you’d be effectively choosing between the two. All a marksman has – all that they are identified by – is their pure damage with key positioning. A mage can be that, but they can also be the one who picks off fleeing champs, or controls the battlefield, or catches and blows up a stray squishy.

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Why can AD casters stack CDR so effectively and AP carries cant

Pwyff Final PortraitThe question is also what they do with those abilities. AD Casters get access to CDR very easy, but they can’t transform that CDR into an ability that starts and ends a teamfight on a single cast. An Ahri charm at late game can potentially mean a squishy target is dead without using any ability. An Ezreal Q cast on cooldown does not.

Really, really important distinction.

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Why did so many AP items get a cost increase in the Preseason patch

Meddler Final PortraitWe increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren’t however, so we’ll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong).

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Have you considered adding new items for AP carries

Meddler Final PortraitI expect we’ll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we’re thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.

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Are you considering nerfing Essence Reaver

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Meddler Final PortraitWe are. In particular it’s getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We’ll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.

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How would you make assassins  mages invest points in Cunning and not Ferocity

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be fleshing out the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones in Cunning, which should help somewhat there. For some champions though Ferocity’s probably always going to be more appealing (DoT mages especially will be really strongly drawn to DFT). Assassins by contrast are meant to be well served by the Cunning tree, so if they’re not getting decent performance from it we might need to make the Tier 3 keystones a bit stronger for them.

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Any thoughts on buffing Cull

Meddler Final PortraitIt’s looking like it’ll probably need some form of buff yeah.

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Why do Deathfire Touch and Thunderlords decree have such similar effects

Meddler Final PortraitWe’d like DFT to be the sustained damage option and Thunderlord’s the burst damage one. Both should have reasonable scaling though, hence the ratios – we’re not looking to make one of them a non item dependent option.

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Does Fervor of Battle work with Lifesteal

Meddler Final PortraitFervor of Battle’s proc damage, so doesn’t work with lifesteal, can’t crit etc.

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Can we get some Poppy teasers

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Meddler Final PortraitQuite soon (almost certainly next rework of any size to go out).

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Will there be Champion Mastery levels added to ARAM or other modes

CertainlyT New PortraitI’m not sure our designers who work on that are in this Q and A, so I’ll answer for them! I would be somewhat opposed to this on the grounds that ARAM doesn’t test a wide variety of skills and because the random mode is about encouraging you to branch out, not go deep on a small number of champions. However, I think it would be cool if there were ways to express your mastery of ARAM as such — for example, ones more related to the map or champion classes.

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Is Thresh considered Melee or Range Thresh Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThresh is meant to be a ranged champion. When we updated how we tag champions as melee or ranged he got missed for some reason (not sure why myself sorry). That’ll be fixed in the next patch.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at [email protected]

 

News Update July 23 Banner

 

Summary

Lead Game Designer Ghostcrawler took some time on the forums to discuss the overall direction of Riot’s balancing, the feedback from both the community and the competitive scene and how Melee vs Melee interaction should be improved. On Twitter, Morello continued the topic and added some tidbits about Riot’s current balance priorities as well as acknowledging the need to work on unpopular Champions. Balance Designer Statikk hosted a Q&A on the new Community beta and addressed specific Champions like Akali, Kha’Zix, Yasuo, Lucian, Lee Sin and Ezreal, Taric, Alistar, Quinn, Zilean as well as much larger topics like Spell Vamp, new Champions easily reaching the enemy backline and balance favoritism, or lack thereof. Finally, GPL icons are in store and clarity from CertainlyT on why Zyra’s W grants her “free’ Cooldown Reduction.

 

Recent News

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PBE Update July 22 Banner

 

 

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The Garena Premier League (GPL) hosts South East Asia’s greatest League teams including Season 2 World Champions the Taipei Assassins. This season, we’re adding permanent summoner icons featuring the GPL team logos for 250 RP. If you’re a hardcore GPL fan, you can pick up all 12 icons for 2400 RP (20% off the regular price).

As before, you’re not just showing off your team allegiance with these icons – 20% of each purchase goes straight to the team, while we use the other 80% to directly support esports through prizing, streaming, events and more!

