We own game health and game balance and all of the major game system updates in League of Legends
We own game health and game balance and all of the major game system updates in League of Legends.
So this will be things
like the Champion Durability
Update and Preseason that we do each year.
And today we wanted to talk to you
a bit about just some of our thoughts
on state of the game and balance
and things that we spend a lot of time
thinking about and working on.
I know an interesting
one is thinking about position health.
And when I say position,
I mean like Top, Jungle, Mid,
ADC and Support of course.
We look at select rates
like how many people are playing it,
what do people feel
and think when they’re playing that?
But we also think a lot about something
called position agency too.
Yeah, so for position agency,
unlike champion win rates, we can’t really
look at the win rates of a position
because there’s one on each team.
And so instead we look at something called
position agency, which is the impact
of a position on the game’s outcome.
So, for example, if a Jungler were to gank
mid and get a successful kill,
that’s likely going to be some amount
of impact towards the game outcome.
And so we use a combination
of some data models
to figure out position agency,
as well as our intuitive understanding
as game designers
and as players of the game to see
whether a position is powerful or not.
When you look at like how position agency
is going across all the roles in the game
right now, is there
is there anything you’re seeing
that stands out as needing
a bit more attention.
Throughout the year, we did
changes like durability update
the objective changes in patch 12.14
the teleport changes in patch 12.1.
And these changes
all tended to have one role
getting the bad end of the deal,
which was Top Lane.
Both Top Laners were less likely
to be able to kill squishy champions
playing in the Mid or Support or
AD Carry positions, as well as finding it
harder to impact dragon fights,
which had become a little more impactful
overall to the game outcome.
And so what we observed
was Top Lane going down in agency
and so we tried to give some of that
back in Preseason.
That’s not to say our job there is done.
We do think that there are some gaps
with the way that Top Laners
find satisfaction in playing the role.
And we observe that there’s, you know,
just a general split of players
in the Top Lane overall,
there are some Top Laners
that really want to fight 1v1
and there are some Top Laners
that really want to impact the map
and we want to make sure
that a lot of those play styles
are viable as well.
And I know in working on Preseason,
another one of the big things
we were looking at
is how we could improve Jungle select.
So as probably a lot of players realize,
if we don’t have the right amount
of people playing all the different roles,
this leads to other things like
increase in autofill,
like less quality matchmaking.
And so even though Jungle is a very powerful
role, we notice that, you know,
not quite as many players
are wanting to play it.
So I do know that we’ve created
some changes for Preseason
that we’re hoping will encourage
some players to try out the jungle
for the first time, maybe shift back over,
making it a little bit more approachable.
In this latest Preseason too,
we’ve worked on a bunch of the new
tank items together
and kind of our approach
to tank items in the latest Preseason
did represent some shift
in philosophy around
kind of how we look at the mythic item
Yeah, so when we first started
with the mythic item system, we were
generally looking at a few specific goals.
We wanted players to always be able
to choose between several
different mythic items.
We always wanted
mythic items to be present in your build,
and so they were generally
tuned to be a strong early purchase.
But as we’ve kind of seen it play out over
it’s had a few negative effects, namely,
there are some champions
who don’t feel like
they have a great mythic item.
And so being forced to buy a mythic
that doesn’t feel right for their
champion can feel pretty bad.
And also we’ve seen players wanting to opt
in to specific legendary items
like Blade of the Ruined King
that do feel great for their champion,
and so kind of our swing at the tank
mythics in Preseason kind of reflects
a change in our philosophy
where we’re not trying
to pigeonhole champions
into buying a specific
mythic item every game
and the tank items are designed
so that there are some mythics
that you can purchase first
and there are some mythics
that you can purchase second.
And the whole system overall is just
a lot more flexible, but we still wanted
mythic items to present
this kind of high fantasy, high,
you know, build power
over the game with the mythic passive.
