- Status of Shen’s Rework (includes talk of Akali, Talon & Taric)
- Lyte on New Champion Select & Dynamic Queue
- DEV BLOG: Marksman update
- DEV BLOG: Vision changes
- DEV BLOG: Starting items
We’ve stated that we’ve got some stuff planned for Snowdown. In a case like that, yes, skins would be held for that event. There will still be instances where you won’t see a champion skin for a bit due to them being a part of an event/group of skins that will be released.
It’s high ish on our list of smaller reworks (smaller as in some gameplay changes, with visual/audio changes as needed to support those, rather than a full relaunch). Marksmen polish, bug fixing and followup, plus Poppy, are the champion update team’s big priorities at the moment though. Shen’s rework definitely won’t be this year, early next year’s looking like it could be feasible though.
We don’t have a timeline for Akali at present. Could be a moderate time after Shen, could be a long time after.
We haven’t decided which class to tackle after marksmen. Assassins are definitely a possibility, but still just one of several options we’re talking about. If doing assassins we’d definitely want to sync an Akali rework with that of course.
It’d be good to do some work on him someday, give him some more distinction from standard assassin tools, a more meaningful passive and better counterplay. No current plans for that though, that’ll likely wait until we tackle assassins at a group whenever that is.
For quite a long time we were blocked from working on Taric because we hadn’t found what we felt was the right way to update him without losing core parts of his character. A little while back we found a direction that we’re really happy with, so we’re now in a position where we can look at putting him into the pipeline.
Progress in terms of direction and goals basically, rather than progress in terms of producing the actual character for the game.
[ Note ] You can find an in-game preview of the new Champion Select HERE.
We have to first finish the “Blind Pick” version of this experience, then we’ll figure out how we want to tackle unique maps.
It’s pretty easy to detect if 4:1 premades are surrendering too early, holding the 5th player hostage, so on and so forth. It’s also super easy to resolve, including things like forcing 4:1 premades to have unanimous votes to trigger a Surrender. At the end of the day, there’s way less toxicity to 4:1 situations than players are portraying right now.
The new Champ Select should solve a lot of conflicts because of the system design and things like Pick Intent, Pick 2 Positions, and Distributed Bans. However, if there are still meaningful negative experiences in Champ Select, we’ve considered allowing players to queue dodge and “report” a player and supply a reason. If the reported player was being toxic, we could make sure there’s no queue dodge penalties. But, for us to do this feature there would need to be meaningful Champ Select toxicity, say greater than 5% of lobbies.
If a player wants to troll, they are going to find a way to do it whether Pick Intent exists or not.
We believe Pick Intent is still a net-positive feature, and provides more value than damage. What we did notice was that by introducing Distributed Bans, far less players trolled Pick Intent. Because nearly every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or 1st/2nd pick), players are less likely to troll one another in the drafting process because that other player could counter you with something equally damaging.
There’s a weird misconception around high MMR queues.
We can’t predict exactly what will happen, but here’s a few scenarios:
1) High MMR players will group together with their high MMR friends, and we’ll get to watch some pretty crazy matches between players from different pro teams queuing together. This will be highly competitive and entertaining.
2) High MMR players will decide to all go solo, so it’ll be just like Solo/Duo Queue today except sometimes they’ll face off against premade teams from a lower skill tier.
High MMR players are already waiting in queues and being repeatedly matched with lower tier players, or placed with teams that have Duo Queues of lower skill. This already happens, and won’t be fixed with Dynamic Queues. It’s not really easy to fix the problem of “not enough high tier players” in a queue 😛
Player 1 and 2 get first and second pick, which we’ve seen are also “valuable” choices in Champ Select.
Whether we add more bans or not is a super complex topic that Ghostcrawler or Meddler have talked about before, so I don’t want to dig into it here again.
You can’t even create that team because Tier Restrictions still exist in Dynamic Queues. Your team has to be within 2 tiers of each other.
Yes, there’s still a Trade Phase in the new Champ Select.
You can do this! Just select “Fill” as your Primary position and queue up.
Actually, just like in today’s Champ Select, if you really have to you can negotiate with your team to swap positions. Just like today, you could go, “Hey guys, I really can’t do well versus a Darius Top, anyone mind swapping positions with me?”
We’re not removing any functionality, you can still do this stuff today.
I’ll be honest, anyone that says they can predict how Dynamic Queues will shake out for high MMR players is just making a wild assumption at this time.
Even we can’t make a prediction about what will happen, but we can map out the scenarios. IF Dynamic Queues are dramatically destroying the experience for many players, we’ll know and we’ll figure out how to solve it. To say we should never try something because of a hypothetical scenario is being risk-averse. We have to be OK taking risks once in awhile if we want to keep pushing League’s potential.
