Red Post Collection:Let's Talk About the Jungle , Tanks on Fire, Updated Player Tooltips, and more!

Posted on at 10:53 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes Ypherion with a large context and discussion thread on the current state and future of the Jungle, Fearless with  information on the new Bami's Cinder and Enchantment: Cinderhulk items on the PBE, Riot Ninja Tabby on the new Player Tooltips, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Let's Talk About the Jungle

 Ypherion has posted up a large context and discussion thread on the state of the 2015 season's jungle, including their intended goals moving forward into patch 5.5 and beyond.
"Hi all,

Let’s talk about the 2015 season jungle. Up front: we knew the preseason changes were going to make things significantly tougher, but it’s clear we’ve misstepped along the way in both communication and design. Not only have we not done a great job of sharing our thoughts (present and future), but our subsequent changes to the jungle from patch 5.1 to 5.4 have been nerfs to jungle diversity rather than continuing to deliver on our preseason goals.

First, let’s see how we got here. From the beginning we knew that “strategic diversity” would basically become a meme for the 2015 season, but it’s still something we strongly believe in. A lot of players might associate champion diversity with strategic diversity, but it’s more about one feeding into the other. The former is only about what champions get played - even if they’re doing the same thing - while the latter emphasizes champions who can enable a variety of other strategies on a team (objective control, wombo, lane pressure, etc). With Jarvan IV, Vi, and Lee Sin all fulfilling identical roles (with priority given to whoever’s strongest), we know we’re not there.

In line with the above thought, our goal with 2015 was to support a rock-paper-scissors game of jungle styles: ganking, farming, and counter jungling. What we ended up discovering, however, was that counter jungling wasn’t actually a proper response on par with ganking and farming, so jungling went back to who could gank or farm the best (or both).

It’s clear that we’ll need to reconfigure what available playstyles there are for junglers out there, but for now our big focus is getting jungler diversity up before attempting to tackle the larger problem of strategic jungler playstyles (versus champion playstyles like playing Amumu vs. Vi).

So what do we want to do, and how can we get there? High-level we’re still pursuing strategic diversity in the jungle (and, well, all of League of Legends), but we also realize we need to get champion diversity up to support it. Finally, while we intentionally made clearing camps harder and riskier to better differentiate jungler strengths, this has also made the jungle position less satisfying and fun for junglers, so we’re investigating other ways to improve this.

Short-term, here are some tactics:

First, we’re going to be pushing our experimental jungler tank item to the PBE with this patch. We’ve actually been working on it for a little while behind the scenes, but - as we mentioned earlier - haven’t done a great job of communicating that. TL;DR: Juggernaut is being reworked into Cinderhulk, a new Sunfire-esque item build that gives both tankiness and extra clear speeds to the junglers in need.

In terms of auxiliary changes to help get tank junglers get their satisfaction back, we’re going to be looking at a bunch of tank junglers this patch to see if we can give any small buffs in the early game, along with buffs to Gromp’s Poison Armor Smite reward and some early monster damage nerfs. This does mean we’ll need to look at specific dominant champions who are standing (or pouncing) well above the pack, but we’ll have to tread a fine line of balance here. The goal is to get junglers feeling satisfied and empowered to play the position, but we need to be wary of a world where they’re doing so at the cost of everyone else.

Finally, what’s in store for the future? We still believe in creating a compelling set of unique jungle actions beyond just ganking and farming, but haven’t firmly locked down additional paths to support. We have a few ideas we’re really excited about, but we’re definitely looking at making Poacher’s Knife and Skirmisher’s Sabre more robust and exciting items for the future. We’re also going to be examining the feeling of the jungler “potion tax” where junglers always need to be chugging away to stay healthy.

On the communications front, we failed to recognize the stacking pain we’ve been causing junglers through the patches, and that’s something we want to improve. We need to get better at engaging in a healthy dialogue with players while also highlighting our short and long-term goals for the future, and we will.

Wrapping it all up: if it wasn’t clear from our multiple revisions throughout the years, the jungle is a tough position to get right. The jungle needs to test multiple capabilities while also providing the space for a jungler to have impact on the game through different actions, even though right now it’s more focused on high-damage and ganking prowess (which sounds familiar, we know). That said, we’ve never been more confident in our long-term goals - as ambitious as they are - but we know it’s not fair for junglers to languish while we work toward that vision.

