Welcome to patch 4.12! With only a few patches between now and the League of Legends World Championships, our focus is on the competitive scene and the things we can do to ensure the landscape is diverse and healthy. Part of how we're accomplishing this goal is to look at champions who are skewing champion select in one way or another while also looking to healthy "almost there" champions, like Alistar or Ahri. For either side (strong or weak champions), our main philosophy is to look for strengths to highlight while also emphasizing weaknesses. This ensures a champ can hold onto their strategic value while still having meaningful tradeoffs. You'll also hear me repeat this many times. Too bad.
For you Twisted Treeline fans, we've got two item overhauls with Grez's Spectral Lantern and The Lightbringer (they're now two separate item lines with different functionality), so be sure to read up before hopping into your 3s game.
Final thing: we'll also be shipping jungle timers with patch 4.12! Read just below for a rundown on those but, as part of our focus on gameplay clarity, we want to ensure that the right skills are being rewarded in League of Legends. In the case of jungle timers, we want to focus on the meaningful choices you make with the information you've earned, rather than the quick arithmetic you can do with the clock. Also be sure to read our dev blog on Clarity for more philosophy!
And that's it for now! Read up on the changes below, and we'll see you next patch!
Chris "Pwyff" Tom
One bugfix and some documentation for Relic Shield, since we added it in with 4.12 but forgot to throw it into the patch notes. Enjoy!
We want League to be all about the smart decisions you make in the moment and how you make plays around those moments, rather than how well you can track certain timers. There's definitely skill in memorizing information, but our philosophy on gameplay clarity is making sure that skillful decisions can be made with the right information and that players are fighting each other, not the system.
The information you get through clearing an objective is important stuff you've already earned, so we wanted to clarify that through jungle timers. It's also worth mentioning that jungle timers aren't adding new information that hasn't been there before, as they follow the same rules as minimap icons.
Q does a little more damage and costs less mana.
Ahri's a cool fox gal that we'd like to see more of, but she's currently sitting just below the top-tier mid picks. That said, we don't think she needs too many buffs to keep up, so we focused on her ability to push the wave more efficiently so she can find more opportunities to roam.
Ali's mana costs are lower, and his ult now reduces tons of damage, even at lower levels. In exchange, Ali's jungling is weaker.
We really want to bring Alistar back up as a support, but our challenge has been to make sure he doesn't also take up his crown of jungling cow king from the days of old. Access to a 'mini' Malphite Unstoppable Force at level 2 (via his Headbutt + Pulverize combo), combined with guaranteed tower dives and the ability to punt people away from safety makes for a pretty oppressive gank-train from the jungle. We want to give Ali the things he needs to succeed but, like we did with Maokai, we also want to make sure he's in a healthy position to do so. There's a little concern that having 70% damage reduction at level 1 Unbreakable Will might make Alistar a little too good at tower diving (even as a support), but we'll see how these changes affect him first.
And the Yasuos around the world rejoiced.
Ezreal can now hit himself with Essence Flux if he can find a way to get ahead of it. Use with caution please.
Just E into it.
This one's for all you Garen junglers out there.
W's cooldown has gone up, Force Pulse slows for a lot but for a shorter period of time.
This guy. Again.
Currently, our focus is on Kass's super snowballing potential where, when he's ahead, he can help both himself and his team succeed by constantly slowing and punching people in the face. We still don't want to go after Kass's iconic Riftwalk (as that's clearly his core strength), but these changes mean Kass will have less offensive windows to go in.
We're doing a little follow-up for Kha'Zix, especially with our previous tanky jungler and marksman buffs.
Lucian's attack ranges have gone down, but E's cooldown will now get reduced with every hit from Lucian's passive. E also has no mana cost, so Lucian will be dashing quite a bit in the mid to late game.
