Hey all, Scruffy here with some insight into our gameplay direction and upcoming changes.
**Balance Framework Fine Tuning**
We’ve been working with a standardized balance framework for over a year and we’re constantly looking to tweak and improve it over time. The Summoner's Rift Team has a small but hopefully meaningful set of changes that we’ve been testing this year and are using going forward.
Normal Play (Iron - Gold)
* For both normal and skilled play, we’re tightening the OP line a bit after looking back at the full year (2019) and seeing that we trended towards buffs over nerfs. Ideally we find the right balance so that we don’t have power increase or decrease over time.
* OLD: OP if 54.5% win rate if < avg banrate, down to 52.5% win rate if >5x avg banrate
* NEW: OP if 54% win rate if < avg banrate, down to 52.5% win rate if >5x avg banrate
* For Example - Our new system flagged Diana for nerfs in 10.3 (at 53.7% win rate, 23% ban rate) which we would not have gotten from the old.
Skilled Play (Plat - Master)
* OLD: OP if 54% win rate if < avg banrate, down to 52.5% win rate if >5x avg banrate
* NEW: OP if 53.5% win rate if < avg banrate, down to 52.5% win rate if >5x avg banrate
* For Example - Our new system flagged Senna ADC as OP in skilled when the old system would not have.
Elite Play (Grandmaster - Challenger)
* No changes at this time, but we’re working on ways to have a more game data driven system here. Our current usage of picks and bans is approximately correct, but we think that we can get a more accurate picture of champion balance with game data like win rates here.
* Unlike Elite play, we think pick and ban data here provides a very good representation of champ power. We’re still tweaking this a little to reduce the amount of patch notes for pro during most of the year and then amp up our focus as worlds approaches.
* OLD: OP if >90% presence for 1 patch or >80% presence for 2 patches
* NEW: OP if >95% presence for 1 patch or > 85% presence for 2 patches. Increased focus for major events (worlds / MSI).
**Widening the Jungle Champ Pool**
When we’re digging into our results and follow ups from this year’s preseason, we were really struck by a problem in the Jungle role that we’d never been able to fix - throughout League's entire history, low Elo players have preferred the jungle position least of all 5 positions, regardless of whether jungle is strong or weak relative to the other 4 positions. We think this will take a variety of changes to fix in the long term, but we want to also do some short-term work to improve jungle appeal. In 10.4 we’re going to try adding a handful of champs that we (and you) love into the jungle pool. We’d be doing very focused changes that buff these champs' jungle clears but leave their lanes unchanged. Not all of these may ship but here is our current list:
* Garen (we’re also doing some light changes to make bruiser items more viable compared to attack speed builds)
**Soraka in solo lanes**
We’re working on some targeted nerfs to Soraka to prevent her from being a dominant pick in solo lanes with a pretty low quality gameplay experience. Her self healing pattern (Q) was built to be risky and semi reliable against ranged opponents, but in the 1v1 vs a melee it’s low risk and too hard to dodge.
**More Aphelios followup**
Few more changes should be coming for Aphelios in 10.4 to help increase the clarity playing against him, and overall bring him into a more balanced state:
* Better understanding of his guns - We’re adding his offhand gun icon to his health bar
* Less surprising Rs - We’re lowering the range on his R and amping up the color differentiation so that you can better tell when an R is coming and what it will do.
* More clear turret threat - We’re looking into ways to make his turret visuals convey their actual high threat so that players react to them more quickly.
* More balanced - He seems to still be strong even after 10.2 so we’re going to do another set of nerfs to put him into a better spot
**Sunfire Cape Improvements**
Sunfire currently is a bit underpowered, giving us the opportunity to buff it in ways that improve the tank experience in the late game. Damage focused classes scale up with items in a way that speeds up and eases their farming patterns, while tanks still can struggle to clear even after multiple items. Our current changes in testing are:
* Immolate burn is increased by 1.5% of the wearers bonus HP for 4 seconds after you apply an immobilizing (same rule as fiora W) crowd control to an enemy
Currently we believe Stopwatch is being used too often by a wide range of champions in a typical game. This leads to both a feeling of homogenous powers across every champ but also it can be too good at stifling action and negating burst. We’re looking into how we want to change/reduce its presence in the upcoming patches.