If you’ve been following League news recently, you may have seen us use the term “mid-scope updates” a few times. We wanted to take some time to explain what you can expect when we announce that a champion is getting a mid-scope update.
Simply put, mid-scope updates are substantial updates to champions that could include updating some of their abilities, as well as animations, visual effects, or sound effects that need to be adjusted. Unlike a VGU, mid-scopes don't adjust a champion's model, voice overs, or lore. These updates take a lot more time and planning than regular patch balance changes to get right, which is why you don’t see them all the time.
We typically look to give these updates to champions that have lost a bit of their shine over the years or have become problematic for the game. For example, Olaf is a champion that has been quite difficult to balance in pro play – oftentimes being overpowered in pro and underpowered in regular play. His clear speed and ability to run down ADC’s made him pro-oriented and his playerbase was shrinking, so we knew we had an opportunity to reimagine Olaf with a mid-scope update that addressed these and other issues.
Our goals with mid-scopes are to polish up how these champions feel, better define their strategic place in the game, and most importantly cater to players that love them. This could mean players who are already playing these champs (Ahri), players who used to play them but no longer do (Swain mid), or people who WANT to play them but can’t due to things like pro play balance issues (Olaf).
It’s also worth noting that when we approach these updates we always try to strengthen the champion theme and fantasy that players love, not reinvent them. However, we can’t do this without feedback from all of you to make sure we’re hitting the mark.
An example of when we didn’t hit this mark was with the Taliyah update. Originally, we deleted her Threaded Volley and replaced it with a brand new spell. While this new spell got great feedback from testers, Taliyah players mentioned that it didn’t “feel like Taliyah.” After hearing this we quickly pivoted and found ways to improve upon her current Threaded Volley to make it more fun and usable to players in a way that felt authentic to the original champion design. So please, let us know your thoughts on mid-scopes as they hit the PBE!
Ultimately, our hope is that when YOU hear that YOUR champion is getting a mid-scope update, you’ll be just as excited as we are!
Though we’ve made significant updates in the past to champs like Xin Zhao, Tahm Kench, and Wukong, we made the mid-scope update process more formal for champs like Ahri, Swain, and Olaf. Historically we made mid-scope level changes as the need arose, but by defining what a mid-scope is and setting goals for what good looks like, we can start doing these updates more proactively, meaning more champs get upgrades – and we still have a lot of champs we’d like to get to! As we get more comfortable doing these types of updates, we’d eventually like to reach a point where we can ship them to you more frequently because there are a lot of champions we want to help find renewed life in League.
As always, thanks for reading and see you on the Rift!