Quick Gameplay Thoughts: January 25

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 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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Crit Item Work** We're currently aiming to ship changes to crit items, plus potentially some other associated work, in 9.3. Our goals for that look like: * Crit marksmen players have an appealing crit build path * Marksmen (crit especially, but others to some degree) have improved ability to get some defensive effects when needed early/mid game * Satisfaction of play for crit marksmen games increases * Changes range from power neutral to power positive depending on the marksmen in question (e.g. Tristana has room to be stronger, Sivir probably doesn't) How we're looking to accomplish those goals: * Pulling some power from crit builds late game to put it earlier. Stronger 2 item spike especially, with crit synergies kicking in quicker. While we don’t think crit builds should be as powerful on 2 items as other builds are, given their late game’s noticeably stronger, we think we made the difference too large with our changes last year. * Reducing anti synergies between some items and frustrations like builds overcapping on crit * Changing some items so that it's not such a large damage loss to get some defenses into builds for crit users * Miscellaneous other changes Some specifics of what's currently in and looking pretty solid: * IE goes back to increasing critical strike damage though not as much as it used to (225%). AD also gets increased to give it a larger early impact * Essence Reaver goes back to a AD, Crit, CDR, mana return item. Mana return's on every AA and CDR is a flat 20%. * The current ER effect (AAs lower CDs after ult cast) gets moved to a new item with an AD, health, CDR statline (using the name and icon of Spear of Shojin, the original design of which we concluded was too overlapped with other items, Sterak’s especially). Goal is to have it be useable by both some marksmen and some other classes as per current ER. * PD gets a Lifeline passive that grants a shield when you fall below 30% health, also grants MS and ghost on basic attacking a champion. Loses the damage reduction from the enemy you last hit, though. Shift overall towards much more a burst mitigation item than a duelist one. Current PD has very few core users, with the two most noticeable, Trynd and Yasuo, champs who pivot between Shiv and PD depending on the tuning of each. Goal is to ensure Shiv’s a good option for them as a result, with a Shiv buff likely both to help them and other users. * All upgraded crit items go to 25% crit (IE, ER, PD, RFC, Shiv, Hurricane) * Stormrazor remains an AD/AS item, though now with a unique passive that amps your Energized effects (Fleet Footwork, Shiv, RFC) when they trigger. Still being worked on, details less certain: * Tuning on Spear of Shojin. Might cut the basic ability CD reduction to 10% per hit for example from 20%. Stat line on it compared to ER is more generally appealing and want to avoid it being extremely dominant. * Looking at other defensive effects, including things like whether defensive base stats should be adjusted, whether it should be more feasible for marksmen to build defensive boots when needed etc. * Item costs, exact numbers on many items. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Akali, Aatrox and Irelia** Wanted to share some thoughts as well on where we're up to with these three champions, given they've been challenging to balance and have been the subject of a lot of discussion recently. The core focus is on giving them more meaningful weaknesses, so opponents have clear windows/ways to play against them, rather than on power. A secondary focus is reducing the sheer number of mechanics on their kits. > Aatrox We had nerfs to Aatrox in 9.2 (Q ratio, E CD), with the primary goal being just trimming some power from him, since we felt he was overpowered in most contexts. We've got some follow up work in 9.3 as well aimed at giving opponents better ways to play against him. Power impact of those changes to be determined after we’ve assessed 9.2. We're testing two main directions at present. The first is giving his enemies more periods of time where his E isn't available. That likely means removing the charge system from it so he can't use one and still rely on having another whenever he wants it. Still debating whether the right version of that is a shorter CD single cast or a longer CD double cast where he can still dash twice but has to use the second close to the first (like Renekton E). Second change is we're probably removing E's spell vamp against minions, with some increased HP5 to compensate, so that he's not as able to shrug off harass as easily whenever he's able to push waves. > Akali Getting the immediate question out of the way first, yep, we'll be removing Akali's shroud making her untargetable under towers. We don't think that alone will solve everything with Akali, but agree it's a good change, especially given even many Akali mains would prefer that the effect be removed and power spent elsewhere. The original intent with the shroud working under towers was to give Akali similar dive capabilities to other assassins, despite her longer kill times, while also adding some additional uniqueness. While it accomplished that it did so at a high counterplay/frustration cost, though for quite a while we were very split internally on whether the cost was too high or not. In terms of other changes we're also looking at Akali's sustain and whether, like Aatrox, she's potentially shrugging off harass too effectively via her Q heal. We generally want champions able to create and win all ins with some reliability to be more vulnerable to harass. Debating at present whether, if we do remove the Q heal at max energy, we should replace it with another mechanic or not. For those of you who play her regularly is that something you enjoy optimizing around or not? > Irelia Like Aatrox, Irelia just got nerfed in 9.2 and we'll need to see how those changes landed. Again like Aatrox we're also looking at some follow up work to add more counterplay to her, reduce how much agency’s in the hands of the Irelia player versus her opponents. That work's a bit earlier on than work on Aatrox/Akali. Likely approaches include making W more (or only) effective against physical damage so she's a less universal pick, improving visual effect clarity on E so it's clearer when you will/won't get hit, changes to improve her top lane performance. At some point long term we'd also like to make it so Irelia's got a more distinct niche, make sure she's bringing something distinct to a team so that when she's a good pick isn't purely dependent on her general strength. The extra damage to shields on her passive and disarm on R were attempts to do that during her VGUs original development. Our conclusion was though that they weren't pulling their weight in that regard, so it was better to strip them off given problems they created, given Irelia’s been an ongoing issue, then find better ways to get needed distinctiveness at a later date. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Damage Adjustments** As mentioned last week we've been working on some targeted changes to damage output. Likely have details to talk about next week. Target is to ship changes in 9.4, in part so we can see how 9.2 and 9.3 affect things. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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