Red Post Collection: Nidalee's Problems, [ Cont'd ] Fiora Rework, and more followup on Rengar and Skarner

Posted on at 3:57 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features Riot Repertoir weighing in on Nidalee's problems and what he hopes to address with his upcoming kit changes, more post launch followup on the Rengar and Skarner reworks, and Guinsoo continuing to discuss his future Fiora rework.
Continue reading for more information!

Nidalee's Problems

Riot Repertoir pounced on to the forums to expand on the Nidalee discussion from earlier this week, offering his thoughts on some of Nidalee's problems:
"Hi guys! As has already been mentioned here, I've been doing work on Nidalee for some time now, and I definitely think things are headed in the right direction with her. I can't really share specific details of the kit changes just yet, but I can share some of the primary (there may be others, but these are the forefront ones) problems that we've identified and are working to solve. 
-The way Nidalee utilizes both forms to succeed is out of whack. She very regularly doesn't have to use Cougar form as part of her killing pattern. This is not only unfair to enemy players, but also just a bit lame as a shapeshifting character. 
-Nidalee doesn't put herself at enough risk of death when she succeeds. I personally think it's okay if Nidalee averages a high number of kills every game, but the number of deaths she accrues needs to be a bit higher to reflect that. 
-Nidalee is pretty hard to control in Cougar form, and she just feels clunky much of the time. Even in pro games we see people Pouncing/Swiping in the wrong direction while farming or faceplanting into walls they meant to hop over. 
As for Javelin Toss, I know this doesn't provide a definitive answer on that subject, and once we have more definitive details on a direction, I'll be happy to talk about them. At this rate, I wouldn't expect Javelin Toss to undergo fundamental changes to its mechanics. It will almost assuredly remain a "deals more damage at greater range" ability, and it will hurt to get hit by. Furthermore, it probably won't have cooldown reducing mechanics or ramping mana gates or something like that on it. None of that really matters if the Javelin that does hit you or your carry drops them from 100% health down to 40% at the beginning of the fight, because you're still just forced to leave. In that case, we've just condensed the window of frustration rather that targeting the frustration itself. 
Looking forward to sharing more details with you guys once we've something a bit more well-defined to talk about!"

As Javelin Toss overall, Riot Repertoir commented:
"Basically, I think we can put Javelin Toss in a good state that leaves it satisfying without added intricacies to the reasons or timing of casting the spell. With a kit to support this, of course."

When asked about how these tentative changes will play out for "Bruiser" Nidalee, he noted:
"Bruiser Nidalee should be fine following the changes, if not more fun to play."

[ Continued ] Rengar Thread of Bola and Roaring

Continuing from his discussion from the past two days ( 1 , 2 ) , Scruffy jumped out of the brush and back into discussing the Rengar rework introduced in 4.5:
"To be clear about Rengar's role in a team, we wanted to leave this mostly unchanged. He is still the guy that hunts the enemy squishies and can stalk around choosing his prey at will. His damage is lowered some, but we still want him to be a strong damage threat. 
He is unique from some of the other assassins like zed or khazix because he has much more versatility with his ferocity skills (CC, Damage, Heals, many options here). On the other hand, some other assassins have escapes, where he does not. Considering he doesn't have a reliable escape once he has engaged, we gave him some more tools like durability and speed so that once he is in, he has a means of contributing.

As far as items, we're not designing towards any "right" way to build Rengar. He scales well with both offensive and defensive items and that is something that is cool about him as a character.

Keep in mind, we're not going to leave Rengar out to dry if he has problems/needs changes. We already have a bunch of changes planned for the next patch like speeding up the Q attack animations significantly, and some ult warning changes that we have been talking about in this thread. We should have a bunch more data soon, which will help inform us if he needs more changes, and where.

I appreciate all of the feedback, and I know that change can be frustrating on a character that you know and love so well. Don't fear for Rengar, he's not going away anytime soon."

As for what's being done in the next patch, Scruffy commented:
"We have an ult change coming in the next patch that will not alert enemies if you wouldn't be visible to them outside of stealth. This is really big for when he is ganking or approaching his targets from a brush or near walls. It was pretty silly to alert the enemy when Rengar wouldn't have been visible out of stealth anyway, you guys were totally right on this one. 
Also, the Q and Empowered Q attack animations are getting significantly sped up. This will fix a lot of the "my Q didn't go off" cases, and it's a non trivial buff in his dps output over time.

