Ask a question about League or Riot, and we’ll try to answer it. Answers go live every other Thursday at 1:30 pm (PT)
This week, it’s ranked ARAMs, unlocking Summoner Spells, and the upcoming marksman item changes.
With the new ranked system for the new year, are you thinking of implementing a ranked system for aram too? it’d be nice to have something to say like, “look, this player is good at this mode.”
ARAM is a weird beast. If you imagine a game of SR or even TT, the hope is that your individual skill has a big impact on the outcome of the game. There are factors other than your skill at play however, including things like the somewhat random effect of who you’ll get as teammates and how well you gel as a team. In ARAM, these “other factors” have a huge impact on your success rate because which champion you and the other players get can massively affect the outcome. This is the part of ARAM that some ARAM enthusiasts find really fun—you never really know what’s going to happen.
Additionally, we spend far less effort balancing champions for ARAM than we do for SR. Part of this is just a question of focus. We view SR as the core League of Legends experience and spend most our bandwidth on balancing it. But it is also an acknowledgement that in ARAM, whether you succeed or fail is often a lot more out of your control, so even achieving a high degree of game balance can only improve the game so much.
For these two reasons, we worry that ranked ARAM just asks players to take ARAM more seriously, which could be a really frustrating experience. The urge to dodge might go through the roof for example.
All of that said, while we’re focused a lot on improving the ranked experience this year, one of the questions we’re exploring for the future is whether League needs to offer more of a sense of progression for players who don’t play a lot of ranked. While leveling is uncapped now, and we have features like champion mastery, overall there isn’t much that a player who plays mostly Normals (including ARAM) can choose to focus on. They don’t really have a journey the way a ranked player can shoot for ending the season with a higher rank. Maybe that’s okay—maybe Normal players don’t need and aren’t looking for an end game in the same way. But the requests we get for things like competitive ARAM (or “look, this player is good at this mode” from the original question) maybe suggests that some players are.
I recently taught my brother to play a little League, and I realized that new players have many difficulties by not having spells like flash. Why don’t you unlock all summoner spells from level 1?
New players to League come in with a lot of different experience levels, as you might imagine. Some have played MOBAs before, or at the very least have watched some League videos or maybe even have a friend offering them pointers. Other new players might have literally never played a PC game before.
It can be hard to appreciate just how basic the basic skills of this kind of player can be if you haven’t witnessed it first hand. For example, they can struggle to find their champion if they scroll the camera off-screen. Expecting or prompting them to use Summoner Spells is asking an awful lot—they’re doing well if they even use their QWER. The new tutorial we’re working on emphasizes really elemental basics, like the fact that turrets exist and that they hurt.
You can also play a lot of low-level games of League, even PvP, without really needing to use Summoner Spells. You’ll need to understand them eventually, for sure. But we see new players not understand, not use, and not go back to Summoners if we give them out too early.
Why do you think reworking ADCs is necessary? ADCs do a lot of damage in the late game, but isn’t that what they’re designed for?
We’re making some changes to marksmen and some of the items they use for a few reasons:
- We want to support a larger variety of marksman playstyles. Right now hyperscaling marksmen are generally very dominant. They’re hard to set back seriously enough in lane and their power spike kicks in fairly early (two items) for how strong their late game is. By contrast, lane bully marksmen, who should amongst other things be a natural counter to hypercarries, often aren’t effective enough.
- We also believe some marksmen, crit users primarily, deal too much burst damage to squishy targets, especially in the mid game. That contributes to an arms race situation, where squishy-on-squishy combat usually can’t involve spending any measurable amount of time in proximity to your opponent.
- Finally, we also want to reduce the early game power of marksmen who are strong late game by a bit. Some of that’s reflection of their late game strength, which should come with a trade off of early game weakness. Some of it’s also to help other champs lane against them, whether in bot lane or elsewhere on the map.
We’ll do our best to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.