Quick Gameplay Thoughts: October 4

Hi folks, ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Usual Disclaimers** These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Some reflections on new champs/VGUs this year** Since the game's in a stable state right now with Worlds underway and preseason fast approaching I figured it would be a good time to share some thoughts on how our new champs and VGUs this year (Sylas, Kayle, Morgana, Yuumi, Mordekaiser, Qiyana, Yuumi) have gone from a game design perspective. * Cohesion between gameplay and theme This is something we've sometimes missed in the past, Kindred and Shen being some of the clearest examples, where kit and theme/backstory don't entirely gell. This year's releases by contrast I feel have done really well here, with gameplay generally delivering on desired fantasy and expectations. Mordekaiser for example hits the massive, dark magic powered lord of the dead thing pretty well. Yuumi delivers on playful, helpful mage's familiar. * Uniqueness and Satisfaction (playing as the champion) I think it’s been a strong year so far in this regard too. I think our new champs and VGUs have generally managed to both bring something distinct to the game and made doing so feel good for the user. Sylas's spell steal, Yuumi's attach and Morde's ult are particular standouts for me here. Some of our past work by contrast has only delivered on one of the two. Skarner's spires are distinct, but for too many players don't feel good to play with. Or from the other side of things Jarvan feels good to play but isn't quite distinct enough gameplay wise I'd argue from other similar champs. * Weaknesses and counterplay Here by contrast I think we've had a much more mixed year, in part because of some decisions we've made that have helped champions feel good to play as. Sylas and Yuumi stand out here in particular, with skilled play on them leaving opponents without sufficient ways to deal with them. Morgana, Mordekaiser and Kayle seem better in that regard so far. Not sure yet about Pantheon and Qiyana, reserving judgement there until they've been out a bit longer and we've got a better handle on which effects might just need some numbers tuning versus have larger issues to solve. In terms of overall trends this one's particularly on the mind as something we need to get better at. Looking at 2018 releases Irelia, Akali and Aatrox have also been problems in this regard, leading to in game experiences for other players that aren't at the standards we want to hit. All our new releases having good game health, not just some of them, is one of our big champion goals for the coming year. * Maintaining Gameplay Identities Historically some of our VGUs have ended up substantially shifting the gameplay identities of the champions being worked on. In some cases I think that's paid off well, with Sion, Poppy and Urgot for example very successful updates even if their gameplay is very different now. In other cases though we've sometimes changed things unnecessarily, losing things players loved about champions that didn't need to be removed on game health grounds. This year I think we've done quite well, with Kayle, Morgana, Mordekaiser and Pantheon all keeping a lot of iconic elements while also addressing some game health problems. Still some room for improvement. Overall though I think we've avoided some of the issues some past updates have had with unnecessarily redefining major parts of a champion (e.g. Graves no longer being able to be played botlane or Aatrox shifting from a very AA heavy playstyle to a more spell based one). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Thoughts on Worlds Playins so far** At time of writing we're partway through the second day of playins. Some very early thoughts on how the state of the game's looking so far: * Pacing's generally where we'd hope it would be in terms of things like amount of early conflict, contestation of objectives and time spent in late game * Overall pick variety has been ok given we've only seen a subset of teams play so far. Hoping we don't see Qiyana, Panth and Xayah stay at 100% pick/ban throughout the tournament as teams adapt and the meta evolves. They’re sitting there right now, but still very early on in things overall. Possible we should have taken more power out of them when nerfing each of them in 9.17-9.19, at the same time we didn't want to overswing and leave them in too weak a state to be played either. * Seeing some non marksmen get picked bot seems to have been healthy so far, with clear strengths and weaknesses resulting from the choice to do so and interesting play. Not clear how much the meta has settled in that regard though, particularly given some teams assumedly have put more time into practicing non marksmen picks than others. Very interested to see how bot develops over the tournament and hoping we continue to see some moderate class variety, especially if teams also feel they've got options for running marksmen in other lanes instead (or as well) when desired. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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