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Evolution of a Dragon Champion

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Iniquitee Final PortraitHey folks,

Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon named Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. We’ve seen the question of “Ao Shin where?” pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China.

Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol.

We can’t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years.

First: Ao Shin’s kit just didn’t pass muster. This is a pretty common problem we run into in the initial stage of champion creation, and while sometimes we can adjust on the fly (a useable ‘paper kit’ might have two or three core abilities that make things click), other times we need to shelve the entire concept and take a step back. Internally, we call this ‘ice boxing’ a champion until we can revisit with a fresh perspective.

Second: delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragon’s body – long and powerful – in a game where instantaneous turning is key presents some unique technical challenges. Given enough time, we were confident we could solve the turning problem, but because Ao Shin’s abilities weren’t coming together we were reluctant to commit to engineering work that might just end up scrapped.

Finally – and this was the big one – we committed too early to Ao Shin’s premise without really developing his thematic roots. Around the time we announced Ao Shin, we were in the process of slowing down our champion pipeline to figure out how to continue delivering resonant characters that feel unique to the League universe. We learned a lot during this time (still learning!) and when we examined Ao Shin with these new lessons – Why was he in Runeterra? What were his motivations? – we unearthed a fresh thematic that really set us off running.

So in the end, while we’re sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, we’re still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope you’ll love. Aurelion Sol’s got some big shoes (claws?) to fill, but we still like surprises so stay tuned – any of our next few champions could be him!

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With Runic Echoes being nerfed next patch will you revert Elises MS nerfs

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Sotere New PortraitWe considered reverting the Elise MS nerf alongside the Runic Echoes nerf. We decided not to because we think she will be quite strong even with changes to RE. She was viable before the item, and will likely remain so after the reduction to its movement speed.

If it turns out we are wrong and she’s suffering, I don’t think we’d hesitate to put back her Movement Speed.

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Will Taric get a new skin to accompany his gameplay rework

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Repertoir New PortraitI don’t think there are plans for any brand new skins when his update comes out, but I do think the plan is to re-imagine the existing ones. For example, Emerald Taric won’t just feel like “Green Taric,” and Fifth Age won’t just feel like “Pink Taric” (though it will still be outrageous).

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Whats the purpose of the reworked Warlords Bloodlust on the PBE

Meddler Final PortraitThe revised Warlord’s is intended to be attractive to champions that repeatedly auto attack who are seeking sustain rather than damage (contrast with Fervor) and in a way that scales with offensive stats like crit, AS and Armor Pen, rather than defense (contrast with Grasp). We expect marksmen to be one of the primary groups Warlord’s appeals to as a result, though probably not the only ones. Fervor should be particularly appealing if you’ve got a team offering a lot of peel or are intending to grab lifesteal elsewhere, Warlord’s if you want some build path flexibility and have other strong damage sources on your team.

The strong crit synergy unfortunately felt like it restricted our ability to balance Warlord’s for a range of champions more than it allowed cool interactions with specific kits.

We also feel that masteries can’t be too spikey in terms of early versus late game performance. Some masteries slanting towards strength in particular parts of the game is fine. Masteries that just don’t contribute anything early game by contrast would need to be ridiculously powerful late game, given how the early game feeds into mid/late game.

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Wont it be a goto choice for Marksmen so they dont build Lifesteal items

Meddler Final PortraitI think it’s reasonable to believe that some marksmen might forgo a lifesteal item and take Warlord’s instead, though we might not see that initially (or might see it too often if the launch balance is overtuned).

The healing from Warlord’s is going to be regular lifesteal but only against champions and minions. That will function against player summoned minions, but won’t do anything against wards or jungle monsters.

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Will you revisit Swain now after the nerfs

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Meddler Final PortraitSwain’s one of the champions we’re looking at for smaller adjustments in the mid season mage patch, along the lines of those Lucian and Twitch got in the Marksmen update. No confirmed direction/details for those changes yet though.

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Whats going on with Yoricks rework Is it still being worked on

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Reav3 Final PortraitWe actually have 3 separate Pods on Champ Up now. So there is a group working on Taric, another group working on Yorick and a 3rd Group working on the Mage Roster Update. The new structure we have is much different the the old days so I wouldn’t expect such large gaps in between VGUs now. Taric and Yorick should almost certainly come out this year, in fact, those probably won’t be the only 2 large VGUs that come out this year.

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Reav3 Final PortraitI made no promises 🙂

Just said most likely. Want to try to be as transparent as I can about this stuff, but if we hit some major road block things can still become iceboxed. Once a champion goes up on the support page it means that a rework is far enough along that we feel VERY strongly it will ship.

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Places to contact me:

Email: nolchefo@gmail.com

Twitter: @NoL_Chefo

 

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Why is Thunderlords getting nerfed in Patch 62

[ Note ] You can find the changes to Thunderlord’s Decree HERE.

Reinboom Final Portrait“It’s still possible that Thunderlords is over-tuned after all this, but bringing the others more in line with the leader should help us gauge how big the discrepancy is”

This is enacting that part of the 6.1 patch notes.

Currently, though there has been a wave of experimentation shortly after patch 6.1, the trend isn’t towards significantly more diversity.

With Thunderlord’s we’re using it as a moving goal post, it’s the benchmark to hit. Move others towards it -> push Thunderlord’s back slightly -> move others towards it (and in that regard, there will not be a change to TLord’s in 6.3 but we will try to get more changes to other masteries in 6.3 or 6.4). There’s also a couple misses in the current setup we’d like to address. Deathfire has little to no sense of feedback to it and Warlord’s is realistically used by very little of the roster (notably because it has no value before your first significant item).

On this change in particular: I’m purposely avoiding hitting the damage at all because the burst effect is the reason you pick the mastery. Instead, these are in the line of tweaking the accessibility of the mastery. TLord’s right now has up to a 10 second window to get your full proc. This has made the mastery more of a “bonus damage rider” than it has a “intentioned burst effect” for pretty much every mastery. This can be a difficult thing to balance around.

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Why did you reduce the window to proc Thunderlords damage

Reinboom Final PortraitThe duration of Thunderlord’s stacks that are applied on enemies actually resets every time they’re applied.

At 5 seconds, this means I can reasonably accidentally get Thunderlord’s to proc by just back and forth light poking with a single attack or spell every 5 seconds. Discounting the last stack (because that obviously procs it), this means that Thunderlord’s had an uptime of up to 10 seconds.

So that nerf is aimed at hitting “incidental” power in favor of “committed” power. For most multi-hit burst characters (and characters that free-proc it, like MF), this is a nil change.

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You should be looking at nerfing Precision not Thunderlords

Reinboom Final PortraitI’d prefer not to look at any mastery instead of another mastery but instead evaluate all, otherwise you create blindspots.

I do agree that Precision is running pretty powerful, and it might be candidate to drop a bit more. However (and this is just looking at Plat+ data), 1/3rd of Thunderlord’s users actually go Intelligence instead after the last nerf we did to Precision. With Precision, we need to be extra careful since it’s not the only mastery of significant power in that slot.

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Warlords Bloodlust needs to be reworked completely

[ Note ] You can find the experimental Warlord’s Bloodlust rework HERE.

Reinboom Final PortraitWe’re currently experimenting with a Warlord’s rework (this showed up on the PBE during the 6.2 cycle).

The distinct lack of any power at the start of the game for most champions makes it difficult to make it an option for many while not silly for three specific champions. So that’s the primary focus of the rework.

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Would a visual update make the other Keystones as popular as Thunderlord

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, definitely. And I strongly believe the lack of any decent feedback is a major contributor to deathfire feeling weak.

This isn’t a slamdunk case of “well, we need to focus on satisfaction” for the other keystones though. We should and are looking at opportunities, but even looking at other tiers on this line Bone of Stone is actually used about 13% more than Grasp of the Undying. Especially noteworthy that Bond of Stone is distinctly lacking in strong feedback.

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Reinboom Final PortraitFWIW, from what I’ve seen of “optimal” cases, Grasp is almost every melee top laner and Bond of Stone is almost every melee support except Alistar. And then Strength of Ages is every jungler not running Thunderlord’s.

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Can we have more tooltip information on the Assassin mastery like range

Reinboom Final PortraitI agree having more information available for not just Assassin mastery is ideal.

I’m resistant to having too much on the tooltip though. Long tooltips for a lot of players creates a “TL;DR, just give me what’s ‘best’ and let me get in game”. Short tooltips that are more scannable enables more players to make quick judgment calls instead of playing follow the leader.

However… for those willing to dive for information and optimize to it, that mindset is exactly wrong. To balance the two we’re actively trying to think of ways of having more “expandable” type of knowledge sources or ways of pushing that information to someplace that will help the information digging group without harming the scanning group. For example, the hover overs on item tips in the shop that was added with preseason is a clear example of this in action.

Mastery tips are a little more difficult, since they are already a hover over and thus we can’t use the same trick twice. So it might be a bit til we figure out where to put it.

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Its important that we know the numbers We shouldnt have to browse wikis

Phreak New PortraitI’d challenge how much that actually matters.

As a user, does it really affect you? If you’re hardcore enough, you’re already going to external websites for your build advice, rune/mastery pages, guides, etc. I find it ends up being a happy marriage between the official website giving you enough information to be able to play the game reasonably. And if you’re really looking for in-depth content, it’s totally fine to look elsewhere.

It does leave players feeling the distaste of it not being available to them first-party, but in terms of function over form, I feel the present-day system works.

Assassin tells you that you deal bonus damage with no champions nearby. So, not for a duo laner, and not useful in a teamfight. The specific number will really never change your gameplay. 1.5% damage is not enough to make you want to mis-position as Zed, or refuse to take your return flight on R after Death Mark.

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Dynamic Ranked New Champ Select Whats wrong and whats next

NaKyle New PortraitUPDATE 1/22 PST Evening:

Hey everyone,

Based on learnings from yesterday’s failed test in Vietnam, we’ve been improving our internal load test. This will allow us to better vet fixes before shipping them to live. We plan on internally testing the queue over the next two days, which unfortunately means you shouldn’t expect Dynamic Ranked or new champ select in Normal Draft this weekend. If tests perform well, we will look to roll out to one affected region (to be decided) on Monday. If that is stable and successful, we will roll out to all affected regions until service is fully restored.

ORIGINAL POST PST 1/21 EVENING:

Hey everyone,

We wanted to share an update on new champ select and Dynamic Ranked ahead of the weekend. We understand it’s been a frustrating week, and are committed to getting Dynamic Ranked and new champ select up and running again.

What’s Wrong:

New champ select and Dynamic Ranked runs on a brand new backend that performed well (after initial hiccups) during live tests in North America and Turkey. However, when we rolled it out live at the beginning of the 2016 Ranked Season, the high volume of games played knocked the new service down in some regions.

What’s Next:

We haven’t pinpointed a solution yet, but once we have a fix we’re confident in, we’ll be extremely deliberate in rolling new champ select and Dynamic Ranked back out to the game. The last thing we want is to return the feature to you, only for it to need to come down again. When we do have a fix, we’ll start in one region, and if successful, roll out to other affected regions.

FAQ:

Q: Do my ranked games count?
A: The placement games played in Dynamic Ranked and/or Solo/Duo queue do count and will transfer when Dynamic Ranked returns

Q: What about Party Rewards?
A: Party Rewards Weekends will be extended to compensate for Dynamic Ranked and new champ select’s downtime

We’ll continuously update this post as long as new champ select and Dynamic Queue remain down. Thank you for your patience.

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NaKyle New PortraitAfter making improvements to how new champ select and Dyanmic Ranked handles high volumes of games, we attempted a fix last night in Vietnam (1/21 PST). The queue showed some improvement, but ended up failing again The team’s been digging into those test results since late last night, learning from them and applying them to our next test. That’s the absolute latest.

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Why is Vladimir a part of the immobile mage update

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Meddler Final PortraitOur main problem with Vlad is his Q. It’s a low CD, targeted, resourceless spell that restores health. It doesn’t have much interesting decision making for Vlad, if it’s ever strong early he just shuts a lot of people out of lane and the main ways to deal with it are to either sustain even more or to punish Vlad really hard when he trades.

Vlad’s also got a bit of a ‘stat check’ issue, where he’ll just reliably outclick a lot of opponents 1v1 without sufficient avenues for being outplayed. That’s not ideal, it’s a lesser issue though since it doesn’t kick in until later in the game when 1 v 1 counterplay is less important than team v team counterplay.

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Why Cass VelKoz Vlad Zyra Brand and Malzahar in particular

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Meddler Final PortraitStatikk and the other folks working on the mage update will be talking in detail about why these particular champs. At a high level our goal with these class updates is to increase distinction between characters. With the mage update especially we’re also looking at some champions that are distinct, but when functional aren’t healthy for the game or are in an ok spot already but have a fair bit of untapped potential for differentiation.

Ought to bring more distinct things to a team:

  • Vel’Koz – Really distinct to play as, cohesive, feels fair to play against. Doesn’t bring enough distinct to a team though, so lacks a clear strategic niche or specialized tool offered. Goal with him will be to offer clearer situations where he’s the right pick when you want AP poke.
  • Brand – Pretty similar to Vel’Koz overall, in that he lacks a clear enough niche, so primary gameplay argument for picking him is when he’s the most damaging AOE mage. Needs a somewhat more distinct toolkit basically.

Distinct, but have significant game health challenges:

  • Vlad – Does distinct things, but can be really unhealthy. Work on Vlad’s going to involve a lot of ‘how do we preserve the core of what he does while adding ways to play against him’.
  • Malz – More game health issues than anything else. Counterplay’s not great in particular, with Malz needing to just click on you and kill you given his squishiness, immobility, lack of reach, vulnerability to item system counters. Has a lot of distinctive stuff going on though.

Untapped potential/Confused identities:

  • Cass – Confused identity, unclear niche (sustained damage almost marksmen like pattern, versus poison spreading potential, versus stacking power, versus counter initiator etc). Work on Cass will need to start with constructing a clear picture of what her concept should be (suspect that’ll include stripping out the stacking gameplay, though that’s a guess).
  • Zyra – Does reasonably distinctive things, but has the potential for quite a bit more. Also ends up either a strong bully or struggling to function a bit too often.

Finally, as with the marksman update in preseason, we’ll also be making some small tweaks to a number of other mages at the same time as these bigger changes (things like the Q reset on Twitch for example).

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Why did you leave out long-range mages like Lux Xerath and Ziggs

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Meddler Final PortraitWe decided we’d be best off focusing on a couple of sub types of mage here, which are basically sustained damage mages and pick mages. Artillery mages (Xerath, Ziggs etc with really long range) and supportive mages (Ori, Karma etc) are groups we might tackle later, though it wouldn’t surprise me if there was more value in tackling a different group instead (assassins or some types of tank instead).

 

As far as Lux/Xerath/Ziggs go I do think there’s a bit more overlap there than’s preferable, particularly between Lux/Xerath on pick/burst a dude and Xerath/Ziggs on clear waves/poke champs repeatedly. Lux does bring a more supportive kit than the others though, Ziggs gets more area control/mobility but gives up reliability against champions, and Xerath’s got phenomenal backline access. As a result there’s an ok current state distinctiveness wise. Potentially means they might just need smaller adjustments, rather than larger scale work, to pry them apart a bit.

