Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 3/2, Ahri: A New Dawn Figure, & More

Posted on at 1:58 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 2nd, covering 8.6 balance and more, as well as an announcement from the Riot Games Merch FB on the Ahri: A New Dawn statue, Riot's most recent Thunderdome challenge, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 2

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 2nd, including tweaking CSing under towers, and whats coming balance-wise for 8.6:
"Hey all, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 
Tweaking CSing under towers 
In 8.4 we removed the extra 5 damage to minions champion AAs dealt (it got added back in pre-season) . One group of champs did get hit harder than intended though by that change. That's champs, usually but not always mages, with low base AD. They're now having to land two auto attacks on melee minions who've been hit by towers twice, rather than the previous one. To maintain prior CSing patterns around towers we're shifting it so towers deal 45% of a melee minion's health per hit instead of 43%. Impact on other champs should be very minimal. 
Matchmaking Dev Blog 
Many people will have already seen this, for those that haven't though I'd highly recommend checking out the recent dev blog on matchmaking as found here: 
It covers a lot of topics that get brought up regularly like:
  • The relationship between ranked and normal MMR
  • Feeling you get matched with worse allies after winning a lot
  • Why we don't use KDA for matchmaking
  • Why you still get matched with people you've muted
  • And a bunch of other things 
Some possible 8.6 changes 
We've just finished working on 8.5 and are mapping out things we'll be looking at for 8.6. Some of our current thinking below, as usual stuff will get added or removed as patch development goes on. 
  • Jungle items - Two potential changes. First is changing sustain so it's more missing health/mana based. Goal there is to make early ganks a bit riskier like they used to be a couple of seasons back (not ganking at or close to full health, so more chance of a turn around). Would also potentially help out those unable to clear at present because they're so mana limited. Second change is lowering early clear speed a bit as well, push first gank times back a bit later in the game again.
  • Abyssal Mask - Potentially pushing it more towards just tankier users. Magic damage dealers taking it to both nullify opponent lane damage and still get sufficient personal damage hasn't generally created good gameplay.
  • Duskblade - Nerfing it.
  • Locket - Some investigations into ways to make Locket less consistent and less universal a purchase. More exploratory, so possible nothing ships in 8.6.
  • Rageblade - Looking to make it more accessible to melee, potentially also less of a first item power spike and more tied to other item power. 
  • Rakan - Looking to buff. We're also fixing a bug between him and Xayah that leads to his performance with Xayah being much, much better than with anyone else. After that bug fix he'll be weaker when paired with Xayah, so a buff even in that case should be good too.
  • Rumble - Some form of buff, details TBD.
  • Lee Sin - Got hit a bit by Tracker's removal and had already been a bit weak before that. Buffing, details unsure.
  • LeBlanc - Changes will be on PBE during the 8.6 cycle from day 1, probably ship in a later patch though. Changes revert the majority of the previous update.
  • Ahri - Might have changes in 8.6 (testing, but not certain to ship). Still looking for ways to make her highs higher and her lows lower (does more when ahead, does less when behind)
  • Some Duskblade Users - We'll have some buffs to a number of champs who are pretty dependent on Duskblade at present and we expect will be too weak post Duskblade nerf. 
  • Manaflow Band - Nerfing, details TBD.
  • Presence of Mind - Looking to change it so it's a reasonable choice on a wider number of champions. Then probably nerfing it for its current best case users, on whom its very strong already."

On mana-gated champions, Meddler replied:
With the nerfs to multiple mana regen runes, has Riot considered directly reducing how mana gated certain champions are instead?
Our thinking's more the other way around. That we've ended up reducing mana gating too much with Manaflow Band and Presence of Mind and that's one of the big reasons to nerf them as a result."

When asked for more detail on Abyssal Mask changes, Meddler commented:
Curious to know what will you guys do to abyssal mask, any plans already ?
Currently testing a shorter aura range, not committed to that direction yet though."

When asked about whether these changes were intended to help open bot lane, Meddler  replied:
Are these and other changes up to mid season intended to help the opening of bot lane or they are just general game health changes?
The listed changes above at least are just general game health. Possible some of the open up bot lane stuff does happen before midseason depending on what we conclude, nothing concrete yet though."

When asked about Cinderhulk and if it was expecting changes, Meddler confirmed:
"That's correct. We're planning on pulling the bonus health % down (to 15% or 16% from memory). We think it's both too strong in general and making it too easy to hit the health threshold on Warmogs."

Meddler also noted his thoughts on the Baron and Elder Dragon buff changes in 8.4:
Thoughts on how the baron and elder changes worked out so far?
From personal experience, the caster damage reduction makes so now it takes to long to clear so most of the time is not worth trying to kill them anymore and taking 2 elders in a row is really strong even without any drakes (and most of the time worth more then baron, also helps clearing the empowered casters as is true damage)
2nd Elder looks really strong. I'll get some stats and some thoughts on that next week.
In solo queue at least Baron impact doesn't seem to have changed that much, somewhat surprisingly. Banner of Command usage seems likely to spike up everywhere though looking at the current trends in recent pro games, so that could change. We're talking Banner today, including whether to try and rush a really late change into 8.5 for it or not."

