Red Post Collection: ZenonTheStoic with super tentative look at Warwick's prototype kit.

Posted on at 8:17 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection is all about Warwick, including ZenonTheStoic with a tentative look the Warwick rework's current prototype kit and explanations on some of those tentative changes.
Continue reading for more information!

The Tease

Last night ZenonTheStoic ( @danielzklein on twitter ) tweeted out:
[ Tweet 1] "Warwick fans! There may or may not be an easter egg for you in this video: …"

If you navigate to ~11:00 into the video, you can find ZenonTheStoic discussing the upcoming Warwick rework he's working on, saying ( roughly ):
"Your E is what I call a "boomerang move block" so it's not an actual move block. It's a move block that gets you from A to B and immediately back to A. So, you don't have any say in it. You just go...... like that. But the idea is you can use another E at the end of, at the peak of that moment. You can do a lot of cool things: you can Smite, you know go over dragon waill smite Dragon come back, you can dodge skillshots, you can block skillshots by jumping in front of an ally. I hope that it has a lot of cool uses. Lots of people are like "I don't wanna go back out, I just want to move block, to stay in", but I cannot give that to Warwick, u think that would just make him too strong."

In a reddit thread discussing the video and quote from above, ZenonTheStoic ( /u/danielzklein on reddit )
popped in, saying:
"I love how I had to tweet this for people to notice ;P (the video was released on April 4th, when the entire planet was too busy playing URF mode). 
I guess I'll take questions in this thread :)"

The Kit

ZenonTheStoic then continued on to share an extensive look at Warwick's tentative prototype kit:
"Well, here's more information. 
(DISCLAIMER as always, this kit will almost definitely change before we ship. It's not been in actual production yet--that is to say we've not tested it with custom animations, models, particle effects, sounds and so on. We've been testing a prototype kit with art stolen from the rest of the game. So a lot may change. But this is what we have right now.) 
(ALSO SUPER EXTRA DISCLAIMER: We are not in production yet. It'll be many, many months before we will be. I HOPE we'll be able to release this rework in 2014, but no guarantees.) 
PASSIVE: Eternal Thirst. AAs deal 2% of their target's max HP as magic damage and heal Warwick for 5 flat + (0.9-1.8% bonus hp) (scales with champ level) Every time this passive is procced, WW gains a stack of Eternal Thirst (max 10). Each stack of ET increases the self-heal effect by 11%. Stacks fall off after 1.8s (just enough time to keep the buff alive at lowest AS + a fleeing enemy) (if you're faster than them), they fall off one at a time at 4 stacks/second (sort of hyper-quick Jinx Q style). 
Thoughts: This is where we lock the drain tanking away behind meaningful gating. You gotta be battling dudes to get full access to your drain tanking potential, and unless you open with your ult it'll take a while to build. The numbers sound really low, but between AAs and your much more spammable Q you'll get some meaningful heal out of this, especially in super tanky builds where heal is worth more (MR/Ar are multiplicative with healing, obviously.)

Q: Hungering Strikes. Double-attack a nearby enemy target. Deals a total of 80-200 + 0.6 AP magic damage, but does proc on-hits (and your passive) twice. Note: it's super weird that we have a skill that procs your AAs but ignores your AD. I know. This is a tradeoff the kit needed. Additionally, passive healing from this spell is further increased by 60-100% (so at 10 stacks you'd get 220% base heal from each proc for a total of 440% of the stated value; at level 18 that would be 5 + 1.8% bonus hp--a good value to hit here is about 35 by end game. This works out to about 180 hp healed, before spirit visage.) 
This Q is also super spammable (CD 9-5, mana cost 40-60 on a kit with better base mana and better mana regen) (these numbers will definitely change as we move into tuning later in the year) 
Thoughts: Your bread and butter "click a unit and heal some" ability. Separating the offensive (AP) and defensive (max health/armor/mr) builds leads to a much more balanceable skill. If you want the damages, you'll be frail. If you want to be immortal dog[1] , you'll take forever to kill a target.

W: Howl (all names placeholder, obviously). PBAOE terrify away from the center of the effect (NOT from WW; subtle distinction, but important for the E). 0.75s duration on the terrify and then a follow up slow, the duration of which scales with skill rank. This is how you gank pre-6 and why the enemy cannot ignore you in team fights. CD 12-8, mana cost 50 flat. Damage 70-190 + 0.6 AP. 
Thoughts: 90% of the time you'll combo this with E. That's cool. There are cool uses of this as a standalone, and it helps your jungle clear.

