Red Post Collection: Xelnath with more on Xerath, AP Lucian, and more!

Posted on at 4:01 AM by Moobeat
Still craving more news despite the massive PBE update, patch 3.9, and the reveal of Lucian? Well then, how about a red post collection to fill you up!
Continue reading for Xelnath's latest ideas for Xerath updates, a funny note on "AP Lucian", and more!

More from Xelnath on Xerath
( This is part of an ongoing discussion. See the previous posts for more info: 1, 2, 3, 4 )
Xelnath popped back in with more news on Xerath's tentative rework, focusing on new ideas for his ultimate.
"Hey guys, 
It's been a while since I've posted an update here. We've been undergoing a large number of iterations on Xerath's kit. Primarily his "R" slot. Giving an update on every single change would probably just lead to more confusion trying to stay current than just giving a bigger update after we've done a bunch of different tests. 
When I can find the time to sit down and focus more, I'll walk through a few of the iterations and explain the problems with each incarnation.

All of these iterations involved immobilization during Locus. The most recent cycle has been: 
A) Xerath R increases all spells and grants auto-attack barrages, duration limited by mana.
B) Xerath R grants 50% base cooldown reduction, duration limited by mana. No auto-attack replacer.
C) Xerath R grants super short cooldown on "W" (aoe orbital strike) for the duration.
D) Xerath R grants global range on W for a short time. Duration flat and limited by mana.
E) Xerath R grants super-massive range on auto-attack replacer. Duration flat. Mana Cost flat.

Issues with Patterns:

Having a spell that grants sustained damage over a long period of time is cool.
Having a spell that grants super range is cool.
Having a spell that has its duration unlimited, except by mana is cool.

Combing two or more of these mechanic together has proven infinitely frustrating to the enemy team if it is large. Having the opponent constantly raining down damage that you cannot retaliate against proved frustrating and game warping.

Our early experiments reveals that Xerath performing at a "growing missile silo" was a very cool in terms of creating a map objective. However, it fell apart once you required either the Xerath to stand there for 10-15 sec before acting (xerath player got bored) since that's how long it took for a player to reach Xerath.

Furthermore, many of the champions that *could* reach Xerath would either die being bombarded along the way or would get ripped apart cutting through the enemy team to get to Xerath. Ultimately, this left our live designers feeling like this strategy wasn't fun in League of Legends.

I could see it revived in terms of a "nuke silo building" champion who sets up a time-delayed bomb or item in the future, but forcing a player to remain there just doesn't play nice.


Once we removed the constant barrage of damage, we expected to alleviate the perceptions of constant danger. Once that happened, the "right" way to play Xerath (intuitively) was to siege up, blow your load, then leave the siege mode immediately.

Movement in league of legends is a moment-to-moment filler of activity that feels very good in terms of allowing mages to feel useful and smart. Removing that ability and not providing a moment-to-moment replacement meant we had to reduce the cooldowns of your spells in Locus of Power so that you were constantly casting.

This meant that we were back to square one in terms of "constant zone of power" on Xerath which meant enemy players just constantly fled his radius and he never could captialize on his ultimate. 3000 was either too easy or impossible to flee.


Being bored while rooted isn't fun. So next we tried other ways, aside from the constant missile storm to make you feel good during the root.

Next we tried just allowing you to spam "W" (orbital strikes) as the primary damage source. This just lead to Xerath being insanely bursty *and* being unable to escape him.


Next we tried granting Xerath global range Orbital Strikes, paced 4-5 sec apart. This was a very cool idea, but it turned out that we had just re-created Karthas that was harder to play, kill-stole constantly *and* didn't feel like an artillery-barrage feel.

It was about this time that we realized that all of these ultimates having severe influence on other lanes resulted in Xerath's laning phase needing to be weaker than most midlane champions. So we cut the ultimate's power down and boosted his laning phase.


Now we're on iteration E. We found that allowing super-massive CC + slows + full access to your damage was overwhelming. There was too much to do as well. Even our challenger level testers were like, "there's more here than I could possibly ever do, so I never felt good about what I chose to do."
So we asked ourselves, "What's the most fun part of the new locus of power and barrage attacks?"