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What exactly are your supposed problems with VelKoz

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Meddler Final Portrait

Some discussion from last month that covers Vel’Koz’s state:

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/5dJN5vf7-meddler-velkoz-thoughts

TLDR: Healthy, fun to play, distinct to play as, fair to play against, needs to have a more distinct reason to be brought to a team than he currently has .

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Meddler Final PortraitWe understand there are a number of people that don’t want changes to Vel’Koz and as discussed think there’s a lot about Vel’Koz that’s already really good. Not disputing or ignoring that sentiment. We believe though that every champion needs to bring a distinct purpose to the their team and that Vel’Koz doesn’t deliver well in that regard. That makes him a great candidate for some work – good generally, but with a specific problem area that brings him down overall.

In terms of scope the changes to most of these changes are unlikely to be large, do expect them to be bigger than ‘hardly noticeable’ though.

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VelKoz is fine Listen to the community and dont rework him

BelugaWhale Final PortraitWe hear all of you on Vel’koz, and our opinions on him are actually very similar to yours. We love his combos, his geometry, death laser, and true damage. There is very little likelihood that his abilities will be changed in how they are used (with possible exception of his W), or his play significantly altered.

However we also want players in a draft to see their comp, their opponent’s comp, and pick Vel’koz thinking “this would be a great game specifically for Vel’koz” rather than simply “this would be a great game for any long range mage with a lot of AoE”. For scope context, currently the plan for Vel’koz is much more along the lines of Caitlyn, who also kept essentially her entire kit, but had it unified around headshots.

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Statikk New PortraitIt seems your guys’ expectations on how much we’ll warp some of these champions just because they’re in “the 6” is quite large and drastic. Guess it’s understandable given some of our track record. It’s important to consider that our changes have ranged from as small as Darius and Miss Fortune to as large as Mordekaiser and Graves.

Our current plans for Vel’Koz might literally be the smallest scope changes we’ve ever done in a class update. In fact, I could understand how some people may not even really perceive it as a significant update and more of a “patch note.”

Either way, your downvotes are loud and clear. You don’t really want Vel’Koz to change much. We don’t really plan on moving Vel’Koz’s core at all – just want to amplify what’s already there.

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Why not put up another immobile mage for a rework instead of VelKoz

Repertoir New PortraitThe answer to this is that small mechanical/gameplay tweaks may require much more substantial visual or audio effects to make work. As an example, imagine that we were to change Vel’Koz’s W and E so that they also had minor split-shot/geometry elements (this is just theoretical example; it isn’t the plan for him). Even if the gameplay effect of the change was small, we may still need some significant visual’s to have that not look super janky when it happens.

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Why pick Zyra over Azir as a counter engage mage in need of a rework

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Repertoir New PortraitThey occupy different spaces, in that Zyra is a different kind of mage than Azir.

For what it’s worth, Azir, frankly, tends to have too many strengths (this was especially true earlier in his life).

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What will the scope of these reworks be Same as Fioras update

Meddler Final PortraitNone of these updates will be close to Fiora sized (think roughly same scale on average as the marksmen changes).

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Will AD Malzahar remain a viable option after Malzahars rework

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Repertoir New PortraitI’m looking to leave some enjoyable version of AD Malzahar intact after his update. It may be different, but I’m hoping that it retains the spirit of what’s going on with it.

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Repertoir New PortraitThe hope is that Voidlings can be a meaningful source of damage and gameplay for Malzahar regardless of build.

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Were Heimerdinger or Anivia considered for a slot in the mage update

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Statikk New PortraitHeimer didn’t make it far. We feel he is really Distinct and Cohesive as the turret dude, and mainly lacks in terms of game Health (mastery and counterplay surrounding turrets in particular). Similar to Fiddle though, he has huge strategic weaknesses and strengths that opponents and allies can play around. He is still a prime candidate to get some tweaks and tuning with the sweep though.

Anivia was actually very close to being selected. Ultimately though, Anivia is already pretty Distinct (all her spells outside of E are pretty unique), Cohesive (frost phoenix), and fairly Healthy. We think Anivia can shine even with something as little as a ramping effect based on how long enemies remain in her R (this is all hypothetical off the top of my head…) and few other additional number tweaks.

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Will AP items also receive changes to go along with the mage updates

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll likely include some item changes with the mage update. Expect those will be smaller scope than the marksmen ones though.

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Why didnt Shen receive a new voiceover with his update

Shen Banner Single

WAAARGHbobo Final PortraitI’m not on champ up. But in general, its a very, very small team working around deadlines. Rewriting, recording, processing and then having all 17+ languages localized and recorded takes several months. And because they are always trying get the best work done they can, they have to prioritize. So if a champ’s VO is “acceptable” they might instead use that time to work on another champ whose VO is “awful.” Eventually, they will make their way through the whole lineup several times… but they can’t high polish every aspect of a champ– all the time.

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As usual, here’s a small collection of recent fan art:

 

Winter Wonder Orianna by Alona:

0XRekvJ

 

Syndra by 커피55:

dt2qE8R (1)

 

Sona by Phikaak:

tSCaZLE

 


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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MidYear Mage Update

Statikk New PortraitHey all,

The next class update will be focused on “traditional” Mages and I’m here to give you guys and gals some of the initial details. Similar to the Juggernaut and Marksman releases, these updates aim to take look at an entire class of champions and accomplish 2 primary goals:

  1. Ensure the class as a whole is relevant and satisfying to play
  2. Differentiate each champion within the class

Why Mages?

Many Mages are intended to lack mobility but have not necessarily been given clear answers as to what they should do about it or why they work without it. For each sub-class of Mages (this is something we’ll dive into more in a different post) these answers will vary, but our intent is to make it clear that each of these champions is powerful in their own unique way.

On the flip side of the coin, many of them no longer meet our evolving gameplay standards of interactivity, depth, uniqueness, etc. This is also an opportunity to go back and adjust these champions (especially some of our older ones) making them more interesting to play as, with, and against.

Who are we working on?

Similar to the Marksman update, we’re aiming to release ~6 significant updates. The champions we are currently considering (but are still subject to change) are Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, and Zyra.

For each of these champions we aim for them to be 3 things:

  1. Distinct – offer a unique reason to be picked
  2. Cohesive – deliver on their core thematic and gameplay fantasy
  3. Healthy – balance-able and fun to play as and against at all skill levels

Note that given the scope of these projects, we won’t necessarily solve every issue on every champion – and fortunately we won’t have to since all of the champions already succeed in their own way at some of the above.

On top of the 6, we are again looking to do a sweep across the entire class (as we did with the Marksman) to find potential tweaks that will make them more unique, interactive, and exciting to play. The smaller-scale changes done to Twitch and Lucian are good examples of this.

What can you expect? When?

We’ve learned a lot from our previous projects and better understand the line between something unique and something unfamiliar. Our priority is to find ways to evolve and enhance the current direction of a champion while still accomplishing the above-stated goals.

In some ways, the feeling of change is unavoidable; we are updating these champions so things WILL be different. We’re confident that we can retain the things you guys love while adding new dimensions.

This is all still a far ways off, so don’t expect anything soon. As you can infer from the title, we’re aiming to release these changes around mid-year and we’ve only just begun to delve deeply into these projects.

How can you help?

We’d love to have your guys’ feedback and opinion on the Mages before and during their development process rather than only at the tail end – especially for the “big 6” (Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, Zyra).

We are most interested in the following about your favorite champion:

  1. What aspect is most core or sacred to their identity?
  2. What issue bothers you the most when playing them?

This doesn’t mean we’ll be magically giving everyone dashes or any other instant remedies to all their problems (weaknesses often exist for a good reason). Instead, this information will help us understand which direction to take each champion and where the opportunities lie.

We won’t be talking in the short-term about exact changelists since we’re still in such a state of flux, but we hope you guys are as excited as we are about the updates ahead!

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Dont ruin Malzahars jungle potential with his voidlings

Repertoir New PortraitI can’t guarantee voidlings will be exactly the same as they are now, but this perspective is something I’m trying to strongly consider when working on Malz.

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Why did you pick VelKoz for a rework and not Swain

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Statikk New PortraitSwain was definitely very high on our “want to do” list. What it really came down to is that we feel he really needs a full-on rework (gameplay, thematics, visuals) similar to Sion or Poppy in order to really deliver on an awesome version of Swain.

A large reason why we have chosen the current 6 is based off our confidence that we can deliver a solid update given the more limited scope they will get being as a part of a class update. We’re being a lot more careful about over-reaching since it’s definitely bitten us in the past.

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Statikk New PortraitReally substantial change for Swain’s likely to be quite a way off yeah (highly unlikely this year, can’t predict so usefully beyond that). We do think he’d benefit a lot from a full overhaul, he’s certainly not in Taric, Yorick etc tier though, they’ve got significantly bigger problems than he does.

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Why are you changing VelKoz Isn’t he fine right now

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Statikk New PortraitVel’Koz is a great champion, but he honestly lacks Distinctness. He has some hints here and there of uniqueness (Q targeting, true damage from Deconstruct, etc.) but none of them are pushed to a point where it truly differentiates him.

Don’t worry, even within the 6, the amount of change each champion will see is pretty drastically different.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitI think you guys will be pleasantly surprised, we’re pretty aligned on where there is potential for Distinctness in Vel’Koz’s kit. We just don’t agree that he’s there just yet.

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Meddler Final PortraitWe’re not going to be ready to talk details of what will/won’t change for quite a while. It’s likely that Vel’Koz’s changes will be at the small end of the spectrum though, he’s fundamentally solid apart from his lack of distinct enough outputs (what he does isn’t distinct enough, how his does it is very distinct though).

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What about Fiddlesticks Why isnt he schedule dfor a rework

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Statikk New PortraitFiddle is also a champion we considered, but ultimately felt wasn’t the right fit.

To do a quick rundown on our perception:

  1. Distinct – Fiddle is extremely distinct on the roster. Playing as and against him offer unique experiences.
  2. Cohesive – Fiddle is decent in terms of cohesiveness. He has a somewhat niche thematic as a terrifying scarecrow, but it’s understandably cool. It could probably be pushed a bit further especially in terms of the satisfaction from all his base spell (Drain, Terrify, and Dark Wind).
  3. Healthy – This is debatable, but Fiddle is certainly not the largest health problem in the game. Tactically, his spells’ gameplay could probably be more robust in terms of interactivity (counterplay). Strategically though, there are many ways to deal with Fiddle whether through vision, knockbacks, stuns, etc.

Fiddle is certainly a bit dusty and old-feeling, but that means he may be more in need of a visual / polish pass more than anything. It’s not like he wouldn’t benefit with some more significant work, but he’s a champion that we feel can be a put in a decent spot even with just some minor number tweaks.

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Dont ruin the botlane strengths of Champs like Zyra Brand and VelKoz

Statikk New PortraitReally good point. We don’t intend to destroy Support playstyles, but truthfully many of these champions’ fantasies and gameplay manifest best in a role where they can get gold and be the primary threat for their team.

We’re very aware that Zyra, Vel’Koz, and even Brand to some extent all have identities in the Bot Lane.

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I hope Zyra gets a new passive and more ways to interact with her plants

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Repertoir New PortraitWe haven’t yet started work on Zyra other than ideation, but one of the things we tended to be excited about was more plant interactions, like she brings the forest alive around her. Not sure where that means we’re going to take her, but I am excited to see what the team comes up with.

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Repertoir New PortraitThe more we work on these group champion projects, the more I think we tend to find that if someone already has something going for them (like Zyra an “counterengage mage”), it’s usually a good idea to start ideation with how we might be able to crank that current strength up to 11.

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Keep the reworks simple We dont need more Skarnertype minigames

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Statikk New PortraitSimple is a great rule of thumb to lean on. We’re definitely keeping that in mind for these projects.

We agree with you on the “mini-games” thing. Mechanics start feeling like forced “mini-games” when they feel arbitrary, uninteresting, or simply don’t align with the expectations and desires of the champion. We understand this space a lot better after the past few projects.

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Why did you put minigames like Skarners crystal spires in the first place

Meddler Final PortraitWe think mini games, when well done, can feel like a really fun, natural part of a champion’s playstyle in a way that expresses their personality/theme. Draven axe catching for example taps into his show off nature, Bard’s chime collecting fits well on a weird dude that wanders and saves things etc. If the minigame doesn’t feel compelling, or doesn’t fit with the champion it’s on however then yeah, that can feel pretty jarring. I’d agree Skarner’s an example of that – if he had a reason to really want to defend the crystals in the jungle it might be another matter (e.g. if they contained others of his kind, frozen, that could eventually come out late game and join his fight).

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Why isnt Ryze on your rework list

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Meddler Final PortraitWe’re going to try and tackle Ryze before the mid year, we think he’s enough of a problem we need to act sooner . Unclear whether that’ll mean some degree of rework or just significant balance changes.

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Do you guys plan on doing anything with Syndra

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Repertoir New PortraitIf I recall correctly, Syndra made it pretty far through the selection process, but I believe we determined that she either needed a ton of work to really spice things up on her, or that we could give her a little love on the mechanics side closer to release and still get pretty good mileage. As these projects tend to fall in between these two amounts of work, we ultimately passed on her in favor of others.

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Xeraths in a weird spot right now Have you considered him for your list

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Repertoir New PortraitI’m interested to know why you think Xerath is in a weird spot. Is it because of the state of the meta-game? Or is it that there’s something he’s failing to deliver that he seems to be intended to be doing?

As far as what we thought, Xerath seems to be up to par in Distinction, Cohesiveness, and Health. I’ve seen some people argue his gameplay is too similar to Lux to be considered distinct, but we actually see Xerath as more of an extreme range DPS mage, whereas Lux is more of an extreme range burst caster that relies heavily on catching squishies out and killing them with quick full combos.

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Whatre your thoughts on Irelias  E from a balance design standpoint

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Meddler Final PortraitI don’t think it’s a great ability, in particular because it can be really unclear what result will happen before she uses it, leading to press the button and hope plays that can feel unfair (in a way you can’t influence) to one player or the other. It’s also an ability that, due to the way it can punish fighting back and its nature as a targeted spell, can leave opponents without apparent options.

Having said that though there are a lot of other champions/abilities I think we’d be much better off looking at first that need the work more. An Irelia rework someday’s a definite possibility, think it’s unlikely we’ll do one this year though.

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Is Singed scheduled for a rework

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to make significant changes to Singed (almost certainly balance adjustments at some point, but none currently planned). He’s got a distinct playstyle, a deep mastery curve, creates great high moments and certainly isn’t a jack of all trades. He is a bit weird thematically, but not in a ‘this guy’s failing to deliver on his core fantasy’ kind of way.

I’m not personally convinced the root from the Fling/Mega Adhesive combo’s sufficiently relevant to justify its existence on the kit, could imagine a world in which we took that out and replaced it with something a bit less niche. I don’t play Singed much myself though, so I might be just unaware of a bunch of value that interaction provides.

