3.8 Not This Week, Big Ultimate Skin Hint, Leblanc, Spellvamp, Sona, Irelia, Jayce, Support Champions, Xerath, And Lots More

 Important: EdWard is now playing as support for curse.

3.8 Will not be This Week

The last PBE patch had no changes. This makes me think the possible connection/high ping issues atm made the patch be held off till next week.

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

I can't comment on when it will be available. I will say that it won't be tonight or this weekend. Enjoy your Friday, folks

Big Hints on the Ultimate Skin

Morello gives some hints for who the next skin is for - With these hints, he may have just given it away!

  • Within the spirit of openness, I'll tell you this: This champion is a melee champion.
  • The fourth letter of one of his spells is "E"
  • Both of these combined point to Spirit summoner Udyr (but by no means confirmed, and could be a misdirect by morello )
  •  Madballa007 points out Mordekaise also fits with the spell with an E and "spirit"

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

What's the fourth letter of one of the champion's spells?

Within the spirit of openness, I'll tell you this:

This champion is a melee champion.

Dragon Master Swain Still a little while Away

  • Title pretty much says it. He will still be made, just not any time soon.

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Has our time finally come!?!??!
Most upvoted/viewed thread atm and has Riot finally listened after almost 3 years of fans desperately waiting?
Also, I cant find that original dragon master swain skin thread when i searched for it this time. Can anyone else find it for me or tell me what happened to it?
Not yet. It'll be a bit still, we'll make it, it will just be awhile.

Xerath Update

  • He is looking for some Voiced interactions (and gives a few examples). If you have any, make sure to post  them in that thread
  • Also says the kit is just about where it needs to be. Still some bugs tho! 

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Hey Xelnath, just a warning, you seem to be getting a little hostile with the naysayers in your last few posts. Take a breather and know that a lot of people support you on this. You definitely changed my mind from not wanting a remake, to looking foreword to one. Keep on keepin' on dude.
Thanks Patrick, I appreciate the confidence.

Hey guys,

What kind of voiced interactions do you think should occur between Xerath and other champions?


Thresh lands his hook on Xerath during Locus of Power.

Xerath says: "Those chains cannot hold me either, Jailor."

(Funny one I can't actually do: Syndra says 'So much untapped power'. Xerath replies: 'You wish.')

Today's playtest looked really positive.

QWE are working together really well. Still thrashing on the visual for E.

R has a number of bugs due to the autoattack replacer which are blocking our ability to evaluate his total power. Fascinatingly, we had a Xerath vs fed Rengar. Xerath thought he was too powerful and Rengar was sure he could kill him next time.

Probably means we're close to having the core kit flow properly.
Dude, you read my mind haha!
Stuns or kills Zilean: "You haven't changed Chronokeeper." or "What is time to eternity?" or "Resurrection? Try Immortality."
"You look just like you did the last time we met, Doctor."
Actually, mechanics question?
Xerath's ult makes him unable to be moved, and skarner's ult drags someone along with him. If Skarner ults an ulting Xerath, is Skarner stuck in place?
Also, something to rememeber to lock out- ulting Xerath using Thresh's lantern.
Ooh! Great points. I'll go try them out.

Roku on LeBlanc

  •  "Looking to improve her overall quality of life as well with small things like making her passive move around instead of just standing still."
  • More details below if you like LeBlanc!

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Morello or any other game designer, I came here to talk today about, a very special champion, that is both hated and loved by the community : Leblanc. She currently within the month, has been one of the champions with the lowest win rates in the game typically in the bottom 3 of the lowest win rate of champions. My question is, do you have any plans for her? It seems strange that Leblanc is one of the few champions that tend to fight against the timer much more than other champions and it's strange that you neglect her balance/lore/skin wise too. There hasn't been a peep about the Black Rose, lore wise and everything else remains quiet.
She is often hailed as one of the highest bursters in the game, with single target death being her specialty yet she does nothing, just like Black Rose, Leblanc seems to vanish after her combo but instead never resurfaces. Leblanc is my favorite champion, I know that Reginald and Faker has success with her but its disheartening to see that she gets no attention aside from hate and that she's left in this feast or famine status. I have ideas on how to make her more deceptive and overall better but I'll leave this post here, Morello I hope you can talk to us about the Great Deceiver
Hey Hazanshu,

I'm not Morello nor technically a game designer, but I've been looking at and working on Leblanc a bit recently so I can fill in some insight.

Leblanc is a champ that we haven't tweaked in a while because of some fundamental quirks with her playstyle and her balance. How her Mimic currently works forces her to use it with the spell she's maxing first, and that synergizes best with her highest damage ability - Sigil of Silence. This makes it so that her early and mid game spike up super high, and because of so much of that is on Sigil of Silence, your opponent doesn't have much of an option other than stacking Magic Resist and hoping to survive. We'd like to make changes to push emphasis away from her Q, and instead on to her other abilities.

For instance: If Mimic has its own damage independent from her base abilities, then that opens up the ability to use Mimic Distortion for clearing minions, or Mimic: Ethereal Chains for additional control without losing a huge chunk of your damage.

Looking to improve her overall quality of life as well with small things like making her passive move around instead of just standing still. On that note: are there any oddities or general frustrations when playing LeBlanc that could be cleaned up?

Xypherous on Spellvamp Item for AD Casters

  • There is a LOT of info here, not really able to sum this up just yet.

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Because Xypherous believes it would be too strong on champions like Xin Zhao and Irelia.
Xin Zhao and Irelia actually wouldn't do well with AD / Spell Vamp - they're better off building life steal / attack speed in many cases.

The champions in question that benefit from AD / SV the most are tanky fighters with a lot of non-autoattack base damage and the durability to stand there and soak - Essentially, if you can output a consistent steady stream of damage - while being durable enough to benefit from high amounts of in-combat regeneration.

For example, Lee Sin / Udyr / Shyvana oddly enough would benefit the most from an AD and Spell Vamp pairing because they are durable enough to make the non-autoattack drain pattern work and have relatively decent scaling with AD. However, the goal for the AD / Spell Vamp item - as people have continuously requested - is to make Glass AD assassins viable in lane (characters like Talon or Pantheon.) However, as the item tends to work better on these types of tanky spell damage fighters - this poses a problem in more than one way.

