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Posts Tagged ‘spell vamp’

 

News Update July 23 Banner

 

Summary

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

 

Recent News

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PBE Update July 22 Banner

 

 

GPL Icons in Store Banner


 

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

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

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

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Who does Riot balance for Banner


 

 

You seem to be terribly biased in balancing League

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

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

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

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

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

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Do you not want Lee Sin changed before Worlds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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Why does it seem like Riot is constantly understaffed

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

 

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

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Slower Champion release means less potential balance issues

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

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What purpose do you want Supports to serve on a team

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

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Where’s the Bruiser rework promised for Season 4

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

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Who does does Riot want to balance League of Legends for

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

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Why are most Champions forced into a single role and lane

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

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

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

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

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

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Is there truly no room for melee DPS

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

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

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How are we to speak with developers when they rarely respond

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

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It seems Riot underrates small tweaks made to Champions

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

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

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

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What exactly does the Design team do

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

 

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

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

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Why do Rioters respond to trolls but not to reasonable threads

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

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Have you ever thought that some top laners liked Melee vs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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QA on Balance Design Banner


 

 

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

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

1) Kha’Zix

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

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

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

2) Hecarim

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

3) Balance “Favoritism”

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) State of Akali

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

2) Squishy Melee

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

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

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

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

3) Spell Vamp

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

4) Stealth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Lucian feels like a better Ezreal right now

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

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

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

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

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

Statikk New Portrait1) Taric

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

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

2) Zilean

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

3) Alistar

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Are there any plans to rework Garen

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

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

What's your view on Quinn

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

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

The Direction of LoL Balance

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will you address unpopular Champions like, say Viktor

 

Will you address Diana’s currently poor state

 

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

 

How long does it take to rework or update a Champion

 

Which takes more time - new Champions or new updates

 

Will we see a solution to the ball of stats fighters

 

 

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Can we have an update on Dunkmaster Darius

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 


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More on Future Item Changes Banner

Xypherous is continuing the discussion on the big item changes that went into yesterday’s PBE update. Frozen Mallet will likely be deleted. Sorry to all 3 people that buy it.

 

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[ Question ] Won’t Ardent Censer be broken in the hands of Supports with spammable Shields / Heals?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Items should feel kind of broken when you use it.

Whether it actually is broken, I’m not sure. I do recall the days of Stark’s Fervor – but there were so many things that were broken about that item that the Attack Speed actually seems like the most non-broken part.

That being said – that’s why I post the item specifics – it gives us time to consider your responses and react accordingly.


Ardent Censer In-Game

[ Ardent Censer from 06/06 PBE Update ]



[ Question ] Should Ardent Censer work on Turrets?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Probably not – but now that I think about it – the way I hooked it up, turrets would gain AS from it.

On the one hand, not intended – on the other hand, that’s actually kind of cool. Hm.. I think I’ll want to talk to my team before making a call one way or the other.



[ Question ] Will Soraka’s ultimate work with Ardent Censer?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Yes – an AoE restriction might be tricky to do, but if we really need to do it, we can. I just think it’s premature to do an AoE restriction as the two cool interactions are:

  1. Single target high uptime heals/shields with offense boosts (Janna/Lulu/Kayle/Nidalee)
  2. AoE low uptime mass effects (Karma/Thresh/Locket/Soraka ult)

I kind of want to see how #1 and #2 pan out before thinking about the AoE stuff. Under the hood, I can already detect most of the AoE cases as is.



[ Question ] What are AP midlaners that do not benefit from AD or building tank supposed to build for MR now? 


ricklessabandon Button Rioter ricklessabandon: speaking very broadly, ‘mages’ have traditionally looked to generic defenses instead of specific defenses (i.e., they buy health and ‘damage prevention effects’ like the actives on zhonya’s hourglass and seraph’s embrace, as well as the passives on banshee’s veil). it’s typically much more difficult to get a mage’s armor or magic resist to ‘fighter’ levels, which is more or less the intent right now.

to answer your hypothetical, if i needed more defense as brand, anivia, ziggs, lux, et al, i would likely buy chalice of harmony or a ruby crystal + giant’s belt (or negatron cloak) to eventually upgrade into items that character wants. athene’s, rylai’s, and liandy’s can all be fine. even just a cowl can be great since banshee’s veil is really good for long range champions like the ones you mentioned.