When we introduced Pick Intent, it was critical that we also introduce Distributed Bans. Because every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (either 1st/2nd pick, or a ban) we saw less trolling of Pick Intent because every player had some leverage over the other players. It’s a weird dynamic, but Distributed Bans were effective in reducing trolling. We do not intend on allowing players to “lock” something from being banned during Pick Intent because that could introduce far more damage than positive in the long run–imagine preventing a ban of an S-Tier champion that gets first picked by the opposing team. Chaos would ensue.
Not at this time. If there are still significant toxicity issues in Champ Select, we may introduce a feature to allow a player to dodge, and report a player and supply a reason for their dodge. With some machine learning magic, we could assess this report in real-time and remove any potential queue dodge penalties as well. But, this feature is pretty costly, so it’d have to be worth doing.
One of the big criticisms of Team Builder Classic was queue times, so forcing everyone to choose at least 2 positions really, really improves queue times and ensures queue health. By allowing players to only select 1 position (even if they understand they are waiting longer to play that 1 position), it significantly influences the entire matchmaking ecosystem if only 20% of players choose 1 position only. To us, it’s not worth damaging the entire health of the queue to give players this amount of control.
This pretty much already happens. We’ve made a few changes to the matchmaker so similar group comps are paired against each other. Premade 5s pair more with Premade 5s, before being paired with 4:1 or 3:2 for example. I’ll also note that really, the vast majority of players wanted Dynamic Queues, but of course Reddit is a pretty hardcore demographic and once a thread swings one direction, generally the opposition are not going to jump in to voice an opinion. Most players also don’t realize when they are in games with premades. Nearly 100% of Ranked Games has a Duo Queue today, but players only remember the games when Duo Queues were negative.
Actually, with the “Fill” position, we’re in a pretty good spot for position distributions. We’re also willing to incentivize the in-demand positions with some small bonuses from the future crafting system.
To be clear, Blizzard’s reasons had to do with skill disparity and variance on teams.
We’ve added multiple matchmaking features that solve this problem including Tier Restrictions (you can’t queue with friends beyond a certain tier in skill). Also, CS:GO has a Dynamic Queue system that works pretty well, so you can’t just point to 1 game and say “it’s a bad idea because that game moved away from it.”
We’re also doing a lot of features like Clubs to help players find more friends to play with, and make more friends. We don’t have to do one or the other, we have to try many things!
Splitting the queues into a Pure Solo and Group Queue would have all the queue health problems that we (and other studios) have faced before. When you have a smaller playerbase on a server like Turkey, both queues would be negative experiences. The more you segregate your playerbase, the worse the experience in each island.
We’ve been doing a lot of research on voice chat and the impact it has on the game experience. We have some ideas for how we’d like to solve the negatives that voice chat has, but no teams are actively working on integrated voice chat for League. As you can tell with the 2016 Ranked changes, we are trying to make League more of a team sport, which does make voice comms more valuable.
When players make statements like “Skill Ranking” means nothing, it might not actually reflect reality.
What does it mean for “Skill Ranking” to mean something? Technically, it means things like if I have Player A (1200 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR) they will reliably win 50% of their matches against each other over 100s of games. It means things like if I have Player A (1240 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR), Player A will win their matches 54% of the time if you’re using the basic Elo equation from Chess. Of course, this is a simplified model because most PvP games are team-based so there’s additional variables… but you get the point.
I don’t think players can concretely say that in CS:GO, the Dynamic Queue system is so bad that a significant number of matchups are erroneous and therefore Skill Rating means nothing. On average, a higher skill player will still beat a lower skill player. The question is, how consistently does this happen? If a higher skill player beats a lower skill player at a predictable % of the time, I think the system is working effectively. If a higher skill player should beat a lower skill player 60% of the time, but only beats them 40% of the time on average, something is broken.
I may have gotten a bit too into the math weeds here, but unless you can see the data like Valve (or like us), you can’t simply conclude that Skill Ratings mean nothing in Dynamic Queues. Could it become less accurate than before? Yes. However, if 30% more players enjoy Ranked, and Skill Rating means 2% less… is that a valuable tradeoff? Maybe. Until we try this out for a bit, we don’t know what those numbers will be and what the tradeoffs are, so it’s too early to make wild assumptions.
We’ve dug into examples like this many times before, and it’s generally because the Normal MMRs of the players don’t reflect their Ranked MMRs. This is a known problem that we have some fixes for called “Splashing.” Basically, as your Ranked MMR increases, we “splash” some points into the other queue MMRs to make sure they are all tied a bit closer. But, in practice this didn’t work too well because a lot of higher tier players mess around in Normals or only want to play casual in Normals with friends, so they DIDN’T want their Ranked MMR to affect other queues.
Long story short, it does look bad, but actually if you look at the matches holistically, you still have very close to a 50% win rate in those matches.
This is exactly why we’d like to work in Normal Draft Queues first, because they are a close model of how a Dynamic Queue might work. We’re also testing “Ranked Queues” in NA and TR, to get an even closer model of how things might shake out.
We’ll know more soon, we just need players to give us a chance to try things before jumping up in arms and condemning it. We aren’t crazy, and we know this is risky–but, we want to try.
