1/25 PBE Update: More Tentative Balance Changes

Posted on at 2:28 PM by Aznbeat
The PBE has been updated! As we continue the 9.3 PBE cycle, today's patch includes more tentative balance changes for Aatrox, Irelia, and Crit items!
Continue reading for more information!

(Warning: PBE Content is tentative and subject to change - what you see below may not reflect what eventually gets pushed to live servers at the end of the cycle! Manage your expectations accordingly.)

Table of Contents

Balance Changes

NOTE*: The PBE is a testing grounds for new, tentative, & experimental changes. Be aware that what you see below may be relative to other changes earlier this cycle! These are not official notes.

[Changelist / Context]
  • HP regen growth increased from .05 to .15
  • Base HP5 increased from 5 to 8
  • Umbral Dash (E)
    • Now only heals on damage to champions
    • No longer has charges
    • Cooldown lowered from 26/22/18/14/10 to 9/8/7/6/5

[Irelia has other changes in testing on the PBE!]
  • Ionian Fervor (Passive)
    • Attack speed increased from 5/7/8% to 6/9/12%
    • Bonus magic damage on hit now also has a 25% bonus AD ratio


Cloak of Agility
  • Returning item
  • Critical strike chance increased from 15% to 20%
  • Cost increased from 600 to 800

Essence Reaver
  • New Recipe: [Pickaxe + Caufield's Warhammer + Cloak of Agility + 425]
  • Total cost increased from 3000 to 3200
  • AD lowered from 75 to 60
  • [Removed] No longer gives mana
  • [New] Now gives +25% Critical strike chance
  • Unique Passive - Basic attacks now refund 1.5% of your mana
    • up from 1%
  • [Removed] No longer grants Essence Flare

Infinity Edge
  • New Recipe: [BF Sword + Pickaxe + Cloak of Agility + 425g]
  • AD increased from 70 to 75
  • Now gives +25% Critical Strike chance
  • Unique passive effect changed - "Critical strikes deal 225% damage instead of 200%."

Kircheis Shard
  • Cost lowered from 800 to 600
  • Combine cost lowered from 500 to 300

Last Whisper
  • New Recipe: [Long Sword + Long Sword + 750]
  • Cost increased from 1300 to 1450
  • AD increased from 10 to 20
  • Unique Passive - Last Whisper armor penetration increased from 10% to 20%

Lord Dominik's Regards
  • Combine cost lowered from 625 to 475
    • [due to change in Last Whisper price]

Mortal Reminder
  • Combine cost lowered from 700 to 550
    • [due to change in Last Whisper price]

Phantom Dancer
  • New Recipe: [Dagger + Zeal + Brawler's Gloves + 700]
  • Cost lowered from 2700 to 2600
    • [Due to change in cost of Zeal]
  • Attack Speed lowered from 45% to 30%
  • Critical strike lowered from 30% to 25%
  • Unique Passives changed:
    • [New] Unique Passive - Spectral Waltz: Basic attacking a champion grants ghosting and 7% Movement Speed for 2 seconds.
    • [New] Unique Passive - Lifeline: If you would take damage that would reduce your Health below 30%, gain a shield that absorbs up to 240 - 600 damage for 2 seconds. (90 second cooldown)

Rapid Firecannon
  • Critical Strike Chance lowered from 30% to 25%
  • Cost lowered from 2800 to 2600
  • Combine cost increased from 700 to 800
    • [Due to change in cost of Zeal and Kircheis Shard]

Runaan's Hurricane
  • Critical strike chance lowered from 30% to 25%
  • Movement speed lowered from 7% to 5%
  • Cost lowered from 2800 to 2600
    • Combine cost lowered from 900 to 800
      • [Due to change in cost of Zeal]

Spear of Shojin
  • Now available on SR
  • Recipe: [BF Sword + Kindlegem + Long Sword + 950]
  • Total Cost: 3400
    • +60 AD
    • +250 Health
    • +20% Cooldown Reduction
    • UNIQUE Passive: After you cast your ultimate, your next basic attack within 10 seconds grants Awakened Dragon for 6 seconds (30 second cooldown).
    • Awakened Dragon: Gain 50% attack speed, and basic attacks refund 20% of your remaining non-ultimate cooldowns.

Statikk Shiv
  • Critical strike chance lowered from 30% to 25%
  • Cost lowered from 2800 to 2600
  • Combine cost increased from 700 to 800
    • [Due to change in cost of Zeal and Kircheis Shard]

  • Cost lowered from 1300 to 1200
  • Combine cost lowered from 600 to 500

Context & Notes

1) Riot Wittrock provided a changelist for Aatrox in today's update:
"Agreed that Aatrox E cooldown needs to be much lower if we move it to only having one cast. The cooldown we're currently testing is 9/8/7/6/5."

2) Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for January 25th, including thoughts on crit item work, Akali, Aatrox, and Irelia, 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 delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler 
Crit Item Work 
We're currently aiming to ship changes to crit items, plus potentially some other associated work, in 9.3. Our goals for that look like:
  • Crit marksmen players have an appealing crit build path
  • Marksmen (crit especially, but others to some degree) have improved ability to get some defensive effects when needed early/mid game
  • Satisfaction of play for crit marksmen games increases
  • Changes range from power neutral to power positive depending on the marksmen in question (e.g. Tristana has room to be stronger, Sivir probably doesn't) 
How we're looking to accomplish those goals:
  • Pulling some power from crit builds late game to put it earlier. Stronger 2 item spike especially, with crit synergies kicking in quicker. While we don’t think crit builds should be as powerful on 2 items as other builds are, given their late game’s noticeably stronger, we think we made the difference too large with our changes last year.
  • Reducing anti synergies between some items and frustrations like builds overcapping on crit
  • Changing some items so that it's not such a large damage loss to get some defenses into builds for crit users
  • Miscellaneous other changes 
Some specifics of what's currently in and looking pretty solid:
  • IE goes back to increasing critical strike damage though not as much as it used to (225%). AD also gets increased to give it a larger early impact
  • Essence Reaver goes back to a AD, Crit, CDR, mana return item. Mana return's on every AA and CDR is a flat 20%.
  • The current ER effect (AAs lower CDs after ult cast) gets moved to a new item with an AD, health, CDR statline (using the name and icon of Spear of Shojin, the original design of which we concluded was too overlapped with other items, Sterak’s especially). Goal is to have it be useable by both some marksmen and some other classes as per current ER.
  • PD gets a Lifeline passive that grants a shield when you fall below 30% health, also grants MS and ghost on basic attacking a champion. Loses the damage reduction from the enemy you last hit, though. Shift overall towards much more a burst mitigation item than a duelist one. Current PD has very few core users, with the two most noticeable, Trynd and Yasuo, champs who pivot between Shiv and PD depending on the tuning of each. Goal is to ensure Shiv’s a good option for them as a result, with a Shiv buff likely both to help them and other users.
  • All upgraded crit items go to 25% crit (IE, ER, PD, RFC, Shiv, Hurricane)
  • Stormrazor remains an AD/AS item, though now with a unique passive that amps your Energized effects (Fleet Footwork, Shiv, RFC) when they trigger. 
Still being worked on, details less certain:
  • Tuning on Spear of Shojin. Might cut the basic ability CD reduction to 10% per hit for example from 20%. Stat line on it compared to ER is more generally appealing and want to avoid it being extremely dominant.
  • Looking at other defensive effects, including things like whether defensive base stats should be adjusted, whether it should be more feasible for marksmen to build defensive boots when needed etc.
  • Item costs, exact numbers on many items. 
Akali, Aatrox and Irelia 
Wanted to share some thoughts as well on where we're up to with these three champions, given they've been challenging to balance and have been the subject of a lot of discussion recently. The core focus is on giving them more meaningful weaknesses, so opponents have clear windows/ways to play against them, rather than on power. A secondary focus is reducing the sheer number of mechanics on their kits.

We had nerfs to Aatrox in 9.2 (Q ratio, E CD), with the primary goal being just trimming some power from him, since we felt he was overpowered in most contexts. We've got some follow up work in 9.3 as well aimed at giving opponents better ways to play against him. Power impact of those changes to be determined after we’ve assessed 9.2. 
We're testing two main directions at present. The first is giving his enemies more periods of time where his E isn't available. That likely means removing the charge system from it so he can't use one and still rely on having another whenever he wants it. Still debating whether the right version of that is a shorter CD single cast or a longer CD double cast where he can still dash twice but has to use the second close to the first (like Renekton E). Second change is we're probably removing E's spell vamp against minions, with some increased HP5 to compensate, so that he's not as able to shrug off harass as easily whenever he's able to push waves.

Getting the immediate question out of the way first, yep, we'll be removing Akali's shroud making her untargetable under towers. We don't think that alone will solve everything with Akali, but agree it's a good change, especially given even many Akali mains would prefer that the effect be removed and power spent elsewhere. The original intent with the shroud working under towers was to give Akali similar dive capabilities to other assassins, despite her longer kill times, while also adding some additional uniqueness. While it accomplished that it did so at a high counterplay/frustration cost, though for quite a while we were very split internally on whether the cost was too high or not. 
In terms of other changes we're also looking at Akali's sustain and whether, like Aatrox, she's potentially shrugging off harass too effectively via her Q heal. We generally want champions able to create and win all ins with some reliability to be more vulnerable to harass. Debating at present whether, if we do remove the Q heal at max energy, we should replace it with another mechanic or not. For those of you who play her regularly is that something you enjoy optimizing around or not?

Like Aatrox, Irelia just got nerfed in 9.2 and we'll need to see how those changes landed. Again like Aatrox we're also looking at some follow up work to add more counterplay to her, reduce how much agency’s in the hands of the Irelia player versus her opponents. That work's a bit earlier on than work on Aatrox/Akali. Likely approaches include making W more (or only) effective against physical damage so she's a less universal pick, improving visual effect clarity on E so it's clearer when you will/won't get hit, changes to improve her top lane performance. 
At some point long term we'd also like to make it so Irelia's got a more distinct niche, make sure she's bringing something distinct to a team so that when she's a good pick isn't purely dependent on her general strength. The extra damage to shields on her passive and disarm on R were attempts to do that during her VGUs original development. Our conclusion was though that they weren't pulling their weight in that regard, so it was better to strip them off given problems they created, given Irelia’s been an ongoing issue, then find better ways to get needed distinctiveness at a later date. 
Damage Adjustments 
As mentioned last week we've been working on some targeted changes to damage output. Likely have details to talk about next week. Target is to ship changes in 9.4, in part so we can see how 9.2 and 9.3 affect things." 

Check out [THIS PAGEfor a comprehensive list of the new content & changes currently on the PBE as a part of this cycle or catch up with the individual update links below !

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