Hey all, it’s RiotScruffy and I wanted to address some current issues in League’s gameplay and give some transparency for our plans for the rest of this year. Nothing is set in stone; keeping you all involved in the conversation is what we want here and we’re looking for your feedback on our plans to make sure we're on the right path.
Our immediate focus
* Damage and burst are too high
* In 2018, damage in League is up relative to defenses in the game. This is especially true in the early game. We’re looking for the best ways to make some small improvements in an upcoming patch and do a comprehensive pass this preseason without overly stifling the action or opportunity for kills.
* Specifically we agree there’s too much burst coming from systemic sources and many of these effects can stack. It’s not uncommon to see Scorch, Electrocute, Duskblade, and Stormrazor used together in a way that breaks our historical rules for how much reliable burst we allow without giving opponents much chance to respond.
* Marksman feels-bad
* While we got the diversity gains that we hoped for in midseason, the pretty heavy feels hit to marksmen was much more than we wanted and expected. A mix of us undervaluing the negative impact of some changes and sharper nerfs than we aimed for led to painful build paths, crit builds giving numbers over 100%, low satisfaction around the new crits, and a bunch of underpowered marksmen.
* The 8.15 changes that recently shipped are targeted at improving the satisfaction and smoothing the build path of some of the crit itemizations. Additionally we think that the power curves of these champs were too slow to come online. Sacrificing some late game power to ramp up quicker we think will give marksmen players a chance to affect the game before it’s already over and not completely overtake the late game.
This year’s preseason
* Some of our infamous preseason targets we will not be touching significantly this year. In particular we’re not changing the jungle and we don’t want to do too many fundamental shifts with all of the changes in the last months.
* Our goals
* Comebacks are more achievable and satisfying
* The feeling that a game of League is over in the first 10 minutes is something we've been hearing a lot from players and this isn’t something that we think provides the best game experience that we can offer. Ideally when you experience an early game setback the reaction is to plan for an exciting comeback rather than feel like surrender is the best choice.
* Early game successes should give teams meaningful advantages but we need more clear and feasible ways for the team that’s behind to attempt their comeback.
* Laning Phase is slightly longer & champs usually complete 1 item by the end of it
* The laning phase is a core phase of the game where players get to enjoy the constant back and forth of a 1v1 or 2v2. We want to make the lane phase a more stable segment of quality time in every game and push players a a bit farther into their power curves before the game transitions into the more fluid mid and late game phases.
* Entering the mid game with a stronger baseline of power lets champs fulfill their specific roles and be an important contributor to these fights, minimizing cases where players feel like they never got a chance to do their job before the game ends.
* Decided games resolve faster
* Though we want comebacks to be achievable in most games, we also want to address a problem where one team in a game is so far ahead they have a near certain chance of winning, but the game still ends slowly. This to us is just not a good use of player’s time. If one team manages to gain an insurmountable advantage, the game should end pretty quickly from that point. We're looking into changes that help super snowballed teams close out the game.
* Rune paths no longer dictate stat bonuses
* After having some time to let runes soak, and listening to your feedback, we’re focusing on one change to the system. We want to decouple stats from your rune style choice and offer a pretty straightforward and direct choice of what stat you want for your champ. We hoped initially that attaching stats to styles would help us prevent dominant choices (a rune that's a good fit for your playstyle is in a path with sub-optimal stat bonuses; do you take it anyway?) but after seeing the results it’s preventing more choices than enabling.
* Beyond that, we're also planning a light pass on the most dominant or unused runes
Long term learnings
* Too much relearning detracts from the fun
* Evolution and constant improvements to the game are key to what makes League League, but too much change too fast can make you all feel like there’s no time to settle in and master the current landscape. In recent seasons, we've been more willing to ask you all to pay that cost to make changes we truly felt would improve League in the long term, but it's clear that despite our intentions, we hit a breaking point in 2018. With this learning we are trying to gauge and pace our changes to the game so we get the best improvements and new content without cutting short the healthy period of a stable meta.
* Don’t want to invalidate the way you play
* Some types of change improve the game in a way that we all as current players can adopt and acclimate to. Some other tactics (like the side effects of our bot lane diversity stuff) can leave players feeling like the way they loved to play League is just no longer valid. The frustration we’ve seen from those of you trying to keep up with this year’s midseason reminded us how crushing that feeling can be, and we’re being much more cautious with these types of changes going forward. The long term promise that we can make to you is that sometimes the game is disrupted but we are here for the long haul: we will not let it stay broken forever.
League is a huge passion for all of us and we really appreciate having a player base as engaged as you are. Looking forward to the coming months and expect to hear more as we start testing changes and responding to your feedback.