Ahri: A New Dawn Figure

The Riot Games Merch FB posted the details on the Ahri: A New Dawn figure that will finally be hitting the merch store:
"Ahri: A New Dawn
March 13th, 11am PST
Limited Edition - hand numbered with certificate of authenticity.
550 statues available in North America, 550 available in Europe

Tails whirling beneath her, potent magic at the ready, League's deadly vixen returns March 13th with this very special Limited Edition statue inspired by the cinematic A New Dawn."
They noted the statue was completely redesigned:
"Yes we completely re-did the statue - the concept itself everyone loved so we kept the intent the same but Ahri herself was reworked improving her hands, face, makeup, neck, orb, and paint. We brought in groups of Ahri main players and involved them in the redesign for feedback all along the way."
Christian Bayley noted China has a batch available as well:
"China has a small batch available but we are waiting on their final total #. . .NA and EU ship to most regions (there are a few regions that we can't currently ship to like Russia, Japan and LATAM unfortunately)"
Look for this statue to go on sale on March 13th!

'Ask Esports' | A retrospective on the Tainted Minds ruling 

Check out a new article from LoLEsports, "Ask Esports" covering the decisions and ruling on the Tainted Minds team in OCE:
"Welcome to the first edition of Ask Esports. One of our goals for 2018 is to be more active in conversations that haven’t been adequately addressed or areas where we just haven’t been present. 
The first one we wanted to tackle is a retrospective on a contentious investigation: 
Tainted Minds. The last time we spoke about Tainted Minds was in our competitive ruling, where we investigated allegations that TM mistreated its players and staff and that the situation was intentionally mishandled by the OPL team because of a conflict of interest between Riot’s Head of Esports in Oceania and TM’s owner. 
Reception to that ruling was not good. 
The feedback we got was that the investigation lacked details. Unfortunately, while others were able to put out public documents to reinforce their perspective, we had to conduct our investigation behind closed doors to maintain the confidentiality of our sources. This is still the truth. That said, we know there’s still a lot of dissatisfaction with our response, so we’re going to instead try to give more insight as to how we investigated and made our decisions."

[Click here for the full, detailed article!]

Help us make 3 minigames in 48 hours! (Team Jam Packed - Thunderdome XI)

Here's Riot Draggles with a new challenge for Riot's Thunderdome XI:
"tl;dr Vote on the themes below. The top 3 will be used to make minigames in 48 hours!
"Hey everyone,

Every so often at Riot, we run an internal 48-hour hackathon called Thunderdome. Last year, Team Player Voted Content (PVC) built and shipped an unofficial minigame, Ziggs Arcade Blast. We were super excited to see many of you participating in the discussion, giving your input during development, and ultimately enjoying the game!

This year, we’re getting the gang back together—plus a few more—for one last hurrah, and to mark the occasion… we wanna go bigger.

Presenting JAM PACKED: 3 teams. 3 minigames. 48 hours. And we need your help.

(Almost) anything goes. No restrictions on engine, platform or genre. Discord shitposting. And a whole lot of caffeine.

We’re gonna take you along every step of the way, but first, we need your input! Below you’ll see a list of themes in the League universe. Vote on your favorite, and the top 3 will be used to make the upcoming minigames. Voting will close on March 9 @ midday PST.

Big disclaimers so I don’t get in trouble: Typically the goal of Thunderdome projects isn't to ship something to the public, and it's important to note that this isn’t the team’s main goal either. We want to focus on openly sharing the dev process with everyone. This will likely be the last time we ship something directly from a Thunderdome team, so let’s go out with a jam.

These games, unlike League of Legends, Blitzcrank’s Poro Roundup, Mechs vs Minions, etc., are NOT official Riot products. When and if we get them into your hands, they’re probably going to be buggy, janky and unfinished, but we’re aiming to share them anyway. We cool? We cool.
Voting will close on March 9 @ midday PST, and development will officially begin on March 14 @ 12pm PST."
Check out the full post to vote on your favorite theme!

Quick Hits

  • ricklessabandon teased some of the Ahri changes we'd be seeing in the 8.6 PBE cycle:
[1] "current ahri schedule will look something like: 1st day of pbe - extremely large refactor of all of her scripts (intended to be identical to live ahri, but will want to see if anything is broken like skin vfx/sfx) 2nd day of pbe - first public iteration of gameplay changes"

