Red Post Collection: Gangplank Updates, Lee Sin Retune discussion, and more!

Posted on at 9:40 PM by Moobeat
[ Maintenance for NA is planned for 9 AM PDT on 3/10/14. See this post for more info ]

Tonight's red post collection features Riot GMang discussing his plans for Gangplank updates , Morello and Riot Chun replying to player concern on the tentative Lee Sin changes revealed yesterday, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:


Gangplank Updates

Riot GMang popped up on the forums to discuss some early ideas on the Gangplank rework he's currently working on, noting specifically there is no rush and is a "when he's ready" kind of situation:
"Hey all! :) Nice to see interest, thanks for bringing this up. I’ve been a bit of a lurker when it comes to forums—apologies for being so quiet about it! 
Work on Gangplank is still in its formative stages. Gangplank is a cool character with some unique mechanical hooks in his identity, and I don’t want to rush him; currently, he has no timeline—more of a “when he’s ready” kind of situation. Right now, we’re analyzing and prototyping so we can formalize the right plan.

If you have thoughts on him, I’d love to hear them! :) What excites you about Gangplank, and what bores you? What frustrates, and what satisfies? What is he overdoing, and what is he missing? Inquiring minds want to know!"
Riot GMang returned to share a compiled list of community feedback and to answer a few questions:
"Whoa! Lots of great posts here. I can't do them all justice with responses, but I've read them all and I love the feedback. :)

Some trends I'm seeing here:
Most posters like:
  • Plundering mad bank
  • Q burst satisfaction (many mention crits)
  • Eating orange, being k
  • Role versatility (doing traditionally non-fighter things)
  • Global cannonballs from the sky
  • High move speed
  • On-hits (e.g. Shiv)
  • Being a badass pirate (also apparently "You Are a Pirate") 
Most don't like:
  • Raise Morale is definitely underwhelming (thematically and mechanically)
  • Frustrating unreliability on ultimate (RNG)
  • Trouble functioning after lane (having to build tanky to function?)
  • Passive can be unsatisfying/awkward to use
  • Not much decision-making during combat
  • Laning phase can be drawn-out farm fest
  • Role confusion (what am I actually viable at?)
  • Various tuning issues (costs, cast times, stats, etc.)
If you think I missed a big one, let me know! As for the points themselves, I think most of them are right on the mark. They really underscore some of the mechanical underpinnings of his identity while showing his room for improvement. 
I'm on board for these "likes." :P I can totally dig the satisfaction on Q's mechanics and the iconic-ness of W. Beyond that, my interpretation of the "likes" is that a lot of Gangplank's identity comes from his feeling of "rule-breaking": a fighter with a ranged attack, shrugging off CCs, a spell with on-hits, doing things across the map, being too fast to catch, etc. In retrospect, I think this "cheater" feeling is a big reason I became a fan of GP in the first place. :D Will definitely look to analyze this more going forward! 
Also agree with most of the "don't likes" too. The two main takeaways I see are 1) Gangplank's kit is showing its age (ult RNG, tuning issues, E becoming stale over the years, etc.), and 2) Gangplank probably needs to be more "3-dimensional" in what he does (more interesting/varying decisions, uptimes/downtimes, strengths/weaknesses, etc.). Really excited to explore the "most Gangplanky ways" of addressing these concerns. :) 
Hope those sound like fair takeaways to you!

Quote:

However, GP just kinda buffs his team, then runs around in teamfights while Q is off CD. I'd love it if he had more defined strengths and weaknesses, because the well-rounded nature of his kit just leads him to be wonderfully average in all phases. 
And that's really cool, and super balancable, but as far as just playing around goes, it's not necessarily "fun." 
I think this is a fruitful line of thought. Gangplank is a tricky balancing act because of how generalist his identity is. Being a fighter with options is awesome, and I think we could do more to enrich his decision-making so he feels less "flat."

Quote:

Raise Morale has been overworked and overnerfed into an incredibly boring and underpowered ability. I have zero morale for the current state of Raise Morale. Raise my Raise Morale Morale, morelloplz 
Sounds from this thread like people want a more exciting E, and I totally agree! :P I would be unsurprised if Gangplank ended up with an entirely different spell in that slot (though some of the high-level functions of current E should probably appear on the kit); currently prototyping is trending that way.

Quote:

Honestly I love playing AP GP OP
reasons why 
His ult does MASSIVE damage in team fights, shredding lines apart
His Q would do close to 700 damage (over 200 of it ad and the rest magical due to lichbane)
and his Oranges would heal for 1.3k 
Are there any particular aspects of those things you'd identify as especially important to you? Is it seeing big sexy numbers (how does critplank compare?)? Is it having impactful teamfight AoE (if so, how does on-hit-plank appeal to you?)? Is it having more highs-and-lows in your pacing (moving emphasis away from P+Q+E and towards high-cooldown W and R)? Is it just the feeling of using unusual item builds?