It gets exacerbated by the fact that these tanky spell damage fighters are the ones that the Glass AD assassin characters have the most trouble with in the first place. We saw this in Twisted Treeline with Lord Van Damm's Pillager. It was a good Talon item, to be sure - but it was a great tanky Lee Sin or Darius item that then they used to wipe the floor with Talon.

In the end, if the goal is to help Talon and Pantheon out - it seems counterproductive to release an item that is better on the people who they have the most trouble with.

That said, I actually do want to focus on seeing if I can make some kind of physical damage lifesteal thing work, that nicely gets it away from the magic damage / true damage dealing characters and focuses it much more on characters who do heavy attack damage scaling spells without a lot of autoattacks.

Running into trouble with it though as the heal numbers tend to be ridiculously insane or pitiful depending on the AoE coefficient I put on it. It's odd that so many of our glass AD assassins use AoE damage as their "burst" combo. It never actually seems to work coefficient wise.
I thought Tanky fighters were suppose to destroy Glass AD assassin's to begin with so expect an item to change that I think is kind of absurd also my goal isn't to help Talon or Pantheon rather just see more itemization options for AD casters while Black Cleaver is a good step I feel it about time to take another one.
Fair - if the goal here is simply to introduce more options for AD itemization, I can be on board with that. I'll just make the point that AD / Spell Vamp tends to be counterproductive in the long run as the item tends to simply make glass AD casters less viable at the expense of tanky AD casters - and thus, the additional itemization will simply sacrifice a portion of these type of characters (the squishy AD assassins) in favor of more itemization for the tankier portion of this type of character.

So is the best corse of action to do nothing and nerf ratios if an assassin is deemed worthy of play?
Which assassin are you referring to here, specifically? Most assassins have different reasons for why they are or aren't getting attention.

I main Talon, even with his odd place in the current meta, and I do believe the balance issue with him and many other casters would be some sort of compromise between the OP and the current state of the game.
I'm not really understanding what you're trying to say here - could you reword this?

Looking through the data on champions, Talon has done consistently well in the past several months. He may not be a competitive pick that will be seen in LCS - but Talon has one of the highest win rates in the game - frequently in the top 10. That doesn't mean that Talon is fine or overpowered - it just means that if you pick Talon, you'll generally win more games than you'll lose. I'm not going to say that Talon doesn't have his problems or that Talon can't fail - it's just that the people playing Talon at the moment win much more than they lose.

The rise of Zed has kind of diminished Talon's pick rate somewhat but in that time frame, Talon consistently shows better raw win results - perhaps due to the mastery of the Talon population.
Actually if lifesteal worked at, say, maybe 35% efficiency when used with AD-scaling abilities, this might get the desired result without sacrificing item balance too much.
It's an interesting thought definitely but the scary portion of this is that you'd have to introduce a heavy ranged / melee split in order to prevent Miss Fortune or other heavy AD-scaling ranged carries from becoming dominant with lifesteal being the way it is.

Generally we observe a pattern: Talon is doing well? Nerfs. Zed doing well? Nerfs (and ones that gut his playstyle and force him into a different one to boot). Akali doing... not even doing well, just gets noticed? Nerfs. Diana doing well? Nerfs (though to be fair, she is/was legitimately broken).
Talon performs consistently above his peers at the moment - whether that's due to the skill of the Talon population, that remains to be seen.

Zed is mostly an issue of how he warps competitive play - in fact, Zed suffers from the same problems that Olaf suffered in a lot of ways - Zed is much much more effective at high competitive play than he is at low competitive play, so even when Zed has a subpar win rate for the majority of our player base - we have to hit him because he's so overwhelmingly dominant in competitive.

That's also why you see the attempt at shifting his playstyle because with his current pattern, it is almost certainly going to ensure that if Zed is balanced and a good competitive pick, 95% of our players shouldn't pick Zed because they will lose.

I don't have the full context on Akali, I apologize. :x
Have you considered Spellvamp boots? Tanky champs would still probably prefer Merc's or Tabi, but it provides another offensive boot choice for casters (AD or AP, for that matter). Right now they pretty much stick to Lucidity or pick up one of the defensive options.
Honestly, if it were up to me I'd like to phase out Spellvamp entirely and pursue vamp based on specific damage types - like Physical Vamp and Magical Vamp - It makes the purpose of the item a lot more clear.

I think I'll have time to really drill on it in a couple months - currently we're working on cleaning up some of our other systems that feel worse.
It's just that when I play him I find him to be lacking slightly when compared to others that fit his exact role. Zed and Kha fill his role and others at the same time. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but he feels like he needs a small something to be even.
I agree with you that Talon doesn't feel as satisfying or as versatile as Zed or Kha'zix. In fact, when Talon has a bad game - you have a really bad game.

In fact, even when Talon has a good game, the first 15 minutes of that game is typically - "Oh my god, I am getting the stuffing beaten out of me in lane."

I'm not saying Talon is in the greatest of spots from a satisfaction or a team versatility standpoint, he's clearly not but he doesn't seem like he's as dysfunctional as some other characters we're churning on.

That's it. No boost of damage for abilities for getting crit. Or atk speed.
Oh definitely. I actually completely agree with you on this point.

I've actually experimented quite a bit with making attack speed scale certain key attributes of Pantheon for example. You can easily envision a world where Heartseeker Strike's channel time / tick rate and cooldown were all reduced by attack speed, for example. It's something that I'm actually really keen on trying to do except for the fact that it seems like current Pantheon players really like him and he's really doing well - so there's no real need for change at this point if players are satisfied with him.
To be honest, assuming you could perfectly design an item for such a specific purpose, will spellvamp on AD assassins specifically make the game better? I can't see that really being the case.
You're right in that adding sustain options on AD assassins (or even improving the AD assassin pattern) doesn't seem to have a whole lot of gains for the players facing them - nor does improving their primary pattern seem to hold a lot of gains for making the game more fun for anyone but the assassin.

However, the goal here would be to create backup patterns for these assassins when things go poorly. If an AD assassin cannot burst a character in lane - we should not be providing itemization for him to automatically burst you down, we should be probably some kind of plan B, where he doesn't *need* to burst you down in order to properly fit on his team.

