Preseason 2015 Experimental Jungle Changes

Hi all! **Riot Fearless** and **Axes** here to talk about our goals for the jungle. In the 2015 preseason, we want to *improve strategic diversity:* both in which champions can get played in the jungle *and* what different options each one has. This season, a jungler’s perceived strength is largely tied to their ability to gank. While there are those who are functionally better at clearing / counter-jungling / objective control than others, the impact that ganking junglers have can really overshadow other strengths. To explain more: slow, health-focused junglers quickly lose their advantage after their first purchase because there’s so much sustain built into tier one jungle items. Objective-focused junglers rarely have the opportunity to flex their muscles when a ganking jungler can kill a lane and then take the objective with less risk. Finally, I’m sure all of you remember when we introduced Feral Flare to support heavy farming junglers, but quickly toned it down after release. It was here we realized we needed a larger suite of changes to make these different strategies actually viable, and we’re hoping that this preseason will be our opportunity to do that. So what’s all this mean? First, we’re going to be increasing the number of objectives for junglers to take and control, with the goal of giving them more tools to set up plays in a game. We’ll be testing a concept where each camp gives an extra reward when Smite is used on it, with rewards like counter-jungling protection, increased lane safety, or increased vision control of the map. These mini-objectives should create more variance in jungle routes while also leading to more jungler vs. jungler interaction. Second, we’re planning to increase the base difficulty of the jungle. Up front: this does make the jungle a more complex place (especially for those new to it), but this is something we feel will be necessary as we continue to promote real diversity in the position. Ultimately we want to create a world where a player can pick up Xin Zhao, Warwick, or Hecarim in the jungle just as easily as they can find a place for Elise, Lee Sin, or Kha’Zix. By increasing the durability and damage of jungle camps, junglers will start to value a wider array of strengths. Jungle clear speeds end up having greater differentiation and gradation; area-effect vs. single target, sustained vs. burst, etc, where previously most had enough power to take any camp with similar, minimal costs. The balance between healthy jungling and fast jungling becomes extremely important as high sustain junglers can clear with less risk while fast junglers have the potential for big payoffs alongside higher chances of disruption. Changes to the the jungle, however, are only half the story. To talk about jungle items, we have **Riot Axes**: Right now, jungle items are almost entirely role-based - you’re a Fighter, you want Spirit of the Elder Lizard. There’s a little bit of flexibility, but you’re pretty much buying your baseline clearing power plus the stats you want most later in the game. In the 2015 preseason, we want to overhaul jungle items to support all sorts of different playstyles. These new items will be oriented around how *you* want to specialize as a jungler rather than what kind of role you’ll fill later in the game. Your jungle item choice will give you more power as a ganker, say, or more incentive to invade the enemy jungle to steal camps. Our hope is that some junglers might use these new items to ‘double down’ on their pre-existing strengths while others will use them to shore up some of their weaknesses. In the end, each will have to make a tradeoff. The premiere ganker who also buys ganking jungle items might run into trouble when being counter-jungled, while the jack-of-all-trades might have extra difficulties in a 2v2 gank against their specialized opponent. Items also matter for the late game, of course, so we want your jungle items to upgrade into powerful and unique items that matter. We’re currently exploring an enchantment system - similar to that used on boots - with enchantments providing the late game power that you can expect from a real item *without* compromising your meaningful choices of jungler strengths. Bottom line, we want you to be able to opt into the jungle strategy that best suits you and your team before then customizing your items to fit your champion later in the game. We want to make jungling more engaging by offering you real choices in how you go about taking camps, purchasing items, and punching/slapping/stabbing/smashing/anchoring/biting/draining/ponying/burning/puncturing/clawing/kicking/hugging your enemies in the face. We hope you’ll check out these changes on the PBE, and let us know if we’re heading toward that target.
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Buff {{champion:38}}?
Holy crap. Okay you win, that's a pretty crazy challenge.
My only concern is the increase for the base difficulty of the jungle. Unless I'm mistaken, tanky champs like Sejuani have pretty rough first clears. If one of the possible plans is to increase how much damage the jungle monsters do, any chance of possibly slightly increasing Sej's HP/5 or base health a little to compensate? Otherwise I feel she may fall further out of play. I know this may not be the best thread to ask about this in, but since it involves jungling, and you rarely see Sej or other tank junglers elsewhere.
