Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 7

Hi folks, Some things we're thinking about below! Additionally, if there's something particularly on your mind gameplay wise you'd like to hear our thoughts on do throw that suggestion into the comments. Can't make any promises I'll be able to speak to it, or speak to it immediately at least, always on the lookout for new topics though. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Looking at struggling junglers** One of our focuses for the 7.6 development cycle is looking at champions who commonly jungle who are having too hard a time of it. We're expecting that'll mean we look at a range of champions and then make changes to a subset of that group. Currently being considered are Nunu, Fiddlesticks, Nidalee, Amumu, Jarvan and Volibear. You should see changes to some of those champs hit the PBE today, expect some others to follow and some to likely get reverted during the patch cycle as we test them. Changes we're more confident in are Nid traps prioritizing big monsters over small plus Fiddle getting bonus E damage against monsters and from memory CD/range tweaks to Q/W respectively. For J4 and Nunu we're looking at W scaling and consume respectively, though need more testing on those to speak with confidence about how promising those directions are/aren't. Nothing concrete yet on Amumu or Volibear. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Shifting defensive stats from items to base stats** A couple of weeks ago I mentioned we were testing moving some stats from items to base stats, making vanguards, wardens and juggernauts at least more inherently tanky. We've concluded that approach wasn't working well enough overall, given it pushed a lot of champions towards more offensive itemization, risked blunting the difference between ahead and behind tanks too much and made some defensive purchases too unsatisfying/unimpactful. We're still exploring other defensive item changes though and will be investigating a number of concepts (possible need for an item that's strong against sustained magic damage specifically, efficiency of double defensive item rushes from solo laners, tanks dying too fast in some circumstances late game etc). We won't necessarily end up with changes that touch on all or even any of exact those issues FYI, but figured there'd still be interest in hearing about the sorts of things we're considering. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Ninja Tabi** We've seen some recent spikes in Ninja Tabi use, especially in high Elo ranked. Still assessing whether that's reflective of Ninja Tabi being too strong (they are really gold efficient) or whether that's a natural and appropriate reaction to some teams stacking a lot of physical damage dealers who auto attack (any game the enemy team's running a jungle Graves for example Ninja Tabi's value goes up quite a bit). We'd like to get more confidence we've properly distinguished between an item being too strong and an item being an appropriate safety valve basically. More thoughts on that to follow at some point. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Aatrox** Aatrox's balance changes should be hitting the live servers shortly. We believe the direction they represent's a good one, as usual with larger sets of changes they'll likely throw his balance out a bit, one direction or the other, initially though. Given his optimal builds have likely changed moderately we also suspect he'll probably perform worse for a little while just after the changes than he will longer term as players experiment with builds and people unfamiliar with Aatrox give him a try.
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