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Will skins in the future be delayed past their relevant event

KateyKhaos Final PortraitWe’ve stated that we’ve got some stuff planned for Snowdown. In a case like that, yes, skins would be held for that event. There will still be instances where you won’t see a champion skin for a bit due to them being a part of an event/group of skins that will be released.

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What’s the status of Shens rework

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’s high ish on our list of smaller reworks (smaller as in some gameplay changes, with visual/audio changes as needed to support those, rather than a full relaunch). Marksmen polish, bug fixing and followup, plus Poppy, are the champion update team’s big priorities at the moment though. Shen’s rework definitely won’t be this year, early next year’s looking like it could be feasible though.

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Do youve an ETA for when Akalis rework will be released

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have a timeline for Akali at present. Could be a moderate time after Shen, could be a long time after.

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Why not tackle assassins after your Juggernaut Marksman updates

Meddler Final PortraitWe haven’t decided which class to tackle after marksmen. Assassins are definitely a possibility, but still just one of several options we’re talking about. If doing assassins we’d definitely want to sync an Akali rework with that of course.

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Do youve any plans for Talon

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’d be good to do some work on him someday, give him some more distinction from standard assassin tools, a more meaningful passive and better counterplay. No current plans for that though, that’ll likely wait until we tackle assassins at a group whenever that is.

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Whats happening with the Taric rework

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Meddler Final PortraitFor quite a long time we were blocked from working on Taric because we hadn’t found what we felt was the right way to update him without losing core parts of his character. A little while back we found a direction that we’re really happy with, so we’re now in a position where we can look at putting him into the pipeline.

Progress in terms of direction and goals basically, rather than progress in terms of producing the actual character for the game.

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Will the new Champion Select roll out to ARAM 3v3 and Dominion

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[ Note ] You can find an in-game preview of the new Champion Select HERE.

Lyte Final PortraitWe have to first finish the “Blind Pick” version of this experience, then we’ll figure out how we want to tackle unique maps.

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Four premades in SoloQ will have full control over the surrender vote

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s pretty easy to detect if 4:1 premades are surrendering too early, holding the 5th player hostage, so on and so forth. It’s also super easy to resolve, including things like forcing 4:1 premades to have unanimous votes to trigger a Surrender. At the end of the day, there’s way less toxicity to 4:1 situations than players are portraying right now.

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Will we ever get the chance to kick a player from Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitThe new Champ Select should solve a lot of conflicts because of the system design and things like Pick Intent, Pick 2 Positions, and Distributed Bans. However, if there are still meaningful negative experiences in Champ Select, we’ve considered allowing players to queue dodge and “report” a player and supply a reason. If the reported player was being toxic, we could make sure there’s no queue dodge penalties. But, for us to do this feature there would need to be meaningful Champ Select toxicity, say greater than 5% of lobbies.

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Will you solve the issue of players trollbanning other peoples pick intents

Lyte Final PortraitIf a player wants to troll, they are going to find a way to do it whether Pick Intent exists or not.

We believe Pick Intent is still a net-positive feature, and provides more value than damage. What we did notice was that by introducing Distributed Bans, far less players trolled Pick Intent. Because nearly every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or 1st/2nd pick), players are less likely to troll one another in the drafting process because that other player could counter you with something equally damaging.

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How do you plan to balance premade groups playing in high ELO queues

Lyte Final PortraitThere’s a weird misconception around high MMR queues.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen, but here’s a few scenarios:

1) High MMR players will group together with their high MMR friends, and we’ll get to watch some pretty crazy matches between players from different pro teams queuing together. This will be highly competitive and entertaining.

2) High MMR players will decide to all go solo, so it’ll be just like Solo/Duo Queue today except sometimes they’ll face off against premade teams from a lower skill tier.

High MMR players are already waiting in queues and being repeatedly matched with lower tier players, or placed with teams that have Duo Queues of lower skill. This already happens, and won’t be fixed with Dynamic Queues. It’s not really easy to fix the problem of “not enough high tier players” in a queue 😛

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Why do the last three players in the new Champ Select get to ban

Lyte Final PortraitPlayer 1 and 2 get first and second pick, which we’ve seen are also “valuable” choices in Champ Select.

Whether we add more bans or not is a super complex topic that Ghostcrawler or Meddler have talked about before, so I don’t want to dig into it here again.

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What if a team with one Bronze Silver Gold Plat Diamond player queues

Lyte Final PortraitYou can’t even create that team because Tier Restrictions still exist in Dynamic Queues. Your team has to be within 2 tiers of each other.

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Will we be able to trade picks in the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitYes, there’s still a Trade Phase in the new Champ Select.

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Can we just fill any team role

Lyte Final PortraitYou can do this! Just select “Fill” as your Primary position and queue up.

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What if I get countered or the Champions for the role I picked are banned

Lyte Final PortraitActually, just like in today’s Champ Select, if you really have to you can negotiate with your team to swap positions. Just like today, you could go, “Hey guys, I really can’t do well versus a Darius Top, anyone mind swapping positions with me?”

We’re not removing any functionality, you can still do this stuff today.

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Premade groups will ruin Solo Queue in Master Challenger ELOs

Lyte Final PortraitI’ll be honest, anyone that says they can predict how Dynamic Queues will shake out for high MMR players is just making a wild assumption at this time.

Even we can’t make a prediction about what will happen, but we can map out the scenarios. IF Dynamic Queues are dramatically destroying the experience for many players, we’ll know and we’ll figure out how to solve it. To say we should never try something because of a hypothetical scenario is being risk-averse. We have to be OK taking risks once in awhile if we want to keep pushing League’s potential.

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Will we be able to lock Champions to prevent them from being banned

Lyte Final PortraitWhen we introduced Pick Intent, it was critical that we also introduce Distributed Bans. Because every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (either 1st/2nd pick, or a ban) we saw less trolling of Pick Intent because every player had some leverage over the other players. It’s a weird dynamic, but Distributed Bans were effective in reducing trolling. We do not intend on allowing players to “lock” something from being banned during Pick Intent because that could introduce far more damage than positive in the long run–imagine preventing a ban of an S-Tier champion that gets first picked by the opposing team. Chaos would ensue.

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Can we be allowed to report players during Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitNot at this time. If there are still significant toxicity issues in Champ Select, we may introduce a feature to allow a player to dodge, and report a player and supply a reason for their dodge. With some machine learning magic, we could assess this report in real-time and remove any potential queue dodge penalties as well. But, this feature is pretty costly, so it’d have to be worth doing.

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Have you considered allowing players to queue for one role only

Lyte Final PortraitOne of the big criticisms of Team Builder Classic was queue times, so forcing everyone to choose at least 2 positions really, really improves queue times and ensures queue health. By allowing players to only select 1 position (even if they understand they are waiting longer to play that 1 position), it significantly influences the entire matchmaking ecosystem if only 20% of players choose 1 position only. To us, it’s not worth damaging the entire health of the queue to give players this amount of control.

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Why not group premades with premades rather than with solo players

Lyte Final PortraitThis pretty much already happens. We’ve made a few changes to the matchmaker so similar group comps are paired against each other. Premade 5s pair more with Premade 5s, before being paired with 4:1 or 3:2 for example. I’ll also note that really, the vast majority of players wanted Dynamic Queues, but of course Reddit is a pretty hardcore demographic and once a thread swings one direction, generally the opposition are not going to jump in to voice an opinion. Most players also don’t realize when they are in games with premades. Nearly 100% of Ranked Games has a Duo Queue today, but players only remember the games when Duo Queues were negative.

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Wont queues be just as long as with Team Builder if no one picks Support

Lyte Final PortraitActually, with the “Fill” position, we’re in a pretty good spot for position distributions. We’re also willing to incentivize the in-demand positions with some small bonuses from the future crafting system.

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Heroes of the Storm had groups in Solo Queue and the feature was removed

Lyte Final PortraitTo be clear, Blizzard’s reasons had to do with skill disparity and variance on teams.

We’ve added multiple matchmaking features that solve this problem including Tier Restrictions (you can’t queue with friends beyond a certain tier in skill). Also, CS:GO has a Dynamic Queue system that works pretty well, so you can’t just point to 1 game and say “it’s a bad idea because that game moved away from it.”

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Lyte Final PortraitWe’re also doing a lot of features like Clubs to help players find more friends to play with, and make more friends. We don’t have to do one or the other, we have to try many things!

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Why not split your feature into a Solo Queue and Small Group Queue

Lyte Final PortraitSplitting the queues into a Pure Solo and Group Queue would have all the queue health problems that we (and other studios) have faced before. When you have a smaller playerbase on a server like Turkey, both queues would be negative experiences. The more you segregate your playerbase, the worse the experience in each island.

