Red Post Collection: Several Champion Updates + Fighter and Defensive Item Changes for 5.16, Poppy still in works,& more

Posted on at 5:29 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Added in several more posts on the various Champion updates! Look for *s! ]

This morning's red post collection includes a slew of discussion on the upcoming Garen, Darius, Mordekaiser, and Skarner champion updates, a note that 5.16 will include these champion updates plus Fighter & Defensive itemization changes, a vod of the Black Market Brawlers Show Match, and more!
Continue reading for more information.

Table of Contents

Multiple Champion + Fighter/Defensive Itemization Updates aimed at 5.16

[NOTE: All newly added posts are denated with a *]

As noted yesterday,  GarenDariusMordekaiser, and Skarner have all been added to Riot's champion update schedule and are slated for gameplay work in the near future.

When asked when we can expect to see the Garen, Darius, Mordekaiser, and Skarner updates released, Meddler noted they plan to release the four + itemization changes in a single patch:
"Our aim is to release the Garen, Darius, Skarner and Morde reworks in the same patch, along with some changes to fighter and defensive itemization. As usual that's not 100% guaranteed, it's certainly what we're trying for though."
He continued, noting these things are being aimed at 5.16:
"Odds are pretty high this stuff will be in 5.16."
*Repertoir also noted:
"They should all go to PBE at the same time barring unexpected complications with one of them."
As for what "fighter and defensive itemization" means, Meddler elaborated:
"A new item or two, plus some small (mainly) adjustments to defensive items (in general Armor items are getting slight nerfs, MR items slight buffs)."
He continued:
Is this going to be more defensive item related? Or is there going to be a mix of off/def bruiser items? Last question, why are you guys changing the game so much mid-season, it seems odd as all of the "big" changes have mostly came before preseason.
Light overhaul of stats/costs on many defensive items, plus a new item or two targeted particularly at fighters. Stat/cost changes will likely be lighter than the AP changes in 5.13, not looking to make that level of change at this point.

We've been making some bigger changes this year than last both because we feel last year we were and a bit too conservative during the year and because this allows us to better address some stuff we've wanted to work on for a long time. Trying to cram everything major into a Preseason once a year limits how much we can get done and doesn't give us a chance to test and learn as we go. Doing the AP itemization adjustments mid season for example's given us some useful learnings for the next sets of items we're looking at."
As for if they'll do a pass at ADC itemization in the future, Meddler commented:
"ADC itemization's one of the next sets we've been talking about tackling if this set also goes well (AP items being the first, which has worked out well so far). That would be a post Worlds at the earliest thing though."

On reddit Meddler added that while 5.16 is gearing up to be large,  5.17 and 5.18 will likely be more focused on balance refinements as they will likely be the patch the 2015 World Championship will be played on:
"5.16's going to be a pretty big patch with multiple reworks and some item changes. After that though we'll be shifting focus to balance refinements, with the aim of a stable patch for worlds (so no major disruption expected in 5.17 or 5.18, given Worlds will probably be played on one of those two patches)."
He also noted this in a different comment:
"We'll be going a lot lighter than usual on balance changes/new additions to the game for a bit post 5.16, we're with you on the value of Worlds having a stable patch and the regular servers being similar to the patch Worlds is played on. There will still be some adjustments of course, but less than most other parts of the year."
As for an estimation of how many patches we'll see total in the 2015 season, Meddler commented:
"At a guess 5.24, or thereabouts, will be the last patch of the year. To give some more context though as said above Worlds will probably be played on 5.17 or 5.18 and the Preseason 2016 changes will probably come out a bit before 5.24."

