@Morello, can you explain the design philosophy used for nerfing champions?

  • I think many of us can agree that when a champion needs significant nerfs, the design team goes a tad overboard with the nerf bat. Im not saying Diana or Rengar are balanced or UP now, but their winrates have drastically dropped. Can you explain why you favor big nerfs the patch after a champ sees heavy tourney use instead of gradual changes?
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    Originally Posted by chaser676 View Post
    I think many of us can agree that when a champion needs significant nerfs, the design team goes a tad overboard with the nerf bat. Im not saying Diana or Rengar are balanced or UP now, but their winrates have drastically dropped. Can you explain why you favor big nerfs the patch after a champ sees heavy tourney use instead of gradual changes?
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    It depends on the situation and certainty - gradual changes are good for easing a character towards a more nerfed state, while drastic or faster nerfs are needed to solve more severe problems that are having a big impact. This is important because if a few champions are really out of line, they disallow use of any champions who compete with them for a slot on a team.

    For Diana and Rengar, I'll be honest - I can't really comment in an informed manner here. The "appropriate force" approach is the overarching balance philosophy. A philosophy won't speak to accuracy (as that lies in execution details), but that's what we're trying to do at least.

    Additionally, some of the Diana stuff might have been to fill in for the nerf we'd really like to do but is much tougher; slowing Q's missile speed. I think that would exemplify good Diana gameplay and create more counterplay.
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    Originally Posted by ├Člliad View Post
    DIana, Black Cleaver, Rengar, Shaco, global ults.

    Riots strategy is that sweeping nerfs are better than tweaks. Nerf it into the ground, then slowly bring it back up with minor tweaks (I assume Volibear will get tiny buffs a little at a time because of how strong he was pre-megasupernerfville).

    People that love champions or play them enough will be able to do well regardless of how much their kit is hurt. I have seen Karmas,Trundles, and heimerdingers DOMINATE, but it always makes me think - what if they were playing Karthas or Ezreal instead of the worse champ.
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    It's also important to realize that it's not our goal (nor statistically possible!) to have every champion in the top tier picks list. We just want options to be viable, and especially have them be situational or strategy-based.
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    Originally Posted by chaser676 View Post
    This is eye opening. Didn't know this.
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    Right - it's an expectation difference here that I think causes a lot of conflict. I think Kog'Maw is a good example - he's pretty OK (but not omg must pick) in quite a few teams, but if you create a babysit-the-carry comp, he has a unique place in that team and really performs.

    I really like this overall as Kog'Maw players can use him effectively, he has weaknesses, but also has a situation he is king in. It lets us use incomparables to balance.

    We tend to have an easier time with this on AP and carries, but fighters are tough as we have a lot of baggage on fighters - and a numbr include less gameplay/counter-play overall, making us have less levers to pull. Slowing Diana's Q speed, for example, would give us another gameplay lever, and would allow for bigger high moments and bigger windows of vulnerability.
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    Originally Posted by imweasel09 View Post
    So instead of waiting till you could slow Q's missile speed you make it so that she can't detonate her W in auto attack range? I'll be honest, that one makes me wonder if the balance changes were even tested. Its one thing to over nerf a character by making their damage or tankyness too low, its another when a skill flat out doesn't work on jungle monsters unless you run inside them on a character originally designed to be a jungler.
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    Well, that seems like that's untrue, looking at the numbers, it was just so far before, and when we toned it to the particle range, it feels small.

    I wonder what the reaction would have been had it started at the "proper" range to begin with. It's tough because once players get used to something that's not right, it's hard to change without causing quite a bit of disruption.

    I will have Statikk (who is doing our balance patch stuff these days) take a look at the numbers just to be sure, though.
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    Originally Posted by VictusOmnis View Post
    Just what is your stance on Rengar? Just how do you decide on what nerfs and buffs are appropriate?

    You nerfed his damage output so he can't be played as a heavy-hitting bruiser if he chooses to double q.

    You nerfed his ultimate so now it's worse than twitches stealth which is NOT an ultimate.

    You nerfed his sustain which makes him harder to be an offtank, jungler, and now extremely squishy in teamfights.

    Just what is Rengar's role? You nerfed him across the board and now he seems like a huge mess with no direction. Yes, he is playable; but being playable is not even close to being balanced. He is a fighter who lacks the ability to fight or off-tank, and a jungler who lacks the sustain and damage. His ultimate is completely LAUGHABLE.

