Quick Gameplay Thoughts: December 6

Hi 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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Zoe** Zoe's been fairly strong, hence the nerfs that just went out in 7.24. Our prediction is that those should be sizeable enough she won't need much immediate followup on power grounds, with changes like 20s duration on minion dropped W spells and a smaller radius on the E trap being particularly meaningful. We'll see where she lands though, with further power changes in 7.24b or 8.1 if needed. One thing we're considering doing regardless of power is potentially shifting some of her damage from base to ratios, with the argument being that she may be doing too much damage mid game even when she doesn't have much in the way of items. In terms of RNG on Zoe's part, more thoughts on that, and RNG in general, in an upcoming post (probably the one at the end of this week, possibly early next week). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **New Ability Icons** We've finally got some updated ability icons for Mundo, Renekton, Nunu and Amumu in patch 7.24. Took a lot longer than originally expected when I first mentioned them, since the artist who was working on them got suddenly pulled onto something else. Glad to have them done though and, while I wouldn't want to make any promises beyond 'sometime next year', we'll also do some further champs who've got old icons that look poor at some point. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Looking at fighter performance in 7.24b** As previously mentioned we'll be doing a mini patch in mid December called 7.24b that will have a bunch of balance changes in it (no other stuff though). One of our targets there will be helping out a number of fighters. Our plan at present is to use a combination of buffs to some fighters (Aatrox, Fiora, Kled, Olaf, Renekton), nerfs to some overperformers who surpress fighters (Teemo, Jayce) and item changes (Tiamat, Ravenous Hydra, BC, LDR). Most, or all of that, should be on PBE already. It will likely get iterated on during the patch cycle of course. Worth calling out the LDR change in particular, which is that the Giant Slayer passive now requires the target have 2000 more health than the user to get the maximum damage increase. We're looking to test that based off the observation that tanks in particular are generally 2000+ health up on LDR users. Fighters by contrast will often by around 1000 damage up, but aren't as often cracking 2000. Should mean lower damage output against fighters and other champs who build some health while maintaining anti tank damage as a result. We'll also be looking at how the Bramble Vest nerf/Sunfire Cape buff in 7.24 went. A key goal there was to reduce differences in how well tanks and fighters performed in lane based off whether or not a lot of auto attacking was going on or not (how good Bramble Vest is). That meant shifting power from Bramble Vest to Sunfire Cape, which has a less variable output. It's possible that we may have also moved power up for tanks generally with that change though. That wasn't our goal, so we'll want to keep an eye on that as something to follow up on in 7.24b as well. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Game Pacing** We've also been looking at game pacing in general a fair bit recently, looking at things like how long games last, when towers go down, which lane tower first blood occurs in etc. Seeing a lot of discussion about those sorts of issues from you folks too. We've got a longer blog post on that coming sometime this month (exact date to be determined). A few observations that leap out for me though below in the meantime as well: * The changes in 7.23 (more tower health, more minion damage to towers, minions faster after 20 minutes) had almost no effect on average game length or on time of first tower fall (now about 6s later than 7.22). Our primary goal with those changes was to support split pushing a bit more, especially for champs with lower personal damage to towers, without making towers fall faster overall. We're not seeing towers go down faster post 7.23 which is good, we're also not seeing much affect on split pushers so far however, suggesting we've potentially been too subtle in our approach with that set of changes. * Average damage dealt is up somewhat, relative to before pre-season. Our initial assumption was that that would be coming from the Runes system, looking into it further it looks like one of the biggest contributors is the shift of a lot of supports to the Frost Queen's line from more defensive items, with associated shift in support champs picked to those who deal more damage anyway (and therefore like the FQ line being strong). That combination means both more damage dealers on a team and less champs peel/preventing damage, particularly during laning phase in bot lane, but also to some degree in later team fights. * Bot lane's also seeing more tower first bloods than previous (really low MMR take rate 44%-47%, mid MMR 47%-51%, really high MMR 55%-58%). We've generally felt around 50% of tower first bloods in bot is appropriate, given half the laning champs in the game are in that lane in the average game. That high MMR value is a point of some concern as a result, and suggests bot lane influence might be too high at least in that context. Need to see whether the fighter changes mentioned shift some of that back to top lane or not. If not might look at changes for 7.24b or 8.1, though that's not the only factor in considering tower and other game pacing changes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ http://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/6.24.1/img/champion/Ziggs.png
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