*When asked how disruptive they envision the changes to be for players, Repertoir noted:
"Probably not as big as one would think. Garen and Darius are remaining similar enough that pros won't have to really relearn them outside of one or two things, which should be pretty easy for any pro player. Skarner may take a bit more practice to adjust to, but even then, remains pretty similar to what he used to be. Morde will likely require the most adjustment from pros to try to pick up if they do. 
Don't get me wrong, their changes will cause some disruption and adaptation for pros, but it's nowhere near as big as if we were to release four new champions or Sion-level updates in the same patch."
He continued:
"Across all four champions... 
New line skillshots = 0 
New Delayed abilities = 1 
New slows = 1 
New "Free" Movement Speed = 0 (maybe 1, some MS allocations have been altered) 
Dashes added = 0 
And though you didn't ask for it...
Knockups added=0 
On-target 3-hit combos added=0 
These guys will largely have the same skills you know them to have (tweaked quite a bit in some cases). One of the things we wanted to keep true of these guys is that kiting them is still effective, while at the same time amping up their effectiveness a bit when they are on targets."
When asked about the scope of Mordekaiser's gameplay updates, Meddler elaborated:
"Morde's a moderate sized update (bigger than Garen, Skarner or Darius). His skills are still pretty similar, but all have at least some degree of adjustment, with a push in more of a bruiser direction. We're not going to be giving him CC or mobility though, we feel lack of those, in exchange for some otherwise pretty inappropriate stuff (that ult especially), is a key part of Morde's identity. 
We're with you that Morde could do with a visual update. There are other characters we feel need the work more though on the art side, so he's a way down the priority list (Poppy's the primary art intensive project on the Champion Update team right now). We're going for a mainly gameplay update as a result, since we've got kit changes ready to go (with some limited visual effects changes to support them as needed)."
*When asked about this "bruiser direction", Meddler added:
"Tankier, more sustained damage/close range damage, less burst combo."
As for Skarner's update, Riot Repertoir scuttled in with a few comments:
Will he become a better tank or a better fighter?
He'll generally be a bit better tank following the changes. Depending on how he's using his new mechanic, he'll be a worse fighter on average, but a significantly better one situationally.
Will Skarner's pre 6 gank impact be addressed or do you see it as a fair trade off for what he gains at level 6 or there isn't a problem in that regard?
Pre-6 ganks are more threatening now when executed properly, but not necessarily easier to pull off.
What is the scale of the update It can't be poppy level but is it like gangplank level? Can you identify some problems that you have observed that has lead to the decision that he needs a gameplay update.
Skarner's changes are like a one or two ability change and numbers tuning across the board, gameplay only. Skarner's historically just been one of many guys that tries to run at you (Garen, Morde, and Darius have a bit of this too), so we're trying to add some twists to that so that they don't feel so similar to play as/against in that regard."
When asked if the Skarner gameplay changes will aim to make him "more unique", Scruffy noted:
"This is actually the major goal of the upcoming changes. Giving him some totally new things to bring to his team/the game."
On Skarner, Scruffy continued:
"The general way you play him will feel very similar (though with some pretty major QoL improvements in the new passive area). The changes are gonna be more focused on giving him a more unique contribution to his team/playstyle. Effectively expect that most of his current skills will remain in tact.

Next week will answer all of the questions when he's on PBE for testing."
On the scope of the work, Meddler also added:
"Somewhat bigger than Garen, though not dramatically so. One of the biggest things we want to do in his case is give him a clearer niche when his ult's on CD."
*Repertoir added:
"Mostly we'll be trying to add some flavor to a game with Skarner in it. He'll still be spamming Q, he'll still be skittering around at high speeds, he'll still stun, and he's keeping his R."

When asked if his updates will make Garen less of a "new player friendly" champion, Scruffy noted:
"Garen should remain a good option for beginners after his changes (possibly better in some ways). I wouldn't worry too much about his level of difficulty skyrocketing in his update."
When asked about the difference between Garen being a fighter instead of a tank, Meddler explained:
"Our approach with the primary tags on each character is generally to reflect what a champion is trying to do in a fight, rather than how they build. Garen's there primarily for damage for example. He does bring a little bit of CC, and he's happy to soak up some damage where he can, but his ideal goal is to spin on someone then ult them for a kill. Tanks by contrast, even if they've got similar builds, tend to be much more focused on setting up the enemy team for others to kill and/or protecting their own team. Lot of disruption basically, most often through CC."
*As for if the goal of these changes are to make Garen see competitive play, Repertoir noted:
"We're not actually too concerned with seeing him in competitive play, to be honest. If he happens to be played there, that's great, but the goal is more to make a game with a Garen in it feel different, than to get him into competitive play."