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Why not add voice chat if youre trying to make League more teamoriented

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve been doing a lot of research on voice chat and the impact it has on the game experience. We have some ideas for how we’d like to solve the negatives that voice chat has, but no teams are actively working on integrated voice chat for League. As you can tell with the 2016 Ranked changes, we are trying to make League more of a team sport, which does make voice comms more valuable.

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Skill ranking is irrelevant to how effective group matchmaking is

Lyte Final PortraitWhen players make statements like “Skill Ranking” means nothing, it might not actually reflect reality.

What does it mean for “Skill Ranking” to mean something? Technically, it means things like if I have Player A (1200 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR) they will reliably win 50% of their matches against each other over 100s of games. It means things like if I have Player A (1240 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR), Player A will win their matches 54% of the time if you’re using the basic Elo equation from Chess. Of course, this is a simplified model because most PvP games are team-based so there’s additional variables… but you get the point.

I don’t think players can concretely say that in CS:GO, the Dynamic Queue system is so bad that a significant number of matchups are erroneous and therefore Skill Rating means nothing. On average, a higher skill player will still beat a lower skill player. The question is, how consistently does this happen? If a higher skill player beats a lower skill player at a predictable % of the time, I think the system is working effectively. If a higher skill player should beat a lower skill player 60% of the time, but only beats them 40% of the time on average, something is broken.

I may have gotten a bit too into the math weeds here, but unless you can see the data like Valve (or like us), you can’t simply conclude that Skill Ratings mean nothing in Dynamic Queues. Could it become less accurate than before? Yes. However, if 30% more players enjoy Ranked, and Skill Rating means 2% less… is that a valuable tradeoff? Maybe. Until we try this out for a bit, we don’t know what those numbers will be and what the tradeoffs are, so it’s too early to make wild assumptions.

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Why do you think 41 queues will level out at 50 winrate for the solo player

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve dug into examples like this many times before, and it’s generally because the Normal MMRs of the players don’t reflect their Ranked MMRs. This is a known problem that we have some fixes for called “Splashing.” Basically, as your Ranked MMR increases, we “splash” some points into the other queue MMRs to make sure they are all tied a bit closer. But, in practice this didn’t work too well because a lot of higher tier players mess around in Normals or only want to play casual in Normals with friends, so they DIDN’T want their Ranked MMR to affect other queues.

Long story short, it does look bad, but actually if you look at the matches holistically, you still have very close to a 50% win rate in those matches.

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Why not learn from Normal games how premade behavior affects queues

Lyte Final PortraitThis is exactly why we’d like to work in Normal Draft Queues first, because they are a close model of how a Dynamic Queue might work. We’re also testing “Ranked Queues” in NA and TR, to get an even closer model of how things might shake out.

We’ll know more soon, we just need players to give us a chance to try things before jumping up in arms and condemning it. We aren’t crazy, and we know this is risky–but, we want to try.

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How did you gather data that suggests most players want Dynamic Ranked

Lyte Final PortraitWe run random sample surveys across the entire global playerbase regularly, so we tend to get a nice representative response from all demographics–the hardcore, the average, the player that never visits forums, the player that visits Reddit 8x a day, etc.

 

The truth is, in every survey we’ve done, the majority of players were interested in Dynamic Queue. That doesn’t mean we just use that data point and force Dynamic Queue on everyone because we also saw that a non-trivial number of players were solo purists, and loved the idea of “true” Solo Queue and their experiences may get slightly worse because of Dynamic Queue. So, we assessed all the potential negatives that Dynamic Queue had, and implemented upgrades or new features that tried to address them. Did we succeed in making it overall a great experience for the vast majority of players? We don’t know yet. We need to try, collect data, learn, and iterate.

That’s how design is.

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I think the queue change will contribute to the communitys declining skill level

Lyte Final PortraitI don’t believe skill level required to be a top tier player has diminished over time. In fact, it’s increased over time.

1) When you look at Ranked data, most players are only proficient at 2 positions. 2.2, to be specific. There wasn’t really a time period in League history where players were proficient at all 5 positions. In the new Champ Select, you still have to master at least 2 positions to rank up effectively.

2) As the game has matured, the skill level required to compete has only steadily increased. There are more websites, guides, blogs, deep analysis on game mechanics than ever before which is improving education of players on game mastery. There is more infrastructure in eSports (for highschool, colleges, and pro) than ever before, and it’s greatly improving the ‘average’ skill level of top players. 4-5 years ago, there was no true understanding of ‘optimal’ ways to play the game, and you didn’t have to understand little nuances to be in the Top 500 players in the world. Today, by about Level 15, players already are beginning to get a feel for the meta, what champions are effective at what positions, etc. A top player today would absolutely crush a top player from a few years ago.

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What the majority of players want may not be whats good for the community

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s getting late–I need to get some rest so will skip some of your bigger discussions for now. At the risk of sounding offensive (which is NOT my intention with this reply), couldn’t we use the same arguments against solo purists? What if Dynamic Queue is something solo purists say they don’t want, but actually is better for them in the long run too?

 

My point is, I agree that players sometimes say one thing, but mean another. Or, sometimes players really don’t know what they actually want. But, I’d be wary assuming “the other population” is the one that doesn’t know what they want, and your population knows exactly what you want and that you must be right. It’s a game designer’s job to try to figure out the reality behind the fog, and try to understand what is actually the best experience–but I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong. This might be one of those times, it might not be. But, we’re willing to give it a go and pivot as necessary–even if it’s mid-season.

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Marksman Update in the 2016 Season

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Ezreal Final PortraitChampion Update team here! While you’ve probably already seen the big changes due for marksmen (if you haven’t, check it all out here http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/site/2016-season-update/preseason.html ), we wanted to set aside a moment for a deeper dive. The new marksmen update comes hot on the heels of the juggernauts update (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/page/gameplay-update-juggernauts ) and, with so much changing so fast, we think it’s a good idea to pause for a more philosophical reflection.

But first, a quick look back.

When we set out to tackle the juggernauts, we were working with a whole lot of unknowns. This was a set of champions that didn’t have much in the way of strategic identity. By really highlighting their strengths, we gave them clear ways to succeed (and fail) in an unfamiliar environment. Making something from nothing is a really interesting space to work in and we think we’ve achieved our philosophical goal with many of them. The tricky bit, however, was calibrating the juggernaut’s appropriate weaknesses against their raw power.

With marksmen, we have a few advantages. First, because the class as a whole already has a clear function and they’re played in pretty much every game of League, we have a much stronger understanding of their capabilities and expectations. Additionally, because the core weakness of every marksman is “blow ‘em up,” they have some pretty clear checks in place when it comes to solo-carrying games.

Looking forward, our vision remains consistent: We want to give each updated champion a unique reason to be brought to a game, and we want each champion to feel different whether playing against, as, or with. For some, this means sharpening what they already do well, or should do well. For others, it means finding new elements that make them feel special. We want you to have a reason to pick Graves over Lucian, and vice-versa, outside of just dealing more damage.

Our additional goal is to ensure basic attacks between marksmen are as differentiated as possible. This is a new goal that’s very important for this group in particular, given how reliant they are on basic attacks.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the changes. We’ll be throwing out a high-level overview of the updates before we go a little deeper on the philosophy behind them, in case you haven’t checked out the site.

 

Graves Final Portrait

“This calls for the ol’ double-barreled ‘Hello.’”

Graves’ double-barreled shotgun is one of the most distinctive weapons in the marksman arsenal. However, this weapon was underutilized as a kind of mid-range, burst, poke, cone spell. So we doubled-down on the classic shotgun fantasy. Now Graves’ basic attacks fire four rounds (eight on a crit!) in a cone in front of him, dealing damage and knocking back minions. Graves has tradeoffs for this unique mechanic, as he has to reload after firing two rounds (but can quickly reload via Quickdraw), and his basic attacks can be body-blocked.

Because we basically pushed Graves’ Q onto his basic attack, we decided to give him a new Q in the form of End of the Line, where he fires out an explosive canister, leaving behind a trail of gunpowder. That canister then explodes after a few seconds (or immediately on colliding with a wall) and detonates the gunpowder for additional damage.

With the defensive buff from Quickdraw and his incredibly high threat on close-range targets, Graves is the kind of marksman you want to bring when enemies have a lot of backline access (see: diving assassins). The tradeoff here is that Graves loses out on a lot of long-range target selection that other marksmen have, since his basic attacks can’t go over enemies.

The changes focuses on pushing Graves’ identity as a close-range, brawling marksman, and we’re excited to see how he does once he gets into the fight.

 

Quinn Final Portrait

“Justice takes wing.”

