Runes Corner: Runes Content Development Peek

Hello! Riot Reinboom here! This is our first Rune’s Corner post! Starting today, the team working on Rune’s Reforged will be posting more frequently so we can get you guys up to speed on our design thoughts, explain our decisions, sneak peak new runes, and more importantly, gather your feedback. Today we’ll be talking about returning choices and changes to them, the Adaptive keyword, and runes with sharp trade-offs. --- #Runes Returned The Keystone Masteries system was a design test bed for us in preparation for Runes Reforged. Before committing to the larger project, we needed to see if the direction actually improved the game. We were interested in answering questions like “is concentrating power a valid design strategy here?”, “what happens to the system after it goes through a number of balance updates?”, and especially “will players actually enjoy this?” **Learnings** We found clear upper and lower bounds of how powerful the keystones can be, as well as a few points to watch out for that we weren’t expecting. We also made an important discovery in that if we want to support pregame decision making, we would need more space than just 9 Keystones. Concentration of power allows for creative choices outside of Keystones as well. **A Dangerous Revelation** Here’s an example of a mastery reforged as a Rune: | |   | Bloodlust |-|-|:- | | | Takedowns restore 15% missing health. This is an amplified Dangerous Game, a mastery with a lot of great qualities. It’s a clear bid of power and it enhances decisions you *want* to make. More importantly, not everyone likes the strategy proposed by it - it’s not for everyone - and that’s good. You’ll also notice that Bloodlust is just more healing than Dangerous Game. Runes, in contrast to their mastery predecessors, have a lot more power concentrated into their individual effects. **Keystone Exploration** The few Keystone Runes that are being brought over in some form are also undergoing some changes: | |   | **Ruined King’s Tribute** |-|-|:- | | | Every 4 seconds in combat your next attack deals damage to nearby champions and large monsters equal to 3% of your max health and heals you for [20 -75]% of this amount based on level. Ranged Champions: Damage and healing are halved. Keystones are only slightly powering up from their current impact, allowing us to achieve the level of impact needed to make the choice worthwhile. We’re also trying new tooltip formats, both a “short and to the point” and “long and with all the juicy deets” - both of these are available so we can get the more subtle interactions out there. --- #“Adaptive” With the [Runes Reforged announcement]( you got to see the Runes Reforged take on delivering Cooldown Reduction by way of Overcharger. You may have also noticed the word “adaptive” there. This is a keyword you’ll see elsewhere in Runes, such as Perfectionist: **Perfectionist** While above 80% health, gain up to +14 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive (based on level) Anything labeled as Adaptive adapts to your champion and in-game item build. If a Rune offers Adaptive Attack Damage or Ability Power, it will grant you one or the other based on whichever of Attack Damage or Ability Power you have more of within your items (defaulting to the stat listed first). **...Why?** When designing new Runes, we ran into an interesting problem: Runes are a huge stepping stone of power for champions in the early game, and feeling unsupported by the Runes system feels really bad. But at the same time, we don’t want to drown you in Runes. Oof. We went about tackling this space from a lot of different directions. One major slice of that is “what to do about all those spellslingers who scale off Attack Damage?” Each Rune Path aims at a section of characters, and the Sorcery Path — a path that used to provide quite a bit of Ability Power and tools for mages — ultimately delivers the *kind* of thing that the Ezreals or the Jayces of the world want. The Ability Power offered by Sorcery was wrong for these champions. We played around with just giving both stats, but champions that scaled off both just go crazy. Runes can't rely on changes throughout the game. With items, being able to respond to investments like my opponent is tanking up is important - and there's inherent flexibility with selling and buying - adding more flexibility just makes it so that you can't ever respond sanely to your opponent. With Runes though, you're locked from the moment the loading screen pops up, meaning we can allow more inherent flexibility on each Rune. Enter “Adaptive”. **Back to Perfectionist** Once Adaptive came into being during our testing, we found we were able to try out more Runes that offered strategy synergies in places we didn’t expect. **Perfectionist** While above 80% health, gain up to +14 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive (based on level) Perfectionist is a great example of such a case. Perfectionist was designed with a less explosive, more small trade oriented lane in mind. Its aim was to build off of great trading patterns and let you synergize with a teammate bringing you heals. What we also discovered though, was a desire that wasn’t exclusive to the me-and-my-friend lane. The slower brawls of top lane showed a different type of promise. Mids who were always at max because they were roaming anywhere but mid was also hungry for the interaction. Adaptive allowed us to scratch all of these itches without having to recreate the Rune again with slightly different stats. --- #Sharper Trade Offs With Runes, we’ll also be exploring a space we’ve historically shied away from: effects with direct negatives. These type of “kiss/curse” effects are tricky. Very few people want to actually be bad at something, especially after the few games of novelty wears off. Good kiss/curse highlights the strengths you gain for the trade off. In this way, the curse is more “what can I get away with?” The Inspiration Path, a path focusing on indirect power and rule twisting, has a clear example we’re pushing into this space: **Magical Footwear** You get free boots at 10 minutes but you cannot buy boots before then. These boots grant you +10 movement speed (in addition to the other boots effects). Magical footwear is a reflection of this kiss/curse philosophy. In every matchup, movement speed is powerful. Against a few matchups, you can get away with hard pushing just for your powerful large purchases… at least for awhile. Magical Footwear wants to check that bet, in exchange for being able to figure out where the curse isn’t really a full curse, where you can eek away from certain slower skillshots or dance out of targeted but close range characters, you get the benefits of a free pair of boots for when you start needing the movement for all the other champions in the game. And a little extra on top of that. You’ll see a few more new mechanics and philosophies contained throughout the Runes Reforged system in the coming months, and we’ll be getting more details of the system itself out soon, so hang tight. Thanks for reading! We’ll be hanging about in the comments section and we’re excited to hear your feedback!
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