[ Question ] Will you be adding more Spell Vamp items?


ricklessabandon Button Rioter ricklessabandon: spell vamp is something i’d like to look at in the future for sure. i don’t know yet if that means we need to add/rework spell vamp items once that’s done, but as a stat it’s not in a great enough place currently to be made widely available in the item shop. not sure when we’d be able to put in time for this, but given our current ‘to do’ list i don’t think it’ll be anytime soonâ„¢.



[ Question ] Why are low crit chance values an issue in balancing?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Due to how the PRNG system works, lower amounts of critical strikes are more dangerously swingy than higher amounts – because it needs more time/hits to function in order to guarantee that 1 in X attacks critically strike.

As critical strike values get higher, PRNG can actually ensure that in smaller windows – the amount of critical strikes can be normalized.

However, with low critical strike values (10%) – there is very little that PRNG can do to prevent or tackle streaks or luck events. PRNG needs to work off of high base values in order to ensure consistency in a 3 to 4 second time window.

Conversely, a 10% critical strike is far less predictable as it needs a 20 to 30 second window to normalize out.

This is not true of pure RNG, of course, which doesn’t care about time windows at all.

The problem with critical strike isn’t that if a critical strike happens, it’s automatically bad.

The problem with critical strike is that at low values it is inconsistent and unpredictable because there’s no way to plan around it – what you want is increased predictability of the system – and PRNG needs a large base and a better time frame to do that kind of work.

Triforce gives 10% crit.

Zeal after BT gives 10% crit, and that’s almost at laning over.

The argument that Zeal after BT is ‘lane is over’ – then a similar analysis can be done on the I.E. ‘rush’. Current Zeal after BT in the live game has at minimum – 4375 gold.

I.E Rush is at minimum – 3800 gold. As I.E. Rush will necessarily need another DBlade to sustain it – it becomes 4275 gold in order to be an effective strategy.

Note that this is 4200 gold after whatever baseline items you assume an ADC needs (typically default blade + 325 G boots).

Essentially, by the time critical strike enters the equation with the IE rush – it’s a similar time window to when crit enters the equation at the moment, except in the case of Tri-force rushers – in which case critical strike enters the equation earlier.

The short of this is that unless Cloak of Agility actually turns out to be a good purchase (it’s not and easily tunable to always suck) – we don’t actually introduce critical strike chance much earlier than the current state of live. The leftover change is easily tunable with Gold if we’ve determined we’ve overbuffed things.

Therefore, if your assessment is that Zeal after BT is effectively lane over – then you also have to take with it that double blade into IE is effectively lane over as well.

The other portion of this is that if double Dblade into I.E. becomes the default, we’ll raise the cost of I.E. The entire point of this item adjustment exercise is that there are multiple competing strategies. If in fact, 2x Blade into I.E. becomes the overwhelming default – we’d fix it with price increases because we’d be annoyed there is an overwhelming default that doesn’t care about champion specifics.

TL;DR – Timing doesn’t change much to crit in lane. PRNG system makes higher crit chances more predictable and better able to be planned around. We’ll adjust 2x blade into I.E. down if if becomes overwhelming default.



Frozen Mallet to be deleted



[ Question ] Do you have any plans on Mallet as defensive item?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: We’ve done a lot of Mallet experimentation – but the result keeps coming back to – Why is this item in the game – whenever it’s not fringe, the game sucks.

We’re more inclined to delete the item entirely at this point.



[ Question ] What part of Frozen Mallet presents a balancing issue?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: The basic question is – Is Frozen Mallet essential to the game functioning well?

And it seems to be no, at this point.

Frozen Mallet doesn’t really seem to help any combat cases we’re happy with – nor does it seem to invite interesting gameplay when it works.

The main problem with Frozen Mallet is basically the concept of an on-hit slow and the idea that it’s somehow supposed to help fighters or ranged characters.

At its core, there’s a lot of interesting design space we could put on fighters or ranged characters – but Frozen Mallet doesn’t help any of those patterns when it’s good. It simply flattens all the patterns down to ‘land one basic attack.’

