Karma Rework Coming to PBE; New Kit Revealed

Posted on at 3:00 PM by Nurse Flan
Karma rework where? Karma rework here!  Instead of only having access to her updated look, we now have her fully updated kit!

Continue on to read up on Karma's new abilities, the fate of her existing two skins, the upcoming AMA with the Rioters behind her update, and a blurb or two about her free skin!

Karma Relaunch Heading to PBE
Our Lead Content Designer, Morello, talks about and provides links for insight about Karma's rework. He also mentions that she will have an "extended PBE stay" so the Community can test her out and provide feedback.
"We’ve talked a lot about giving Karma a complete overhaul, and we’re ready to discuss her changes. Karma’s relaunch is the real deal, covering her art, abilities and lore for a total renovation. We know she’s been the source of a lot of contention since her launch, but we also know that she’s got a cult following of Karma diehards. Here’s an overview of why we think she needs a rework. 
Karma’s aesthetics are confusing. While she looks cool, it’s difficult to read her role at face value. Grumpy Monkey has provided more info for you on Karma’s look. We’ve also seen players eschew her support role for bursty mage gameplay, so we seized this opportunity to give Karma more options in lane. Scarizard has talked more on Karma’s evolving mechanics. We also think that Karma needs a new story that suits her updated abilities and aesthetics. RiotRunaan has taken you through Karma’s transformation into an unstoppable Ionian leader.
For Karma diehards, we have a special treat – we’ll be giving those of you who’ve unlocked Karma a skin based on her traditional look.

Karma’s getting an extended PBE stay so we can thoroughly test her new gameplay and incorporate your feedback."

Sun Goddess and Sakura Karma
For those of you who own one (or both) of Karma's skins, fear not! Hippalus has stated here that those skins are here to stay! He also had a little blurb to say about the free Karma skin:

Hippalus's Avatar
"No skins are being replaced. Karma's existing skins will all be updated to reflect her new look."

"Everybody that owns Karma when she is relaunched on the live servers will receive the free traditional skin. "

Karma's New Skillset
From Morello's post, we can find a link to another Red post done by Scarizard. Here he talks about the issues found in Karma's old skillset and what roles she can now fill as a "Support" Champion:



Passive: Gathering Fire
Damage from Karma’s spells and basic attacks lower Mantra’s cooldown.


 


R: Mantra
Empowers Karma’s abilities, adding an extra effect to the next ability cast.



Q: Inner Flame
Skillshot that deals magic damage and slows enemies.
          • Empowered by Mantra: Soulflare – Increases damage and leaves behind a zone that slows and, after a brief delay, explodes for AoE damage.

 
W: Focused Resolve 
Enemy-targeted tether that deals damage over time. If the tether is unbroken after a short duration, the tethered target is rooted in place.
          • Empowered by Mantra: Renewal – Deals bonus damage and heals Karma for the duration of the tether.

E: Inspire 
Shields an ally and grants them a short speed boost.
          • Empowered by Mantra: Defiance – Enemies near the shielded ally are damaged while nearby allies are shielded and granted a short speed boost.



"Old Karma had issues. What were they?
Karma’s kit was in a weird place, but her ultimate was especially problematic. Her base abilities didn’t feel impactful and only felt effective when supercharged by Mantra. On top of that, when Karma had two charges of Mantra, we had to make both of them weaker to compensate for players double casting empowered spells. 
The changes we made to Karma’s kit focused on making each decision fun and meaningful while giving her abilities the focus they needed to perform her intended role. We kept the “empowering”-type gameplay of Mantra, but instead of waiting around for it to recharge, Karma’s basic attacks and abilities now lower Mantra’s cooldown. This rewards aggressive play so you can “buyback” her ultimate. Also, we gave Mantra a single charge to pump extra power into each cast. We also made sure Mantra empowers Karma’s abilities in drastically different ways, leading to more impactful decision-making and a better feeling of accomplishment when you pull off the right move at the right time.

