Quick Gameplay Thoughts: February 14

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 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Ahri** Wanted to follow up on a couple of champs that have been asked about a lot recently who we haven't talked about for a while. First up is Ahri. We'll be reassessing AP champs in general after the 8.4 item changes go out, our current thoughts assuming nothing major changes with her though are: * She's around the right spot in terms of power. * She's somewhat unsatisfying. Some of that's that her W isn't the most engaging spell. We think the bigger issue though is that her effect on the game is too flat relative to how she's performing. An ahead Ahri often struggles to convert even a significant lead into a large enough advantage for her team (an issue some assassins have as well). A behind Ahri is safe enough to still do fairly well and not screw things up too much for her team. Her highs should arguably be higher and her lows lower. * We're tentatively planning on looking at her somewhere in the 8.5-8.7 range. Beyond at least roughly power neutral and sharpening difference between good and poor performances we don't know what that's likely to look like yet. Things like reassessing the speed boost on Q would certainly be on the table, don't want to make any promises yet though. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Quinn** Second up, is Quinn. Our current thinking: * Quinn's got a pretty strong thematic starting point (Demacian ranger/scout with trained bird). * We've never delivered well on that, both from a thematic perspective or a gameplay perspective. * A consistent issue with Quinn, regardless of which patch you consider, has been her dependence on lane bullying melee and bursting squishies. She lacks late game (team fight especially) ability to contribute, with some of the gameplay problems that plague some assassins (hard to close out games/make team contributions) and some of the problems some marksmen exhibit (anti melee laning pattern in particular). * Player desire for her seems to be split between 'make her a more typical marksmen so she can bot lane' and 'keep her as a non bot laner' * Her original ult was very stat checky, giving extra power (most applicable in 1v1s or small fights) without giving her ways to survive in larger fights that aren't just 'kill quickly'. For some players at least also some thematic failure (why am I turning into a bird?) * Her current ult's generally pretty unsatisfying for many (all I get's out of combat movement?), also failing thematically for a lot of players too (my bird's just a taxi?) * My personal belief is that any significant work on Quinn needs to include making her a more functional team fighter and in exchange wean her somewhat off her laning pattern that leaves opponents she's good against without much ability to respond. Not necessarily shift her to being a standard marksman, or even a good team fighter, but less skewed than at present. That's likely a larger task, I'm doubtful we get a meaningful improvement from smaller scope work though. * We're certainly not opposed to doing some work on Quinn. Unlike Rengar or LeBlanc for example though we don't believe this is a case where the previous version was any better, so a reversion doesn't solve things. Not sure at present on likely timing of any work. Apologies for such an open ended 'it's needed, but don't know when', don't want to make even a vague implied promise that might not be delivered on here though. I'd imagine for players interested in Quinn that likely feels poor, especially given just talked above about looking at Ahri who's already in a better state. The size of work involved is much larger though, so I'm not confident making any predictions until we’ve both put aside time for such work and know what at least the rough direction looks like. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Action in Pro Play** One of the things we're putting some focus on right now, both for 8.4 and 8.5, is the lack of action in pro games. In regular games we've seen bloodiness stay high post pre-season, with game times a little shorter as well until we buffed early tower defenses. Pro by contrast has trended (some exceptions) towards pretty slow, safe games, with teams either having difficulty closing out or being hesitant about taking the risks needed to do so. Having some pro games like that's fine of course, when it's common though would argue it's a much less enjoyable experience as a spectator. In 8.4 (some of these are late additions to the patch): * Likely removing Tracker's Knife from the jungle items. It's become increasingly dominant as a jungle choice in pro play specifically, with the extra vision making jungler position especially more predictable. * Increasing the power of Epic monster buffs so that you really want to contest them if possible. Baron buff at present only scales in power from 20-27 minutes, we'll be changing it to scale all the way up to around 50 minutes, making it much more meaningful later game. Also doing a few other tweaks to it at the same time (making Baron empowered cannon minions more meaningful damage wise, shifting to a more appropriate AD/AP ratio rather than favoring AD etc). * Elder Dragon isn't changing on the first spawn. Subsequent takes though will now get significantly empowered by previous Elder dragon kills. Taking two Elder Dragons in a row will offer substantial extra power for that extended objective control (also shortening the respawn timer a bit to make that a bit more feasible). * Delaying the time Stopwatch becomes available to use further, most likely to 8 minutes, from the current 6. That gives a window where champs generally have their ults but Stopwatches haven't come online yet. We think Stopwatch is likely getting blame for slow play in a lot of cases where there are other issues as well or instead. It's certainly contributing though still, even with recent changes, and it's the sort of effect that should be much less common to avoid warping games too much. Some things for post 8.4: * Looking at early game sustain, and which sources may be out of line still making it hard to have damage stick (Relic Shield and Runes likely starting points) * Looking at Zombie Ward, and amount of vision it's adding * Looking at TP, and chilling effect it has on the game in many cases, both in pro and regular play. Things like how it makes it harder to fight and meaningfully win in top lane, increases risk of aggressive play in bot (don't so you don't get TP flanked), leads to periods of 'wait until TP is up before trying anything late game etc. http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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