E: Blood Scent / Hamstring. Passively this is still Blood Scent, with some tweaks (more range early on, shows an Orianna ball indicator under your feet toward the nearest revealed target, only gives MS when you move toward a revealed champ, also reveals big monsters at <50% hp (for the counter janglings), MS doesn't all kick in at once but becomes stronger as revealed target gets lower.) Active: Hamstring. This is the "boomerang move". You're standing at point A, click B, Warwick dashes A->B->A with no pause in between. He hurts all targets touched en route and puts a strong micro-slow on them (falls off almost immediately). You CAN use W and smite during this ability, but not Q (optimal use case became too micro intensive). The micro-slow BARELY allows you to catch a fleeing enemy, but if you E and they dodge, you'll lose distance. Mana cost 50 flat, CD 16 flat, damage 140-220 + 0.6 AP total. Does not proc passive, but keeps stacks alive. Slow 95% for 0.25s. 
Thoughts: I hope this will be the cool skill that people really enjoy using. It sounds so dry on paper, but man it's fun in game. The E->W combo when pulled off right drives the enemy right into your arms. Dispersing an enemy team with a well timed E->W only to then get a clear shot onto their ADC for your R feels glorious. Use it to jump in front of a Jinx rocket, out of a Lucian ult for just long enough to live, out of tower range to swap aggro during a dive, or simply go over dragon wall, smite-steal dragon, and come back to safety for free.

R: Finite Duress (clearly a joke name ;P). Think Sejuani Q, but stun first enemy target hit for 2.5s while attacking them 6 times. Spell has its own base damage and AP ratio (180/240/300 + 0.9 AP), but also procs your passive 6 times, so it also does 18% of target max hp as magical damage. 
Thoughts: I really dislike that this can now be used as an escape, but I'll just tune CDs such that it really hurts when you do that (think Malphite ult). Otherwise this is a straightforward improvement on live WW ult. The enemy gets counterplay (stand in the way), it is much clearer what happens, and when WW does hit, he hits hard. Even a tank will get seriously hurt. Plus 2.5s stun! (Oh yes, suppression is BS. That's a topic for a different thread tho ;P) I'll potentially do a thing where the CD is halved when you actually hit this to really reward in-combat usage. WW also gets a 20% damage reduction shield while he is in this ult. Plus did I mention that if you Q right after this, you get to start a fight at 8 stacks of your passive? Yeah. That's pretty sweet."

The Questions

When asked if possible to E over a wall then use R, ZenonTheStoic replied:
"Ult is disabled during E"

In response to comments ( presumably from those who didn't read the prototype kit ) about removing Blood Scent, he commented:
"No way. Blood Scent is why you play Warwick."

As for Warwick's ultimate still procs on hit effects 6 times, ZenonTheStoic noted:
"Yup it does."
He continued, revealing what all you can do while using your ult:
"Only your W and smite right now. Potentially ignite as well?"
As for if you can break out of the channel, he noted:
"You're currently stuck, but that's a big thing I want to revisit. Potentially a re-activate after 0.5s to break the effect early? Always scared players will end up screwing themselves, but there might be cool plays that require you to cancel out early (?)"

When asked if R will not be affected by tenacity, he commented:
"This is a good point! I thought mostly about cleanse (which isn't really a thing anymore I guess), but yeah, the tenacity's a tough one. I can technically set a flag in the stun to make it ignore tenacity, but should I? I'll ponder on that question (read: corner CertainlyT at 3am and have a much too long conversation with him. Poor CertainlyT.)"

ZenonTheStoic also commented on the Q changes, saying:
"Q is still very much point and click. Slightly smaller range, but edge to edge (rather than center to center) so it's easier to Q big dudes (6 stack Cho for instance)"

When asked about the multiple % and multipliers on the kit, ZenonTheStoic replied:
"Yeah, there is a mess of multipliers on the kit right now. I'm looking for a way to simplify, but what they do is give you meaningful sustain that's build from small increments. This really drives home the fantasy of "slowly turning into a wolf as the blood lust comes over you"."

He also left a lengthy reply about Warwick being AP mechanically but his fantasy reading as a lot of physical damage:
"VERY good question about the disconnect between fantasy (claw and tooth = AD) and mechanical implementation (AP). Let me first explain why I made the choice on the mechanical side and then give you a hint how we hope to reconcile it with the fantasy. 
So early on in ideation around Warwick's new kit, we noticed that drain tanks usually tend to be very binary in our game. The way rickless abandon put it, it's a very stat-checky affair. "Do I have more numbers than you? Cool I win. No? Okay, I can't do anything." We identified the problem being with the dual scaling nature of most drainers in our game. 
Take Bronze League Master Yi. He builds Blade of the Ruined King (never uses the active, of course) and four Blood Thirsters. Awesome. If he runs into a non-fed enemy in the jungle, he presses R and right-clicks them to death. If they fight back, they either have enough damage to out-damage his heal before they die or they don't. 
Or take the Wizard Wolf, live Warwick with a strong AP item or two (Athene's, perhaps). His Q does more damage and heals for more; so there simply comes a point at which he either kills you before you kill him, or he doesn't get to that point and blows up. 
We decided to split up the defensive and offensive item paths on new Warwick. In order to do more damage, WW needs to build AP (or AS I guess? Nashor's/Wit's End might be a strong damage build). In order to heal more, WW needs to build more max health (which in turn synergizes well with armor and MR). This means that if WW goes straight tank, he won't be able to solo kill someone (or it'll take forever, like a murder by spoon). The enemy can just run away to safety or call in allies while WW sticks to them. If WW wants damage, he opens the counterplay route of "just f-king kill him" to the enemy: without an AS steroid (and artificially low base and per level AS) life steal builds won't be great, and the base on the passive heal is so low that just straight up building AS won't do much for you (particularly as a lot of the power of the passive is actually tugged away in the Q and the R, where AS won't do anything for you). 
So this meant he needed a tanky itemization path, which in turn means his skills need AP scaling. Our tank + AP itemization is actually decent (Iceborn Gauntlet, Abyssal Scepter, Rylaj's Crystal Scepter, etc), whereas our tank + AD itemization isn't (Atma's Impaler, Maw of Malmortius, ???) (bonus points for someone who can read up a few paragraphs and figure out why we don't have great AD+tank itemization by design). AP scaling means magic damage. 
Magic damage also means he'll do more meaningful damage to enemy tanks, which is great (because he often has no choice but to fight them). Finally, giving any of his abilities AD scaling at all would slowly but surely track us back toward the binary aggressive drainers we want to avoid. 
So, the fantasy then. The first thing I did when I realized this thing about itemization was to round up with a creative designer (RiotEntropy) and a concept artist (some dude you never heard of called IronStylus) and pick their brains on how we can reconcile our mechanical needs with the fantasy. Both of them were surprisingly positive on how easy this would be. 
From Entropy I learned that the potion Warwick took to turn himself into the monster he has become is very much a magical/alchemical thing. His power is derived not from being a natural monster, but from being a thaumaturgically enhanced human. It is absolutely imaginable that this power expresses itself visually on top of the existing visuals. 
IronStylus was pretty much on the same page. Bulging, glowing veins (wherein the potion courses still), glowing slash-trails in the air left behind by his claws, etc. 
This disconnect was one of my bigger concerns going into this iteration, but creative and concept art have pretty much put my fears to rest."

