Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 28

Mobility Reduction and Philosophy.

Mobility Philosophy

Mobility is one of the fundamental building blocks of League combat, as both an exciting and necessary tool to keep other players at range, or close in as a melee. There are places where mobility has been crept up, including a few items that have gone beyond the limits of where they should be. I wanted to walk through some of our higher level philosophies around mobility while we’re working on a trimming pass to bring the live game closer to our ideal.

Great uses of mobility:

  • Mobility paired with weaknesses - lower range, lower damage, lower defenses. This makes the champion with mobility have to use its “fight choosing” power effectively because they won't necessarily win a face to face 1-on-1 against a less mobile champion.
  • Systemic mobility with a clear opportunity cost - Like the previous, when adding systemic mobility through items or runes it should be a significant tradeoff against the other options that offer more of the other attributes your champion wants.
  • Mobility with constraints - Extreme high mobility can be offered in a healthy way if it comes with situational constraints. Only allowing the mobility pop off through risky, aggressive, or contextual use allows players playing as and against to build strategies before and during fights. Good examples here are Irelia Q vs minions, Tristana W reset and *gasp* Yasuo E. A bad example we removed was Akali's R1 originally being untargeted giving her incredible engage and escape power simultaneously.
  • Very long cooldowns for systemic mobility - By adding extremely long cooldowns, we can actually break class weaknesses with systemic mobility. If the opportunity to go beyond what is normal is a rare and precious action, it adds strategy, excitement, and a way for players to break the normal flow of combat a few times a game. The best and only example here is Flash.

Poor uses of mobility:

  • Systemic mobility that breaks class weakness - Some classes (like Juggernauts) are built with exceptional strengths around their lack of mobility. Offering them too much mobility via runes or items can break both the expectations of players in the game and the intended weaknesses of the class. This doesn’t mean they can never be offered mobility, it just has to be done with extra care. Systemic mobility in particular is an area we pushed too far with the item update and its followup, and our trimming pass will focus on this space.
  • Mobility tuning that creeps beyond the game norms - we have established ranges, movement speeds, dash ranges, and dash speeds across champions and items. It would be a problem if the mobility tools of new champs or items are always just slightly stronger than the mobility tools of existing champs and items because that cheating compounds over time and significantly shifts the average mobility in the game.
  • Too much unconstrained mobility - Both low cooldowns and freedom of targeting can make mobility an overly powerful tool with no good answer for opponents. If a champion can always choose when to be in and out of fights, they never have to take risks or commit to an all in. The closest we get to this is probably a level 16 Kassadin, but in that case he has to survive a disadvantaged early game to reach that level of mobility.

How did we get here? It’s necessary to push and test the limits of the game to find great improvements, but that does mean that sometimes we will go too far and need to pull back. So we’re working on a few changes to trim down on small instances of mobility creep and a few larger ones where we think we pushed too far in terms of breaking class weaknesses. Look for those in a few patches. Thanks again for playing with us.