We run random sample surveys across the entire global playerbase regularly, so we tend to get a nice representative response from all demographics–the hardcore, the average, the player that never visits forums, the player that visits Reddit 8x a day, etc.
The truth is, in every survey we’ve done, the majority of players were interested in Dynamic Queue. That doesn’t mean we just use that data point and force Dynamic Queue on everyone because we also saw that a non-trivial number of players were solo purists, and loved the idea of “true” Solo Queue and their experiences may get slightly worse because of Dynamic Queue. So, we assessed all the potential negatives that Dynamic Queue had, and implemented upgrades or new features that tried to address them. Did we succeed in making it overall a great experience for the vast majority of players? We don’t know yet. We need to try, collect data, learn, and iterate.
That’s how design is.
I don’t believe skill level required to be a top tier player has diminished over time. In fact, it’s increased over time.
1) When you look at Ranked data, most players are only proficient at 2 positions. 2.2, to be specific. There wasn’t really a time period in League history where players were proficient at all 5 positions. In the new Champ Select, you still have to master at least 2 positions to rank up effectively.
2) As the game has matured, the skill level required to compete has only steadily increased. There are more websites, guides, blogs, deep analysis on game mechanics than ever before which is improving education of players on game mastery. There is more infrastructure in eSports (for highschool, colleges, and pro) than ever before, and it’s greatly improving the ‘average’ skill level of top players. 4-5 years ago, there was no true understanding of ‘optimal’ ways to play the game, and you didn’t have to understand little nuances to be in the Top 500 players in the world. Today, by about Level 15, players already are beginning to get a feel for the meta, what champions are effective at what positions, etc. A top player today would absolutely crush a top player from a few years ago.
It’s getting late–I need to get some rest so will skip some of your bigger discussions for now. At the risk of sounding offensive (which is NOT my intention with this reply), couldn’t we use the same arguments against solo purists? What if Dynamic Queue is something solo purists say they don’t want, but actually is better for them in the long run too?
My point is, I agree that players sometimes say one thing, but mean another. Or, sometimes players really don’t know what they actually want. But, I’d be wary assuming “the other population” is the one that doesn’t know what they want, and your population knows exactly what you want and that you must be right. It’s a game designer’s job to try to figure out the reality behind the fog, and try to understand what is actually the best experience–but I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong. This might be one of those times, it might not be. But, we’re willing to give it a go and pivot as necessary–even if it’s mid-season.
Champion Update team here! While youâ€™ve probably already seen the big changes due for marksmen (if you havenâ€™t, check it all out here http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/site/2016-season-update/preseason.html ), we wanted to set aside a moment for a deeper dive. The new marksmen update comes hot on the heels of the juggernauts update (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/page/gameplay-update-juggernauts ) and, with so much changing so fast, we think itâ€™s a good idea to pause for a more philosophical reflection.
But first, a quick look back.
When we set out to tackle the juggernauts, we were working with a whole lot of unknowns. This was a set of champions that didnâ€™t have much in the way of strategic identity. By really highlighting their strengths, we gave them clear ways to succeed (and fail) in an unfamiliar environment. Making something from nothing is a really interesting space to work in and we think weâ€™ve achieved our philosophical goal with many of them. The tricky bit, however, was calibrating the juggernautâ€™s appropriate weaknesses against their raw power.
With marksmen, we have a few advantages. First, because the class as a whole already has a clear function and theyâ€™re played in pretty much every game of League, we have a much stronger understanding of their capabilities and expectations. Additionally, because the core weakness of every marksman is â€œblow â€˜em up,â€ they have some pretty clear checks in place when it comes to solo-carrying games.
Looking forward, our vision remains consistent: We want to give each updated champion a unique reason to be brought to a game, and we want each champion to feel different whether playing against, as, or with. For some, this means sharpening what they already do well, or should do well. For others, it means finding new elements that make them feel special. We want you to have a reason to pick Graves over Lucian, and vice-versa, outside of just dealing more damage.
Our additional goal is to ensure basic attacks between marksmen are as differentiated as possible. This is a new goal thatâ€™s very important for this group in particular, given how reliant they are on basic attacks.
Letâ€™s take a closer look at some of the changes. Weâ€™ll be throwing out a high-level overview of the updates before we go a little deeper on the philosophy behind them, in case you havenâ€™t checked out the site.
â€œThis calls for the olâ€™ double-barreled â€˜Hello.â€™â€
Gravesâ€™ double-barreled shotgun is one of the most distinctive weapons in the marksman arsenal. However, this weapon was underutilized as a kind of mid-range, burst, poke, cone spell. So we doubled-down on the classic shotgun fantasy. Now Gravesâ€™ basic attacks fire four rounds (eight on a crit!) in a cone in front of him, dealing damage and knocking back minions. Graves has tradeoffs for this unique mechanic, as he has to reload after firing two rounds (but can quickly reload via Quickdraw), and his basic attacks can be body-blocked.
