Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 16

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 put 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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **True Damage** Since we've got a couple of new high profile sources of true damage (Conqueror and the upcoming IE change) figured it would be a good time to talk about our thinking around it. Recap: * True Damage is damage that's not reduced by Armor or MR. No other effects increase or decrease it (damage amps like Press the Attack, Damage Reduction like Alistar ult etc). It can be blocked by shields/invulnerabilities. It's usually spell damage (e.g. Cho ult that applies things like spell vamp) or proc damage (doesn't trigger most effects). Why we use it: * On paper, true damage sounds like it's just plain better than other damage and, point for point, that's almost always true. What true damage also does however is level the playing field a lot between how effective an ability or attack is against a tanky target versus a squishy one. Defensive heavy enemies can therefore take meaningful damage without the damage in question having to be so high it's excessive against everyone else. * To give an example, let's assume two targets, one with 80 armor and one with 240. Against a physical damage hit of 600 damage the 80 armor target takes 333 damage (44% reduction). The 240 armor target takes 150 damage (75% reduction). If that's the desired contrast in damage, perfect, physical damage makes sense. Things get trickier however if you need to offer more tank killing power. Let's say for arguments sake that 250 damage against tanks is needed here for the champ in question to be effective at fighting enemy front lines. To get that using physical damage alone we'd have to push damage against our squishy target up to 555. Using true damage by contrast we can drop damage against the squishy down to 250 if that's desirable, or use a partial true damage conversion if still after some difference. Why not just use more Armor/Magic Pen? * Armor/Magic Pen also narrow that gap between squishy and tanky targets. We've got a lot of those effects in the game too as a result and they're particularly useful when you want a mid point between 'equal damage to everybody' and 'very large contrasts in how hard you hit people'. * For cases where you want complete equality, full true damage is the way to go. For things like Conqueror or IE though you could accomplish the same sorts of results using % pen, rather than a partial conversion to true damage. True Damage has the benefit of being easier to understand the impact of in game though, both for the user and the victim. * For the victim, seeing physical damage of 600 points for example might suggest you should build a lot of Armor. If that damage is ignoring most of your Armor already however (e.g. GP barrels stacked with % pen or shred) building health's often going to be the better defensive choice. A partial conversion to true damage makes it clearer that that's the case by contrast. * For the applier of the True Damage benefits are a mixture of satisfaction and better understanding of the power of the effect they've got. But there's no counterplay to True Damage! * Item counterplay to True Damage is lower, that's true. Item options still exist though. Health and shields are the primary item responses. Depending on the circumstances though effects like Frozen Heart's Attack Speed Slow, Zhonya's invulnerability, QSS's ability to prevent getting locked down in the first place etc are still strong responses to True Damage threats. * Counterplay's also not just something that exists in the item system - there's more to it than just 'what item do I buy do beat this thing'. Less item counterplay does mean a heavier burden on other types of counterplay though certainly, which is why we'll often use true damage particularly on melee effects and/or sustained damage, rather than ranged burst for example. Frequency of True Damage * We've been using True Damage more than launch LoL/early seasons did. That's due to a belief on our part that it's a valuable tool for helping balance the game that was underutilized. * Shouldn't expect a constant rush of new True Damage effects though. Post Conqueror and IE we don't have anything in the pipe, at least so far, that would offer True Damage to a wide audience. Likely it crops up on some individual kits over the next year of course. At present only one of the new champs/VGUs currently in development has True Damage on their kit, possible that number changes though certainly. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Pyke Feedback** Now that Pyke's on PBE feedback would be especially appreciated if you're playing him on a few things in particular: * How you find his performance as a support versus other positions. Pyke's got some tools (basic ability hard CCs) we don't normally allow assassins or assassin like kits. There's some risk that counterplay that's ok when he's on a lower XP and gold income as a support and needs an ally's help to get kills generally won't be appropriate if he's able to function solo * How you find the experience of playing alongside him as an ally. Particularly interested in things like whether you can understand his game plan plus how much he's roaming and how that feels. * Whether, even if he's not necessarily able to play like a true assassin, he captures the feeling of it, in particular for those of you who enjoy playing assassins and have at least some interest in playing support. * How his build paths feel, particularly given the HP to AD conversion on his passive. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Testing a change to tower regen** One change that's on the PBE at present that's harder to spot is that we're testing out a change to how inhib and nexus towers regenerate health.On Live those towers regenerate some health when damaged. What we're trying is having them only regenerate health up to the next 1/3 marker on them (signaled by notches on their health bars and the damaged tower animations). A tower that's at 79% health for example will still regen up to 100%. A tower at 50% would regen to 66%. And a tower at 32% would regen to 33% etc. We're making that change in part to open up the ways you can approach taking down a base. The full regen model makes partial sieges much lower value unless you're coming back soon. It also means split pushing against an inhib tower tends to be an all or nothing thing a lot of the time. Giving partial success cases (cool, got it below 33% even if we didn't kill it) should help out those as alternative strategies to usually just blowing through the whole tower in one go, usually as a full team. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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