Red Post Collection: 5/31 Balance Update, Baron Changes in 8.10/8.11, Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 6/1, & More

Posted on at 1:31 PM by Aznbeat
[Updated with 6/1/2018 Balance Update from Riot Aether]

Today's red post collection includes details on overnight hotfixes for Pyke and the removal of Banner of Command from ARAM, PhRoXz0n with more detail on Baron changes made in patch 8.10/8.11, Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

6/1/2018 Balance Update

Riot Aether provided a look at a balance update micropatch that is being pushed out to live servers!  This is not yet updated into each region's patch notes, but should be by Monday.
"8.11 balance update! Not sure when the patch notes will be updated since it's late Friday and teams are offline, but in the meantime, here's a screenshot (now not-for-ants size). 
Yasuo, Taliyah buff Kai'Sa, Ezreal, Banner nerf"

Here is a full text summary of the changes:
"The loss of crit chance on IE means if Yasuo wants to utilize his crit-doubling passive, he has to rush a Zeal item -- none of which come with AD. We're giving him some early/midgame help so he's better able to make it through the process of building Phantom Dancer, while also letting up on the Q crit damage reduction now that IE no longer multiplies crit damage." 
  • BASE ATTACK DAMAGE :: 60 >>> 63
  • Q - STEEL TEMPEST CRIT DAMAGE :: 150% >>> 180%  (Tooltip will be updated in 8.12!)
  • BUGFIX :: The combination of Brawler's Gloves and Infinity Edge now properly grants Yasuo 40% critical strike chance 
"Kai'Sa was one of the strongest marksmen prior to 8.11 and since her Rageblade build avoids this patch's early game power-downs to crit builds, that "front of the pack" status has become stand-out dominance. (These changes include a W ratio boost to keep the AP Kai'Sa dream alive.)"
  • PLASMA BASE ON-HIT DAMAGE :: 7-12 at levels 1-16 >>> 4-10 at levels 1-16
  • PLASMA PER-STACK DAMAGE :: 1-9 at levels 1-17 >>> 1-5 at levels 1-17
  • PLASMA AP RATIO :: 0.2/0.25/0.3/0.35/0.4 (for stacks 1-5) >>> 0.1/0.125/0.15/0.175/0.2 (for stacks 1-5)
  • W - VOID SEEKER RATIO :: 0.45 ability power >>> 0.6 ability power 
"Ez is another non-crit marksman who was already prevalent leading up to 8.11 and is now over the line. (In his case, he actually got a direct buff via Blade of the Ruined King.)" 
  • ATTACK DAMAGE GROWTH :: 3.11 >>> 2.5
  • PASSIVE - SPELL FLUX ATTACK SPEED :: 10/12/14% per stack >>> 10% per stack at all levels 
"Now that Taliyah's damage against minions is down (making wave control less automatic), she has room for more damage against champions." 
  • BASE ATTACK DAMAGE :: 56 >>> 58
  • Q - THREADED VOLLEY DAMAGE VS CHAMPIONS :: 40% for rocks beyond the first >>> 60% for rocks beyond the first
  • E - UNRAVELED EARTH DASH DAMAGE :: 35/45/55/65/75 (+0.2 ability power) >>> 50/60/70/80/90 (+0.3 ability power) 
Banner of Command
"We changed Banner to make the empowered minion less of a shutdown against AP champs, but now it's causing problems for everyone, especially when multiple teammates start stacking it." 
  • EMPOWERED MINION DAMAGE REDUCTION :: 70% >>> 40% (Tooltip will be updated in 8.12!)"

5/31/2018 Balance Update

The official 8.11 patch notes have been updated to include several Pyke buffs pushed out late 5/31:
"5/31/2018 Balance Update 
"We expect Pyke to have a steep learning curve, so we were conservative with his launch strength to make sure he doesn't grow into an overpowered state in the weeks to come. We overshot on the guardrails, so we're pumping some power into Pyke's laning strength to help him have more consistent games while players learn his kit."
  • BASE HEALTH REGEN 5 health per 5 seconds ⇒ 7 health per 5 seconds
  • BASE MANA 380 ⇒ 415
  • BASE ARMOR 42 ⇒ 45

