Next Class Update - the Assassins

Hey all, Now that the Mages have somewhat settled (don’t worry we’re still monitoring them all), we felt this was a good time to give you a guys a sneak peek into what’s in store for the future. Our next Class update will be focused on the class that everyone loves and loves to hate…**the Assassins**. **Why the Assassins?** Assassins are an extremely exciting champion archetype to both watch and play. They provide the game with a very distinct playstyle and keep fights dynamic by providing an unpredictable threat to “safe” champions who would prefer to walk away from every team fight completely unscathed. At the same time, Assassins have historically been a problematic class for us to tackle. They have been tough to balance because of how frustrating they can be to play against especially when they get ahead. On top of that, most of them kind of just do the same really, really good at killing a single dude. **What will be the focus?** There are 3 primary goals to this update. **1) Ensure Assassin gameplay is healthy** Playing against an Assassin can often feel very inevitable and hopeless, especially once they start their snowball. Giving opponents options and opportunities to outsmart or outmaneuver the Assassin is critical to the sustainability of the class in the long-term. On the flip side, this also allows us to give Assassins a bit more punch when they do succeed meaning that they’ll be able to dig themselves out of even more precarious situations than before when executed to their full potential. There are 2 critical problems to solve in this space: **Assassin damage needs to not happen literally in the blink of an eye.** Providing opponents with a short window (even if it is fairly brief) allows for reactions to even be possible. Currently, some Assassins deal most (if not all) of their damage in the literal instant they arrive at their target which can lead to moments that are extremely unclear and one-sided. **Assassin damage needs some level of variance.** The outcome of a fight shouldn’t be completely decided before it even starts. How well each player performs in any given fight should matter. When opponents inevitably die from an Assassin, they should be thinking “I should have played that better” rather than “there was nothing I can do.” These are not particular problems with just Assassins, but they are even more critical to solve in a class whose entire identity revolves around taking out enemies as quickly as possible. **2) Ensure each Assassin brings something unique to the table** We all know that all Assassins need to excel at singling out and swiftly taking down vulnerable targets, but currently for many of the Assassins that’s the only thing they excel at. This is problematic because it means that only 1 or a couple of Assassins can ever be relevant at any given time since they are all competing to do the exact same thing. So beyond just the ability to kill targets efficiently, we want to arm each Assassin with unique tools that make them interesting to play and offer special ways to overcome the opposition. **3) Allow Assassins to meaningfully contribute toward their team winning the game** Part of why Assassin gameplay can be frustrating is that they have very limited options (as squishy melee champions) to push towards victory. This often translates into them relentlessly killing their opposition over and over until their gold lead is far beyond cemented or them waiting for the opposing team to finally just give up. We are exploring systematic ways for Assassins to play with their team - opening up opportunities for each other, rather than them just being solo lonewolfs for the majority of the game. **What’s different this time?** One of the biggest lessons we learned from the past Class Updates is a simple principle - quality over quantity. We felt in particular that projects that don’t move the needle enough are simply not worth investing effort and resources into. Vel’Koz’s changes in the Mage Update were a perfect example of good intentions and a solid direction that unfortunately fell short of the mark. Ultimately it felt like change for change’s sake rather than actually pushing and evolving the champion. The biggest difference in the Assassin update is that there will be fewer updates in order to ensure each of them is a significant change that both solve their gameplay issues and push their unique identities. Quality over quantity. We still plan to do a comprehensive pass across the entirety of the class to A) see if there are any cool smaller-scale opportunities and B) improve the game health of Assassins that would otherwise dominate the rest of the class. On top of this, we will likely be doing some small-scale Item changes to support the overall effort. **When can we expect this?** This is still far off in the future, so don’t get hyped just yet - we’re aiming for the update to hit this coming Preseason. Similar to the Mages, we’ll be going more in-depth on each specific Assassin as we establish directions and get closer to finish line. Just to help give you guys a better idea of the pool of champions we're talking about, here's a list of Assassins we are currently considering as candidates: * Akali * Ekko * Evelynn * Fizz * Kassadin * Katarina * Kha'Zix * LeBlanc * Rengar * Shaco * Talon * Zed Note that this is not a guarantee that any specific champion will get changes - we're still exploring which champions will best fit this update.
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