The systematic changes are very likely to cause some champs to have real trouble clearing, and some champs to do too well. As we get further along and start to have more data, we'll be making champion changes if needed. That being said, we're expecting to see a lot more variance in the health and speed of junglers in their clear, especially in the cases of people who have crazy gank or team fight power.
Part of the goal of the changes, along with the preseason changes more generally, is to give us better mechanics on the design side to adjust the power level of playstyles that are lacking. In regard to tank junglers specifically Fearless and Axes have a number of mechanics in place that can be used to assist "tanky" junglers as a class should they prove too weak or underwhelming.
Okay, but if we conclude that 'Sej has a great late game teamfight power, so she needs to be weak early!' and I get a Lee Sin at my red in every game, we're back to Sej never getting picked and Lee getting picked every game. So what I'm asking is, is Lee getting reworked sometime soon?
We are likely going to see champs need adjustments do to these changes, but that's not actually how we're hoping to address the situation you talk about above. Consider that for Lee to do this, he generally wants to be equal or higher level, and also wants to be equal or higher health. If lee taking his first few camps has to chose between high health and the ability to clear fast enough to ambush at red, this becomes a more varied experience. It also helps if some of the camp rewards provide some safety against invaders, which currently a few do, each in a different way. For those worried about counter jungling being dead, you can steal this rewards as well, setting yourself up for invades. This requires a longer window of time in enemy territory, but we are looking to greatly change up the counter jungling patterns currently seen (or not seen) on live. We're trying to create the jungle as a system that provides the tools for the jungler to be successful, rather than being entirely defendant on their kits. Choices made in the jungle and actions taken have proven as important to a player's success in our tests so far. Can't wait to see how players feel when we get these changes to you all.
How would some of the camps provide safety from invades? A massive stat boost, but only while you're in your own jungle? Also, you underestimate Lee Sin's kit. That thing is ridiculous.
I think non-ward provided vision would be devastating against invades. Like, imagine clearing wraiths and now you have vision for that whole area below (purple side?) red camp. Like the edge of the river (not inside bushes though) to the bush where you enter to kill wraiths. That's simply one tool I thought of in 5 seconds.
Vision as a smite reward is definitely a powerful tool for creating safety. On the other hand, non-ward vision as a smite reward means you're choosing that instead of a different smite reward (say, something that helps you clear faster)... and if the invading jungler manages to steal the vision camp, you could be in real trouble. So, there are tradeoffs, and real costs, but the tools are there.
This is a great Idea! Finally I can go jungle sona!
I have some bad news for you...
I take it this means you guys would rather expand on the number of viable junglers within the existing jungler pool instead of introducing the option of giving champions who are not normally junglers, like say Darius or Katarina even, a chance to flex their muscles in the jungle. I believe I recall hearing that Taric roaming support jungle with Heart of Gold used to be all the rage back then. Am I wrong about this? What are your guys' stance on strategies like that?
Our general stance is less about who can and cannot jungle and more that is it acceptable for some champions to be *unable* to jungle. This current season the jungle was tuned around increased accessibility allowing anyone to jungle (although some jungled slowly and poorly they were still able to). If unusual champions work their way into the jungle it isn't inherently bad, and we'd evaluate that on a case by case basis. I'd be surprised if Darius or Katarina jungles caused any problems.
finally we may get some more diversity... i'm sick of playing lee, jarvan and kha zix of course you can play other champs as well, it's just less effective atm ^^
While this should assist the balance guys is making different junglers more accessible in competitive play (it's not nearly as bad as that in non-competitive), the changes ideally will also help junglers play differently even if you end up with mirror matches, since you'll want different smite rewards at different times, which also makes counter-jungling and the denial of specific advantages more interesting.
While more jungler diversity is a noble goal, you mentioning more complex jungling raised some alarm bells for me. What I'm worried about is new players getting into jungling. It seems like even in this day and age, learning about jungling as a role is almost exclusively peer-to-peer. I think your tutorials and other such materials should be able to explain a number of new players better instead of relying on us to do it: 1. Why a team benefits from a full time jungler. 2. What makes a strong jungler. 3. The steps of clearing a jungle, especially the first time. 4. The jungle specific items and when to build them. 5. When to give buffs to your team. 6. What each of the epic monsters can do in detail (try to emphasise their importance if you can). As a role, jungler has the highest barriers to entry by far, and I don't want you making that even worse. The fact that 90% or more of them rely on runes and/or masteries to clear properly doesn't help matters. Jungling is a complex art, so I think players would benefit from learning about it and being able to master the basics as soon as possible.
