Riot Stashu here, and today I wanted to talk about some upcoming changes we have planned to Champions’ base attack speed stat. As a heads up, these changes are pretty minor, but worth explaining for those interested in how stats work!
First, let’s outline the problem we’re hoping to address here. A champion’s base attack speed currently determines two superficially similar -- but functionally different -- things:
1. A champion's starting attacks per second
2. Amount of attacks per second a Champion gains from percent bonus attack speed (i.e. from percent attack speed stats given by items, runes, and other buffs)
Sometimes it makes sense for a champion to have high level one attack speed but to **NOT **have attack speed items be especially strong on them, or vice versa. But, at present, there is no good way to accomplish this. Some champion kits bend over backwards to get the attack speed curve they need (like Diana with her low base attack speed and high percent bonus attack speed passive), whereas some give up and just add in some extra stats under the hood (Caitlyn, for example, technically has some unlisted bonus attack speed at level 1). Neither of these solutions are ideal and there are many champions whose feel or balance could be improved by separating these stats and re-tailoring their kits. We’ve often wanted a new stat, “attack speed ratio”, that would function like AP ratios on champion abilities: scaling how much output attack speed champions get as they gain the stat. But we’ve made-do and worked within these bounds since there was never strong enough cause to rewrite the attack speed formula.
Enter Runes Reforged. Or, more specifically, exit old Runes. When we removed old Runes the lack of all those early game stats left many champions feeling a bit off. So we set about re-adding some early game stats on a per-kit basis to get these champions back up to snuff. For many of these champions that meant granting some attack speed. And, boom, there was the problem -- we had no stat that could offer the same thing as the old percent bonus attack speed runes. We could only adjust a champion’s base attack speed and attack speed per level, and both of these would have unintended consequences on builds. With so many champions on the docket to be affected this time, on top of the historical desire to separate the two functions of champion base attack speed, we finally decided to commit to rewriting the attack speed formula.
And we almost did it, too!
Alas, Runes Reforged was a huge project and we really wanted to introduce as few bugs as possible to the game. Obviously, a change that could potentially affect the timing of every attack in the game needs thorough testing and validation on top of that. Given that, we decided to err on the side of safety and to push back the change until after Runes ship and we’ve had time to give it the testing it deserves. So for Runes Reforged launch, expect a few champions to have ‘the Caitlyn special,’ with some behind-the-scenes bonus attack speed at level 1 as a temporary solution.
But fear not! We’ll be picking up our attack speed work asap, and are hoping to go live with it a patch or two after Runes Reforged. When that hits, each champion will have a new stat that will allow us to adjust their attack speed ratio independently of their base attack speed. With that, we’ll undo the temporary bonus attack speed we gave out and get the same effect by bumping up those champions’ base attack speeds without increasing their attack speed ratios (a never before seen feat!).
Worth mentioning, the introduction of this new stat won’t actually change anything, at least not right away. We’re building in the capacity to do such changes, but not doing them just yet (except for the champions we gave level 1 bonus attack speed to). When we finish this work, attack speed in League of Legends should feel entirely unchanged, but we’ll have better tools to make precise adjustments in the future!
Attack speed can be a bit confusing, and I only glossed over it here, so if you have any questions, please ask! I’ll be hanging in the comments for a while. Thanks for reading!