    I don't mean to be rude, but I just do not understand why you are nerfing him across the board. He doesn't deserve this.
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    Again, at this point I'm more out-of-touch with the details on this - I'll see what the guys think, though.
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    Originally Posted by ├Člliad View Post
    I might be unique in the fact that I consider every champion playable. I own every champion, and several skins for the "unviable masses"

    But is very discouraging when a character or item is overnerfed, and I am saying that as someone who isn't speciallized.

    When you guys nerfed Volibear AND Warmog's in the same patch for example.

    You just recently gave rengar the same treatment. You guys speed nerfed him and Black Cleaver in the same patch.

    Black Cleaver was in itself overnerfed. It should have been made unique and 1 of the passives values lowered, instead, both happened.

    There is certain champions, that I love, that I know I don't even have options on. I play them because their kit is fun and interesting (Heimer, Volibear, Karma, Sejuani), not because they are the best champion.

    And each time I do I think "Would it REALLY be a balance issue if Sejuani could just lower attack speed?" or "Is it really so hard to lower the mana cost/range of Micro Rockets and let it prioritize champions?"
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    It's not hard, but, for example, you remove the little gameplay that Heimerdinger's E has already - that skill has almost 0 gameplay associated to it at all. In this case, that would buff the character, but then make us feel bad if he ever was popular. Buffs and nerfs, in my mind, are less important than gameplay patterns and play/counter-play between champions.

    ASpd slows have one specific purpose - debuff ADC/some fighter damage. If you want a character to do that, then they should lower attack speed. If you don't, then it's superfluous.
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    Originally Posted by Ralik098 View Post
    This

    There is nothing worse that nerfing a champion out of viability, never to be seen again. I wish you guys would really do a better job of focusing on this.
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    I think, though, we disagree on what viable is. Is Naut unviable? Really? Or is he just not as good as other OP picks? Are teams not utilizing tanks in the jungle now?

    Maybe he is weak, sure - but I think there are sleeper hits (and we see this quite a bit) and a certain amount of parroting that makes people assume that a champion is weak without it being weak. A lot of what the team does is thinking about this stuff.
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    Originally Posted by MandyMemory View Post
    Sejuani is a tank that isn't tanky through base stats or abilities. I think an AS slow might go quite a ways on her.


    Maybe her attack range is off. They don't explode unless you take a step in.
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    Yeah - I'll have the guys take a look.

    I'd like to point that there's two different things happening in this thread;

    1) Players worry about the balance philosophy. That's the discussion of what we want to do and think about - what I talked about earlier in this thread. This is very, very important to me to get right and adjust as we get better and learn more (and make no mistake, there is no "done").

    2) Players worry about balance accuracy. I actually worry about this a lot less; balance details are easy to fix if we're wrong (go go rapid patching game!) and will always, always, always be a primary subject of disagreement.

    I also play a lot of games (and many incognito) and read their forums - every forum disagrees with specifics on balance changes or problems. I think the danger for us lies in if we have a bad balance philosophy, or see underlying issues (top lane stuff) as minutia within the champion balance. The Season 3 changes were us actually solving some o0f the problems that balance alone cannot.

    Perfect balance isn't even a goal, nor is it important - but having a wide variety of usable picks (especially if they fit in the situational variety like my earlier Kog'Maw example) is a goal. Especially difficult is making them have interesting gameplay, be satisfying, and have strategic differences for why it might be good/bad to bring that champion to your game - and while difficult, this is far more important.

    Even in this thread, we see people are worried about the details on two issues; Diana and Rengar. Maybe there's issues there (actually the live team are having a very heated balance discussion behind me as I post this!), and maybe it's "players are used to the old thing and it's weaker now." We're always open to being wrong, but frankly, more often-than-not we get it right or pretty close. This tells me that our philosophy is pretty good, and details will always be contentious - our job is to keep improving and get more accurate, as well as constantly evaluating our values on game design.
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    Originally Posted by Vulking View Post
    I don't know, you did (well, the balance team did) murdered Rammus out of viability, and the new jungle is not helping him at all either.
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    Yes, we're not always right. I think this is a clear base of where we need to buff.