There will be some increase in the barrier of entry. We are taking steps on the clarity front to help alleviate those concerns because it is something we take seriously but it's doubtful efforts here will mitigate the increased complexity entirely. First steps we're taking involve primarily tooltips and visual effects. The jungle monsters themselves in their tooltips describe the buff and bonus they grant. Most of the visual effects probably won't make the first PBE push but we're focusing on making those effects clear in function and effect when you gain a Smite reward. We're also focusing more on thematic ties for both objectives and itemization to make things a little more intuitive and logical. On the item front I think Axe and Fearless have done a good job clarifying the effects and use case for each of those as well.
This is something that has always frustrated me in general, the lack of help in that regard from Riot directly. I think they rely a bit too heavily on the "community" to help players out, but that isn't as reliable as it could be and it would be nice to have a proper tutorial for example (new players still being told to get Thornmail on Ashe for example <_<) A jungling guide/tutorial IN the client would be amazing.
Totally agree this is something we can improve on.
These are definitely points we are watching as well. We are increasing the complexity of the jungle. One of the main areas we're still working on (as we start to find elements we are more confident in) is how to best communicate the changes and the overall model. The version that gets to PBE will likely be lacking in clarity, and should improve as we spend more time on PBE.
does this mean the razor beak, gromp, wolfs and the turtles will get special buffs?
In some form or another yes. Though they'll be tied to Smite rewards not just passed out 100% of the time.
That's...potentially interesting. Due to red and blue buffs being the strongest monsters in the jungle by far, does that mean that Junglers are going to hope for smiteless leashes more often so they can get, say, the unlimited mana from blue buff, while still saving smite for to get the benefit from a smaller camp?
Currently the buff camps spawn after the smaller camps so this isn't an issue. This is something you are right to be bring and part of the reason we switched the initial spawn times.
So basically every jungler will have Nunu Consume? But then what happens to Nunu D:
He'll get to Smite ***and*** Consume things!
This is still incredibly vague, especially considering how vague the previous announcement was. Should we be expecting these experimental changes to hit PBE today? Is there any specific example, however small, that can be used to represent what people should expect? For example, I'm sure there is probably at least one item/enchantment that people agreed upon was a good example of the enchantment system being functional for this whole idea to have been approved. Since these are already experimental changes, isn't there a bone that can be thrown to the player base as to what they can expect from the new items/enchantments?
So, we don't want to throw out too many details, just because there are a ton of elements in actual flux, and setting the expectation that anything is for sure, or here to stay is a real risk when we release details. With the caveat that this could still get pulled, changed, etc., one of the new jungle items allows you to use your Smite on enemy champions. Still figuring out what effect is going to be (damage + slow, just a crazy slow, ???). Mainly just very excited about the patterns that emerge when Smite has more pulls on its usage so that Smite becomes a multidimensional choice.
The overall goals of these changes sounds good, but I am skeptical about how they are being implemented. The one major concern that i have is that all this diversity comes from items you buy rather than the jungle being intrinsically diverse. The current iteration of jungling, for instance, has some very contrived mechanics built into it that are unnecessary. For instance: -The hunters machete and spirit stone give you stats that are ONLY help against monsters. Why is it like this? If jungle camps were too tough to clear without these why not just make jungle monsters weaker. The only argument I see for these items to have no combat stats is to make a jungler weaker, which could be achieved by adjusting monster damage to make a real trade-off between farming and ganking. -All the jungling items have a gold generating mechanic on them. Why? If the jungle was a poor source of income why not just increase the gold from killing a monster? This would easily make it so you could have more freedom in choosing your build diversity since you are no longer pigeon-holed into a certain item. -The Spirit of the Ancient Golem is one of the biggest offenders in contrived mechanics. It has a passive that may as well specifically say "This item does most of the work for you." Why is there such a strange sustain method build into it? Jungle monsters already heal you for killing the camp, why not adjust that healing value to make jungling healthier. -Smite, why is being a jungler balanced around having this spell? Camps could easily be weakened to make this no longer necessary. Now you could surely make an argument for why each of the above points contributes to a healthy jungling experience, but having so many obscure details attatched to these items just feels contrived rather than diverse.