When asked about lane Warwick's fate, ZenonTheStoic jumped into a discussion on drain tanks and their role in the game:
"So the one place where I cannot let a drain tank succeed fully is actually top lane. Before you bring out your pitch-forks and torches, hear me out. 
The power of a drain tank needs to be locked away in team fights. Self-heal is his way of staying alive where other tanks get shields, defensive steroids, or invulnerability. Whenever a drain tank becomes good in top lane, you get extremely passive lanes. Take Mundo before we nerfed defensive masteries. He just farmed all day and there really wasn't much you could do. So the optimal play became to also pick a passive farmer and hope to have more of an impact in team fights. This kinda sucks for the game as a whole. 
I don't want to burn top lane WW to the ground, but he needs to be a weaker, niche pick. If his kit becomes good in top lane, core gameplay will HAVE to nerf it for the good of the overall game, and that would kill Warwick everywhere. This is why I bake in additional anti-top lane sustain things in the kit (like the passive healing you for half when used against minions, or most of his damage being % max hp, which is useless against minions). 
That said, Q DOES currently deal % max hp damage--4%, to be exact, every 3s with some CDR (remember it procs the passive, both the heal and the damage). Also, Q is MUCH cheaper and WW has some meaningful mana + mp5. I envision a top lane WW who can keep his passive going on minions while Q'ing the enemy whenever they move forward to last hit. This WILL push the lane heavily and keep him inside the wave, so it will be very weak to enemy junglers, but that's the kind of tradeoffs you have to have if you want your kit to shine in other areas. 
You also correctly identified that we removed Blood Scent's function as an escape. This is very much by design. This Warwick gets a LOT: he is tanky, has crazy safety in the jungle (potions? Potions are for non-wolves), is SUPER sticky, has repeatable AOE teamfight disruption, has one of the best pick skills in the game (2.5s is the longest stun in the game)--this power needs to be balanced by clear weaknesses. One of them is that he will suck at running away / being safe. 
Once again, I could give you the things you ask for, but in return I'd have to bring the rest of the kit down too, to the point where it would be a flat experience all around. That's what we're trying to get rid of."

As for giving Warwick a gapcloser, he reiterated:
"Well that's what the design is attempting to circumvent. The E is very much NOT a gap closer because you will always return to where you started (unless you get stunned or rooted mid-move)."

ZenonTheStoic also chatted a bit about the itemization path for this new kit, saying:
"Yeah, I really want to give both WW and his enemy a much clearer idea how to itemize (as: tanky stats to be drain tank, on-hit/ap/as to be aggressive. Against: always MR). 
As for the E, you'd aim such that your peak would be between them and their turret. That way your W pushes them into the arms of your ally mid-laner. The W has a follow-up slow as well, so not only do they run AWAY from safety, they're also slowed after the terrify. This gives you plenty of time to run in and start wolving them."

When asked why Warwick's Q has such a low mana cost now, ZenonTheStoic replied:
"The problem here is that his Q MUST be spammable in a long team fight for him to function as a drain tank. If you get three Qs before you oom you cannot be a drain tank. That's why we ended up lowering the Q cost so much (also current Q cost is crazy high because WW was one of the original 40, from before the time when we understood that letting people pressing buttons a lot is a good idea)."

Let's end with ZenonTheStoic's reminder on what we've been reading about today:
"Remember, this is FAR OUT IN THE FUTURE. Me talking about it so early is a huge experiment with setting expectations, but I'd rather hear comments now while I can still make changes :)"

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