Morello talks about Balance, Sion/Heimer Relaunch, and Skin RP Changes

Posted on at 1:14 PM by Moobeat
Morello has swooped back into the forums to join the discussion on several heated topics ranging from further discussion of the skin RP changes to how power creep is altering the game. 
Continue reading for several posts where Morello discusses balance, briefly talking about Sion Heimerdinger, and sharing this perspective on the recent skin RP price changes.

On Recent Balance Changes and Power Creep
Morello replied, breaking down several reasons why their seems to so many nerfs floating around in the recent patch notes.
"Let me answer, in some detail, why nerfs have been heavier overall more recently.
The first high-level point to reconcile is that power creep has gotten out of hand. Much of our Season 3 initiative was directly centered on letting us fix that exact problem - which may be unintuitive at first. 
Power creep? What does that matter? 
Power creep is very insidious over time, because it happens slowly and gradually - and a game with new content has greater risk of succumbing to it than more static games. This leads to a problem to where power gets in the way of decision-making an counter-play by creating an arms race between competing factors (champions, in many cases). 
Arms race? 
Basically, to compete with the most powerful characters, you have to bring better/more/faster/etc. We really saw this between Fighters, tanks and AD Carries in Season 2 - carries were doing such explosive DPS, that defensive itemization had to be tuned to allow near-invulnerability to anything else just to live for a few hits from an ADC. Fighters had to have overtuned everything to both live and do noticeable damage.

But you changed the items - why nerf champions? 
Changing the items was step one - get the right baselines for these values. Now, with that settled, we need to undo the arms race by bringing total power in League of Legends down. Some of that was done with AD items, some of that is nerfing fighters and doing other changes. Many of the sweeping changes you'll see are revolved around these classes as we get their power back under control, or enhance gameplay/counter-play loops. 
Why do you not buff champions too? 
We actually do quite a bit, but these tend to be more easily-forgotten than nerfs. Additionally, some really outdated champs (Heimerdinger, for example) need heavier work to get them up-to-par. We have a relaunches team who is focused on just that!

One other factor is when a champion being good creates poor gameplay or interactions. League's design direction involves a heavy dose of decision-points and counterplay. And not just countering like champ X beats champ Y, but action A can be responded to in skilled and interesting ways. Nerfing AP Tryndamere is an example of this, where gameplay fidelity is extremely diminished if that concept is powerful."

Switching to the balance related topic of Auto attack based AD carries like Master Yi and Fiora still not preforming well even after the S3 changes, Morello commented that good ole' Xypherous is working on a way to fix 'em up.
"Xypherous is running some experiments on how to remedy this problem, though no promises on what the results will be until we see them We agree Melee AD is messy right now."

On Heimer and Sion Updates
When asked if Sion and Heimerdinger will be the next relaunches/reworks now that Sejuani and Trundle are coming out soon, Morello responded:
"Sion won't be next due to the difficulty - we can probably finish a few other reworks before we could get this one done.

Heimer won't be next on art, but we're prioritizing his gameplay after Freljord."

He also talked a little bit about Sion's potential rework, agreeing that Sion is currently in a very confused spot.
"I totally agree - he's all over the place. His intent is really muddy, and he predates me. Ezreal may know what they were trying to do originally, but he's probably the toughest design problem to solve due to the issues and differences in expectations."

Morello also replied to a question about Karma's old kit and why it received such heavy changes during her relaunch.
"Because old Karma (as mentioned) will never be a kit that is viable in League. We couldn't buff her because the gameplay was all over the place ) and would cause problems that are not worth the fun of Karma being good..

Some of the skills (the tether, for example) can, however, be refitted to work on a new champion. You won't see the kit in its entirety though."

Skin RP Changes
Lastly, Morello also commented on the recent skin RP price changes that were announced yesterday.
" Let's discuss this. While I'm not directly involved with eCommerce, I made the posts in this thread and feel I should address this in what capacity I can. I'm trying to digest the anger outside of "people never will like a higher price" and figure out why the reaction is more negative than I even imagined. 
You didn't think it would be negative?!
Not outside the normal amount that higher prices on anything is never popular, no. Why? Because we lowered the prices on almost 40 skins, and increased it on less than 20. Maybe this is why I'm not involved (heh), because to me that seems like a good way to balance out the difference in skin quality - much like the higher first-week IP of champs is balanced out by regular IP discounts on older champs.

So you're a liar!
I'm interested in seeing where the actual disconnect is here, but I'm not interested in this kind of sensationalism. We haven't raised prices across the board, and Hippalus said, exactly, the 1350 price point may return. This is not a categorical increase in price nor is it the dissolution of the 975 price point - so if getting mad at me for being a "liar" about it makes you feel better, that's fine - fire away, but it is a heavily sensationalized statement that isn't true if you look at the conversation. 
So why change it at all?
One problem is that we never offered sub-975 prices for anyone on any skin anymore, meaning the minimum "buy-in" on skins was set at a price that some people wouldn't be interested in at all. This basically meant that if you don't like spending that much on RP, then there's no new skins which you can get. Additionally, with all of our zeal (and I use that word specifically) to up the quality on what goes to skins, we had to make the price better match the amount of work it takes to do this. In this approach, we can both make lower-scope skins (and not overcharge for them) and make sure we can throw the kitchen sink at the high-scope ones. This is how I understand the issue, and I think logically, that makes sense.

I'm going to keep digging so I understand this (and man, a LOT happens on this forum in two weeks...) but I think this context is important to start the discussion objectively."

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