It’s no secret that League of Legends fans are fed up with the lack of counterplay in champions like Sylas and Yuumi. Because laning against them proved infuriating, Riot Games is looking to avoid similar complications in the future.
Riot design director Andrei “Meddler” van Roon reflected on the MOBA’s gameplay in the Dev Corner today, addressing the inconsistencies in champions’ weaknesses.
“I think we’ve had a much more mixed year, in part because of some decisions we’ve made that have helped champions feel good to play as,” Meddler said. “Sylas and Yuumi stand out here in particular, with skilled play on them leaving opponents without sufficient ways to deal with them.”
It’s hard to say what went into character creation with Sylas, who’s a tanky mid laner that can slow, stun, heal, dash, and hijack an enemy’s ultimate ability. The champion has given devs loads of balancing issues since he’s either too overpowered or irrelevant.
The Worlds patch attempted to chain down The Unshackled by decreasing the champion’s base armor and armor growth. Although Riot initially feared Sylas would become pick-or-ban in the tournament, the changes proved too harsh and they were reverted two days later.
Yuumi fell under a similar category of having no weakness and little counterplay. The Magical Cat can’t be targeted when attached to an ally and heals for a boatload of life. The feline’s Prowling Projectile was nerfed, but it likely won’t affect her popularity in the competitive scene.
Reworks of champions like Irelia, Akali, and Aatrox caused similar balancing inconsistencies, frustrating players and compromising professional play.
“Looking at 2018 releases Irelia, Akali and Aatrox have also been problems in this regard, leading to in game experiences for other players that aren’t at the standards we want to hit,” Meddler said. “All our new releases having good game health, not just some of them, is one of our big champion goals for the coming year.”
Meddler feels like other reworked champions, like Morgana, Mordekaiser, and Kayle, were successful and healthy in regards to how they fit into the meta. The champions were previously underused because their kits were outdated. After their reworks, however, they increased in popularity.
Although 2019’s balancing act was tumultuous at best, Riot’s goals for next year look to prevent history from repeating itself.