Despite its innate coolness factor, Quinn’s old ultimate still had problems. It forced her into overwhelming danger, often leading to trades at the cost of her life (not a great deal!). We are re-imagining her ultimate to play up its tag-team, high-speed nature: Valor now swoops down to carry Quinn, giving her massive out-of-combat mobility. This sharpens Quinn’s identity as a rapid-response marksman. Quinn can aid skirmishes in the jungle, swap lanes to help ganks, respond to split-pushes (or split-push herself), and make it back in time to help with a team fight. Need eyes on Baron? Send Quinn to scout it out!

 

Corki Final Portrait

“Bombs away!”

Corki, the Daring Bombardier, hasn’t been very true to his title. Optimal play for Corki was to play it safe and poke from a distance; he lacked the tools to make big plays. We decided to fix this in an… explosive way. With the addition of Special Delivery – a single-time upgrade to Valkyrie that amps up the damage, range, and disruption of the ability – Corki needs to focus on what sort of decisive action he’ll take to capitalize on the skill. It won’t be easy, but the reward is huge.

Finally, to further push Corki’s identity as the magic damage marksman, his auto-attacks now deal split magic/physical damage and his gatling gun shreds both resists. This allows teams to build around Corki being the primary magic damage dealer, something rather unique in the strategic space of marksmen.

 

Miss Fortune Final Portrait

“Fortune doesn’t favor fools.”

Miss Fortune has been synonymous with the famed WOMBO COMBO since she first strutted onto the Rift, though much less so after frequent nerfs to Bullet Time. We wanted the WOMBO back, so we increased her ult’s duration by 50% and increased the number of bullet waves as the game progresses by… a lot.

As for her new passive, we drew a lot of inspiration from Double Up. In lane, Miss Fortune draws tons of strength from her Q, especially in a 2v2 scenario where she can put a lot of pressure on both targets if they don’t position properly. These changes are our way of doubling… down on that thematic, with more rewards for precise target juggling and positioning (the precision is important as well, as there are champions like Varus or Twitch who excel at dumping out a lot of group AoE damage).

 

Caitlyn Final Portrait

“Meet the long gun of the law.”

For Caitlyn, we had to ask ourselves, “How much further can we push the sharpshooter fantasy?” The answer: Like, a lot further. By giving Caitlyn massive range on any enemy she can net or trap, we’re emphasizing her sharpshooting strengths. Giving Yordle Snap Trap an ammo system amplifies Cait’s natural ability to create choke points, while also improving her ability to dominate territory around objectives. The choice between spreading traps for surprise ambushes and setting up lines of defense gives you different ways to capitalize on Cait’s role as League’s #1 sniper elite.

 

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“Feeding time!”

Everyone’s favorite Void puppy just got even more adorabler. Kog’Maw already has a familiar identity in his “Protect the Kog” team comp, but we felt we could amplify it while also separating him from other tank busters. Now, Kog’s Bio-Arcane Barrage doubles his attack speed and attack speed cap, up to five attacks per second (!!!). This makes him the quintessential attack speed “proc” champion, a low-mobility machine-gun of death. It does wonders for creating a unique itemization path and, of course, it makes him look way cooler.

As a quick note for Living Artillery: Changing the damage from raw poke to execution allows Kog to differentiate himself from other long-range pokers. Kog by himself might not make for the perfect poke composition, but if you combine him with enough additional pressure, he can pick off fleeing enemies while also becoming a central damage turret for his team.


So those are our rough thoughts on the update. We’d love to hear yours as you test the changes in action (soon), but these, in tandem with the marksmen itemization update, should bring some interesting changes to the class as a whole.

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Whyd you gut Miss Fortunes dueling potential in her Preseason rework

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Ezreal Final PortraitI can understand that feeling, whenever we refocus a champion’s design we will have to take power away from one area in order to place it into another. In MF’s case, we certainly took down her dueling potential a notch. Though in doing so, we’ve given her a much more solidified role in the aoe carry. She has even more incentives to pass damage around to multiple targets.

Ps. You are a badass for running jungle MF, how the heck did you do it?

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Is her new Love Taps passive a gimmicky bonus or a necessity on her kit

Ezreal Final PortraitOne of the problems with ADCs was that they all had the exact same play pattern. Part of our update is focusing on changing it up a bit. For example, Graves reallllly wants to get in close, Kog’Maw needs to plan ahead of time for his damage window, etc. For MF, she can still certainly get off a ton of damage on a single target, it just isn’t as free as before. Her bonus attack speed is actually far larger than before, just for a far shorter window of time. So now she chooses between short duels and long form target swapping.

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Whyd you make the more minor ADC changes for example to Ashes Q

Ezreal Final PortraitUnsure as to which Q change you are talking about, though I’ll chat about the main two. We made it only castable at 5 stacks since the ability was didn’t propose a good choice. Either you cast it well at 5 stacks and got a fantastic benefit, or you cast it below 5 and went home sad. For the cooldown removal, we really wanted to let players push the limits of the spell. If they were able to keep it up all the time, then they deserved to be rewarded!

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Are there any plans to update Ezreals W

Ezreal Final PortraitThere are no current plans to update Ezreal’s W. I do have to admit, I would love to see us update that ability with something far more interesting, but that is a change for the future.

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DEV BLOG Vision in the 2016 Season

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Pwyff Final Portrait Posting for Xypherous!

We’ve generally been happy with some of the new vision mechanics in the game with the advent of Season 5. However, as the vision system has grown organically over time, the map has become increasingly brighter and brighter since Season 4.

Additionally, the amount of unused trinkets and profusion of various vision types made it hard to consider expansions onto an already bloated system so this Season will mostly focus around concentrating the vision game to fewer discrete points.

Sight_Ward

First off, we’ve removed Green Wards. This is a pretty big sledgehammer to vision overall and the map is significantly darker because of it. We heard a lot of feedback on this and I wanted to give more context:

When vision is in a “consumable” state, it does a few things to the game that we want to change. First, because map knowledge is so powerful, the ideal state of vision for two teams is basically “as much as you can.” That means that teams will be perpetually funneling their excess gold (or in the case of supports and some junglers, their core gold income) into as much vision upkeep as possible. The compelling decision of when to ward and where to ward gets flattened.

For supports, engaging so heavily with the vision system means they’ll often need to give up late-game purchases and slot efficiency to ensure the map is well lit. For others, it becomes a gold dump to push an advantage. By taking all ‘safe’ vision (invisible wards) out of the gold stream and placing them on meaningfully gated cooldowns, teams will have to think a lot more about where they want to set up on the map, rather than it being a given luxury for who can do it.

In addition to the removal of Green Wards, we’re also doing the following changes:

vision ward

Pink Wards will still remain buyable and represent an investment into permanent vision control over an area. They’re also slightly cheaper and fall into Sight Ward’s original cost range.

  • Trinkets

The Trinket System has been streamlined down to 2 basic options, plus 2 “alterations” that become available at Level 9. Trinkets also now continuously improve with level rather than at discrete levels in the game.

Warding_Totem_item

Warding Totem will now behave like the upgraded Warding Totem on live which slowly charges up to store additional wards. The duration and charges have been tweaked to increase continuously with character level.

We like the flexibility and general gameplay of the upgraded trinket as it allows you to maintain vision over a small area for a long time or tactically cover a wide area by yourself if you’ve built up charges over time – giving it a much wider range of potential uses.

Sweeping_Lens_item

Sweeping Lens has taken a hit in power now that there aren’t potentially green wards everywhere.

To compensate, red gains the ability to warn against things that you can’t see in the area letting you know the shape or silhouette of things in fog of war without revealing them directly. This includes things like jungler monsters (check if that camp is up!) and Pink Wards, in addition to providing the silhouette of stealthed threats like champions in brush, fog of war or stealth.

Sweeping Lens’ core functionality becomes alerting you as to whether or not anything in the swept area can detect you and allowing you to disable them.

  • “Alterations”

Instead of upgrades, which are strictly better than the original trinket that you have, we’ve instead chosen to move in the direction of side-grading and altering existing functionality of trinkets.

These swap the functionality of your existing trinket by improving the power of some aspects and decreasing the power in other aspects.

Farsight_Orb_item

Yellow Trinket’s alteration – the Farsight Totem is unlocked at level 9 and functions similarly to the Farsight Orb on live with some improvements. You gain vastly increased range and a shorter cooldown… at the expense of having visible wards and losing the ability to build charges.

In a departure from live, these “blue” wards now last forever and don’t count towards your ward count. Since these wards are easily destructible by opponents, we don’t foresee this as contributing significantly to the overall vision of the map unless a team decides to use multiple blue trinkets in parallel to light up disparate regions of the map over time.

