The most recent Patch 2.9 contained only 4 balance changes, which prompted a negative response from the LoR community. Invested players were very vocal about their feelings regarding the cadence and the quantity of balance updates, critisizing an overly conservative approach taken up by the Live Design team.
In response to that, Riot Dovagedys, a LoR Product Lead on Gameplay, shared an update from the developers. He assured the community that their feedback has been heard, and the team will be re-evaluating their approach to live design. Here’s the key points from his message:
- Reduced number of live design changes over the last few months has been primarily due to the team being spread thin over other projects. Many of the same designers who work on game health have been working on the champion expansion scheduled for July. (“We slipped into a pattern of being focused on the future and deprioritizing the present. We made a mistake and we hear you.”)
- With the next expansion Rise of the Underworlds (Patch 2.11, June 30), they will be doing a large batch of card updates, including updates to older champions (This is an unusual practice for LoR live design, who used to only make urgent nerfs in patches that introduce new expansions).
- Riot will be re-evaluating their current live design philosophy for LoR as a whole. No details or any announcements yet, but the developers will communicate the new plan once it’s finalized.
Below is the full message by Riot Dovagedys, originally posted on Legends of Runeterra subreddit.
“Hi everyone! Dovagedys here with some news on card updates in Legends of Runeterra.
Tl;dr – More Updates Are Coming in Patch 2.11.0
We know there has been a lot of conversation recently on the topic of live design updates, and folks are… less than satisfied with the changes patch 2.9.0. First off, in patch 2.11.0, alongside the release of our next expansion – Rise of the Underworlds, we will be releasing a large batch of card updates, including updates to both older champions and non-champion cards.
Second, we’re going to be spending time re-evaluating our current live design philosophy and plans for the future. We don’t have any specific details at this time on exact balance cadence, but we know this issue is important and we will communicate our new plan once it’s finalized.
Before we get into it, I think it’s very important to call out that we thrive on the feedback we get from all of you. Our plans and actions change constantly due to the feedback we see from the community. Sometimes it takes time for those changes to be realized in balance patches. We have one of the most amazing communities I’ve ever seen in gaming and I think we should all work hard to protect the special community we have built together.
We want you all to know that the reduced number of live design changes over the last few months has been primarily due to our team being focused on making awesome things for the future. For example, the next champion expansion, scheduled for July on our roadmap, will launch very soon after the Rise of the Underworlds expansion, and many of the same designers who work on game health have been working on that champion expansion. There are also new things coming that I won’t go into detail on just yet, and you can expect another roadmap with more detail coming in late July. We slipped into a pattern of being focused on the future and deprioritizing the present. We made a mistake and we hear you.
We know that players want to see more balance changes as we move forward, so we’re taking that feedback to heart. Our team is re-evaluating live design cadence and the scope of the changes that we’re willing to make, in order to make that possible.
On Blade Dance – Power, Fun, and Frustration
Regarding Blade Dance specifically, we’ve seen strong feedback on how frustrating it is to play around the mechanic, and felt dissonance with the team when patch 2.9.0 released without significant nerfs to the archetype. To clarify our stance, we know that there’s a healthy tension between a decks’ ability to win, deck popularity, how fun a deck is to play, and how frustrating it is to play against. We want Blade Dance to sit in the middle of all those factors, where it has the ability to win (as any well-refined deck should), but where it’s not winning by an unhealthy amount. It’s fun to play, but also not too frustrating to play against. It can have a sharp feeling when playing against it, especially when it has a particularly strong curve. Right now, Blade Dance is extremely popular, and decks being popular is a good thing, but when a small number of decks are overly-popular, it can accelerate the feeling of a “stale” meta for a number of players. It’s also too powerful. We want to maintain its popularity while hitting some of the most problematic aspects of the deck, so we’re keeping a close eye on it for our 2.11.0 changes.
Understanding what elements make a deck popular is extremely important, because it helps us create future content that’s fun to play, while learning to avoid negative play patterns. The really great thing about LoR’s format though, is that we’re not just restricted to new sets & expansions; we can always go back and apply these same learnings to existing archetypes, and that’s what we’re doing now.
Organic Metagame Development vs. Keeping Things Fresh
Keep in mind, we still value allowing metagames to evolve and change over time without direct live design updates. We think that’s something special about our genre and rewards exploration and innovation, and there will be times when the metagame is diverse, even when we might have a few patches without card updates. The answer may not always be live design – it could be a new expansion, or just time to discover new, impactful decks, but live card updates can be a powerful tool to help when necessary to keep the game feeling fresh and exciting.
Thank you to everyone that has given us feedback in a positive and healthy way. We hear you loud and clear, and we’re making changes. Thanks for helping to keep our amazing community special and healthy.
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