@Certainly T. Plans for zyra?

  • #1
    I started a zyra thread for you buddy
  • #2

    I promised to answer Zyra questions in another thread so I'll preemptively address some concerns I have heard from players over the past few weeks:

    1) I feel Zyra is a powerful champion -- she has best in class counter-engage and near best in class "unique utility" in the area of vision (seeds and plants) and early objectives (plant tanking), supplemented by potent offensive poke potential and a skillshot gated offensive lock down + kill combo.

    2) I am happy to have a Zyra on my team in either the duo lane or in mid. She's more generally powerful as a support but definitely still works mid, just not as a blind insta-lock.

    3) Duo lane Zyra should still feel like a mage, distinct from "pure supports" such as Soraka and Sona. At present, I feel like a control mage when playing Zyra in the support slot, which is proper and fits with both our day 1 design goals and our present vision for Zyra as a champion.

    4) Spellthief's Edge-->Frostfang is just underpowered at the moment. It's the perfect item for duo lane Zyra, but just isn't carrying its weight. When balanced, Zyra's gold flow should be improved and her strengths, both within and outside of laning phase, should feel more pronounced.

    5) Annie is crowding out a lot of mage-style support play at the moment. She's too powerful, too early, just as Zyra was 6 months ago. Hopefully some of our pending tweaks should bring Annie more in line and increase the frequency of play of our roster of non-tank supports.

    6) To the extent Zyra were to be buffed in some hypothetical future world, I think her mobility (base MS) and mana costs (while wave clearing) would be the best places to start, but we are not thinking about buffs at the moment because of the aforementioned points.

    7) Finally...
    a) Zyra will always have an element of niche appeal for a number of reasons, most prominently: Her E, Grasping Roots, is so tremendously powerful that players interested in other elements of her kit will find her unappealing. Additionally, as an extremely fragile long range mage players who like having outs when they get themselves into bad situations will become frustrated while playing her.

    b)Real talk -- Zyra is not the most well designed of champions for some very core reasons. Two examples: Plant damage will never feel as powerful as it truly is due to being a long duration damage over time; Her plants are insufficiently differentiated to let the player feel that they are consistently improving their spell use as they play her. It's important to be honest with your own work, and this is something I just have to live with as her designer. In the long run, we may make efforts to resolve some of these, but it will not be easy since they are deeply baked into the kit and I might not be the best person for the job (though I would like to spend some time on it at some point down the line).

    c) As a result of these, even in a state of balance, a lot of people will subjectively feel that Zyra is weak. If you feel as if Zyra doesn't offer a lot to her team, is incapable of dealing damage, or just lacks the tools to succeed, it's entirely possible that Zyra just isn't the champion for you. One of the most unfortunate aspects of her being over-tuned on release is that players developed an attachment to her for reasons that were not long-term sustainable and as such feel weak when the champion ends up being balanced.
    I'd argue that Rumble and Sona are other examples of this pattern: champions who likely should have niche appeal (melee DoT mage and passive aura dispenser) but who become widely played while overpowered only to feel lackluster when balanced.

    Anyway, if anyone has questions, I will be around periodically for the next hour or so.
  • #10
    Originally Posted by Syd View Post
    She's still strong, just dies so fast bot lane. Buff her health! <3
    Zyra's fragility is an intended weakness. She's a long range poke mage who, when properly played, forces the enemy to deal with her plants as well as with her. If an enemy can close the gap, they deserve to deal substantial damage to her. If she lacks the tools to stay safe, I'd prefer to buff those tools rather than her raw durability. That's why I mentioned base MS as a hypothetical area we'd look at when hypothetically buffing her, hypothetically. Did I mention you should not run around quoting this thread as a promise for buffs?
  • #13
    Originally Posted by BehemothHeek View Post
    OP is a CertainlyT smurf
    Nah, my smurf would be StampyD.
  • #14
    Originally Posted by Xandriia View Post
    This would be amazing :x Personally I'd like to see the nerfs to her Q reverted as well, but I guess I can't expect everything.

    Also I just want to say thank you for such an amazing, unique champion. I have been playing Zyra since she was released, and I still adore her. I also happen to have the second most played Zyra games in the world Obviously I adapted to her nerfs, something a lot of old Zyra "mains" refused to do, so they don't understand her full potential.