In short, you're right in that we probably can't make burst assassin's primary patterns a whole lot better - but what we can do is give them alternative strategies for when that gameplan doesn't pan out so that they can still do something that game, rather than being incredibly swingy feast or famine characters.

Talon has one of the highest win ratios, but doesn't take into account he is one of the least played champs, could have 90% win ratio and only be played 10 times.. does that make him a great champion? underplayed increases the win ratio. vs say 1000 games. etc etc
Definitely a fair point and always a danger when dealing with statistics as you can interpret them in a lot of ways - Again, I'm not saying Talon is fine, overpowered or unsatisfying - just that the current players of Talon seem to be doing okay with him.
I'm not saying it's a bad goal necessarily, but I have a hunch that you are basically suggesting the impossible at this point. An item that fundamentally gives recovery options is naturally something that would practically guaranteed to be be applicable to many more champions than simply our problematic AD assassins.
Oh definitely - I agree with you that this item would probably be applicable to a lot of champions - however, in the items world - all you pretty much have to do is ensure that it doesn't benefit their direct competitor more and you've done the class a net plus - while also allowing for some fun off-builds. This is my main concern with AD / SV, for example - is that what happens is hurting the class that you originally wanted to help.

BoRK does this somewhat for carries - really good for some carries as a self-peel - but also a decent fighter and assassin item for sticking and initiation. It just happens to be better on carries than fighters, for the most part although I will agree that this case is debatable.

In the end though, this logic is best applied to retuning the champion's kit itself - rather than itemization. Itemization is a fairly broad strokes approach and you have to solve things on the right level. However, champion redesigns are typically more disruptive and harder to undo than itemization adjustments - so there's some tradeoffs between costs and control.

Isn't that just building tank items? I see Panth do it all the time and still perform well. He has high base damage, CC, and something defensive (Most assassins do) so it seems perfectly reasonable that plan b should be to be another tank.
This holds for a lot of characters - but there are some standout characters in which this isn't a good fallback. Pantheon has some great fallback patterns because his ultimate and his aegis give him some degree of flexibility. Talon or Akali don't really have this option.

To be fair, it could point to the fact that their kits should be restructured a bit to introduce more skillful play or fallback patterns - but see above.

PLEASE do this. The current system is atrocious.
That's something that's more appropriate to do in between seasons rather than mid-season so there's probably little chance of even starting investigations down that avenue soon.
Obvious number tweaking aside; thoughts?
That's not different enough from Hydra to warrant the adjusment, I feel.

Unless of course, Hydra became true to its namesake and actually had 5 forms ("heads") which you could swap around when you were at the item shop - which is a fairly interesting idea that I will pitch to someone.
Long story short: please don't quote win rates. Statistics can be interpreted many ways and it is too easy for a false conclusion to be made -- and subsequently shipped to the player base -- under the guise of a red post.
I'm not saying Talon is fine, overpowered or competitive. I'm simply saying that the current Talon players win far more games than they lose. This is probably due to a combination of them being experienced or familiar with Talon and his matchups and Talon's actual power level.

I'm not saying that Talon doesn't have problems - simply that it seems to indicate that Talon isn't completely dysfunctional at the moment compared to other champions we're working on.
I understand that, but then what relevancy does quoting that data have to support your claims if not considering other important variables?
It's an explanation for why we are prioritizing other tasks over him - not a statement on his overall power level or his balance.

It's obviously a bitter statement to read - that their champion isn't completely on fire when there are obvious problems - but it is the honest answer.

More on Sona

  • Not to much more information here from yesterday. If you missed yesterday's post, check it out here.
  • Big thing here is people seem to miss that the ability NEVER reduced damage, and now it does, that alone working again would be a massive buff if they did not alter anything else

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Why is everyone completely excluding the fact that her 20% damage reduction is fixed? You will win every single trade if you open with the damage reduction...
But why nerf a champion because an ability wasn't working in a way it was INTENDED to work?
This is the part I don't understand.
Because giving a character a new skill that gives 20% damage reduction is a major buff. To add that to Sona, you have to take it away unless your intent is to buff her hard.

The difference between...

* Fixed a bug that caused Sona's damage reduction to not function


* Diminuendo: now grants 20% damage reduction to enemies hit

...is only one thing; intent. It's a bug because it was supposed to be doing that prior. Since we've done Sona balance without her having this mechanic, and she's already strong, she cannot be balanced the same by adding a new mechanic.
so you guys have known about this bug this whole time and just figured it was nbd?
No, we just learned about it. That's why we're fixing it.

It was especially nasty because the UI and damage text reported reduced damage, but it didn't actually occur.
morello will there be a visual animation for the duration to indicate which champ is affected by her W powerchord?
Not right now, but I'd very much like to fix that.
I stopped buying skins because of **** like this . I mean you buy skins for champs you main, but with game balance in huge swing every patch there are no champs you can safely main . good thing pentakill sona was on sale... too bad she got chain nerfed 5 pathes in a row since then
But Sona is still used a lot, even after the last "doomsday" nerfs.

What is largely playable and unplayable (especially at most elos) is more mental than real.
I understand exactly what you are saying, but help me out here. This gives me the impression that you base your balancing on player's performance with a champ + your playtesting with a champ instead of based on the #'s. How do you 'done Sona's balance without her having this mechanic' unless you do balance separate from the actual math. Which... seems to me like /fail. Or at least, 'balance' means current player meta balance, not actual balance.
Am I missing something?
We balanced her as if she had this mechanic, but she didn't. People reported it not being very effective in playtests, so we assumed that the other powercords outperformed it. That is the case when the W Powercord was totally ineffective

Additionally, we did undo some of the nerfs to her toughness because we think with the powercord damage nerfs, those are less needed.
Balance is done empirically. Nobody has enough skill at theorycrafting to balance the game in their heads. In order to balance, you look at what is currently strong and currently weak, and adjust those in both directions.
Sona was balanced against her current game performance, not some theoretical ideal of what her kit should do if played to maximum efficiency.
Exactly. Theoretical balance is only there to help you test and confirm/deny those theories.
Morello Im going to try asking this again
Why her damage?
It's what makes Sona, Sona
Why decide to do the exact same thing, but even worse now, as last year upon nerfing her powerchord damage and making her useless, having to buff her a few weeks later
You yourself said you didn't want to touch her strengths, but that is exactly what you are doing now, can you see why we are miffed at these changes yet?
Because the curving on 1-3 is off. It's a pretty simple fix.