Because we basically pushed Gravesâ€™ Q onto his basic attack, we decided to give him a new Q in the form of End of the Line, where he fires out an explosive canister, leaving behind a trail of gunpowder. That canister then explodes after a few seconds (or immediately on colliding with a wall) and detonates the gunpowder for additional damage.
With the defensive buff from Quickdraw and his incredibly high threat on close-range targets, Graves is the kind of marksman you want to bring when enemies have a lot of backline access (see: diving assassins). The tradeoff here is that Graves loses out on a lot of long-range target selection that other marksmen have, since his basic attacks canâ€™t go over enemies.
The changes focuses on pushing Gravesâ€™ identity as a close-range, brawling marksman, and weâ€™re excited to see how he does once he gets into the fight.
â€œJustice takes wing.â€
Despite its innate coolness factor, Quinn’s old ultimate still had problems. It forced her into overwhelming danger, often leading to trades at the cost of her life (not a great deal!). We are re-imagining her ultimate to play up its tag-team, high-speed nature: Valor now swoops down to carry Quinn, giving her massive out-of-combat mobility. This sharpens Quinnâ€™s identity as a rapid-response marksman. Quinn can aid skirmishes in the jungle, swap lanes to help ganks, respond to split-pushes (or split-push herself), and make it back in time to help with a team fight. Need eyes on Baron? Send Quinn to scout it out!
Corki, the Daring Bombardier, hasnâ€™t been very true to his title. Optimal play for Corki was to play it safe and poke from a distance; he lacked the tools to make big plays. We decided to fix this in anâ€¦ explosive way. With the addition of Special Delivery – a single-time upgrade to Valkyrie that amps up the damage, range, and disruption of the ability – Corki needs to focus on what sort of decisive action heâ€™ll take to capitalize on the skill. It wonâ€™t be easy, but the reward is huge.
Finally, to further push Corkiâ€™s identity as the magic damage marksman, his auto-attacks now deal split magic/physical damage and his gatling gun shreds both resists. This allows teams to build around Corki being the primary magic damage dealer, something rather unique in the strategic space of marksmen.
â€œFortune doesnâ€™t favor fools.â€
Miss Fortune has been synonymous with the famed WOMBO COMBO since she first strutted onto the Rift, though much less so after frequent nerfs to Bullet Time. We wanted the WOMBO back, so we increased her ultâ€™s duration by 50% and increased the number of bullet waves as the game progresses byâ€¦ a lot.
As for her new passive, we drew a lot of inspiration from Double Up. In lane, Miss Fortune draws tons of strength from her Q, especially in a 2v2 scenario where she can put a lot of pressure on both targets if they donâ€™t position properly. These changes are our way of doublingâ€¦ down on that thematic, with more rewards for precise target juggling and positioning (the precision is important as well, as there are champions like Varus or Twitch who excel at dumping out a lot of group AoE damage).
â€œMeet the long gun of the law.â€
For Caitlyn, we had to ask ourselves, â€œHow much further can we push the sharpshooter fantasy?â€ The answer: Like, a lot further. By giving Caitlyn massive range on any enemy she can net or trap, weâ€™re emphasizing her sharpshooting strengths. Giving Yordle Snap Trap an ammo system amplifies Caitâ€™s natural ability to create choke points, while also improving her ability to dominate territory around objectives. The choice between spreading traps for surprise ambushes and setting up lines of defense gives you different ways to capitalize on Caitâ€™s role as Leagueâ€™s #1 sniper elite.
Everyoneâ€™s favorite Void puppy just got even more adorabler. Kogâ€™Maw already has a familiar identity in his â€œProtect the Kogâ€ team comp, but we felt we could amplify it while also separating him from other tank busters. Now, Kogâ€™s Bio-Arcane Barrage doubles his attack speed and attack speed cap, up to five attacks per second (!!!). This makes him the quintessential attack speed â€œprocâ€ champion, a low-mobility machine-gun of death. It does wonders for creating a unique itemization path and, of course, it makes him look way cooler.
As a quick note for Living Artillery: Changing the damage from raw poke to execution allows Kog to differentiate himself from other long-range pokers. Kog by himself might not make for the perfect poke composition, but if you combine him with enough additional pressure, he can pick off fleeing enemies while also becoming a central damage turret for his team.
So those are our rough thoughts on the update. Weâ€™d love to hear yours as you test the changes in action (soon), but these, in tandem with the marksmen itemization update, should bring some interesting changes to the class as a whole.
I can understand that feeling, whenever we refocus a champion’s design we will have to take power away from one area in order to place it into another. In MF’s case, we certainly took down her dueling potential a notch. Though in doing so, we’ve given her a much more solidified role in the aoe carry. She has even more incentives to pass damage around to multiple targets.
Ps. You are a badass for running jungle MF, how the heck did you do it?
One of the problems with ADCs was that they all had the exact same play pattern. Part of our update is focusing on changing it up a bit. For example, Graves reallllly wants to get in close, Kog’Maw needs to plan ahead of time for his damage window, etc. For MF, she can still certainly get off a ton of damage on a single target, it just isn’t as free as before. Her bonus attack speed is actually far larger than before, just for a far shorter window of time. So now she chooses between short duels and long form target swapping.