    If you could make that hypothetical situation come true, I would seriously love you.
    Thanks Xandriia! I read and enjoyed your Zyra AMA a while back. Good stuff.
  • #15
    Originally Posted by Verandure View Post
    How do you think allowing her plants to apply on hit effects balances her in comparison to other "pets" like Heimerdinger, Annie, Malzahar, and Yorick? Come to think of it, things like Teemo mushrooms also fall into the category.
    I really like how Zyra's plants can apply spell hit effects like Liandry's. It differentiates them from some of our other pets and makes them feel like they are an extension of Zyra herself. We were able to do this because her plants are low durability and finite lived. In iterations where they didn't strictly meet both of these criteria, spell hit effects were frustrating and absurdly powerful.
  • #26
    Originally Posted by Prototype909 View Post
    This might be a more theoretical question and not directly related to Zyra but why is it acceptable for some champions to be confined to niche picks when more powerful "non-niche" champions are allowed to exist?
    Good question! A few answers:

    1) In terms of gameplay niches, I think having generalists and specialists is fine, provided the reward for playing a specialist in the right situation is high. I'd point to Brand as a generalist mage -- decent CC especially post-Rylais, good laning phase (1v1 power), great team fight aoe damage (where mages typically excel). That doesn't make Brand a bad design.
    2) However, most champions should excel uniquely in an area or two. We certainly have some champions that are too generally powerful at the moment. It's a delicate process though, because our Live team wants to make the right changes as so typically does not rush to action before thinking about the champion's kit as it fits the game.
    3) It's easy to feel like a champion is a generalist when they are just an overtuned specialist. Zyra is a good example of this. She was always clearly at her best when counter-engaging or supporting an engagement with follow up CC. She also happened to offer so much damage that you couldn't trade with her profitably in other situations. This means that trimming a bit of power can in some cases go a long way toward letting a champion stand out for their distinct strengths.
  • #32
    Originally Posted by VIOLENTxSHINOBI View Post
    For an extremely powerful long range mage why does her ulti have such a short cast range? Even when the AoE indicator is cast half way past the range indicator is pretty much engage range for a ton of popular picks right now.
    Because her ultimate is a counterengage tool. Zyra and her plants poke you to death with the threat of rooting and knocking up enemies foolish enough to wade past the plants to her.

    As to plant durability, I think it's in a great spot with the notable exception of AoE DoTs, such as Anivia's R, Singed's poison, or Miss Fortune's Make It Rain. Plants die way too fast to those. We need to design a system to differentiate those from single target DoTs and single application AoEs that can be implemented at reasonable cost and which doesn't impose excessive burden on future designers. I'll work on that!
  • #42
    Originally Posted by Jolan View Post
    I really enjoy playing Zyra. She's really fun, despite her issues. So I'll share my thoughts and ask some questions towards CertainlyT.

    I feel like her latest nerfs were supposed to balance out her bot lane role but only made me weaker in the mid lane (where I enjoy playing here more-so). In fact, I just feel more unsafe in regards to picking her in such a situation. So I've stopped doing it.
    -Any plans to reintroduce Zyra mid?
    Great post and excellent questions. I think our mid metagame is very stale at the moment, especially at the competitive level, largely due to a small number of offenders. I'm not willing to balance around those because they are not in a good spot and that would just present further issues when they are brought into balance.

    In solo queue, I feel that Zyra is an excellent midlane choice against bruiser heavy teams, especially when put into poke/seige compositions, for example with a Jayce and Ezreal on my team in other lanes. You could run Nidalee there, but I think you risk being overrun and those two should bring enough damage to allow tower pressure. They just need a way to keep the enemy frontline from reaching them. Lux, Gragas and Karma also work in this context. I also think she does well with pure tanks (like Nautilus) since she synergizes very well with other CC champions due to the delays on her CC and the high sustained damage output of plants.

    I think the bugfix on W makes a real change - now I can double-seed and trigger both seeds with 1 spell, whereas before I couldn't do that, since for some reason the W wouldn't spawn the 2nd seed on time, or at all.
    -Did this bugfix affect her power level invisibly? Was fixing it a reason for some of the nerfs?
    Definitely, there were a number of under the hood buffs in that patch which didn't read well on paper but made her stronger to compensate for the nerfs to her raw power. They were also driven by a desire to nerf her at the pro level, where for example double seeding was trivial due to playing on zero latency, more than the online level.