"Doing damage as a strength" doesn't mean that damage needs to not be tuned.
Morello, can you confirm that other champions with %damage reduction (such as Urgot), don't have this problem either?
Could it have been a problem with the way debuffs such as that were applied, and all of the texts were misleading for other, similar characters?
I think QA has been looking at that, but I will double-check
I'm just afraid that Sona will have a hard time keeping her ADC safe after you guys nerf her power chord.
Early game, her passive is what she has to use to get people off her adc, she mostly relies on Exhaust to keep junglers/adc/support off her ADC. The damage early on keeps them away from her teammate because she does pretty damn good damage. She used that burst of Passive AAQ and then Q to destroy enemies health who tried to get aggressive with her support.
I'd agree, but now she has the option to reduce the enemy's ADC by 20% and make them pretty much always outtrade that ADC, then followup into some OK poke damage and healing. If she's level 6+, you still have a kill button.

I'd be very surprised if this kills Sona.
it killed her a over a year ago, what's so different about now?
Oh, reverse powercreep maybe?
No, because she didn't have a functional damage reduction. It's a big change, and you guys have played her for 2 years without it.

I don't think it matters, though, if we do anything other than buff a support, it's a national crisis somehow. It all seems so circular and unproductive.
Just went into a custom game with Urgot.
His passive reduced the damage by Blue Buff by 15%. It's not just the damage pop-up text--I even checked to make sure my HP bar was getting subtracted by 44 damage instead of 52 damage.
Do you know how you currently play Sona?

You level Q, and you Q Chord the enemy then leave to win trades.

Perhaps you should playtest to determine when or if W might come out superior to that.
We have :P

And yes, you might have to push more than a single button and make a decision occasionally.

More on Irelia

If you missed the first part of this, make sure to check it out in the red tracker

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Examples? I'm curious to see if any of my fave characters make that list. :P
Amen. Before she was released she was pegged as some sort of anti-gank champion, all we got from that was her passive, very disappointing.
The only thing that confuses me about this statement is that it didn't seem to stop you from completely changing Karma when she didn't need such an excessive rework yet characters that do need major reworks for the health of the game (Irelia, Soraka) you're afraid of changing for fear of treading on people's toes. It doesn't make much sense to me. Granted Irelia and Soraka have larger install bases than Karma but i'd put changes for the greater health of the game above changes for a character because they're perceived as weak.
Lemme answer these ones;

1) Vlad, Irelia, Xin, Jax, and all melee carries are really popular. They're problematic for different reasons, but it's true that fun of play is not equated to how much interaction and counterplay a champion has

2) Indeed. Also losing the opportunity to do "sword mage" makes me sad.

3) Gameplay doesn't drive all the changes unilaterally. Karma had a number of other weak thematics and poor gameplay too. Additionally, lowest play and lowest winrate combined speaks to a problem to solve.
While Morello is here to correct me if I am wrong, I would like to state the seemingly obvious without giving the wrong idea to the LoL community:
They are paid employees. Because of this, someone has to be paying them(In this case, the company itelf). There can only be so many paid employees before a company starts to pay out more than they take in, and then the company dies because companies need to make money.
Because of this, there are two main factors in how this entire game runs. Factor A: Does it make the company more money than it costs? Factor B: Do we have the time to do it? No, Riot isn't some money hungry machine trying to suck our wallets through our computer screens, but LoL can't continue if they don't make money.
Irelia not only works as she is, but she still is viable enough in non-ranked games(yes, those exist. It's called casual, which is the majority of the player base), and therefore is most likely going to be more expensive and time consuming to rework. They have other champions that don't even get played and bought in the same tier as Irelia, so those come first. If anything, you should be thanking Riot for making the smart business decisions they do so your precious game doesn't have to be shut down next week.
TL;DR - Everything costs time and money, and Irelia costs too much and is in less need than other champions for now.
Did I get that right, Morello?
Edit: I kind of sound like a sarcastic know-it-all in this post, I would just like to say that I had no intention of it.
It's on the time axis, but we always have to consider "what else could we be doing"? I like to throw the Heimer example because it's a scope-of-problem discussion. Irelia's playable now and is at least fun for people playing it. Heimer, however, is extremely hard to get success out of and if he ever becomes good, will grind the game to a place where we'd have to respond heavily. So, really, it's about time prioritization on what we do/don't do.
This is exactly what drew me to posting on the forums. I can't think of another company off the top of my head that has this level of interactivity with its players. It's a far cry from WoW.
Back on topic, Irelia does has a relative in the lore, Zelos. Why not just leave Irelia alone and make a whole new champion that fits the theme better? Give him Irelia's blades, make him into a melee AD assassin along the lines of Kha'Zix/Talon/Zed and task him with hunting down Syndra?
That's gold right there.
It's an option, but it does mean Irelia will never be allowed to be in the tier 1 of power since her gameplay basically automatically would shove out all non-Irelias.
so THIS is also the reason why you havent done a lot for poppy and evelynn, right? because if you buff in the minimal way, they would be OP and then be nerfed to oblivion afterwards.
Poppy, exactly (I think after Heimer, she's the "new Eve"). Evelynn, actually, we're comfortable with being good. She's still a big strange, but her rework at least allows us to make her a contender.
Irelia is relatively unpopular, and we'll probably never see her win a league championship. I wonder why we're satisfied with this.
Morello, are some champions just not meant to compete? When I saw Taipei Assassins skin splash, I felt a bit sad. Seeing Shen, Ezreal, Nunu... decked out in victory clothes... I wondered, will Irelia ever have something like this done for her?
With her state of play,I don't really see how. Yet, it seems like there's a notion that you're fine with certain champs being held down with chains never to see the light, as long as they're controlled. It's like, you're an animal handler and you have all of these dogs barking and you keep some of them chained to the wall so you can have the energy to walk a handful.
While these handful of champions get love and play, you still have so many still tethered to the wall. Is this intentional? :/
That's sort of the concept I'm trying to explain more fully here; Irelia's kit makes it so she cannot be comparable to other strong champions without being OP, and a lot of that is due to the number of statistics-based mechanics on her kit.

