Quick Gameplay Thoughts: Feb 12

Smaller Update Pipeline.

DevAuthorRiot Scruffy
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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.

Smaller Updates Pipeline

In 2021 we’re interested in increasing the amount of smaller scale design work on Champions, Items, and Runes. We feel like our bigger projects (New champs and VGUs) and patch-by-patch balance changes are on a good track, but there's a middle zone that can give us a little more flexibility to improve the game.

The types of projects this may include are:

  • Overly skewed towards Pro Play
    • Champions that have pattern-level (as opposed to power level) issues that create difficulties for long-term balance
    • They're picked frequently in professional games but have very low solo queue win rates, making it painful when we nerf them
    • These champs often display a pattern where “the more skill you have, the more you can remove the counterplay” as opposed to having difficult-to-execute combos that pros are just better at. As you might expect, at the pro level we’re seeing the weaknesses mitigated too far
    • Examples here - Upcoming Tahm Kench changes, Sylas changes in season 10
  • Game health or counterplay issues at all levels of play
    • These champs are often balanced (as opposed to the Pro Play skewed champs who end up underpowered for regular play) and even sometimes popular. However, they degrade the overall game quality because they have insufficient counterplay or promote strategies that lower the depth and interaction of other players
    • Examples here - Aphelios (s10 range and aoe burst reductions), Akali (s9 invis under tower removal)
  • Older champs that need love
    • Often these champs have reasonable power/win rates but players just feel they aren’t keeping up with the current game
    • These updates will often look to strengthen the identity of the champ and find ways the make their current power more satisfying, clear, or skill expressive
    • Examples here - Upcoming Rammus changes, 11.3 Jinx changes
  • Items not hitting their goals
    • Not appealing - Sometimes an item can be balanced but doesn't deliver on its fantasy in a satisfying way, so players don't buy it even in cases where it'd be good.
    • Unhealthy - Removing counterplay or skewing the shape of the game too far (like burst, sustain, range) are problems we want to fix. (Hextech Gunblade)
    • Unclear purpose - The item either doesn't have a clear set of circumstances where it's strong, or that circumstance is overly narrow. That makes it either generically weak, or a must-buy if tuned to be generically strong.
  • Runes not hitting their goals
    • Warping pattern - Some runes can be under picked mostly because they demand too much from the player and end up feeling like “playing the rune not the champion”. (ex. Omnistone)
    • Dominating choice - Some runes ruin the choice structure by being too generically powerful for too many different types of champion. (Conqueror has run into this a few times in the past.)
    • Game Health issues - like with items, runes can undermine important gameplay. Nimbus Cloak is a recent example where it was breaking the intended weaknesses of many fighters and tanks by giving them too much target access.

We’re hoping to establish a small pipeline for these projects, which should lead to a bunch of them shipping over the course of the season.

Thanks again for playing League with us. Stay safe out there.

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