Preseason 2015: Experimental objective and item changes

Hi there! **Riot Reinboom** and **Feral Pony** here to bring you an objective look at the objective changes we’re making for the 2015 season. Philosophically, our big goal this season is to encourage more strategic diversity in League of Legends. This touches a lot of different areas but it all boils down to making your high level decisions matter (versus tactical decisions like last hitting, fight mechanics, etc). What champions can I bring? Where do I go on the map? How do I respond when the enemy team takes an objective? What can I do now that we’ve secured dragon? How does my build impact my interactions on the map? These things *currently* do matter, but we feel there’s room for improvement and we’re excited to explore some of these opportunities with you. Along with this goal, we also want to ensure that we have more options in place to better balance the game. We want to be able to tone down problematic strategies and enhance weaker strategies without having to nerf or buff every champion involved in that particular playstyle (if anyone remembers Shen or Rengar pre-rework). It’s kind of hard to talk about these changes without directly referencing some specifics, so I’ll highlight a few changes that speak to the above philosophy. Also worth repeating: **all of the below are rough examples and very subject to change / may not even ship!**: One opportunity we have is examining the currently similar rewards of **Dragon** and **Turrets** - that is, gold. Often teams will trade these objectives and end up in roughly the same spot that they were at prior. Our hope is that by differentiating these rewards when a trade occurs, both teams can end up with different strengths and options as to how they progress the game from that point on. **Dragon** In more specifics: we’re going to be piloting a change where killing the Dragon grants a permanent “Dragon Blooded” buff that increases in power and function as your team kills more dragons. Since this reward increases the more times a team slays the Dragon, this puts an increasing value on the Dragon as the game progresses, both for the dragon-slaying team seeking greater buffs and for the opposing team trying to prevent them from powering up to take the victory. This change should add additional tension as the game progresses while also keeping the Dragon a more relevant objective as the game continues. **Turrets** With Turrets, we took a slightly different perspective. They already do their job well when it comes to shaking up the game; taking a turret means the enemy has less vision and defense to return to, and their playstyle changes accordingly. So instead of changing the reward, we wanted to take a look at how teams were taking turrets. Our current idea is based on the concept that teams will need to play slightly different with each turret layer they encounter. For example, a strong split pushing team might be well-equipped at taking outer turrets but will need to switch up their tactics as the fight moves deeper into the enemy base. This allows for more variety when a team is trying to opt into a fast-pushing strategy, as they’ll have multiple layers of objectives to account for. **And more to come** The above are just two examples of the space we’re investigating when it comes to strategic diversity in League of Legends. There’s a lot more on our preseason plate as we look to things like Baron Nashor, early game objectives versus late, new forms of objective rewards (e.g. map utility), and more. In the end, our hope is that by creating uniquely **in**comparable rewards for different objectives, we’ll be able to differentiate each game based on the accomplishments therein. A team who controls map objectives and wins by mounting pressure should see victory in a different way than a team who, for example, fast-pushes their way to a win. Also remember that objectives aren’t the only way we can pursue this goal. While Fearless and Axes spoke about the new item changes for the jungle in the 2015 preseason, we also have a some additional changes to items to assist with the above goals, so without further ado... Hi! We're back again with news of what’s *in store* for items with season 2015. **A Choice Most Strategic** When we looked at all of the high-level strategic opportunities in League, some questions and opportunities arose. Through items, could we follow the same path as objectives in allowing teams to opt into different strategies? Where would the meaningful choices be found? What would they be? Could there be a method to protect yourself against opposing strategies? We set out to investigate. Ultimately, the philosophy we’re pursuing with preseason items feeds into the same goals as before: **strategic diversity**. As such, we want to create and retune items with a specific focus on macro-level value (ie: pre-fight, or out of combat) over micro-level contributions (more on this in a sec). If more teams can pick up the items they need to change course in a game (ie: switching to split pushing or sieging through item purchases rather than relying purely on champion composition), we hope to provide the right tools for strategic innovation to prosper in League of Legends. **‘Macro’ items versus ‘micro’ items** As a foreword: you can think of this preseason patch as a light ‘macro’ item revamp, in that we’re looking to create items that interact and enhance the broader game: a team’s ability to siege, initiate, split push, recover from a siege, etc, rather than items that interact on a fight-to-fight basis, like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Locket of the Iron Solari. By focusing our efforts here, we hope to see teams really branching out in terms of innovative strategies, and that we’ve created the proper ecosystem for opponents to react with unique responses of their own. **Radiant Glory** For soft initiation tanks, it can be tough to opt into the play pattern you’re expected to excel at (that is, aggressive initiation) if you’re not ahead. Historically, the ability to initiate with tanky ‘run-at-you’ champions was provided in the form of an old item of yore, “Shurelya’s Reverie.” The speed boost from Shurelya’s was often good enough for champions like Olaf to get into a fight without having to rely on Flash or Ghost. We want to give that strategic opportunity back while also focusing its design. **Zz'rot Portal** We want to give tanky dudes a way to rapidly devour turrets. With minions. As a team, opting in to a split push is your choice and we didn’t want to lock that in just at champ select. This items allows for better split pushing, as it spawns little dudes who go on to assault nearby turrets. **Warmog’s Armor** An example where we’re trying to find strategic power in items that already exist is something like Warmog’s Armor, where we’re *tripling* its out-of-combat regeneration (although we’ll be reducing its maximum health bonus). The big goal here was to create an item with a strong focus on skirmishing and poke recovery rather than simply being a pile of regenerating combat stats. As to what strengths a Warmog’s purchase will offer, well, we’re leaving it to you to discover!
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