The answer was resoundingly "Let's focus on his role as a mage sniper / long range damager. Let's move all of the range we want Xerath to have on his base kit into his base spell ranges, then give him an ultimate that is about predicting and finishing off escaping targets" 
So now we're trying this ultimate: 
Ascended Wrath (R) - Xerath immobilizes himself and disables his basic spells, but granting him the ability to fire super-long range aoe barrages at the target location every 0.5 sec. During this effect, Xerath gains 25-30% damage reduction and is immune to displacement effects Lasts for 6-8 sec or until cancelled.

Currently roughly the same range as Zigg's ultimate.

Xerath's Q, W and E are all now around ~1000 range, except Q which can be charged-up to 1550 range.

By focusing what Xerath can do to a concentrated point in time, it gives both Xerath and opponents a clear indication of how good a job Xerath is doing and gives them the opportunity to blow cooldowns to escape it."
Speaking to he new ult and reiterating the point that this is all tentative, he noted:
"Numbers are the last thing you should fret over at this point, but in the last playtest, a champion who was locked down and couldn't move for the entire duration took ~1000 damage from the ultimate at max rank."

AP Lucian??
Now that PBE testing of Lucian is underway, ZenonTheStoic and a few forum goers have been mulling over the idea of AP Lucian, albeit a good one.
"At 611 AP Lucian's ult does 8000 damage if you hit all shots over 3s. He does no damage between ults. The number might be a little high, but I doubt the build is viable."
He continued:
"So here's the highest possible damage numbers I can coax out of AP Lucian: 
Dcap, zhonyas, dfg, morello, nashor: 7093
5 nashors: 6845
5 nashors + deathcap: 10486

These are dumb builds, obviously ;P Yes, Nashor's procs on passive (but NOT on ulti), and yes having a 10k damage ult on a 40s cooldown is super scary, but you do next to nothing in between. We may need to tone this down a little, but I don't believe in the AP Lucian build quite yet. Prove me wrong though! That's what this is for :)"
Odds and Ends

Regarding Master Yi getting a new splash in light of his upcoming rework, Riot Silver noted:
"Yi will not receive a new splash for his visual update. As mentioned, his splash has been recently updated to our new quality standards and was worked on with the new visual update in mind."

On the topic of seasonal map skins, such as the old Harrowing and Snowdown Showdown variants of Summoner's Rift, RiotForScience had a few comments:
"League initially shipped with seasonal variants on the main SR map. An Autumn skin as well as a Winter skin. Future skins are not out of the question, but our highest priority is elevating the quality of existing maps (Like TT) and adding new game modes (Like Howling abyss)"
In closing, IronStylus shared a little tid bit about the champion creation process and all of the things that can bring a new champion to life.
"A story, a drawing, a mechanical hook, anything. All part of "The Triangle" of Creative, Design and Art. 
If it's a story, or an archetype, we might riff off of some familiar trope that we feel isn't represented in the game, try to find a space for it. Stories develop easilly that way. We talk about it in the context of "theme". Certain themes in a character will be emphasized so they are solid in what they represent, a story is built to then support those themes.

Game design is also a route. If there's a particular mechanic, or even a set of mechanics let's say, that are compelling, or follow a particular theme, then that will be leveraged. Everything has to be fun though. Even though a mechanic might exist that's properly themed to the champion we want to make, doesn't mean it's fun, or healthy. That has to be tested a lot obviously. 
Art is pretty straight forward. Someone has an idea, they throw it down on paper, and things materialize around it. Stories and themes surface, and design can riff off of the sources of power (weapons. magic, etc) that the art is communicating.

Any of those directions can cause a character to gain traction. Most times individuals will sort of gather around a good idea and work together on it. Recently, a creative designer had a neat idea for a champion, so I decided to hop onto it and do some art. That helped it gain some traction, and the interest generated sparked the interest of a game designer, who had a kit idea. Now, all three of us are working in conjunction, with other members of our respective team, and other stakeholders from the various disciplines, to make that character a reality.

It's a really collaborative and fun process. It has it's ups and downs as any development does, but it's challenging and extremely rewarding! Hopefully, when all is said and done, regardless of where that character started from, it's realized into something the player finds compelling!"

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