It’s not the permaslow – or the stats really. There’s a richness in how ranged vs. melee fight each other and how they position against each other but Frozen Mallet, whenever it’s been good basically tells people that a single basic attack should be what defines that pattern.

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t numbers or mechanics that you could do to make the current Frozen Mallet work. It’s just, the gains really wouldn’t be worth the costs in the end – You’d have a cool item at the expense of a lot of other things. This isn’t a question of viability or whether or not we can make it attractive. All that is really simple to do. It’s whether or not it’s worth it and I’m not really sure at this point.



[ Suggestion ] Instead of a passive perma-slow, give Frozen Mallet an active that slows heavily on the next auto attack


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: The item could theoretically exist – but it doesn’t really add much other than Frozen Mallet is in the game. Low mobility, high-CC fighters are still screwed. High mobility fighters now have one more CC. Ranged ADCs don’t benefit from it – nor do they have a compelling reason to get it.

It’s not that you can’t make a viable slowing item in the game. That’s obviously possible if you want to jump through the right hoops. The question is whether it adds anything of value to the overall game and what is it trying to solve.



[ Suggestion ] Change Phage to passively give movement speed when moving towards an enemy Champion (Vayne). The movement speed buff doubles if the item owner takes damage


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: That is neat. It always does feel kind of bad giving the opponent a boost when you attack them but adding directionality solves a lot of edge cases and could feel intuitively right.

We’d have to make it a lot more precise that Vayne’s 180 degree 2000 range I want to murder ze enemy type movement – but it could be supported with visuals in a really cool way.

Hm.. I’ll talk to my team about it. Slight concern here in that it might make Vayne feel bad because her unique passive gets replicated on an item… but you know.. it’s not like that’s never happened before.

Very interesting thought though.



More on New Summoner's Rift Banner

The discussion on the recently announced visual update for Summoner’s Rift continues.


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[ Question ] Shaco can Deceive over terrain much more effectively than Flash. Are you making sure those locations still work?


RiotForScience Button Rioter RiotForScience: Yes they will still work. The nav mesh is copied directly from the map on live. It is not a new map. It is a visual update. The only difference is a few bugs we cleaned up.




[ Suggestion ] The area around the towers should be paved to indicate the tower’s range


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: Having a really clear circumference around the towers is problematic from a design perspective because it would allow players to stand 1 pixel outside of the range something we would prefer there to be some risk/mastery in order to do.




[ Question ] Will the Dragon and Baron AI be improved?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: There are some distinctions between those 2 camps and how they behave on the current map.

 

 

 


[ Suggestion ] The shop bounds should match the heal zone, or at least have the same center


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: Good point on the heal zone. I will look into it. There is a design feedback thread located in the summoner’s rift sub-forum. If you could post it there I will not lose track of the concern.

4. There are some distinctions between those 2 camps and how they behave on the current map. I think it will have an impact.



[ Question ] Will there be any weather effects?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: Yes there will be some weather effects. The north east quadrant is going to be rainy, apart from that we will have dust, fog, lightrays and other environmental effects.

 

 

 

[ Question ] Will we have daytime/nighttime cycles?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: We will not have day/night cycles. Our lighting is all hand painted. The wins that we would get by having a day/night cycle would be massively outweighed by the losses we would get from adopting a more artifical lighting system.

 

 


[ Question ] Will we have camera rotation?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: We will not have camera rotation, but the fundamental issue behind why we want the ability to rotate the camera is being looked into. We are not prepared to discuss that yet. The solution will not be part of the visual update.




[ Follow-up ] Why not shift the camera angle by 45 degrees?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: I think the 45 degree solution is a lot stronger than the 180 degree or 90 degree solution because it creates a more stable play environment and allows us to optimize the map in cleaner way. There is inherent asymmetry in the map (Dragon Baron, the locations of the buffs) but testing a camera shift would tell us if those things are really distorting balance or if they just provoke tactical adjustments. 

That being said I am not saying that we are doing the 45 degree option at any point. We could hit huge unforeseen obstacles. But, (in my opinion) it is a stronger option than the methods we have considered previously.



