Red Post Collection: [ Continued ] Upcoming Nidalee Gameplay Update Discussion, 4.8 Soraka Changes, and more!

Posted on at 6:07 PM by Moobeat
[ Update ~5 AM PST: Added several more posts regarding the Nidalee gameplay update ]

Tonight's red post collection features Riot Repertoir with a ton of additional discussion on the upcoming Nidalee Gameplay update, Morello commenting on the 4.8 Soraka changes, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

[ Continued ] Upcoming Nidalee Gameplay Update

Since his original post went up yesterday, Riot Repertoir has been pouncing on every opportunity to discuss the upcoming Nidalee gameplay update he's working on.


Let's takedown the follow up edits to his main post first:
About Ruining AD/Bruiser Nidalee... 
A lot of people seem to be concerned about AD or bruiser Nidalee no longer being possible. I think it's because of Takedown dealing magic damage and having an Ability Power ratio. I should mention that the Ability Power ratio is in addition to the current Base+TotalAD damage paradigm. If the concern is just about dealing full magic damage and that will ruin her in top lane, then that's something I'll want to give consideration to. The original post above has been edited to reflect that this ability, outside of switching damage types, is only seeing gains. 
About Pounce and Swipe targeting... 
Truthfully - and as a Nidalee player myself - I held off on changing her cougar targeting for a long time as we began to explore the character. However, when I finally did, it felt better not only to new Nidalee players, but to experienced ones as well. It took a game or two to adjust to, and ever since it's just much easier to control. I guess it's one of those things that you'll just need to take my word for until you get your hands on it, but I'm pretty sure you'll agree at that time, even if it takes a game or two to adjust to. Also, there's some scripting logic in there so that she still pounces straight forward when your cursor is far from her (for example, Pouncing back to lane). 
About Nidalee being too squishy to ever go into melee... 
If it ultimately proves true that she just dies too much, this is a problem that we can solve. We could give her resists in Cougar, or while Hunting, or just higher base stats. We could give her high base damages so that she can afford to build a bit tankier. Being too squishy to be a melee character is solvable.
To clarify on the Cougar bonuses against Hunted targets...
The first of all three abilities is enhanced for each Hunt application on an enemy champion. So... the first Takedown, the first Pounce, and the first Swipe all are enhanced. An enemy will have to be hit by another Javelin Toss or run over another Bushwhack trap to get these bonuses against them again. 
About how the increased Pounce range actually works... 
The closest comparison for how to actually activate this is Urgot's E+Q. When Nidalee Hunts an enemy, she is given some UI elements (like Yasuo when Q3 is ready) to let her know the range of her increased Pounce. If she hovers her cursor over a Hunted enemy within that range and tries to Pounce, she will jump to their location at that time (like Jax's Leap Strike, not Lee Sin's Resonating Strike which moves to unit). 
To address her being unable to ever fight tanky champs without a shred on Bushwhack... 
We're currently testing some changes to the way that Bushwhack deals damage that splits its damage between a small base and a percent of the target's current Health. This should help to chew through a bit more of the Health bar on tanky guys that tend to have a bit more Health without just getting rid of their resists entirely. The implementation here isn't final though, so we may come up with a better solution by PBE or Release.  
About the hitbox of Javelin Toss... 
We're looking at ways to make Javelin Toss as representative of the particle effect as possible. There are currently a few technical limitations to doing so that Javelin Toss shares with most other missiles in the game, but there is also one small but important thing we're testing right now to make it feel more fair. On Live, Javelin Toss actually visually gains some height as it travels. If you want to check it out, fire a Javelin Toss perfectly horizontally and notice that it slowly increases in height over its distance. The reason this was done is to make it play nicer when it immediately crosses terrain height differences, but I also think it's what leads to those occasions where you see a Javelin Toss that is fired diagonally hit things it shouldn't. Surprisingly, I've received the most positive feedback testing a Javelin Toss that actually approaches the ground slightly as it travels, and that's the version we're still testing today. It may not be perfect just yet, but we'll continue to look at it!
For Nidalee players worried about me gutting Nidalee... 
I hear you on this concern. I mained Nidalee all of last season as well, and she's still one of my favorite champions. I know we haven't hit the balance mark on our last few champion updates on release, but I think we've learned enough from them to not make that mistake again. One of the great things about making these changes is that we can tune things to where they can feel satisfying and powerful in ways that are reasonable, with her engaging in proper risks and having incredible success cases. I'm really open to feedback that is well thought out and explained, because it's important to me that she's a blast to play following any changes made, so keep it coming! :)

