[Updated] Red Post Collection: Preseason 2015 Experimental objective and item changes

Posted on at 11:28 AM by Moobeat
Following the surge of preseason info that has went out, FeralPony and Riot Reinboom are here with a look at the preseason's experimental objective and item changes!
Continue reading for more information!

Before we give in to today's discussion, be sure to catch up on the earlier preseason news:

Here's FeralPony and Riot Reinboom with the full details:
"Hi there!

Riot Reinboom and Feral Pony here to bring you an objective look at the objective changes we’re making for the 2015 season.

Philosophically, our big goal this season is to encourage more strategic diversity in League of Legends. This touches a lot of different areas but it all boils down to making your high level decisions matter (versus tactical decisions like last hitting, fight mechanics, etc). What champions can I bring? Where do I go on the map? How do I respond when the enemy team takes an objective? What can I do now that we’ve secured dragon? How does my build impact my interactions on the map? These things currently do matter, but we feel there’s room for improvement and we’re excited to explore some of these opportunities with you.

Along with this goal, we also want to ensure that we have more options in place to better balance the game. We want to be able to tone down problematic strategies and enhance weaker strategies without having to nerf or buff every champion involved in that particular playstyle (if anyone remembers Shen or Rengar pre-rework).

It’s kind of hard to talk about these changes without directly referencing some specifics, so I’ll highlight a few changes that speak to the above philosophy. Also worth repeating: all of the below are rough examples and very subject to change / may not even ship!:

One opportunity we have is examining the currently similar rewards of Dragon and Turrets - that is, gold. Often teams will trade these objectives and end up in roughly the same spot that they were at prior. Our hope is that by differentiating these rewards when a trade occurs, both teams can end up with different strengths and options as to how they progress the game from that point on.

Dragon
In more specifics: we’re going to be piloting a change where killing the Dragon grants a permanent “Dragon Blooded” buff that increases in power and function as your team kills more dragons. Since this reward increases the more times a team slays the Dragon, this puts an increasing value on the Dragon as the game progresses, both for the dragon-slaying team seeking greater buffs and for the opposing team trying to prevent them from powering up to take the victory. This change should add additional tension as the game progresses while also keeping the Dragon a more relevant objective as the game continues.

Turrets
With Turrets, we took a slightly different perspective. They already do their job well when it comes to shaking up the game; taking a turret means the enemy has less vision and defense to return to, and their playstyle changes accordingly.

So instead of changing the reward, we wanted to take a look at how teams were taking turrets. Our current idea is based on the concept that teams will need to play slightly different with each turret layer they encounter. For example, a strong split pushing team might be well-equipped at taking outer turrets but will need to switch up their tactics as the fight moves deeper into the enemy base. This allows for more variety when a team is trying to opt into a fast-pushing strategy, as they’ll have multiple layers of objectives to account for.

And more to come
The above are just two examples of the space we’re investigating when it comes to strategic diversity in League of Legends. There’s a lot more on our preseason plate as we look to things like Baron Nashor, early game objectives versus late, new forms of objective rewards (e.g. map utility), and more.

In the end, our hope is that by creating uniquely incomparable rewards for different objectives, we’ll be able to differentiate each game based on the accomplishments therein. A team who controls map objectives and wins by mounting pressure should see victory in a different way than a team who, for example, fast-pushes their way to a win.

Also remember that objectives aren’t the only way we can pursue this goal. While Fearless and Axes spoke about the new item changes for the jungle in the 2015 preseason, we also have a some additional changes to items to assist with the above goals, so without further ado...

Hi!

We're back again with news of what’s in store for items with season 2015.

A Choice Most Strategic

When we looked at all of the high-level strategic opportunities in League, some questions and opportunities arose. Through items, could we follow the same path as objectives in allowing teams to opt into different strategies? Where would the meaningful choices be found? What would they be? Could there be a method to protect yourself against opposing strategies?