Rep your favorite GPL teams as they compete for the top spot of the Summer Season!

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You seem to be terribly biased in balancing League

Ghostcrawler New PortraitHmm. I felt like Age of Empires 3 was pretty balanced. I did err on making skirmishers and dragoons cool. That was the last game I balanced myself, and it was over 10 years ago.

Now, I have hired a lot of designers whose job it was to balance other games, so I’m fine if you hold me accountable for the work they do, but it’s really not fair to the hundreds of developers who work on titles like WoW and LoL to attribute all the game design decisions to one guy, even if he does like to post on forums a lot.

If you have concerns about the high level direction of League, I’m happy to address those. If you want to talk about changes to individual champions, you’re better off addressing the developers who make those changes. I’ll point you to the recent Q&A with Statikk for instance.

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Is it true you want Champions with flashy plays to be LCS-viable

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe believe there are champions that are more fun to watch than others. That is absolutely not our sole balancing criterion or design direction though. I would say that over time we want to make more of the champions more exciting to play. The guys with fewer exciting moments and just several varieties of “hit that other dude,” are the kind we want to update.

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Do you not want Lee Sin changed before Worlds

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’m not sure if this was from me or Xelnath, but that wasn’t the message we intended to send. Rather we try to be careful as we approach the end of the competitive season not to make radical changes to the game. Preseason has been our traditional time to upset the apple cart. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to try to balance champions going into worlds, and that includes Lee Sin.

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How are your plans to turn all Champions into OP frost mages going along

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s no fun if they are all frost mages. You need someone for them to dominate.

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What is the high level direction of League as far as Riot is concerned

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a big question, and probably beyond the scope of a single forum post. But since I kind of asked for it, I will say that we want to improve champion diversity (both which champions get played and making sure they feel as different from each other as possible), we want you to play with friends (because that’s often a better experience), we want to explore strategic diversity, and we want to look at those areas of the game that are starting to feel a little stale (not just dated like SR, but stale mechanics as well).

I know that’s vague and arm wavy, but like I said above, preseason is a better time for larger changes, and we’d rather socialize these ideas to a lot of you guys in different regions to make sure we have plenty of feedback. It’s something we’ll start to talk about more. Stay tuned.

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TP’s short cooldown encouraged passive, melee-vs-melee top lanes

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYou touch on a couple of different issues that have a strong interaction. First, we agree that top melee vs. melee does get a little boring. Strategic movement (versus say just having short-term speed boosts) is a way to get those guys interacting a little more with the rest of the map, but we agree there are risks of passive play and having no consequences for bad play. Just increasing the cooldown might help with the second part but does nothing for the first part, and meanwhile means the summoner spell could just be dead. We don’t have any changes to announce but we recognize the problem.

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If you’re taking the flak for decisions, you should be getting the credit for them, too

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTotally, and I have no problem with that aspect of the internet. It’s the other half that bothers me. Imagine you’ve worked on say Braum for months, whether you were the designer or the writer or the artist making particle effects. Then the champion that has consumed so much of your life goes live… and some high level designer gets all the attention for it. That’s really unfair at almost any company and it’s particularly unfair at Riot. We really try to avoid the rock star thing.

I’m fine with you blaming me for anything (and most Rioters would feel the same way) because I also don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to pass the buck, but be aware there are a lot of people that work really hard on this or most games. Don’t boil down the company to just a few people whose names you might know.

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You shouldn’t balance the game around pro-players; they’ll adapt

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t balance the game just for the pros. We do pay a lot of attention to how they are playing because A) they tend to influence what a lot of other players are playing, and B) their skill is such that they are very sensitive to small balance nuances that many other players might not notice.

 



As far as champion popularity, the issue isn’t that we are afraid of player wrath if we nerf popular champions. Sometimes the champion is popular just because they’re overpowered. But sometimes they are popular because they are fun or because others in the same role aren’t as much fun. We try to be very responsive to players, and that includes having a game that is balanced but also a game that is fun to play. If you keep slapping players across the wrists for playing fun champions it’s really easy to send the unintentional message that we don’t want them to have fun.