[2] "in terms of what to expect on the gameplay side of things, we'll be trying things such as (re)moving the movement speed on Q, as well as giving her a bit more 'bite' on trades/all-ins expect things like base damages going down slightly, ap ratios going up a bit, etc"
[3] "essentially, since ahri should be able to lean on the current mage item pool a lot more for high-movement, sustained threat play patterns we'll be looking at trimming some of that power (but not synergies) from her kit and putting in more pick potential"
  • ZenontheStoic responded to feedback on the still experimental Conquerer rune that we've seen testing on the PBE:
"Hi! Thanks for this post, this is very well thought out and argued! You have very good design instincts, but we have one unfair advantage over you: we've actually been able to test out some of the things you suggest ;) 
So your suggested activation paradigm where the keystone gradually ramps up in combat was the very first iteration of this rune that Stashu tried out. The problem with it was that it felt too inevitable; it didn't meet our standards for minimum gameplay as and against for a keystone. It was very much like Fervor of Battle in that way: essentially it's just a bunch of stats with no real way for the enemy to do anything about it. 
My next iteration was having the keystone ramp up gradually while you were near an enemy champion. This had a couple of cool implications, such as allowing some ranged champions to opt in without making it broken OP for ADCs. Urgot was foremost on my mind here. He has a very bruiser-esque combat pattern and would really have loved this keystone, I think. At the time, the output was still adaptive (we default to adaptive when there isn't a good reason to make it either AD or AP only), so I had some hope for Ryze and Cassio as well. 
Sidebar: why are we even making this thing? It's not like bruisers have no keystones. Most of them have a keystone that they post very good win rates with, and that players pick in large numbers. The problem is those keystones achieve these winrates by shoring up weaknesses in a champion's kit, rather than doubling down on a champion's strength. If Fiora runs Kleptomancy or Open Spellbook in lane, she does this to sustain herself through the lane and make sure she's not pushed out of CSing and put behind. This is functional and powerful, but I strongly suspect it's not what Fiora players want (and I'm almost certain Phase Rush isn't what Darius players want, and Kleptomancy isn't what Illaoi players want). It's good to have the option to shore up weaknesses to a degree, but it shouldn't be your strongest option, and it surely shouldn't be your only option. Weaknesses on a kit exist for a reason: they tell a story for the enemy team about how to handle this character. If you take that away, you make the game less interesting for either side. I suspect that DPS mages like Ryze and Cassio suffer from a similar rune shortage. They run Open Spellbook to survive the lane (Ryze) or Phase Rush to hunt down squishies in 1v1s/skirmishes or to dodge incoming damage in a teamfight (Cassio), but they don't have a good option if they just want to double down on their damage. This rune could have been an option. We have something else in flight that might do it for them. 
(end of sidebar) 
The problem with the range-based version was that it was very visually noisy (lots of circles) and very kit-bound (you either have or don't have the tools to stick on someone). Also the mindshare was just a little too high for a keystone. It did give the enemy something to do (i.e. wait until the full effect turns on, then create distance until it falls off), but it forced the enemy to play around the keystone more than around the champion. 
We settled on the Grasp paradigm as something that has proven gameplay, and we think there's a pattern here that deserves abstraction into more effects; just like Phase Rush and Electrocute are both "land 3 hits to get X", I think it's very useful for the system to have two effects that say "stay in combat for 4s and attack an enemy champion for X". Uniqueness is not an absolute value. Sometimes being similar to another element of the system makes the decision space for the entire system richer. 
You're also absolutely right in your assessment that this rune is going to be trivial to activate in lane, especially when you're ahead and when you can just afford to stand in the minion wave and always have it primed, and that it's much, much harder to make good use of it in a teamfight, where it's unlikely that you can actively prime it before the fact and where most of the important stuff usually happens in the first 2-3 seconds--either you or the enemy is likely to be dead or otherwise out of the fight. 
However, we've decided that this is a good thing. We want to embrace this. Runes generally should exhibit most of their strength in the early game and then fade into the background later (some exceptions--like Dark Harvest--notwithstanding). It's also a pretty snowbally rune, which again, we like. This is meant to be a rune that doubles down on the strengths of bruisers without shoring up any of their weaknesses. Winning more when ahead is a very bruisery output, being better at split-pushing than at teamfighting is as well. There is a cost: you're constantly pushing if you're always in the minion wave, attacking to keep your Conqueror primed. 
Finally, as one release valve output we've also decided that the first damage that puts you in combat puts you in combat for 4 seconds, so your fallback is when you're being poked you can decide to jump in 4s later with Conqueror fully primed. We're testing making this change for grasp as well. 
I hope that all makes sense! Hit me up with any other questions you might have."
He continued:
"The problem here is that you can just proc Grasp and get out. Whereas when you proc Conqueror it's only the beginning, you need to stay in the fight for even longer to actually benefit from it. So even if the activation paradigm is the same, the effects are too different for the parallel to hold well. 
Why do you think that's a problem? Again, I think that's a great thing: same input, different output. It makes the story of "how does a Grasp user fight a Conqueror user" way clearer and more interesting: the Grasp user wants to proc Grasp and DISENGAGE, the Conqueror user wants to proc Conqueror and STICK. Clear success criteria, different optimal cases mean that these two runes will be able to coexist without one pushing the other out. 
I don't know about Conqueror, but this sounds like a giant buff to Grasp. Can the Keystone afford such a power up without risking a compensatory nerf pretty soon? 
That's a good question! I've had some conversations around this and we currently feel that yes it can. It buffs almost only the behind case. If you're ahead and you can afford to stand in the minion wave and have the effect primed at all times, nothing changes for you. If you're too far behind to approach the enemy in the wave, you now have the option to use incoming poke as an opportunity to turn things around. I think that's a healthy buff."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • From February 26th until March 6th, the each of the Star Guardian skins + skins from the last 6 months will be going on sale! See the full article for details!

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