And we think that, you know, this
will strike kind of a good balance between
early purchases of mythic items and later
build-defining purchases for them.
And I know we’re still always looking
at the different classes
and champions in the game
while we are a bit looser on like,
you always have to choose between multiple
mythic items because if there’s an item
a champion loves, like that’s fine,
we want them to be able to take it.
But we are still looking for cases
where maybe a champion does
want more choice in the item system
and they don’t have that.
Or maybe there’s just
a certain type of item that their champion
would really benefit by,
and it’s not even available as an option.
So there might be new items
coming out over the next year, perhaps.
when thinking about kind of the state
of the game and balance in the game,
I know probably one of the hottest topics
for players is champion balance.
Like that’s kind of the main vehicle
that players experience the game.
How strong is my champion?
How strong is the enemy champion?
It was really exciting to see the champion
durability update go out.
We saw it live.
The fights are lasting longer.
Players have more opportunity
for strategic decisions.
It’s exciting to see that this doesn’t
seem to have impacted bloodiness
or amount of fighting or kills.
That was something we were worried about.
And then we’ve also had a chance
now to see this play out
at the highest levels of play
and professional play and at Worlds.
I think overall, like you
said, we were very nervous about
you know, increasing the durability
of every champion in the game
and how that would impact bloodiness.
However, we’ve kind of observed that
there were some surprising outcomes
from the objective changes
We intended to make objectives
a little more tanky, so there was more
tension around fights and to make them
to take in compensation for that.
And what we’ve observed
is that especially in pro play,
engagements around these objectives
have been very high tension.
The team can’t just burst the dragon
and then run away.
Instead they have to,
you know, kind of think carefully about
how they’re committing their resources.
You know, maybe there’s a bit of back
and forth and it’s allowed for a lot
more of this back and forth between teams
and high tension engagements,
which has been really exciting
to watch overall in the pro player stage.
Yeah, it’s been exciting
watching that at Worlds, but
now that we’re kind of focusing back in
on live play
and like the rest of the player base
and what champion balance is like,
we do still think there’s opportunities
to improve our current approach
to champion balance.
Yeah, for sure.
So our champion balance framework
that we did a few years ago,
it served us pretty well.
The game feels like
it’s in a pretty good spot,
but moving forward,
I think there’s a lot of opportunity
in making sure that champions feel
good to play, that they’re satisfying
their gameplay fantasy
that the player signs up
for when they lock in their champion.
And so even though a champion might be
numerically balanced, it doesn’t mean that
they necessarily feel the most satisfying
that they can be to play.
And so we want to have a kind
of heightened focus on that
moving through this year,
as well as kind of
making sure that all champions
fit a strategic purpose in the game
There are few other deficiencies
with our champion balance framework
that we’ve observed.
So a champion might be “balanced,”
but they might be on the weak
side of balanced
or the strong side of balance
for an extended period of time.
But it doesn’t result in them
And so we’re kind of making sure
that champions, especially
when they’ve been in a certain state
for a long time,
either too weak or too strong,
but not quite strong or not quite weak
enough to receive a direct change
that those champions will be looked at.
And so we think that there are many other
small changes like this
that we kind of need to investigate
and see if they’re going to be good
to put into practice.
So speaking of a good state of the game
and the start of the new ranked season,
any recommendations for the players
out there to start their rank climb?
So I think the jungle is going to be
a vibrant place
for champions of all types
to at least go in initially,
we think the jungle pets
are going to be meaningfully improving
champions’ jungle clears and their ability
to perform in the jungle.
Some other stuff with the tank items
I think is going to be super exciting
and yeah, we’re super
excited to see how that plays out.
Yeah, I’m excited to hopefully
take my Singed back into the jungle.
We’ll see how that works out.
But anyways, yeah,
it’s been a pleasure talking about
our thoughts on the state of the game
and we just want to wish all the players
out there best of luck on their start
of the ranked season and happy climbing.
Yeah, good luck.