When asked about the movement speed bonus for her passive stacking if you apply it from both of the different sources, he commented:
"I want to make the value on the Movement Speed high enough that it feels good without having to worry about stacking, so the two sources of Movement Speed toward champions on the passive (brush toward visible enemy and toward a marked target) will likely not stack."

He continued, addressing several questions directly:
Does CDR lower this (Javelin Toss cooldown)? Is the base cooldown the same?
CDR still lowers the cooldown on Javelin Toss. As for the cooldown, we're still settling on numbers, but we've tried numbers as low as 5 seconds for the base cooldown on Javelin Toss with 4 ranks in Aspect of the Cougar.

How long does the Hunt last? 
We're pretty settled on 3 seconds here.

Does this include Minions/Monsters? Bushwack currently is a good tool for pushing the wave. 
This includes minions and monsters, but keep in mind you will have Cougar form at level 1 to help with wave clearing, albeit less safely than a trap would have been.

Why is nid also losing her increased move speed when she is a "melee" champion, as Melee champions usually have increased move seed compared to "ranged" champions? 
The Nidalee we know on Live is really really good at running away from people. We want to cut back on this a bit, but with the changes in the kit, she should have more than enough movement speed to function well in combat.

What is the base cool down (on Aspect of the Cougar)? Is this effected by CDR? 
At level 1, it will probably start higher than the 4 second Live cooldown by a bit, but by rank 4 in her ultimate, I'd expect it to fall between 1 and 2 seconds.

Is this (Takedown damage increase to Hunted targets) a flat value or %? 
This is a percentage value so that Takedown is still about getting big numbers on low Health targets.

What is the base cooldown (on Pounce)? 
We're not settled on an absolute final number, but we've been testing at 5 seconds (up from 3) and are pretty happy with it

Does this completely reset the pounce CD? Or does this just lower the CD by X (Gragas treatment)? 
A bit different from both. Say X is 1.5 seconds. If the remaining cooldown on Pounce is greater than 1.5 seconds when Nidalee Swipes a Hunted target or kills a unit, then Pounce's will be reduced to 1.5 seconds."

As for Nidalee's human form auto attack getting updates, he noted:
"We've made some small adjustments to the visual alignment of her basic attack in human form so that the timing feels a bit better."

In response to someone noting "I personally don't like such dramatic changes to Nidalee", he noted:
"I fully understand that you and lots of other Nidalee players are really nervous right now, scared of having your favorite champion gutted. It may just be one of those things where you have to take my word for (which I know isn't the best situation to be in) and hope for the best, but it is very important to me that she is not gutted. If you were playing Nidalee solely for 1500 damage spears, these changes will disappoint you. If you were playing her for other reasons, I think you will have more fun playing her."

When asked about making Nidalee's spears scale exponenitally with distance, Riot Repertoir replied:
"I actually tried versions of Javelin Toss similar to this, where they did like 300 damage at min range with 500AP or so and 1500+ at max range. The problem is that, no matter how much of an edge case it is, it just can never feel fair to get hit for so much damage with this kind of ability."