Our design philosophy when approaching a strong champion is to highlight their strengths while also emphasizing their weaknesses (I told you we'd be repeating this a lot). This mostly relates to the concept of meaningful choices, where we want that champ to maintain their strategic value while also having some tradeoff that enemies can play against. Specifically for Lucian, his high generic power (a strong early and late game, high burst, high mobility, etc) meant he could just be blindly picked without much consideration for the enemy team. For a while, this is what made Lucian such a strong competitive pick - he could adapt to any team and could still perform well.
Ultimately our changes are focused on highlighting some of Lucian's strengths as a spell-slinging, mobile marksman, while also emphasizing new weaknesses - like having a lower range. At higher levels with some items (cooldown reduction!!!), Lucian can fluidly chain Es together as long as he has a target to hit with his passive. This also means Lucian will be one of the most mobile mid-range ADCs in teamfights (there are some concerns that he'll be... too mobile thanks to E removing all slows, but we'll keep a close eye here). Having a lower range, however, also means Lucian will need to take more risks in order to get E's cooldown back up, and he might have some tougher matchups during the laning phase (where before he could win almost any lane). This gives us a lot more space to emphasize Lucian's unique traits, and we'll be watching how he performs after these changes.
Some bugfixes for Quinn to give her a little more consistency in play.
This bugfix might be a significant hit to Rengar's jungling effectiveness (he was proccing Madred's Razors twice), but we'll track his performance over time.
Bloodthirster now gives even more life steal and the shield decays slower. The max shield, however, has been reduced, and Bloodthirster's life steal is now unique (to itself).
We made Bloodthirster a bit generic when we reworked the passive to a shield, because its other stats (life steal and AD) could be nabbed via other items just as easily. These changes are to push Bloodthirster as the sustain / defense item for anyone who wants to pick up AD along the way. As an aside, the UNIQUE life steal on Bloodthirster means you can't stack BTs for +40%/+60% extra life steal, but it'll still stack with any other life steal items like Vamp Scepter, Blade of the Ruined King, Ravenous Hydra, etc.
Now builds out of B.F. Sword and gives 80 attack damage. We just re-stated the changes in a sentence.
We were a little safe with Essence Reaver because there are a few champions who can get crazy strong with a mana-focused item. After seeing it in the wild, however, Essence Reaver just wasn't giving enough of a power spike for anyone building it, so we're rectifying that to make it more attractive as a pickup.
+10 AP. Literally.
We were also pretty conservative with Ardent Censer, given its high potential as an item (attack speed for everyone!). So... we gave it more AP.
Now builds out of Pickaxe instead of Longsword, costs a little more and has slightly more AD.
Making this change lets us smooth out the build path for Manamune rather than front-loading it with cheap items and then waiting a full 1000g+ to upgrade.
Now with sunnier fire. Or fierier sun. BOTH?!
Earlier in the season, we updated the visual and sound effects of our summoner spells. We're happy with the changes, but in Exhaust's case, we think combining the fidelity of our Exhaust update with the visual impact of old Exhaust gets us the best of both worlds.
The following jungle items have been removed from the Howling Abyss:
Fixing some bugs we found with Twisted Treeline, along with a small balance tweak for the Ichors, which are statistically very strong so we wanted to trim just a bit of their power.
We're buffing Grez's Lantern to help it keep up with the other jungle items on these maps. The newly revamped Lightbringer is to give marksmen a more enticing vision-focused item on the map.
This item has been remade - we will be listing only the new stats!
This item has been remade - we will be listing only the new stats!
Intro Bots is a new difficulty of Co-Op vs. AI designed for players brand new to League of Legends. In addition to changes to bot AI, there are a variety of tutorial-style features designed to help new players pick up some of League's basic lessons over the course of a few games. Check out our dev blog to get the full scoop on how we're approaching the onboarding experience.
Back in 4.7, we started a multi-patch process to ship files for our new audio engine. We're happy to announce that process is now complete and the engine will be going live with 4.12! Our new audio engine brings a few immediate improvements, but more importantly will help us focus on providing a more immersive and engaging League of Legends experience moving forward. Check out our earlier post for more details!