Unsure as to which Q change you are talking about, though I’ll chat about the main two. We made it only castable at 5 stacks since the ability was didn’t propose a good choice. Either you cast it well at 5 stacks and got a fantastic benefit, or you cast it below 5 and went home sad. For the cooldown removal, we really wanted to let players push the limits of the spell. If they were able to keep it up all the time, then they deserved to be rewarded!
There are no current plans to update Ezreal’s W. I do have to admit, I would love to see us update that ability with something far more interesting, but that is a change for the future.
Posting for Xypherous!
Weâ€™ve generally been happy with some of the new vision mechanics in the game with the advent of Season 5. However, as the vision system has grown organically over time, the map has become increasingly brighter and brighter since Season 4.
Additionally, the amount of unused trinkets and profusion of various vision types made it hard to consider expansions onto an already bloated system so this Season will mostly focus around concentrating the vision game to fewer discrete points.
First off, weâ€™ve removed Green Wards. This is a pretty big sledgehammer to vision overall and the map is significantly darker because of it. We heard a lot of feedback on this and I wanted to give more context:
When vision is in a â€œconsumableâ€ state, it does a few things to the game that we want to change. First, because map knowledge is so powerful, the ideal state of vision for two teams is basically â€œas much as you can.â€ That means that teams will be perpetually funneling their excess gold (or in the case of supports and some junglers, their core gold income) into as much vision upkeep as possible. The compelling decision of when to ward and where to ward gets flattened.
For supports, engaging so heavily with the vision system means theyâ€™ll often need to give up late-game purchases and slot efficiency to ensure the map is well lit. For others, it becomes a gold dump to push an advantage. By taking all â€˜safeâ€™ vision (invisible wards) out of the gold stream and placing them on meaningfully gated cooldowns, teams will have to think a lot more about where they want to set up on the map, rather than it being a given luxury for who can do it.
In addition to the removal of Green Wards, weâ€™re also doing the following changes:
Pink Wards will still remain buyable and represent an investment into permanent vision control over an area. Theyâ€™re also slightly cheaper and fall into Sight Wardâ€™s original cost range.
The Trinket System has been streamlined down to 2 basic options, plus 2 â€œalterationsâ€ that become available at Level 9. Trinkets also now continuously improve with level rather than at discrete levels in the game.
Warding Totem will now behave like the upgraded Warding Totem on live which slowly charges up to store additional wards. The duration and charges have been tweaked to increase continuously with character level.
We like the flexibility and general gameplay of the upgraded trinket as it allows you to maintain vision over a small area for a long time or tactically cover a wide area by yourself if youâ€™ve built up charges over time – giving it a much wider range of potential uses.
Sweeping Lens has taken a hit in power now that there arenâ€™t potentially green wards everywhere.
To compensate, red gains the ability to warn against things that you canâ€™t see in the area letting you know the shape or silhouette of things in fog of war without revealing them directly. This includes things like jungler monsters (check if that camp is up!) and Pink Wards, in addition to providing the silhouette of stealthed threats like champions in brush, fog of war or stealth.
Sweeping Lensâ€™ core functionality becomes alerting you as to whether or not anything in the swept area can detect you and allowing you to disable them.
Instead of upgrades, which are strictly better than the original trinket that you have, weâ€™ve instead chosen to move in the direction of side-grading and altering existing functionality of trinkets.
These swap the functionality of your existing trinket by improving the power of some aspects and decreasing the power in other aspects.
Yellow Trinketâ€™s alteration – the Farsight Totem is unlocked at level 9 and functions similarly to the Farsight Orb on live with some improvements. You gain vastly increased range and a shorter cooldownâ€¦ at the expense of having visible wards and losing the ability to build charges.
In a departure from live, these â€œblueâ€ wards now last forever and donâ€™t count towards your ward count. Since these wards are easily destructible by opponents, we donâ€™t foresee this as contributing significantly to the overall vision of the map unless a team decides to use multiple blue trinkets in parallel to light up disparate regions of the map over time.
So you can light up the map as long as you do it as part of an ongoing campaign to hold territory for extended periods of time.
The Sweeping Lensâ€™ alteration – the Oracle Lens (also unlocked at 9) – is more tame in comparison and very similar to the Oracle upgrade on live. In lieu of gaining true sight, the red trinket simply has a much wider sweep range and follows you around for 10 seconds.
However, combined with the fact that red trinket can warn you against enemy units that you canâ€™t see – this means it will also provide a proximity check so you donâ€™t walk headlong into an enemy ward or brush.
Vision remains an important key strategic strength in League of Legends. The current vision system has a ton of small moving parts, as well as a few mechanics that just make the system kind of obtuse to interact with.
We want to streamline the existing vision items to a smaller core set of vision items while also allowing that core to branch out in interesting directions and overlapping functions. Overall, the power in vision should be more condensed in the options that remain.