As for Nidalee's roaming capabilities defining her as a champion, he agreed:
"This is something I really like about Nidalee as well. I hope that the radius at which she gains increased Movement Speed toward visible targets is large enough that she can use it to roam thoughtfully and effectively. We are currently testing a radius that allows for this, and I'm pretty happy with its roaming effectiveness at the moment."
He continued, addressing the concern that this update changes Nidalee's playstyle too much:
"Hi Yippo, thanks for sharing your concerns. 
While this does represent some playstyle changes to Nidalee, there's nothing that ultimately forces players into using the new tools. AP Nidalee players will still be able to sit back and throw spears on cooldown from a largely safe range, it just won't be as effective anymore. The combination of incredible damage and incredible safety is what makes them unacceptable, regardless of the cost. When it came to how to deal with Javelin Toss, I didn't want to just nerf the ability to the point that Nidalee was just dead, which was very much an option. Instead, with the changes I also wanted to give Nidalee players full access to their kits so it wasn't just a case of gutting Javelin Toss and moving on. Javelin Toss is an iconic ability that I think is pretty cool; it's just that its reward for the amount of risk she incurs is way out of line. With these changes, to receive the maximum reward per Javelin Toss, she has to make a decision about whether to incur some risk. 
Thank you for your feedback. I sincerely hope you like the finished product."
He continued:
"Hi again Yippo, 
For Bushwhack, there is some stuff in testing that I didn't mention about Bushwhack in the original post for fear of creating too huge a wall of text (too late for that now!), but I've now added them in. The first is that the ground duration of Nidalee traps has been cut to about half with the changes in cooldown, and they currently deal a percentage of the victim's current Health per tick so that she can fight tankier guys a bit better, without them just losing all their resists. Additionally, the vision duration has also been cut to just the Hunt duration. These changes are to address the frustration behind potential trap minefields and what not. 
As for Primal Surge, I used the word adjusted because I don't want to straight up nerf it in all cases, and I actually feel pretty similarly to you about bases and ratios. We're currently testing a base heal that is slightly increased at max ranks, and an AP ratio that is reduced. 
Again, I probably can't sell you on the Hunt mechanic without you having played it, but your feedback is heard and taken into consideration. 
Thanks for the input!"
He also commented:
"We definitely won't be able to please everyone, but we think that keeping her abilities intact is important, because even if they're not perfect, they make for an incredibly fun character that we think can fit well in the game with proper tuning and a few adjustments."
When asked if Nidalee will still be able to stack Tear of the Goddess by switching into Cougar form, he noted:
"There currently aren't plans to address free Tear stacking."

Repertoir continued, hitting another chunk of feedback, including pounce's cooldown and traps:
"Hi Dripping, 
I'll tackle the stuff you wrote up in order. 
About Javelin Toss, I totally understand your worries, but it's still the plan that Javelin Toss will deal very meaningful damage in addition to giving you a way to get onto valuable targets. That being said, I think we can accomplish this without reverting the way damage calculation changes done recently or adding in a modifier based on missing Health. 
I omitted it from the original post because it was getting a little long, but I've sinced added in that the plan is for Bushwhack traps to deal a percent of the victim's current Health every tick so that they can still help to fight tankier champs without shredding all their resists. 
I don't think getting rid of the Attack Speed buff is even on the table for Primal Surge. I agree it's pretty important to the spell. 
As for Aspect of the Cougar, we will look at how we want to give defenses to her in Cougar if we ultimately think it's necessary. 
Finally, don't expect Pounce to have an 8 second cooldown. I think we're more in the 4.5-6 second realm; we've tested for quite some time with these numbers, and it's actually pretty impressive how big a change 1 or 2 seconds can make to the overall safety that spell provides Nidalee. 
Thanks so much for your feedback!"
He continued:
"Didn't see that you had some more here. Oops! 
Swipe should now be easier to hit with the cursor changes. If you can put your cursor over someone nearby, you can hit Swipe. 
As to making sure she works in melee range, since one of the primary goals of these changes to get her using both forms effectively to succeed, we will be giving lots of consideration to what she needs to perform as a melee character. Whether that's stats, cc, damage, speed, etc., it will be on our minds."

Regarding Takedown doing magical damage and making Nidalee's damage type confined to just magical, he reminded:
"If this turns out to be the case, we can always reconsider the Takedown damage type. However, keep in mind that characters get much higher Armor per level than Magic Resist, and it is generally much easier to itemize for Armor as well."