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Do youve any changes planned for the Dragon buff

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve been experimenting with some possibilities over the last couple of weeks, including changing the 4th buff to something a bit more felt than minion/monster damage. Currently waiting to get some insight into how dragon’s being valued in the start of the ranked season/first couple of weeks of professional play though to inform how big our changes should or shouldn’t be.

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The 2016 ranked season is now live

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Socrates New PortraitThe 2016 ranked season is now live! Gather your allies and gear up for all new challenges as you climb the ladder in 2016. We’ve introduced a swath of changes over the course of preseason, as well as new dynamic groups — now you can queue for ranked play with any number of friends. With new champ select, you’ll queue up for your two best positions — you’re guaranteed to always end up with one of the two positions you select — and join a team of players who’ve done the same.

To learn more about the 2016 Season, visit the season homepage here or check out the patch notesover yonder. It’s a new season of GGs, and we’ll see you on the battlefield!

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Ready set play Earn Party Rewards all week long

Celebrate the launch of new champ select and the 2016 ranked season with Party Rewards. How’s it work? Simple. The larger your premade group, the larger the IP bounty you rake in. The bonus is even bigger for new champ select-enabled queues like Normal and Ranked draft. The All-Star bonus from Team Fire’s win at All-Stars is active in Taiwan, NA, and Korea!

Check out the details below!

Premade size New champ select queues Other queues
1 0% 0%
2 125% 50%
3 175% 75%
4 225% 100%
5 450% 150%

Party Rewards are live starting today (10:00AM PST on January 20) until 11:59PM PST on January 24. We’ll see you on the Rift!

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Dynamic Queue system disabled further details

Ymir New PortraitTL;DR Dynamic queue was disabled because of a load issue, Solo/Duo Ranked is temporarily re-enabled, and all matches played in this mode still count towards your future Dynamic ranking.

Earlier today, we saw an issue on EUW that required us to disable the dynamic queue system. This was due to an issue with player load on the servers. This has also affected the KR server in a similar way.

As a result of this, all ranked modes based on the dynamic queuing system were disabled and remained down while we continued to investigate. When deciding on a course of action we had two options:

a) Leave ranked disabled until the issue was resolved
b) Re-enable the previous Ranked Solo/Duo queue

We chose option b) because we wanted to ensure that those of you who enjoy ranked could still play your placement matches. As we did not have a clear ETA on a fix, we proceeded to re-enable Ranked Solo/Duo until the issue is resolved.

What does this mean for your placements and rating?

Any games played on the currently available solo/duo queue system will count towards your placements and ranking when the new system is back up. For example, if you already played 2 games before the issues began in Dynamic Draft and 6 more in Solo Queue, you’d have 8 games played – and these all count towards your placements.

Why are other regions not affected?

Before we introduced this feature, we used a simulated environment to load test the entire system. Live implementation was first conducted on TR and NA with no major glitches. However, some subsystems of the dynamic queues didn’t scale up correctly when running on a larger live environment.

What are the next steps?

Our engineers are actively working to fix and re-enable dynamic queues in EUW. As of now we have no ETA but our tech teams will provide an update when we have more information to share. Thank you for your patience.

UPDATE: To answer a question some of you may have regarding Party Rewards, a several day event that offers bonus IP for playing with friends. We’re holding this event back for EUW until issues are resolved. Once Dynamic Queues are back we’ll look to enable Party Rewards and make sure that players on EUW have the same amount of time to earn IP with friends.

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If you have large updates why not test them on the biggest server EUW

Ymir New PortraitWe don’t consider Live environments as testing platforms. That would be dangerous and unfair to our players. Most of our features go through similar process after the development phase: functional testing -> load testing -> initial deployment to previously selected environments -> few days of player behavior testing (collecting players usage data) -> full deployment everywhere else. The NA & TR deployments week ago just helped us properly understand player reactions, gather important behavioral data and eventually tweak and adjust the service globally. You know, hundreds of dynamic variables here and there…

There were some minor issues in NA, but in general the service was and still is stable. Load testing of large services is always tricky though as one has to simulate the load in development labs. You can’t just get millions of players to test your service live — it must be done artificially as a set of ongoing software trials. We always go much higher than the expected traffic, and usually get highly expected results, like the one with the months-long EUW load tests before the new data center deployment in AMS. No matter how precise you are, live environments can be unpredictable and sometimes even tiny unexpected factor is enough to get one subsystem’s thread on hold. Obviously there are larger systems out there in the internet, but they are usually distributed and can handle the load separately. Our environments work differently — there is a distribution in given service’ cluster, but in general EUW, NA, KR, etc, are single entities handling the entire traffic all by itself.

Sorry for longer post. We’ll obviously do our best to get back to you with fixed Dynamic Queues asap 😉

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Update on Dynamic Queues for all regions

Draggles New Portrait Update: Dynamic normal queue is now disabled in all regions worldwide while we work on a fix (as an fyi, NA began to see similar issues despite the earlier launch on that server). Still no ETA to give but will be sure to have someone update this thread when that changes.

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Riot Eambo Final PortraitHi guys,

The PB team are the experts on this one, and their updates mean a lot more than mine. However, Lyte has been posted HERE with information – while unfortunately there’s not much to be said at the minute, the team are hard at work trying to fix this issue, get it tested, and get it out to you guys. We are as excited for this feature as you are – I honestly couldn’t wait to get home yesterday to play it, and I plan on leaving my placements until it’s back up and running due to the less stressful nature of things in the new champ select.

I know you guys want updates, and it sucks when we can only post “we’re working on it” – but that’s the truth and update we’ve got at the moment. As per Lyte, there’s no ETA at the moment, but I advise keeping an eye on the boards and Lyte’s twitter for updates as they’re available.

Thanks for sticking with us on this – we know it’s far from a smooth experience, but personally I truly believe the new champion select and dynamic queues are great features, and cannot wait to see them (back) on live to get some games with you guys on the rift!

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Champion Mastery Level 6 7

Socrates New PortraitHey all,

When we first announced that Hextech Crafting and loot was heading to PBE, we saw a few questions about how champion shards would work for players who already had all champions unlocked. We weren’t ready to answer those questions then, we are now at the point where we want to reach out to the community for feedback.

Here’s our current, leading design:

  • All players (whether you have all champions unlocked or not) can use champion shards that are duplicates of champions you already own to increase the Champion Mastery level cap of specific champions up to level 7.
    • This will increase the level cap, but won’t increase your actual Champion Mastery experience or unlock any associated rewards (unless you already have enough mastery points on a champ to be level 6 or 7, in which case you’ll immediately unlock those rewards)
    • Example: You own Jax. Using a Jax shard, you can raise the Champion Mastery level cap to 6 for Jax.
  • Alternatively, you can combine 3 champion mastery shards to unlock another level on any champion you choose.
    • Example: You spend three random champion shards to increase Champion Mastery level and a pop up appears allowing you to select any champion. You select Renekton, raising his Champion Mastery level cap to 6.

We also plan to offer chests in the store that can be purchased with IP that would contain specific types of champion shards. For example, we might offer a Demacian Chest for a limited period of time which would contain champion shards for champions associated with Demacia. We might also offer chests like these via other means, like rewards for accomplishments in ranked.

Our goal with this is to ensure champion shards drops always feel like a step towards something players care about and to make to the highest tiers of champion mastery feel exclusive and valuable. Ultimately we think this will make it more meaningful when you drop your mastery badge emote after a clutch (or not so clutch) play. It’s possible that there could be some other reward types associated with higher champion mastery levels, but this is still TBD. We’re excited to get Hextech Crafting and loot out to you all and curious to hear your feedback.

Thanks everyone for all the testing you’ve done so far!

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Does that mean we need shards to drop to reach Mastery levels 6 and 7

Socrates New PortraitIt’s the level 6 and 7 cap that unlock not the experience required for the levels themselves. So you’ll still have to earn your way up. Since the chests require strong performances (S grades) on champs, it puts more weight on unlocking these levels.

Somebody else pointed out since these rewards are more exclusive they should probably be cooler. That’s a good point also.

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As always, here’s a short collection of recent fan-art:

 

Zed by Citemer:

C76v1p9 9B7oRhc

 

Swimsuit Lux by raichoo:

swimsuit_lux_by_raichiyo33-d9onwp6

 

A New Dawn by haonguyenly:

a_new_dawn_by_haonguyenly-d9ot6qn

 


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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Several screenshots of Jhin (the new upcoming ADC from the recent teasers) and his splash art were leaked on Reddit. Note that this unconfirmed and may not be official:

3OZz1Er

rxpGTwy

nT7UkYT

 

 

Turrets have unreliable targetting and deal way too little damage

Koalifier Final PortraitCaveat: I don’t design anything at all, I just like playing League of Legends.

Turret targeting is something that might be a point of improvement, but what would that look like? Clearly turrets should not prioritize champions, or pushing lanes becomes extremely difficult. I’m not a fan of the %hp idea, because it makes tanks less relevant, and they already struggle as a class with shifts in the meta.

What are some examples of how turret aggro should work better? Here’s my assumptions:

The tower shouldn’t switch targets if it’s already hitting a champ. The tower should prioritize champions only when there are no minions/pets, and only when they deal damage to friendly champions.

Tower aggro rules should be easy to understand and consistent. (e.g. doing damage to an enemy vs. hitting an enemy with non-damaging cc – either damage should trigger aggro, or any ability/damage should trigger aggro. Imo we should maintain the current functionality).Tower attack rate should be consistent (no tower autoattack reset on champ aggro).

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Shouldnt turrets be able to deal with the frontline in case of a dive

Koalifier Final PortraitI think I just fundamentally disagree that towers should be able to take on mega-tanks. If they supplement your team’s damage and do around 10-15% of a tank’s HP in 5-6 seconds, that seems reasonable. Any change to towers that makes them threatening to tanks during all stages of the game either:

A. Makes building tank stats completely ineffective against towers (%hp true damage, massive armor pen) and results in tanks being significantly less useful and feeling like crap; or
B. Makes towers massively fuck up squishy champions, punishing minor mistakes really heavily (increased overall damage).

I don’t think either A or B encourages interesting gameplay; it just helps teams with strong waveclear turtle under towers and drag out games, which isn’t super fun imo.

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Turret damage needs to ramp up against divers like Elise and Fizz

Koalifier Final PortraitHmmm, yeah, I think I echo that sentiment. If there’s anything that’s really coalescing for me in this thread, it’s that towers resetting while you are still in the middle of getting dived feels pretty bad. Like I’ve sad a bunch of times, I don’t work on this stuff, but I’ll chat with some folks about this thread and see what they think. I can’t promise that we’ll make a change along those lines as I don’t fully understand the design principles behind towers, but I’ll follow up on it 😀

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What if turrets had an aggro bar and retargeted Fizz Elise after their E

Koalifier Final PortraitHm, the concept of an aggro bar does sounds pretty cool… like the tower is “activated” once it gets champ aggro and will now focus champs until it resets a-la patience timers on jungle camps.

I think the Dragon aggro thing made sense because of aggro juggling being borderline exploitative, and because Dragon actually moves. Turrets gaining range sounds really annoying.

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Why cant Nocturne be unstoppable like Malphite while ulting

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Meddler Final PortraitNocturne’s ult behaves the same way Malph’s does. They’re both unstoppable during the ult, they’re not CC immune though, so can be CC’d and, if the duration’s long enough, will still be CC’d after the ult ends. Ryze snare or Veigar stun for example won’t stop them from completing their ults, but can limit them after they end if applied mid dash.

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Will Tahm Kench be nerfed soon

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Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve been talking about possible Tahm nerfs in 6.2 or 6.3, those aren’t certain yet though (want to make sure we’re nerfing the correct thing(s), want to investigate whether we should be buffing something like his ult’s useability at the same time).

Even if we do nerf him though I’d still expect him to be a pretty difficult match up for Vi. A lot of her power is in her ability to close distance reliably to get onto the target of her choice. That’s not very useful against Tahm direct, given you’re not going to be bursting down a tank, assuming similar XP/gold, and he’s absolutely fine with people putting themselves in his face.

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Can you increase the AP ratio on MFs E to compensate for the 61 nerf

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[ Note ] Miss Fortune’s E will be nerfed in Patch 6.1. You can find the notes HERE.

Meddler Final PortraitI’ll follow up with the designer working on the MF changes and get back to you, see what his thoughts are on the current state of AP builds on her (not familiar enough with them myself). Can’t make any promises, if AP MF’s in a decent spot on live at present though might be appropriate to increase a ratio somewhere to avoid an unintentional nerf.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re intentionally nerfing AD MF with nerfs to her passive and E. It’s possible AP MF may be getting unintentionally nerfed at the same time, I’m unsure whether or not that build’s been assessed internally relative to this change.

A base damage nerf and AP ratio buff would certainly change AP MF’s power curve, keeping that build generally power neutral overall should be doable though if we conclude that’s appropriate here.

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Smurfing is unfair and ruins the experience for lowerlevel players

grrrlee Final PortraitBlah I understand this feeling too. I didn’t start playing until pretty much everyone and their super-cool grandmothers all had smurfs that queued up at the same time as I would. It was really confusing and frustrating that so many of my fellow lvl 6 ‘noobs’ could be so much better than I. It can be a pretty sucky experience in the game sometimes.

It’d be neat to do a study on smurfs — I wonder if I could have a chat with a few people around the office to see what we could learn about ’em. Noooo guarantees of course, but it’s definitely a topic I’d be interested in helping out with the research.

I appreciate being able to lurk these boards, particularly in ‘Player Behavior & Moderation,’ even if I definitely don’t get to read everything, and I don’t always comment on things I do get around to reading. Since I’m a gamer too, player pain is a very real thing to me, so these matters are of a particular interest to me and I’d love to be able to make an impact whenever possible.

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Will future Champion reworks be accompanied by new lore for them

Repertoir New PortraitI can’t speak to much on the past on this one, since I haven’t worked on my full reboots of champions, but moving forward, I think it’s pretty safe to say that on big projects like Taric, Poppy, etc., you can expect new or updated lore, and you can probably not expect new lore on smaller stuff.

For Taric specifically, I’m not the writer of the lore, but I am one of the people that’s trying to help give feedback to the writer. I don’t think there should be a bunch of characters’ lore being reduced in the near future, and we haven’t written the final lore yet for Taric, but I’d expect it to be closer to 3 paragraphs than 3 sentences.

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What are you planning to do with Nidalee

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Repertoir New PortraitI’m not sure what the immediate balance plans are for her at the moment, but if given the opportunity, I would like to be able to go back and re-evaluate her laning experience, which I think is pretty poor. Specifically, it feels like a constant struggle to manage the minion wave without getting chunked for half your health by your lane opponent.

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How am I supposed to play against Garen

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Repertoir New PortraitGaren’s opportunities for opponents are intended to be via kiting or playing around his E cooldown, though I can see a legitimate case being made that he is too strong. Given the nature of his E, he can be a pretty binary matchup for other melee champions to try to fight, especially squishier ones, and I think that the introduction of items like Dead Man’s Plate gives a sort of inevitability to him catching up to people.

