Quick Gameplay Thoughts: September 12

Hi folks, ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **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 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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Worlds on 8.19** We've got our second and final round of balance changes with more focus than usual on pro play in 8.19. It'll be the Worlds patch, so we're also leaning towards conservative changes generally. As a recap the principles we're approaching Worlds balance with are: * An interesting and fun to watch experience is most important from a viewer perspective. * A diverse meta's good, but not as important as interesting matches (better low diversity and exciting games than high diversity and slow, uneventful play repeatedly) * No champions should be 100% pick/ban, or very close to it * No major disruption (minimal systemic changes especially, changes to individual champs especially are more appropriate) * While we're putting more attention into pro balance for the next couple of patches, ideally any changes made should be positive for regular play as well. If not they should at at minimum not be highly harmful to regular balance. That's the case in particular when it comes to buffing champs, with a fair number we believe could buff into pro play relevance but only by making them inappropriately strong for regular players. Based off those principles context on changes we're currently looking at: Champions * Ornn, Cho, Sion - Are very high presence in pro play in the play offs. Teams do need tanks though, so our inclination is adjust a couple of items (see below) rather than hitting this champs specifically. * Janna - Is currently weak in regular play (especially versus historic expectations). Pro play's also light on enchanters. We're testing a light buff to her passive conversion. Don't want to over buff, but interested in seeing if we can get a bit more niche variety at least in the support position. Buffing the amount of damage her AAs and W get from movement speed's what we're looking at because those are aspects of her kit that tend to have more impact at higher skill levels and Janna's historically overperformed at low/average MMR versus high. * Elise and Kha'Zix - Will potentially receive small buffs each. They've both got a bit of room to be stronger in regular games and we think are probably on the cusp of getting occasional pro play. Jungle variety's been fairly good during playoffs, so don't want to swing hard here, would be nice to get a couple more non tanks in play though. * Urgot - We're looking at him, but trending towards not making any changes. Some risk he ends up pick/ban and/or that mid ends up dominated by tanky picks. At the same time he's an interesting emerging pick and one that we believe has some not yet demonstrated counters. * Olaf - Also on watch, but likely not get changed. He's getting a lot of play, but provides something pretty different in the jungle. * Gnar - This is technically a really late 8.18 change, mentioning for those who missed it earlier this week though. Gnar's priority in pro has dropped a lot, so we've pulled the Armor nerf we previously had in, doesn't look necessary. * Kai'Sa - Is getting a lot of play. We haven't yet seen the 8.18 nerfs in action though and believe they'll have some effect. No further changes planned as a result. Items: * Liandry’s - We're looking at a buff to Liandry’s, both due to its general weakness and so it does a better job as a HP stacking counter. Current direction we're testing is making it also do 2% damage, so that it can function a bit better as a HP counter without also requiring the correct kit and/or Rylai's as much. * Warmogs - Is arguably invalidating damage put onto some champs too much, letting teams recover from punishment in team fights/poke a bit too well. We'll probably chip some power off it, though won't be going for any really major changes here. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Rek'Sai** A while back I mentioned we were looking at Rek'Sai buffs which never ended up happening. Wanted to share a bit of context as to why since I see them getting asked about a fair bit still. At time of mention our assessment was Rek'Sai was underperforming across the board, so we had room to add some straight power to her. Looking into things a bit deeper though we realized she was performing quite well at higher MMR already and that straight buffs would be inappropriate. She does have a fairly steep learning curve, and underperforms at low/average MMR though, so will feel weak to quite a lot of players. Would like to do some work to smooth out her early accessibility a bit as a result, that's a much larger task though than just adding power so it didn't fit within the time we had allocated. Expect we'll come back to her at some point, not sure on when though. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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