Context Post - PBE for Patch 3.07

Posted on at 11:29 PM by Moobeat
As we've enjoyed before, Xypherous has taken to the forums to provide context behind some of the PBE change we've been seeing over the past few days.
Continue reading for details on many of the bigger changes, what Riot hopes to accomplish with them, and a peek at some change we haven't yet seen hit the PBE.

Here is Xypherous original notes for this set of PBE changes.

"Hey guys, I'm going to be talking a little bit about some of the more subtle things that are in Patch 3.07 that we've been tentatively working on - as well as hopefully stir some conversation up over the changes that should be in the PBE patch, depending on when that gets deployed.

Note that this isn't a full list of changes, only ones I have sufficient context to talk to you about or are things that are hard to notice, and they reflect the content in the next PBE build, so certain things like the minion damage reduction isn't currently on this version of the PBE patch - but will be in a few days.

Minion Damage Reduction?

Minion Damage Reduction

* Ranged Minion Damage goes from starting at 23 --> 22.

Spell dominated top-laners are currently problematic right now in top lane, forcing a wide variety of heavy sustain starts in order for proper play to exist against them on anyone but other spell dominated top-laners.

Rumble and Renekton, for example - are both problematic spell based top-laners. They both benefit from having a harassment pattern that frequently doesn't draw minion aggression, leaving more traditional auto-attack centric harassers behind.

We're well aware of the dominance of certain traditional AP or AD ability based bruisers but the disparity of performance between melee basic attack centric top-laners and spell based top-laners was becoming increasingly obvious that if we balanced around the current damage disparity, we'd have to significantly overshoot or undershoot the power level of the top-laners involved.


* Twilight Shroud now grants vision around the area of effect.
* Essence of Shadow charge time reduced to 30/22.5/15 seconds from 35/25/15

We hit Akali's lane dominance in the last patch - but we're still unhappy with how Akali feels like her defensive options are limited to basically overpowering her opponents.

With the following two changes in concert - this gives Akali the ability to perform some interesting jungle and lane jukes by first casting twilight shroud to gain vision of a jungle monster, and then using shadow dash as an escape tool. While we don't think this will dramatically increase her power - it should be a new cool neat little trick that Akali can do.


* Consume now heals for less (roughly 75%)
* Consume now deals more damage with a slightly longer cooldown
* Consume now gives bonuses depending on if he used Consume on a Monster for 2-4 minutes
* Lizard Type monsters (Red Lizard / Dragons / Nashor / Mini Lizard) grant Nunu's attacks and spells bonus magic damage equal to 1% of his max health
* Golem Type monsters (Blue Golem / Golem / Mini Golem) grants Nunu increased size and 10% maximum Health
* Wolf and Wraith type monsters grant Nunu "After he kills a unit, he gains a 15% MS buff for 3 seconds"

This is undoubtedly a nerf to lane Nunu, whose effectiveness is questionable for the majority of our playerbase - in many ways Lane Nunu simply won his lane and lost the game, while being annoying and frustrating along the way. This wasn't the greatest of patterns - especially while Jungle Nunu sits there on the sidelines where the cool objective control and gank patterns are being unused.

Above all, we want Consume to be a cool spell. Consume has traditionally languished as being kind of useless late game, for everything besides objective control and making Consume an attractive spell by adding this level, I feel, better fulfills the fun part of the spell (big Yeti running around eating tasty things) and gives Consume a strong rank-up incentive.

This is also a test to see if players would like to see more of these Jungle monster type interactions - if people find them cool, it opens up space for us in two ways: We've introduced this mechanic as a precedent and it allows us to play around in this design space.


* Infinite Duress channel time reduced to 1.5 from 2.1 (total Suppression duration unchanged at 1.8)
* Infinite Duress now places Warwick in front of the target, rather than at a random spot around him

Just QoL stuff for Warwick. It's a little silly given the current speed of the game for Warwick to be channeling longer than his opponent is suppressed. The positional change is mostly such that if Warwick is trying to stop a fleeing opponent, he directly bodyblocks his opponent but is in a riskier position - but if Warwick is trying to stop a charging opponent, he remains closer and out of risk of being interrupted by the enemy team.

Caitlyn / TF / Varus / Zed / Zac / Rumble

I'm not really qualified to talk about nerfs or buffs, other than - we're kind of iterating on what we'd like these nerfs to be overall - but regardless these characters need to be tuned down as they are all slightly too dominant at the moment.

Diana / Lux

Shield values generally nerfed across the board
* Shields stack now instead of refresh

We've been unhappy with the power level of these shields, mostly because their maximum effectiveness case is both swingy and out of the control of the user a large portion of the time.