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Do you have high ELO players thatre paid a salary to test changes

Repertoir New PortraitWe actually have a full-time team comprised of high Diamond to Challenger level players that spend most of the day playing upcoming content and giving us advice on how to hit our goals on it. These guys are really dedicated, too. Currently, they spend all day at work playing/testing 6.01 League of Legends internally, and then all night playing 5.24 League of Legends on the Live environment.

Riot Afic leads up that team. He could probably speak to it more if you could get a hold of him.

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Would you allow silly builds to exist again like AP Miss Fortune

Repertoir New PortraitI think about things like that sometimes, and try to do it where possible, but it’s always important to make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise the balance of the champion. Using this example, AP Support Miss Fortune is actually somewhat a thing at the moment, so you can see how buffing fun off builds might inadvertently cause issues.

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Whats the scope of the immobile mage rework

Repertoir New PortraitNumber of champions is not yet determined, but as far as the level of change in a single kit goes, our mindset is generally that there is one highlighted change (usually in the form of a new skill) to the champion, with other small changes to the existing kit to support it.

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Have you considered adding antimobility tools to immobile mages

Repertoir New PortraitYes, but we are trying to do it in ways that aren’t simply “stop dash in progress.” Hopefully we make some good progress in this regard.

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Do you think AP Champions have enough item diversity at the moment

Repertoir New PortraitI think item diversity is pretty good for mages, strictly as far as options go before considering things like gold and slot efficiency, which I haven’t personally put a ton of thought into yet. As far as Deathcap goes, I can see a case being made that it limits design space and build diversity.

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Can we have a timeline on the upcoming Ryze changes

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Repertoir New PortraitNot really sure we have a specific timeline on Ryze. ricklessabandon was talking to me about some change opportunities here. I’ll have to follow up and see if there are any plans for Ryze in the short term.

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When will Cassiopeia be fixed Shes in a terrible spot right now

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Repertoir New PortraitI’m not on the team that works on it, so I can’t really speak to the balance state of the champion, or what the particular reasons are for why she is balanced the way she is at the moment.

As a member of the update team, and as someone that comes here and reads Cass threads that pop up every now and again, all I can really say is that I’m aware of the identity crisis stuff she’s got going on, and that if we ever looked at her again from a ‘small update’ perspective, that is where I personally would start. There are a lot of champions that could use stuff in this regard, however, so no promises.

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I think Anivias passive is too weak in most stages of the game

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Repertoir New PortraitThough I understand where you’re coming from, I actually think Anivia’s passive is actually in a pretty good spot. The fact that it can fail makes it really awesome when it works, and provides some really cool tension in a lot of cases. Another thing to consider is that the power budget that would have to go into her passive would be much higher if it was much more resilient, and that would have to come from somewhere, as she’s not a low performer as far as her balance state goes.

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Repertoir New PortraitWe would probably do Ice Bird different today if it was a new champion, but I actually think Anivia’s kit has stood up well against the tests of time. It’s arguably lost some of its luster as mobility increases, but Crystallize (W) is still very, very powerful, for example.

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Is the balance team shying away from making kits that scale with Armor

Repertoir New PortraitAnswering this question since it’s one I’ve seen less of, and I think the others have mostly been answered.

Generally speaking, we should avoid making either Armor or Magic Resist supremely more powerful on champions when compared to the other stat, unless it is a very specific intended strength/weakness. Taric falls into this category, where being an exceptionally good pick against physical damage teams is very much an intended strength. I intend on maintaining some of that in his upcoming update.

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Why does the balance team rarely if ever revert nerfs

Repertoir New PortraitAs far as why we tend to not to strict reverts, I don’t think there’s any one rule for/against it that I know of. That said, we try to make changes that are directionally sound for champions/items/masteries when we make them, so that even if other factors that contribute to their balance change, we’re happy with the decision in the long run. Sejuani and Cinderhulk is a pretty common case people talk about here, but at no point do I think either of them was really unacceptably weak, and I think there are similar things going on with Swain and DFT right now.

Also, I do think that it’s easy for players to feel like their champion has been overnerfed. I’ve historically felt this way about champions I played as well. If you imagine all the various power levels that champions could fall at as a spectrum, it seems reasonable to say there’s a segment of that spectrum that could be considered allowable power levels. As someone who has felt this way in the past about certain champions, I think it’s easy for players to be biased into thinking certain champions power should rest at the upper end of that allowable part, while at the same time being perfectly comfortable with other champions they are less attached to resting at the middle or lower end.

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Currently Caitlyn is under performing as a longrange marksman

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Ranger XIV Final PortraitHey Napalm,

I’m a HUGE Caitlyn player also. She was the first champion I ever really took seriously and wanted to ‘main’. I’m also one of the people that worked on the Champion Update team helping mold Caitlyn into what she is right now.

 

With that being said, I do feel that Caitlyn changed a bit of her early game power to her late game power. I max Q first then go to E. I do love the traps but I find more reliable damage with the other two. I also get Warlord’s in the mastery tree because I feel that I am banking for that late game fight more than just doing the early game trade. This changes who I want to support for me.

Another thing I’m finding hard is that Caitlyn has a hard time securing kills in a team fight. She tends to hope that an auto kills them and doesn’t really have the ability to take them.

I was hoping you’d be able to tell me what masteries, runes and ability order you are going. I’d like to talk about this more, see how you feel more compared to certain match-ups. I think she should lose early to MF and Lucian. They have early game steroids and ultimates that can be used effectively mid trade compared to Caitlyn where you are charging something.

Excited to hear back from you 🙂

Ranger XIV

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Caitlyns traps should be more powerful with fewer points in W

Ranger XIV Final PortraitDefinitely will be looking more into all this. There are eyes on this and we will not just abandon ship on Caitlyn. Caitlyn should be leaning more towards traps and that zoning aspect. I am not promising anything but no one likes when a champion feels worse than before.

Thank you for sharing your ideas and analyzing what issues Caitlyn has right now. A lot has changed, definitely hasn’t settled yet.

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Fan Creations Instrumental Song for Shyvana by Sid88

https://soundcloud.com/bgbassphoenix/the-blood-of-my-father

Sid88: The Blood Of My Father (Inspired by and dedicated to Shyvana) by Sid

An instrumental track for the League of Legends Champion Shyvana. Artwork by Ae-Rie (http://ae-rie.deviantart.com)

This music is inspired by Shyvana lore. Mostly the bit before she joined Demacia as the Elite Guard. Here I wanted to make something which makes the listener be reminded of the origin of Shyv. Mostly about her being an outcast because of her mixed race and the death of her father who made her who she was. This isn’t a very angry song. But I’ve tried to make it as intense as possible with the limiter resources I have. I really hope you like it!

The artwork is by Ae-Rie and you can find the original art here.

Please do leave your thoughts below and please do tell me if I can improve on things here. I will try and incorporate it in the next one! 😀 Happy Listening! 🙂

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Lastly, here are a few recent fan-made artworks:

 

Katarina by Valkymie

imb4FPW (1)

 

Caitlyn by 艦長代理

BYQc7CS (1)

 

Arcade Sona by phamoz:

sona_v12_by_phamoz-d9nfh6q

 


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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Riot Repertoir has concluded his Q&A on the projects he’s currently working on. You can find all his answers below:

 

 

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Repertoir New PortraitHi everyone,

Today I have been reading a thread by HIMM Sandwich that basically comes down to how it feels like Riot sometimes ignores player sentiment/feedback, and then goes silent when asked for answers. I won’t be the best source of insight on projects that I didn’t work on, but feel free to use this post as a place where you can ask specifically about any of the projects I’ve worked on in the last year or two, and I’ll do my best to give you honest, direct answers about why things were made the way they were, and how I/we feel about these projects currently. Keep in mind that if they’re outside of issues I worked on, it’s likely I won’t be able to meaningful answers, and also that I won’t guarantee you’ll like what I have to share on some topics.

Here’s some of the stuff I’m likely to have insight into:

  • Past Projects:
    • Nidalee Champion Update
    • Ryze Champion Update
    • Ashe Champion Update
    • Juggernauts Champion Updates – Garen/Skarner
    • Marksmen Champion Updates – Quinn/Kog’Maw
  • Current Projects:
    • Taric Champion Update
    • Mages Champion Updates – ???/???

Feel free to ask about other stuff as well, but I will say I’m unlikely to be able to help on lots of other things. I should have time to give some answers the next few evenings.

Cheers,
Repertoir

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Do you plan on balancing champions around windows of power

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s definitely an option, but it’s not the only way. We should probably be continuing to look for unexplored or less explored counterplay. Otherwise we end up with stuff like “Thanks Riot, another line skillshot.” I can see the same being true of any overused design, and I’d say I’ve probably leaned a bit too hard on “windows of power.”

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Why is Riot always so unwilling to revert changes completely

Repertoir New PortraitAs a ground floor game designer that doesn’t really make the big decisions like these, I really can’t do much more than make guesses on this subject, and I don’t really think that’s fair to you guys. Sorry if that sounds like dodging. I’d enlighten you with what I had if I had it.

From the perspective of someone works on champions and gameplay, I really do think that the number of cases where full reverts would be a step forward for the game are very few and far between (especially when considering the large amount of content regularly being added/modified in the game). I can’t think of many cases where I’d say a compromise isn’t the better solution, but that is a matter of perspective (and bias, I’m sure).

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How much does animation bandwidth constrain smallerscope reworks

Repertoir New PortraitArt resources are a constraint on pretty much every update. Right now, we know going into the large group updates that we have the art resources for approximately one skill per champion.

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Which of your reworks is your favourite Which one surprised you

Repertoir New PortraitI think there’s a few different ways to consider this.

  • Nidalee is incredibly near and dear to my heart. Her design is all over the place and is a mess of complex mechanics and inputs, but I think she offers a really fun and unique challenge to players that put the time into her, and I love to watch a good player enjoy her.
    *As far as which I’m most proud of from a craft perspective, I’d say Ashe. Her changes were simple and exciting to players, and I think they helped to bring her from what a lot of people considered a joke pick to a real contender at all levels.

As far as which I was most surprised by once released, I’d definitely say Kog’Maw. Every bit of feedback I had from internal testing and PBE feedback led me to believe he would be broken, which is so odd in hindsight given how much he’s struggled since the Marksman Update.

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Do you think Rengar blowing up squishies from stealth is good design

Repertoir New PortraitNot a lot of insight into this, unfortunately. I don’t think Rengar’s current state is one that we should have allowed for so long, and I hope we do something about it soon.

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Does the community have any impact on Champion updates

Repertoir New PortraitI would love to be able to share work with players earlier, as I feel like I make some of my most meaningful changes to champions after players have been exposed to it a bit. It’s something we’ve talked about doing, but we want to make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t set odd expectations or cause an uproar.

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If you could rework Irelia what would her new kit look like

Irelia Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitReal quick off the top of my head, I would ditch her passive, W, R, and parts of her E. I think she could be a really cool candidate for someone that uses her blades to attack two targets at once, or she could just generally deliver a lot better on blade telekinesis thing. I’d try to leave Q alone at all costs unless it was to make it feel better. I love Bladesurge.

I will say that I think she’s really held up against the test of time, as she seems to pop into and out of play reliably, but that may be a matter of statistics or something.

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Whatre your thoughts on blink escape abilities

Repertoir New PortraitThere’s a place and time for them, but I think they’re overused. These types of skills tend to give champions lots of options to deal with various scenarious, so it’s always tempting to consider them when making something.

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What does Xypherous think of Riven being such a polarizing champion

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Repertoir New PortraitI haven’t asked him about Riven specifically recently, but Xypherous is always funny when he talks about his champions, because they all seem to make him sad in some way or another, from Riven to Nautilus to Orianna. I’m not really sure if Riven makes him especially sad.

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Ryze still demands low ping to be played effectively Will you change that

Ryze W Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitThere are some plans to make him less ping-reliant especially, though it would probably be modifications to his passive and other spells, and not along the lines of a full rework.

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Are you reluctant to change Ryze because hes an iconic League character

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Repertoir New PortraitBeing a 450 IP champ is a good case for him to be easier to play than I ended up making him. As for being a face of the game, that didn’t really come into play at all.

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Karthus already feels unique enough Does this mean he wont get changed much

Karthus Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitI agree that he seems pretty distinct already. I doubt he’d get much more change than someone like Sivir or Lucian did in the Marksman Update.

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Do you agree that Zyra is balanced but doesnt fulfill her theme

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Repertoir New PortraitI think she’s in a decent place for the gameplay experience she offers. She feels good to play to a lot of players, and she’s pretty approachable, which is something we don’t do enough of nowadays. As to her fantasy, I agree it’s not really executed on as well as it could, and that kind of thing is definitely a consideration we make when choosing champions to do for these mass updates.

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Whats the general goal of the Mage update

Repertoir New PortraitGenerally, the goal of the Mage udpate is to make mages more distinct among other mages, and to give them tools that make them uniquely powerful in that space. We’d really like to be able to make a lot of these characters more valuable in a way that doesn’t just mean having more burst damage.

No specifics on which champions are/aren’t in the Mage Update, sorry.

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What are some immobile mages that you personally think need work

Malzahar Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitMalzahar because I think he’s a lot cooler thematically than his gameplay lets him be.
Swain because I think he’s generally just a mess.
Zyra because I think there are tons of opportunities to do cool things with her.
Cassiopeia because I’d want a chance to get her some of her poison identity back.

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What if immobilizing CC immediately stopped all nonult mobility spells

Repertoir New PortraitAs to immobilizing effects stopping mobility spells. I think this is something we should do more often. One of the tricky things about doing it is making it feel intentional on the player’s part. For the longest time, I had this in for Rune Prison while doing Ryze’s update, but most of the time it happened, it was accidental at best.

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Is Rumble a part of the immobile mage update

Rumble Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitRumble’s not going to be part of the mage update mid year. He is struggling at the moment though, so we’ve got some love for him in the next patch. It’s stuff that’s not easily datamined however, so I’m not sure if it’s been widely noticed (smaller collision radius so he gets stuck on other units less, slight increase to Q range, Q ticking more rapidly for less damage giving it the same damage over time but making it a little easier to last hit with).

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Will the new Taric be a viable top laner or will he be a pure support

Repertoir New PortraitI think he’ll be playable there. I don’t know that he’ll be absolutely amazing, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much if he had some good matchups.

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What kind of changes can we expect with the reworked Taric

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Repertoir New PortraitLots of changes, especially visually. I’m really trying to hit a “battle healer” type of feel on him, so he’s probably a weird hybrid of a Tank, Support, and Juggernaut at the end of the day, though we never really committed to a particular class with him.

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Are his abilities going to be heavily altered or will he be mostly the same

Repertoir New PortraitMost of the abilities are heavily altered, though he will still stun enemies, heal/empower allies, and love Armor.

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Will he keep the calm borderline flamboyant feminine voice tone

Repertoir New PortraitWe’re aiming to make him fun and approachable, probably somewhat funny but not necessarily a joke himself.

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Can you give us a release date for Tarics rework

Repertoir New PortraitReally depends how long these timer intervals are. I’m going to go with “Soon,” since it’s all but guaranteed that he’s the next full size Champion Update we’re going to deliver.

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What can we expect from the Taric update

Repertoir New PortraitA lot of the same things he always has contributed.