Weâ€™re taking advantage of the overall reduction in small vision buys to offer more interesting total item build options in the form of the Sightstone upgrades or the Jungle enchantments. Our goal was not to make the overall vision experience more complicated, but allow vision options to form the basis for more interesting total builds. From the support who forgoes his actives in favor of a powerful AP build, to the support who doubles down on active items, to the Jungler who forgoes combat in favor of map wide vision and utility.
Kind of? Other systematic changes such as Marksmen getting better kite / soak options / the removal of Brutalizer / the removal of Trailblazer and the like would probably be indirect nerfs to those characters.
The only stealth champions that haven’t been indirect nerf/buffed in a lot of ways is Akali / Evelyn / Twitch at this point. Eve has never been affected by the true sight from Oracles as her stealth shuts itself off and Akali’s stealth is rather situational.
Twitch, I agree might be a problem – but I’m not sure he was ever at a range to be detected by Oracles when he was murdering you in Stealth. Still – he’s probably the biggest beneficiary of the changes.
True – but so much of her itemization has changed that it’s hard to tell whether she’s better or worse from a total power perspective.
BoRK is noticeably worse early now, for example – so her assassination playstyle kind of takes a hit.
Loss of an early brutalizer and trailblazer hurts Rengar and Kha’zix pretty substantially I find. Similarly, Vayne and BoRK is no longer as powerful as an early power spike.
Shaco, on the other hand, builds whatever he wants – but Shaco is also likely affected by the loss of the early Brut as well.
It scales on a per level basis – so not for most roles. The goal is that people should only feel compelled to exchange their trinket when they want fundamentally different functionality – rather than just a more powerful version of their existing one.
Excellent question. They’re level-gated because they’re meant to serve mid-game or late-game vision functions that would be overpowered in early game.
Because players don’t move around a lot in lane – things that can affect others at a long range or a wider area are significantly more powerful – hence the level-gate.
If you want to be really specific – the best trigger would probably be something like ‘Buyable after laning phase’ – unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell when it ends that organically in an understandable way – hence the level restriction.
There’s are a couple of reasons why you want players returning to base on a regular cadence – doubly so for a class that doesn’t have much other reason to return as their item upgrades are relatively less important.
More practically, this favors the team that is pushed in rather than the team that is pushing in most respects – as the winning team is the one best suited to ‘waiting out in the field.’ We’d never really be able to put a recharge timer on it that seemed useful without causing some really weird side effects in this case.
The goal was to make the map overall darker and chip as much unnecessary vision power away as possible – hence the reduction. It also helps separate the two use cases out for vision a bit better – shorter term stealth vision vs. longer term control over an area.
That’d be a perfectly reasonable response if the item isn’t worth the slot. If that was the right call to make, I’d expect most of our players to do the same and then we’d simply adjust.
Not entirely convinced the item is weaker given that it’s one of the few sources of invisible wards – so the relative strength should be incredibly high – but if that’s actually the case – yeah, you’d be wise to avoid buying the item entirely.
I could see that – but the conflicting data point for me here is that the reason why Sweeper’s have such a high hit rate on live is that there’s always wards up due to the prevalence of buyable green wards – at least at higher level play.
I’m uncertain as to how much value is lost as we’re moving from a mostly-lit world in which Sweeper has a fairly high hit rate – to a somewhat-dark world where the hit rate will be much lower.
Vision removal in the item system should be somewhat better covered by cheaper pink wards as well. It may still very well be the case that red trinket has no comparable option and thus Sightstones need to exist so that you can have a red trinket in your inventory – but I’m not inclined to say that this is actually a bad state.
Basically, what I’ve found is that more choices in how you spend gold in vision has mostly led to either negative or kind of poor game-play in general. Complex gold decisions around vision hasn’t yielded good returns in either skillful play (as you should sink as much as you can) or have been particularly satisfying without being brutally overpowered.
The approach we’re trying this season focuses more around complex choices in how youuse vision – rather than how you acquire it – by both severe rate limitations – as well as allowing some more complex functionality to exist without a gold investment.
It’s likely that warding just isn’t viewed as an activity that makes a ton of sense from an abstract perspective. Put down sticks that grant vision? What?
Eventually, we’ll want to revisit the concept of static wards to begin with and see if there’s a better analogy that still plays a part in the vision game. This is super speculative – but imagine if, instead of a pink ward – you placed a tiny speed shrine that also provided vision.
I suspect that eventually, we’ll have to shift the analogy to like ‘mini-buildings’ or ‘mini-structures’ rather than ‘sticks that see’ in the long long run.
Tutorials and teaching players are definitely worth pursuing – However, with warding and such, it feels very much like a state of like ‘Well, we could teach them how to do Assembly… but.. maybe we should look at what we want them to do and confirm that’s actually a deep and engaging activity first.’