This isn't the end, but it's what I can say is coming with certainty right now."
He continued, reiterating the Q fixes:
"The Q from brush will be working better after our next set of changes as well. Also Q does currently and will still reset his auto attack."

As for following up on Rengar's current damage tuning, Scruffy reminded:
"Things like damage numbers are never set in stone. We will make adjustments to his damage if we overdid the changes. Real data will give us lots of information about how the changes turned out: Is his early game too weak? Is his late game too strong? etc.. Depending on what we find, adjustments will be made. It's unfortunate that we cant play millions of test games with any changes before they release, but the least we can do is respond to the real data once the changes are live."

RiotScruffy also briefly commented on what Rengar gets out of the "Rengar vs Kha'zix" special interaction now that his rework is out and his Bonetooth Necklace is different:
"He gets full stacks on the trinket as well. It's slightly less reward than before but it's still very significant."

Skarner Plans

When asked if there are still plans to fix up Skarner after his much debated rework, Scruffy commented:
"We still have plans for Skarner, mostly in the realm of bringing excitement and a bit of the old identity that people liked about the old Skarner back.

We can keep a lot of the gameplay gains (versatility, windows of power/weakness) and add a bit more stickiness/cc control that people liked about the old kit. I've been in ongoing discussions about these changes with a lot of the team, and I should get down to implementing them sometime next week. When we have a more final changelist, I'll let you know what we intend to do."

[Continued] Fiora Overhaul and the return of Guinsoo

Building on the original Fiora rework discussion we read about yesterday, Guinsoo lunged back on to the forums to respond to several points sof feedback:
One question though: Why Riposte -> Thrust (based off of what I saw in the screencap)? Riposte's definition refers to the counter attack, not the block itself. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the ability be Parry -> Riposte?
This is probably an accurate point. Currently I was calling the whole spell Riposte, with two parts, Parry and Thrust. We will definitely work on the names later, not only are the mechanics placeholder but the names too. 

Why would a DUELIST be a jungler? Is she dueling the wolves? And what "honor" is there in jumping from the bushes and attacking an unknowing target? That's not a "duel". >_> I think thematically, moving Fiora out of top lane totally changes the entire "duelist" aspect.
That's an interesting consideration. But I still think mid lane works fine for her; perhaps you're right that jungle isn't where she belongs. 

Also that new ultimate is really boring. Basically "URF Mode Activated". Yay, a steroid ult. Yawn.
I think right now it feels significantly different than a steroid ult. It significantly alters your play pattern and thinking for the duration. See the points below... 

Thank you so much for coming in here to talk to us about this :)
I understand the ult change is, of course, highly experimental but it has me worried. I've played Fiora since her first free week and scored my first ever penta kill with her (why I changed my account name to this). If you're still hanging around hopefully you can address a couple of my concerns here: 
1. The new ult lets her spam no-cost virtually no-cooldown base spells up to 16 times over 9 seconds. I don't see how this wouldn't be OP unless she hit like a toddler when her ult was down...and if it's still on a 120 second cooldown that could be a very painful 120 seconds... 
2. Without much to go on, I can see that her ult now does 0 damage (by itself at least), her E at least currently does 0 damage, and her W only does damage conditionally. This would make her Lunge her only real damage spell. I'm okay with her being auto-attack based - I'm play Crit build Fiora now anyway - but is there any plan to make sure Thornmail doesn't become "buy this to be immune to Fiora"? 
3. Will Fiora keep her Attack Speed steroid, passive AD, or get any new steroids aside from the bonus armor pen on her new ult? Because having a window of massive attack speed is one of the things that feels awesome to me about Fiora. I think she'd probably be extremely bad if she was heavily auto-attack reliant for damage but didn't have any steroids to help her. 
4. Can you share any thoughts on jungle Fiora? I've started playing her there and like it, but she's really mana-hungry since she needs her E to clear with anything resembling passable speed. It doesn't sound like she'll have much on the way of damaging spells to clear with so she might wind up being too painful early to take jungle.