A few characters are "jealous" for balance; meaning that if they're ever one of the best picks, they invalidate most or all other picks. Most of the time, characters like this represent deeper design issues with the character or really uninteractive gameplay where you can't beat them unless you're a lot better than them. The reason nerfs, overall, are important is because a couple characters being too powerful lower variety by invalidating these picks - and one of our major balance goals is variety in viable picks. This is where a lot of the Thresh complaints are rooted, and I think they're valid (we're looking at him right now also).
lol... I know this is directed at me and I wanted to respond to it real quick...
LoL used to be my favorite game, but changes in season three have taken away much of the enjoyment that I used to get out of the game. This thread speaks to the primary reason for that.
I'm incredibly upset with Riot's stance on champions like Irelia and Poppy. Riot is essentially giving them the "Eve treatment" in saying that they will not allow them to be strong picks until they are given a rework. No, they are not in nearly as bad shape as Eve was, but the general idea of what they are doing to them is the same and to me giving any champion the "Eve Treatment" is unacceptable.
Morello... If you come across this I just want to say that I am sorry for how I acted earlier. When I post on the forums it typically because I'm upset with something and very emotional. I know I came across as an ass and was extremely rude earlier and I just wanted to apologize for that. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

It's OK, these discussions can always get heated and frustrations can rise. I understand

I know you personally really disagree with this, but consider the alternative. Should I make Irelia a top pick at the cost of the majority of other top lanes being viable? Should Poppy basically run around and dunk people with no real gameplay interaction? I think the costs to non-Poppy and non-Irelia are higher than the gains by making these characters balanced in the short term.

In short, if variety is a goal (and for us, it is), that means a couple of major problems can really lower that. And with the core design issues, bringing others up that level is not a good approach because you'd have to make them so strong to do so, it'd change the entire game pace and combat fidelity that are working well currently. A lot of my job is making these kinds of tough calls - I don't like Poppy and Irelia being in this state much myself - and that's never going to be unilaterally popular

In my mind, the most important thing is a deep competitive game that players can learn to master over time, provides variety in the experience, and is clear and understandable (clarity allows more room for complexity when done well). Making it both deep and varied require this approach to fundamentally problematic champions.
Holy **** get away from Thresh. He's the first fun support where I don't feel like a total gimp.
You guys have GOT TO STOP with the support nerfs. Seriously.
Thresh is very well designed. He's also very likely grossly overtuned.

I really wish I could have a more objective conversation about support nerfs, because the support victimization thing is not objective (though a feeling players have, it doesn't help me get balance done).
I was thinking this in another thread...but would you consider Thresh kindof an Irelia himself in regards to support?
I mean, he kindof does everything, including the things people really get creeped out by on supports, such as hook, ally hook (which is a first and already allows for some terrifying play), and an AoE bomb
I think he's the only support aside from Sona as well who can bomb the enemy team and force an engage.
The major difference is Thresh has gameplay and counterplay we can tune around. Irelia doesn't have many levers; she either hits all her skills on you and outtrades you (and is strong) or does not (and is weak).
I know she has problems, pretty much every champions does. But let me clarify something real quick. Back in S2 I used to get most of my enjoyment from this game in watching tournaments and streams. In S3, almost every single champion that I enjoy seeing is just gone and Irelia is obviously my favorite. They see so little play anymore that I don't even bother watching usually now. I know she is fine in solo queue, but I care more about balance in competitive play. That is probably a little weird and very different from most people around here, but that is why I'm basically so upset with S3 and your stance on these champions. I understand your position and how difficult it is and why she can't be a decent pick or why you can't rework her. I think we are just stuck in a situation that is bad for everyone, no matter what you do you are going to make people mad. It sucks. =(
Welcome to my world Hehe

It does, though my relaunches team IS increasing the pace on this. Not anywhere near where I want it to be, but better!
Or walks up to you, stuns you, auto attacks twice, ignites you, starts ulting, Qs and gets a free trailing auto attack after the Q and kills you if you havn't built tanky or don't have innate tankiness.
Hehe, yeah
Have you tried anything with Poppy yet? For example, you"re saying she has no gameplay interaction is mainly with her ultimate, I'm assuming since that is the only part that has no real counterplay, unless you are ulted. Essentially, the idea of the ult is to call for a 1v1 between Poppy and her target, but because it is essentially an Olaf ult and Kayle ult together she ends up putting it on a low damage low cc target and then rushes the carries who can't do anything but run. So, what if you made it so that Poppy deals 20% reduced damage to other targets, and allowed the effect of her ultimate to be ended early by re activating it? This could allow her to still dive the carry and explode them with her ult extra damage, and if the carry gets away she can still contribute to the fight, but if she wants to dive someone other than the person she ulted, she won't be doing a lot of damage to that person, or the person will be allowed to fight back.
I would also like to hear some sort of feedback from you as to exactly what the problem is with some of these champions. You always just say that something on the champions has no counterplay, or that the mechanics of the champion makes them unable to be strong without being broken, but you have never said what those things are or what mechanics you are referring to.
In Poppy's case, much of it is the ult and statistical power of the passive/W. Her charge is awesome, and anything we do with Poppy would work to keep that.

She also has absurd scaling and little else to offer, so she's a burst mage on top of some of these things. Poppy should be more a Fighter, really - that'd extend her combat window to allow reaction.
Sadly enough, there are those who would love to be objective about it, myself being one, but the problem about it being open discussion is you would have a very difficult time finding the objective ones from the non-objective ones. In all fairness there are numerous supports who are slightly over the top in power and some who could use a little more umph.
Signal-to-noise is a problem here, agreed.
Why DO you have to nerf supports when they're the least popular role to begin with?
Personally I'm afraid to play a support other than maybe nami right now, because all other non-nami supports are in danger of nerfs, and with Nami all you've done is buff her. Which is suprising to say the least.
I'll probably just play Nami and only Nami for a long time should I choose to learn the support role. She can make plays that are visible to everyone, and I like that
I make no promises that anyone will have a nerf-free experience with a character. It's a part of playing League!
Have you considered doing more one-click surveys in the client to see how non-forumgoers feel about champion balance?
We are doing quite a bit of this, though sampling is random (so you may not always personally see it).

