Midseason Rift Herald Update

Hi all, In the SUPER near future we’ll be releasing an updated version of the Rift Herald to PBE. For the last year and a half she has been relegated to an afterthought in terms of objective importance. Her reward, while powerful and purposefully niche, didn’t encourage many teams to opt into the high risk of combating her. In revisiting the Rift Herald, we reaffirmed that there is value in having an objective on the top side of the map that is worth pursuing for players. We want the individuals and teams who devote their resources to capture her to feel well rewarded and empowered to take further action. In short, we want the Rift Herald to be an objective worth considering in the average game, and we want the slaying of this epic monster to have an epic feeling reward. I’ll get more tactical as to what we’re actually doing but will first throw out the usual caveat that much of this is subject to change and we’ll be closely monitoring PBE and player feedback. We’re treading in somewhat unknown waters, so we expect that even after launch, there will be substantial tuning and potentially large transitions to make. Now, to what’s changing: **Art!** It’s long been a goal to update Rift Herald’s visuals and polish her sounds so she feels like a natural inhabitant of the Summoner’s Rift (void corruption notwithstanding). The most immediately noticeable and probably most important change to the Rift Herald this midseason is her substantial makeover. New fancy lady: https://am-a.akamaihd.net/image?f=https://news-a.akamaihd.net/public/images/articles/2017/april/midseason-content/rift-herald-thumb.jpg?v=1) Still photographs hardly do the new version justice. She also has a set of brand new animations, particles, and sound effects as well. Check her out on the Rift to see her full new ensemble. **The Encounter** The Rift Herald on Live we’ve grown to know and love had some challenges with the encounter: * It’s super punishing. If you opt into the fight at a bad time, or alone, you’re probably going to die. * There are significant restrictions: outside very rare exceptions, you needed two people to beat the encounter. * Learnability of some of the mechanics wasn’t incredibly high. Eye-hitting was only discoverable with multiple people, and though we encouraged swapping aggro her leashing was pretty punishing. We approached these issues with some hesitance. Can we support a Herald who doesn’t chunk you down really fast? Can she be soloable? To increase the potential she’ll be viewed as a real objective, we’re answering in the affirmative to both of those questions. While duoing her should still be the best plan of action for ease and speed, lone champions will now have the opportunity to kill her. Her attacks are more plodding, giving a solo artist the capability to sneak around her and land attacks on her achilles heel (or eye). She doesn’t punish players quite as much if they start opportunistic attempts at her. Generally, if you die from the encounter now it will be due to the enemy team swooping in. We’ve also made her quite a bit more patient with enemy aggro swapping, so she won’t leash outside exceptionally gamey circumstances. We also wanted to play up her epicness: Dragons, Baron, and even Scuttle Crab have some variation to their combat pattern outside of throwing autoattacks and running away. We wanted to infuse her with a little more spirit and life. She’ll now charge at the first enemy who angers her, significantly damaging and knocking away anyone who dares get in her way. At certain health thresholds she’ll also get enraged and launch a larger conal swipe attack. Both additional attacks are threatening, avoidable, and should help opponents discover the effectiveness of bopping her in the eye. **The Reward** Anyone on the team who slays the Herald can collect the Eye of the Herald when she is captured. This item will allow the champion to summon her within a short timeframe to have the Herald do their team’s bidding. While the summoning ceremony takes time, the results of a good use are devastating. She hates turrets. No one knows why. There are stories (that I just made up) that the turrets on the Rift memorialize the visage of the Herald’s enemies from the Void. Perhaps they just look like tasty treats, a nice fit for her high sodium diet. Regardless of why, once she’s set to do a team’s bidding, she’ll barrel down a lane, knocking aside enemy minions and charging at turrets as soon as she gets in range. That’s where the real fun and destruction begins. While Herald can do decently pushing on her own, she is even more susceptible than she was in the pit. Hits to her eye do more damage, she can be stunned, and she’s generally not as tanky. If she is not protected by a squad of champions, the enemy will likely make quick work of her. But a team that picks their timing carefully and is dedicated to protecting the Herald could siege down multiple turrets. Importantly, the Herald mercenary does damage based on her current health. The more damage enemies do to her, the less she’ll do in return to enemy turrets. **In Closing** The version that first hits PBE will not be set in stone. We’ll be polishing her up over the course of the next few weeks and paying attention to any negative fallout that might happen. We do believe that this new reward will generate interesting gameplay and we are devoted to making sure it feels like an appropriate and epic reward. Let us know what you think!
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