The days of new League of Legends champions being overpowered and broken may become a thing of the past.
Riot discussed the balancing framework behind new League champions and VGUs in today’s dev blog, explaining that these releases will target “long-term balance.” This means that upcoming champs, like the dreamy jungler and masked assassin, will initially appear weaker until players gain mastery over their kits.
“Our upcoming dreamy jungler and masked assassin are both likely to appeal to players looking for more novel experiences and require a pretty heavy investment to get over the initial learning curve,” Riot said. “While we’re confident that mastering these champions will be well worth the effort, there will likely be some bonus ‘feels bad’ feels, especially in comparison to simpler future champion releases.”
Riot’s previous philosophy was to balance new releases for the short-term. Champions would be stronger upon release to make up for the learning curve. But after players learned how the champion’s abilities worked, their win rate would reach unhealthy levels and they’d be nerfed in consecutive patches.
While this would avoid new releases being deemed a “failure,” a stigma of champions being overpowered out the gate emerged.
Since Fiddlesticks’ VGU, Riot began releasing champions with a “long-term balance state” in mind. So new releases, like the upcoming dreamy jungler and masked assassin, shouldn’t dominate the competition and instantly take over the pro scene. Instead, players will be rewarded for learning the intricacies of their kit and eventually reach an average win rate.
Riot still plans on stepping in if new champs need buffs or nerfs. But developers hope that new releases will “reach a truly balanced state within one patch” without needing “substantial follow-up afterward.”