Riot’s stance on the game as the mid-season approaches


The mid-season gives us time to reflect on how the current season is going and what can be done to make it better moving forward.

Although it seems crazy to hear, we have been in season six for a long time and it’s almost time for a mid-season update.

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Today, Andrei “Meddler” van Roon, League’s Lead Gameplay Designer, released an article breaking down how Riot sees the game as the mid-season approaches us. He noted that everything discussed would deal with the core Summoner’s Rift experience, and things like Dynamic Queue and Hextech Crafting would not be discussed.

The first thing Meddler brought up was champion updates. As the most recent reworked champion, Riot is happy with where Shen is and said: “[Shen] seems to be both fairly balanced and has improved game health compared to his previous kit.” Meddler did note that they aren’t fully pleased with how he is thematically. He mentioned that his floating sword is what bothers them the most, stating that it makes him “disconnected from his fantasy.” However, they have no plans on changing it as they feel their time is better spent elsewhere and will use it as a learning experience.

Taric is the next rework on the way out, and Meddler stated that their main goal with him was “adding more skill expression and distinctiveness to his kit.”

Overall, Riot is happy with the marksman update from the preseason, but realize that Corki, Graves and Quinn are too strong since they can play at a high level in multiple positions.

Meddler said that Riot would like to get more non-marksmen playing the carry role in the bottom late, but they aren’t going to force anything after the whole Mordekaiser experiment.

As far as champion updates go, Meddler notes that the mage update will be the biggest part of the mid-season patch and the focus will be giving the mages “more distinctive gameplay.” Vel’Koz, Zyra, Malzahar, Vladimir, Brand and Cassiopeia have been the focus of the mage update, and Meddler states that they will all be getting moderate sized changes. In addition, other mages will be getting smaller changes that amplify existing strengths and weaknesses. Riot hasn’t yet decided what mages will get those small changes, but their likely candidates are Veigar, Annie, Ziggs, Anivia, Xerath, Syndra, Fiddlesticks and possibly a few more.

Next, Meddler moved the discussion towards the newest champions. He said they will be making some changes to Illaoi’s E that might allow them to make her late game stronger. Riot is pretty happy with where Jhin is, but do realize that his Q is too strong and his E could be better. While Aurelion Sol is still very fresh, Meddler explained that he is a very difficult champion to play, but he becomes powerful once you learn how to use him (kind of like Azir).

…will be making some changes to Illaoi’s E that might allow them to make her late game stronger

Items were the next topic discussed, and Meddler opened it by saying that Riot is content with marksmen itemization since the preseason change. Meddler also said that it’s nice to see Zz’Rot Portal being used a lot, but at the same time that probably means that its stats are too high. Next, Meddler discussed the hybrid (damage/tank) builds that are becoming more and more popular. He said that it’s fine to have builds like that, but there have to be tradeoffs somewhere. It isn’t fair for someone to do the most damage in the game while also tanking a lot of damage. Next, Meddler said that ability power items will see changes with the mage update, stating that Riot will focus on “better meeting CDR needs for mages and making mana components in items more functional by themselves.” Finally, he noted that Devourer and Rageblade have created balance problems for the game and will both see changes in the future.

The last subject Meddler brought up was objectives, mentioning that the goal is to have things like Dragon and Rift Herald more valued. He also noted at how weak towers currently are, and suggested that Riot will make them harder to take down early on as well as making them do more damage early.

That last part is the most important thing out of all of this. Change whatever you want with champions and items, but the core gameplay will always be the most important aspect of League. The most frustrating thing this season has absolutely been objectives. Dragon and Rift Herald don’t give enough of an advantage for teams to fight over it, and that can make games very boring to watch. All it would take to change that is making them worth a decent amount of team gold, and hopefully that’s the route Riot takes. Towers being like paper this season also haven’t helped the competitive aspect of League, and beefing them up a bit should do a great deal for the state of the game.

While the community loves to complain and focus on the bad, Riot usually makes things right in the end and it looks like that’s what they are doing now. We should have a great second half to season six.