[ Updated ] Commentary on upcoming Sona changes and Morello on new Zyra skin / next ultimate skin.

Posted on at 4:39 PM by Moobeat
Update: Hippalus saves the day: "The next Ultimate skin will be 1950 RP for the first few days as a reward to the players who are active at the time of its release. After that it will not be discounted."

We've been on quite the red post spree lately and this evening is no exception!
Continue reading for Volty's commentary on the upcoming Sona changes ( including quite a massive bug fix ) , as well as Morello discussing a future Zyra skin and the next ultimate tier skin.

Comentary on upcoming Sona changes
As promised, Volty swung by the forums and offered up some context to the upcoming Sona changes.
"We have a number of tweaks coming for Sona in the next patch, as a consequence of this change: 
- Fixed a bug where Power Chord: Diminuendo was not decreasing damage dealt
Yup, that's right. Power Chord: Diminuendo hasn't been reducing the damage dealt by its target. This bug has been particularly tricky to detect because it was reducing the damage numbers displayed, just not the actual damage inflicted. 
So after fixing this, we took a step back and asked, what will this do to Sona's balance? Given that Sona is already borderline "always pick" we were quite worried that she'd gain must-pick status after this fix. We asked what we could do to Sona to make her less powerful at high Elo and competitive play, where she is already most dangerous and the fix to Diminuendo is likely to have the largest impact. We also wanted to not hurt Sona's performance too much for other players, and she's not as relatively strong there (but still strong). 
Looking at what makes Sona strong in competitive play, we identified that her early game burst is a major source of power, especially for competitive play. While it's important for champions to have comparative strengths and weaknesses, Sona is a bit too strong in this dimension, even beyond providing a unique strategic niche for her compared to other supports. In short, we think we can make some reductions here while preserving her unique strategic niche and playstyle. Here is the changelist: 
- Base Power Chord damage changed to 13/20/27/35/43/52/62/72/82/92/102/112/122/132/147/162/177/192 from 8 + (10 x level)
(This refers to the base, which is still doubled by Power Chord: Staccato.) 
These numbers were chosen to hit her early game the hardest, and only provide minor reductions during other parts of the game. 
We also identified that late game Sona can become really quite durable, more so than we would like. So we also targeted this as an area to remove power. This was where feedback from players was most valuable to informing our decision, as I asked for and specifically received a lot of input on which durability mechanics on Sona were most important to / noticed by players. Keep in mind though, that reductions here are largely offset by the bug we're fixing, so the overall reduction in durability isn't that big. 
Aria of Perseverance
- Bonus Armor and Magic Resistance to self and healed ally reduced to 6/7/8/9/10 from 8/11/14/17/20
- Changed aura bonus Armor and Magic Resistance to 6/7/8/9/10 from 3/6/9/12/15
We wanted to compensate for some of these reductions by increasing Sona's early game durability, which is comically low on live.

- Base Health increased to 450 from 410
- Base Armor increased to 11.3 from 9.3 
These are reverts of an earlier nerf we did to Sona's durability in lane, which we no longer feel is necessary. 
After testing, we were finding that we hadn't actually lowered Sona's late-game durability perceptibly, between these changes and the bug fix, so we also added this:

- Lowered the duration of Power Chord: Diminuendo to 3 seconds from 4
4 seconds is just a really long time for most debuffs, and we didn't feel that this needed to actually last that long to still have a major impact.

We've been giving Sona a lot of attention in playtests and will of course be watching her performance closely following the patch. I personally really enjoy playing Sona and I'm pretty confident that the last thing that these changes will do is make her unpickable. Ok, I hope this provides some context for upcoming changes, thanks for reading!"
When will we get a new Zyra skin?
Morello commented that a new Zyra skin is coming Soon(tm)!
"Soom(tm) 
(In all seriousness, the skins team and I are talking about how to expedite the skins for "one-skin" champs. That doesn't mean the next few patches, but Darius-Zac need another skin).

We messed up our scheduling on this a bit and I want to apologize for that, but we are fixing this."
He continued, noting that in the previous statement he meant Darius THROUGH Zac not Darius and Zac:
"Yes, sorry (though Darius also had Bio-forge, so maybe Zyra's the actual first on that list now).

The Zyra skin idea we have in the works is Morello-approved"
Another summoner asked "Why about old champs that don't have more skins yet?". Morello responded:
"That's a big focus too - though we also want to make it worth the wait by making the next skin for them really on-the-nose."

Next Ultimate Skin
Morello also commented on the next, highly anticipated 3200 RP ultimate skin and why we haven't heard anything about it.
"There's a reason we're being quiet on this (partially bug burndown and the ?? of that), but partially because the surprises are worth it imo.

In this case, we'll be keeping you in the dark because it's cooler :P"
He continued, reflecting on ultimate skins as a whole.
"Additionally, all ultimates will feel like this in terms of wHERE?!. Ultimate skins are more effort than even a new champion, and take a lot of time. Since the response to PFE was so positive, we think you guys have basically told us it's worth it :)"

When asked if there will be a release week price discount, as there was with the last ultimate skin Pulsefire EzrealMorello replied:
"I think the discount was only for PFE since he was kind of the introduction to that tier. I don't feel bad about 3200 with the quality of these things, especially considering the time and effort they take."
He expanded on that comment, saying:
"Well all players would like lower prices on everything, sure :P. It has to be balanced, and with the effort, we either make these for a premium, or we don't make them.

I tend to prefer the former, and I think players do too. I think of these as "extreme" luxury, though Hippalus actually gets this better than I do."

Update: Hippalus has commented that there WILL be a discount on the next ultimate skin:
"Wrong on that one Morello. The next Ultimate skin will be 1950 RP for the first few days as a reward to the players who are active at the time of its release. After that it will not be discounted."

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