In case you missed it yesterday, here's Meddler on Garen's upcoming gameplay update:

When asked about the Garen changes in particular, Meddler noted:
"We'll be talking about Garen in detail soonish, few initial comments in the meantime though:
  • Garen's probably the lowest scope project on that list, with the addition of a new mechanic to his kit and some noticeable power curve tuning as key elements for him. Somewhat larger gameplay changes than MF, significantly smaller than GP. 
  • Changes to Garen are very much being developed with the item changes in mind. 
  • Very with you on the value of distinct benefits for bringing a particular champion to a team. We've got something else in mind for Garen though that doesn't overlap with other objective controllers (ult on monsters would give a very Cho/Nunu sort of feel)."
He continued, noting that Garen's Silence would not be removed:
i dont think theyll touch that part. they only removed the silence on champions where it was more or less inavoidable. you couldnt avoid kass from blinking in, and hitting you with it, then retreat before it runs out. same for leblanc. 
this created a lane pattern where theyd poke you down without giving you the ability to do anything against it. 
removing the one off talon is debatable, but a similar problem. you couldnt do much against him hovering with the cusor over you and hitting e from a distance. and then he could unleash his chain on you while youre disabled.
with garen, its as simple as to just not let him come close while his sword glows.
That's pretty accurate as to our thinking on silences (can be a good fit on champs where there are things you can do to avoid the silence, generally not appropriate on characters who have the tools to silence you with really high reliability). Garen's keeping his silence as a result, for while it's click to hit it's also a melee ability and he doesn't have a dash/jump/blink."

Poppy Update still in development

As for the status of Poppy's update with this talk of champion updates, Meddler noted:
Poppy. When?
Being worked on. These reworks are mainly gameplay/game design dependent, Poppy at this point is mainly dependent on art. They're parallel workstreams as a result, rather than competing ones."
Meddler continued:
could we please prioritize the poppy rework first?
she's really the only champ waiting for a rework that is broken and capable of solo carrying games.
The bulk of the work that needs to be done on Poppy at this point is art/sound/VO. These other reworks by contrast are gameplay updates with the minimal amount of other work needed to support kit changes. Delaying these won't help Poppy get out any sooner as a result, these are updates that are being done in parallel with full relaunches, not instead of."
Scruffy also added:
Just please don't tell me that you put all those champs in front of Poppy.. ;____; Where's the Yordle priority?
not hurting poppy priority. Work from different parts of the champ update team."
*Repertoir also popped in to add:
Extremely one dimensional, but idk why he is even being considered to be reworked before things like poppy, yorick, and warwick
"He wasn't really considered before them. His changes are just much smaller scope than Poppy, requiring few art assets to complete. We could release Garen now and Poppy in X patches, or not release Garen now, and Poppy would still be X patches away. The people working on them and the stuff required to finish them don't really overlap."

*As for what the status of the large scope Taric rework is, Repertoir noted:
"Taric needs a whole lot of work on the visual side as well as gameplay. Skarner could get a lot of gains on mostly the gameplay side. As a result, Skarner was able to be completed first. This isn't really a matter of Skarner instead of Taric. They're drawing from two different resource pools. You certainly won't be playing Taric in the next months, but he's actually coming along really well and I'm super excited for him."
*Meddler also commented on Yorick's large scope update:
"We believe Yorick needs a full scale relaunch, not just a small to moderate gameplay update. He's behind Poppy, and likely Taric in the queue for one though. Also possible we might opt for Urgot before him, depends on how the early exploratory work on each of them comes along."

Poacher's Knife  & Preseason

When asked if Poacher's Knife will be receiving any changes in the near future, Meddler noted that it is more likely something to work on in preseason:
So we are getting 2 big patches soon, and let me guess, still no changes to poacher knife? I mean this item is really bad, and almost everyone keep whining about it, so changing it just before worlds would be great and bad at the same time. Good for bigger itemization, but pro players would have to learn when to buy it.
Poacher's Knife we're more likely to tackle in Preseason. While we do think it's appropriate to make a number of changes in the run up to Worlds making counter jungling into a significant strategy's the sort of overarching change (rather than just an adjustment to individual champions, items etc) we generally think's better off between seasons. 
Far from guaranteed we'll buff Poachers though, there's a pretty good argument that we'd be better off not tying counter jungling to a specific item so focused on just counter jungling.

Black Market Brawlers Show Match VOD

Here's the VOD for yesterday's  Black Market Brawlers show match between Gangsters Against Nice Kids vs International Kraken Society!

The Black Market Brawlers is currently available on live as part of the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event!

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