Red Post Collection: Update on Shaco's kit rework, Xypherous on proposed PBE Doran's Shield nerfs, and more!

Posted on at 9:26 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection features Meddler and Xelnath discussing the how Shaco's kit rework is coming along and the different categories of reworks, Xypherous with more on the Doran's Shield nerfs we heard about yesterday, and a note on the timing of Team Builder testing.
Continue reading for more information!

On Shaco's Rework on Categories of Reworks

Xelnath crept up on the forums to comment on the status of Shaco's kit rework, which Morello noted was slated for sometime this year.
"Reworks can take like a year and sometimes get canned or sent back to the drawing board repeatedly. I wouldn't expect too much in the way of updates for a while. 
Reworks take a long time. Xerath had 18 thrown away kits before he got to PBE. Shaco's going through similar kinds of exploration to distill the best features of his kit. See Meddler's post for details - I know it sucks to hear, but Shaco is a lower priority than Sion, Skarner, Xerath and some other champions."

Which leads us right into Meddler's post where he describes the different kinds of reworks and talked a little about Shaco's rework specifically.:
"Sometimes true, depends on what the rework involves and why it's being done though. Reworks generally fall into one of a few different categories: 
1. Those that accompany a visual upgrade for a champion. Sivir's a good example of this, where our art team had plans for an upgrade to Sivir's appearance so we took the opportunity to pair some gameplay changes with that upgrade. Visual upgrades are great opportunities to do valuable, not not immediately urgent, gameplay work on a champion, because since animations/particles/sound etc are being redone anyway changing how abilities function is easy to support.

Timing on these reworks is tied to the readiness of the visual upgrade.

2. Those done because a character has gameplay issues that are creating significant problems at present. This is the category that Kassadin and Rengar currently fall into. This is the most urgent category, and one where we'll put a lot of focused effort into finding a solution, since the alternative's nerfing the champion so much the issue's aren't a major problem (something we're really trying to avoid where possible). 
Timing on these reworks is dependent on how quickly we can identify and valid an appropriate solution to gameplay problems.

3. Reworks on a champion who's not a major problem, but has the potential, with some adjustments bigger than just number tweaks, to be healthier, more effective, a better take on their theme etc. This is the category Shaco falls into. He's not creating massive problems, but he struggles if unable to snowball and/or splitpush, and can be a noticeably more frustrating experience than average to play against. 
Timing on these reworks can be variable, since they're much more dependent on how well an initial idea works out, what other responsibilities the person working on the rework also has and whether other emergent works pops up that needs to take priority (e.g. reworks from category 2 above).

4. Reworks on champions that aren't in particular need of work, and may even be really good already, but that someone believes could be better still. These reworks are side projects, sometimes done in someone's own time, because they've got some cool ideas they want to test out/a vision for how a champion could be better. The Miss Fortune changes ricklessabandon's testing at the moment are a good example of this. MF's not a problem, fun to play and well designed. That's not to say there might not be some good opportunities to smooth out some smaller stuff or enhance her play a bit though. 
Timing on these reworks is extremely variable and these are the reworks most likely to get put aside (most often because an idea, when investigated and tested didn't work out, sometimes because something does work well but is a better fit for another rework, new champion or an item).

Finally, a couple of comments on Shaco: 
1. We're still working on Shaco. Other reworks however are being given a higher priority (Xerath/Skarner being close to done, Sion being a major project that's in the early stages, Kassadin and Rengar both having much more urgent needs due to their impact on game health/other players, a couple of low gameplay impact reworks to accompany visual upgrades). 
2. Shaco's a pretty difficult character to rework well. It'd be really easy to just strip away all his problematic elements and in the process remove many of his tricks and distinctive skills that people really enjoy when playing him. Finding the correct ways to fix his issues and preserve as much of his gameplay identity as possible however is much tougher, involving a lot more analysis, playtesting, iteration and sometimes, if something isn't working as hoped, restarting, than many other champions would.

Hope that explains a bit on why rework timing can vary, and why it can be hard to make any concrete estimates or promises on a rework's ETA 
TLDR: Lots of different types of rework, Shaco's a tricky one."

Following this, Xelnath chatted a bit more about Shaco's rework and reminded that

In this case, the guy who was working on the Shaco rework switched his time and energy to help us deliver preseason. I've learned in the past year, that people get very "fast" expectations when we talk about things - this is just a side-effect of not framing "hey, I'm looking at this" properly.

To be fair - I expected to ship Xerath in August when I started working on him in May... but as we all see now, it ended up being another 6 months before other important things got done and we were able to schedule team time to finish Xerath. :)"
He continued:
I'll edit my original post.

Basically, what I am saying is that Shaco's rework is not on the near horizon, despite being discussed in the past. We had a couple awesome leaps forward, then sat down, looked at the champion list as a whole (see Meddler's post) and prioritized to suit the upcoming year and champions best.

I really want to reinforce this - meaningful reworks take a long time to do right unless they are minor updates or quality of life improvements.

Shaco is a cool character. We want to do cool characters right. Shaco has some very harsh edges in his playing against experience. Thus we need to do more work than just a few minor tweaks.