Thanks again for giving us a heads up. Fiora is my favorite champ so I'm highly nervous right now, but I'll try and be cautiously optimistic :)
About point 1: Originally I was debating how to primarily balance this implementation of Blade Waltz. There are two obvious limiting levers, duration and number of casts. The version of which I posted a screenshot is clearly more duration limited. In this iteration I was counting on the various "drawbacks" / nuances of the abilities to limit the ultimate - e.g. travel times, delays, parry times, etc. In the end with the directions we took for some of the other , and the more recent version is more moderate 8 second duration, with a limit of 4 / 6 / 8 casts (still needs tons of tuning). Also note that right now Blade Waltz doesn't provide any bonuses to how hard the skills hit, to emphasize mobility and tactics over brute force during the ultimate (obviously when casting that many spells in succession, it's going to be doing a certain amount of brute force work). 
You're partially right that an ultimate that uses stronger versions of your basic skills requires a sharp tuning knife to make it feel good with and without. But in this case, I think there are some "under the hood" things that we can do to make the ultimate feel like a thing of its own. For example right now when you activate it, it resets all your cooldowns so you can start your comboing or dancing immediately, you get X number of casts chosen pretty much any way you like, and afterward it puts the cooldowns back where they were. I think this really helps make the ultimate feel like a spell all of its own. Additionally, the more potent the "spell modifications" that Blade Waltz offers, the more it feels like the ultimate is a collection of different spells. I think the W captures that well right now, the E to some degree, and the Q not nearly enough. 
She definitely pulls a lot of weight with all her spells. In fact, she's decidedly spell based and mostly weaves autos between them, but still plays a lot like a melee ADC because she can cast so many spells within her windows and (conditionally) deal steady spikes of damage. As far as the actual itemization, that is yet to be determined. Right now, she does have an attack speed steroid elsewhere on her kit (originally it was on the ult, but that doesn't fit for obvious reason), but it's not clear to me yet if that will or should stick. That is one of the balancing levers for her that partially determines if she's more assassin or melee ADC; in an ideal world I'd like her to play exactly like a melee ADC without any basic attack steroids, but that's a lofty goal that's probably not possible. I also don't want her to rely exclusively on her auto attacks like for example Tryndamere, I think it should be somewhere int he middle. 
And I don't really have any thoughts on jungle Fiora at the moment. I'm really not sure if that's a reasonable expectation or not. It has not yet been tested, and it's definitely not the primary focus/intended role for her. 

One major thing I don't like about the idea of the new ult is how much more beneficial it is to players with low ping. I get that anything mechanically intensive is going to do that somewhat, but I don't think having an ultimate that's balanced at is core around giving West Coasters an advantage is a good idea.
Actually, I think that's more of a consideration/potential problem for 'twitchy, reactive defensive spell' than this ultimate. I mean certainly it applies. But how bad would you say Akali or Jayce is to play with high ping? It's not ideal obviously, but I don't think it makes them unplayable. 
When I read Guinsoo's first post I thought, "So basically they want her to be another Yasuo." And then low and behold he comes out and says it. 
So basically we can expect an overloaded kit with absurd mobility, some utility, and lots of damage. Why not give this rework to Scruffy or Soulcrushed instead?
I think there are levers you can tune to allow a character to be very mobile while not being completely out of hand. It's definitely a hard goal, and melee DPS seem to be one of the hardest classes to get right. I certainly would like to try. 

just a little suggestion can you make fiora dash work on friendly ally? to take full advantage of a no cooldown also she lost her ultimate which is huge
It's something we've considered; ultimately I don't think it fits the fencing fantasy well so I'd rather try to go other routes to get the mobility we like. But we're not opposed to it if other methods fail. 

Its wonderful your in a job that allows you to "take a year off" for most people once they leave home for work or college that is the last time they will see a long vacation in their lives.
It is. Riot is the bestest :)"
 As for the general concern about these Fiora changes, he commented:
"People don't like change. It's in our nature; if we like something we don't want it to change. But that doesn't mean it's not for the better. I'm confident we can deliver a new Fiora kit that delivers most of the same mechanics that the old one has (including the important ones like the Blade Waltz experience) but creates new gameplay and makes her actually feel like a duelist.

I prefer to focus my responses toward posts that are more constructive."

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