Red Post Collection: URF Extended Through April 13th, April 7th Patch Update, 4.6 Patch Forecast, & Morello on Rengar

Posted on at 12:00 AM by Moobeat
[ Update: Added in more of Lyte discussing Team Builder's recent experiment! ]

Tonight's red post collection features news that URF will remain available through April 13th, details on the small patch that went out on April 7th, Statikk with a 4.6 Patch Forecast previewing the team's goals for the next patch, and Morello weighing in on why Rengar needed a rework instead of just number changes and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

URF Extened to April 13th

For those of you out there who just can't get enough of URF mode, I have some good news for you - the queue will be available for an extra week!

Here's Pabro with more info:
"You’ll have to dress warmly for the rest of the week, the cooldowns from Ultra Rapid Fire are sticking around a bit longer. Originally intended as an April Fool’s joke, your enthusiasm has us sold that U.R.F. should be available as long as any other featured game mode. 
Due to ultra rapid obnoxiousness, we’ll be removing a few more champions from the U.R.F. queue (you can still be OP in custom games):
  • Hecarim
  • Soraka
  • Nidalee
  • Alistar
  • Kayle
  • Skarner
Enjoy U.R.F. through Sunday, April 13."

April 7th Patch Update

The official 4.5 patch notes have been updated to reflect the changes in the small patch that went out earlier today.:
LoL Client
  • Fixed a navigation bug where using a Tournament Code wasn't properly showing players their game lobby
  • W - Drunken Rage
  • Fixed a bug where Gragas would stop automatically acquiring targets after he kills a unit with Drunken Rage
  • Extended Gragas' window to make a buffed attack to 5 seconds (from 4 seconds)
  • E - Body Slam
  • Hitbox has been rounded off to better reflect Graggy's girth
  • Gragas will no longer auto acquire a target after Body Slam if Drunken Rage is active
Enchantment: Alacrity
  • Fixed a bug where Enchantment: Alacrity was giving less movement speed than intended when purchased with Mercury Treads"

[ 4.6 ] Patch Forecast

Here's Statikk with the first in a new series of player communications - a Patch Forecast for 4.6!
"Hey guys, 
This is the first of hopefully many Patch Forecasts where we can share our perspectives on what issues we see affecting the game as well as those we're actively looking to address for the next patch. 
This should give you guys more context about the changes you guys regularly see hit the PBE between patch releases. Ultimately, we want to start conversations earlier on so that 1) there's fewer surprises and 2) there's time for us to chat with you guys, get your feedback, and continue to iterate on our goals and changes. 
So without further ado, here's some of the primary projects we're looking at for the next patch: 
1) Reworks Follow-up 
We released several reworks in the last couple of patches, so this patch we're focusing on ensuring they're all in a good state. We think we undershot a bit on the power level of all 3 of the recent large reworks to Kassadin, Gragas, and Rengar, so here's a sneak peak at the current directions of the changes: 
Kassadin: We're looking to give Kassadin more favorable opportunities to close into melee with his targets and make sure he is rewarded correctly when he successfully does so. We also want to continue to focus on amplifying Kassadin's unique strengths against magic damage. 
Gragas: We're looking to free up some of the constraints we put on Gragas' mobility so he can more readily initiate and better function as a tank in fights. 
Rengar: We're looking at cleaning up some of the responsiveness issues we may have introduced with the rework and want to make sure Rengar can better compete during the early game in Top Lane and in the Jungle. 
2) Top Lane and the "Renekton Bar" 
As with any lane, we are definitely aware and concerned that there may not be enough champion diversity in the Top Lane, especially at the competitive level. This is largely due to what we believe are "lane bullies" who essentially represent the relative early game power level needed to enter and compete in the lane. Currently, that bar is the "Renekton Bar." 
One way to reduce the severity of the "Renekton Bar" would be simply to tone down Renekton's power a notch. In this case, directly lowering the bar would potentially create an even more unhealthy situation where a different champion rises to the top and acts as the new "bar." We actually see Renekton as one of the more interesting top lane champions in the game, and so instead of nerfing here, we're looking to buff. 
We're in the process of looking at champions that we think provide interesting and healthy gameplay in the top lane, and finding ways to nudge them up to be able to better compete in the current Top Lane environment. This doesn't mean these guys should just now outright beat champions like Renekton, but it hopefully means they have a better chance of going toe-to-toe with him or maybe even just surviving the lane against him and then providing some unique strengths to their team later on. 
As a note, since we can't address every single top laner we'd like in one patch, this will be an ongoing project as we continue to bring more and more champions into the fold. 
Remember, these are all currently in iteration and may change at any point before we actually release the patch. 
In addition, I'd like to give you guys some insight into a couple of hot topics we're currently analyzing to see if we need to make any adjustments:
1) Lulu 
We think we dropped the ball a bit here by failing to make sure we kept Bot Lane Support Lulu fully intact when we made adjustments to her Mid Lane harrass patterns last patch. We're currently in a heavy analysis phase to gauge where her power level is at as a Bot Lane Support.
We also want to continue to monitor her presence in Mid Lane and see if she is still presenting a large diversity issue there even after our changes. 
Once again, this simply means we need more time here to gather data and feedback before deciding if and how to move forward. 
2) Jungle Items 
There are actually 2 potential issues here we have been discussing a ton internally: 
1. The Lack of Class Diversity in the Jungle 
We are currently investigating why other classes of Junglers such as Jungle Tanks like Maokai and Nautilus are not valued in the current game. We feel it largely has to do with the way Spirit Stone and its upgrades scale their effectiveness based purely on the amount of damage dealt. 
We think there's some complex work to be done here in order to open the jungle back up to more classes of champions, so we're doing a deep dive at the moment to make sure we have a solid direction before moving forward. 
2. Is Feral Flare too strong? 
We are currently monitoring the power level of Feral Flare after its recent release, as our current thinking is that it may be a bit over-tuned. 
We prefer to let it settle a bit on the Live servers before making any changes, but it's possible some adjustments to Feral Flare may make it into 4.6."