I was actually surprised with how well we'd done on the last one - my expectation is that all players hate the balance of every game they play (hyperbole, but you get my drift).
TF2 is a poor example.
Howso? It's a fantastic example.

Medics are the most powerful thing in TF2, and define then entire game flow. They're unpopular and grossly powerful.

Popularity and power are not equated.
@Morello , i wont create a new thread sry about irrelevant post but im really curious , Could u reply? Rengar changes where dude where? -_-
In the works still, more difficult than we thought.
I didn't explain myself nearly well enough, I think a lot of things are implied, I have a bad habbit of that.

The reason why support nerfs suck is because it hits them harder than any other archetype. Why? Because they don't have access to gold, and therefore the masses of items to help facilitate their strengths. All they really have is their kit based strengths, and done have items to back it up.

This is why support nerfs baffle me because they litterally don't have anything to back up their plays except the play itself.

Nerfing anyone else is not nearly as big of a deal because they'll always be able to get a lot of gold to help out their base stats and enhance their play making abilities.
But this is faulty, even though I understand your feeling. This is, in a nutshell, the source of the concept that is Support Victimization.

Because the feedback loops and team appreciation for supports is less direct, there's a certain amount of "protected species" feeling about supports from some support players. We did some good work to alleviate some of this in Season 3, but these systems (vision, ward expenditures) need work.

In the meantime though, that does not affect who we will and will not nerf or balance. Supports get zero special consideration, positive or negative, when it comes to balance. That's why your assertion is off - you're equating how many people find support a satisfying role to its power considerations, which are different problems.
'Ranged AD carries are the most powerful thing in League of Legends, and define the entire game flow.'
One thing to note about sustain is that if you rarefy it, but still keep it included and required, it gains even more power. This can be the 'paradoxical' effect of nerfing an integral component.
There's also this thing about Poke.
Are medics required in TF2? Hmmm.
Is healing required in League? Think about it.
Edit: So because medics exist, they must be popularly picked, right? But TF2 could work without them at all. Can League work with zero sustain? Again, consider how valid such examples are.
Medics may be necessarily popular. And Ranged AD may be necessarily popular.
To clarify it even more: Ranged Carries are League's Medics. Not sustain.
That's correct - I agree. The comparison to power/popularity holds up in the medic example, though. Ranged AD are popular, so this comparison doesn't apply in this specific example.
Have you ever looked at trying to fix the biggest problem that people have with supports: the fact that they act like ward-bots and have no gold to build items in the current meta?
I mean, honestly: being unable to build items is not fun. Building the same mediocre philosopher stone and sightstone every game and STRUGGLING to get boots by 20 minutes is not fun.
Yes - Xyph and I are talking about the next step in this now. Much of this is wrapped up in the vision game itself as well.
But don't you think a Satisfying role is EQUAL to power? And power doesn't mean the same thing in everyones eyes, so let me define it.
Power to me, from a support perspective, how often you can make plays, and how effective these plays are. Whether the play is engaging, or disengaging, or fufilling something inbetween.
And also, I don't mean, hell, I don't like being the "victimization" bs that you are describing. But how else can a point get thrown out here without it? You're nerfing something that is extremely fragile and difficult to balance due to the context that has already been described with lack of gold and above average power and such?
What happens when we come to a point where the vast amount of supports can no longer make plays? That's my primary concern here if you haven't noticed.
Making plays. It's not really about gold, or about anything other than Making plays. And i swear to god it feels like you guys don't like support who makes plays. But logically, thinking with my brain instead of lashing out, i come to the realization of "You don't like supports who makes TOO STRONG of a play".

So my question to you is, what are the characteristics of a support whos making too strong of a play?

Answer me that question at the very least.
Making plays is part of satisfaction. Power is effectiveness. For example, Aegis of the Legion is powerful, but not really satisfying. Some players derive satisfaction out of other factors, but making plays is pretty consistently satisfying.

My question, then, is if you derive highest satisfaction of making plays, there's lots of champs (and some supports) that can, with other power tradeoffs. Wouldn't those more suit your style?

 Morello answers some Questions - Riot is Looking into Jayce

  • We're looking at Jayce right now - we agree he's a bit much.

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Hey. Hi. How are you? I have some random questions I was hoping you could answer.
  • What's your take on characters with cast times (IE Gangplank and older champions) compared to newer champions who don't have such problems with cast times (IE Kha'zix and new guys)
  • In your opinion who was the best champion release, the most balanced champion release, the worst champion release and worst balanced champion release?
  • Elaborate on your choices above a little. Best/Worst release is more of an opinion but you could probably give some backround as to why.
  • How hard is it being the "face" of the balance team and taking the punches meant for everyone?
  • Will you accept my friend request?
  • Do you have a twin brother named Lessllo? (Lessello?)
1) Most new champions have the same .25 second cast times on most spells (in fact, Thresh has .5 second casts), but I think our animation blending makes it less noticable.

2/3) I still feel Ziggs is one of my favorite releases, buy maybe because it represents the end of an era of trying to flatten things out too much as a rule. We did this a little late last year, but it's a mistake as opposed to a direction I'd say Brand was likely one of the more well-balanced releases at the time.

My favorite champion release is likely Vi, though that's more from hitting the thematic notes so hard. Vi's exactly, creatively, the type of cohesion I want to see. Thresh is good too.

4) I'm pretty used to it and know what I was signing up for. I do feel that doing my job (and to be fair, Hippalus is in this boat too) means some people will want to murder you. My job is to make sure the game is good, and I always feel to do that job effectively, you have to make short-term tradeoffs for long-term gains.

5) It's full right now, so I'll have to clear some room first ;x

6) We don't talk about Les.
Morello would you mind telling us how you build Sona/any support?
I only play Leona support, as I'm bad at it. A lot of my live designers do play support, though, and can probably do a better job of it than me.
Morello would you might chatting about Jayce and where he stands currently. As a midlaner, he scales ridiculously well and has HUGE base numbers on both Q and accelerated Q and can clear waves easily and safely, making counter picking to stop his hyperscaling worthless. Do you guys think he is out of hand?
We're looking at Jayce right now - we agree he's a bit much.