And situationally the strongest spell in League of Legends.

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Repertoir New PortraitI can’t get into too many specifics on the Taric changes at the moment, but I do think that his ultimate is going to be a game changer that is especially well suited to be used with and against certain types of champions.

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Suggestion Taric uses diamonds which makes him immune to true damage

Repertoir New PortraitThis is a cool idea that I hadn’t really thought of. It would probably need to have a little more gameplay to it, like if he converted all true damage to physical damage or something like that, but I think the idea is generally really cool.

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How did you come up with the idea for Quinns new ultimate

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Repertoir New PortraitThe idea of a travel form-esque R for Quinn was one that was being tossed over a year ago internally. Jag started that, and when we decided to dedicate ourselves to a Marksmen project a few months ago, I still thought it was a cool idea and tried to make something of it. I agree with you that it has its oddities, and I think a lot of those come from trying to make too much change with too few resources to make it happen on my end. Her R is powerful, but the channel feels a little awkward and has some weird restrictions on it, and even to me it feels like it’s unique and fun, but that it’s also lower overall quality than I’d like it to be.

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Do you guys feel that Quinn is too strong

Repertoir New PortraitShe seems like she’s on the strong side, but hopefully not by an excessive amount. I wouldn’t be surprised if the balance team wanted to nerf her in a few patches if she manages to rise to the top again.

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What do the numbers say about Quinns balance state

Repertoir New PortraitThere are changes there I’d like to make if power ever permits it, but I don’t currently think it’s a good time.

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Should minions be able to cancel the channel on her ultimate

Repertoir New PortraitThere are changes there I’d like to make if power ever permits it, but I don’t currently think it’s a good time.

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What made you decide to lump Skarner in with the Juggernaut crowd

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Repertoir New PortraitWhen coming up with the concept of a Juggernaut, one of the things we were trying to do was actually separate out different groups of fighters, where Juggernaut ended up being one of those groups. That said, there will be a Skarner retrospective post coming to the Boards soon I believe, and one of the things we talk about there is that we probably improperly classified Skarner as a Juggernaut and not some other kind of fighter or tank.

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Why did you rework Skarner to function only as a solo jungler

Repertoir New PortraitIt wasn’t really a specific goal that we wanted to make him “only a jungler,” but the design we went with does have that outcome.

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Why do you think shipping the Skarner rework was a good idea

Repertoir New PortraitI think Skarner does offer a unique play experience unlike any other champion has to offer, though I think it has too many costs attached to it. Were we to do Juggernauts over again, we likely wouldn’t choose to work on Skarner. I think there are definite upsides to his update, but we likely could have gotten more bang for our buck elsewhere.

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Were the zones on Skarners passive necessary

Repertoir New PortraitWe set out to make a champion that was defined by pre-determined zones of power, and I think in a lot of ways that was accomplished. That said, I don’t think the execution was as good as players deserved. It feels too forced/constrained.

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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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CONTEXT FOR RECENT ZED BUFF ON THE PBE Banner

 

Why are you buffing Zed again

[ Note ] This is the PBE change in question:

 

Zed Final Portrait

 

Buff BoxDeath Mark Final IconDeath Mark [ R ]

  • Delay on recasting Death Mark has been decreased from 1 second to 0.5

 

 

Repertoir New PortraitI didn’t do these change, but if Juggernauts release on the strong side, Zed’s going to need the buffs. Those guys just wreck him.

Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything sadder for Zed than being the Villain.

Edit: this was a bad joke on my part. Zed getting buffs has nothing to do with Juggernauts. He should be weak against Juggernauts. He should be strong against squishies. And I should re-read posts before pressing Save so that I don’t give people the wrong impression as to why he (or any other character) might be getting changes.

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If you buff Zed hell be even stronger against immobile mages

Repertoir New PortraitAren’t the proposed buffs to Zed to reduce the blink-back time on R with rank? This seems like a pretty sound approach to me, tbh. .75 and .5 seconds are long enough in the early and mid-game for a single defender to hit some cc on him when he comes in, and though .25 seconds is pretty short, there should be teammates around to help then.

At the end of the day, Zed is probably supposed to be pretty strong against immobile skillshot mages, similar to how juggernauts are supposed to be strong against him.

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Repertoir New PortraitThe juggernaut reworks aren’t at all being released to help counter Zed. My apologies if that’s the impression I gave.

As an assassin, Zed should be strong against squishy targets. They should have a fair chance to defend themselves (especially early in the game), but the upper hand should probably be his.

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Light buffs to mobile assassins in 5 16

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re putting a bit of power back into Zed and Le Blanc in 5.16, in both cases partial reversions of the previous nerfs, they got hit harder than intended.

5.16 also includes an overall nerf to Ahri’s passive (same healing at level 1 and level 16, less healing at the levels in between though).

Fizz we’re still talking about. He’s a possible candidate for work in 5.17, depends in part on how 5.16 goes though and how the state of the game does or doesn’t change.

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Riot there are 126 Champions and 6 bans We need 5 bans per side

Repertoir New PortraitThough I personally don’t know why the ban count is three instead of 4 or 5 or even 2, what has actually changed recently that would make it so that you now need 2 additional bans per team? I could see the size of the roster growing being a reason, but it’s really not THAT much larger than it was at the beginning of the year.


I actually think that having another ban or two could be cool, but mostly for reasons that are due to my own personal preference, and not necessarily because I think it makes the ranked play system any better. Even in the example you provided above, assuming those champions are ban worthy, the two captains could still only ban 10 of those 13 champions, and there would still be 3 left over. And of course, there would be all the champions that every other player in the game thinks are ban worthy that did not get banned, so it’s hard to tell in that case if we’d really be any better off. One thing that would be especially painful about having 4 more total bans during the ban phase is how much longer each Draft Queue game would take. It may not sound like a big deal, but champion select already seems to drag on an eternity sometimes. I guess at the end of the day, I’m not really sure if we’d better or worse off with more bans.

Maybe a different ban system entirely would be cool, like one where everyone in the game gets to ban 1 champion in the first thirty seconds or something. That would be faster, though it would come at the cost of ban overlap or team miscommunication getting a team off to an unfriendly start. Maybe ranked 5s and competitive play should be using a different system than solo queue; not sure entirely.

We were talking internally about some adjustments to the draft phase of champ select about a year ago, but I’m not sure any particular idea stuck out as the right solution. It’s probably something worth exploring some more, since it is a part of every draft queue game we play.

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This is not a new problem its just more relevant with the growing Champ pool

Repertoir New PortraitYeah, I didn’t mean to suggest necessarily that this is a new problem this year. With that comment, I more meant to suggest to ask OP why the need was so dire now as opposed to before.

I definitely agree that it would be great if the draft system was better suited for building out team comps better as a team and banning out stuff that threatened it rather than just banning the fotms.

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Skarners passive is lackluster and is a bunch of extra work for sub par rewards

Repertoir New PortraitAbout it being lackluster, that’s certainly not the intention. If the reward just isn’t there, that is something that can be easily addressed. If it’s that they’re tedious, maybe the channel time is too long or some of them are just too far out of the way to be useful.

 

As per your suggestion, one of the things I actually think is really important to them is their static positions. It gives Skarner players, teammates, and opponents an expectation as to how they’re going to play about them in any given game. This is important to me because, even following these changes, we aren’t aiming to have Skarner be extremely popular and in every game. We’re okay with his niche appeal, and we just wanted to give a little more uniqueness to the games he’s in, as well as another point of mastery for Skarner players. Whether good or bad, his ultimate really isn’t that unique anymore, and it can’t really be made much more powerful, so we looked elsewhere.

I think another thing that seems tedious about them is that players feel like they should be trying to control them all whenever possible, and that’s really not the intention. Played optimally, Skarner should try to control the ones he thinks he’ll need in the next minute or two, or maybe stop to cap one over when he’s nearby. There’s no bonus for holding all of them, so I don’t really want Skarner players making the choice to go activate a crystal in the enemy jungle when there’s a lane that needs ganking or something, unless maybe taking that crystal helps them steal a buff or do some counterjungling.

I hope this helps to explain some of the reasoning behind the goals for his passive, even if it’s not exactly what you wanted to hear.

As a follow-up, if you want to continue to help me understand what makes them ‘lackluster and a bunch of extra work for a sub-par reward,’ I’m happy to talk about it. Though some things are probably set in stone for the upcoming patch, that doesn’t mean everything is, and it doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing follow-up work on Skarner if he falls short in unintended areas.

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Will you be pulled to another project like Stashu was with Cassiopeias rework

Repertoir New PortraitI am not my own manager, but I also do think I am capable of making positive change with the right effort and focus. You guys probably remember that Ashe got an update earlier this year? That was just an extra thing that I picked up on the side and then put together with the Champion Update team’s help, and I think it went really well.

For me, I don’t usually find that one project is enough to keep me occupied, so I like having follow-up or other stuff to work on on the side.

If a few months down the road, you think there’s follow-up that I’ve ignored or forgotten, please do hold me accountable to at least letting you know what’s up. Worst case, I’ll hopefully just be able to let you guys know what’s up, even if the decision isn’t what you want to hear. Leaving you hanging wouldn’t be cool, though.

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Arent the crystals on the enemy side just 30 free gold for the enemy jungler

Repertoir New PortraitThe crystals on the enemy side of the map start on their team, and they can’t get any gold from them unless they capture them. Technically, if you never went into the enemy jungle and left those crystals alone the whole game, they would never swap over to your team, and thus never present the chance for opponents to ever capture them for the small gold reward.

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Its tedious having to run back and recapture crystals that an enemy has capped

Repertoir New PortraitI think that feeling of being compelled to reclaim it in all cases will go away after a few plays, and you’ll just focus on the ones that are going to help you in the foreseeable future. Additionally, even in the case that someone takes a crystal from you, you do get information as to there whereabouts if you’re paying attention, so it’s not all a loss.

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Why is Skarner labeled a Juggernaut when his gameplay doesnt reflect that

Repertoir New PortraitWe actually agree that Skarner is probably the odd one out amongst the four releases coming up, but we’re actually okay with that. He’s more about CC than the others, and probably less about damage overall, but we don’t think it’s absolutely necessary that there be a single damage profile that these guys all adhere to.

Skarner will probably function full time as some kind of off tank guy, while being a full on Juggernaut damage threat while under the effects of his passive.

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How would Skarner compete for objective control with Nunu

Repertoir New PortraitGood question. I’m on my phone more so I won’t be too wordy.

First, we don’t actually consider Nunu to be in the same class as Skarner, in that Skarner is intended to be more of a damage presence than Nunu.

If you wanted objective control, but needed damage still, I’d expect skarner to be a better choice. Also, Nunu controls objectives primarily through his secure combo, whereas Skarner through fight presence and power around the objectives.

Less relevant, but still interesting, Skarner’s Impale will prevent Nunu from Smiling or Consuming, so he can actually shut that down if played well.

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DISCUSSION ON GARENS REWORK

 

The community was promised that Garens silence would remain the same

Repertoir New PortraitFrom what I understand, any messaging about Garen’s update said his Silence would still be there, not necessarily that it would go untouched in any way, shape, or form. Can you show me where we said that? Because that seems like a big goof up on our end if that’s the case. So, on that topic, yeah, no one should have promised that 🙁

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If Garens silence is a problem why does ChoGath have 3 forms of CC

Repertoir New PortraitThough historically we haven’t made many efforts to differentiate between tanks like Cho’Gath and tanky guys like Garen, we’re trying to establish that differentiation to some extent. Though we haven’t really investigated Cho’Gath directly yet, he falls much more toward the general idea of what a tank is. Durable, heavy crowd control, and low sustained damage (though his sustained damage may be too high for this to be true).

Garen, on the other hand, is being pushed toward a much higher sustained damage pattern than he’s ever had in the past, to the point that we’re classifying him as a carry. I think we can probably agree that carries shouldn’t have a high level of crowd control, though it doesn’t necessarily follow that a 2.5 second silence is a ‘high level of crowd control.’ Maybe Cho does too much damage for a tank or is unfair in some other way (like his silence duration), but it’s probably not the best idea to reduce Cho’s silence duration because we’re reducing Garen’s, and it’s also probably not the best idea to think we have to leave Garen’s silence alone because there are other characters whose silences are longer.

I will say this about the duration reduction on Garen’s silence. I lowered it to a duration that felt fair given the higher damage the character will now do. Is 1.5 seconds too low? Possibly, but it definitely wasn’t reduced because Riot doesn’t like silence. With his upcoming changes, we’re trying to put him in a spot where he can be seen as a real threat, and less of a guy whose usefulness falls off dramatically as the game goes on. If we’re not hitting that mark after his release, I’ll try to calibrate upward.

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Why did you revert Courage W back to a stacking resist buff

Repertoir New PortraitThis update aims to increase Garen’s affinity for Health items, and flat resistances are a good way to do that. Maybe this just reads as a nerf or something, but in almost all cases, it’s just not. I sure don’t think ‘scaling/stacking benefits are toxic,’ and if that was formerly our stance, we have changed a lot in the past few years, and the game has too. Overall, he should not be squishier, except in the case of full tank builds.


As to ‘complete and utter gutting,’ that seems to imply the character is going to fall to a sub 45% win rate or something. With the changes going in, I’d be truly surprised if it was closer to 45% than 55%. I could be wrong here, but we’re definitely not aiming for a gutting, or even a nerf at all. If he comes out and proves to be weak, I’ll be happy to admit we missed the mark on him, and buff him up a bit, probably in places where we took some stuff away.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitI really do want to make his W active more interesting in the future, if I get a chance to come back to it and power permits.

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Isnt the point of Juggernauts that theyre rewarded for closing the gap

Repertoir New PortraitThey should indeed be rewarded for getting on top of a target, and in most cases following the update, I’d expect a late game Garen to easily kill a late game Vayne in a 1.5 second silence if he manages to close the gap and get a silence off on her.

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Is the silence nerf aimed at reducing Garens lane presence

Repertoir New PortraitLane silence isn’t actually really an issue at all. It’s still the same at rank 1, after all.

This discussion does seem to keep coming back to some players saying “trust us, his silence duration needs to be what it’s always been” and me saying “trust me, I don’t think it does anymore when he does more damage.”


I understand that that’s an uncomfortable situation for you guys to be in, and I don’t mind talking having the discussion really. Since Garen went on PBE about a week ago, there were some changes that, following discussion with you guys, didn’t seem like the right changes, and I tweaked some and reverted others. That said, there are some changes that I think are important for hitting the goals of his changes, like being more about damage in the late game, and less about his silence.

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You want Garen to be a Juggernaut but it seems hell be played as an assassin

Repertoir New PortraitThough he will now do a lot of damage to a target, Garen lacks the mobility profile and target selection of a real assassin. Assassins get to blink or dash to where they want to be, try to kill a guy, and then get out, and they often have the tools to do all that. Garen has to run at a guy, stick to them for 3 seconds, and then run away. As such, I don’t really see him as an assassin.

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Whats Garens highlight supposed to look like after the rework

Repertoir New PortraitGaren does the baseline stuff of a Juggernaut (tanky, high damage, low mobility profile) with some additional assassin-like tendencies against a single, semi-random target.