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Why does it seem like Riot is constantly understaffed

Ghostcrawler New PortraitRiot tends to have small teams, but it depends a lot on what that team is working on. The live team has more than 3-4 people, but that’s really not the whole story. A lot of Rioters contribute to balance, from playtesting, to live data analysis, to assimilating community feedback, to “Hey this experience happened to me last night, maybe we should look at it.”

 

There are also risks to having too many people working on a team — it’s hard to keep in tight communication and make sure two groups aren’t trying to solve the same problem in different ways. In any case, “design” is my team. I don’t tell the balance team what to do, except at a very high level. I talked a lot about WoW class balance, which led to this persistent myth that I did it all myself.

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Slower Champion release means less potential balance issues

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere are some solutions to having a huge champion roster. Yes, the game would probably be easier to balance at 100 champions or even 5, but that would be boring. One of the things that keeps League fresh (by which I mean it contributes but isn’t sufficient to solve the problem all by itself) is a constant stream of new champions (and some updated old ones as well).

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What purpose do you want Supports to serve on a team

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUtility is fun. We don’t want supports to just be warders, nor we want them to just be the dudes who don’t get any kills in order to funnel all the gold to their carries. We also don’t feel that we nailed the season 4 gold income, so it’s something we’re going to have to keep working on.

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Where’s the Bruiser rework promised for Season 4

Ghostcrawler New PortraitPromising anything is dangerous, because it implies we should ship changes that we aren’t happy with just because we said we would. The game still needs a fighter / bruiser rework. Some of that is itemization changes. Some of it is just giving melee champions some interesting ways to interact with other champions beyond just smashing someone with an axe or be kited endlessly.

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Who does does Riot want to balance League of Legends for

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUltimately, we try to balance for the players who are playing the game, which means all of them. I know that’s a tall order, but we wouldn’t be happy with a model that was to only balance for the best players or to neglect them. We do want LCS to be fun to watch, but we also want League to be fun to play for the Bronze player who is still finding their way. Sometimes those directions are contradictory, say for a champion that is only good in organized team play but not solo queue, and in those cases, balance gets super tricky.

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Why are most Champions forced into a single role and lane

Ghostcrawler New PortraitAll things being equal, champions that can fill multiple roles are cool. There are two big footnotes to this. First, we haven’t always been great at supporting novel use of champions. In the past, if an AD Marksman started to get played as an AP, we’d sometimes stomp it out quickly because it was unintended without really establishing if the play pattern was healthy (e.g. did it have sufficient team play and counterplay) and if players would be able to come up with strategies to counter that play.

We are trying to be less reactionary to those opportunities. Second however, game health still is a thing we have for which we have to be mindful. Jungle Alistar tends to be pretty frustrating for the other team, so it’s not something we’re likely to support without some fundamental changes to his abilities. Support Annie, Mid Lulu, AP Ez are champion roles we have no fundamental issue with, as long as they don’t eclipse the champion’s performance in all other roles.

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Is your design goal to make sweeping changes to keep League fresh

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt isn’t our philosophy to constantly reinvent the game. We think the core games is pretty compelling. There is a risk that League can get stale though. New champions and alternate game modes can help offset that, but you do see players who just get bored if they think the meta is too rigid or each game just feels too similar to the last. So in that sense, we do think it’s healthy for the game to evolve.

I think I am reacting most to the subtext of the accusation (which I realize isn’t yours per se) that the changes are sweeping, arbitrary or thoughtless. There is a happy medium between the extremes of ossification and the wild, wild west.

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Is there truly no room for melee DPS

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere is room for melee DPS, but we’re not there yet. It’s harder to give melee skill shots. It’s harder to give melee a reason to go in, do damage, then break off the attack, since they are designed to do damage in a small window (when they are in melee) and spend the rest of the time gap closing / being kited. It’s harder to keep the distinction between fighters and tanks, since fighters have to be fairly survivable to even get to melee.

We think we can address all of those issues, but they will take time, and sadly longer than we originally thought. Some of these changes are champion updates to give them more to do than just whack at an opponent. Some of these changes are more systemic, such as making sure fighters and tanks build items differently.

