4/16 PBE Update: Karma Balance Changes [ Updated ]

Posted on at 5:32 PM by Moobeat
Update: Added in the updated Anivia and Ashe voices.

A small patch containing mostly balance changes has been pushed to the PBE.
Continue reading for a few more balance changes and a length post, from Scarizard, explaining the goal of the recent Karma PBE changes.

Updated Anivia and Ashe voiceovers.
Ashe and Anivia both got updated voiceovers in light of all this Freljord business

Context on Karma Changes
In an effort to help players better understand today's Karma changes, Scarizard unleased a massive post.
"Sup dudes, still here! Crashed pretty hard last night - apologies all around, but it is what it is. Spent most of my day today testing/finalizing the changes to Karma for this patch, and i have to say they're pretty big on impact. Be warned. There will probably be a lot of commas in places they shouldn't be.

I don't mean to be a broken record, but to a lot of you saying 'buffs won't help' i'm inclined to disagree - further still, my position isn't just 'BUFF UNTIL IT'S FUN' - i know a lot of you diehards have brought up a lot of good points as to -why- she doesn't feel the same, and that's a source of a lot of your discomfort. Understandably so. My stance is to 'Buff until actually strong - then see where we can bring about unification of playstyle.' Does this mean i'm going to give her a second charge of Mantra and make Inner Flame heal people? Again, likely not. However, if i can get her balance in line with other champions i think it's much easier to monitor and push low-disruption tweaks through that will mean 'More shields, more reversals, and more Karma' overall.
I'm no politician and i don't mean to come off that way - In the interest of putting my money where my mouth is, here are the changes we have to Karma in the upcoming patch: 
Inner Flame
Damage increased to 80/125/170/215/260 from 60/110/160/210/260
Focused Resolve
Cooldown reduced to 16/15/14/13/12 seconds from 16/15.5/15/14.5/14
Cooldown reduced to 10 seconds from 12
Movement Speed bonus increased to 40/45/50/55/60% from 20/30/40/50/60%
Cooldown reduced to 45/42/39/36 seconds from 45 
These changes address a couple of things that i feel are pretty important to Live Karma's success. Let's talk about the big one, and that's Mantra's CD Reduction with Rank. 
In the past, i was reticent to make this change due to how insane it -could- get with Gathering Fire and multi-champion hits; but from testing, it seems like this change could be just what the doctor ordered. From my POV it accomplishes two things: 
1. More Mantra's, More Decisions, More Fun - Something that's been brought up a lot in this thread is 'TWO MANTRA WHERe'; fundamentally, if 'High Impact Mantra' is to exist, double-cast must be out. It's something i think works on Rengar but fails here. How cool can Q2, W2, or E2 be if you can cast them independent of the cooldown on the base skills? How much weaker do the 'Empowered' versions have to be? This was a failing of the old kit that we felt was to be solved on a new Karma. Old Karma had a shield that was literally just a damage shield (Trivia: the only shield in the game that had no special effect) that needed to eat a Mantra to feel even baseline effective as a spell - because she had two charges, neither Mantra cast could be independently powerful, leaving some things to be straight up overtuned (read: shield damage, scaling, range, etc) for you to even feel functional as a character, regardless if everything else fell short.

The vision for new Karma is that, while i would give you more Mantra casts they would be spaced out so that we could drive the impact for each individual Mantra higher. [Now, dear readers, this is where i'll admit we undershot - the promise that i and the team made to you the players is that this Karma would legitimately be stronger, but along the way of balancing fell short of delivering a powerful champion. There are a lot of factors that go into this, but if the reality is not matching the intent then we will continue to address it as i have been in this changes. Back to our regularly scheduled wordvomit] The Mantra CDR going down with rank (as well as the Gathering Fire/Focused Resolve buffs last patch) create a more fluid mid/late game wherein at the extreme, Karma can almost instantly refresh her Mantra - loading another big moment and meaningfully contributing to that engagement, not just matching the baseline effectiveness of other champions. 
2. Itemization! (Less block-of-text) - Lowering R's Cooldown (As well as W + E) means it's easier for Karma to build more efficiently. Are you still gonna want 40% CDR? Most definitely - but it's no longer a hard-cap requirement 'oh my god get it immediately or you aren't even a real champion' as it was before. 40% CDR is easily attainable - Athene's/Morello's, but that easily leaves you under the AP Curve relative to other champions despite being a necessity due to high CD's. Easing this means that while it's highly likely one of those two items are a first buy, there's more flexibility in what you can buy and at what times you can buy them due to the fact that your spells scale to much lower CD's naturally than they had before. 
But why tell me about these changes if all i want is Old Karma back?

Like i've said before, i'm committed to new Karma and making her an experience that's fun for players. That means holistically that while i listen to/process feedback, that i'm focused on the future and where we go from here. The changes above are a step to achieve that - they are not a final, perfect fix. A lot of you have mentioned that she's boring because of similarity to other champions' spells - and i totally understand that. It's the gameplay associated with the frequency/generation of Mantra that is meant to tie this kit together, both in flow and feel. Once the machine is well-oiled, we can see if she needs a new engine (so to speak). 
I do apologize for prolonged silences - the whole 'working at riot thing, keeping busy talking about/implementing awesome stuff for players' :P  it gets pretty busy, but i've been refreshing/checking the thread since this morning. Even if we don't agree on Karma, Balance or who's the best pokemon (Hint: It's Nidoking), i hope y'all understand that i appreciate your feedback, positive or negative and that you care enough to share it with me. Thanks again for being patient, y'all."
You can find these changes listed below.

Traditional Sejuani and Traditional Trundle now available
Both of Traditional Sejuani and Traditional Trundle skins are now available for player testing. Have at it!

Balance Changes
Note: Server is still down, these numbers / changes taken from the files.

  • Inner Flame ( Q ) - damage increased to 80/125/170/215/260 from 60/110/160/210/260.
  • Focused Resolve ( W ) cooldown lowered to 16/15/14/13/12 from 16/15.5/15/14.5/14.
  • Inspire ( E ) cooldown lowered to 10 at all ranks from 12 at all ranks.
  • Inspire ( E ) movement speed increased to 40/45/50/55/60 from 20/30/40/50/60.
  • Mantra ( R ) cooldown lowered to 45/42/39/36 seconds from 45 at all ranks.
  • Vault ( E ) - now reads "Briefly interrupting" instead of "Briefly stunning"
  • Death Sentence ( Q ) damage increased to 80/120/160/200/240 from 80/110/140/170/200.
  • Flay ( E ) - passive ( which was switched from Q to this last patch ) decreased to 80/110/140/170/200 % from 100/125/150/175/200
  • Flay ( E ) damage decreased to65/95/125/155/185 from 65/105/145/185/225.

Need a refresher on the latest PBE content? Here are links to the other PBE patches this cycle!

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