Since patch 8.11 dropped, we’ve seen a pretty large shakeup to the bot lane meta which has been as polarizing as it has been refreshing. We’ve seen diversity like we haven’t in years which has changed the way players think about the game, where champs can be played, and what strategies to employ - and that’s been incredibly exciting. But as many of you have expressed (and as surveys have recently reinforced), that diversity came at the cost of marksmen satisfaction - especially those relying on crit items to scale into the late game.
It's important to note that satisfaction and viability aren't the same thing. ADCs still make up the vast majority of champion picks in the bot lane role—they aren't absent from the meta by any means. The main problem is that they don’t feel as satisfying to play as they used to, even if their overall strength is still competitive.
So, we’re taking a larger swing at the marksman space with an explicit focus on satisfaction. This'll look a bit different from the follow-up we've done so far, which was more focused on pure power. (Reigning in top tier ADCs like Ezreal and Kai’Sa, buffing the bottom tier like Cait, Trist, Varus, adding a little power to core items like IE, Stormrazor, Brawlers Glove etc). Our primary goals with the upcoming changes are:
* Increase how satisfying it feels to play an ADC
* Move some crit marksman power out of late game and into early/mid game by shrinking some of their larger item purchases in both cost and stats.
* Maintain the diversity in the bot lane carry role that we’ve seen since midseason
For an example of the types of changes we’re exploring (still subject to change):
Total cost 2900 >>> 2800
Critical Strike lowered from 30% >>> 25%
Our goal is not to return to an entirely ADC reliant meta where the only strategy is to always take an ADC, get them to late game, and then win. What we’re trying to do is make you feel like you get to “come online” earlier in the game, rather than the game ending before you hit your important item spikes. If we end up losing a lot of the diversity gains from midseason along the way, we’ll be trying to find ways to bring that back as well, but we're trying not to go that far.
**Snowballing and Comebacks**
Another thing that folks have been feeling in their games and talking about is how snowbally matches feel. Over the course of the season there was pretty steady growth in what we call “trapped games” - a game where the losing team has a very low chance of staging a comeback, but it drags out until the inevitable defeat screen. We know that feels bad, and we shipped several changes over the past several months to try to reduce the number of trapped games.
The charts below present three types of games that we use to classify how snowballed a game is at 15 minutes.
* Even Game - losing team has a 25%-50% chance to win
* Lead Game - losing team has a 10%-25% chance to win
* Large Lead - losing team has a 0-10% chance to win
Trapped games (the red line) peaked in 8.10 but has since been going down with changes to early jungle influence, reducing global turret gold, and rejigging the bounty system to better reward you for killing someone on a kill streak. So far those efforts to reduce snowballing seem to be paying off, and we’ve seen a pretty rapid return to the norm in terms of frequency. We're particularly happy that these changes led to a large increase in the number of Even Games (the blue line)—the category with the highest comeback potential.
We’ve also already seen successful/attempted surrenders dropping at a rate similar to the graphs above, but we’ll continue to monitor in the coming months to ensure that games **feel** less snowbally to players and take further action if necessary.
Please continue to talk about your perceptions of the meta and your experiences in game here, on reddit, twitter, or whatever platform suits your fancy. While we might not always reply, the conversations you have between yourselves and via surveys directly influence conversation we have on the team.
small note: I'm going to be in meetings for the entirety of the day, but will be trying to dip in here to answer questions when I can over the coming days. At the very least I'll be reading comments when I have a few minutes.