Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 29

Our followup process, systems changes, mid tweaks.


These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The work or goals could change depending on what we discover, and projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. That said, I believe it’s important to share as much as we can even if plans may change.

Our Followup Process

With the Bot position changes in 10.11 some items and a large group of champions got changes so we’re going to be watching for anything unexpected and following up if we need to. We’re also releasing the Volibear VGU this patch, which will require close monitoring for follow up as well. Volibear is our second release (after Fiddlesticks) with us committing strongly to more balanced champions on release, so don’t expect any fast buff reactions unless he is clearly very weak.

I thought this is a good opportunity to give some more general insight into how we monitor and follow up on bigger or more risky changes. Our current follow up method has four important check points for if a champion or systems change has landed with the intended power and gameplay:

  • 3 days after the patch (friday, also today) - Early numbers and play pattern check, if things are clearly out of line or there are exploitative gameplay patterns already gaining traction, we would hotfix.
  • In the next patch - By this time we have almost 1 week of data to observe the power level and some mastery of the champion, item or rune. We would at this point do a set of changes with the goal of fine tuning it to a state that we think could be balanced and healthy long term.
  • After Professional Play - This is typically 3-4 weeks after the changes are first put in the game, and we have to pay a lot of attention to this. Very commonly pro teams are using a champion or system in a completely different way than most players because of their extreme skill and coordination. This checkpoint is a big signal for if we need to do mechanics changes (instead of just tuning) because the design is exceptionally strong or just creating a poor experience in the pro game.
  • After players have mastered it - The time frame on this can vary depending on how long it takes for the player base at large to understand and optimize whatever piece of the game we’ve changed. This is typically 1-3 months after release, and we can be fairly certain that we won’t need to come back and fix anything if we like the state of things at this point.

10.12 Systems Changes

The big focus of last time’s Gameplay Thoughts was a package of systems changes coming into the game in 10.12 aimed at:

  • Enhancing and pushing some elemental rifts into slightly more unique gameplay
  • Improving low satisfaction or overly narrow runes

Mid Position Tweaks

With the focus in 10.12 following up on the Bot changes and shipping the systems package, we are getting early testing of how we can effectively bring down the mid position power in ways that also improves the overall game flow. Our current iterations are mixing two strategies:

  1. Slight resource reduction (gold/XP)
  2. Increased wave presence to make roaming slightly more of a missed opportunity

These changes will take a bit of time to tune and get right, so we’re not expecting them to ship in 10.12.

Thanks again everyone for playing. Stay safe out there.