We're trying out a stacking system rather than a refreshing system to see whether or not these shields can still fulfill the multi-hit scenario without necessarily being randomly excessively powerful based on what/when they refreshed.


* Twin Fang is now classified as a single-target spell for the purposes of item effects

And I am terrified - but it should give Cassieopeia builds more flexibility, something that she has traditionally found hard to access and made worse by the fact that Cassieopeia play tends to be demanding and damage-focused.

What this allows her access to is Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Muramana and Furor Boots - all of which actually kind of make sense in her arsenal.


* Changes reverted

First, let me get this out of the way, Galio is not intended to be an AP mage that simply destroys other AP mages because he scales off Magic Resistance.

As for the changes, we were experimenting with Galio to give him lower cooldowns for the later game - allowing him to more freely use his Resolute Smite ability as a consistent peeling / initiating ability for later game team fights. However, the net results of this change seemed weird in isolation - as the rest of his kit doesn't feel quite right in the support tank role. While Bulwark and Wind Tunnel seem to work currently, they both seem to be lacking somewhat in the support tank role. We're going to continue looking at Galio so that we can bring him more in line with his role / intent.


Mana Manipualtor

* Recipe is now: Faerie Charm + 120 Gold = 300 Total Gold
* MP/5 Aura reduced to 5 from 6

* Shard of True Ice total cost reduced by 100 gold due to this change.

Third time's the charm - Let's see if Mana Manipulator can feel good as a starting item before we work on upgrades for it.

As an aside, I really wanted to improve Shard of True Ice - before realizing that no matter how good I make Shard of True Ice, getting Mana Manipulator always feels narrow and constraining at the moment.

Mikael's Crucible

* Recipe is now: Philosopher's Stone + Chalice of Harmony + 920 Gold = 2500 Total Gold
* 300 Mana --> 0 Mana
* 0 HP/5 --> 7 HP/5
* 9 MP/5 --> 18 MP/5

* Active now changed to heal 10% of the target's maximum health instead of 15% of their missing health.
* Missile speed is now fixed at 0.2 seconds, from variable depending on distance to target.

Internally, Mikael's Crucible was a very different item until the very last moment, when it got changed from healing the target based on your current mana to a combination heal and cleanse effect.

We've seen some players use it well - and it generally hasn't been too toxic to the game to allow supports access to it, so we're going to adjust it to be slightly more usable with more synergistic statistics (high MP/5 + Chalice passive) and slightly less target constrained (Not caring about missing health). We don't want Mikael's Crucible to be a mainstay to any build - but it should be a valid tool in the support arsenal."

Xypherous continued on to answer several additional questions about these changes

[ Will Nunu be able to have several of these buffs up at once? ]
"He will be able to have all 3 of them up at once. 
They also persist through death - as it might be slightly annoying to recollect all the buffs every time you die."
[ Why did Elise get nerfed? ]
"Because some champions need to get nerfed."

[ How about those reverted Galio nerfs? ]
"As I said originally, the intent was so that Galio could have a spammy CC spell on a super short cooldown with higher CC uptime. 
Galiio has trouble peeling or initiating consistently a lot of the time, because he only has one true CC spell - the intent was to lower the cooldown of the spell considerably such that Galio could grab picks and targets much more frequently. 
We've since reverted that change because it felt weird in isolation. His kit just doesn't quite work as a support tank overall without some more changes."
[ More on Galio ]
"You're completely right in that S3 has made Galio a lot weaker as resistances are somewhat easier to pierce if you are dedicated to piercing them - which is why the changes were intended to shift him back into a support tank role. 
Galio is weaker, we want to buff - however, we can't buff him directly as he's currently more of a mage in the current environment - which means further changes/tweaks are needed."
[ What is being done for Melee AD carries ? ]
"The actual win rates for the vast majority of melee carries is actually hovers around 48 to 51% in the vast majority of solo games. 
Does this mean they are competitively viable? Probably not.
Does this mean they are strategically viable? Probably not.

They're hardly in the dust, however. They're actually doing well in most games. If you play these characters, you will win roughly half your games. 
The problem with Melee Carries is:

1. People expect to be able to build glass and accomplish what a Ranged AD carry does. This will simply never be true, due to the nature of the game. 
2. People expect Melee Carries to be consistently performing, rather than wildly swingy. This is something that won't be true, due to the nature of their kits (Fiora or Yi, for example.) 
3. These characters do not have a proper strategic role to fulfill - therefore they are not viable in competitive games as they cannot be cornerstone strategic pieces.
These all point to these problems being kit-centric rather than item-centric - and the win rate data suggests that it's not a effectiveness criterion that's lacking either.

It's something more intrinsic to how we've designed these characters from a base.