Baron changes for 8.10/11 

PhRoXz0n hit the boards to talk about the changes made to Baron in Patch 8.10 & 8.11:
"Hello just wanted to quickly talk about the 8.10 and 8.11 changes to Baron. 
Encounter Design:
- Distribute more damage over the backline to reduce the emphasis on having a pure tank in your comp to be able to take Baron (ie. allow more solo queue style comps to take Barons).
- Increase Baron's health so that he takes longer to do, but does less damage. This is more similar to the Elder model; Epic objectives exist as a means to drive conflict/create emergent gameplay. Typically when Baron (or Epics in general) do too much damage or are overly tactical encounters, the only time they get taken is when there is 0% risk.
- Reward teams for good vision control. 
- Can understand the desire for a "raid boss" style Baron encounter, don't think SR is the right place for that given that he has been tuned that way in the past (when SRU launched) and resulted in an overly tactical encounter that is too hard to take in all-but ace situations, rather than fulfilling the strategic and pacing goals set for it.
- We want to increase the overall number of times that Baron gets started (but not necessarily finished).
- Having said that, his tuning is intentionally close to the floor of where it can be (this is a correction for regular play vs pro play). 
Let me know if you have questions!"

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: June 1 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for June 1st, including thoughts on gold/xp funneling, early game snowball, and more:
"Hi folks, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 
Thoughts on 8.11 shortly 
At time of writing the 8.11 patch is getting deployed still so we haven't yet had a chance to see how it's landed. Thoughts on that to come shortly. Over the first couple of days we'll be looking in particular at champions and items that are so out of line (whether strong or weak) that we need to prioritize work on them for 8.12 or potentially just micropatch them before that. 
Gold/XP Funneling 
There's been some increase in gold/XP funneling recently, both in game usage and discussion around it. Thoughts on that below. It's an an ongoing thing we're keeping an eye on, so these are initial thoughts, not a strong statement of our position. 
For anyone unfamiliar with it funneling here refers to when you try and give a champ much more XP/gold than they'd normally be able to get so they're really far ahead of everyone else. Right now that usually involves one champ taking most of the minions/monsters from two positions with things like Taric/Yi in Mid/Jungle, or Karthus/Nunu also in Mid/Jungle. We've also seen it in the recent past with cases like Kayle/Yi in Top/Jungle. 
It's a non standard strategy getting play on SR, which, all else being equal, we think is pretty cool. Would like to support different playstyles more than we have in the past. 
Having said that, it's not clear yet whether there's sufficient counterplay to it or not. Not seeing people use it optimally or play against it optimally yet (does demand adaptation). We're also unsure how effective a strategy it really is. It's looking like one of the stronger ways to play as a smurfing duo, unclear how well it will perform once it's better known against equal skilled players. 
We're certainly seeing some player frustration with it. Need to determine whether we’re seeing temporary pain around the state of the meta changing as something new but healthy is found, a flavor of the month strat that will vanish by itself or a strategy that even long term will lead to a less fun, deep game. 
Funneling of resources also risks creating game states where one or more players gives up a lot of their agency and fun so someone else can be stronger. Some of that can be fine, possible this crosses the line though (not personally sure yet). If it starts to become the primary way to play, versus a niche option, that would be pretty concerning (Twisted Treeline suffers in that regard). 
Early Game Snowball
As mentioned previously we're going to be looking at early game snowball in the near future. We've seen snowball rates gradually increasing statistically over the last couple of months. We’ve got a number of ideas about what might contribute to that increase so will be validating things like: 
  • Have gameplay changes like those to gold bounties, scuttle, mage mana, resolve health contributed significantly? We didn’t see similar snowball increases looking at last year’s data and 2017 also had meaningful gameplay changes.
  • Are there behavioral changes that are contributing? Things like an increase in ‘open mid’ as an attitude would also contribute to statistical measurements of snowball.
  • Are there any other factors we might be missing? Things like bugs in the data set (unlikely, but want to keep checking), matchmaking changes etc could also be really relevant here. 
On the gameplay side changes like those above that might have contributed have been targeted at other things we also believe are important, like solo carry potential, broadening team comps, reducing early lane passivity etc. If looking to tone down snowball from a gameplay perspective we’ll be aiming for approaches that don't clash too hard with other goals as a result. Things like reducing team snowball more than solo, potentially reducing the cost of an early death, changing tower tankiness by game time (does it still make sense for them to gradually get tankier versus starting tanky?) etc."

Meddler added:
"A few things we're looking at 8.11 wise since this was written: 
Potential micropatches (not guaranteed, but likely enough figured they're worth mentioning):
  • Yasuo's taken a solid hit from the item changes and, unlike others, doesn't have alternate builds he should be migrating to. Likely targets are Q crit penalty (to -10%, like his AAs) and base AD up a couple of points.
  • Taliyah's performance is also down quite a bit. We're looking at Q falloff on champs on repeated hits, base AD and E trigger damage.
  • Ezreal by contrast's doing very well given the reduction in early game power many marksmen have felt hasn't affected him at all. Potentially lowering his passive attack speed.
  • Kai'Sa's also overperforming. Looking at lowering her passive damage, both base and ratio.
  • Banner of Command's potentially too strong on SR. We've disabled it as a (probably) temporary thing on ARAM, given it's clearly ruining games there when stacked. Looking at how it behaves on SR (could well be a problem too, context is different however)."

