Quick Gameplay Thoughts: September 1

Morning all, ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **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 put 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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Tweaking Champion Voices** We get a lot of good feedback on ways to tweak and improve champions in terms of how their abilities work, loading screen art, visual effects in game, ability audio etc. Generally we can act on that feedback, especially in cases where it's a small change that's quick to do and a clear. Champion voices (VO) are usually an exception to that unfortunately and I figured it would be useful to talk about that a bit. With almost every other part of the game we can adjust stuff pretty easily ourselves and in multiple languages. Visual effects artists who work at Riot can adjust spell effects, writers can change champion bios, designers can tweak balance etc. With VO however it's not that simple a process unfortunately, since we're using voice actors who don't work here and have other commitments. That means it's comparatively difficult to something as simple sounding as one new line. We need to find a time that works for the actors in question and then get them into a recording studio. That's made much more difficult because there are a lot of voice actors per champion since there's usually a separate one for each language the game's in. Sometimes it's still practical to add or adjust one off lines (e.g. if we're recording a number of extra lines already for a champion release trailer or something similar it's easy to add a bit more in too). Generally though it's not doable, even if the idea's really cool, which can really suck when somebody suggests a fantastic idea. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Possible change to how we do gameplay patches next year** Something we've been talking about recently is whether to try a slightly different approach for a while early next to year to how we release gameplay patches. At present most patches are very similar to each other. We've been considering trying an alternating large gameplay patch/small gameplay patch cycle however. The small patches would only contain balance changes that are for things in dire need of a change (e.g. very strong or very weak champions), or extremely simple changes that aren't too disruptive and don't need as much testing (e.g. base stat tweaks). The large patches by contrast would then contain larger balance changes, mini updates, item changes, Runes adjustments etc. Total amount of change over time would likely be fairly similar, though more concentrated. One of the biggest possible benefits there is that that would allow us to spend more time on longer term fixes for things, and less on short term adjustments that don't always fix fundamental problems. One of the biggest downsides is some things would potentially get addressed slower than they currently do. Curious as to people's thoughts on such an approach? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Xin Zhao update probably in 7.19** As per the title there it's likely the XZ update ships in patch 7.19. For anyone unfamiliar with context on it it's a smaller update, so will involve tweaks to some of his skills and stats while keeping most of his kit very similar to its current functionality. A few spell/character animation updates, but in terms of art and audio generally very similar to (small gameplay update, not full VGU). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Azir update almost certainly in 7.19** Azir's changes have continued to test well so we're pretty confident they'll be in 7.19. They don't involve replacing any of his abilities, so sit somewhere between a really heavy balance/tuning pass and a small update. As previously mentioned a lot of the focus to the update is reducing his ranges to create better counterplay and more risk taking, then putting power elsewhere. We've read through a fair bit of feedback from some people who feel that's the less thematic fit for an emperor, and understand where that's coming from, but feel that leaving his range as is and instead removing mobility both fails to fix needed issues and leads to a flatter playstyle, hence this direciton. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Le Blanc update's quite a while away** Not too much new to say here, mentioning it though since it's a topic that seems to get raised constantly and figure it's better to talk about it visibly here rather than less visibly in the replies every single time. Le Blanc's update hasn't hit a good point yet, so it's going to be quite a while before it's out - she's got a lot of problems that need to be solved, with the core being desire to do assassin things without taking assassin risks. Extremely unlikely it'll be before pre-season (November) at an absolute minimum, more likely sometime next year. We don't have any current plans for balance changes to her between now and whenever the update comes out, though if circumstances change (e.g. if new Runes make her dramatically weaker or stronger) we'd reassess that of course.
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