Why was she hard to place in team comps?
Karma had the offensive tools to support her team in small skirmishes but not the powerful defensive abilities she needed to protect a team. Also, her all-purpose abilities are so broad they never felt like the right choice in any situation. All in all, Karma lacked direction.
Why isn’t Karma fun?
The effectiveness of Karma’s abilities relied too heavily on your teammates knowing all their nuances. No matter how hard you were carrying with Karma, your teammates had to be just as good with her for you to be super effective. When an ally’s confused about whether or not he should run from or pass through your Spirit Bond, we probably made a mistake.
What did we like about Karma?
Despite all the Mantra hate we’ve got going on, we actually think the concept is pretty kickass. It’s unique and character-defining to old Karma, and augmenting her abilities with an immense surge of Ionian will is visually and thematically fun. We also liked how Karma could turn the tables on her opponents with abilities that provided defensive bonuses and had hidden offensive power. Finally, Spirit Bond’s “clothesline” gameplay is really cool, but it’d work better on a tank champion that has an easier time jumping into the fray. 
Karma’s new role
Originally envisioned as a support, Karma’s fringe successes actually came from players using her in the top or mid lanes as an AP burst mage with support abilities, much like Zilean or Morgana. We like this direction and want to encourage you to boost both her offensive and support abilities by building AP. We also want to make sure she can hold her own as a solo or with a lane partner. 
Finally, we’ve updated her skills so allies are reliant on Karma, but Karma’s not reliant on them. She’s got enough power at her fingertips to feel strong as a mage or as a support without teammates having to work in perfect concert for you to be effective."

On Karma's Finer Points
Scarizard talks a little more about Karma's skills, focusing on her Mantra:
"Karma still gains a point in Mantra at Level 1, but now has the ability to level it at 6, 11, and 16.

Points into Mantra increase the effectiveness of Soulflare, Renewal, and Defiance - so a player focusing on Inner Flame poke will still have her E2 be effective (even if E is at rank 1), while a support karma who might want to level Inspire can still get a sizeable chunk of Soulflare damage to go along with that slow zone."
He also mentioned her auto attacks, saying:
"Her AA range is 525 at the moment. Not gonna give homegirl incentives to aggressively AA and keep her at the old numbers! Take Inspire and level 1 and enjoy just training people with her super awesome auto attack!"
Finally, he spoke a bit about her passive.
"I agree with you that there's no longer anything 'Karmatic' about her gameplay in her rework now that we've removed the old Inner Flame - there's no reward for playing her at incredibly low health, because there isn't supposed to be. 
The old passive was really rough playing against. As Karma's opponent, you were typically making decision after incorrect decision, giving Karma invisible power by taking actions that you believed intuitively were correct. Even playing as, if your 'bait' didn't work out, you'd kind of just die - and then feel betrayed for playing karma the way you believed she should be working. 
So, we had a choice to make very early on - keep the baiting passive and fully support it throughout the kit (make baiting 'her thing'), or move her in a direction that kept interaction high, readability and viscerality high, and gave her high impact moments akin to an ultimate not fully tied to those 'reversal' moments. We opted to go with the one that we felt was healthier for our game. 
Karma's new playstyle is one of tension, and momentum. As Mantra only has one charge and is on a regular cooldown, the flow of battle is altered by calculated and consistent aggression on the part of Karma - Soulflare followed up by auto-attacks and Inner Flame assault your opponent with the goal of reloading your Mantra to keep the battle going in your favor - Karma is rewarded by taking actions, not by hoping your opponent makes a mistake. Her passive is tough to 'feel' on paper, but if you're worried about her losing too much of her feel due to the changes, she still has a lot of high impact reversal capability, but in a way that feels more fair and fulfilling alike."

Karma AMA on Tuesday, March 19
If you happen to have questions, comments, or concerns of the heart about the new Karma update, Riot is hosting an AMA on reddit on Tuesday, March 19th.
"Have questions about Karma’s complete story, visual and gameplay relaunch? These folks are holding a reddit AMA this Tuesday, March 19 from 10 AM to 12 PM PST to answer all your burning Karma questions:
  • Ryan “Morello” Scott (Lead Content Designer)
  • Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough (Associate Live Designer)
  • Devon “RiotRunaan” Giehl (Associate Creative Designer)
  • Josh “Grumpy Monkey” Singh (Senior Character Artist)"

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