Quote:
Shouldn't a pirate be able to find a treasure chest somewhere? 
Heh, you're not alone in wanting treasure chests (coughFeralPonycough). :P No plans for something like that yet, but nothing's off the table.

Quote:
Question: Why rework? If he needs buffs give him buffs 
This isn't really coming from a balance angle. There's a deeper question I want to answer: is Gangplank living up to his potential? Could Gangplank be a more fun, unique, and healthy character? I think these things can be addressed in ways that actually excite current Gangplank players, not turn them off. Believe me, there are plenty of old-school GP fans at Riot—myself included!

Quote:

Gangplank is definitely one of the more boring champions to play against. When he was strong, there were 3 things that could happen: he will shoot you when his Q is off CD and sometimes it hurts more than others; he will run at you when he gets an advantage and slow you forever so you cant get away; or he will run away from you when you get an advantage and nullify any CC you lay down. 
Definitely worth considering playing-against issues like these. I think a lot of this is due to his "flatness" in lane: high-uptime, low-variance abilities that can turn him into a "stat-check fighter" to lane against. This is definitely something we want to keep an eye on!

Thanks again for sharing, everybody! Looking forward to more discussions/updates in the future. :)"

[ Continued ] Lee Sin Retune Discussion

In the event you missed it, Riot Chun recently posted up a set of tentative balance changes for Lee Sin. While these changes haven't yet hit the PBE, the community has expressed extreme concern over the new direction for one of the most beloved League of Legends champions. Both Morello and Riot Chun have posted up several response to these changes, reiterating the changes are tentative and experimental.

In a reddit mega thread discussing the changes, Morello chimed in to assess the community's concerns and stress that the changes are extremely tentative and experimental:
"Hey guys - I've been monitoring this set of threads a bit. Let me start by making sure I understand the community thoughts accurately:
  • Lee's identity as a mobile character that transitions from assassin to tank is under fire, and that identity is really awesome, fun and unique. Changing this is a big problem because it's not only cool, but is positive for the game's variety.
  • The new mechanics around late-game AA damage is unrealistic and will not have good results, because Lee cannot function in that role in teamfights. Additionally, his mobility predicates a hit-and-run style in big engagements.
  • Lee is really balanced and should not be nerfed.
  • Safeguard ward-hopping changes are too far.
With that, let me talk a bit about this; 
1) I agree on the identity thing. Statikk, Chun and I will look at this on Monday. I think you're spot-on here. 
2) These Flurry mechanics have tested pretty awesomely, but aren't compensation for nerfs or a new function for Lee. Agreed. 
3) Ward hopping will undergo additional numbers tuning, however, this is one I feel more strongly about. Ward-hiopping is a lot of what Lee is about and makes him fun - we talked a lot about why we will not remove the ability to do so - however, it's up too often and makes him a bit too mobile. I think this is a fair place to hit raw uptime, though I tend to think CD and not energy is better (will debate with team on this). 
4) Lee Sin is out of line in HOW MUCH he expresses force early. His late-game power is probably right (as a tank-style pick/initiator), but his early game power is still too high. I'm OK with him being more potent early than late, I don't think that means it has to be completely lopsided. His skill expression should matter a bit more early than it does currently (let's be honest, there's a lot of safety in Lee's early power). 
5) This is not slated for a release date yet, and PBE was to experiment with these changes. So this is a good time to talk about these things! :) 
(Posting this to LoLforums as well)."
He continued over on the forums, saying:
"I tend to think +X% CD when using this on a ward is a good solution. I want this uptime/context-less mobility reduced, but not removed or gutted."
As for keeping the energy cost low for jumping to minions, Morello commented:
"On the table - I think the difference between wards/non-wards seems right to me."
When suggested the team tries making wards that Lee Sin jumps to be revealed or destroyed, Morello replied:
"We've tested this, and it's interesting. Not off-the table, but doesn't solve the problem (just makes it more gold-driven)."

Over on reddit, Morello also reiterated:
"Right - WHICH IS WHY I SAID WE'RE REVISITING THE CHANGES :P 
Ward jumping is good. That doesn't mean it's immune to balance tweaks, and shouldn't have good gates that players work with to create big plays. You seem hostile for its own sake, or misunderstood that we're revisiting the changes with those goals in mind. Lee will be nerfed, but we'll be talking more about how and when."
He also reiterated that the changes are experimental:
"Glad to have the time to speak about this! 
Balance changes are the "MVP" (or minimum viable product, to use dev jargon) for Lee - he will need some work, such as early game power nerfs and some additional tradeoff for using W on wards, but the other changes are considered experimental on PBE. Our intent putting them there is to test them in a broader format, not as a whole package proposal. 
Pro player feedback is always considered on stuff like this, especially, but it definitely isn't the only metric or even only viable feedback. Lee enthusiasts, Lee haters, and general player population are also considered. We match that with our gameplay goals (public version soontm) and see how it informs the change set. This thread is a good example!"