    Nonetheless, the Q range nerfs really hurt her safety in lane - previously lanes as Lux were entirely skill vs skill, but now they feel like I'm on the losing side from the get-go. Not to mention the damage loss makes it so I need 500 ap to compensate for it? I really wish for this nerf to be reverted, since it was one of the core reasons for mid zyra's downfall, I think.
    -Any chance of undoing the Q nerf?
    Not at this time. I'd prefer to make her slightly faster so she can get into position for good Qs than to allow her to cast them from so far outside a lot of opponents' cast ranges.

    W's CDR was overly strong, yes. It's free stats on her. But the loss of it is also felt - her kit natively had this CDR before, which means that all her skills receive an invisible cooldown nerf that didn't get offset with any sort of buff? Furthermore, seed timer is also affected by CDR, this change made it so you get seeds a lower rate. For a champ who ENTIRELY relies on this mechanic to get their damage out, isn't this a huge nerf to Mid Zyra (compared to Bot Zyra who uses them as wards and slow-machines)
    -Are you looking into lowering her CDs because of this? Or maybe just her Seed Timer?
    I'd prefer to assess our CDR itemization before looking at any particular champion. I'd also like to see single plant spell casts be utilized more, as that is a much more efficient poke strategy (since the second plant does half damage). Personally, once I adjusted to that, her seed flow felt great.

    Plants seem entirely balanced to me, but I always feel that their AI should be a bit closer to Heimerdinger turrets. They do attack the closest target and they do focus on the target of your autoattacks, but whenever I summon plants while being attacked, there's no guarantee that they'll focus my offender.
    -Is it possible to make plant AI aggro the champion attacking Zyra, trying to protect her in a way?
    I strongly disagree with the Heimerdinger approach. Having plants automatically attack your opponent in response to them taking offensive actions against you is not something that we'll see on Zyra while I have a role in her development. Players should succeed based upon their actions not because the game casts spells or performs actions for them. Learning to control your plants should be an important part of the process of mastering Zyra. At present, I think it lacks sufficient visualization for the player to improve in this area. That's definitely something I would like to improve over time (small steps so far).

    I really enjoy Zyra's fragility and lack of mobility, it fits the theme of a plant mage. Of course, if she can afford it, building bulk and MS via items is possible, but should this be encouraged? My personal vote would be on No, since circumventing one of your base weaknesses like that seems like a cheap move. But if it's possible, some options might be given to Zyra with just a simple change.
    -Should Zyra's plants Autoattacks trigger effects that trigger on Zyra autoattacking? (ex Furor Upgrade, Spellthief)
    Probably not. There's only so much one can do with a spell and I think Zyra's plants are already given a lot of cool interactions with items. Plants proccing Red Buff is not something you'll see anytime soon!

    Regarding the ult fix, where it used to stun on landing, I agree this wasn't fair and possibly overpowered. But it was one of the ways to guarantee that enemies remain long enough in plant range so that your plants can get enough autoattacks off. While plants did gain a buff to AA damage, it doesn't feel quite...gratifying? In a way? I'm unsure how to express it.
    -So, would it be possible to give plants a higher %AS steroid if they get ulted, while also applying the AS Steroid bugfix treatment (where targets affected by an AS steroid immediately feel the effects rather than after the 1st attack post-acquiring the buff) ?
    I think a better approach would be to re-think the attack speed increase and replace it with a more noticeable and satisfying damage amp. That would also give more flexibility since AS is frustratingly non-linear when given to finite lifetime pets. Zyra also uses our scripts to control her plant AI and that limits us to 0.25 second intervals so making small changes to plant AS is not possible without doing some bad things (like sending your client a ton of extra network packets).

    Passive talk, I get it entirely - ability deals true damage, passes through targets and activates upon death, while also having a long range. Fair to use. Got nerfed, more fair to use. However, I still feel a huge issue lies within - if you select a direction to fire during the 2s lockdown post-death (after you die, before you can shoot), you cannot change direction via repeating the command BEFORE this lockdown ends.
    -Is it possible to fix this direction lock, or is it working as intended?
    No, the present functionality is suboptimal. I should go back and fix this now that I am less of a scripting noob. We also have some new technology that Xelnath made for the Xerath rework which could prove helpful here.