**The weekend’s rolling in so I won’t be able to stick around to answer questions (sorry!), but I wanted give some context and talk about the minion pushing changes we’ve got planned for 5.23.**
First, high-level goals: when you’re ahead, you should take action to win, and conversely, when you’re losing, successfully defending should help you catch back up. That’s very different from how the game has historically been played, where a team with a lead can count on building an even larger lead just by farming and controlling the map, while a team which is falling behind typically doesn’t really catch back up by defending their towers. This is definitely a philosophical shift in how advantages are pressed or a game of League is won (particularly at the competitive level), but we think it’s a goal worth pursuing for this season, and are hoping these changes are a push in the right direction.
For the actual changes: the short version is that the minions of a team with a level advantage become slightly more powerful against enemy minions, dealing more damage and taking less damage to enemy lane minions. These advantages are increased in lanes where the advantaged team has killed more turrets than the disadvantaged team.
By giving an advantage to the winning team’s minions, we change who has to take action to win – if you’re behind, more of the gold on the map comes to you, so you’ll tend to catch up rather than fall slowly further behind. If you’re ahead, however, you get more opportunities to siege towers. Out of control snowball games will potentially end faster through successful sieges, but teams that are behind should have a more realistic chance of coming back through successful defensive play.
We’re starting with this tuned pretty light - these gains are tuned primarily by level advantage (the team with the higher average level gains the minion buff), with an additional increase based on the number of turrets downed in the lane. Minion damage is quite low, so while talking about percentages might seem high, the numerical impact is fairly low. The formula’s currently tuned at (5% + (5% x number of turrets downed)) x average level advantage). That’s about a 15% damage bonus for minions against minions if your team is, on average, 1 full level above the opposition.
Damage reduction is a little more straightforward: 1 + (number of turrets downed x average level advantage). So, in total, if you’re 1 level ahead and 2 turrets up in a given lane, your minions deal 15% more damage to enemy minions and take 3 less damage from enemy minions.
In close games, we’ve seen the average level advantage go between 0.2 - 0.4 average levels. Minions which normally hit for about 30 will have their damage increased by less than 1 – the effect is rarely noticeable. If that still sounds like a lot, consider that we have powerful comeback mechanics in place for levels – if your team is 1 level behind on average, the game probably feels significantly snowballed; if you’re 2 levels behind, you’re probably being crushed. So far, we have seen *very* few games get to 3 levels behind because, by that point, you’re either getting mega-stomped (think 18 minute game end) or catch-up mechanics will quickly rubberband you with *large* amounts of bonus XP.
I did want to address a few concerns we’ve heard –
We agree that you should be able to know what’s going on with your minions and we’re actively working on ensuring that you can tell the state of your minions in game. It’s going to be pretty subtle, but it won’t be totally hidden. Not sure exactly when that will ship - as soon as we can have it finished.
We’ve heard the concerns that this devalues lane manipulation skills such as freezing and slow pushing. Real talk, it probably does reduce the value of those skills – but it does not eliminate them, and it does make other skills (like coordinated rotations) more valuable at the same time. In particular, in close games it’ll work about the same. Freezing a lane with these changes when you’re behind is easier; when you’re significantly ahead, it’s much harder. Slow pushing shouldn’t be that different except in extreme cases – it tends to create a situation where you have a 2-to-1 advantage in number of minions or more, which easily outweighs the amount of power from the new mechanics.
Finally, there’s a lot of concern about how stompy and snowbally the game is, and whether this will make that worse. We agree that there’s a problem with early game snowballing, and 5.23 has a number of changes (notably tower health increases and less experience gained for killing an enemy) that should help that problem a lot. If these changes make that experience worse, we will follow up, whether by pulling back on these changes or by working on other mechanics.
We’re definitely keeping an eye on all of this and we didn’t make these changes lightly, so I hope you’ll try them out and let us know how things go.