When asked directly about the changes to Lee Sin and what they are intended to switch his role to, Morello commented:
"Early game Fighter or Assassin (AD Caster? It's weird) into a late-game tank transition is the direction I believe we want here. The current changes aren't doing that, so we'll modify."

Following all this discussion, someone asked if Morello could do the same for the tentative Elise changes that are currently being tested on the PBE. Morello replied:
"Elise is a more complex topic because there's a lot less "good" for players out of the discussion to me. Elise, overall, doesn't have the "is the most mobile" or "Is the most X" or "has Y pattern" when that isn't just power and dueling ability. Elise's identity right now is weak, so trying to establish one has been difficult. Her gameplay hooks (sans her move-block) are pretty meh overall to provide a lot of gameplay and identity."
He continued:
"It's scary to me too, because that is fun - but "powerful and low on context" tends to make any context-sensitive or more tradeoff-driven champion poor. Reliability is king when choosing the "best" in something, and I think it's hard to take away Elise's and still make her satisfying, since much of the satisfaction of her currently is throwing your weight around by being > other champions."

Jumping back to Lee Sin,  Riot Chun also replied to the PBE community post, elaborating on the Flurry and Dragon's Rage changes :
"I think the most significant problem we have here is that the Flurry Attack Speed buff is really hard to understand on paper, making the changes as a whole feel like we are sapping the life from Lee. 
Let’s approach the problem numerically first: Assume Lee Sin builds the most common bruiser/assassin build (which is AD/Armor Pen/tankiness etc. – items which support a pattern of quickly accessing the backline and surviving for a bit once there) in a game and he hits lv16. The PBE Lee Sin will have is 100%(his base AS)+45%(3% per level and he leveled up 15 times) +100%(new flurry)=245%(of original AS). Meanwhile, the Live Flurry values will leave Lee with 100%+45%+40%=185% of original AS. The difference here results in a 32.4% sustain damage increase from basic attacks if Lee can manage his passive in an ideal way. With so much more sustain damage, Lee Sin provides a higher damage threat to enemies after the first few seconds, without having to burst them as hard in the first one or two. It also means a 32.4% improved basic attack frame – landing auto attacks in between spells will be more feasible and more rewarding. 
I think your simulation of Lee Sin in a late game team fight is based on the fact that the Live version of Lee Sin is really weak at that point. Considering all the tools he has, why is that, and how does it happen? In a world where Lee Sin can deal meaningful sustained damage at all points in the game, you no longer are relegated to just looking for an ideal initiation and then having 80% of your job done. He can still have that meaningful initiation power, but the power it brings becomes largely about positioning, and less about the burst. After this point, he can use his increased sustain damage to remain a legitimate threat to the enemy team. 
Dragon’s Rage specifically is a really cool spell that provides a ton of fun gameplay, but as mentioned above, we really want to separate its use as utility versus damage. 
The current proposed Dragon’s Rage does approximately 50/55/60% damage compared to the Live version on cast, but it is increased by 50% for each enemy the target collides with. Under this paradigm, if you manage to kick your target into two enemy champions, it’s about same damage. If you manage to kick your target through his whole team, however, you will get a very noticeable damage reward (750 + 3.0 Total AD), resulting in massive damage to the original target. 
It’s definitely cool to Insec kick a high-profile enemy into your team, but the cool thing about that play specifically really isn't the damage you dealt; it’s the displacement utility you brought to your team. And while that play is cool, it has come to overshadow other uses of the ability in team fights. We want to reward players for thinking about the direction in which they kick their target. 
As far as the 1v1 case is concerned, Dragon’s Rage will deal 100ish less damage. This is absolutely significant, but the increased sustained threat from Flurry should be enough to compensate for that after the first few seconds."

Brief VU Discussion

When asked if there are any plans for a Jax VU, IronStylus commented:
"Most likely not, just a hunch. We've slotted I'd say.. until about August, but he's not on that roster at the moment. It's conceivable that he could be after our furthest-out scheduled VU/relaunch, but I see other characters being worse offenders. 
That said, there's a couple of passionate Jax players internally who are messing around with concepts. If there's momentum he might get tacked on. He currently resides in the VU-only category, champions who aren't slated for gameplay changes, making them easier to execute on. Also, he exists sort of mid-way up a list that takes into consideration where we would get the most value from executing on a champion artistically. The top of that list having the most projected value of artistic changes, the bottom being the least value."
As for a Karthus VU, he simply commented:
"Why? Do you feel... a chill?"

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