Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 5
Item Choice Data Correction.
This week, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite cat and upcoming featured game modes.
There are so many ways to answer this, so let’s break it down into a couple of more specific questions based on what we’ve seen players talk about:
So actually… We think this is a misconception, and the most clear way to show you why we believe so is to share her champion mastery curve in comparison to other champs.
A champion’s mastery curve is a way of looking at how much more effective a player becomes on a champion as they play them more, as represented by how much their win rate increases over games played. Here’s what Yuumi’s look like, along with a couple other champions:
Yuumi’s mastery curve is more in line with champions like Akali and Qiyana, who continue to see win rate growth well beyond the first ~20 games, than it is to champions like Neeko and Mordekaiser.
Many “easier to learn” champions are picked up more quickly because they test a lot of the same things other champions tested already. For example, every new ADC in some way tests your ability to last-hit with a ranged auto attack and stand in the right place to deal maximum damage.
Yuumi tests things that no other champion in League does. This is both why she continues to see win rate growth for so many games, and also why we believe some players don’t see her as being “hard to play.” The things many players have associated with playing League well aren’t being tested on her—like positioning and moment-to-moment dodging—but new things are.
If you’d like to get into the nitty-gritty details of some of those tests, here are a few of them:
All of this combines to make Yuumi a difficult champion to master, albeit in ways that look different from the rest of the champion roster. (You might compare this to someone like Singed, whose proxy playstyle is totally different from any other champion and takes ~100 games to master.)
To be direct, we believe Yuumi fills a unique role in the champion roster—both in playstyle and thematic—and there is clear data showing that a lot of people enjoy playing Yuumi.
When we look at champion popularity, we break it down into depth and breadth. Depth is a measure of the average number of games a player puts into a champion. Breadth is a measure of how many different players play a champion. Breadth and depth can be used as two axes of a graph to give us a more complete understanding of how popular a champion is.
Here’s the graph showing Yuumi’s popularity since her launch. The thinnest part of the line indicates when she was released, and the thickest is from patch 10.12.
Note: This is a log graph that shows champion popularity relative to each other. If this were a linear scale, Yasuo would actually be outrageously far off the page. Head over to this article for more details on how we use graphs like this.
If you look at Yuumi’s depth of play, you can see there’s consistently a large group of players who engage deeply, even when she’s objectively quite weak. When she has a reasonable win rate for most players, Yuumi is also one of our most broadly played supports. One of the goals of the Champions team is to fill out our roster in a way that gives everyone the perfect champion for them, and Yuumi’s depth and breadth of play indicates we’re delivering on this.
We believe Yuumi players are generally more interested in the cooperative elements of League—the teamplay, coordination, and relationships you form with your allies. We’re pretty confident Yuumi delivers on that in a unique way with a resonant theme.
Excluding the most recent set of changes (we’ll talk about that next), I think it’s safe to say that no, we don’t think Yuumi has been in a state that’s balanced or that she’s been in a good place in regards to game health.
The biggest game health issue we’ve consistently faced with Yuumi is ensuring she has sufficient counterplay, which is probably why 1) she’s so frustrating to play against, and 2) she’s perceived as being “easy mode” or not deserving of her wins.
We agree that Yuumi hasn’t been fair to play against. But this doesn't mean Yuumi shouldn't exist—it just means we have to get more creative to ensure she does have adequate avenues for counterplay. In practice, this means making sure that Yuumi has to exit the safety of an ally and interact with opponents regularly.
These changes are intended to force Yuumi to utilize her passive in order to be effective, which means she has to regularly detach from her ally and interact with opponents.
When we last made large changes to Yuumi in patch 9.24, we tried making it easier and more rewarding for opponents to capitalize on her squishiness when she detached from an ally by adding a cast time to her W and putting it on cooldown if it was interrupted by CC. However, she’s been able to take items and runes that have kept her mana topped off without her needing to consistently use her passive, which obviously made the changes less effective than we wanted. The result was a Yuumi who could (basically) healbot an ally with no gating.
In order for Yuumi to be a healthy champion in League, she has to give opponents opportunities to interact with her. Changing her heal cost to be a percent of max mana will give us a tuning lever that bypasses items and runes and allows us to force her to utilize her passive regularly—which is always what we intended, but she’s thus far found ways to avoid. We hope that by forcing Yuumi to open that counterplay window throughout the game in order to be effective, it’ll make her more fair (and less frustrating) to play against.
So if we take all of this into consideration and answer the question:
Our answer is that we believe Yuumi is a successful champion because she offers a unique and resonant playstyle, but we need to ensure she has sufficient counterplay moments in order to say she’s a healthy addition to League.
The Summoner’s Rift Team
Up next is Nexus Blitz as part of the summer event. It’s on PBE for testing now and includes some new in-game events and rewards, plus a complete map reskin—Nexus Blitz is now set in an Ionian forest.
The next featured game mode will be One-For-All during the following event.
More broadly, we’ve been seeing a lot of questions about game modes in general, so we plan on talking more in-depth about our plans and approach in a blog later this year.
HBBONG, Modes Product Lead
Where’s the third question?
bananaband1t, Managing Editor
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