Riot is content with the Rift Herald buff


Patch 6.9 was the mid-season update that has nearly changed League of Legends as we have grown to know it this season, and the rework to the Rift Herald is one of the bigger moves to come from it.

The buff went from something that was nice to have if it was given to you freely to something extremely powerful that you have to contest. It only spawns once, but the buff now lasts 20 minutes (no matter what) and is really strong: While no allied champions are near you, you gain five percent damage reduction against enemy champions and gain charges of Corruption. At 100 charges, your next basic attack discharges all the stacks of Corruption to deal 15-270 magic damage (at levels 1-18, damage halved for ranged champions).

When the buff is used well, it can be extremely crippling for the people playing against it. It’s already difficult laning against a Zed, but imagine having to deal with him in the laning phase when he has the Rift Herald buff. It essentially forces you to play safe and wait it out until the 20 minutes are over.

To no surprise, the community has been very vocal about how strong the Rift Herald currently is and is begging Riot to do something about it.

Things are always subject to change, but it looks like Riot is content with how the buff is right now. Riot Meddler – the game’s Lead Gameplay Designer – touched on this very topic on the League of Legends boards: “Our intent with the changes to Rift Herald are to shift it to a similar spot to dragon – a buff of moderate power that, once taken, gives benefit for most of the game. Original design for the change was a permanent buff like Dragon. That was pretty promising, but felt excessive late in the game, where split push can already feel really hard to deal with, given how fast towers fall to split pushing at that point. To address that, and to give teams playing against the buff another success condition (weather the storm during the mid game until the buff expires if needs be) we opted for long, but finite, duration instead.”

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However, Meddler did mention that they would nerf the buff if they find it absolutely necessary. “If Rift Herald buff is granting absolute lane control we’ll nerf it heavily. Because it’s a long duration buff it should provide an edge, but not decide situations unless they’re pretty close already.”

Judging from what Meddler said, there’s no reason to believe the buff will be changed anytime soon. He said they originally made it a permanent buff and found it to be “pretty promising, but felt excessive late in the game.” That doesn’t sounds like someone who thinks the duration of the buff should be decreased.

Even if Riot is fine with how the buff is right now, there are some very minor things they could do to make people more happy with it. 20 minutes is a long time for such a strong buff, and the fact that you can never lose it is what’s so perplexing. It would make a lot more sense if the buff transferred upon death (like Red and Blue buff) or had some type of system where the duration is cut in half once the carrier dies.

It will be interesting to see how long the buff stays in its current form. Riot is acting cool about it right now, but some change (even minor) seems inevitable. It will probably be at least a couple of patches before anything happens.

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