League of Legends’ meta will take another jolt in the upcoming patch 12.14, as evidenced by its broad systemic changes intended to make a cautious, calculated early game more volatile.
Riot Phroxzon revealed these “last set of major changes” before Worlds-focused patches in a tweet, the lead designer on the game’s balance team. Potions, defensive runes, and dragons all have their potency tuned down, which in theory should make early action and trading more tantalizing.
A distinction to note in these changes is that Phroxzon says they are targeted at “pro bloodiness,” which references the significantly slower early games seen in professional play across all regions since the Mid-Season Invitational.
Stronger individual dragon buffs are accompanied by the higher base and scaling health values, heightening both the risk and reward for playing for those early objectives. Like all of these changes, the ripple effects will undoubtedly yield some surprises. But with at least four patches until the final Worlds patch, Riot should have iterations aplenty to balance before the stakes get higher, especially given the company’s recent increased willingness to hotfix and B-patch if things come out too strong or weak.
When the “durability patch” hit earlier this year, the meta opened up in champion selection but subsequently choked out early action thanks to outer towers packing more of a punch and dissuading dives. In addition to the aforementioned dragon changes, systemic healing and sustain are being slashed by potions, Biscuits, and other defensive runes like Second Wind and Conditioning losing potency. Conversely, runes that provide damage in trades like Scorch and Sudden Impact are being buffed by around 20%. This is intended to incentivize more aggressive trading in lane.
These systems-focused changes were teased shortly after similar changes to champions were previewed.
Patch 12.14 looks like it will be significant and controversial as the effects of the durability patch continue to ripple across the game at all levels. Currently, live on PBE, it is due to hit live servers on July 27.