When I think about what these Juggernauts are, they should all be really tanky, they should all deal high damage to the enemy team, and they should all be relatively immobile, PLUS one or two additional differentiating aspects (Villainy, in Garen’s case).

Maybe the “increased damage when hitting a single target” doesn’t send a perfect message, but Garen’s damage in teamfights should still be on par or higher than these other guys. I expect his aoe damage to still be really high despite that addition.

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Would you nerf Judgements E damage if it proves too high

Repertoir New PortraitIf it turns out Garen is too strong following his update, I’d prefer to nerf his Q speed or base MS slightly over hurting his damage.

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Why should I pick Garen over other Juggernaut top laners

Repertoir New PortraitThere are a couple potential reasons that I could see to pick Garen (outside just liking him). First, he’ll still be a lane bully for several matchups I imagine, and picking to win your lane can often be a good idea. Second, relative to other tanky top laners, Garen will have possibly the best combined package of sustained speed, durability, and damage. Basically, he’s a good pick when you need a tanky damage dealing presence and you can anticipate fights that will move a lot.

Strategically, he may be the perfect pick when you have a team that can support him (especially with speed buffs, like Lulu or Sivir) and the opposing team has only one or two damage threats (bonus points if at least one of them is a melee threat). This is the ideal pick scenario for him because the opposing team needs their limited damage dealers to get fed in order to win the game, and if they get fed, they become the Villain. Having that extra effectiveness against that Villain when the opposing team is heavily reliant on them can actually be a big deal.

Another fun interpretation of where I think Garen is a good pick, though it isn’t strategicwithin the game is when you know the opposing team relies on a certain player to get fed in order to win. This could potentially translate to competitive play, though I think it’s more applicable and fun to pre-mades with friends. When you’ve got that one Diamond guy in your premade that you know is going to stomp a bunch of Silvers, pick Garen against him and show him who’s boss in the late game.

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What problems does this rework solve for Garen

Repertoir New PortraitBefore making any changes to him, Garen was in the unfortunate situation of:

  1. Having to work super hard to get to people in fights (this used to be the standard in LoL)
  2. Not being all that impactful if he actually managed to get to people


This update doesn’t change the former. In fact, he statistically becomes slightly worse at getting to people. However, it is intended that he’ll have a huge impact if he actually manages to get to people now. Whether or not the exact numbers we have on PBE right now will perfectly accomplish that goal, that is indeed the goal, and I’ll work to get him there if he falls short of it on release. At the end of the day, Garen is never going to be able to compete with champions like Irelia, Hecarim, or Riven (this isn’t to say that any of these three characters are necessarily balanced either) when it comes to getting to specific targets, so he should be meaningfully more impactful than them in some way if he pulls it off. In his case, he’s just going to deal a ton of damage to things he sticks to.

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ROLE OF JUGGERNAUTS IN A TEAM Banner

 

What role are Juggernauts supposed to fill on a team

Meddler Final PortraitWe see juggernauts as a sub class of fighters/brawlers/bruisers/whatever else you want to call them. That’s a really large group of champions that ranges from the really mobile characters that build damage only, like Tryndamere, to the immobile champs that build tanky like Nasus. We’ve been looking at a series of sub groups with that larger fighter group as a result as follows:


  • Juggernauts – Immobile, tough, build one to two offensive items on average (e.g. Nasus or Garen)
  • Divers – Pretty mobile, and really good at getting onto specific targets they want to kill, builds a little bit more offensively than juggernauts (e.g. Irelia or Xin Zhao)
  • Light fighters (need a better name for this group – Highly mobile, builds almost entirely offense, often good at killing multiple targets, usually squishy with windowed defense of evasieness (e.g. Trynd or Fiora).

Biggest contrast between tanks and juggernauts is in what each group is trying do. Tanks are generally trying to initiate or peel more, kill by themselves less. They build almost mainly (sometimes exclusively) defense/utility and have a greater amount of mobility, generally tied to initiation or peeling actions.

As far as other juggernauts go, Olaf, Shyvana are the next two we’re planning on looking at. Yorick’s arguably a juggernaut, he’ll get a full relaunch though. Volibear could be described as a juggernaut, though he’s also got some diver and tank bits to him. Mundo also shares some juggernaut characteristics, but doesn’t really match overall (which is fine, we’re looking to use these descriptions as ways to map similarities and differences between champions, not because every champion has to be forced into a specific category).

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final Portrait‘Juggernaut’ is a term we’re using to talk about a type of champion that’s pretty much always been in the game. We haven’t previously put enough time into identifying their strengths, weaknesses, item needs, role in lane, role in a teamfight however, so we’re doing some of that work now.

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Will you be working on other subclasses like Divers or Light Fighters

Meddler Final PortraitWe chose juggernauts as a group to focus on because we felt they needed the work the most. Next step’s going to be follow up work post 5.16 release (balancing if we’re off on power, adjusting mechanics if some of our theories get proven wrong etc). We’ll then assess how successful this work was or wasn’t and use that to help inform how we tackle other characters.

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Would you classify Shyvana as a Juggernaut

Meddler Final Portrait We think juggernaut’s probably the closest description for Shyvana because damage output, and ability to kill enemy champions herself, is a really core part of her identity. She’s happy soaking some damage certainly, but she’s not there primarily to set up/enable her team. Gragas and Cho we’ve been looking at as tank/mage combinations, Trundle as tank (though he’s definitely got some juggenaut characteristics and doesn’t fit the tank mold that cleanly), J4 as diver or tank (definitely not a juggernaut given the amount of mobility on his kit).

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Why not turn Shen into a Juggernaut

Meddler Final PortraitAs in remove his dash and make him more about auto attacking/damage output? Not seeing the Shen+Juggernaut fit sorry, and that’s before looking at thematics too.

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Is Poppy being pushed more towards a Tank or Juggernaut role

Meddler Final PortraitMore tank (stronger CC focus, so more like Sion than like Garen).

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IDEAS FOR NERFING VAYNES EARLY GAME Banner

 

Why hasnt Riot toned down Vaynes HP true damage

Repertoir New PortraitSeems like something we’d prefer not to touch since it’s such a core part of the character’s identity. If I had to nerf Vayne, it certainly wouldn’t be the first place I’d look to hit. I’d prefer to just nerf her early game or reduce the flat damage component of Silver Bolts, but the percent part of it seems pretty core to the identity of the character.

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How would YOU nerf Vaynes early game

Repertoir New PortraitIf I had to nerf Vayne’s, I’d probably try to first think about why she’s too strong in the first place. How did she go from someone seen as having a bad early game to someone seen as pretty average in the early game?

Though these first few suggestions aren’t directly nerfs to Vayne and have other implications, I’d probably ask why Caitlyn, Lucian, and other historical lane bullies aren’t doing their job to keep her in check. So first, I’d ask why other lane bullies that used to give her trouble aren’t being played anymore, and maybe look into that (though that’s a multi-champion change).

Also, I’d probably try to determine what exactly is the issue with her early game. Is her early game actually too strong? Or does the state of the game just more or less guarantee that she gets her late game? This second part can be especially relevant, because it makes less sense to have champions that are so disproportionately strong in the late game if games are tending to go five minutes longer than they used to (not sure on the exact numbers on game length at the moment, to be honest).

I’ll admit I’m absolutely not an expert on marksman balance, so don’t take my suggestions here as gospel. However, there are lots of ways to nerf a champion’s early game. Off the top of my head:

  • Base AD nerf and increase AD/lvl. Just a couple Base AD makes a huge difference in early game power. I reduced Nidalee’s base AD when she was a terror in top lane late last season, and she basically disappeared from the lane.
  • Scale her spell damages or cooldowns non-linearly, with the later ranks giving more value than the first. This is unconventional, but there’s no reason we really can’t do it. For instance, if Tumble’s cooldown was only reduced by .5 seconds at early ranks, and 1.5 in the last few (or something like that.
  • Probably a bad idea, but maybe Vayne could have 325 or lower MS and have her passive MS increased. I think one of the things about Vayne is that she’s supposed to be a statement pick, like “I know this champion isn’t good early game, but I’m better than you and can win regardless.” Something like this may play that up, though at the expense of snowballiness.

Anyway, just some thoughts off the top of my head.

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Do you think Vaynes kit synergizes with Blade of the Ruined King too well

Repertoir New PortraitImo, BotRK rush is generally probably just too strong, especially on champions it synergizes with.

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CONTEXT FOR RECENT LEE SIN BUFFS Banner

 

 

Why is Lee Sin being buffed on the PBE

Meddler Final PortraitThese are buffs intended to give power particularly to players who aren’t amazing at Lee Sin. We like that Lee Sin’s got a pretty steep mastery curve that really rewards practice, but it’s a bit too extreme, making it really hard to put him in a good spot balance wise (if he’s balanced in top tier play he’s very weak for the average player, if he’s at least tolerable for the average player he’s probably too dominant in top tier play). They will add a bit of power to competitive Lee Sin play too, we’re looking to avoid too much of a buff there though.

As far as the specific changes go:

  • Ult now deals damage to people hit by the champion knocked back based off the bonus HP of the champ kicked. If you can Insec well, this isn’t going to be a very appealing play generally. If you can’t however, and are regularly using the ult just to get enemy divers out of the fight for your team this will offer a bit of extra power to try and optimize. Will be some niche cases where it helps out in high level play as well, we expect those situations to be pretty niche though.

  • Energy restore from passive now frontloaded onto the first auto attack (20 first auto then 10 second auto, instead of 15/15). This buff will help out both new and experienced Lee Sin players, expectation is it’ll be significantly more useful to newer players though as they learn energy management and when to weave auto attacks in between spell casts. A frequent source of failure we see from new players is constantly trying to weave in 2 autos per cast, even when that’s a really poor idea or, at the other extreme, running out of energy frequently. Giving people room to learn and grow’s great of course, we’d like to get some signalling in there to encourage people to consider 1 auto per cast more often when they’re first learning though.

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Why not balance him instead

Meddler Final Portrait‘Balanced for who?’ is one of the questions behind this work. We choose to balance for high level play, with some reigning in of massive outliers at lower skill levels. If the difference in performance between experienced and inexperienced player gets too far out of line however that means we’re forced to make a champion really hard to succeed with and unsatisfying for the average player if they’re to be balanced at high level play. Making a champions skill floor a bit more accessible, without lowering their skill ceiling, is an approach we feel’s valuable as a result, and this work is, in part, an example of that.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final Portrait5.16’s also got changes to a number of other champs we believe also need some help. Currently in testing stuff includes:

  • Kassadin (ult AP ratio)
    Le Blanc (partial reversion of the W speed reduction)
    Lissandra (self cast ult heals Lissandra)
    Lucian (W MS bonus can now be triggered by allies)
    Nami (buffed passive, ult applies double strength passive)
    Twitch (lower Q mana cost and very slight ult damage increase late game)
    Vel’koz (secondary missiles on Q have more range)
    Zed (shorter delay until ult can be reactivated)

That’s all potential stuff in testing, so not guaranteed to go live of course, but Lee’s definitely not the only champ we’re looking at in that regard.

Yorick’s a champ we believe needs a full kit overhaul, in the same way old Sion did/Poppy does. He’s not in a terrible spot power wise so, given we don’t believe he’s good for the game, we don’t want to add any power to him at this point.

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BUFFS TO FIORA IN 5 16 AND UPDATE ON WARWICK Banner

 

 

Will Warwick receive an update soon

Repertoir New PortraitWarwick is one of the champions that pretty regularly shows up on the list of ‘champions to work on’, but I don’t think there are currently any plans for him. That said, there weren’t any plans for Garen, Morde, Darius, and Skarner until May, so who knows…

If you don’t mind me asking, what is it about him that makes him your favorite character?

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Fiora should receive some minor buffs

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re with you that Fiora seems to be pretty underpowered and are working on a set of buffs for her at the moment. One of those will increase her mobility, overall though at least for a first set of changes we’re looking more to add baseline effectiveness to her. From the look of it we ended up being significantly too cautious about her balance overall.

Current changelist (note, work in progress, so not set in stone) looks like this:

HP / level 80 >>> 92
AD / Level 2.5 >>> 3.3
Q CD 18/16/14/12/10 >>> 16/14/12/10/8
W CD 21/19.5/18/16.5/15 >>> 19/18/17/16/15

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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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Patch-5-15-Official-Notes-Banner

 

 

Scale and Timing of Patch 5 16 Banner

This discussion is in reference to yesterday’s massive patch, which you can check out HERE.

 

Patch 516 Juggernaut Reworks and Item Changes Discussions

Meddler Final PortraitHi all,

Wanted to link a bunch of discussions going on on the PBE boards at the moment regarding the various changes in the 5.16 patch, given threads on the PBE boards tend to have lower visibility than stuff here. Lot more change than the average patch going on, with some stuff that looks pretty weird, overpowered or over-nerfed at least at first read. Lot of details in the threads below that hopefully offer some context on what we’re thinking and what we believe the impact of some of these changes will be.

These threads are on the PBE forums specifically to gather feedback from people that are testing/will test the changes in game. Very interested in feedback from other people as well though of course, and currently reading a lot of it both here and on various 3rd party sites. As usual these are PBE changes and therefore subject to change as we polish kits, balance numbers, fix bugs etc. There are also some changes that are much more, or less, impactful in game than they may appear at a glance on paper (e.g. Morde gaining a bit of extra attack range).

Skarner:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/d2bmpMif-skarner-pbe-changelist-and-feedback-thread

Garen:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/Y7ELMJAK-garen-pbe-changelist-and-feedback-thread

Darius:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/Grx91k8I-darius-pbe-changelist-and-feedback

Morde:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/KhcvQBlG-mordekaiser-change-summary-feedback-thread

New Items:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/rFbd7hyy-new-items-steraks-gage-and-titanic-hydra

Defensive Item Changes:
http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/yMtrbjGs-core-defense-items-pass-516

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Do you want our negative feedback on the changes

Meddler Final PortraitYes, I’d definitely like to hear the grievances people have with these changes, discussions like this one are one of the main reasons I spend time on the forums in the first place.

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Why are you changing so many things in a single patch

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re putting a lot of stuff in 5.16 for a few reasons:

  1. These are changes that have been developed together that tie in with each other. The state of Morde, Garen etc is going to be highly impacted by the items available to them. Releasing champ changes and items separately means having to wait longer to get a true read on how they interact with each other.

  2. After 5.16 we want to start focusing on balance and stability as we prepare for the patch Worlds will be played on (most likely 5.18). Putting all the disruption into one patch, and then taking a couple to balance it, gives us more time to catch issues than spreading it out over 3 patches and then not having any reaction time to issues that emerge in the third patch.

  3. We feel we’ve been a bit too conservative in the past in the run up to Worlds. Worlds should involve a stable patch, that teams can focus on, ideally with any massive balance outliers. That’s not to say it should reflect a game state that’s been unchanged for so long it’s starting to feel stale though. It’s about two months until Worlds right now, which we feel’s a good time to introduce some change before, as above, shifting gears to balance/polish.

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Why are you doing these massive changes right before Worlds

Xypherous Final PortraitWe have roughly 2 1/2 months of lead up to worlds and so at least 2 full patches to respond to any massive directional imbalances.

