Ask Riot: Battle Royale and Bot Lane13.07.2018

Welcome to Ask Riot!

This week, let’s talk about the meta and Battle Royales.

What do you think of the bot lane meta?

We’ve been mostly happy with the amount of diversity we’ve been seeing bot lane since patch 8.11 dropped. Seeing mages, bruisers, divers, etc. being played in the carry role is exciting given how solved the bot lane meta has been for… well… years. One of the things that gives League longevity is how no two games feel the same and the challenges you face keep you on a constant path to mastery. The dynamics of a lane like Heimerdinger + Fiddlesticks are so fundamentally different than what we’ve seen bot for the past while, and we’re excited to see other interesting strategies/combos evolve over time as the meta unfolds.

That being said, we’re not done balancing bot lane champions and items around the new multi-class meta. We’ve already taken some action in the form of item hotfixes in 8.12, did more follow up last week on our 8.13b patch, and will continue to monitor and make changes as we can. We’re treading carefully since we want to make sure crit marksman are considered viable and feel good to play, but we also know that champions like Cait can have a chilling effect on the diversity we have been seeing, so we want to be judicious about how hard we swing.

Riot Maple Nectar, Product Lead, Live Gameplay

Why do champions that have been untouched in patches for a long time make a sudden reappearance?

This kind of depends on what the question refers to as a “sudden reappearance.” This can be interpreted two ways:

  1. A champion suddenly becomes a powerful meta pick having had no direct changes.
  2. A champion suddenly appears in the patch notes after having not been seen for a while.

In the first case, the meta tends to naturally evolve as we change parts of the game every two weeks in standard patches. Whether it be runes, items, champs, or other systemic things like Baron or Rift Herald, every change can shift the meta in small (or large) ways that can benefit some champs more than others. If we removed Grevious Wounds from the game, any champion with high health regen would likely climb pretty high in terms of priority in the meta without any other direct changes. If we buffed Grevious Wounds, they’d probably fall substantially out of favor. That’s a pretty drastic example, but I hope it helps illustrate the point. 

In the second case, some champions may appear in the patch notes suddenly due to a variety of reasons, but more often than not it’s because a designer has an idea for what they believe makes the champion better long-term for League—like the work done for Lux a few patches ago. Your perspective on League’s landscape can also affect whether a change to a champ feels random or not. If you care about pro play and you see a meta-dominant champion get nerfed in a patch, it probably makes sense to you. If you don’t watch or follow pro play, you might wonder why the hell we nerfed a champion that doesn’t seem to be considered powerful in your matches. The majority of our patch-to-patch work is prioritized pretty heavily (no, we don’t use a dartboard to choose our targets), but every now and then we work on things that may not immediately be recognized as important in the current meta you’re used to.

Riot Maple Nectar, Product Lead, Live Gameplay

Is Riot Games going to follow the newest trend and add battle royale to the game?

I think to make a game in 2018, you are supposed to have some kind of Battle Royale mode.

Seriously, though, we had a really hard time even getting Hexakill to work. I’m not sure if we could get 100 or more champions in the game without a ton of engineering effort. We’d want to be pretty confident that level of investment would lead to something really fun.

On the other hand, there are some really cool things that Battle Royale does that we’d love to be able to bring to League. For example, the expectation that you probably won’t win—you’ll probably lose—is a really nice element. In League, statistically if matchmaking is working really well, you’re going to lose about half of your games. We’d love if there was a game mode where you’re there to kind of do crazy things and see how far you can get, versus just crush the enemy team, but whatever form that takes probably can’t be a Battle Royale.

Ghostcrawler, Game Design Director