When asked about Swain and Irelia after their updates, Meddler replied:
Also any thoughts on how Swain and Irelia settled being our most recent VGUs
Pretty happy with both. Swain, as you'd expect from the one who's been out longer, seems in the more stable spot. Irelia I expect we'll need to do some work on, personal suspicion being that the Q reset mechanics may not be quite right. Fundamentals of both kits seem solid though and I think they both deliver well thematically too."

As for some possible changes to shields, Meddler noted:
Hey Meddler Maple mentioned you guys planned on flattening all gifted shield durations to 2.5 can I ask if that'll apply to non support shields like Stand United or Safeguard and if there'll be any compensation as well what about Black Shield since it's only magic damage shielding
We're looking at reducing some shields to 2.5, not all. Janna, Karma, Lulu and Ori are the main cases we're considering. No immediate plans at least for others like Shen, Morg etc though that could change."

When asked about vision, Meddler commented:
What are your thoughts on vision right now, with changes over several patches (support item changes, trackers knife removal and most recently increase in warding trinket cooldown)? 
Also, I would really like to see a dev talk about what happened to clash this weekend, and how Riot responded to it, similar to the one yall made awhile back about the tiamat/Riven bug that shut down ranked for awhile several seasons ago. It's really cool to see the thoughts of those dealig with the problem and the process of how yall do it.
I think vision's in an ok spot right now, though the vision related slot in Domination needs some work, both from a gameplay and a satisfaction perspective. 
I'll pass that on about Clash in case it's not already planned. I'm not involved with Clash's development myself, very much agree that offering insights like that into the process could be really good though, I think it's been good when we've done similar things in the past."

On what runes were doing well at the moment, Meddler noted:
Which runes are in the best state and are there any trees you still want to work on by adding keystones etc. - if this applies to all which wild be highest priority :) thinking bard should go for inspiration first but not really as much scope for him there as I would like..
For keystones I think there's a clear need for work on Sorcery. Would like at some point (not sure what timeframe is realistic) to both do some work on Comet and get a fourth keystone in there. 
For non keystones Precision and Domination I think are the two trees most in need of work. Domination's vision related slot especially needs some work, while Precision's too lacking in meaningful choices (pretty solved on many of its users). 
In terms of what time I post these, I normally try to be consistent. Sometimes though if I've got a meeting or whatever so I need to get to work earlier than usual I'll put one up earlier."

As for VayneMeddler commented:
Was vayne heavily affected by the changes too? She did not build the same way as other marksman did usually.
A lot of marksmen whose items have changed are looking weaker at the moment. In most cases we're expecting that to change at least somewhat since people haven't consistently changed their build paths yet. Given Kai'Sa and Ezreal's popularity some of it's also that they're strong and therefore outclassing others a lot of the time too."

On marksmen, Meddler replied:
What item are you intending for marksmen who don't use Stormrazor well to rush? Infinity Edge is a terrible item to rush now.
We believe quite a few marksmen should be swapping to an early BotRK, in the same way many of them did after 7.5 last year. Assumption is that StormRazor, BotRK and Rageblade are likely to be the most common starts, with a few champs also going other options like Tear (Ez), Triforce (Corki), possibly Bloodthirster (Draven?) or Lethality (MF?) etc."

Quick Hits

"HUGE HUGE UPDATE: Dark Star Cho'Gath will now be on sale from 7/13 @ 11:00 AM through 8/10 @ 23:50 PM, with the plans for charity contribution unchanged. This puts Dark Star Cho'Gath release in the last weekend of Patch 8.13. Sorry to delay you guys a month."
"FYI - We'll being doing a hotfix soon to remove Banner of Command from ARAM. Not really fun to play against 5 of them on that map."
  •  AzuBK noted they were keeping an eye on Taliyah after her Patch 8.11 changes:
"Hey all. There were two main goals with this Taliyah change. One was to lower properties of the champion that make her generically useful in pro play, so that she can be stronger in non-pro play without dominating the pro meta. The other was to actually make her stronger in normal play. While there's definitely some re-learning to do and her winrate should rise over the patch, it's likely that we missed the second goal (by magnitude if nothing else) and are evaluating our followup options as Meddler noted."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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