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How are we to speak with developers when they rarely respond

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe are trying to get back to that. There was a time when more Rioters were all over the boards and Reddit. For a variety of reasons, that has eroded somewhat, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I personally always loved that about Riot, and it’s something I am passionate about trying to get back to.

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It seems Riot underrates small tweaks made to Champions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll be totally frank here. I think it’s playtesting. The logic the designers use to make every change is typically pretty sound and we have a culture of beating up ideas. By that I mean, nobody is changing anything without getting a lot of input. We also try to leave room to react to player feedback when you guys see the patch notes or even our initial thoughts on potential changes.

We also do have some very strong players who work here (i.e. Challenger tier) and we rely a lot on them and a whole bunch of other Rioters to put these changes through their paces. But even if we played 200 games with every balance tweak, that is far, far fewer than the bazillions of games that get played when a patch goes live. Yes, there are plenty of unintended consequences that we really should have caught, but there are others that we just never realistically could have predicted until some smart player tried out something wacky and a bunch of other players adopted it.

One idea is to try and leverage the PBE better. Most participants just mess around to get a feel for any patch changes, but aren’t really trying to exploit a change the way they will once it goes live. We have some other ideas as well.

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What exactly does the Design team do

Ghostcrawler New PortraitDesign is a discipline. The “big three” disciplines in game development are design, programming and art, though there are others as well (production, sound, QA, etc.) At Riot, teams are multidisciplinary, meaning that the champion team for instance has a lot of people on it that are not designers.

 

Not every team needs a designer on it. Some are focused on say engine refinements. Others have someone with enough design skill that they can fill in for not having a dedicated designer. Most teams that touch the game directly do have designers though. There are designers on the Live team who do balance the game. (It’s more accurate to say that they are accountable for short-term patch-to-patch changes that can’t wait for a larger update or rework, but that’s a Riot technicality, not something you need to understand to have an opinion on LoL.)

Fortunately, while your question sounds like you’re just curious, it isn’t necessary to understand how Riot (or any game developer) is structured in order to give feedback on the game. In fact, I often say that if your post is focusing a lot on the people making the game and not the game itself, that’s a good hint that your post probably isn’t super helpful in terms of providing us feedback. “I don’t think Jax is competitive in this situation,” is what we call actionable feedback. That’s the kind of feedback we can discuss. “Ghostcrawler nerfed Jax,” doesn’t provide us much actual information. Maybe it helps you feel better by venting, but as I pointed out, since you don’t really know how we structure our teams internally, your statement is likely to not even be correct.

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Why do Rioters respond to trolls but not to reasonable threads

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a reasonable concern. My personal experience from a decade and a half of trying to communicate to players is that if you step into a good discussion, you risk derailing it. Devs can still read and appreciate the discussion, and we do, but if we try to “reward” the thread with our appearance, it ends up attracting a lot of folks who want to make “Rito where” posts or troll or whatever. Troll threads are in essence already ruined, so a dev jumping in can’t make it much worse. 

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Have you ever thought that some top laners liked Melee vs

Ghostcrawler New PortraitOf course. That’s why I asked the question. A lot of the answers are “Because then a ranged champ doesn’t shut him down,” which is a reasonable concern, but doesn’t really get at the issue of how to make melee banging away on another melee interesting. In team fights, we think there is more for melee to do, whether they’re trying to block the front lines or dive past them to hit the softer nukers in the back. But slow, top lane duels feel like they need some help.

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Riot doesn’t hate melee top laners, they just can’t balance them

Ghostcrawler New PortraitExactly. We are trying to formalize (for want of a better word) what strengths melee should have to help them offset the huge advantages that ranged champions have. The traditional solutions have been that melee are hard to kill, or they really mess you up if you fail to kite them. Both of those cause a lot of balance problems though. The first means melee slap fights are boring. The second means that melee vs. ranged encounters can be binary — either the melee zeroes the mage, or the latter escapes.

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Is it true you don’t know where the “Renekton” balance bar lies

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThe Renekton “bar” came about, IIRC, because we were just nerfing whoever the dominant melee was at the time and the next melee would come take his or her place. We realized this was because many melee were just ball of stats without interesting interactions (I exaggerate, which I often do, but you get the point). We decided that Renekton actually had some interesting gameplay going on, so rather than nerf him, we’d make him the bar for how melee should act. That doesn’t mean just giving his abilities to all the other melee and it doesn’t mean buffing the stats for Mundo or whoever else to help them pass Renekton.