As for how massive this is – while there are a lot of items on the changelist itself – it’s mostly small tuning steps with one or two exceptions. Similar to how AP itemization goes – while there is a lot of holistic polish across the board – the net overall change should be moderate – at least for these core passes.

While I understand that’s not a super satisfying answer – I believe this is the last major update of the year in which a lot of things are happening and thus these item changes are meant to be a polish and tuning step to support a somewhat better ecosystem for those changes to live in.

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A huge patch right before Worlds means pros wont have time to adapt

Pwyff Final PortraitSorry if I don’t respond immediately. I occasionally comment and then go do work. I get that being deliberately inflammatory on the internet is how you get responses, and I hate rewarding that, but let’s actually talk about this because I don’t think we’re 100% correct, but at least we have good reasons.

First, I think it’s worth discussing what constitutes ‘too much change’ for pro play vs. regular play. There’s definitely a subjective concept (survey pros! survey players!), but I wonder what is objectively considered too much for a pro player to adapt on a patch to patch basis. That’s a super philosophical question.

Regardless, it’s worth noting that 5.14 is the patch that all of the playoffs are being played on (per esports’ commitment), and then a later patch (definitely post-5.16) will be the standardized patch that Worlds will be played on. Pros do get a period of time between playoffs and worlds to practice.

So here’s where we get to the concept of what makes a competitive player. Every game out there values specific things, from Counter-Strike’s commitment to reflexes, snap aim, tactical map movement, or Quake’s movement-based, tracking-aim, power-up placement memorization. League’s always valued player adaptability to a high degree – probably higher than most competitive games. We know there are benefits (from a spectating perspective games are more varied, strategies are being changed up, different playstyles can shine and truly talented teams can demonstrate their mastery by staying ahead of the curve) and drawbacks (players feel they have to ‘re-learn’ the game, optimization of singular strategies isn’t possible, players with narrow champion pools are negatively impacted).

In other words, I’d challenge stability as the ultimate indicator of a competitive player. Faker has long been heralded as the pinnacle of League talent, and we appreciate him because of his tireless commitment to mastering core game mechanics and systems, while also innovating with an evolving game. I’d also mention, I don’t think these changes are so massive that they reinvent all that is League of Legends – they offer new strategic paths, but I have no way of objectively verifying just how much more powerful new, emergent strategies are vs. players believing they are.

All that said, I’m not saying this is a fool-proof argument – if we hear a lot of discussion that this is just too much, that teams just can’t accommodate, then this is definitely a lesson for the future. I just want to make sure we both realize we’re coming from two very different perspectives on what makes a good, competitive game of League.

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Can we expect new mechanics on Nunu Mundo Fizz or Aatrox

Meddler Final PortraitAatrox definitely needs some work, agreed, he does some fun stuff, but it’s too general overall.

Mundo, with his massive regen, poke from a traditionally poke weak class and berserker playstyle (benefits for low health) is someone we feel’s pretty close to distinct enough. Would be good to do some smaller stuff on him at some point, we feel other champs need the work a lot more though.

Nunu we feel’s extremely unique. Long duration MS/AS buff he can keep on multiple targets, extremely strong objective control off a base ability, repeated attack speed slows from a support like champion and an ult that controls space in a pretty distinct way with extreme punishment after a long telegraph.

Current assessment is Fizz is in a reasonable spot, given the uniqueness his Shark and Troll Pole offer, both in terms of playstyle and relative to other assassins. Might need to reward him more for AP builds/less for tanky ones, not sure on that front. As with Mundo though some opportunity to differentiate him a bit more with small changes, but a champ we feel’s got a strong need.

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Can you give us more info on the upcoming changes to Shyvana Olaf

Meddler Final PortraitWe haven’t started work on Shyvana or Olaf yet besides some really rough brainstorming, in part because we want to see how these changes, and the associated item changes, go. Assess what works, what doesn’t, where we should have taken things further or pulled back etc.

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Will Shyvana still be able to carry games

Meddler Final PortraitCan’t offer you any details on what changes to her kit might look like, we haven’t started talking about that ourselves yet. Would definitely expect her to retain a strong damage focus.

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Feedback on Updated Darius Banner

You can find all the changes to Darius HERE.

 

New PBE changelist for Darius

Statikk New PortraitHey all,

Got some time to test him out this morning and talk with the playtest team.

We definitely feel his presence in team fights is way higher than he was previous to these changes.

My current concerns lie within the consistency of his laning phase and if he’s just bit too soft there.

Here’s the changelist you guys will see in the next build:

Q

  • Mana cost reduced to 30 from 40

W

  • Slow is now 90% at all ranks from 40/50/60/70/80%

E

  • Slow adjusted to 90% for 1 second from 99% for 0.75

These changes are aimed at making combo’d Q’s pretty much guaranteed. We want to ensure that there is still ample counter-play to the Q when used alone, but we’re pretty happy with Darius making it much easier for himself if he uses up his other resources successfully.

Overall, we don’t feel Darius is far off balance-wise in either direction, so we would like to take small steps at a time. We’re also really interested in how Darius progresses over time as people get used to the new Q.

Thanks guys.

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Responding to community feedback on the Darius update

Statikk New PortraitGonna address a couple of points I’ve seen brought up:

E’s Slow

Currently it’s set to be a 90% slow for 0.75 seconds. It is designed to help ensure that E -> Q is a fairly guaranteed combo.

Lack of an Execution Indicator

We purposely left this out of Darius’s update for design reasons. Darius’s design and balance actually revolves around his R’s success and failures more than any other champion in the game.

Because of this when we added an indicator, the Darius gameplay became too much about just reacting to a UI element changing rather than making interesting, risky, and snappy decisions in the heat of battle that might cascade into a pentakill.

In a lot of cases we would prefer consistency across our champions, but in the Darius case we feel like the lack of the indicator allows us to retain power in certain areas and makes him more enjoyable in the long run.

Removal of Passive Movement Speed

This is essential to the direction we are moving the Juggernauts. They are intended to be and feel slow, but hopefully have a ton of other strengths to bring to the table to compensate.

This change became extremely important to make especially after we changed Hemorrhage to deal physical damage due to the insane synergy Darius now has with Black Cleaver.

Q Delay

Along with Bloodrage, this is the most significant change we made to the kit and we feel it’s 100% necessary for the long-term health of the champion. We’ve struggled in the past to make melee vs. melee combat interesting and skill-based, so this is us trying to address that.

I know it can be pretty painful to get used to, but we’ve tested it pretty thoroughly and feel you guys will be able to get the hang of it. Adding the delay allows us to load more power into the Q (the heal and increased late game damage) without just making him unstoppable in lane and other dueling scenarios.

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How about making the delay on his Q scale down with levels

Statikk New PortraitThat’s an interesting thought. We definitely have struggles keeping gameplay fair as the speed and pace increases later in the game.

Haven’t tried that yet, but it sounds super intriguing. If we find that he is not able to hit Q’s later in the game, this might make sense.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitDefinitely seeing the echo of Q being weaker early and also harder to hit. Very much open to making sure his Q feels right in the lane given the more skill-based gameplay it has now.

Gonna get in a few games on him today and talk with the playtest team to see what we can do.

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Did you intentionally make Darius an even slower fighter

Statikk New PortraitYeah Darius is one of the more pure, raw Juggernauts in the game. He truly has no movement bonuses and has fairly limited reach (though his reach is better than some of the other Juggernauts that do exist).

Hopefully Darius feels powerful for being that clean-up monster that none of the other Juggernauts can bring to the table.

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So you arbitrarily designed that a class of immobile fighters should exist

Statikk New PortraitWell, I wouldn’t say “arbitrarily.”

Juggernauts were always a class of champions that we attempted to design (slow, tanky, high damage). We are simply taking a hard look at what we were trying to initially design, finding out where we went wrong in the past, and getting them to work in the modern day of LoL without just turning them all into the same generic champion.

Skarner and Garen are definitely on the fast side of Juggernaut while Darius is on the other side. We think it’s possible to make sure Darius can be stronger than the other 2 in different areas instead.

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Did you fix Apprehends range to be 550 not 540

Statikk New PortraitWe basically re-coded the entire spell to function in the manner we wanted. The E should now be entirely accurate.

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VIABILITY OF NEW GAREN Banner

You can find the complete changelist of Garen compared to live HERE.

 

Dont you think nerfing the silence from 25 secs to 15 is a bit much

Repertoir New PortraitMaybe it is, but I think 1.5 seconds still feels pretty substantial. If, for some reason, it’s too short, it could maybe bump upward a bit.

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Repertoir New PortraitIf there’s any part of the changelist that’s too much, I’ll be happy to reel it in. All data we have so far suggests that he’s at least as powerful as Live with these changes, and likely quite a bit stronger.

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Why was Courage W reverted to farming minions for flat bonus resists

Repertoir New PortraitThe flat Armor/MR model actually makes more sense in a world where Garen wants to build a lot of Health items (which he should have readily available to him in this patch). I think you may be right that it takes too long to farm currently, though. I’ll keep an eye out for that. This shouldn’t be too much of a nerf, since the Health items coming this patch (Sterak’s Gage, Ravenous Hydra, Warmog’s update, etc.) should allow him to build an abundance of Health and get more of what he needs in fewer items. I totally understand not liking the Tenacity nerf, but we do feel it’s important that Tanks and CC-heavy supports feel good about their efforts to peel the big tanky dudes running at their teams.

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The late game buff to Judgement means Garen will need ArPen items

Repertoir New PortraitThis skill also has a 5.5 Total AD ratio in the late game, so I don’t think it’s only amped by Penetration. Black Cleaver should be even better on him now, due to the higher AD ratio, as well as the fact that he’ll stack the passive faster due to the increased tick rate of Judgment.

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Why does Judgement slow Garen when hes moving toward enemies

Repertoir New PortraitThis change is intended to improve play during the back half of Judment. Keep in mind, the cooldown of this spell is lower, so you’ll get to cast it more often, and there’s also a cooldown incentive to turning it off early if the enemy has escaped it, meaning it will become available to cast even sooner. He does a significant amount more damage now, and he was probably too sticky to merit it. Garen was allowed to have that level of stickiness before because his damage just wasn’t relevant in the later stages of the game most often, but it should be now.

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His current and new Ws are stale abilities with little gameplay involved

Repertoir New PortraitHis W is pretty darn boring, but individual abilities can be somewhat bland if there is added complexity to the kit elsewhere. In Garen’s case, we wanted to keep him available as a beginner player option, and we took some complexity out of W active, put we put some back in the R passive, E activation, and W passive farming.

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Will the total duration of Judgement change from 3 seconds

Repertoir New PortraitThe total duration is always 3 seconds, so the game starts with it at 5 ticks per spin, and increases to 6/7/8/9/10 ticks per spin at levels 4/7/10/13/16.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitLate game Judgment damage (all ticks combined) should be 280 + 5.5 TotalAD from 360 + 3.3 TotalAD

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MORDEKAISER ON THE BOT LANE Banner

You can find Morde’s complete changelist HERE.

 

 

Bot lane Morde will probably need to start Doran Shield or Cloth 5 pots

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve also seen some Morde’s start Targon’s, particularly if they’re paired with a support that’ll really value the extra healing from that (supports that trade aggressively for example). Not sure if that’s optimal yet, worth a look though.

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If a team takes Mordekaiser bot lane they will probably take an ADC mid

Meddler Final PortraitThat’s what we’ve seen in most internal playtests so far. Some non ADC teams, lot of mid or top (or very occasionally jungle) ADCs.

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What supports have been getting picked to lane with Mordekaiser

Meddler Final PortraitSupports with strong CC have been the most consistently successful so far in testing, since they let Morde get onto targets with his Q and set up well for the W damage field. Double Targon’s has also proven at least moderately effective, again not sure if that’s necessarily optimal or not though.

It’s likely this direction will make it quite a bit harder for Morde to solo lane, given the amount of benefit he gets from duo laing. That’s rough on people that enjoy solo Morde, we did feel this was the right approach to take though to get Morde into a spot where he could be made effective without having to massively change him overall. We believe Morde’s strengths and weaknesses can be preserved, or even amplified, in a way that’s a lot more functional/healthy when he’s got an ally to fill in some of his gaps.

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Are you just looking to fit Mordes kit on some lane in a healthy way

CertainlyT New PortraitYour understanding of the changes is accurate. My goal is not to “use Morde to break the meta” but to find a healthy home for Mordekaiser where he can be successful while still being himself (slow, tough, CC-free overwhelmingly powerful damage dealer). My feeling was that for this sort of profile, the champion could not be both successful and healthy on their own. Morde needs someone to help cover his weaknesses and actualize his strengths. Supports stood out as natural complements. They too are incomplete champions, lacking damage but bringing a lot of CC and ally buffs/hastes.

There is no unherent reason why playing Mordekaiser bottom lane will cause teams to lose. Structurally, he has the ability to forcefully push games to a conclusion by using his dragon to smash down the enemy base. In testing, we have had just as many games where he succeeds as fails.

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Will you be trying to make more melee champions viable on the bot lane

CertainlyT New PortraitNot at the champion design level. I think there are a few possibilities that Mordekaiser could demonstrate:

1) Melee bot lanes generally are… are sufficiently enjoyable for all players and sufficientlystrategically interesting to warrant further proactive steps by us to dislodge players from their habits;
2) The existence of one occasional melee bot lane is interesting and enjoyable but does not warrant further steps by us;
3) Melee bot lanes generally are interesting and enjoyable, but Mordekaiser is a poor execution of one;
4) Melee bot lanes are antithetical to “good” LoL design, and so we should not seek to support them.

Personally, I feel that #4 is unlikely. This means the central question is largely about whether a) there should be more melee bot lanes and b) at what level that “pushing” should come from us. Candidly, Mordekaiser is pretty “forced”.

I would love for players to feel that they can identify situations to run a wider number of existing champions successfully as the duo lane carry. In fact, Yasuo was an effort in this direction. Unfortunately, he is either ineffective in that capacity (though statistically bot lane duo is his highest win rate) or players are uncomfortable playing non-traditional styles. If the latter is true than I see my role as a designer not to “push” more champions into the lane but to create social and strategic space for players to innovate.

This, then, is my hope for Mordekaiser: that his presence in the bottom lane spurs players to think more broadly about how they can build team composition that have a greater diversity of champion archetypes without the need for us to customize kits to that lane.

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How will Mordekaiser deal with being kited by the enemy ADC

CertainlyT New PortraitWell, your task is to find a teammate that can prevent him from being kited. If you can do so, you’ll probably win the game. Good luck!

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Isnt the nerf to his base movement speed overkill

CertainlyT New PortraitIt might be. I certainly didn’t start at 325. In fact, I was very hesitant and moved him down 5 MS at a time as opponents reported being completely unable to escape his onslaught. A major factor for this is that Mordekaiser has the base damage and base survivability to invest into a lot of movement speed items as the game progresses (Our playtesters often build him Targons–>Ninja Tabi->Phage->Trinity Force->Raptor Cloak->Rylai’s).