So you can light up the map as long as you do it as part of an ongoing campaign to hold territory for extended periods of time.

Oracle's_Lens_item

The Sweeping Lens’ alteration – the Oracle Lens (also unlocked at 9) – is more tame in comparison and very similar to the Oracle upgrade on live. In lieu of gaining true sight, the red trinket simply has a much wider sweep range and follows you around for 10 seconds.

However, combined with the fact that red trinket can warn you against enemy units that you can’t see – this means it will also provide a proximity check so you don’t walk headlong into an enemy ward or brush.

  • Closing

Vision remains an important key strategic strength in League of Legends. The current vision system has a ton of small moving parts, as well as a few mechanics that just make the system kind of obtuse to interact with.

We want to streamline the existing vision items to a smaller core set of vision items while also allowing that core to branch out in interesting directions and overlapping functions. Overall, the power in vision should be more condensed in the options that remain.

We’re taking advantage of the overall reduction in small vision buys to offer more interesting total item build options in the form of the Sightstone upgrades or the Jungle enchantments. Our goal was not to make the overall vision experience more complicated, but allow vision options to form the basis for more interesting total builds. From the support who forgoes his actives in favor of a powerful AP build, to the support who doubles down on active items, to the Jungler who forgoes combat in favor of map wide vision and utility.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Isnt the removal of Oracles Lens another indirect buff to stealth champions

Xypherous Final PortraitKind of? Other systematic changes such as Marksmen getting better kite / soak options / the removal of Brutalizer / the removal of Trailblazer and the like would probably be indirect nerfs to those characters.

The only stealth champions that haven’t been indirect nerf/buffed in a lot of ways is Akali / Evelyn / Twitch at this point. Eve has never been affected by the true sight from Oracles as her stealth shuts itself off and Akali’s stealth is rather situational.

Twitch, I agree might be a problem – but I’m not sure he was ever at a range to be detected by Oracles when he was murdering you in Stealth. Still – he’s probably the biggest beneficiary of the changes.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Vaynes impossible to fight without an Oracles Lens

Xypherous Final PortraitTrue – but so much of her itemization has changed that it’s hard to tell whether she’s better or worse from a total power perspective.

BoRK is noticeably worse early now, for example – so her assassination playstyle kind of takes a hit.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

What about Shaco Rengar KhaZix and Vayne

Xypherous Final PortraitLoss of an early brutalizer and trailblazer hurts Rengar and Kha’zix pretty substantially I find. Similarly, Vayne and BoRK is no longer as powerful as an early power spike.

Shaco, on the other hand, builds whatever he wants – but Shaco is also likely affected by the loss of the early Brut as well.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Do the Trinket changes mean people dont have to be reminded to upgrade them

Xypherous Final PortraitIt scales on a per level basis – so not for most roles. The goal is that people should only feel compelled to exchange their trinket when they want fundamentally different functionality – rather than just a more powerful version of their existing one.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

If upgrades are supposed to be sidegrades why are they still levelgated

Xypherous Final PortraitExcellent question. They’re level-gated because they’re meant to serve mid-game or late-game vision functions that would be overpowered in early game.

Because players don’t move around a lot in lane – things that can affect others at a long range or a wider area are significantly more powerful – hence the level-gate.

If you want to be really specific – the best trigger would probably be something like ‘Buyable after laning phase’ – unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell when it ends that organically in an understandable way – hence the level restriction.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why cant we have some way of recharging Sightstone outside the base

Xypherous Final PortraitThere’s are a couple of reasons why you want players returning to base on a regular cadence – doubly so for a class that doesn’t have much other reason to return as their item upgrades are relatively less important.

More practically, this favors the team that is pushed in rather than the team that is pushing in most respects – as the winning team is the one best suited to ‘waiting out in the field.’ We’d never really be able to put a recharge timer on it that seemed useful without causing some really weird side effects in this case.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why was ward duration decreased from 180 seconds to 150

Xypherous Final PortraitThe goal was to make the map overall darker and chip as much unnecessary vision power away as possible – hence the reduction. It also helps separate the two use cases out for vision a bit better – shorter term stealth vision vs. longer term control over an area.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

So Sightstone was nerfed even further and isnt worth a supports item slot

Xypherous Final PortraitThat’d be a perfectly reasonable response if the item isn’t worth the slot. If that was the right call to make, I’d expect most of our players to do the same and then we’d simply adjust.

Not entirely convinced the item is weaker given that it’s one of the few sources of invisible wards – so the relative strength should be incredibly high – but if that’s actually the case – yeah, you’d be wise to avoid buying the item entirely.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

There needs to be a Sightstoneesque item that works like a Sweeper trinket

Xypherous Final PortraitI could see that – but the conflicting data point for me here is that the reason why Sweeper’s have such a high hit rate on live is that there’s always wards up due to the prevalence of buyable green wards – at least at higher level play.

I’m uncertain as to how much value is lost as we’re moving from a mostly-lit world in which Sweeper has a fairly high hit rate – to a somewhat-dark world where the hit rate will be much lower.

Vision removal in the item system should be somewhat better covered by cheaper pink wards as well. It may still very well be the case that red trinket has no comparable option and thus Sightstones need to exist so that you can have a red trinket in your inventory – but I’m not inclined to say that this is actually a bad state.

Basically, what I’ve found is that more choices in how you spend gold in vision has mostly led to either negative or kind of poor game-play in general. Complex gold decisions around vision hasn’t yielded good returns in either skillful play (as you should sink as much as you can) or have been particularly satisfying without being brutally overpowered.

The approach we’re trying this season focuses more around complex choices in how youuse vision – rather than how you acquire it – by both severe rate limitations – as well as allowing some more complex functionality to exist without a gold investment.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Vision is integral to winning Why are so many players not warding

Xypherous Final PortraitIt’s likely that warding just isn’t viewed as an activity that makes a ton of sense from an abstract perspective. Put down sticks that grant vision? What?

Eventually, we’ll want to revisit the concept of static wards to begin with and see if there’s a better analogy that still plays a part in the vision game. This is super speculative – but imagine if, instead of a pink ward – you placed a tiny speed shrine that also provided vision.

I suspect that eventually, we’ll have to shift the analogy to like ‘mini-buildings’ or ‘mini-structures’ rather than ‘sticks that see’ in the long long run.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why not have tutorials that teach players the importance of vision

Xypherous Final PortraitTutorials and teaching players are definitely worth pursuing – However, with warding and such, it feels very much like a state of like ‘Well, we could teach them how to do Assembly… but.. maybe we should look at what we want them to do and confirm that’s actually a deep and engaging activity first.’

The other portion of this is that I believe Tutorials that teach you how to ward are going to have a major gap in that you cannot learn from your current enemy if the enemy has found some new clever way to use them. Hence – any tutorials are going to have a continual lag time – so whatever you’re teaching should also have some kind of learnable component from observing your enemy and allies in game.

[ Link to Post ]

 

What led to the pink ward trinket option being removed

Xypherous Final PortraitA lot of the trinket options were removed to streamline the system down. There are some interesting expansion opportunities for the trinket space that I want to look into – and so we removed it to condense the space down to the bare minimum to replicate what most of the players on live regularly use.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

DEV BLOG Starting Items in the 2016 Season

Pwyff Final PortraitPosting for Xypherous!

Our original intent with starting items before this season was to give players the ability to reflexively counter their opponents with generalist options running alongside more pronounced counter-items for specific circumstances (Flask, Doran’s Shield).

However, after a couple of seasons of attempting to balance this world, we’ve grown unhappy with how confining this approach is and the general problems that resulted from this approach. We’re decided to take a different tactic and adopt a pattern closer to the support line of items: Starter items that clearly express some kind of goal or intent in lane alongside a more generalist item for each of the positions in the game.

Magic – Doran’s Ring vs. The Dark Seal

Doran’s Ring is a powerful farming generalist item while The Dark Seal signifies an intent to roam and pick up champion kills along the the way.

While this doesn’t support the full spectrum of mages in mid, it does represent two of the largest factions – push mages vs. assassin roamers.

Attack – Cull vs. Doran’s Blade

Cull is an early skirmish option designed to be focused primarily around farming and light aggression.

Doran’s Blade on the other hand, is a generalist option that scales much better into mid-game and is better in skirmish situations.

Jungle – Hunter’s Talisman vs. Hunter’s Machete

Machete has long favored a certain class of attack speed centric characters and this represents a quandary of how to actually support mage or tank style junglers from the get-go.

Machete now doubles down on its auto-attack centric nature while Talisman focuses on area burn and mana regeneration. Talisman is primarily designed for spell focused junglers – especially those that have repeated area of effect attacks on moderate cooldowns (like Brand or Zyra).