The other portion of this is that I believe Tutorials that teach you how to ward are going to have a major gap in that you cannot learn from your current enemy if the enemy has found some new clever way to use them. Hence – any tutorials are going to have a continual lag time – so whatever you’re teaching should also have some kind of learnable component from observing your enemy and allies in game.
A lot of the trinket options were removed to streamline the system down. There are some interesting expansion opportunities for the trinket space that I want to look into – and so we removed it to condense the space down to the bare minimum to replicate what most of the players on live regularly use.
Posting for Xypherous!
Our original intent with starting items before this season was to give players the ability to reflexively counter their opponents with generalist options running alongside more pronounced counter-items for specific circumstances (Flask, Doranâ€™s Shield).
However, after a couple of seasons of attempting to balance this world, weâ€™ve grown unhappy with how confining this approach is and the general problems that resulted from this approach. Weâ€™re decided to take a different tactic and adopt a pattern closer to the support line of items: Starter items that clearly express some kind of goal or intent in lane alongside a more generalist item for each of the positions in the game.
Magic – Doranâ€™s Ring vs. The Dark Seal
Doranâ€™s Ring is a powerful farming generalist item while The Dark Seal signifies an intent to roam and pick up champion kills along the the way.
While this doesnâ€™t support the full spectrum of mages in mid, it does represent two of the largest factions – push mages vs. assassin roamers.
Attack – Cull vs. Doranâ€™s Blade
Cull is an early skirmish option designed to be focused primarily around farming and light aggression.
Doranâ€™s Blade on the other hand, is a generalist option that scales much better into mid-game and is better in skirmish situations.
Jungle – Hunterâ€™s Talisman vs. Hunterâ€™s Machete
Machete has long favored a certain class of attack speed centric characters and this represents a quandary of how to actually support mage or tank style junglers from the get-go.
Machete now doubles down on its auto-attack centric nature while Talisman focuses on area burn and mana regeneration. Talisman is primarily designed for spell focused junglers – especially those that have repeated area of effect attacks on moderate cooldowns (like Brand or Zyra).
Both of these initial items are required to upgrade into the Tier 2 Jungle item, so your choice of initial item will eventually become moot. However, this flexibility of starting options combined with the patience system should open up stronger opening jungle patterns to a wider variety of junglers.
Lane Sustain – Health Potion vs. Refillable Potion
One of the major issues with Crystalline Flask right now is that we are unable to push its power to the point where it feels non-abusive in lane. This is due to the fact that it stacks with potions and thus any power add-on in Crystalline Flask gets doubled down on because you stack potions with it.
Hence, the new inventory rule: you can only ever have one type of potion in your inventory at any time.
Refillable Potions are 3 times more expensive than a potion but benefit from the fact that they will recharge once you return to the fountain. Normal Healing Potions represent more healing up-front for less gold but is obviously temporary in nature.
Refillable Upgrades – Jungle vs. Lane
This, by itself, would probably still be on the weak side. However, Refillable Potions can upgrade into two versions: Hunterâ€™s Potion and Corrupting Potion.
Hunterâ€™s Potion is a roam-centric potion that can regain charges out in the field while you are killing large jungle monsters. Itâ€™s designed primarily to support a Jungle playstyle that focuses on maximal uptime or bolstering characters with low innate sustain.
Corrupting Potion is similar to Crystalline Flask on live – with the added benefit of combat power. During its effect, damaging enemy champions will burn them for magic damage over time. Corrupting Potion represents an intent to harass your lane opponent until they give up.
Mana Potions – Removed
Mana Potions have been removed from the game. Weâ€™ve generally found that the decision to opt into Mana Potions was one that was either forced upon some champions (aka â€œI need this mana to functionâ€) or one that was generally only available to a handful of circumstances.
The best use cases of Mana Potions were typically to circumvent Mana restrictions for boom/bust play patterns (ie: save up to X amount of mana before dumping it all in a large burst of damage, repeat) vs. attrition-based approaches that are more in favor of straight mana regeneration. A champion being able to access their big â€œall-inâ€ combo more frequently also makes it challenging for us to balance appropriately, and weâ€™ve seen some more frustrating champions have their power reduced as a result.
With the removal of mana potions, we can also retune some champion mana values back to a middle ground. Weâ€™ve looked at the data for champions that frequently bought 2 or more mana potions in the game and weâ€™ve either increased their maximum mana or the mana regeneration values based on their class.
For the start of the season, weâ€™ve focused on granting at least two options to a particular need in the starting item space to support a wider variety of playstyles and intents from the start of the game.
Based on usage – the maximum sustain starts were most frequently used by characters that thrived on early harass. Pantheon, Kassadin and the like were the most effective users of maximal sustain starts – and they frequently used that high sustain to capitalize on early bullying pressure.
While I agree with you that there’s a dearth of solo lane tank starts – most of the solo tank starting item patterns that seem to make senseat first glance – we’ve found that when those options are strong – they tend to be better on pretty much anyone but solo tanks – like bot lane support/adc pairs.