When asked where Skarner falls into all this, Statikk replied:
"4.6 is actually a really fast cycle compared to recent patch releases. I believe the Skarner changes are currently planned for 4.7."

Team Builder Experiment Update:

 Lyte has returned to the forums with an update on the recent Team Builder experiment that required players to have to invite a friend in order to queue as a Captain.
"Just a quick update: 
We've gone over the full week of data, and have decided to stop the experiment later this week. After we stop the experiment later in the week, all players will be able to be Captains again until we use some of the data we collected to design a new feature that can nudge players towards Captains or Solos depending on what's needed.

I'll write a full post about the results of the experiment and discuss some of Team Builder's next few features in light of the data as well."

When asked about the recent increase in Team Builder queue times, Lyte commented:
"Queue times in many modes were impacted by URF Mode, so the increase you saw was most likely due to URF and not due to the experiment!"

As for a feature to inform summoner's which roles are most needed, Lyte reiterated:
"We're working on something like this, where we can show players what's currently in demand so they can fill for roles that are in high demand."

When asked about more options for both Captain's and solos, he noted:
"Right now, Captains can select "Any Role" with a Position, so they are pretty flexible with that. We'd rather keep it that way for now, instead of allowing even more resolution to specifically choose a subset of the roles.

For Solos, we're looking into multi-role selection as a potential feature in the future but it's not something that we think is an immediate need in the system. We're first going to be looking into giving Solos more information about what roles are currently in demand, so they can "fill" for teams if they like."

As for anti-abuse systems for players who leave a lot of groups, Lyte noted:
"Once we have enough data about baselines, we'll be turning on the anti-abuse systems that will prevent Solo players from leaving too many groups. Once we turn this anti-abuse system on, it'll give Solo players a warning and increasing cool-downs before being presented another group, and ultimately may result in a temporary suspension from using Team Builder."

Why did Rengar Need a Rework

[ Note : The community beta link seems to not be working. Cached version here. ]
Morello popped up on the Community Beta to weigh in on why Rengar needed a rework instead of just number changes.
"For reworks that are design-driven, it usually comes from "if this character is ever good, he'd have to be nerfed." This analysis is driven by their play pattern, tradeoff set, and core decision-tree. 
In Rengar's case, there were a few problems that made him not balancable;
  • Rengar's stealth is extremely good at bypassing wards, peeling and other defensive measures. Combined with good CC and high burst, this meant Rengar's success was wholly dependent on this - with no respect to how he has to overcome obstacles, interact or have any way to modify the context of how he performed. This means Rengar does what he does, and if he's good at basic League play, you'll lose your MVP without much recourse (and therefore likely teamfights/lane).
  • Rengar's was somewhere between "Fighter" and "Assassin." (Hint, if you ever see a class combined with another at the same time, instead of a choice between them based on build etc, then that guy is likely BS). His pattern asked you to build up, but his damage was that of a burst assassin - incompatible gameplay levers.
Scruffy has a couple more he was looking at, in the guts. I know there's some frustrating about Rengar because we changed him from an Assassin into a Fighter, but on these characters, a choice DOES have to be made. 
The missing piece is that, if we'd chose Assassin, Rengar's Stealth would have disappeared, or his burst still lowered. To add reasonable decision-making and interaction, this incompatibility would have kept Rengar knee-capped forever, or would have invalidated other choices because you knew he'd get the job done without much uncertainty. Characters (yes, even Assassins) need context to be healthy. 
So, we thought the Stealth and Hunter identities were MORE important than the power profile. The defining feature of Rengar is not "he bursts", but is instead his ult, resource mechanic, Bonetooth, and being an aggressive character. I still think that's the right choice looking at the alternatives (keep weak forever, or remove entire skills). 
Changing power profiles is going to happen with almost every character that's overloaded - whether it's Grags, Xerath, Heimerdinger, or Rengar. One thing we learned a lot from on the Skarner rework was that while there will be things we need to remove for health, we need to make sure there's a reason that's EXCITING to play the character still - even if it's a different thing to be excited about mechanically (and in fact, we're going to go back a little on Skarner's changes as a result)."

Riot Scruffy also joined the discussion to share some Rengar changes slated for next patch:
"After getting some data, we're also looking into buffing his early lane/jungle clear through damage on Q. These changes should go out with the next patch."
He also replied to someone asking about Rengar's W and how the math works out compared to this old bonuses:
"The way the numbers work out, if you hit 1 enemy champion or large monster the numbers are exactly the same as the old Rengar. Any more than that and you are getting more Armor/MR than he used to have."

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