Both of these initial items are required to upgrade into the Tier 2 Jungle item, so your choice of initial item will eventually become moot. However, this flexibility of starting options combined with the patience system should open up stronger opening jungle patterns to a wider variety of junglers.

Lane Sustain – Health Potion vs. Refillable Potion

One of the major issues with Crystalline Flask right now is that we are unable to push its power to the point where it feels non-abusive in lane. This is due to the fact that it stacks with potions and thus any power add-on in Crystalline Flask gets doubled down on because you stack potions with it.

Hence, the new inventory rule: you can only ever have one type of potion in your inventory at any time.

Refillable Potions are 3 times more expensive than a potion but benefit from the fact that they will recharge once you return to the fountain. Normal Healing Potions represent more healing up-front for less gold but is obviously temporary in nature.

Refillable Upgrades – Jungle vs. Lane

This, by itself, would probably still be on the weak side. However, Refillable Potions can upgrade into two versions: Hunter’s Potion and Corrupting Potion.

Hunter’s Potion is a roam-centric potion that can regain charges out in the field while you are killing large jungle monsters. It’s designed primarily to support a Jungle playstyle that focuses on maximal uptime or bolstering characters with low innate sustain.

Corrupting Potion is similar to Crystalline Flask on live – with the added benefit of combat power. During its effect, damaging enemy champions will burn them for magic damage over time. Corrupting Potion represents an intent to harass your lane opponent until they give up.

Mana Potions – Removed

Mana Potions have been removed from the game. We’ve generally found that the decision to opt into Mana Potions was one that was either forced upon some champions (aka “I need this mana to function”) or one that was generally only available to a handful of circumstances.

The best use cases of Mana Potions were typically to circumvent Mana restrictions for boom/bust play patterns (ie: save up to X amount of mana before dumping it all in a large burst of damage, repeat) vs. attrition-based approaches that are more in favor of straight mana regeneration. A champion being able to access their big “all-in” combo more frequently also makes it challenging for us to balance appropriately, and we’ve seen some more frustrating champions have their power reduced as a result.

With the removal of mana potions, we can also retune some champion mana values back to a middle ground. We’ve looked at the data for champions that frequently bought 2 or more mana potions in the game and we’ve either increased their maximum mana or the mana regeneration values based on their class.

  • Closing

For the start of the season, we’ve focused on granting at least two options to a particular need in the starting item space to support a wider variety of playstyles and intents from the start of the game.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why are you both buffing earlygame harass and nerfing Dorans Shield

Xypherous Final PortraitBased on usage – the maximum sustain starts were most frequently used by characters that thrived on early harass. Pantheon, Kassadin and the like were the most effective users of maximal sustain starts – and they frequently used that high sustain to capitalize on early bullying pressure.

While I agree with you that there’s a dearth of solo lane tank starts – most of the solo tank starting item patterns that seem to make senseat first glance – we’ve found that when those options are strong – they tend to be better on pretty much anyone but solo tanks – like bot lane support/adc pairs.

You’ve gone and added a ton of new items for every other class

If we’re not talking about starting items – this item pass has mostly focused on AD Marksmen and some light AD work – rather than ‘every other class.’

The other facet of this is that in the Juggernaut update – there have been a ton of items – while their primary users aren’t tanks – have added to the tank pool of items (DMP and Sterak’s.)

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why are you buffing Dorans Blade

Xypherous Final PortraitFree lifesteal in the ferocity tree makes the relative advantage of picking up a Doran’s Blade weaker in the early item selection phase – as it means it now has to compete with some of the older component based starts (Long Sword + 3) at a much large disadvantage.

Long Sword + 3 is especially problematic if it becomes the default option again – as that’s more early in-lane sustain, hence why we try to keep DBlade competitive with it.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Its power creep to buff one item start for ADCs so it competes with another

Xypherous Final PortraitIn order to run this argument – you need to run through this by several means:

  1. The mastery AD tree gives you as much power in terms of raw offense as before / The beneficiaries of Doran’s Blade have more total raw power than before in pre-game.
  2. Similar argument to #1 – but from a relative perspective – AKA – everyone lost more than they gained.
  3. That this power advantage hasn’t been taken into account elsewhere – like their most powerful first item buy.
  4. That other starting item paths haven’t been buffed as well or heavily adjusted.

While I’m not convinced any of these are true or false as there’s a lot of mechanics going on – I know that a lot of the AD efficiency, early potential spike in AD power, the conversion from total pen to bonus pen in the AD system and the decoupling of flat pen from % pen in the mastery system make the AD curve less steep than it previously was.

While I can’t go out to say that ‘No, power creep isn’t happening’ – What I can say is that I can see other factors that work in the opposite direction of power creep – so adjustment based off initial reads is likely the best solution.

You can strongly make the claim ‘I think a Solo tanks early game is weaker than it was’ – which is probably true. I’m less certain about the statement that ‘Solo tanks are weaker’ as a whole – as most of the efficiency passes, especially in terms of MR – are more favorable to them.

All that said, I totally get why you feel the way that you do. It’s not your job to read every change and put them all together and evaluate whether or not it comes out in one way or another.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

If we arent meant to bring the new pots to lategame why do they cost so much

Xypherous Final PortraitYou can claim this about most non-upgradeable starting items.

However, the catch-22 part comes in only if you assume that games cannot be won before slots start to become a problem or that the item’s power curve doesn’t translate well into the mid-game at all.

Sellback values mitigate some of the initial cost for the mid and late game – and the trade-off between a more powerful early start vs. a guaranteed late game is always whether or not you got enough interim value out of the item to make up the deficit in this regard in terms of either uptime or personal performance.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why do the Dark Seal and Mejai lose a flat amount of stacks per death

Xypherous Final PortraitThe most common points of feedback when losing a % of stacks is that it’s never worth it to trade kills and die with the item – since the better you did – the more stacks you lose. Experimenting with a flat amount of stacks so that players can evaluate their plays much better. Did you get 2+ kills? Then it was worth it, even if you died.

The other part of this is that a % loss on death lead to some awkward double-kill or post-death / post-assist death scenarios. While flat suffers from similar problems at the low end – it won’t be as ubiquitous.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

I feel like Mejai got even more snowbally than before

Xypherous Final PortraitThe item is likely more snowbally than before. The idea behind the Dark Seal is that you have a point in the game where you:

  1. Broadcast that you want to do a snowball route (since.. the Dark Seal doesn’t really build into anything else.)
  2. Have a chance to back out if things don’t go your way.

So there’s much less initial risk to the item – and thus the item can be snowbally but will be less feast or famine because a good player can cut his losses early, so to speak.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Are there plans to make a third flask that simply heals faster than the others

Xypherous Final PortraitNot at the moment.

Maximum sustain in lane is something that players would always like more of (as the best way to beat your opponent is to simply have more health at any given time – go go 13 potion starts).

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Was it intentional to make the biscuits effect NOT apply to flasks

Xypherous Final PortraitFor now, yes. Although, I could certainly see us deciding the other way in the future easily based on item usage. Eternal Biscuit of Replenishment?

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

What are the expected starting items for someone who needs sustain

Xypherous Final PortraitIf you need a huge chunk of sustain – the expected stat is that you get Corrupting Potion. The other facet of this is that there are a lot more individual sustain options in other pre-game systems (Lifesteal naturally in ferocity tree, for example) – so there should be enough customization bits out of game to bolster this as well.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Do you think some Champions will become weak due to the Mana pot removal

Xypherous Final PortraitCurrently the stance is that we’d prefer if Mana purchases reflected more permanent decision making. This is why Frostfang’s line of MP/5 has been greatly increased for example.

Mana potions to support off uses is a niche benefit but the niche benefit doesn’t really outweigh tremendous initial costs in tuning. 😡

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

It feels like Cull and The Dark Seal are trap items that make laning too weak

Xypherous Final PortraitAgree that these two items have a higher risk potential than the standard starting items. Dark Seal and Cull don’t necessarily have to be purchased as your first buy – if you want to take a safer route and see how the lane goals.

Doran’s Ring into Dark Seal instead of a second Doran’s Ring after you’ve gauaged the lane can be an effective way at mitigating that risk. Similarly with Doran’s Blade into first back Cull.

The other idea that we’re stressing here is that, in the absence of greedy items – there’s no real way to punish a safe lane that’s doubled down on being as not dead as possible. Cull / Dark Seal both support the notion that – if you try that approach – then I can respond by getting more out of the laning phase than you will via farm or more powerful rewards for roam.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

How do you think the jungle changes will affect AD assassins

Xypherous Final PortraitWe turn over the jungle pool every year pretty consistently – so the ability for an individual jungler to have the same clear speed as before isn’t as important. AD Casters will specifically generally have a harder time of it in this year than previous years.

