Welcome to Patch 4.11! Our big story for this patch is to bring some equality back to the jungle. In the 2014 season, popular junglers have been heavily skewed in favor of high-pressure damage dealing champions like Lee Sin, Pantheon, Kha'Zix, Evelynn, Elise, etc, and it was these dominant picks that knocked most supportive tanky junglers right out of the park. On deeper analysis, we quickly realized the problem was less about buffing tanky junglers to keep up and more that we lacked a strong item path for utility junglers to pick up. As a result, patch 4.11 will be introducing one new and one might-as-well-be-new item in the form of Quill Coat and Spirit of the Ancient Golem, both of which should cater heavily to the tanky utility-focused junglers in the game. We also went through and brought a few champions we felt needed additional love up to speed, as well as one mini-renovation for Maokai so that he could feel better about being back in the spotlight.
With the League of Legends World Championships on the horizon, we've also begun looking at high-level competitive changes we can make, like turret modifications and some reductions in dominant champion power. One champion you might be expecting to see in this category but isn't (Lucian) is still in the garage as we're thinking about the best approach to take. I'm telling you now because we want you to know that we know he's particularly strong as a well-rounded marksman (especially in competitive play), but we want to make sure we can highlight a meaningful weakness (and strength) in Lucian before moving forward.
And that's it for today's foreword! Check out the patch notes below, and remember that you can now navigate through the notes via a handy floating table of contents on the right side (desktop / laptop viewers only!). Time to dust off my Sejuani!
Chris "Pwyff" Tom
We fixed a few bugs that slipped out with 4.11 and cleaned up some issues with Quill Coat and the new Spirit of the Ancient Golem. Both are taking a break from some maps (for the short term), but we're shooting for a better solution in 4.12.
Kill dudes, buy boots. Turrets hit harder and ramp up faster. Lane minion experience range has been increased.
When we talk about 'snowballing' in League of Legends, we're mainly talking about teams rolling into victories through a single skirmish or unlucky fight without having to earn their win through multiple displays of skill. Like we've mentioned in our design values dev blog about mastery, we want to ensure there are systems in place that reward the consistently skilled team who can continually make intelligent choices - even when they're behind - to win the game.
Along that line of thought, back at the start of the 2014 season we made some 'anti-snowball' changes to First Blood mechanics so that it would still give rewards but not so much as to derail a game through one unsuccessful jungle invade. We still want to make sure League has exciting potential - even after first blood - but we felt we could spice up the incentives for successful early aggression.
As for the Turret and experience range changes, we wanted to make sure that Turrets remain a safe(ish) place to be in early levels and that players in 'lost' lanes (like 2v1 lanes or completely blown out matchups), can still function later in the game. While these upgrades are aimed specifically at competitive, they also affect other levels of play as players who fall behind in lane have virtually no safe place to hide. Finally, if the enemy team has a dive-heavy jungler (ie: Pantheon, Elise, Lee Sin, etc), weak turrets can skew champion diversity such that players can only choose champions who don't rely on turrets for protection (this is particularly true for solo lanes like top and mid).
Braum's passive does less damage and the timing window that players have to activate his stun is now shorter.
While we're happy with how Braum does in equal matchups, he can still completely shut down a lane when he picks up a small advantage. These changes are to give a little more breathing room against this muscular shield man. As a clarification, the reduction in the debuff time to activate Concussive Blows means Braum (or his teammates) now have less time to proc the stun. It does not mean the stun lasts longer or that Braum can stun people more often (wouldn't that be terrifying).
Even though Jax is intended to be a champ that scales well into the late game, he's currently so well-rounded that 'scaling well' ultimately turns him into an offensive brick wall with very few defensive weaknesses.
Kayle gets less attack speed per level and her E scales less with ability power. Intervention's cooldown has been increased.
Kayle has a ton of strengths - good damage, safe laning, high utility, great wave clear, fancy wings - and not too many weaknesses. Initially we wanted to only hit Kayle's high offensive power so we could continue to emphasize her utility, but saw it just wasn't enough to reduce her fervor in a meaningful way. All of these changes, combined, should help in clipping some of Kayle's high power across the board.
We have no change for Lucian this patch but wanted to highlight that he's currently high on our list. Specifically in competitive play, Lucian is crowding out almost all other marksman choices (aside from maybe Kog'Maw) due to his high general strengths and lack of meaningful weaknesses (does this sound familiar?). We're currently very aware of Lucian's dominating performance but want to make sure we get the right changes in to give him said weaknesses!
Maokai is now a sentient purple people protector. Mana costs and damage on Maokai's abilities have gone down, but he's gained increased disruption with W on a lower cooldown and his Saplings slowing whoever they explode on. W's range has gone down so Maokai doesn't just become a nonstop ganking tree. Vengeful Maelstrom now centers on Maokai and travels with him.
These changes are to give Maokai more of a 'core' identity as a defensive peeling support tank who can disrupt the baddies that jump on his squishy friends. Some of you might be asking: why so much change for the tree? Old Maokai might not be the strongest jungler on the scene but he's still very capable of shutting down entire lanes in the early to mid game while not contributing much to later teamfights. These updates let us balance around new Maokai kit without bringing back the Maokai pain train of Season 2 (such nonstop reliable tower dives, wow).