We’re definitely committed to opening up the jungle without just giving out power haphazardly, but we’re also hoping that by keeping these communication channels open you’ll help us guide the jungle to a more compelling, diverse, and healthy position in League. We really appreciate your feedback, and we’re excited to continue sharing more of our plans in the future."

When asked about the draw backs of Poacher's Knife, Riot Axes commented:
"I agree that one of the reasons Poacher's Knife fails because it doesn't do anything if your opponents take appropriate steps to stop your counterjungling. We're working on an update to that item (no details yet). One of the goals is definitely ensuring that it's a valuable item even if you don't get a chance to steal camps, and ideally there'll be some fringe cases where it's the ideal jungle item for you even if you don't plan to invade. 
I would like it to include at least a soft push towards counterjungling on that item, but certainly not the current version where you get nothing if you don't counterjungle. 
As far as trying to make junglers into just one role, that is absolutely contrary to our goals. I realize that that's how the current jungle feels, but that's one of the big reasons we feel compelled to act - it's a problem to be fixed."
He continued, diving deeper into counterjungling and Poacher's Knife:
"You're right. If we want counterjungling to be a thing, we have to make it a thing.

The design of Poacher's Knife assumed that we had made counterjungling broadly desirable. The move speed and such were intended as a useful tool for someone who already planned to do that. The bonus gold was intended to help players understand what to do with the item, NOT to be the primary benefit for counterjungling. 
Clearly, that's not what happened. 
We do see counterjungling on live, but it is sporadic and opportunistic - junglers whose plan is mostly to gank lanes happen to see the enemy jungler ganking bot, so they take a camp and get out. 
In the short term, we're going to be embracing that kind of counterjungling and supporting it with an item that might help you do it a little more but isn't aimed at hardcore, dedicated counterjungle; it might cause you to reprioritize actions a bit, but you're still doing basically what junglers do. You called out vision, so I'll just say - vision is a GREAT tool here in some form. 
In the longer term, we'd like to land in a place where dedicated counterjungling is a valuable action to take regardless of what item you choose, and then make sure Poacher's Knife is a strong tool to help you achieve it. You already want to steal that camp if you can get away with it; Poacher's Knife helps you do that."

When asked if they consider making the jungle less tough, Ypherion noted:
"We need to be careful here, but you'll see some, relatively light, changes in this direction in the next patch or two."

In response to a comment on the long-term goals being fine but the short term changes being frustrating, Fearless commented:
Honestly, I understand and appreciate the long-term goals. They're solid. It's the just the recent nerfs in the short term (raising the price of Machete/the upgrades for example) have really strangled champions that were already having a tough time.
So, I personally didn't communicate the reasoning for a lot of the jungle changes recently in a way that made them look like anything but some pretty harsh nerfs. I understand how painful some of these changes are, and more importantly, how they created a feeling that we weren't responding to the pain with anything more than further nerfs. 
Many of those changes were foundational for the changes we're going for in 5.5. As an example, giving tanks this sort of power increase and the ability to freely swap between Rangers and Stalkers meant that they quickly power cleared their way to their often mega powered level 6, and then doubled down with lock down power without a trade-off. That change also creates a lot more space for each of the jungle items to have more definition, knowing that each item represents a real choice, not a swap option each time we base. 
We really wanted to talk about the changes we were setting up, but there's a tremendous danger if Cinderhulk hadn't been successful, for example, and the main reason that we're sharing our plans for the future now. There is still a risk that things change very quickly for us, but better to deal with that as we have to."
Pwyff added on to this:
I really hope you guys understand that doing stuff like that and saying 'it'll be better eventually!' doesn't matter when it sucks right NOW.
We get where you're coming from on this, hence why we're going with these changes sooner than later. There's certainly a world of ideological design versus player pain and immediate value, and we're always trying to find the balance between the two."

