**We're about wrapping up now, we'll have a finalized rundown later this week, but thanks for participating! We'll probably close up comments by end of tonight.**
Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we've had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we'll have a more high-level overview.
In the meantime...
**Preseason so far**
It'll take a while for things to shake down, but I'll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there's anything not mentioned you'd like to get our thoughts on, we'll be answering questions **between 1pm-3pm** (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).
**General Game Elements**
Overall, we're pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is *Warlord's Bloodlust*, and we'll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery's just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are *Deathfire Touch* (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.
On the other hand there are also some champions that aren't sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we'll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn't feel like it offers many champs a good choice.
* Minion Blocking
We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We'll be looking to adjust this to make it feel "right" again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking's calculated in 5.23.
* The Jungle
We're seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We've got some buffs to Hunter's Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We're also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you're currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.
As far as Rift Herald goes, we're seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we'd hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it's a bit too punishing, so we're reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.
We're currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that's assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it's also going to be due to a bug that's removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We'll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.
Graves is significantly too strong, Kog'maw definitely too weak. We'll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today's hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast's getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we'll need to make further adjustments as well. We'd rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.
Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we're looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we'll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe's Q that should help her out a bit. We're also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren't sure yet whether we'll have changes we're happy with for 5.23 or not.
Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we're looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha'zix/Zed), longer term we'll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).
* Other Champion Changes
It's not preseason specific, but we've also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn't from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.
The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there's to align champion size better with each champion's role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more...squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian's not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).
Statikk Shiv's looking too generically strong. We'll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.
Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we'll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we'll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.
* Clean Up, Bug Fixes
We've got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.
* Game Duration
Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we've spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it's looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).
In terms of direction, two of the big things we're looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We're also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that's something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we'll need to make some follow up changes.