In past seasons we saw a movement towards lane poaching the jungle for benefits. Mid took wraiths. Top and bottom took minis. The number of camps that were consistently actually available to the jungler was small and they felt even more starved. What the machete line allowed was being able to call this out specifically, the jungler could reign over their land of trees and woodland critters with less lane interference until such a time when the game starts leaving the laning phase. Machete could be nerfed or buffed alongside the camps to adjust this interference directly.
Have y'all considered that this more difficult and downright complex jungle may result in a significant increase in duo top situations, especially in lower levels and lower ELO? Imagine this, you have two top, one takes smite and is basically a roaming laner who jumps in the jungle occasionally to take an important buff and is always there for a major objective, he then takes those buffs into his lane and helps to dominate opponents.
Given the difficulty of the camps, this strat would likely have some major trade-offs. We're not against some new patterns emerging from these jungle changes, as long as they don't become excessively dominant /required. If we were to see this happen in a small percentage of games, and players enjoyed the variety, that's something we're happy to see.
my experience is that tankier junglers usually have a pretty weak very early jungling and late game jungling. On most of them the standart is 9/21/0 or 0/21/9 (lots of defense +jungle mastery) while the other junglers(assassin offtank) run most often 21/9 for better ganking and clearing. May we get something deep into the defense tree that makes jungling easier since almost only tanks will take it and it could be hp scaling so dps offtanks like xin won't run 9/21 just to get this mastery? ^^ I know this is pretty specific but one thing i thought which would help. Furthermore i think another early jungling item would be good(i quite liked the old machete and it was better on quite a few champs than the new one is now especially on spell relying champs or generally tanky champs like ammumu, fiddle, maokai, etc.) Also as mentioned somewhere else we need a Tutorial for jungling(we need more for the game in general but jungle is completely left out) I am looking forward to the changes and to testing them Thx for updating my most played section of the game riot
A mastery won't really solve the problem, since a fair number of fighter junglers actually do opt to go deep in the Defense tree. It helps balance tank junglers and fighter junglers versus carry junglers, but it doesn't help a Sejuani more than it helps, say, a Lee Sin, because if it's really that powerful, Lee Sin is perfectly happy to opt into it. Ensuring that we can keep tank junglers working has been one of the bigger headaches for the new items (which are not specific to roles), but I'm confident that we have the tools in place to do it. It's something I will definitely be monitoring.
Are these new jungle items going to be more scaling/stacking focused like the Feral Flare, or more trending to static and immediate power like the current line? Also will they be deployed on the Treeline or kept as Rift Specific?
I hope we're not looking at a 2015 Season where junglers are gone for days, only to emerge mid or endgame in their final form... Yi already does this. It's not fun (for the lanes).
The items will focus on your job as the jungler, augmenting the kinds of actions junglers need to take (invasion, ganking, etc). Can't promise no junglers will ever just disappear into their jungle to farm forever, but the items generally encourage you to take action, not avoid it. Now, a successful counterjungler on one team might mean relatively few ganks for lanes - but it will be because of another pvp match happening on the map (directly through combat or indirectly through camp stealing), not because the junglers aren't interested in participating in a pvp game until 30 minutes go by or anything like that. We are looking at ways to let control of the jungle translate into better ability for your laners to roam, but that kind of system would be pretty light and you would not see ganking at today's frequency.
