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Preseason & Aphelios

Why’d you make Omnistone? How do Elemental Rifts affect champion win rates? Aphelios’ mastery curve?

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

Today it’s all about the gameplay.


Do any champions have a much higher or lower win rate on different elemental rifts? Like does Rengar have a higher win rate on the ocean one?


In general, champions don’t have significant winrate swings based on the elemental rift (the most significant cases are 1% change). We think this is ideal because the different rifts create fresh layouts to play around, but don’t swing the game too heavily for or against one team. 

As an additional balancing factor, the elemental rifts that create tighter, darker, maps great for ambushes (ocean, mountain) are paired with buffs that boost defenses. In the end the effects mostly cancel out. 

Rengar, who we all thought might be insane on Ocean actually is slightly worse on that map. His best map is Infernal, likely from the damage buff synergy with his bursty kit. But even for Rengar his worst map is -0.25% and his best is +0.31% so it’s really more about how you play it, not which map you get.

Lead Gameplay Designer

Why did you make Omnistone?


Let’s start with why we removed Kleptomancy. Klepto had two identities: give you consumables to play around and give you gold long-term. By the end of Season 8, it became pretty apparent that neither of these strengths were impactful enough that you would ever consider this rune on any champion other than the few that could proc it way more than anyone else. Therefore in Season 9 we decided to try to focus on one of these identities and broaden it so that someone other than Ezreal and Gangplank would consider it when presented with the ideal situation.

Consumables in League are pretty bland for gameplay (they’re just stats or regen in some form or another), so we tried out Klepto as the greed farming rune that granted you a gold advantage. While it definitely hit the strategic layer of “take this to punish boring farm lanes,” we feel that experience is just a bit too miserable for opponents, as it mostly just made range mismatch lanes really punishing.

Without existing consumables we were happy with—and because we were unwilling to keep Klepto as an economy rune—we knew we needed to do something larger scope.

The first step was to explore and see if we could actually create cool, short-term bonuses: If we aren’t limited to existing consumables in League, can we come up with satisfying gameplay? Iterations in that space ended up reasonably fruitful. At one point, the rune granted you one of five possible buffs every minute that had explicit strengths, such as “Amb(r)ush: Gain a damage and haste buff when you exit a brush,” and “Conquest: Deal bonus damage to objectives.” But we generally understood that buffs like this were too complex for the rune system. Granting other keystones was a natural step from there—it’s lower complexity because it’s not actually introducing something new to learn while giving players the opportunity to make clever choices.

Beyond that, Omnistone is also more of an exploration into a “player style rune” rather than a “champion rune.” We know some players will find it fun to play with, but we also know that this kind of mini-game isn’t for everyone. Ideally it’s a viable rune that no one feels pressured to take. It’s not quite hitting that bar right now, but luckily we patch the game regularly. Keystone and champion tuning has become really intertwined in a way that often limits the player choice we’ve always wanted with runes—here’s to hoping Omnistone can break that mold.

Associate Game Designer

What do you think Aphelios’ mastery curve will be like?


A great question, with some debate! But first, let’s talk about mastery curve. Meddler has spoke a bit about this in past “Quick Gameplay Thoughts” posts, but here’s a refresher:

Mastery curve is a measure of how much a champion’s performance increases based on the number of games one has played as them. We tend to care about how much this changes over 30 games to represent experienced players and 100 games to represent master players. 

Certain champions grow a LOT on their journey to becoming experienced (Zoe and Azir grow by ~11% win rate in 30 games, for example). These sorts of champions tend to have challenging to execute patterns with a high chance of failure— as you get reps on it and reduce your failure rate, you gain extreme returns quickly. Other champions have larger error margins, so don’t grow as much (Varus and Brand, for example, grow by ~2-4%). 

After 30 games, most champions’ performance starts to plateau and additional games mean less and less. Some champions, however, continue to grow significantly past this point, occasionally even beyond the 100 and 200 game marks. Very subjectively, I think this is where the real “mastery” happens. The first 30 games are “learning the ropes” and mostly reducing one’s error rate. Then, once you get the basics down and stop making errors, the next 100 games is when you start to really master the champion and begin to leverage every possible part of their kit. 

Some champions have a steep 30 game curve but a flat 100 game curve; others have the opposite. Let’s get into some more examples to illustrate how these differ. I include the 30-game and 200-game marks here, to really illustrate the difference:

  • Renekton grows by 4% in his first 30, and another 4% in his next 170. 
  • Anivia grows by ~10% in her 30, but only another ~2% over the next 170 games. 
  • Rengar grows by 8% in his first 30, and then another 7% in his next 170!

So, with all this in mind, let’s go back to Aphelios. As we’ve said many times, he’s very hard to play, so the subject matter experts predict that he will grow by ~10-12% in 30 games, and another ~4-5% by 100 games. This puts him at just about… the steepest mastery curve in the game.

But like I said, there’s some debate here! Personally, I expect his first 30 to move quite a bit less than those projections because I believe his propensity for failure is significantly lower than the other champions in that high-mastery camp; if you just play him like a traditional marksman, you’ll still find some success. However, fully understanding every weapon and how to master the order and plan ahead or react appropriately is a very difficult skillset that will continue to pay dividends for a lonnnnnnngggg time. That’s why I believe he will be one of those champions that continues to grow past 100 and 200 games, and I expect there he will differentiate himself as the most challenging champion in the game to fully master!

Game Designer

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