It’s definitely something we’ll have to keep tuning as we get better data on how players are adapting.

[ Link to Post ]

 


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

Balance Team AMA Part 2 Banner

The balance team made another pass of community questions, which you can find answered below:


[ Note ] Part 1 of the AMA can be found HERE.

BALANCE TEAM AMA Banner

 

 

Balance Team QA 2 Ask Us Anything Again

Scarizard Final PortraitEDIT: AMA’S DONE FOR TODAY! Thanks for coming out and asking questions – If you’re reading this and missed this one (or if we missed yours D:), we’ll be doing two more this month at the same time! We’ll see y’all at 12:30pm pacific, on Friday 10/030!

If you have follow-up questions or want to stalk us on the internet, you can follow almost all of us on ze twitters at (@RiotJag) (@RiotFeralPony) (@RiotTimeWizard) (@G_mang) (@ManWolfAxeBoss) (@SmashGizmo) (@ricklessabandon) and (@RiotScarizard)

Hey folks,

We’re back again for our 2nd AMA this month – another week of worlds has gone by and a new patch is on the horizon, and we still have tons of your questions to get to! Got something to say about balance, your favorite champions, or how free SmashGizmo’s sheik is? We’ve got you covered.

If you want to check out our Q+A last week, here’s a link to that one too! M O R E C O N T E X T

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/miscellaneous/vWEoZ6X0-balance-team-qa-ask-us-anything

On deck, we’ve got:

RiotTimeWizard (thousand-year-dragon in training)

ricklessabandon (all lowercase, all the time)

SmashGizmo (plays 5 colors in EDH like a scumbag)

ManWolfAxeBoss (fire and blood)

RiotGmang (keeps talking so nobody explodes)

RiotJag (has a cool motorcycle)

FeralPony (photoshop artiste)

and yours truly! Got a burning question or top-of-mind curiosity? Fire away and we’ll start answering in an hour! (1:30 PDT)!

If you want some more behind-the-scenes insights on how League’s balance goes, check out these devblogs by RiotJules and King Jag The King, RiotJag himself!

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/riot-official/xORLd02r-data-and-champion-balance-part-1

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/riot-official/cBUqHAm5-data-and-champion-balance-part-2

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Which Champions do players ask you guys to nerf the most

Riot Jag Final PortraitEarlier this year: Akali, Fizz, Kassadin, Leblanc

Lately: Vayne, Fiora, Darius, Morde, GP, Garen, Skarner

Always: Lee Sin, Riven

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

How do you guys deal with the stress involved with the game

Scarizard Final PortraitYou get thick skin doing this kind of work, but it’d be unfair to say that it doesn’t get to you.

I think the key thing to understand is that even the most angry, vile and vitriolic statements come out of passion for the game we all love and work on. Those people telling us we should be fired, and that we don’t know what we’re doing? They just want to have fun playing a balanced game, same as we do. In many ways, these can be viewed as motivators – when people are upset, we have a job to do.

It’s often thankless, but I think the nature of the constant, ever-evolving puzzle of a Live environment is a big draw for some. I’d also say we have a big emphasis on communication and teamwork within our group, and I’ve never felt like I’ve worked somewhere where I was both valued as an individual contributor and as a friend. It’s that ‘band-of-brothers’ (and sisters) feeling that means no matter how deep in the trenches we are, there’s always someone else with you ready to help out and make that next change the best it can be.

In the end, everyone’s got their own ways (many folks play other games in their off-time, many of us keep up with the gym, pursue art or personal projects, rick plays ffxiv, etc) but having a team of homies to back you up makes it all easier.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Current CDR AP items are underwhelming for mid laners Will you add new ones

SmashGizmo Final PortraitI mostly just disagree with this statement. Morellonomnomnomicon and Athene’s are both reasonably powerful in my estimation and we still usually see mages rush one of these two. I do think there’s a small gap here in terms of AP/CDR itemization for non-mana mages, but I also think this is a very niche market that we’re hesitant to provide easy CDR for due to how overbearing a, let’s say, Vlad can be when he can easily rush both AP and CDR in lane.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Have you had balance ideas that sounded good on paper but were broken ingame

SmashGizmo Final PortraitLiterally tons. A lot of our early iterations on Rengar’s Q in the rework come to mind, where we did stuff like using ferocity on Q would give you 3 stacks to make it the sustain damage option on him, but really basically just made him murder you even faster.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why are Azir Ryze and Kassidan so hard to balance

SmashGizmo Final PortraitDifferent reasons on all of these. Kassadin’s the most straightforward, where it’s just about how his mobility profile gives him perfect control over when fights are happening, so the second he crosses a certain power threshold, he just consistently runs away with games. Ryze is currently mostly about the mechanical needs of the character and just how much power a player gains from properly executing his passive combos, which means that he looks very weak for our average player, but is secretly one of the highest winrate characters for experienced players. I could probably write a book on why Azir is a balance nightmare at this point, but in the interest of being able to respond to more posts today, I’ll just say that it’s very difficult to balance a hypercarry who has reliable means of ensuring their own safety and that Azir pushes the limits of both being a hypercarry and reliably ensuring his own safety.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

How closely does the balance team work with the design and reworking teams

SmashGizmo Final PortraitVery closely. We try our best to give them good counsel on how to balance their characters pre-release and they try to give us advice on how to balance their characters while retaining their intended identities.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Any chance of Ranked ever getting more bans

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThere’s a chance, but I think we’re really hesitant about taking this route, as it does really limit players ability to pick the character they want to play in any given game. I know there are some folks looking at pick/ban structure and I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next few years the pick/ban system changed significantly, but it’s not something we’re directly looking at in the short term.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

People like to bring up crit removal is it a thing that might happen

SmashGizmo Final PortraitNot in the short term. There will be some crit shifting around in the pre-season, but we’re not going to do anything so drastic as fully removing it in the near future. I think long term, trying to shift random crits to conditional crits (like, say, every 3rd attack crits, or all your attacks from brushes crit, etc), might have some promise, but we’ve never really gotten a good enough model of this working to ship.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Are there plans to tone down Tahm Kench without taking him out of the meta

Tahm Kench Single banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTahm Kench has definitely got some strength packed in that big ‘ol belly. If we do try to tone him down, we definitely won’t be trying to push him out of the meta or out of viability. After all, he’s only started picking up steam over the last couple of patches, so we wanna give him some more soak time before we just bop him!

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Will Janna be receiving buffs in the future

Janna Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitJanna is still in a pretty good place right now. Her disengage ultimate is one of the most reliable ways to counteract the menace of run-at-you tanky guys. She doesn’t seem to be in need of any boosts at the moment, but we won’t forget about her. We’ll need to re-evaluate a lot of champs when pre-season hits. 🙂

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

How do you feel about Kindreds current state

Kindred Small Banner 2

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitKindred is experiencing what almost every new champion does. Extremely high ban rate in games, and players are still picking them up and figuring them out. They’ve proven to be powerful (not ABSURDLY so, mind you) in the hands of players with many Kindred games under their belt. We tend to follow-up within a couple patches on new champions, and we will likely do something to adjust Kindred’s power. Again though, pre-season will be throwing everyone for a loop!

[ Link to Post ]

 

ManWolf New PortraitThey’re still pretty new to the Rift and have a fairly steep learning curve, so a slightly lower than average win rate right now is appropriate.

I personally feel that they’ll be strong once people figure out all their tricks. Just give it some time.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

How will the Marksman update impact Supports

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitRegarding the ADC rework: since it won’t be much longer, I think I’ll have to go with a “wait and see” here. We don’t expect that supports are going to be adversely affected by the Marskman changes, though.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Are there plans to updated boring outdated Champion passives

Riot Gmang Final PortraitGood question, and I agree that there are plenty of passives that leave something to be desired.

Regarding your examples:

Some of the champs you mentioned have also been singled out internally and gotten some experimentation (like Heimer, Shyv, and Syndra), though I can’t speak to how they are prioritized among other projects in terms of urgency and which ones are planning to move forward (within our team specifically, the only one that springs to mind is Syndra, though no promises on exact ship date atm hah).

Regarding passive quantity:

This is a controversial topic, but I wanna just share a bit of context here. It’s important to keep in mind that we don’t design passives in a vacuum and then decide how many each champion gets. Passives are designed to serve the needs of a particular champion.