[ Question ] What kind of work besides optimization and Wraiths / Double Golems is left?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: The “Wraiths” (Now Razorbeaks) and Double-Golems (Now Krugs) are just as far along as the other creatures in the map, we just didn’t show them in the video. We have a lot of refinement to do on textures. The map is still unlit (which is one of the things leading to the complaint about darkness) We are still in the process of populating flowers easter-eggs and player orienting props.We need to tighten the visuals around the nav-mesh. We need to do a lot of optimization work on our texture/mesh optimization… apparently we need to find a duck? I am not sure about that one.



[ Question ] Will we be able to turn off some of the more hardware-intensive animations?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: We are working on tech to get things really clean for min-spec machines. that is one of the things being considered.





[ Question ] Does the map affect ping?


RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: I don’t believe so. I don’t think a map could effect ping. Do you mean FPS? Could you go into more detail about the concern?





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[ Bug-fix ] PBE: Ardent Censer not giving the AS buff after a direct heal


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Seems like I forgot to get the part where it actually works on heals onto the PBE. My bad.

Err.. I have no idea when the next PBE push is – but I’ll try to get it working as soon as it’s feasible – it’s weird because it’s the weekend.

Thanks for ze bug report!

 

 

[ Question ] Why haven’t we received any news regarding the NA East Coast Servers?


Cedriel Button Rioter Cedriel: We try to be transparent on what we do and why we do it: that’s why we’re doing things like patch previews, post content ahead of time for feedback on PBE, write dev blogs and interact directly with players in the forums, twitter, reddit and such. Unfortunately, there are things about which we can’t say much until we have something to deliver.

For instance, take a project that is still in an early stage and is undergoing a lot of testing and revision. Anything we show you is going to create excitement and set expectations, but what we actually launch might end up being very different, to the disappointment of a great many people who were anticipating something else. Sometimes, we find along the way that what seemed like a great idea turns out to just not to be fun in practice, and simply never release it because it would’ve been a pretty bad player experience. We messed up bad with Magma Chamber on this one, for instance.

Another example would be projects that are large in scope and technically complex. Sometimes these things change mid-development, or we find out that some problems were more complicated than we anticipated. Particularly when you’re doing new things, deadlines can slip. If we promise stuff and fail to deliver, you have a right to be pissed at us. We’d rather under-promise and over-deliver!

Finally, there are projects that we simply have to be vague about for security reasons. Security often plays out like a cat-and-mouse game in which hostile parties come up with creative new vectors for attack and we come up with counter-measures. Spelling out in detail what those counter-measures will be ahead of time amounts to giving these people advance notice, and making them less effective. For instance, we’re working on solutions to reduce or eliminate the pain that players feel from DDOS and drophack attacks, but we can’t really talk about what or how.

We recognize that East Coast players are not getting the same quality of service that West Coast players do—and we’re committed to doing something about that. Wiser heads than mine are working on this. Unfortunately, if their work hits any of those points—and almost any solution will—there’s just not much we can say until it’s ready or near-ready. It’s frustrating to you because it feels like we’re not listening, and it’s frustrating for us because there’s nothing that we want more than to show all the cool stuff we’re doing to make League of Legends better—but there are good reasons for it.

In the meantime, all we can do is apologize for not being good enough, thanking you for your patience, and telling you that we’re working on it.



[ Question ] Will Patch 4.10 include changes to Quinn and Urgot?


Wav3Break Button Rioter Wav3Break: Hey guys, I just want to clarify some of our views on sensitive/gray area champions like Quinn and Urgot since there is a lot of lively discussion. Currently, we don’t necessarily see these two champions fitting into the traditional marksman role and thus 4.10 will not have specific changes reflecting them. The scope of 4.10 has us incredibly focused on improving the health of traditional marksman role and we plan to deliver our best work regarding that focus. Discussion is always valuable to us though and we are grateful for all the feedback you guys provide us.



[ Follow-up ] Quinn is a lackluster bot-lane Marksman


Wav3Break Button Rioter Wav3Break: I agree that Quinn currently does not function at her best as a traditional marksman and that she feels like she is at an awkward spot regarding her champion identity. That being said I don’t think that she is a particularly weak champion. She is an incredibly interesting character and we want to observe how the overall game changes after we implement the changes we have planned in 4.10. The post 4.10 analysis will be real and we look forward to the feedback and discussion you guys will have for us :).

 


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