It means trying to find unique ability and item hooks for those melee below the bar. (Also to be clear, the bar doesn’t mean we nerf all other melee to have worse win rates than Renekton. It’s just a target for power and kit.) Unfortunately, that does take some time and exploration which is why we haven’t delivered on it yet. I hate that we haven’t delivered on it yet, but that’s the story for how it happened.

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QA on Balance Design Banner


 

 

State of Kha’Zix and Hecarim and popular Champions not being nerfed

Statikk New PortraitYou have made a ton of comments, and I’ll try my best to address them all.

1) Kha’Zix

Firstly, I actually think Kha’zix isn’t far off from being balanced. In fact, we have seen him get spot-picked in Korean pro games even in his arguably currently “underpowered” state (I believe they are actually evolving E first).

The changes to Q and its evolution path were actually largely motivated by Game Health concerns with the Isolation mechanic. Essentially, Isolation is a mechanic that works super well later on in the game when you are more heavily grouping up since you have allies to play around, but early on in the game (especially pre-6) avoiding Isolation is not really an option for some roles (ex: the opposing jungler). We think it’s appropriate that Kha’Zix has to invest in his Q to apply this kind of pressure to the enemy team that Isolation brings, and it’s clear that at least some evolutions such as E are still competing with it.

I think Volty (Kha’Zix’s original designer) kind of nailed it on the head when we released Kha’Zix. He claimed that Kha’Zix is a champion we have to normally re-visit in order to re-balance his evolutions to be competitive with one another, and I honestly agree with that. The game and our understanding of the game changes so much even on a daily basis. I suspect we’ll have to revisit his evolutions in the future, but for now we want to monitor how the Q buffs in 4.12 have affected him.

2) Hecarim

Agreed 100% that we went overboard with the Q Mana cost tuning the last time we changed him. This is something we’re looking to change with the next upcoming patch. His Q Mana cost will now be in the middle ground between where it was before and where it is now.

3) Balance “Favoritism”

I think it’s a bit unfair to jump to conclusions about why we are hesitant to nerf X champion versus Y champion. Firstly, there’s always going to be variance in the power of champions after we change them. Getting them right 100% out of the game is honestly unrealistic, as it takes time for everyone to understand how to optimize champions after we change them.

Lucian was a case where we were more concerned with ensuring that he was still functional post Attack Range changes. Yes, we went overboard on our first shot, but this is something that can be and will be corrected in the upcoming patches (everybody deserves a second shot amirite?).

Lee Sin is a different beast altogether. Firstly, we didn’t go through with our first initial larger changelist months ago due to a legitimate concern that players brought to us which was that we were fundamentally altering his gameplay identity with our changes. This made us go rethink our approach to Lee Sin and instead of normalizing him into a champion we know fits the game, we are trying to fit his unique identity (early game gambit, late game falloff) into the game. This is something we will be pursuing fairly aggressively with Lee Sin.

In addition, we always have to assess what each champion brings to the game and how that can affect our analysis of the situation. Let’s be honest, Lee Sin is one of the most fun and exciting champions in our game, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone why he is so popular. We’ll continue to adjust his power as we always have (and if you don’t think we’ve changed him a ton…go look at his patch history), but Lee Sin is a champion that as a design team we feel brings a lot of positives to the game.

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Melee Carries, Assassins, Access to Team Backline, Stealth & More

Statikk New PortraitHey Sayath, always a pleasure to read your posts. I’ll answer the questions in your Summary as best as I can:

1) State of Akali

Akali currently looks to be in a decent spot, and as I hear she is starting to gain more popularity recently especially in solo queue. I also think she will be benefiting from the changes we are making to the overall game to make it less anti-Assassin. As far as Game Health goes, I still believe she is a champion with a lot of flaws. When she gets ahead, there is usually very little individuals can do to overcome the situation due to her simplistic mechanics (tons of just “I click you and hope you die” abilities) and when she’s behind she has very little power to come back since she doesn’t have any strong “fallback” patterns and the her primary defensive ability (W) is still tied to our primitive and hard counter-y stealth system.