As for his vision of how Nidalee's new kit plays out in a team fight, he explained:
"In a strictly teamfight scenario, she will still be a strong poker (just fewer instances of hitting 1 Javelin Toss and winning a fight), but she will also have opportunities where she can choose to engage. 
The basic gist of things is that she sets up fights in human while waiting for moments to go in, and when she makes that choice, she goes into Cougar do execute good damage. As a fight progresses, she makes use of her low form swap cooldown to do whatever the situation calls for: hunt a new target, pop a heal on herself or an ally, trap somewhere for vision, or stay in cougar for damage. 
I know that's really general, but I think people will be able to pick it up really naturally once they get their hands on it."

Repertoir also commented on when we might see Nidalee's update hit the PBE, saying:
"We don't have a hard date for that, but I'm personally hoping within a month."

As for general feedback trends so far, he noted:
"Yeah, feedback is pretty consistent that the Hunt duration should be longer. It's possible it should, but I think people are also imagining much larger cooldowns on her kit than they're actually going to get. To this, I'd say check her out on PBE when the numbers are much closer to final! 
Overall, I wouldn't worry about her ability to get to targets. My intention is that if she's playing well, she'll get to who she needs to get to. If she's running away, she will indeed get caught more often. That being said, she still has Pounce and a decent brush passive (even if they're nerfed a bit in this case), so she'll still be strong in a fleeing scenario most likely. 
Thanks for the feedback!"

He also shared a wild idea for Primal Surge's scaling:
"One idea I've actually been tossing around with some of the balance guys lately is how her heal would look if it actually had little or no Ability Power ratio and instead just scaled with missing Health in some way as suggested. The benefits to this would be that she wouldn't go crazy with AP when ahead, but it would also have to be tuned such that it wasn't providing insane healing to Health stacking targets. 
I actually also tried giving her %AP as magic damage on her basic attacks for a short time, and the feedback wasn't actually all the great. It just didn't feel all that good. It's a bit abusive in ranged form, and in cougar form, she just wants to use her spells mostly, since basic attacking frequently as a melee character can be difficult. Also, she already has 6 spells to manage, so her basic attacks probably just don't need to be all that strong. For awhile I thought that might be the way to go, but things don't always turn out as well in play as they sound on paper. Good suggestion, though!"

In response to concerns that hitting a spear will no longer feel rewarding, Riot Repertoir replied:
"Hey Wolf, thanks for the Nidalee thoughts. 
Though I'm sure it's not what you want to hear, I wouldn't expect to see any CC built into her kit. That being said, I totally agree that hitting a big spear needs to feel great. 
We're constantly tuning things on this version of her, but I know I've received internal feedback on several occasions that the new Javelin Tosses are even scarier than on Live because of the potential for follow up on her end. That power is spread over a few seconds instead of a single instant, but the good thing about that feedback is that I know we can keep Javelin Toss scary without it dealing absolutely absurd damage or crowd control. 
Stay tuned for the PBE version, and thanks for the thoughts!'
As for what sort of damage we might be looking at for her spears post-update, he noted:
"I imagine that an AP Nidalee's spear will now do about 70% of what they do on the Live environment. Even if the old spear would have done ~1500 damage, this will still do ~1050, which isn't exactly bad damage."

[ ~5 AM PST Update ]

When asked what the approximate cooldown of Nidalee's spear will be , he noted:
"What we're currently experimenting with is a cooldown that scales down with R to at least the Live value (6 seconds) and possibly even a bit shorter. The intent with the cooldown scaling is that she can't access the Hunt quite as frequently in lane when she is ahead so that she's not overly oppressive in that scenario. 
This is definitely a valid concern that we'll be keeping our eye on though. Thanks!"

On a similar note, he commented on why the cougar form abilities scale  with Cougar form rank instead of ability rank:
"There's a couple reasons actually. For one, it would feel pretty bad to have your Swipe be weak just because you leveled Primal Surge, or your Takedown be weak because you leveled Javelin Toss. Also, levels 6, 11, and 16 have always represented significant power spikes to Nidalee, and this is a good way to keep that intact.
And you're right that it's also just harder to balance a Javelin Toss and Takedown to be appropriately powerful both at level 9 and level 18. Heck, Javelin Toss alone makes this hard enough on Live Nidalee already. 
Good question!"

