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/dev: More Experimental ARAM Changes
Bans, balance, and more are heading to the Howling Abyss for a limited time.
Over the past few months, the Modes team has been testing out some ideas in our experimental game modes like Nexus Blitz and ARURF+. While the modes themselves are experiments, we’ve also been testing specific things within the modes, like methods of adjusting and balancing runes and champions. Now that we’ve concluded these tests, we’re taking what we’ve learned and applying it to one of our permanent modes: ARAM.
In patch 9.7 we’re going to run a mini-ARAM event with a bunch of changes to try out and a few small missions to complete. After 9.7, we will evaluate how those changes did and decide which ones to apply to the mode permanently.
Let’s take a look at what’s coming to the Abyss.
Butcher’s Bridge is Back
As promised, the Slaughter Docks are back! We figured this event would be the perfect time to revive the map for old fans and those who never got to try it. However, while we are testing a lot of changes that could be made permanent, the map will not be up for consideration at this time.
Have fun with the pirate-y version of the game mode! Yaaaarrrrrr!
Ban Your Troubles Away
During this event, we’ll be testing the effects of bans: How does it feel to be able to remove that troublesome champ you just don’t like facing up against… in ARAM? Now you can find out! Banning works just like it does on Summoner’s Rift. Once each player locks in their ban, the random champions will be assigned. Banned champs won’t show up in rerolls for that game either.
Fewer Decided Games & Fewer Drawn-Out Games
While the average ARAM game time is sitting at a nice and healthy 19 minutes, games can often go longer which can feel really rough if you were expecting something shorter than a Summoner’s Rift game. Even just the risk of a game going 30+ minutes might make it so you don’t have time to play at all, so we’re removing that risk.
We discussed having the two Nexuses get up and fight each other, but we’ve opted for a different solution:
- From game start to 15:00, minion waves spawn every 25 seconds as normal. At 15:00, spawn rate begins increasing at a linear rate, capping at 25:00 when they’ll spawn every 15 seconds.
- From game start to 15:00, minions have 325 movement speed as normal. At 15:00, they start gaining movement speed every minute until 20:00 when they’ll have 425 movement speed.
- From game start to 15:00, champions deal 10% more damage to structures. At 15:00, that value increases linearly until 25:00 when they’ll deal 30% bonus damage to structures.
Extra minions provide more gold and experience to help get to the end-game more quickly, and players will be able to push more aggressively after winning a teamfight with help from minions that now keep up.
Built-In Poke Reduction
Long-range poke on ARAM is extremely powerful and can be frustrating to face since there isn’t really a counter to it other than dodging. We’re looking to bring down the power of those long-range poke champions so that they’re still an option, but not one that feels so oppressive in an unlucky matchup.
- Damage from champions further than 900 units away is reduced by 15% (this excludes ultimates and damage over time abilities)
- There will be a small visual indicator when this triggers:
New Summoner Spell: Backtrack
The summoner spell Barrier has been replaced by Backtrack. When activated, Backtrack gives you a small blue shield (less powerful than Barrier) and then 3 seconds later zooms you back towards your Fountain.
The distance you travel is pretty long if you’re a melee champion, but much shorter if you’re a ranged champion.
We’re hoping champs like LeBlanc, Talon, and Evelynn can use Backtrack to engage fights, do some big damage, and then get out safely. (And yes, Skarner can do fun things with it as well.) We’re excited to see all your big Backtrack plays!
New Item: Mariner’s Vengeance (ARAM’s Guardian Angel)
This new item has the same build path and stats as Guardian Angel, but a very different unique passive.
Instead of reviving after four seconds with 50% base health and 30% max mana when killed, you instead become invulnerable, cleanse all CC, and refresh your basic abilities cooldowns at the time of death. However, four seconds later, you still die.
These melee-only, Kayn-imitation sneakers are back with some slight adjustments. You can no longer use them if you’ve taken damage in the last 3 seconds, but once you’re in the wall, you will gain an extra 250 movement speed. A really powerful flanking engage option, Ghostwalkers are no longer the “cowards’ boots!”
Last time we tested some ARAM changes, we tried removing Warmog’s completely, but it didn’t really have a positive effect on the game mode. So instead of trying to do that again, we’re toning down its power while still allowing it to serve a similar purpose: get back some health after a fight. The passive has been changed from restoring 5% of max HP per second to 5% of missing HP per second. This means it will get you your health back, but not quite top you off.