Say I’m a champion designer making a new kit, and I start with a particular gameplay loop that fits nicely on Q W and E slots. The kit is somewhat functional and unique, but there are still things to figure out (let’s say the W and E have some usability issues, certain lane matchups are very one-sided, my abilities late-game are confusing team mates, my spell rotation feels too unreliable, wave clearing is too easy, and my build paths don’t scale right). What I do with the Passive and R slots–indeed, what I do with all slots–are going to be about problems like these or addressing other higher levels goals (like delivering the fantasy better or more unique or something).

The answer to those problems might involve any number of changes, possibly demanding 0, 1, or 2+ passives. If I do add 2+ passives, it’s not because I just want the champ to be cooler or have more stuff than others. And it is going to come at the cost of power budget and complexity budget, not just added on top of an otherwise finished, balanced champion. A solution might even involve removing/nerfing passives so that we have more complexity and power budget to put on actives!

In the end, individual slots are not supposed to be balanced between each other, nor are “my champ passive(s)” vs “your champ passive(s).” Entire kits are supposed to be balanced between each other. “2 passives > 1 passive” doesn’t always follow. It’s very possible to design a kit with high agency, complexity, and fun with just actives, and it’s also very possible to design a super lame kit that has several passives! And it’s those kinds of properties (agency, fun, complexity, clarity, etc.) that we care most about: if a champion’s multiple passives leaves them with too much control over the game, or too much complexity, or something like that, that is a big concern for us (and we definitely aren’t perfect about these things!). But the actual quantity is usually not inherently good or bad.

Regarding passive quality:

Lemme give a different example: say we have a high-complexity champion who has everything BUT the passive slot locked down (you might have even had an awesome passive during development but it ended up being extraneous as other slots developed further). As in, “if our game hadn’t already set the precedent, I might actually give this champ 0 passives.” This can be a tricky spot: players expect each of their slots to feel fun and distinct, including the passive slot, but you don’t want to disrupt the balance and fun of your existing pattern/slots.

A lot of these passives end up being lower-budget passives: we could have made Jayce get multiple intricate passives, but he’s already so complicated and multi-faceted that it would probably detract from the kit to do so. Sometimes you make the call, “this champ is about these cool actives, and we should avoid detracting from that here.”

This isn’t to say that “lame passives” are a good thing, but sometimes the cost-benefit of trying to discover a perfect passive is outweighed by the value of delivering the champion to players with a not-stellar passive. The opposite is also true: sometimes we have a champion that’s bloated in complexity/abilities by the time we’re reading to ship, but we’re willing to make the trade-off for the sake of delivering what we feel is a good product to players.

All that said, improving lame slots is definitely on our radar; I just wanted to give context. I hope that provides a little clarity for why passives compare/contrast in the way they do!

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Did you plan on doing balancing when training to work in the industry

SmashGizmo Final Portrait100% yes for me. I came from a background of clinging onto competitive games for the long haul (been playing MtG for almost 20 years now, Smash Melee for 10, League for 6), so balancing and preserving the fairness of a game was always something super important and interesting to me.

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Whats an average day like for you guys

SmashGizmo Final PortraitWe work in 2 week sprints on each patch. Once during each sprint we plan out our work on what we want to ship in the upcoming patch, which is a combination of the things we see as off as players and the outliers in terms of metrics like pick rate/ban rate/win rate. Once we take on projects, we rapidly iterate and test changes until we get to changelists we’re happy with. We’re also constantly re-evaluating our work so that if something super broken emerges we can hop on it ASAP (for instance, runeglaive Ezreal).

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How do you feel about the current meta

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThis question is waaaaaaay too big to adequately answer. I guess the tl;dr for me is that I’m happy we’ve hit the sort of diversity numbers in Professional play that we’re seeing in Worlds this year, but that I still feel like some things are really off in terms of feeling like a fair and enjoyable experience for most players. I won’t dive too deep into this, but basically, Professional diversity is great and certainly one valid measure of how the game’s balance is doing, but I don’t think it captures the full picture by any stretch of the imagination.

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What are balance teams looking for on an applicants portfolio

SmashGizmo Final PortraitMake yourself visible as an expert on the game you’re trying to work on. This is pretty broad, but encompasses both getting to a relatively high rank and demonstrating your knowledge on the state of the game. Stuff like blogging, writing articles, and streaming can all be good means of getting exposure and demonstrating that you get the game on a very deep level. Also, perpetually seek the feedback of people who are already working on balance, as they can give great feedback about how you might be limiting your thoughts.

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Any plans to make upgrading the warding trinkets less awkward

Scarizard Final PortraitI’d be looking for something along these lines with the upcoming preseason. I agree that it’s a major frustration to have people put off trinket upgrades for so long, and the entire trinket system has been a hot topic for the Systems team for 2016.

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Is there a particular direction you want to push Elise in eg mage or tank

Ricklessabandon New Portraithi, hi~

a lot of what you’ve been picking up on has been intentional—elise should have a path open to her that allows for gold to be spent on increasing her kill potential, and for less of that threat to be available ‘for free’ in the form of base stats/damages. since elise is a six-ability form swapper it’s more important for her overall fairness to ask elise players to use their early-game power spike to earn a gold advantage and then invest it wisely in order to keep that strength going later into the game. i personally think it helps her feel more like a mage/assassin pairing (which seems more aligned with who she wants to be), whereas the elise of old felt more like a support/tank pairing.

if i had to guess as to what areas we’d look at next, it would be ones that would let us stay on course with the last few changes—base damage past level 7 should be monitored closely, and scaling with gold should feel appropriately rewarding (and tied to success). if we ever needed to go harder on her, i’d imagine it would be thinking of cool ways to replace her w spells that would give us more ‘balance levers’ while keeping her feeling great to play.

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Will you make Mordekaiser less reliant on duo laning to be viable

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FeralPony Final PortraitPower-wise we feel Mordekaiser’s too strong currently in the duo lane and too weak in the solo lane case. We’re generally okay if duo is his main role, but the disparity between those roles is currently too high. His solo lane is too weak and his duo lane is too strong.

Mordekaiser W is totally worth revisiting in regards to the solo vs duo cast, it can feel pretty lackluster and is a good spot to target to help bridge the gap between the Solo lane/ Duo Lane case. Not sure on specific changes we’d make, but we’ll be looking into Morde specifically more after the first big preseason patch (PBE Soon(tm)!)

I’m unsure specifically on % of shield conversion values. He’s pretty damn durable atm, and I feel the minimum shield threshhold helped him a lot more in lane than is getting generally credited, but adjusting the W sustain could grant us the option of increasing his shield growth since that skill in particular is currently double dipping in generating shield and restoring health.

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Are you considering any changes to Lissandra

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ManWolf New PortraitWe very recently put in the change to her ult where she heals on self cast. Spell costs were something we looked at, but didn’t feel like she really needed anything there. The passive definitely has the biggest room for improvement. I messed around with some changes where she would spawn black ice around her and gain bonuses if she cast on top of them, but ultimately didn’t have time for that patch. Definitely something I’d like to continue work on later though.

That being said, we’ve seen her in a few games at worlds so far and think she’s in a decent place in terms of power.

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Any plans for Katarina

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Ricklessabandon New Portraithello!

so, we’ll probably need to take a look at her sometime after the new season starts up (if nothing else, just as part of a follow-up pass on the different roles) but we don’t have any kat-specific changes already in mind. part of the issue with katarina is that, at present, she is intended to be more about ‘chasing a high moment’ and as such will rarely feel as fair as a lot of the roster (the players playing as, with, or against are kind of playing a zero-sum game over happiness/fairness).

we came around to that intention pretty explicitly around the time i put some very experimental changes out on the pbe, which i believe was about a year ago. essentially, we took a stab at what a more ‘healthy and sustainable’ katarina would look like. what came of that is that while we might have ended up with a katarina that more people could have been more happy with if she was commonly in their games, league of legends as a whole would have lost a type of character/playstyle that was one of the more unique offerings in the game. we likened it to the experience that draven provides—to make the ‘draven experience’ feel as fair as someone like lucian would almost certainly make our adc pool feel less diverse/rich, if not the game as a whole.

that’s kind of the long and short of it. for the time being, katarina represents a play experience larger than herself. if we ever reevaluate and decide that that experience doesn’t align with katarina, then we’ll certainly give her the time needed to give her the appropriate changes. outside of that though, she’ll likely remain in the ‘chasing a high moment’ camp. that said, i think more than a couple assassins could use some love right now, so she might be suffering from compounding issues—we’ll be sure to look into that once the next season gets rolling.

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Thoughts on Nami

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Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitShe definitely wasn’t weak prior to her buffs, but she does get harder and harder to succeed with as the game goes on. While people start to move faster with boots and items, her Bubble becomes trickier and trickier to hit. Would definitely be interested in doing even more cool things for her 🙂

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If Nasus were made today what would he be like

ManWolf New PortraitIf he were made today, I assume he’d be classified as a juggernaut and not have an infinite scaling mechanic. If he does ever get reworked, the late game raid boss fantasy is a must and I’d be sad if stacks got removed, but could live with that I suppose.