I think you might also be coming at this from the perspective of someone who has played “traditional” melee bot lanes, that must function as aggressive kill lanes in order to find any success. Mordekaiser has the scaling and defenses to whittle his opponents down and wait for a good opportunity (like a Thresh hook).

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Can you cast Mordes new W on yourself without allies present

CertainlyT New PortraitHarvesters of Sorrow (W) is not castable without an ally champion present. If you are alone as Mordekaiser, you’ll have to do without it unless an ally ganks/roams for you.

As others mentioned, Morde is still able to solo lane/jungle in our testing, but doesn’t shine as brightly as he does in a duo lane. I’m comfortable with that mainly because I do not think that Mordekaiser can ever be a marquee example of a healthy solo lane champion given how stark his strengths and weakness profile is — An excessive number of his lane matchups are determined either at champion select or through jungler intervention, not through the relative skill of Mordekaiser and his lane opponent. As I began to work on his mechanics though, the thing that stood out was how defined Mordekaiser was by those stark strengths and weaknesses. To round out his kit would have been to compromise him as a champion.

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Why the AD scaling on his E

CertainlyT New PortraitE in my mind is most healthy as a “parry” ability that provides a lot of instant shield. As a nuke, it lacks good play against most opponents, who can’t help but get into its range. As such, the damage had to come down a bit in the early game. I didn’t want the player to have to invest all their early skill points in a fundamentally passive skill, but rather in their preferred means of inflicting damage on their opponent.

Total AD scaling allows the ability to ramp up gradually across game time so that it is hopefully always meeting the needs of providing a “twitchy” active defense against enemy poke.

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SKARNER AND THE NEW CRYSTAL SHRINES Banner

You can find all upcoming changes to Skarner HERE.

 

Why are you changing Skarner again

Repertoir New PortraitWe wanted to give something to Skarner to optimize around other than just run at a guy. Adding potent zones of threat was our take on that for him.

Also, I think there’s a misunderstanding about how much potential gold these things give out as well, but I’ll look into that to make sure they’re not giving out too much.

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Wont the crystals force Skarner to afk farm until a fight happens near them

Repertoir New PortraitWe don’t just want him to afk farm the jungle forever, but we are okay with his jungle presence being higher than his lane presence overall in the early game. Also, his E is a substantially stronger ganking tool now with how easily it applies the old passive stun, so he does make up for some of the loss of entry speed there if he hits it.

Also, the MS nerf may simply not be needed. We’ve tested various versions of this Skarner, and it seems to be quite strong still, but it’s totally undertandable that players would be concerned over such a big base MS nerf. If it looks like he needs it, we can certainly give it it back. This changelist likely isn’t final yet.

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Wont the crystals make it so Skarner clears certain camps faster than others

Repertoir New PortraitHe’ll definitely have some camps that he clears faster than others now. With the crystals’ placement, he clears Red, Blue, Krugs, Wolves, and Crab incredibly well now, and isn’t quite as fast on Gromp and Razorbeaks. Also, the stun only takes 1 basic attack to trigger now following a hit E, so the loss of AS shouldn’t affect that.

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It looks like Skarner will be forced to fight in certain places to be useful

Repertoir New PortraitSkarner should still have a pretty reliable tank/lockdown threat (probably even greater than before in this regard, given how is E now works) outside of his passive zones. What the zones really provide to him is incredibly boosted DPS and stickiness.

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These shrines are free 30 gold and vision for the enemy jungler

Repertoir New PortraitThe vision on these things only lasts 10 seconds at the time they are captured, so they don’t really give much vision outside of the initial cap. And the gold they give out is basically symmetrical. In order for the enemy team to capture it and gain 15g, Skarner’s team has to own it (and they will hold it until the enemy team turns it over). Likewise, Skarner and his teammates will get 15g for recapturing it later. I do need to put in a better solution for level 1 gold provided by them right now, though.

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The 15 base MS nerf is unneeded since the stacking MS on his Q is gone

Repertoir New PortraitDefinitely keeping an eye on this. 15 MS nerf may not be the right number. Could be 5, 20, or 0. I’ll continue to monitor.

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Can you clarify why youve removed so much from Skarners Q

Repertoir New PortraitHis Q definitely still grants him bonus damage. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. The damage it deals is (TotalAD ratio) and an additional (TotalAD ratio + AP ratio) when charged. His clear speed is actually faster now.

You are right about him doing less dps in ganks now, but the ease at which he stuns enemies via E is increased pretty substantially, and the duration of the stun early game is a bit longer.

Feedback from playtesters has been that his E offers a higher total utility package than before, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

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Context for Item Changes 5 16 Banner

You can find all the item changes coming to Patch 5.16 HERE.

 

Why are Magic Resist items being buffed

Xypherous Final PortraitMR itemization, especially end-game is not particularly stronger overall than it was before. (AKA – total end-game values of MR are relatively static compared to live. While Banshee’s and Visage have +5 MR – Aura MR is down by 5, for example.)

However, the build path for MR is a lot smoother to access – so reacting to an enemy AP should be easier. This nicely lines up with the changes made in AP to make building into a lot of AP items more streamlined.

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Why is Cinderhulk being nerfed

Xypherous Final PortraitWhenever Cinderhulk was problematic – we generally saw it was the case of late game – super unkillable tank of ‘oh god why.’

Thus the changes are designed to pull back on that case in particular – by shifting power from the multiplier to the base.

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Follow Up Banner

Xypherous Final PortraitCinderhulk should be more powerful mid-game to compensate. It won’t actually be a nerf until you surpass 1k bonus health (AKA 3 complete health items).

The issue with Cinderhulk is that after this point, it became rapidly hard to control the impact of any health item in the game – as the effects of said item were wildly variant – hence the adjustment.

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Follow Up Banner

Xypherous Final PortraitIt’s true that Cinderhulk is nerfed in the late game after your 3rd major Health purchase. However, until you hit 1000 bonus health – you are strong that you were previously.

With the jungle items in their current state – if you wanted someone to be strong in the extreme late game – your first option probably wouldn’t be tanks to begin with given that there are multiple routes for end-game success in the jungle that it’s running directly into.

The other facet of this is that if Cinderhulk has to compete in the end-game against these other two – what it effectively would have to do is create unstoppable characters that cannot be killed – and so even if it does work – it wouldn’t be a state we’d be particularly happy with.

Therefore, by shifting Cinderhulk’s impact to be more impactful mid game and less impactful late game – the item actually has a window to shine – rather than be overshadowed end-game by a devourer or completely dominant when it is good.

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What do the Thornmail changes mean for tanks who want to counter ADCs

Xypherous Final PortraitYou need to hard commit to armor in order to screw ADCs in the new Thornmail model – and ADCs that build crit can ignore Thornmail more than more AS centric ones.

If you’re trying to deal the same damage to a critical carry as before – you’ll need like 200 to 350 bonus armor (depending on the damage of the carry.)

It’s a net nerf overall – until you get into champion specifics. Rammus / Malphite in particular can hit much higher levels of Armor much earlier – and so their own synergies with the item increase, for example.

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Context on Riots statement for not working on a sandbox mode

Pwyff Final PortraitThis is a hard stance to take, but we do agree with what you’re saying. That’s pretty much why we opened with an agreement.

Where it gets fuzzy… on this comment chain someone mentioned (https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3fwiy0/riot_pls_league_of_legends/ctsl875) that if someone wants to improve their freethrows, they go practice freethrows – in League that means players should have an expected mode available where they can practice combos, flashing, etc. I’m not straw manning this thing but that’s always been a core concern when it comes to dictating behavior. I’ll explain:

An answer like “players will see sandbox mode as an expectation rather than a ‘fun tool’ sounds very ‘we know better'” but it’s a pretty significant concern when you look at other games (ie: fighting games) where, if a player wants to get involved, they need to hop into dozens of hours of training mode first.

So in a game that’s oriented around players playing to improve, imagine a world where you miss one flash over a wall and your whole team tells you to quit and hop into sandbox mode? Once again, I don’t think it’s an ironclad stance that will convince the world – I do think it’s got merit. I’d imagine everyone’s had games already where someone’s told them to quit playing ranked and to go play normals. If an additional layer of sandbox got added underneath, that’s what we’re talking about.


I think a different thread died, but I wanted to link out a more cohesive perspective on this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3fwuvo/riotpwyff_sandbox_mode_will_not_be_implemented/ctsqxen

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WHY SANDBOX MODE ISNT COMING TO LEAGUE

Pwyff’s comments are in response to Riot’s recently-posted announcement, which you can read HERE.

 

So youre not adding sandbox mode because of toxic players

Pwyff Final PortraitI’m going to push back on the concept of it being player toxicity, sorry if it got represented like that. I’ll walk through it again…

First, banksy has a comment here I want to hop off of (https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3fwiy0/riot_pls_league_of_legends/ctsq90u) and work from.

I think the concept of sandbox mode has a billion different meanings (free-form practice, custom game modes, etc), so just clear that we’re talking about a lot of things. The one that resonates the most is the concept of a free-form training mode for practicing abilities and techniques in isolation without the pressure of a game. That’s what we’re going to use as a shared definition!

When we say we have a lot of debate, we mean it. Even in discussions today, we have lead designers saying there are aspects of sandbox mode that we could or should explore. I’ve talked a lot about the risks in various threads, but I want to emphasize it’s not so much player toxicity as it is broad expectations. If the skill floor for fundamentals requires extensive time spent in sandbox mode, that’s kind of scary. But for many (including designers), this is an acceptable risk for the potential gains – like pros being able to practice or players who want to get better having that option. It’s choice vs. no choice, as many of you have said. I wanted to accurately represent both sides and acknowledge them.

The stance sounds fluffyish because it was born of necessity to put the conversation to rest. As banksy puts it, there are a lot of good reasons to explore training-sandbox mode and we’re having conversations even from these comments and replies. But in terms of prioritization, it’s still below our current ones. We are talking and we hear you – to do sandbox mode right will probably require a lot of investment.

Probably a lesson for the future then. For a nuanced topic like sandbox mode, that seems more like a discussion than something on a dev blog. It’s clear we sound super authoritative and hard-headed about this, so we’ll adjust. I do think it’s a conversation you can bring up as a “we still want this!” but we also want to be clear it’s not happening soon. In other words, an idea can be good but it also can not be a priority. There is DEFINITELY a better way to reach that conclusion because this one’s pretty, uh, painful.

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Follow Up Banner

Pwyff Final PortraitI wouldn’t actually say it’s toxicity of the community as it is broad behavioral patterns. The thing about massive communities is how prone they are to group-think. I’ve said this before and this sounds super ‘we know better’ but it’s the same thing with community management. What a community ‘picks up’ as cultural norms or expectations sticks with them for a long time. I don’t want to analyze how these things get picked up in the first place, but if you look at something like the boards where there’s a lot of very heated debate over every little change, you can see that’s the ‘expectation’ of the environment. You can only really change that by iterative steps along the way (ie: “Let’s have a constructive conversation”).

Once again, this won’t be an answer that says “you are all convinced” – it’s an answer that shows there are a lot of underlying concerns and why it’s tough to judge which way that coin will fall.

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Follow Up Banner

Pwyff Final PortraitI don’t think these responses are going to make things better or convince people who might have otherwise disagreed. I’m just making the stances clear on both sides, even if they are very, uh, polarizing.

Once again, I just don’t think this is going to be a “let’s convince everyone” because I get where your values are coming from and I’m just hoping people might see where ours come from.

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Players improve via educational mediums not from spamming solo queue

Pwyff Final PortraitI agree with you that educational mediums are huge for learning League – maybe we can get better at showcasing those (I believe in NA we’re highlighting them in the client).

The argument that “it would have happened already” with CS drills is something you do see even if it’s not on a broad scale. Where I’d say it’s ‘already happened’ is if you hop into a ranked game, perform badly, and hear someone tell you “go back to casuals” (or just uninstall). That does occur and that should be the last stop (or vs. AI bots) of where people go to when it comes to improving.

I realize I’m just repeating myself from other parts of the thread and it’s really clear the disconnect comes from a very odd “that is a risk” stance and y’all saying “it won’t happen that way.” I won’t say agree to disagree but…

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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.

 

Red Posts 09 06 Banner

 

Summary

Ekko’s ultimate will no longer be free-to-cast after Patch 5.12. Also, Meddler has confirmed that Lux will be able to pre-detonate her E and he also chimed in on yesterday’s confirmed Aatrox buffs. Lastly, some context on the Ryze nerfs that’re headed to live.

 

Recent News

Nightmare-Trynd-in-Store-banner

Patch-5-11-Maintenance-Schedule-Banner

 

 

Ekko Single Banner


 


Stop pretending Ekko doesnt have burst and give his ult a mana cost

Gypsylord New PortraitSo first of all, giving his ult a mana cost is not likely to solve any of the frustration problems it might have. In the vast majority of fights it’s going to be used the same way, under the same contexts. If the spell needs a downside (not saying it does) giving it a mana cost isn’t going to solve that.

That said, from a design standpoint I do agree that there is something to the idea of “he’s been spamming spells and is out of mana, now is my chance to strike.” His ult not having a cost directly avoids the minor gameplay idea of “characters are weak when they’re OOM.” My bad on that one. We’ll be fixing it for 5.12 by upping the cost to 100 (from 0). There were localization things that prevented it getting in for 5.11.

As a side note, adding higher mana costs across Ekko’s kit (we’re also upping W cost to 50 from 30 in 5.11) helps mitigate burst in an indirect manner. Higher costs means he has a harder time farming and may want to invest in more mana/regen itemization. More gold spent on mana + less gold overall = lower AP totals at X point in the game.

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Lux Single Banner



Why cant Lux pre detonate her E like Gragass Q or Ziggs W

Meddler Final PortraitPre-detonate on Lux E is something we’ve got on our backlog and will add at somepoint. It will add a bit of power, but should give a clear feel improvement and help out players with higher pings. Should be a pretty straight forward change, I’ll see where it’s up to, that’s one we should have got in previously.

Shield application at end of cast’s currently intended functionality, rather than a bug. Having said that I do agree that there’s a noticeable feel cost there, given almost every other shield in the game is immediate. I’ll pass that suggestion on to the balance team, see if they’ve got any concerns about bundling it with the pre-detonate change.

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Ryze W Single Banner



Ryze has a low winrate and falls off late why are you nerfing him

Repertoir New PortraitRyze isn’t much of a winrate problem at the moment. He’s just a crappy experience to play against, mainly due to an abusive skill order option. This was a slip up on my end in the 5.10 buffs, but I believe it can be addressed in a way that leaves the core high moments (rapid chain casting, NOT 100% uptime rooting) of the character intact while limiting some of the more abusive stuff. It’s perfectly justifiable for players to be vocal about something that looks and feels unfair, regardless of whether or not they have numerical data to support their claims. You shouldn’t need to know Ryze’s win rate in order to tell me he feels dumb to play against.

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Aatrox Single Banner



Aatrox relies heavily on his passive to be viable in teamfights

[ Note ] You can check out the announced buffs to Aatrox’s passive HERE.

Meddler Final PortraitThat’s our belief here. We don’t think this will fix all his issues of course, but do think it will offer a decent amount of benefit.

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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.