  Morello on Alternative Map Support

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Very soon. Nome's been hard at work on making this a reality. I appreciate your patience, and we're just about there!
Look, I really don't want to seem/sound impatient but... 3 patches isn't "soon", unless you plan to gatling those 3 patches out over July. I am appreciative, it just doesn't feel like you care all that much when you are acting like its NBD that we wait that long.
Three patches is soon :x I mean I guess I can say "indeterminate" if that's the case.
To take this from another angle: WHY can't we have this for 3.8 or 3.7?
Because things aren't magical and instantaneous. It's like people have to do work to make things happen :P

It's not a "flip of the switch," or a "5-minute job". It's a new technology that allows other maps to refer to alternate files that determine different numbers only for that map.

And the performance and server implications...

And the code being made, tested, debugged....
I get that, probably more than most would (as I code as a hobby). But this is the information we're looking for. Is it not physically done? Is it waiting for a slot in a patch (nearest available 3.9)? We don't know because this is the first you've said in months and nome is almost as hard to track down.
riot plz communicate more
I think I can safely speak for the dom community that we'd be happy with days or maybe even weeks delay (depending on person) if we actually got regular updates, like the recently successful Xelnath thread *cough*
This I understand - a lot of it is indeterminate is open to some fudging because of bug uncertainty and such. We are coming out with this in the next couple patches depending on code cleanliness and such.
I get that, probably more than most would (as I code as a hobby). But this is the information we're looking for. Is it not physically done? Is it waiting for a slot in a patch (nearest available 3.9)? We don't know because this is the first you've said in months and nome is almost as hard to track down.
riot plz communicate more
I think I can safely speak for the dom community that we'd be happy with days or maybe even weeks delay (depending on person) if we actually got regular updates, like the recently successful Xelnath thread *cough*
This I understand - a lot of it is indeterminate is open to some fudging because of bug uncertainty and such. We are coming out with this in the next couple patches depending on code cleanliness and such.

Morello on Support Champions

  • Morello posted in a few different threads on this same topic
  • Basically if support champions were not good, they would not be picked.
  • Also talks about a little bit on how they buff and nerf them compared to other champs
  • The second red post he compares them to other lanes
  • One interesting line at the end is also "Well, the idea is a comprehensive adjustment to "ways in which we give vision". Basically, I'd like to adjust wards a lot, but need new and interesting vision alternatives."

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

That is bunk and you know it... if a support champs finds a way to hold their own of dares to leave bottom lane you guys nerf them into submission, unless they are named Thresh...
I always wonder why Fighter players don't feel this way, when we actually did a "bring all fighter power down" pass.

Either way, there's still supports, they're still strong, they're still used. I have a hard time taking this seriously when this has been being said for over a year and has never came true, ya know?
I'll give you Nami as a support class champion that's been buffed. Give Live Balance a collective pat on the back for that.
I want to know why Soraka, with 2.7% pick/ban rate in EU LCS and 1.8% pick/ban rate in NA LCS, has been left for so long as the "Eve Tier" of supports at the competitive level. Is this because of the binary nature of Astral Blessing as far as balancing the numbers goes?
Mostly - she needs to be a niche pick. I'm not sure if you were playing back when Soraka was in the top end of supports - it's nasty. Really nasty.

TBH, though, I think more specific-use style champions should be niche. That's actually OK for balance as there's situations they're stronger in, and situations they're weaker. I think there's an expectation of "my champ is always a good pick on most comps against most people" for someone to be "viable."
Supports are only used at all because AD carries are ridiculously overpowered and they happen to work the best with them. That's all. They are incredibly weak as a class overall and just happen to be the least useless without items.
This is a circle of logic that never closes :P

If supports were a bad class, people would only use tanks and mages instead, as those classes also have utility. Sona, Janna, Lulu, Taric are all common pool supports. Blitz, Thresh, Leona have uses, and Soraka even has good matchups (do you havt Draven? Soraka makes him very sad). They would have plummeting win rates as they got outshined by other classes.

Support are not a protected species. They get balanced pretty on-par with other classes.
Do you believe that supports are seeing a comparable rate of nerfs and buffs compared to other classes? I really can't agree. Overall, I feel like the class balance has shifted power away from AD carry and support and to the other classes since the end of season 2. With AD carries, I completely understand it, because season 2 AD carries were game-warping.
Overall, my best evidence for power bleed in supports is simple -- if we took the kits for Janna, Sona, Taric, or Soraka from 18 months ago and introduced those kits as new champions, they'd absolutely stomp the current pool of support champions.
As I see it, there are two big picture design decisions that your team is making that lead supports to take it on the chin repeatedly:
1) Lanes with lots of sustain are boring.
It looks pretty clear that the designers have decided that passive lanes are less fun that aggressive lanes. This is a general design direction, and you can see it everywhere. In order to make this vision a reality, sustain must be nerfed, and those nerfs are happening. Champions with self-sustain are seeing that sustain nerfed. Pot stacking was eliminated. Sustain-oriented items had their sustain effects reduced in season 3.
From your perspective, I'm sure this looks like a change that is game-wide, not one that targets supports. However, sustain is found disproportionately on support champions. Only relatively few champions bring heals, shields, or durability buffs, and these mechanics are disproportionately found on support champions.
Soraka is the poster child here; I'm pretty sure she's left deliberately undertuned because she was quite anti-fun when she was a strong pick.
2) Passive strength is much more powerful than it is fun
Passive strength, be it in the form of free stats, auras, or procs, are all a form of relatively invisible power. The basic problem with this is not a balance problem, but a fun problem. The previous Taric design was extremely strong in teamfights just by existing, but players really don't enjoy standing around in teamfights.
Supports are the class with the most passive strength. In fact, I think most of the early support designs were defined by their passive strength. I am struggling to remember an aura or free stat buff that hasn't been nerfed since season 2 began. There are some cases, like the Taric rework, where passive power was shifted at least in part to active power, but it is much more common to see nerfs like the upcoming Sona W nerf where the passive power is simply reduced.
Good post - agreed on most points.