2) Squishy Melee

We are still exploring what it means to be a squishy melee in the game. Yasuo was obviously an experiment in this field. I see 2 possible positions for them:

1. Enemy backline (Assassin): I think everyone is familiar with this pattern. In my mind there are 2 inherent steps in this pattern – 1. The Infiltration to get to the right target and 2. The Execution when they arrive at the target to take them out. Assassins should be champions who rely on flanking and other creative ways of infiltrating towards the enemy’s high-priority targets. I think a large part missing in a lot of our Assassins is an interesting Execution phase, where they still need to make a play once they reach the target to finish them (maybe Zed after the more recent changes meets the bar now).

2. Ally backline (Melee Carry): This is a term we’ve thrown around a ton but have never truly delivered upon. A lot of the supposed Melee Carries we’ve put into the game are honestly very Assassin-like in their pattern since we often give them the tool to access the enemy backline. The idea behind this character would be similar to that of a Ranged Carry mindset – start with whatever targets present themselves, usually the enemy frontline and eventually make their way through the team to clean up the enemy’s backline.

Yasuo was a champion I believe had a lot of potential of fulfilling this role due to mechanics such as Wind Wall which keeps him safe from the enemy backline while he deals with the enemy frontline, but once again we ended up giving him a way to easily access the backling via his ult which I think really undermines this role’s purpose and essentially turned him into an Assassin. To me it feels like a somewhat lost opportunity.

3) Spell Vamp

Spell Vamp is honestly another old system that we probably need to revisit and re-set the goals around its purpose in the game. I would say in its current state, Spell Vamp being any more prominent would probably just lead to abuse cases. One of the largest problems with Spell Vamp is how much it favors resourceless champions vs. Mana champions. This is something we’d have have to take a hard look at if we wanted to adjust it, but I don’t think there are any immediate plans.

4) Stealth

I don’t just think it would be beneificial, I think it is integral to the health of all stealth champions that we figure out a better system for them to work under. The current binary / hard-counter system is one that provides little gameplay and disallows these champions to scale with player skill effectively. It’s something I’m very personally interested in investigating but have never found the time to.

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Who do you think are the top 5 Champions in need of Rework

  1. Statikk New PortraitUrgot
  2. Poppy
  3. Mordekaiser
  4. Yorick
  5. ??? – can’t decide =/

Once again, my personal opinion. I think the above 4 have incomplete/confused identities/roles within the game and have flawed play patterns that offer very little counterplay.

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Immobile Mid-lane Mages, Athene’s, Deathcap and Void Staff

Statikk New PortraitThis is definitely an issue that we have struggled with a lot internally. We call this class of characters the “Immobile Mid-Lane Mages” and I 100% agree with your identification and breakdown of the problem.

I’m definitely on the same page with you when you say Mobility Creep is one of the largest contributors to this. As we’ve added more and more mobility to the champions in our game (for good reasons – mobile champions are really fun to play, create a lot of “outplay” moments, etc.), the Immobile Mid Mages have fallen off especially in the competitive scene.

The bottom line is that we have done a poor job of valuing Mobility as it relates to the amount of power it gives to a champion’s kit. Champions with high mobility need to be paying a larger cost for having that strength, and this is obvious with examples like Kassadin, LeBlanc, or Lee Sin. Mobility is actually a tool that scales extremely well with player skill, pros are able to exploit both the strategic map mobility and tactical in-combat mobility to its fullest extent.

As far as itemization goes, I know the Systems team is looking into different the lesser used items such as Rylai’s. The lack of Mana Regen in the Rylai’s + Liandry’s combo is interesting (I believe most stack a few Doran’s Rings to try to get around this), but overall I think it might be pointing out a larger issue in our game which is our ever-growing pool of Resourceless champions and how we have maybe warped the game to allow Mana users to compete with the resourceless guys over time. A big example of this is how strong Athene’s is at the moment. When you look at the item objectively, Athene’s is pretty insane in terms of gold-efficiency, but this leads to a scenario where the only mages that are viable are the ones who can leverage Athene’s effectively. This is something I’ll definitely bring up to the other guys on the team to see if this is another avenue we can help attack the problem.