So I really like the ideas proposed. I'm always down for more variety in the jungle in terms of items and said items having some value in the late game. That being said I have a few problems with the various types of items and windows for laner abuse (The glory days of triple Wriggle's Lantern into early dragon). 1. Optimizing choices Sadly in a game like League of Legends where a lot of fights are determined by raw numbers and optimizations of said numbers (Tristana gaining a ton of AS means building AD and critical strike optimizes her kit and damage). So in the end it will boil down to which items gives me better stats? S3's Ancient Golem item became a really strong item because 500 health and tenacity made it insanely gold efficient and good for the late game. The Lizard item on the other hand while it was strong thanks to a certain Prodigal Explorer it got nerfed and became less effective late game so there was no point in junglers picking up that item. Moving on to S4 where the Spirit items gave a percent increase damage to camps in return for health and mana. However champions who picked the Ancient Golem item (tanks) generally didn't do enough damage where the percent increase was really meaningful to them while the more damage oriented ones your sustain scaled with your speed. Also junglers being able to pick up a bit of extra gold on the side meant they had room to build damage making high damage champions a highly popular pick and still they are popular now (Khazix, Elise, Lee). The new Golem item was a fantastic change and a great addition to giving tank junglers the edge they needed to put them on par with their top tier rivals but they lacked the damage to be up there with them. I'm not saying it's unbalanced but generally dealing damage is a good thing. Getting slightly bit off topic but I'm trying to make the point that there will always be an optimal choice. I think one thing you guys have to keep in mind is that pros and players will always find the best builds. The ganking item in the end is the most effective? You'll see junglers who make the best use of that item. Farming jungle item is the most gold efficient? You'll see farming junglers pop up to wreak havoc (Feral Flare ;.;). So don't get discouraged if everybody builds one item since it'll be damn near impossible to create a perfectly balanced set of items. 2. We can't live in a world where farming/counter-jungling/ganking champions can live in peace Generally speaking if ganking junglers were strong that means they can gank a laner, kill said laner, then proceed to invade with a man advantage thus nullifying farming junglers and potentially hurting counter-junglers due to lack of vision and ally support. Unless the gank item is really weak combat wise (which in my opinion shouldn't since ganking is about CC and damage), the other two types of junglers don't stand a chance. If the farming junglers were strong not only is that encouraging a very stale play style (come on this is a 5v5 game not a 4v4 1 v none game despite what the pros do), it also means they clear really fast. The true farmers (Trynd and Yi) will be busy farming up and trying to buy items. Unless we deny them methods of counter-jungling other than the wards they buy, they can just stay safe and even start counter-jungling themselves, especially if we give them the strength of really fast clears and really good gold (I'm thinking feral flare here without the ward). So either counter-junglers have to clear their own stuff before countering or be super cautious about where they go. 3. Counter-junglers are an interesting because of the variety of options. There are guys like Nunu who just take a camp and gtfo or Shyvana who takes camps and not worries as much since she can straight up 1v1 most champions in the game. So the choices would be between clearing faster (like farming!) or dueling (extra damage? but that would be good on gankers) and both sound like the ganking and farming options (much like our current options of Spirit items vs Feral Flare). I HIT MY LIMIT NOOOOOO
Very well thought out post here, and you highlight a handful of the issues we've been dealing with. On point one, we're very aware of the stat optimization problem. Can't talk to much about this, but we are taking steps to make sure that the jungler's declaration of jungle strategy isn't bound to a stat line. Happy to talk more when we have stuff actually on PBE here. On point two, this is absolutely correct, in that each approach to the jungle will interact with each other, and the implications of each style are very profound for their teams. Increasing the visibility of what each jungler brings to their team is very important for this season. On live, teams judge their junglers by the number of ganks they can make. Season 2015 should have junglers doing a lot more outside of direct lane interactions, and making sure teams understand and appreciate these actions is a major focus. On a minor point in two, we are trying to find a space for the invader jungler to be better at invades than ganks, with the opposite being true for gankers. Definitely has been a more difficult problem, but we are testing a lot of models here. Feedback exceptionally useful here. For point three, would love to get your take once we're deployed. You do point out some of the relationships we have intrinsic to the strategies, though we've been trying to get the more specific behaviors incentivized in ways that create differences. Sorry I don't have more details here, but appreciate the in depth post! Let's talk more when the details are out!
> On a minor point in two, we are trying to find a space for the invader jungler to be better at invades than ganks, with the opposite being true for gankers. Definitely has been a more difficult problem, but we are testing a lot of models here. Feedback exceptionally useful here. Since the game's coding already differentiates between minions and monsters, could it be possible to have the jungle items have their passive be buffs based on proximity to said creatures? For example, the invader's item would give bonuses when near monster *and* enemy champions, while the ganker's item would give bonuses while near enemy minions *and* enemy champions.
This would be technically quite easy, but most of the challenge is about making the power the item grants useful in the situation we want them to seek out and succeed. Finding power that is useful in a gank but not nearly as useful a duel was pretty reasonable, will be interested to see the results of our attempts to find power that is useful in a duel but not nearly as powerful in a gank.
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