Wanted to share a few of our thoughts on where we're up to on some currently topical gameplay stuff. Trying out a different approach here with just quick updates on a number of topics rather than a focus on a couple of things (feedback on that much appreciated!).
* We've been putting a lot of work into updates for the upcoming preseason patch over the last couple of months, with changes to champions, items, vision etc. We're getting very close to putting that stuff on PBE (all going according to plan).
* Kindred have been out for about a week now and we're starting to see players get to grips with their kit. So far we've been really happy with the state of their release balance, so 5.21 won't contain any buffs or nerfs, just some bug fixes. Really interested to see where they end up over the next couple of patches, there's some definite learning curve there and we're also seeing people experiment with them in a range of positions with a mix of success and failure.
* Morde's a pretty topical dude at the moment. Our belief is that he's too strong in a duo lane, despite previous nerfs, so we're going to be reducing the amount of bonus XP he gets from his W in 5.21. Our hope is that that will then give us some room to buff his base stats, bringing his solo laning closer to his duo lane performance. That's something we'll likely do as a follow up change though (potentially in 5.22), once we've got a read on what the impact of the XP reduction was.
* Thematic side note for anyone that's interested and hadn't already heard - we'll also be changing his title to 'The Iron Revenant' rather than the previous 'Lord of Death' (Iron Revenant being a player suggested title update that we felt did a great job of merging different thematic elements from Morde).
* Works heavily underway on Poppy. She'll be the next really big champion update that goes out (Sion/GP sort of scale, so full overhaul of abilities, visuals, voice etc). Her E's the only ability effectively ported over from her old kit, feel we're going for's still very much small, noble, determined warrior who smacks others around with a large hammer.
* Worlds has been getting a lot of attention for the Gameplay teams of course. We've been really enjoying the diversity of picks in some positions (mid lane especially), though are seeing that some others could do with more help (jungle for example). Some outlier champions that definitely seem too strong (Morde, GP, Darius etc), some of whom we've already nerfed post 5.18, some of which we've got stuff underway for. A number of champions too that we don't yet have plans for, but are keeping a really close eye on and talking about quite a bit (Tahm Kench for example).
* We've had a couple of trends with new champions recently that have helped opened up new gameplay space (non damage utility ults) and thematic space (creatures of myth). We've been pretty happy with how those explorations have gone, we don't have to overdo them though. Next set of champs we've got underway are going for a bit of contrast with that as a result, with a few more damage/combat focused ults and characters who are somewhat more a part of the regular world of Runeterra.
General Balance Changes
* Since a lot's going to change in the upcoming preseason patch we're generally holding off on smaller balance changes for a little bit, given which characters are a bit too weak or a bit too strong could change significantly in the near future due to systemic changes.