Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 9

Hey 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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Syndra** We last talked about Syndra a bit before the AP item changes were coming out. At that point we were avoiding making changes to most AP champs until we'd seen want impact those items had. At this point though we can be fairly confident they didn't have a meaningful power impact on Syndra. That does leave her arguably in a weak spot. We've been reluctant to just straight buff her however, given the degree to which she ends up being a correct pick all the time when somewhat stronger than she currently is. We're also still seeing her be the correct pick sometimes at her current power level, at least in the hands of experienced Syndra players. She's also a champion who, when balanced, will need a noticeably sub 50% win rate, looking at her historically, so we don't think her current win rate is as strong a signal she's in urgent need of work as it might suggest on many other champs. That's not to say we won't take a look at her at some point, ideally finding ways to sharpen when she is or isn't the correct pick a bit more. At present though we believe other work, both on other champions and systemic elements like items or the jungle, needs to take priority. On a much more specific note one thing I also wanted to check for those of you who've played a fair bit of Syndra is your opinion on the current Q passive effect (extended duration) as opposed to the previous effect (increased damage to champions only). The extended duration makes a lot of combos between her skills easier to pull off, which arguably has some positives and some negatives, so figured it would be a good thing to assess at this point. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Rageblade, Locket and Wave Clear** We've got changes on the PBE right now to Locket, wave clear (minion health in particular) and Rageblade. All of those are on the experimental side, and it's likely most, or all of them, don't ship in 8.6 but likely hit PBE again in a later patch cycle. A few notes on each below. Rageblade - We're looking to broaden its pool of users somewhat (e.g. melee users, people who currently get screwed by having their Adaptive stat set to AP by its build path) and reduce how much of a single item spike it is early on its current ideal users. Intent is to keep it as a hybrid AD/AP item with a stacking mechanic, though we have also been testing an AD only version to understand what an item in that space looks like. Locket - We believe Locket needs to be more contextual (do pick in some circumstances, don't pick in others). That's something we've been trying to achieve for quite a while now with various changes, but still haven't gone far enough on. Also trying to make it so its use is more skill dependent/less consistently reliable. The version currently on PBE (DR zone) has some interesting stuff going on, it's unlikely it ships though given its also got some substantial issues as well. Wave Clear - We're also working on reducing wave clear, during lane in particular, though to some extent later in the game as well. That's targeted at getting more interaction between champions, since minions being around pulls champions closer to each other to CS thereby creating opportunities for aggression. Easy waveclear by contrast leads to easy safe farming and roaming, which then comes at a cost to other lanes or, late game, leads to stalled out low action scenarios unless Baron buff is available. Still experimenting with different directions there. Think it's much more likely something ships in 8.8 than 8.6 (exception: a nerf to Shiv which removes its bonus damage to minions that probably will be in 8.6). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Swain** Looks like we probably overbuffed Swain in 8.5. Still assessing him, but suspect we may need to pull some power back (leave him stronger than in 8.4, but not as strong as 8.5). Best guess at present from what we've seen so far is that we'd be more likely to reduce his damage/payoff for landing spells than his ability to land them in the first place (which is where a lot of the newly gained power came from). Pre buff Swain was likely too unreliable, so based off current thinking it's unlikely we'd revert those reliability increases. Need to see some more play before making a call though. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Next week: Surveys** Got a good question earlier in the week asking about why we don't survey more, with some suggestions as to things that might be valuable. Was planning to talk about our survey approach today as a result, give you folks a bunch of context on what we currently do and what our thinking there is. Turned out to be a bigger topic than expected, so moving it to the first post of next week. Let me know if there's anything survey related you're particularly interested in hearing about and I'll try and include something about that. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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