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
**Our thinking on jungle at present**
Going for a deep dive on some of our jungle thinking for this post. Looking back at last year, and at some of the feedback I got earlier in the week about these posts, one thing that stood out was a feeling that at times they've become a bit too focused on what we're doing, versus why we're doing it and what else we're thinking. Going to try and get back to a better balance in that regard as a result.
> First off, a run through of the changes we're currently looking at for 9.2:
* General Camps : Experience scales to 150% >>> Experience scales to 125%
* Buff Camps : Experience scales to 157% >>> Experience scales to 125%
* Scuttle Crab : Gold and Experience Scales to Double base value >>> Scales to 180% of base value
* Damage : 28-164 (20 + 8 * Level) >>> 20-156 (12 + 8 * Level)
* Damage Per Tick :: 20-54 >>> 19-42
* Damage Total :: 60-162 >>> 57-125
* DoT Duration :: 3 seconds >>> 2 seconds
* No longer grants vision for the mark duration
> Why those changes?
First off, we believe that jungling's influence, in most MMR bands, is too high. Given how much control junglers have over the early game in particular we don't believe they should bringing quite as much damage as they currently are, nor that they should on average be keeping pace, or as close as they are, to solo laners in XP. Looking back a number of years junglers tended to be around, or slightly above, a team's marksman XP wise. We've increased the gold and XP available to junglers pretty meaningfully over time and, while we certainly don't think they should be as far below solos as they used to be we do believe we've pushed a bit too far. Similarly on the Smite upgrade side of things those spells were originally balanced around junglers having less gold/xp, with the upgrades therefore needing to deliver more power than we believe they should today. Reducing their damage is also part of a larger push to cut some unnecessary or excessive damage, probably from non kit sources in particular, that we're working on at the moment as well. More on that soon (hopefully next week).
The XP reduction is something we also made some changes to try and address in preseason (8.23). We didn't want to swing too hard, especially with the holiday break coming up, so erred on the side of what we thought were good but conservative reductions. In retrospect those were significantly below the mark they needed to be to get enough movement.
> Other potential jungle changes
We're also looking at a couple of other possible jungle focused changes, though don't have a specific timeframe on them. The first is getting some form of utility alternative to Chilling/Challenging Smite back in. We removed Tracker's Knife last year because the impact it had on strategy/macro play was creating a lot of problems, including very conservative organized play and pressure on the effective pool of junglers. Its lack does leave a gap though we'd like to fill in terms of the Smite upgrade choices offered. What we've been trying so far is a Smite upgrade that gives you a brief shield and movement speed increase. That's showing some promise, but isn't there yet. Not sure at present if we'll go that route or a different one.
The second thing we'd like to look at is the variation in effectiveness of junglers between pro and regular play. Our take is that jungle influence in pro (and likely other high MMR organized 5s play) is meaningfully lower than solo queue. That’s not to say junglers are neccessarily weak in pro, but the difference does creates some additional challenges balancing champs, items etc for both contexts. That's due to pro play having a lot more coordination/communication (making it easier to track junglers and play around them), buffs getting handed off to laners much more in pro, more tendency to have laners, strongly multiplicative scaling ones especially, take more regular jungle camps. It’s quite likely that in particular we put work into how jungle buffs work and pain points around keeping/handing them off, though we don’t have specific directions identified yet.
> What about X?
Level 2 ganks?
* We're seeing a range of viable junglers at all MMRs, some of whom have strong level 2 gank patterns, some of whom don't. There are certainly some champs that do feel out of line at level 2 and we're looking at their jungling power as a result (e.g. Camille and Xin). We believe the issue here's individual problem cases, rather than early ganks being a possibility.
Significance of Scuttle Crab?
* Similarly we're seeing a range of good against scuttle and weaker against scuttle champs as strong picks at present. Something we're looking at at present though is whether intended fall back paths for those not contesting scuttles are sufficiently rewarding (e.g. Red to Krugs). We don't believe safe play that doesn't require interaction with other players should be as valuable as riskier play, so don't want the gap to get too narrow, but are looking into whether it's got a little wide or not right now.
* Separate to how much scuttle crab does or doesn’t influence which champions are effective in the jungle is sentiment we see from a number of junglers that they just don’t want to have to play around scuttle crab as much as is optimal at present. Can entirely understand that point of view. At the same time we believe keeping a fairly high focus on objectives in neutral spaces gives a lot of benefits in terms of healthy interaction, skill expression, risk/reward trade offs etc.
Jungler pressure/gank threat
* Gank frequency/early jungle pressure's an issue on our radar too. At present we want to see where lowered damage, likely nerfs to very dominant early gankers and reduced camp scaling leave things then assess how pressure’s looking. Do agree that jungle threat on lanes can be a bit too constricting at present however.
Powerfarming and camp respawn rate
* A request we see crop up quite a bit is for faster jungle camp respawns, usually with the goals of making powerfarming stronger and adding more cost to ganks. That's something we did do a bunch of testing on middle of last year. Our conclusion was that there wasn't much room at all to adjust however before chain farming became clearly optimal. The high strength of powerfarmers already at low and average MMR bands (Jax, Yi, Udyr etc) makes adjustments more difficult again, given in that context it's already the most effective playstyle statistically at least.
X jungle enchantment needs to be changed
* We're seeing a pretty good spread of users over the four jungle enchantments at present, including champs who are reasonably able to choose between multiples splitting their usage, including between offensive and defensive (Cinderhulk) choices. Bloodrazor is a bit on the narrow side though. It's got a group of core users, they're comparatively small however and its usage drops off hard in really high MMR. There's also been some long running feeling that Warrior's just not satisfying/interesting compared to the other three in terms of offering something more than just stats. No current plans to prioritize work on either of those items to address, given amount we're focused on things like crit itemization, systemic damage, general balance at present. Whenever we next end up doing a jungle item pass would want to consider addressing those points though certainly.
**Baron Buff and Inhib Tower Scaling**
Mentioning this since not sure if it's been spotted on PBE yet. We're making a couple of adjustments to how baron buff and inhib tower stats in 9.2. Baron Buff's going to start a bit weaker at the 20 minute mark and then scale to the same point, so that a really early baron isn't quite as dominant (12-48 AD and 20-80 AP instead of 24-48 and 40-80, 50-70% minion DR instead of flat 70%). Inhib towers are going to have 70 Armor/MR all the time instead of scaling from 55-70 between minutes 31-45, making them slightly tankier almost all the time in the average game.