Red Post Grab Bag: Update on Item Sets, updated skin splashes, MR itemization, and more on Xerath

Posted on at 2:10 AM by Moobeat
What better way to ring in the new week than with a red post collection?
Continue reading for several red posts, discussing when custom item sets will be back, why we don't yet have updated splash arts for visually updated skins, more on MR itemization, and even more discussion on Xerath.

When will Custom Item Sets be back?
Damiya commented on when custom item sets will be back after their disabilization last week.
"Custom sets are still usable you just can't edit them in

I believe the plan is to reenable the functionality in the client with the release of 3.8 (potentially sometime later this week). Please note that this is an off the cuff estimate on my part; we've not announced a hard date."

Where are the Updated Splashes?
Grumpy Monkey spoke briefly on the subject of recently updated skins who are still using their old splash arts even though they now look totally different, such as several of Nidalee's or Trundle's recently updated skins.
"Yeah the splashes need to be updated, its a bandwidth issue. Those splashes can take a while, and the team responsible for them also has to do all the new skins and champions. Its something they are painfully aware of, and they are doing thier best to prioritize so they can attend to the older splashes."

More on MR Itemization
As a follow up to the comments Morello made about MR itemization, Xypherous has thrown his hat into the ring and replied to several summoner questions and comments on the issue.
 "There's a couple instances of dissonance in this thread which I'd like to see if I can address and clear up. 
There's a lack of choices for tanks. If they want to build magic resist, they would literally HAVE to get Aegis and/or Spirit Visage in general. I would suggest you bring back Force of Nature or add in a few other items. 
The answer for a lack of choices for tanks by introducing one single huge tank MR item doesn't introduce more choices. It simply offers one single best choice. It is slightly odd that the proposal to add more MR options for tanks involves first locking them to a completely different MR item - especially one that can be used by both fighters and tanks. 
Tanks have no options against sustained AP damage, hence why Health is insufficient. 
In general, sustained AP damage comes from a magic damage source with some very special properties. Not all AP mages can actually output high sustained magic damage at all. Karthus and Cassieopeia certainly fit this bill but they have very nuanced play / skill required as that is their primary strength. Orianna outputs sustained magic damage but her DPS is abysmal compared to any other mage. 
So who are these sustained AP damage characters that are frequently referenced? The answer: Sustained AP Fighters - Elise, Diana, Rumble.

The lack of decent MR options against these characters is quite punishing, I agree but this is an entirely new class of characters - One that I'm not convinced should actually exist at the strength they do or if a dedicated MR item would actually help in this case. These characters are extremely punishing mid-game, for example - but tend to start suffering late game due to being closer range fighters. 
Resource-less champions and Magic Resistance 
Yes, resource-less champions don't have the greatest itemization pool - as the existence of Mana and MP/5 seems to drive you away from a large portion of the item pool.
This is, at once, a controversial and yet obvious statement: Playing a resourceless champion is not a pure benefit - there are tradeoffs. For example - the advantage of being able to be completely resourceless in lane, you pay a cost in that your starting item pool is far more limited. You have enormous strengths that are also easy to plan for by your opponent. 
Similarly, for the late game, it is going to mean that your champion might waste statistics. It is going to mean that some purchases will be suboptimal for your character - and it will mean that you will feel bad in that stage of the game as your strength now no longer matters.

In general, I'm okay with how the current model works because the alternative is to simply take a lot of power away from resourceless champions across the board to the extent that being resourceless is actually a penalty and then providing itemization to get around that penalty.

Why not make a massive Health + Magic Resistance Item 
Let's think about the goals here for a second: If the goal is to make tanks feel better about fighting mages - why is the solution presented to create one of the most powerful defensive fighters items? 
Don't get me wrong, this would be a good tank item. However, at the end of the day - it would be an even better fighter item - no matter how you look at it. Intrinsically, durability alone does not make a tank item - because two classes are defined by durability - Fighters and Tanks. 
That's the crux of a lot of the issue with raw durability statistics - the desire is to be more durable and to not have to 'waste' a whole lot of statistics to get there. However, if there's any class that prizes durability even more so than tanks - it is fighters, because they, not only have to initiate - but they have to frequently stay in the fight much much longer to actually contribute, because their power in a fight is typically sheer time and presence - while a tank's purpose can be fulfilled by an overwhelming initiation or a clutch peel. 
For example, contrast how much longer Udyr has to stay in a fight to contribute meaningfully versus a character like Sejuani or Malphite. If Sejuani only survived to throw her ultimate and follow it up with Perma Frost, how long does Udyr have be able to live in a fight to actually match that? 
Tanks and the current environment 
Lastly and this is the most interesting one for me - there doesn't seem to be any evidence right now that tanks are doing poorly in the current environment, nor does it seem that tanks are unable to perform in order to win a game. Jungle Tank characters such as Sejuani, Zac and Nautilus contribute heavily towards their team's success - even if they fail to be invulnerable late game.

As for more traditional tank characters that lane - for example, Singed or Jarvan - perform excellently in the current environment. If the environment were shifting towards a dominant double or triple AP strategy - it certainly hasn't impacted their abilities to win games."

More on future Xerath changes
( Remember, this stuff is all tentative and, Xelnath has warned us the numbers certainly aren't finalized yet )

Xelnath continued discussing his future changes to Xerath. See this post and this post for the rest of the discussion.

When asked about the "why now?" and the rapidly progressing time line for this particular rework, compared to others that is, Xelnath commented:
"Perfect storm of time, opportunity and resources. We've still got a while before he shows up on PBE. I just feel like communicating about these topics now gives everyone visibility into our process and input into our decision making. 
I generally have good instincts when it comes to the direction a design needs to go and Morello, Volty, Xypherous and I also were pretty aligned about what Xerath should be. That helped short-circuit a large number of "back to the drawing board" iterations that often happen. However, the remaining details are the crumbly bits that still need a lot of polish work. This is my weak area and it will probably consume the majority of the rework time.

This process is very similar to ones I've used in the past. The primary risk is that it people start expecting to see the rework soon. I feel confident in our direction now, but the final numbers remain to be seen."
He touched on the logic behind changing the Q:
"Locus of Power is being moved to a long cooldown + supermassive range for a simple reason:
With the change to allow hold Q to charge-up to its old 1300 range, you no longer need Locus of Power to do poke/sniping on a regular basis.

Thus the "concept" of a stationary, super-range steroid on your basic spells becomes available, now that we've concentrated the cool parts of W->Q into just Q."
He continued on, this time talking about Xerath's Q cooldown
"8 sec at rank 1, 5 sec at rank 5. 
However, Q's cooldown doesn't start until you release the attack, so your sustained DPS over time will be less if you are always max-distance charging it. (Max charge-up time is 1.5 sec currently)

You can move while charging, but your movement speed is reduced."
 He also shared a bit behind Xerath's tentative new passive, which gives more spell pen based on your maximum mana.
"This is more about giving you the option to build mana to become "I care less about any given spell, but I am spamming spells all of the time" guy vs "I build raw AP. Every spell *must* count since I will hit like a truck, but I go oom sooner" guy.

In practical terms, I expect most players to pick-up archangels as a 2nd or 3rd item. I don't expect to see many people stack only mana, based on current tuning. This is mostly gum & guesswork though. We've got a lot of testing to do to prove if this works or not."

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