More anchors to the face.
When we were making the Ancient Golem and Quill Coat changes for tanky support junglers, we knew there were a few who needed some extra help to succeed in the modern game (like Nautilus). Here we saw some easy wins for Nautilus to scale into the late game while also adding... CLARITY!
It's a little tough to explain these changes so you'll have to read them. Sorry!
Following Nidalee's Gameplay Update, we undershot on her overall power levels so we're giving her some small buffs and game flow improvements as we continue to watch players pick up on her new playstyle. These might look like a lot of changes, but they're really focused on helping Nidalee succeed at her cat games. One big goal here is to help Nidalee trigger her Hunting mechanic more reliably while not always getting her killed when she jumps into the fight.
When we made changes to Skarner back in patch 4.10, we had to tune down some of his offensive power in favor of his sticky Skarner-ness. Now that the loneliest scorpion has made his way to the live game, we're seeing he's still doing a lot of damage on top of his disruptive play so we're dialing him back just a bit.
We think the world is ready for a Vlad who can use Flash after he's entered his Sanguine Pool. Or Ghost. Or Heal. OR ZHONYA'S HOURGLASS?!
As a nimble fighter, Yasuo should be balancing his offense and defense throughout the laning phase. Right now, however, Yasuo's ability to stack up excessive amounts of extra damage on Sweeping Blade (particularly at early levels) means he can quickly bully out opponents before they have the chance to retaliate.
Like Nautilus, when we were making the Ancient Golem and Quill Coat changes for tanky support junglers, we knew there were a few who needed some extra help to succeed in the modern game. For Zac, it was a simple matter of bouncing up his early clear speeds while also giving his sustained damage an elastic stretch in the right direction.
Ziggs moves slower and his bombs got skinnier.
Right now we see Ziggs as having a unique strategic fit in the game (stalling out to let his teammates ramp up in strength), but he's a little too safe in lane and still has a lot of explosive power to carry his team to a win when he gets ahead. Adding on these strengths, Ziggs is also a well-rounded, consistent champion who can do a lot of things at once, so we're looking for ways to add more risk or unreliability to his kit.
This might be a nerf (or buff if you enjoy eating skill shots) to the following champions, but we want to ensure for the sake of clarity that their hitboxes always match their visual representation.
Given their high visibility, we're taking a broad look at base champion splashes throughout our roster and showing some love to older ones that are showing their age. Caitlyn and Urgot are first out of the gate; keep an eye out for more over the next few patches!
Sustain-focused tanky junglers now have an item build path that supports their playstyle from Hunter's Machete to Quill Coat to Spirit of the Ancient Golem. These new (and newly changed) items give high regeneration stats while ensuring jungle monsters can be taken down in a decent timeframe from the mid to late game.
The problem with the old Hunter's Machete and Spirit Stone items (at least for tanky sustained junglers) was that they were too damage-focused to really help the slow and steady Maokaii and Nautilii (Maokais? Nautiluses?) of the world. As a result, these tanky dudes fell out of favor against damage-heavy junglers like Kha'Zix and Pantheon or early pressure/utility junglers like Lee Sin and Elise. While these changes may not directly shift the landscape back to equal footing, we want to at least offer a meaningful choice for those who want to play the utility tank jungler.
To focus on the changes themselves, our goal here is to 'normalize' jungle clear speeds so that even a utility jungler can clear reasonably well throughout the game - even without buying a damage item. The solution to add Sapping Barbs (and make it based off a percent of maximum health) means that once a jungler gets a Quill Coat / Spirit of the Ancient Golem, they'll be guaranteed to clear a jungle camp within a set period of time. Adding a ward to Quill Coat and Ancient Golem also gives tanky junglers a way to fight back against high-pressure junglers through superior vision control, rather than giving more stats to out-duel the duelists. Final point: Spirit of the Ancient Golem scales with bonus health, so you'll need to be building health to see bigger gains.
While we realize that Essence Reaver probably needs more tweaks before it'll be in an optimal state, we want to keep it in the spotlight to show that we're committed to supporting this build path for marksman (ie: Ezreal, Corki and Sivir) that should like it.
We're introducing a new restriction for ranked duo queues so players can only duo queue with teammates ranked within one full tier above or below them. We found that the vast majority of duos are already between players within these thresholds and this change will allow us to curb some of the potential abuse cases we see under the current matchmaking system.
In the case of unseeded players, the new system allows for duo queuing with Gold, Silver and Bronze players while their skill level is still being assessed. After they've been placed, the usual restrictions will apply.
With our bot updates in Patch 4.6, we were able to take bots off their purple leash and introduce a little variety to which side players end up on. This has been a great addition for our Co-op vs AI enthusiasts, but it's a little jarring for new players trying to get a handle on how the game is played. In order to meet each group's needs, bots in Beginner Co-op matches will go back to always being the Purple team while Intermediate matches will continue to sometimes give Blue side to the bots.
Public chat rooms aren't really serving their purpose at the moment as they're often filled with scams, spam and phishing attempts. This can create a pretty negative experience, especially for new players, so we're disabling them while we investigate long-term solutions. Head to this thread for more information!