 As for how the new jungle item will play out for tanks and the other buffs several are receiving in the mean time, Pwyff noted:
I'm curious on the reasoning for the sudden changes to Naut without the new item going in first to see if the changes were needed. I've loved Jungle Naut for a long time and like most tanks his clear is rough but you can get through it with his shield if you time it right. So I'm curious about the numbers adjustment. I can deal with the riptide changes though, because that was typically a zoning thing to me and occasionally used to speed up jungle clear.
This is our challenge as well - what conclusion we did come to was that Cinderhulk leads to a stronger "endgame fantasy" (aw yiss season 2014), but you have to want to get to that world to start feeling satisfied. Rengar might not have the greatest lv1 clear but you know he'll "turn on" at some point, so you know the tradeoffs. Right now tanks just don't feel as satisfying in the early levels so they can't see the future. 
Some psychological thing about not being able to synthesize the proper mental frame of mind to appreciate something in the future because you assume you'll be in the same state as now. That was a confusing sentence, sorry. 
Anyway tldr would be we're looking to make early clears a little more satisfying so players on these tanky junglers can feel like they want to get to the Cinderhulk and beyond. It's partially perception design and partially power design. But we're definitely trying not to 'double down' on these buffs."

When asked if there are any plans to add a jungle item that helps support junglers get vision control simliar to the old Quill Coat item, Axes noted:
"It's something we're considering. Not sure if we'll end up shipping something like that or not, but the idea definitely has merit."

As for the community's vocal and sometimes aggressive feedback on this sort of thing, Riot Scarizard commented:
We did it reddit! 
But for real, there's been a lot of complaining here (and complaining about the complaining) but I think it's healthy for the game to be vocal about this kind of stuff. 
Reddit doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to balance and there's always complaining whenever anything is nerfed, but I think it was said best when DanielZKlein said "we massively prefer a community that's up in arms because of a change over one that doesn't give a fuck." 
This, along with the already proposed changes on PBE, are good signs for the future of the jungle.
"So much this. While sometimes the message can be loud (and sometimes even hostile), it is never anything but clear - Daniel's right when he says that we'd prefer a community that speaks up about what it wants to see and what they like and don't like. 
We may all disagree, but we'll always listen. In this case specifically, calling us out for not holding true to the values of diversity that we put forth ourselves (what with all the hub-bub around Preseason) has caused us to do a lot of thinking about how we communicate, both short-term in things like Patch Notes and Rundowns, but also long-term, giving insight and visibility into where we'd like to be and how we want to get there. We've got a lot of changes coming for the jungle in 5.5 that we're confident helps push us forward, and i look forward to seeing how people's independent testing shakes out. 
5.5/5.6 won't change everything and answer every concern, but we think it's a good start. Thanks for all the feedback, y'all - keep it comin'"

When asked bluntly "who does riot want jungling and who does Riot want not jungling", Fearless replied:
"So this is an interesting question, and one that we've been talking about for months now. My take on it, as someone who largely works on the framework for the jungle, is that I don't build the jungle around the junglers we have, but instead, the qualities we want to test. We want the jungle to challenge players differently for each champion, and we also want to create plenty of space in the jungle for champs that get changes, or new champions, etc. I leave it up to other designers much more in tune with each champion to determine if and how they want that champion to function as a jungler.

Another aspect is looking at what each sort of strength a jungler can have, and what that gets them. One of the things that lead to Cinderhulk was thinking about what AD got many junglers (increased combat power, clear speed (and therefore health and mana)) vs durability (larger possible farming uptime, significantly smaller increase in map presence). While this is a fair bit simplified, even this makes it obvious that the items, even at the component level were creating an imbalance. 
So I can't really answer the big question, but I'm happy to share a little bit of how we've been getting to some of our changes recently."

[PBE] Tanks on Fire - Incoming Cinderhulk + Gromp changes

Speaking of the jungle, here's Fearless with context on severeal changes hit the PBE earlier today - including a new Bami's Cinder item and the Juggernaut enchantment being replaced by the new Cinderhulk enchantment.
"Hey all, 
We have some big changes for jungle tanks on the PBE today. As you might have seen from our highlight post on the jungle, we’re looking to solve some of gaps between tanks and the rest of the pack with a new tanky enchant as well as making Gromp explicitly reward tanks over other junglers. 
First, what was wrong with Juggernaut? First, it wasn't explicitly improving clear speeds for tanks in comparison to other junglers. Others get to build incremental increases in damage with their components, but tanks just got… tankier without much else. Juggernaut also failed to feel like the foundation of a tanky build, as much as it was simply a decent chunk of stats that could make anyone more durable. 
Enter Cinderhulk. 
This new enchant builds out of a new component, Bami’s Cinder, which grants +300 HP and a mini Sunfire aura (now the Immolate aura). This gives tanks a boost both in their durability and their ability to get through camps. Once upgraded to Cinderhulk, the enchant gives champions a version of Immolate that ramps up with time-in-combat, rewarding those who are happy to get into the middle of a fight and stay there. The base health on Cinder Hulk is lower than Juggernaut (350 down from 500), but in the place of base stats, Cinderhulk now grants +25% bonus health. This means jungle tanks get more for their gold as they build tanky. 
Along a similar line, we wanted Gromp’s Smite buff to do more for tanks that can need the bump in clear power, while not making it a universally powerful clear tool. Gromp’s poison armor now scales up with the bonus health of the owner, allowing tanks to opt into extra clear speed when they need it. 
These items are aimed at 5.5, so we’re looking to get lots of coverage for bug fixes and polish to make sure we can see these hit live as smoothly as possible. We can’t wait to test these out with you all!"