I don't claim to say we give them equal buffs/nerfs, but that's not actually important. All champion power has had to come down (more so on Fighters, but we've been nerf-heaving for a bit now) to keep things somewhat sane. I think that's standard overall though, and not a special case for supports.
Morello, I have a question for you in regards to your direction on support champions.
Right now the top competitively played support champions are Thresh, Lulu, and Sona. When we look at the trend of the majority of the supports, specifically the older ones, a lot of them have a binary playstyle and function. Champions like Sona or Taric or Soraka are not normally capable of 'making plays' outside their usual role because their kits rarely allow for it. Therefore, if they happen to be strong at the time, its usually because numerically they're overpowered, or what they do is favourable at that time. Sona is a good example of this. She is primarily used because she wins lane simply by being in it, and her ultimate decides team fights by itself. But she doesn't do anything elaborate to assist in her team other than being 'just another support', and there isn't a lot of decision making involved in using her. This is why nerfs to a champion like Sona numerically are so detrimental to her, because decision making and player skill cannot compensate for it, and raw power is the only thing she has to fall back on.
If you make the comparison to supports like Thresh or Lulu, however, it is quite different. I often refer to these two (and others like Zyra) as the 'Lee Sin' of supports. Their tool kits are very expansive and so versatile that even without the numerical power to back up their kits the sheer volume of options they bring to lane and team fights makes them a valuable asset as long as the player can use them properly.
Some people will refer to these two (Thresh in particular) as broken or overpowered champions, but I actually find these two to be the ideal standard that supports should be striving towards. The problem right now is that because so many of the other supports have a binary, seemingly one dimensional feel to them like Sona does, they cannot compete with these two if they are nerfed, and so Thresh and Lulu hog the spotlight because they are capable of adapting to the patch note changes.
I find this style of champion design to be very effective, and much better by comparison to some of the more bland creations like Taric and friends. Are we going to be seeing a consistent trend of more supports like this in the future?
Indeed - you're correct here. This might have a lot to do with why Sona has more similarities to Irelia in perception than she does to Lulu. Taric too.

Sona being harder to master is a great start, and getting to actually make a decision on Power Cord sometimes is a good first step.
Except Leona.
She's been immune thus far.
Well, Morello, what are you waiting for? Get on Live Team's ass already!

Leona hasn't been nerfed, correct. Oh God, I play Leona. That looks really bad.

Now I want to nerf her, though Statikk tells me she's fine. NoooooooOooOOoOO
Morello said he thinks niche picks are ok... So they go and ruin old karma and make a even niche-ier and un-fun version. Logic.
You can't take an issue that has, literally, nothing to do with Karma, and make it about her. "Niche" doesn't mean "bad and problematic."
Okay, we're pretty much on the same page. I do agree that LoL design has featured more nerfs than buffs over time, and that supports aren't unique snowflakes in this regard.
Here's my follow-up question though: why are supports targeted at their current power level? It seems to me that Everyone Would Be Happier if support champions were all stronger collectively. Would the game break if supports were the strongest pre-6 champions in the game? I don't really think so, but I am sure that people would enjoy playing support more if there was a chunk of the game they felt strong in.
Overall, I feel like the support role is the weakest part of the game design today. It takes strange people like me to find it enjoyable. I think it's a solvable problem, but every support nerf makes it feel like a bigger problem.
I think talking about power is the wrong way to fix the problem though. Instead, let's address what's unsatisfying - such as the ward game being so draining on gold - and let people opt in based on the "support" experience. I don't want to remove the supporting from support.

I do want them to get more usable gold.
The solution to the "ward drain" is simple, and you know what it is
Wards are the most expensive and simultaneously the most unsatisfyingly overpowered passive item in the game right now.
The question is: Do you even want to break the subject to anyone?
Well, the idea is a comprehensive adjustment to "ways in which we give vision". Basically, I'd like to adjust wards a lot, but need new and interesting vision alternatives.

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

Morello, I'd like to ask you about supports and how they fit into the game. I've been reading a bunch of topics about supports lately, some screaming op and others that aren't very favorable.

With how supports are designed, are they allowed to do other roles? Supports are made in mind to have a ton of utility and made in mind to use with a lane partner. That's what I assume anyways, with how supports are played in the current meta.

I read your posts on the topic of how and why Irelia is in the state that she is in. The particular comment that comes to mind is, she has a kitchen sink of a kit. She will either be OP or UP. I can't find the exact comment to quote....but do supports suffer from the same thing?

Alistar at the moment is in really rough shape. He used to be able to jungle really well. But he has been nerfed repeatedly, almost all of the supports have been nerfed for what seems to be the reasoning that they were too good at what they did, allowing them to do other roles.

Soraka top and mid used to be a thing in season 2, before I started. You do not see that anymore. Lulu was played mid, top, on hit and did well, but was nerfed for the same reasonings.

I am just very curious if support champions where intended to be viable in other roles besides support, or does their kit itself just make them too strong to do otherwise if you add power to it. Or is it more of the change in jungle, creeps and items that effect their viability in other roles? If we had jungle alistar viable again, with the new champs like nautilus and zac, reworked xin zhao, would he be the same unspeakable terror he used to be? (I admittably want to see alistar able to jungle again, tanky dissplacement champs are my favorite arcetype :c)

At this point in the game, when you play ranked and see a soraka, alistar, janna, sona, leona, thresh ect, you pretty much know they are gonna be support. I can't speak for others, but I want to see versatility in their picks again.
Support in multiple positions is one of the tougher ones, as their value is traditionally more in utility than other item-scaling factors. It typically means they're tuned to feel good when lower on gold, but don't scale with raw statistics as well as others.

Let's look at other positions, and see how supports might want to be there;

Top: Defined by duels where raw power tends to determine the fight, supports tend to not feature damage/power in a way that makes them killy. It makes them largely ill-suited to go top.

Jungle: Supports typically have helpful or set up abilities, all of which are lost when PvEing the jungle. Some tanks that play bottom lane could jungle, if self-sufficient enough. Alistar used to be jungle, but since he has a powerful support/initiate tool set, he was too strong there.

Mid: While mid could work for a support champion sometimes, they typically lack the farming ability or safety to go midlane with a lot of reliability. A lot of this also comes to "who should the gold funnel go to - a highly-scaling mage, or a low-scaling support"?

I think much like it's hard for ADC and mages to jungle because they're too squishy, I think supports tend to be at their best when assisting a lane mate. That's what defines a "support!"



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