Check out our preseason Q&A roundup!

By Riot Pwyff

Early this week we ran our big preseason Q&A on the Dev Corner, where we gave a ‘first impressions’ from the team while also answering any questions you may have banked over the weekend.

For those of you just hearing about this, fear not! We’ve compiled some of the top questions and answers to share. As an aside, we’ll have a larger, more holistic “State of the Preseason” coming in a few weeks so I won’t be pasting the entirety of his first reactions (many of which you’ll see discussed in the 5.23 patch notes), but some things to highlight.

Some early discussion surfaced on the topic of game pacing, and Lead Designer Meddler had some initial thoughts:

“In terms of direction, two of the big things we're looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We're also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that's something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we'll need to make some follow up changes.”

Lead Systems Designer Fearless also mentioned in a different answer regarding turrets and faster games:

“Also to clarify, we have not targeted faster game times with these changes. These changes are about ensuring that successful actions promote further aggression to maintain and increase leads. These changes do appear to be shortening game times, but I do want to be clear that this was an acceptable (and possibly beneficial) side effect, rather than the goal.”

Finally, Systems Designer Axes shared some of his lessons from the turret changes:

“The hard thing here is that towers are perceived very differently than their actual effects on the game. Players often want them to be powerful protectors, but when they are, the game grinds to a halt. When you're losing a lane a little bit, your tower should be able to help stave off tower dives, but when you're losing a lane by a lot, your tower's death is often the event that lets you off the hook. If we made towers impossible to kill until 15 minutes - even impossible to kill AND impossible to dive - the game would slow down a lot, and you'd be locked into lanes where you're getting stomped for 5+ extra minutes.”

For champions in the jungle, Meddler acknowledged some weakness:

“We're seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We've got some buffs to Hunter's Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We're also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you're currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.”

On the topic of Keystone Masteries, Meddler had this to say:

“Overall, we're pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord's Bloodlust [ed. note: this was recently hotfixed]. . . Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.

On the other hand there are also some champions that aren't sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we'll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn't feel like it offers many champs a good choice.”

Regarding some of the individual champion changes (particularly to marksmen), Designer CertainlyT waded in. First, on the topic of assessing champion strength in the early preseason:

“Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors.

First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen.

Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren't trying Essence Reaver on Sivir).

Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you'll have to pick them in the right circumstances - If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you'll probably be worse off than if you'd picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.”

He also had some thoughts on how we balance in collaboration with player trends:

“We aren't sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players' perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can't just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn't lead to a satisfying experience.”

Regarding assassins, Meddler mentioned:

“Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we're looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha'zix/Zed), longer term we'll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).”

Fearless also had some thoughts regarding AD-heavy champions in general:

“We do have our eyes on AD heavy champions in general, as we've seen a number of them take a hit this patch. Also looking at Manamune, as it might have been impacted more than we expected.”

Getting to some individual champions, Champion Update Designer Riot Repertoir had this to say about Quinn:

“One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don't have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I'm keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches.

What I'm currently feeling is that it's too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.”

Later in the thread, Repertoir also weighed in on the state of Kog’Maw:

“I'll say outright that we over-corrected on Kog'Maw's release. Both internally and on PBE, everything I had to go off suggested that he would actually be one of the strongest champions in the patch, and so as he approached release, I consistently made efforts to strip out base damages so that he wouldn't be an outright god with just a BotRK or something. That may be difficult to understand, given how he released, but our fear was actually that he was overly base damage driven, and I way over-corrected on that. That's totally my bad, and I am to address this. The good news is, I've seen versions of this W and R that are very powerful and effective, so I do feel it's a matter of tuning, and not that Kog'Maw is doomed to be weak or something like that. . .”

Finally, Meddler had some last thoughts on our itemization changes in the preseason. For AP items:

“We increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren't however, so we'll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong).

I expect we'll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we're thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.”

And if we’re planning on taking action on Essence Reaver

“We are. In particular it's getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We'll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.”

… And that’s the Q&A rundown! I’m realizing now that these are going to get very large, so you may see us modify the format of these as we go.

3 years ago

Tagged with: 
Preseason 2016

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