[From the 2/27 PBE: Bami's Cinder tooltip, Sunfire Cape tooltip, Enchantment: Cinderhulk tooltip]

As for when to build Bami's Cinder as a tank in the jungle, Fearless suggested:
"Gromp can fill in some of the gaps, but Bami's Cinder is the first item to build after the machete upgrade."

When asked if they have any plans to do play around with the Magus and Devourer jungle enchantments and if they think fighters will pick up Cinderhulk, Fearless noted:
"We are considering changes similar to this for other Enchants. Right now, Warrior and Magus are both pretty extreme power spikes, but don't do much to amp up the rest of your build. There's very likely some very cool opportunity space to make these items feel better and more like the item that makes all your other items better.

As for fighters buying Cinder hulk plus damage, it's possible, but they'll get less effective health out of their builds, as they spend more gold on offensive stats. Having some space for them to opt into that trade off is ok. If it ends up being dominant, we'd likely reduce the base health the item gives, and look to increase the long term scaling."
He continued, elaborating on Cinderhulk's usefulness for tanks over fighters:
"Totally reasonable feedback, but there are some elements getting over looked here. The first would be build order. It's pretty rare that a fighter goes jungle item into Randuins. Fighter's generally are going to opt into damage items, and eventually grab some health. This means that Cinderhulk is less effective for most of the game for them. 
Tanks, on the other hand, will often opt into builds that are very defensively oriented. The nature of defensive stats also mean that the effective health growth on tanks means that even with early frozen hearts, Cinderhulk is going to make tanks noticeably more tanky, while also giving them better access to their gold income. 
This is still a bit simplistic, but there's a reasonable case for Cinderhulk favoring Tanks, and if we find that the current tuning doesn't make this true, we have the space to change that quickly as needed."
Fearless also commented that the damage aura on Enchantment: Cinderhulk only flicks on during combat:
From several games using Cinderhulk I feel this is a step in the right direction for tank junglers. However, seeing as how this item will be a must buy for tank junglers I feel it comes with 1 potentially major drawback. With it being an aura, the jungler must maintain a certain distance from monsters in order to not draw agro. This can be problematic when trying to remain hidden in the brush near blue or red buff looking for a steal or kill due to the aura drawing agro. 
Another problematic area (while much easier to remedy) is near baron, and to a lesser extent, dragon pit. The jungler must be aware when attempting to bait/ wait for teammates that standing too close will draw agro. 
A possible solution to this problem would be to add a toggle feature which would allow the aura to be turned off when necessary.
The damage on Cinderhulk only turns on during combat, meaning that if you haven't taken damage or attacked, the fire aura isn't on. This is built specifically for the situations you list."

When asked if Sunfire's Cloak will build out of Bami's Cinder, Fearless confirmed:

Feral Pony also commented on the name "Bami's Cinder", explaining it comes from the Refer-A-Friend program:
"You are absolutely correct that bami is indeed a delicious noodle dish. 
While a little bit odd in some contexts (Delicious Noodle Burny Rock?). This name was earned through the refer-a-friend program and it's pretty cute so it made sense to keep it as is. :D"
These two new items and associated changes to Sunfire Cape are now up on the PBE for testing!

[PBE] Urgot  Changes on the PBE

In the 2/27 PBE update, Urgot's W shield was changed to scale with 5% of his mana!