The question is: Are these characters worth protecting like a carry? Can these characters output significant team fight contribution if they are protected? Right now, the answer is 'No' to both of these. 
However, silly changes like buffing their damage or their health doesn't actually make them into better examples of the melee carry role. It just makes them more effective at whatever they're doing now - but what the vast majority of them are now are either fighters or assassins."
 [ Is -1 minion damage is really going to make that big of a difference? ]
"In Season 2, top laners reduced minion damage by 4 through masteries - 2 from minion block, 2 from damage block. This made them effectively immune to minion damage a lot of the time, as it was post-mitigation. 
While this probably isn't going to make a huuge difference overall, it certainly helps us to not having to make bigger changes to characters than needed. Consider how many 6 second engagements there are in a typical lane scenario - and then think about us having to adjust someone's health or damage by 18-20 per engagement. It adds up."
[  Explain more about why Caitlyn needs attention? ]
"The essential problem with Caitlyn is that for a large porportion of our audience, they can't fully utilize Caitlyn's ranged strength. 
Range tends to be the most powerful statistic in the hands of competitive play - but using above average range to its maximum potential is always going to be something that it only going to be seen in the highest tiers of play. 
Unfortunately, it's just kind of a truism that when different champions have different strengths, they're going to be vastly more powerful or less powerful for different audiences. That's basically Caitlyn in a nutshell - vast power - but terribly hard to appreciate strengths.

Although to be fair, I believe the changes we're doing now is making it so Headshot doesn't stack on towers and adjustments to her attack speed scaling with items (I.E. slightly less base attack speed, slightly more attack speed per level) - essentially nerfing the super heavy push Caitlyn strategy that is seen in high level play."
[ What if Nami's passive scalred with level? ]
"Making Nami's passive scale with character level might be a decent idea - I'll pitch it to Statikk when I get a chance."

[ Why did you give Quinn such a short range to begin with? ]
"Range is a double edged sword. It's the most powerful statistic in the game - but also one of the hardest to use well when it is above average, which makes it so that the character's true strengths are only seen in competitive play a lot of the time. 
As for Quinn specifically, I believe Volty's design intent was to create the most melee centric ADC that still had a ranged autoattack in lane. And the strengths of the rest of her kit are pretty damn overpowering to make up for it."

[ Any plans for Rammus? ]
"Overall, Rammus is very effective - but he's not seen a lot. However, if you pick Rammus, you'll win far more games than you'll lose - right now I think of him as a sleeper, perhaps lacking in a bit of competitive viability due to the current push based meta - but very effective if people remember his strengths."
[ Do you forsee any Olaf buffs since the last set of nerfs hit him hard? ]
"Olaf's strengths tends to be competitively oriented. 
He's also a simpler character archetype which, oddly enough, means you need a high degree of mastery over every other aspect of the game to take advantage of his strengths.

In short, yeah - we'd want to make Olaf better - but with his current kit design, he tends to be a very volatile force in high tier play. Essentially, Olaf's power is too inacessible and often only good against players who are very skilled - and thus any changes to Olaf either has to be reorienting his power or making his power more relevant to a wider range of opponents."
[ Any other plans for WW? Perhaps making him into a better counter jungler? ]
"Unsure what the current team's thoughts on Warwick are at the moment. The issue right now with Warwick is that he's still a sustain/safety jungler - but almost every other jungler duels better than he does early. It's a tricky problem. 
He's billed as a jungler - but jungler strengths have increased around him such that his current kit, while effective, isn't really what you want in a jungler. His power level is really high - but he doesn't bring a whole lot of strategic utility that the other junglers do."
[ Any thoughts on changing post-relaunch Trundle? ]
"With champions and major reworks, we actually like to watch things for a couple of weeks to a couple of months to get a better perspective on what potential changes would be good - so I haven't heard of anything in the works just yet."

[ Why doesn't Riot post patch notes for the PBE ? ]
"Because our patches are often in a severe state of flux over the days. We push / test / pull / etc. extremely quickly in our environment. 
Everything that we're currently working on and playtesting, you are almost seeing the exact things on a day by day basis. We are actually incredibly transparent about what is our build and what is going out - it just makes the exact book-keeping of all these changes incredibly hard to manage. 
For example, whenever I do a thread like this, it generally consumes 2 or 3 hours of my time. If I were to do that on a consistent basis, I would talk more about the patch than actually work on stuff in the patch. :x 
There's also things like translations / localization / etc - that we simply don't have time to do on the schedule we operate on. Stack that on top of the fact that we ship the last known good build to PBE means that daily patch notes is actually incredibly time consuming. Apologies - but the gains here aren't worth the significant time investment we'd have to sink in. :x"

( working on more replies as they roll in )

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