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How about locking Flash for everyone and adding a third Summoner spell slot

ManWolf New PortraitCurrently, we have no plans to implement a third summoner spell slot, nor do we have plans to lock Flash in for everyone.

We are looking into ways to diversify Summoner Spell choices, and that includes considering how Flash relates to other Summoner Spell.

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Will you guys revisit options for Syndra after Preseason

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Ricklessabandon New Portraitthat is the current plan, i believe. we had some work in progress we really wanted to wrap up before starting on our preseason work, but we ran out of time. nothing is set in stone though, so that work is just ‘on hold’ until we have an opportunity to pick it back up which could technically be a while (or forever), but with luck it’s just around the corner.

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Do you guys feel you know what’s healthy for the game before you release it

FeralPony Final PortraitNot an easy question to answer. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Generally, we go with the approach that we can be wrong but we tend to have a higher than average hit rate, and we can iterate and update when we make mistakes and get additional eyes and player feedback.

Scuttlecrab was an example of a design that got a ton of initial pushback both internally and externally and we got a lot of pressure to remove but was probably the best single addition we made in the previous preseason. It offered a lot of additional jungle routes, caused tons of tension and skirmishes – something the early game desperately needed, provided additional control and objective control gameplay, and was freaking cute as hell.

On the flip side we aired way too high on the power level of Juggernauts in combination of PBE feedback and with the our expectation that the additional playstyle changes would take a lot longer for players to pick up and adapt to.

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You shouldnt have to use bans for Champions with high winrate

FeralPony Final PortraitI pretty strongly disagree with this statement. The banning phase is exactly used for champions people feel are stronger than average. No champion currently has anything resembling a 64% winrate.

The top 10 bans currently in the game are Darius, Garen, Yasuo, Fiora, Kindred, Mordekaiser, Zed, Riven, Katarina, and Blitzcrank who have ~50%,52%,51%,51%,47%,50%,48%,51%,49%,52% win rates respectively. These numbers are not the end-all-be all statistic or the only thing we care about but the reality of the data is crazy far off from 64% you mention. These will of course fluctuate a little based off ELO, role/lane, and experience rate etc, but not substantially.

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Will Teemo be a part of your Marksman update

Teemo Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTeemo isn’t currently a part of any marksman updates, so I think someone was trolling you. There’s discussion about doing some changes of VARYING scopes on the others that you’ve mentioned. Distinguishing play patterns is part of the aim for updating marksmen, so there’s definitely some work being done to enhance that. You’ll have to wait for more exact details, but not very long!

 

Yes, we have tempered our approach to the marksman update with our learnings from the juggernauts. As you say, pre-season will definitely shake things up, but that doesn’t mean we want to repeat any of the frustrations that we introduced with the juggernauts. We’re still being ambitious and creative while trying not to aim for raw power as a means of attaining viability. The marksman update in conjunction with all of the pre-season changes will likely cause a significant shift in a way that we’re working hard to make fun and refreshing.

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How often do you request a rework when balancing is too hard to do

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitHmm. Lucian is a good example for me. That dude was just in every pro game for the better part of a year, so we actually sat down and did a mini-rework of him (Attack Range, E changes being pretty major here). There’s definitely some kits that you’ve seen us struggle with balancing in the past year or so that may be solved with some small tweaks, or may need some broader updates (Ryze, Azir, Kalista being decent examples).

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Do you playtest minor stat changes or do you just rely on spreadsheets

Riot Jag Final PortraitFor something like that we rely more on past experience, since we’ve seen what kind of power change a nerf like that has had on ADCs before (for example, Twitch got -3 AD last year and we could use that as a reference point for the Vayne nerf).

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Do you recall making small changes that ended up breaking Champions

Riot Jag Final PortraitI definitely didn’t see mid Ezreal coming when I was doing Runeglaive. 😛

I did the Nautilus changes at the beginning of this year, and I knew that he would feel more versatile as a champion, but I didn’t anticipate him being so powerful in the support role.

Most of these surprises were pretty cool though.

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Do youve any plans for Aatrox

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitA-atrox is a pretty cool guy. We were actually just talking about him this morning. We don’t have any specific plans, though he will definitely be affected along with everyone else with the pre-season. What sort of things do you like about him? Also, have you considered his synergy with Kindred?? ;0

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

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Does Kindreds delay mean the next champion will also be delayed

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Meddler Final PortraitI don’t believe Kindred being delayed will affect the timing on the next champion, that’ll be determined by when that champion’s ready and what other stuff’s ready for release around the same time.

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What was the bug that made you delay Kindreds release

Meddler Final PortraitAn issue where it was possible for Wolf to despawn after E casts until you died and respawned.

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Whats the visual difference between Victorious Sivir and Warden Sivir

Victorious Sivir Minibanner

KateyKhaos Final PortraitWhen creating the skin, we went in creating Victorious Sivir knowing that Warden Sivir was already part of Sivir’s skin catalog. That said, we did take precautions to ensure the Victorious skin wasn’t a replica of the Warden skin.

Unfortunately, I can’t share too many details about what Victorious Sivir looks like, but she’ll be making her way to PBE before she hits live, and I’d be happy to hear your feedback then!

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Why does EU get to watch Worlds in the afternoon but for NA its at 57am

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Meddler Final PortraitWorlds is in Europe, so Worlds takes place at times that are appropriate for the people and venues in Europe. Same approach as when Worlds was previously hosted in Korea and North America.

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Why do Worlds broadcasts start earlier and earlier each week

Meddler Final PortraitNot 100% certain sorry, I’m not involved myself in any of the Esports organizational work. I’d imagine it is to leave sufficient time for tiebreakers at least in part though, unlikely though it be when there’s the possibility you need to fit a few extra games into the day you need to account for that.

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Will Shyvana receive a Juggernaut type rework

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Meddler Final PortraitWe were previously looking to do work on both Shyvana and Olaf in the preseason. We came to the conclusion both were in fairly reasonable spots though and that we’d be better off putting that time into other champions instead, at least for now.

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What are your thoughts on Veigar in professional play

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Meddler Final PortraitDoesn’t seem excessively strong in pro play, is looking like he might be too strong in regular play though. Suspect we’ll have to nerf him at some point soonish as a result if that trend continues, though we don’t have plans lined up just yet at least.

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Can you give us any details on Shacos rework

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have a Shaco rework in progress at the moment, or one scheduled. We did have some opportunistic, experimental work being done a couple of years ago, that didn’t hit the mark however so it got shelved.

As far as your suggestions below go adding a visible timer for Shaco to the clone seems like a good and easy to implement idea, I’ll pass that one on tomorrow, see if there’s anything stopping us throwing it into an upcoming patch. Changes to things like spell effect application, fear behavior, monster blind etc by contrast are still reasonable suggestions, but things that would need to be part of a larger piece of work which at least at the moment we’re not in a position to prioritize (primary focus right now’s on preseason stuff). Also some game health issues with Shaco we’d need to work on, or conclude were acceptable costs, before we’d be happy adding any power to him.

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Will it be possible to have Shacos clone copy the visuals of buffs he has

Meddler Final PortraitHmm, there are some technical issues that make duplicating all the buffs and debuffs from Shaco on the clone tricky. Special casing the appearance of red, blue and baron buff’s should be pretty straightforward though. I’ll look into that, and see what’s up with the Hallucination buff if that’s showing up (can’t see a reason it should). Facing giving away which is which is also something it should be possible to at least improve too.

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Will Galio be getting any changes soon

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Meddler Final PortraitNothing planned, far as I know we haven’t seen anything to indicate he’s out of line at present either.

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Can we get some more info about the Preseason Marksman updates

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Meddler Final PortraitMarksmen changes (both kits and items) will be coming in the preseason (at least a couple of patches after 5.20). We’re not quite ready to talk about all the details of that yet, still sorting out exactly what will and won’t be included. At a guess we should be ready to share details just after Worlds finishes, possibly slightly before.

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If something isnt ready in time for Preseason will it be patched during the next season

Meddler Final PortraitSome things will ship in the preseason. Some things will prove to be good ideas that need more time, so they’ll get delayed. Some things won’t work out as hoped and will get scrapped.

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Will any of the Marksmen receive a visual update

Meddler Final PortraitThis will be gameplay driven updates. There’ll be a few visual modifications to support kit changes, but nothing that qualifies as a visual upgrade. Think the same sort of levels of art adjustments as the juggernaut changes in 5.16.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.