Overall, I don’t think there’s an easy fix to this problem. I think we’ll have to do a lot of systematic changes to the game in order to get Immobile Mid Lane Mages back into the game in a healthy way, but it’s something definitely on our radar (just not right at this moment since we are prepping for Worlds).

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 Lucian feels like a better Ezreal right now

Statikk New PortraitFirstly, I’ll start with new Lucian. Flat out, he’s just currently overtuned and that will be corrected soon. This means that Lucian’s current state is not really a useful grounds of comparison when it comes to power level.

To address Ezreal, we honestly feel Ezreal is still fitting the vision we set for him. He’s a long-range, mobile, poke ADC and he fits that pretty well. In fact, Ezreal is still being valued in the Korean competitive scene.

I don’t think it can be easily assumed that Ezreal is “weak” at the moment. He has things that Lucian doesn’t have (long range) and Lucian has things that Ezreal doesn’t have (hyper mobility). That’s a great place to be in when they can be valued for different reasons. I think something to clarify is that Ezreal should probably not be the most mobile ADC in the game given that he has such high range. He can be mobile sure (and he is because of his E), but being the most mobile is probably not ideal given his other strengths. I think it’s easy to forget, once a champion has not been dominant for a while, the times they actually were dominant and how small of a change it takes for us to revert back to those times.

Purely using Win Rates averaged over all skill levels is a dangerous way to approach game balance. In fact, I think this kind of mentality has heavily contributed to the Mobility Creep that continues to grow in our game. Some things simply scale extremely well with player skill level – it turns out that Mobility is one of these things. The fact that a lot of our more mobile champions do have “lower” win rates is not an accident or mistake. It takes a ton of mastery and skill to leverage Mobility to its maximum potential.

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What’s your opinion on underplayed Supports like Zilean, Alistar and Taric

Statikk New Portrait1) Taric

Similar to Garen, I think Taric is at a place where we have to weigh simplicity vs. mastery. If we were to change Taric, I doubt we would put more emphasis on Auras as they are biggest examples of “Power without Gameplay.” Stat-based Auras typically have to be fairly game-warping before they are noticeable and satisfying, which is why we usually avoid them.

Overall, I think we need to find a more interesting core gameplay pattern than “stand near an enemy and press all your buttons” for Taric. I don’t want to get your guys’ hopes up, but we actually do have some experimental Taric changes that are pretty different from his current kit. No guarantees on if it will ever release or when, but he is someone who the Reworks team is looking at potentially changing.

2) Zilean

Zilean’s kit unfortunately has very little counterplay, and it’s the large reason why it’s hard for us to find a place for him in the game. Currently when he’s powerful, he creates an extremely frustrating experience for the enemy laner. He is also one of the champions that is higher up on the Reworks priority list, but because we would have to change his kit so drastically to make him healthy for the game, it will definitely be a while until we can release changes.

3) Alistar

The W+Q combo is something that we never intended to exist, but it’s something that Alistar players have gotten used to and is honestly integral to his current balance and gameplay. If we were to revisit him in a Reworks style approach, I think there’s a high likelihood that we would remove the combo and instead give him more ways to create situations where he can W enemies into walls to setup a follow-up Q. This is probably a healthier version of his combo, but it’s not something we’d do unless we supplemented the kit with ways to function and succeed without the combo.

I agree the heal is also something that doesn’t necessarily mesh well with his kit – both from a game health perspective and a thematic perspective. Functionally it is honestly just a bunch of sustain in lane (arguably not a “bunch” anymore now that we’ve tuned it down over time) and then falls off in usefulness once it gets to late game. It creates a fairly un-interactive lane pattern that is diametrically opposed to his all-in initiation combo style. It’s something I think we’d have no qualms of removing if we found something better to replace it with.

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Are there any plans to rework Garen

Statikk New PortraitThe difficulty of a champion like Garen is that we see him as a great beginner champion. He’s easy to pick up and easy to understand, so he does bring a lot of positive to the game even when he isn’t necessarily a strong champion at the competitive level.