We set out to investigate.

Ultimately, the philosophy we’re pursuing with preseason items feeds into the same goals as before: strategic diversity. As such, we want to create and retune items with a specific focus on macro-level value (ie: pre-fight, or out of combat) over micro-level contributions (more on this in a sec). If more teams can pick up the items they need to change course in a game (ie: switching to split pushing or sieging through item purchases rather than relying purely on champion composition), we hope to provide the right tools for strategic innovation to prosper in League of Legends.

‘Macro’ items versus ‘micro’ items
As a foreword: you can think of this preseason patch as a light ‘macro’ item revamp, in that we’re looking to create items that interact and enhance the broader game: a team’s ability to siege, initiate, split push, recover from a siege, etc, rather than items that interact on a fight-to-fight basis, like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Locket of the Iron Solari. By focusing our efforts here, we hope to see teams really branching out in terms of innovative strategies, and that we’ve created the proper ecosystem for opponents to react with unique responses of their own.

Radiant Glory
For soft initiation tanks, it can be tough to opt into the play pattern you’re expected to excel at (that is, aggressive initiation) if you’re not ahead. Historically, the ability to initiate with tanky ‘run-at-you’ champions was provided in the form of an old item of yore, “Shurelya’s Reverie.” The speed boost from Shurelya’s was often good enough for champions like Olaf to get into a fight without having to rely on Flash or Ghost. We want to give that strategic opportunity back while also focusing its design.

Zz'rot Portal
We want to give tanky dudes a way to rapidly devour turrets. With minions. As a team, opting in to a split push is your choice and we didn’t want to lock that in just at champ select. This items allows for better split pushing, as it spawns little dudes who go on to assault nearby turrets.

Warmog’s Armor
An example where we’re trying to find strategic power in items that already exist is something like Warmog’s Armor, where we’re tripling its out-of-combat regeneration (although we’ll be reducing its maximum health bonus). The big goal here was to create an item with a strong focus on skirmishing and poke recovery rather than simply being a pile of regenerating combat stats. As to what strengths a Warmog’s purchase will offer, well, we’re leaving it to you to discover!"

When asked for specific stats and costs of these new items, FeralPony mentioned:
"We're not quite as new item heavy this preseason as we have been in previous seasons overall, but we'll have specific numbers and changes as the game as we move onto PBE."

He did, however, note that the new Radiant Glory item builds out of Catalyst!
"No CDR currently, but yes health and mana. It builds out of Catalyst atm."
As for the new Zz'Rot Portal item to help with split pushing, Feral Pony explained:
"There is some amount of space for an item that helps a non-split-pushy champ split push that an innately split-pushy champ wouldn't want. I would imagine that a Tryndamere would opt into just hitting faster and harder, rather than getting little helpers via the Portal. But a Maokai who's going full tanky would be more likely to want some company."


When asked about Dragon's gold reward in relation to the new "Dragon-blooded" debuff, Reinboom noted that it would no longer grant team gold.
"The last hitter gets the standard 25 gold. Otherwise - no. This could still change after some testing."
FeralPony added in:
"It does not currently give global gold. The dragon bonus is instead of the large sum of gold."

Reinboom also commented on the weight of the Dragon Blooded buff in relation to Baron's buff from a decision making perspective:
"They serve differing purposes now and their value is individualized to each team. 
In some cases, you really need to setup and burn your control to ensure you get the next dragon fight, even if it might cost you baron. 
Individually, Baron is still the boss of the map and the star of the "man, I really want to make this river purple" show, and as such still holds a generally stronger overall benefit."
LtRandolph also added in:
"One thing to keep in mind is that dragon is already snowbally, just in a hidden and not very clearly differentiated way. By shifting power from global gold into other forms of power, it makes choosing between a tower and a dragon, for example, a much more interesting choice."
He continued:
"This is definitely something that we're keeping an eye on. One of the nice new levers we have to pull with these changes is adjusting the impact of the early rewards vs. the later rewards. We're planning on having things start small and ramp up, so hopefully that first dragon is important, but not super disruptive. 
But yeah that is a subtle but important factor for us to watch."