As for when we might see these changes hit the PBE for player testing, he replied:
"I'm hoping we'll be able to see it on PBE in around a month."

Repertoir also clarified how the Hunt interacts with her cougar abilities:
"I probably didn't state it too well in my original post, but the Hunt enhances the first of EACH of her cougar abilities, so as long as the target has the Hunt debuff when you use your ability on them, it will be enhanced. 
To have any of the abilities affect a target a second time, you will need to apply another Hunt debuff to it via Javelin Toss or Bushwhack."
He continued:
"Yep, me too! I worded it poorly originally, but you get to use all three cougar abilities for their enhanced effects when you go in on a Hunted target!"
and gave the example:
"For the most part, yes. 
If I hit an enemy with a Javelin Toss, I have triggered Hunt on them. I approach them with my increased Movement Speed, and when I get in range, I used my enhanced Pounce to get on the Hunted target. I then enhanced Swipe to get my Pounce cooldown reset, and Takedown to deal the enhanced damage. At this point, I have used all three of my enhanced abilities, and if I want my next cougar ability against the same target to be enhanced, I have to hit another Javelin Toss or Bushwhack trap on them to trigger a new Hunt. Once I do that, my Takedown, Pounce, and Swipe are all enhanced against that target again."

Regarding feedback on Nidalee's traps and if they will be useful against high resist builds or tanks,he commented:
"There will probably be champions that the trap won't be excellent against, like Udyr or Warwick that tend to build resists over Health. If she's severely underperforming against tanks, we can probably come up with a solution to make them feel better without wrecking squishy targets. We won't ever use this particular example, but they could just deal true damage that doesn't scale well with Nidalee's stats. There's probably similar but better solutions out there. 
I'll keep my eye on these particular kinds of champions and evaluate if there just isn't much she can do against them. 
Thanks for the input!"

As for allowing Javelin Toss to grant vision to enemies while in human form, he noted:
"I actually played around with allowing Javelin Toss to give vision to enemies in human form as well, but the gameplay actually just plays out better if it's only in cougar form because after hitting a Javelin Toss, all she can do is basic attack to deal reliable damage in ranged form, at which point she might as well use her enhanced Pounce to get on them and claw them up. 
She may actually end up being decent in the jungle, but I don't think we're going to give her a trinket because there's not much of a thematic or gameplay reason other than Rengar having one and them both being hunters. 
We'll be looking out to see if she's too squishy in cougar form. If it proves she's too squishy, we can probably figure something out to remedy that.
Thanks for the feedback!"

When asked how her damage will compare to hot it currently is on live, he replied:
"I hope when we're all done with tuning, Javelin Toss will still be doing some killing (probably a little bit less overall), and Cougar form will be doing a bit more than people are used to."

When asked about the possibility of making Nidalee's spear charge like Xerath's Q, he explained why they chose to not take that route:
"We gave some consideration to this, but ultimately it would feel far too clunky when trying to do things like throw good Javelin Tosses followed by form swapping and Pouncing in a different direction. In this particular case, the gains didn't seem worth the costs."

As for her shift a level 1 making her too much like Elise, Repertoir noted:
"I think the two will be a bit different overall. With Elise, you form swap regularly just because you have damage spells that are available to dump on the enemy (other than your E) so you might as well just swap and use them. For Nidalee, form swapping just do press all your buttons and then jump back will probably occur to much less of an extent."

Repertoir also fielded questions on Nidalee's role in a comp, her role as a potential jungler, and her abilities to brawl with melee champs:
First question I have, with these intended changes, is Nidalee going to become a wild card champion to have and can fit practically any compositions? If so, what will be her expected role or impact in-game and in teamfights?
She may be able to fit into a few more comps, but I would expect her main strengths to still lie in poke and skirmish comps

Second, Is the new "Hunt" mechanic means Nidalee can be a solid jungler like Kha'zix, Vi, Lee Sin, etc, etc, already are? If so, will there be an inclination toward more building one type of damage over the other or either are equally fine?
She doesn't have CC, and the Hunt doesn't apply to minions or neutral monsters, but she may be able to come out of the jungle fast and have some influence. We'll have to see on this one most likely.