If we wanted to make him more healthy for competitive play we would have to start weighing the costs of adding complexity to his kit via new mechanics and probably adding more points of mastery in his gameplay which probably means making him overall more demanding to play.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned working on this game is that it is rare for any decision to be completely free of costs or tradeoffs. Almost every change we make that has a benefit also has a cost and we always have to weigh them against each other.

In Garen’s case we would have to understand the costs we would have to pay in his simplicity in order to make him a healthier competitive champion. I can say right now, that there are no immediate plans for work on Garen, but you’re definitely on the mark when you say that if we do go and change Garen we would need to try our best to preserve his low skill floor while still increasing skill ceiling (which is extremely difficult to do).

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What's your view on Quinn

Statikk New PortraitIn terms of balance, we think Quinn is actually pretty strong.

In terms of design, I think we all feel Quinn is somewhat of a missed opportunity. Here’s a list of things I think we are not exactly content with:

  1. She’s a sub-par bot lane ADC
  2. She’s overly reliant on snowballing / doesn’t have a great fallback pattern
  3. Her ult specifically is great when she’s ahead (potentially makes her feel overbearing when ahead due to the amount of burst it adds) and feels almost useless when behind or even

Overall, I think Quinn is a fun champion with a lot of potential, but we’re simply not there yet.

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Do you think Spell Vamp is in a good place right now

Statikk New PortraitUnfortunately, I actually don’t have a ton of insight into Spell Vamp and how it should function in our game (probably more appropriate for one of our Systems guys like Xypherous), but I will say that although a “Spell Vamp ratio” on each spell would make Spell Vamp healthier and more functional in our game, it would be an extremely inelegant solution. For example, how would players know whether they had good Spell Vamp ratios or not?

We would probably have to display it in the tooltips somewhere and that has its own complexity and costs as well. I think you are getting at the heart of the problem though, which is that Spell Vamp is a lot weaker on champions who have to expend resources (Mana) to get returns out of it. Personally not sure what the answer would be here still.

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The Direction of LoL Balance

Morello was up on Twitter yesterday, tackling balance questions one at a time. The first 5 are sequential, after which come a small set of replies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will you address unpopular Champions like, say Viktor

 

Will you address Diana’s currently poor state

 

Don’t you feel that you’ve overnerfed Kha’Zix

 

How long does it take to rework or update a Champion

 

Which takes more time - new Champions or new updates

 

Will we see a solution to the ball of stats fighters

 

 

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Why does Zyra’s Passive on W give CDR and not, say, Magic Pen

CertainlyT New PortraitHi there. Zyra’s W gives CDR for two reasons:   First, Seeds have relatively little inherent value. We wanted to ensure that Zyra could cast more spells as she began to replenish her seeds faster, because as you put more points into W, you are expressing a desire to have more plants.   Second, because we wanted Zyra to be able to buy non-CDR items. We wanted players to be able to buy the items that made sense for them in their particular game from the entire line of mage oriented items, such as Zhonya’s or Abyssal Scepter, not be restricted to the (at the time) small pool of CDR items.

A bit of context: We struggled during her development to balance 0% CDR Zyra builds against 40% CDR Zyra builds. The latter could put so many seeds out that certain enemy team compositions felt completely stifled. When W’s cooldown was at a healthy level assuming 40% CDR builds, all other item paths felt terrible. Giving Zyra “free” CDR (20% on release) was accompanied by raising the cooldown of her W to compensate, meaning that Zyra’s effective CDR cap for Rampant Growth was 20%.   Today, it’s unlikely we would make the same decision, as CDR is a much more accessible stat. This is the reason that I lowered Zyra’s passive CDR on W from 20% at max rank to 10%. In a game now filled with CDR choices, the “free” 20% was actually stifling her ability to purchase items. Hopefully getting to 40% these days involves a good amount of choice and compromise without leaving the player feeling like they are struggling to get to cap if they so desire or going way over if they do opt for CDR items.

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Can we have an update on Dunkmaster Darius

Baconhawk New PortraitThe answers to these and all your other questions will be answered in time, friend.

(He looks kind of amazing. Graceful, even).   [ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

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