You’ve gone and added a ton of new items for every other class
If we’re not talking about starting items – this item pass has mostly focused on AD Marksmen and some light AD work – rather than ‘every other class.’
The other facet of this is that in the Juggernaut update – there have been a ton of items – while their primary users aren’t tanks – have added to the tank pool of items (DMP and Sterak’s.)
Free lifesteal in the ferocity tree makes the relative advantage of picking up a Doran’s Blade weaker in the early item selection phase – as it means it now has to compete with some of the older component based starts (Long Sword + 3) at a much large disadvantage.
Long Sword + 3 is especially problematic if it becomes the default option again – as that’s more early in-lane sustain, hence why we try to keep DBlade competitive with it.
In order to run this argument – you need to run through this by several means:
- The mastery AD tree gives you as much power in terms of raw offense as before / The beneficiaries of Doran’s Blade have more total raw power than before in pre-game.
- Similar argument to #1 – but from a relative perspective – AKA – everyone lost more than they gained.
- That this power advantage hasn’t been taken into account elsewhere – like their most powerful first item buy.
- That other starting item paths haven’t been buffed as well or heavily adjusted.
While I’m not convinced any of these are true or false as there’s a lot of mechanics going on – I know that a lot of the AD efficiency, early potential spike in AD power, the conversion from total pen to bonus pen in the AD system and the decoupling of flat pen from % pen in the mastery system make the AD curve less steep than it previously was.
While I can’t go out to say that ‘No, power creep isn’t happening’ – What I can say is that I can see other factors that work in the opposite direction of power creep – so adjustment based off initial reads is likely the best solution.
You can strongly make the claim ‘I think a Solo tanks early game is weaker than it was’ – which is probably true. I’m less certain about the statement that ‘Solo tanks are weaker’ as a whole – as most of the efficiency passes, especially in terms of MR – are more favorable to them.
All that said, I totally get why you feel the way that you do. It’s not your job to read every change and put them all together and evaluate whether or not it comes out in one way or another.
You can claim this about most non-upgradeable starting items.
However, the catch-22 part comes in only if you assume that games cannot be won before slots start to become a problem or that the item’s power curve doesn’t translate well into the mid-game at all.
Sellback values mitigate some of the initial cost for the mid and late game – and the trade-off between a more powerful early start vs. a guaranteed late game is always whether or not you got enough interim value out of the item to make up the deficit in this regard in terms of either uptime or personal performance.
The most common points of feedback when losing a % of stacks is that it’s never worth it to trade kills and die with the item – since the better you did – the more stacks you lose. Experimenting with a flat amount of stacks so that players can evaluate their plays much better. Did you get 2+ kills? Then it was worth it, even if you died.
The other part of this is that a % loss on death lead to some awkward double-kill or post-death / post-assist death scenarios. While flat suffers from similar problems at the low end – it won’t be as ubiquitous.
The item is likely more snowbally than before. The idea behind the Dark Seal is that you have a point in the game where you:
- Broadcast that you want to do a snowball route (since.. the Dark Seal doesn’t really build into anything else.)
- Have a chance to back out if things don’t go your way.
So there’s much less initial risk to the item – and thus the item can be snowbally but will be less feast or famine because a good player can cut his losses early, so to speak.
Not at the moment.
Maximum sustain in lane is something that players would always like more of (as the best way to beat your opponent is to simply have more health at any given time – go go 13 potion starts).
For now, yes. Although, I could certainly see us deciding the other way in the future easily based on item usage. Eternal Biscuit of Replenishment?
If you need a huge chunk of sustain – the expected stat is that you get Corrupting Potion. The other facet of this is that there are a lot more individual sustain options in other pre-game systems (Lifesteal naturally in ferocity tree, for example) – so there should be enough customization bits out of game to bolster this as well.
Currently the stance is that we’d prefer if Mana purchases reflected more permanent decision making. This is why Frostfang’s line of MP/5 has been greatly increased for example.
Mana potions to support off uses is a niche benefit but the niche benefit doesn’t really outweigh tremendous initial costs in tuning. 😡
Agree that these two items have a higher risk potential than the standard starting items. Dark Seal and Cull don’t necessarily have to be purchased as your first buy – if you want to take a safer route and see how the lane goals.
Doran’s Ring into Dark Seal instead of a second Doran’s Ring after you’ve gauaged the lane can be an effective way at mitigating that risk. Similarly with Doran’s Blade into first back Cull.
The other idea that we’re stressing here is that, in the absence of greedy items – there’s no real way to punish a safe lane that’s doubled down on being as not dead as possible. Cull / Dark Seal both support the notion that – if you try that approach – then I can respond by getting more out of the laning phase than you will via farm or more powerful rewards for roam.
We turn over the jungle pool every year pretty consistently – so the ability for an individual jungler to have the same clear speed as before isn’t as important. AD Casters will specifically generally have a harder time of it in this year than previous years.
It’s definitely something we’ll have to keep tuning as we get better data on how players are adapting.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me atÂ @NoL_ChefoÂ or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.