Hi guys, the Live Gameplay team is back with the Patch Forecast for 4.7. Here are the major issues we’re looking at. Keep in mind that since we just released patch 4.6, we’re still collecting data and analyzing how the latest changes we’ve done have affected prominent in-game issues.
**1) Reworks Follow-up (continued)**
**Gragas** may still have a few flaws holding him back from fully transitioning into his new role as a fighter/bruiser. Even after the recent changes in 4.6, we are still unsure if Gragas is in a good spot. Specifically, we want to ensure he can compete in the early game, and also ensure he has the ability to make big plays with his Barrel Roll and Explosive Cask. We’re looking for ways to continue buffing him as a disruptive team fighter, so look for more utility adds to his kit.
**Kassadin** recently received a few buffs, particularly when fighting against other magic damage dealers. We’re keeping a careful eye on Kassadin to make sure that he isn’t completely removing aspects of counterplay with his new damage/shield model. Rest assured if he gets picked in ranked games we’ll nerf him again (kidding).
**Skarner** is still being worked on carefully. We feel that stickiness is a significant part of his character fantasy, and that aspect is somewhat lacking, so we’re continuing to explore solutions!
**2) Top Lane and the “Renekton Bar” (continued)**
As Statikk stated in his last forecast (http://community.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/live-gameplay/BdiOr6zf-46-patch-forecast), we’re continuing to look at champions that we think have interesting top lane gameplay and giving them stronger tools to survive in that environment. We feel like we’re seeing a little more diversity lately (Jax and Ryze have seen a resurgence lately), so we'll be slowing our approach, but look for Jarvan the 4th and Malphite to get a few minor adjustments to better equip them at fighting in the top lane.
We continue to see Junglers taking over games. In particular, damage focused junglers frequently outlevel, outfarm, and outdamage their laning teammates without the level of risk that their counterparts are forced to endure. We are looking into to altering the total gold/experience output that the jungle can provide. Additionally, we mentioned that Spirit Stone might be weighted a little too heavily in favor of DPS-focused junglers (especially health vamp), so we're taking that into consideration with our changes.
True to his lore, when we change Kha’zix, he evolves and finds a different gameplay pattern to continue to be effective. The live version of Kha’zix does not have the same need to be opportunistic as the other assassins in League of Legends, and opponents tend to feel like there are very few windows available to fight him. We are looking into some changes that make him a little more vulnerable to fighting back against him, particularly when he is under the effects of his ultimate.
**5) Watch list**
**Feral Flare** - The vision we had for Feral Flare does not currently reflect the reality of the item on live. While we were hoping this item would add diversity in terms of class selection in the jungle, its effect has been the opposite, as this item is almost dictating jungler picks (as in who can or cannot use Feral Flare effectively) at an extremely high rate.
League of Legends team dynamics in general lead to this item having distinctly anti-teamwork and anti-play patterns, as junglers will feel compelled to ignore their lanes for 10-15 minutes so they can farm up their stacks, while their laners will pay the price for his less team-oriented choices. While we created Feral Flare to be a more 'selfish' jungle item, its current optimal use is to be completely noninteractive on the map. The future of this item may reduce some of the combat stats it gives or reduce the value of the Maim proc at all evolutions. In exchange, we're hoping to buff teamfight-oriented stacks that contribute to the progress of Feral Flare.
**Soraka** – Solo lane Soraka has started to exhibit a lot of the frustrating laning patterns that Solo lane Lulu did before her recent changes (although the patterns differ mechanically). In other words, Soraka has a virtually unending supply of easy wave clear and ranged harass, while having very few windows for opponents to fight back without significant jungle help. Champions need to have clearly defined weaknesses as solo laners, or they end up bullying out a large portion of choices in that lane, and we want to do some analysis into if those currently exist for Soraka's solo lane play.
As a side note, we do think that her current rise to dominance may be due to some of the larger systems changes we've made to the game lately such as the changes to the Summoner Spell Heal. We'll have to take these into considerations as we move forward as well.
**Leblanc** – Similar to previous cases like Zed and Kassadin, skilled Leblanc players have the ability to snowball games while not providing a lot of counterplay for her opponents. She has very high mobility, high burst damage, consistent wave clear, and a large array of crowd control to deal with. We’re exploring finding a vision for a Leblanc that has more healthy gameplay.
On that note, we’re aware that her win rate is on the lower side compared to many problematic champions, but win rate is a data point that must be weighed in with other considerations. In this case, the pattern in which Leblanc engages champions is frustrating and significantly lacking options for the enemy player; when she is ahead in the game this is particularly debilitating for the side lanes she will roam to.
**6) On the horizon**
We are keeping our eyes on various champions that may become a problem, but many of them are tied into system level issues. Two of the major ones are ADC Itemization and Competitive lane swaps, and the systems team will also be doing a patch forecast soon for their take on these topics.