Third, If Nidalee players have the potential/power/option to go toe to toe with melee champions of various strengths and weaknesses, are her base stats going to reflect through scaling or itemization or a mix of both? I personaly think that scaling is a rather more preferable path.
She'll probably lean more on good scaling than bases, but that may change a bit if it turns out her games are really feast or famine, since high scaling and low bases tends to be a bit more snowbally."

As for the Hunt time being 3 seconds and how the transformation to cougar form could make that a bit ~too~ short, he replied:
"This concern is definitely valid, but there are a few reasons it may not be as bad as you think.
  • Aspect of the Cougar has no cast time, so you don't stop to cast it, and your next spell can come as soon as your fingers can press it.
  • I've done a bit of script cheating on the Hunt that says if you are trying to Pounce toward a Hunted target, extend the duration by another 1 second so you can get your Swipe and Takedown off as well
  • I am not opposed to making her cougar Movement Speed burst seemingly crazy
Hope this helps address this particular concern :)"

As for concerns Nidalee might end up feeling like Diana, he noted:
"I'm personally not too worried about her feeling too similar to Diana. She's quite a bit more flexible and effective from range, and she doesn't have to commit so hard so early. The way she gets to someone is a bit fairer than Diana in the her skillshot is blockable by minions and other champions, so we were able to add in things like the Pounce reset that gives her only a short time before she can begin to back out from a fight. I'll give this some more thought. I do think it's a legitimate concern since the similarities are there. Well said!"

Repertoir also commented on the different iterations of Javelin Toss he tried out:
"I tried a bunch of iterations of Javelin Toss including more damage when high Health, more damage when low Health, more damage when trapped, etc. The realization I came to over the course of many feedback sessions is that in the minds of Nidalee opponents, there is a reasonable maximum amount of damage that Javelin Toss can be expected to deal. Let's say that's X damage (to avoid getting into what that value should actually be). 
In all these iterations where Javelin Toss had different mechanics, it didn't matter the conditions or how many hoops Nidalee had to jump through in order to achieve maximum damage, because if it was ever greater than X damage, it just felt unfair and had to be nerfed down to X damage. All this really means is that in all the cases where the conditions are not met, Nidalee is just losing even more damage on her Javelin Toss, and her maximum damage still has to be nerfed to X. 
Hopefully this helps make sense of why there is not a more intricate solution for allowing Javelin Toss to deal crazy damage, even if only under rare circumstances."

4.8 Soraka Changes

In patch 4.8, Soraka is receiving a mana cost on her E when she uses it on an enemy player.
Here's Morello with a bit of context on this change: 
"The real pattern is "targeted silences that you can spam with no interaction are probably bad skills." You see a big pattern on us removing unavoidable poke or limiting it through more aggressive mana costs. 
Soraka mid or top or whatever is not a concern. Soraka getting free damage and poke that removes any ability to trade or react is the problem. In any lane."

On Recent Champion Reworks

Morello also dropped off a few notes on the recent champion reworks:
"We've focused some of our reworks (Grags/Kass) on getting problematic champions fixed so that we can have them healthy, but still see play, but the other side of this coin is the weak/unusable champions who are either binary in power (overbearing when strong and worthless when not OP) or have major things holding them back from competing in today's landscape.

Balancing these two approaches is one of the bigger focuses for the reworks team from a gameplay front. Some (Sion/Poppy) are basically "brand new champion" amount of work - but with the added difficulty of current expectations and how we can either meet or evolve those. Some need big changes to provide anything meaningful to the game that you can leverage (Shaco, and a bit of what Heimer was). This is a monumental effort that has the same level of focus and resources as new champions do. 
My opinion is that reworks are one of the most important and engaging pieces of content we can do if done well, and one of the biggest ways we need to re-earn people's trust. The reason we're still working on Skarner follow-up is due to this fact.

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