Xypherous later added:
"Quote:
So the wining team has to work harder to maintain dragon dominance but they are rewarded for that risk?

Somewhat harder relative to live. Dragon gives much less up-front bonus than currently and so having a Dragon isn't that big of an advantage in the second Dragon fight.
We're trying something with the current set of bonuses (the current first bonus is regeneration) to reward rushing a super early Dragon but whether or not we go through with that is something we'll hash out on PBE."
He continued:
"The 'Stack point' mechanic that you hate is merely a method of backloading the reward. 
I understand why you hate it - but backloaded bonuses are there for precisely the reasons of rewarding continuous control as well as provide meaning to the first few contests, even if the reward doesn't outright decide the game 
The more blunt way of saying this is basically: One Dragon advantage shouldn't win you the game. But if you're up three Dragons, you deserve way more. Flat rewards don't accomplish this goal - nor do scaling bonuses. Backloaded bonuses do."
He continued, elaborating on his previous point:
"Quote
If I pick up the first dragon, then I'm more likely to get the second dragon ... assuming that momentum is maintained at the current level - the dragon buff will spike that momentum ... if the dragons get more significant as the game progresses then it's easy to see a "the more we win, the more we win" pattern start to emerge.
"This is more true of the existing system of flat gold and XP than of the new one (backloaded boosts)

Let me explain:

Let's say I had the choice of giving you a one-shot bonus (+500 XP, +200 Gold) or a stacking bonus that looked more like (+250 XP, +100 Gold, +350 XP +150 Gold, for each successive Dragon.)

Who is in a better position to claim the second Dragon after the first one? Well, the first Dragon being worth more means that it spikes the power level of the team that had it. Which means that they have more power to claim the second Dragon as well due to that power spike.

What the live system does is hide it better though because it rolls all advantages in one sum - so you have no idea how big its contribution was.

So currently, whenever Dragon is effective enough to be worth contesting, it's usually been 'whoever gets the first dragon wins the game.'

Whenever we've tuned Dragon back such that it isn't effective enough to be worth contesting - you fast push towers instead or do anything besides lane as there is nothing binding you to mid or bottom lane once this is true.

In the current state where it's balanced on a knife's edge - all it means is that we've effectively pushed the decision off to whether or not there's some known champion combination or lane oversight that can fast push or not and it starts all over again with moving the rewards of Dragon/Towers up and down to get the knife's edge again."

In response to concern about the game becoming more "team focused", Feral Pony replied:
"Quote
I really like the changes thus far. But I'm not too much of a fan about the fact that the game will be more team focussed. More frustration when you can't carry games while you are fed. And sometimes people in YoloQ are hard to coƶperate with. Even though I like the general ideas. I think that needs to fixed first (Which I know you are trying, don't worry)
Some of the other changes we're experimenting with can assist in the "carry potential" of individual players - for example some of the changes/buffs to Mejai's and Sword of the Occult. However, at it's core League is a team game. That's the core experience, working together with other players to achieve a shared objective. I don't think the changes overall push League more or less in that direction, I think it'll stay pretty consistent with how team focused the game is currently."


As for existing items that could use love, Feral Pony noted:
"There are a bunch of changes we can make to improve some of the existing items, any item changes in pre-season however are going to be focused on the strategic side of the game. Items like Hextech Gunblade, while needing some work, doesn't fit into our overall goal set and focus for the preseason. More general improvements to the item system, and items in general will be focused on later."
Reinboom also added in:
"We will be looking for opportunities to clean up previous items as well.
That might be giving them a new strategic function, it might mean tweaking their stat line, or it might mean axing them (though they might always return if we discover it can fill a healthier role)."

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