In a reddit thread discussing this change, Vesh commented there may be more tentative changes to come:
"Will probably add a couple more small ones like more ult CD reduction per rank and potentially a bit better scaling base stats. stay tuneddd 
edit: to be clear by the way this is just a band-aid, not anything in place of actual gameplay/rework changes. those are still coming _^"
He continued:
"i don't work on game balance. i'm on our champion update team. doing this change since i'm already working on some much larger urgot changes down the road"

[PBE] Nidalee Trap Changes on the PBE

In the 2/27 PBE Update, Nidalee's W traps were tentatively changed to no longer do % of current health damage.

Over on the boards, Meddler explained the intent of the change:
"We're testing a nerf to Nid's traps specifically to target her jungle clear speed. She's currently an extremely fast clearer which, given all the other tools she has, is a strength we don't think she needs."
He continued:
"That's correct - we're not trying to push her out of the jungle entirely with these changes, but we are looking to noticeably reduce her clear speed. Her W's damage against monsters would be significantly lower under this version, given how much health they have, , even with the buffed base damage."
When asked about the small AP ratio increase to her E that is also on the PBE, Meddler noted:
"Not sure about the buff to E, the designer working on these changes is out this afternoon so I don't have full context."

Sona's R Mana Cost

When asked why Sona's Crescendo's (R) mana cost is currently 100/150/200 compared to the lower mana cost that other support have, Meddler noted:
Hey Meddler, this is completely off-topic but I wanted to ask... 
Why does Sona's ult have a scaling mana cost, while every other support has a static 100 mana cost? Crescendo scales into 100 / 150 / 200. That's quite a lot on a champion expected to use her abilities as often as possible to get the most out of her passive and their effects on top of keeping your team mates buffed. :x Not to mention with the horrible mana regeneration on top of stale mana per level.
Can't think of a good reason off the top of the head, inclination is to standardize that to 100 like most other mana using champs with regular ults. I'll bounce the idea off the balance team, see whether we want to throw that change into the next possible patch."

Updated Player Tooltips - More info and live on NA/LATAM

The updated Player Tooltips first mentioned way back in patch 5.3 are now up on NA and LAN/LAS (and rolling out to other servers soon!)
These new Player Tooltips pop up when you hover over a player on your friends list, game lobby, or in a chat room and show the the player's "recent playstyle" - the champion, position, and role they have recently been playing.

Over on the boards, Riot Ninja Tabby shared more information on these updated hovercards:
"Hey guys! I am one of the devs that worked on this feature and want to answer some of your questions.

Where's my updated tooltip?
We're still in the process of rolling it out. We've enabled it in NA and LATAM regions so far. We are rolling out slowly so that we can keep an eye on any issues that may come up and isolate them without affecting other regions.

What do these icons mean?
As many of you noticed, these icons are consistent with Team Builder. The first icon represents the position you typically play the displayed champion in. The second icon represents the role you most commonly fill with that champion.

What even is "Recent Playstyle"?
Our goal with this is to help people looking at you get a quick idea of what you like to play. We look at your recent games, find the champion you play most often, and then the role and position you most often play with that champion. We have special handling for game types where you don't have agency over you champion choices. This includes the random display for people who play a lot of ARAM, and exclusion of data from other game modes (such as Nemesis Draft).

We think there might still be improvements on what is shown here, so please keep the feedback coming!"

Limely also chimed in, explaining how the recent playstyle works across different queues:
"Currently all queues are equally weighted in the determination. There are already some tweaks we are planning to make in order to increase relevancy of the recent playstyle, but we are also open to feedback and are interested in knowing what players feel best represent their playstyle compared to what you would see in their in-client match history."
Limely continued:
So there's no literal answer. It's trying to intelligently sum up all your recent games
Currently it is trying to intelligently sum up a subset of your recent games, but we are working on leveling up that intelligence. :)"

As for when the feature will be enabled on EU specifically, Riot Ninja Tabby commented:
"Our team is actually in charge of getting it to EU. Don't worry, it's coming! We're just gathering data from NA and LATAM right now so we can ensure stability."

Riot MattEnth also noted Team Builder games aren't being added in properly to the player tooltips at the moment:
"Hey there! Thanks for the report. We've found that there's a bug where Teambuilder games aren't being properly factored in to the recent playstyle calculation. We should have a fix in the next patch."
Riot Limely also added:
"That being said, like most League features, hovercards are still evolving. We're working on tweaking the algorithm to make "recent playstyle" more relevant for info. We have a couple ideas but are open to feedback. 
For example, when you look at your in-client match history, what do you feel best represents your recent playstyle?"

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