As we did with Nexus Blitz and ARURF+, we’ve adjusted some of the numbers on various runes. Since ARAM is a shorter game mode, certain runes like Gathering Storm were just really bad choices, but now they should be viable options. In addition, there were a few runes that were really powerful in ARAM, so we’ve tuned them down. They should still be good options, but hopefully not always must-picks.
- Triumph: Restore 6% (from 12%) of your missing HP and grant 10 (from 20) gold
- Presence of Mind: Restore 10% (from 20%) of your max mana and 6% (from 10%) of your ult cooldown
- Electrocute: Cooldown 15-10 seconds (from 25-20 seconds)
- Predator: Cooldown 100-80 seconds (from 150-100 seconds)
- Taste of Blood: Cooldown 15 seconds (from 20 seconds)
- Ghost Poro: Cooldown 25 seconds (from 60 seconds)
- Nullifying Orb: Cooldown 30 seconds (from 60 seconds)
- Nimbus Cloak: Cooldown 30 seconds (from 60 seconds)
- Gathering Storm: Every 7 minutes (from 10 minutes)
- Grasp of the Undying: Permanent health gained is 10 (from 5) for melee, 6 (from 3) for ranged
- Conditioning: Activates at 8 minutes (from 10 minutes)
- Overgrowth: Gain 5 health (from 3) for every 8 monsters absorbed; at 80 monsters (from 120) gain additional 2.5% HP
- Magical Footwear: Gives at 8 minutes (from 10 minutes)
- Perfect Timing: Activates at 4 minutes (from 10 minutes)
- Minion Dematerializer: Initial cooldown of 2 minutes (from 4 minutes)
And finally, let’s talk champion balance. With very few exceptions (ex: Shyvana’s passive) we’ve never really committed the resources to balancing ARAM because we believe champions should behave similarly on both SR and ARAM, so players don’t have to re-learn their picks on different maps. But we tested some low-complexity approaches to balance in both Nexus Blitz and ARURF+ and found them to be quite successful in making the majority of champions viable in those modes. So we’re going to apply that learning to ARAM.
Our goal is not to completely shuffle the tier list, but simply to narrow the gap between the top and the bottom. Ziggs and Sona should still be strong picks, just not “makes you want to surrender when you’re matched up against them” strong! Here’s the full list of nerfs and buffs:
- Ashe: -5% damage dealt
- Illaoi: +5% damage taken
- Janna: +5% damage taken
- Jhin: -5% damage dealt
- Jinx: -5% damage dealt
- Kog’maw: -8% damage dealt
- Lux: -8% damage dealt
- Maokai: -8% damage dealt & +5% damage taken
- Miss Fortune: -5% damage dealt
- Nasus: -5% damage dealt
- Sion: +5% damage taken
- Sivir: -8% damage dealt
- Sona: -10% damage dealt & -25% healing done
- Teemo: -8% damage dealt
- Veigar: +5% damage taken
- Vel’Koz: -5% damage dealt
- Yorick: +8% damage taken (doesn’t apply to Maiden of the Mist)
- Ziggs: -15% damage dealt
- Akali: +12% damage dealt & -8% damage taken
- Bard: +8% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
- Evelynn: +12% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
- Hecarim: -10% damage taken
- Kindred: +10% damage dealt
- Khazix: -10% damage taken
- LeBlanc: +12% damage dealt
- Lee Sin: +8% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
- Nidalee: +15% damage dealt
- Nocturne: +5% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
- Rek’sai: +10% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
- Rengar: -10% damage taken
- Ryze: +8% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
- Sejuani: -10% damage taken
- Tryndamere: +10% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
- Warwick: -8% damage taken
These balance changes are up for evaluation just like the other tests during this 9.7 mini-event, so these exact numbers might not last. Based on the results during 9.7 and feedback from you, we’ll be making adjustments as necessary.
As we mentioned at the top, at the end of Patch 9.7, we are going to take a look at all these changes (minus the Butcher’s Bridge map) and evaluate which ones will stay as permanent parts of the mode based on your feedback, so please share your thoughts with us!
Players have been sharing a lot of ideas on how to improve ARAM, and we heard them. While we weren’t able to do all of them for this iteration, that doesn’t mean we’re done. We’ll keep working on even more improvements over time to bring you an exciting, shorter-length game mode that’s fun every time! Thanks and have fun on the Bridge!