When asked why Rengar's rework seems to be coming along so much faster than Shaco's, Xelnath replied:
"The path for Rengar was much clearer than Shaco. For Rengar, we knew we wanted to clean up his core abilities a little bit, experiment with bonetooth, remove some exploits, then experiment with some ideas for his ultimate. 
Shaco requires more tinkering. In the worst of cases, Shaco is frustrating to play against, stifling and frustating for everyone in lane, is an uncatchable split pusher and can lay traps that murder you without a chance to counter Shaco.

Rengar's burst vs. Shaco's inherently frustrating kit need dramatically different solutions."

As for why Shaco needs work, he commented:
"He's best played as a split-pusher who is nigh uncatchable, an assassin who can't team fight, an ambusher who can't be countered, if you are chasing him into a next(p.s. does anyone know if red trinket disables his boxes or not?)

and once he starts to get ahead of you, he has a permanent slow in addition to a backstab + crit multiplier - aka, once he wins, if he catches you away from a tower, you don't have a good way to escape."

When asked about Sion's rework specifically, Meddler commented:
"We've got a direction in mind for him, yes. Goals are solid, exactly how they're met, ability details in particular, very much a work in progress."
He also commented:
"Cohesive kit and theme is one of our core goals for Sion."

As for Viktor and the long silence that sounds his rework, Xelnath commented:
"We realized it was a much bigger ball of yarn than it appeared to be. We had some specific ideas regarding his unique item, how to improve the feeling of his laser, etc. And it required a lot more work than we could support while getting trinkets, vision updates, new jungle, etc.

Since then, Solcrushed has still been looking at the jungle (see the new spirit stones and some work on the Wriggles line).

Post preseason, we took the time to sort out the reworks but I don't recall where he ended up"

Speaking of the preseason changes, Xelnath also replied to someone questioning Riot's decision to implement so many big changes all at once during preseason and how it seems to push things off Riot's radar:
"Correct me if I'm misunderstanding here, but what I'm hearing is: 
"Adaptation is work that can be frustrating and lead to me feeling like I've lost skill I used to have." 
In that case, yes, it is necessary, yeah its frustrating. The other alternative is for the game to die as "Riot never fixes the problems" is a worse.

That's what this whole thread is about "Why haven't you fixed my mans" - answer is, there's 117 mans, plus core systemic problems that once fixed always reveal new problems."
He continued:
"The reason we did those things together was to try to bundle most of the "okay, how I have to think about the entire game has completely changed for everyone" factor into a single patch.

It's easier to accept, "okay, I've got some big changes to learn, but so does everyone else". For example, just doing the jungle item rework would be all of the junglers are in flux, but everyone else feels kind of the same.

Bundling changes together means players can kind of go through a mutually shared experience of re-experiencing summoner's rift.

Re: Losing things - part of improving a game is culling features too. The opposite is feature bloat, champion sprawl and creeping complexity."

[ Continued ] Doran's Shield Nerfs Coming to PBE

( Be sure to read Xypherous's original PBE community post about his upcoming Doran's Shield nerfs! )

Following up on yesterday's announcement that several Doran's Shield nerfs would be hitting the PBE for testing, Xypherous commented on the common questions of "Why not just nerf the black passive" and "why not just make it more effective on melee characters?"
"A lot of people have wondered why we're not simply nerfing the Block passive on it - or simply reducing its power on ranged champions. 
Why not just nerf the Block Passive? 
The Block Passive will absorb a lot of damage from basic attacks in lane - That's the intent of the passive. However, Doran's Shield isn't meant to be a counter to spell or ability harassment and provide crazy burst mitigation and be the best sustain option as well. 
If you nerf the Block passive in this manner - you simply make Doran's Shield even more of a generic defensive choice. It has Health, Regeneration and a minor amount of Block - What strategy is Doran's Shield would this be effective against? Burst? Harass? Sustain? It's just kind of moderately effective against everything. 
The result of this is that since it can't occupy a distinct niche and it is moderately effective against anyone that has damage - it will most likely simply have to be better than any other option in order to be a decent pick. It won't be situational based on how much attack harassment you think you'll absorb but more of of a 'Hey, I don't feel like dying at all - I'm just going to pick up Doran's Shield.' 
Why not just make it more effective on melee characters? 
The issue here isn't that ranged support characters are picking up Doran's Shield. That's more of a symptom of the main issue. The issue is that the melee characters that pick up Doran's Shield - with the recent Season Changes make it far more difficult for ranged characters to assail then is deemed healthy. 
Essentially, while Sona/Lulu etc. picking up Doran's Shield in order to survive the burst of early all-in patterns is a sign that the item is overpowering - that's not the issue we're trying to solve."

Why no Team Builder Tests on Weekends?

As you may have noticed, the Team builder is returning this Monday and Tuesday for more PBE testing.

When asked why Team Builder is never tested on the weekend when more summoner's would be able to help out, Riot Blackrook replied:
"The main reason the tests aren't on weekends is, as you pointed out, due to work. We work Monday-Friday like most offices."
When asked why the Team Builder tests can't start a little earlier than 1 PM PST, he commented:
"The PBE servers are taken down for updates every weekday morning so we have to wait until that is finished."

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