Thought Dump | League of Legends Design Thoughts I

So, this is probably going to be the first of these, and there may be several. The reality is that this won’t mean a lot to most people who come to my blog, but it is a bunch of ideas. A few important things to note, these thoughts assume a basic familiarity with League of Legends and are back-dated to earlier states of the game. For the purposes of my sharing this with the world, I’m going to be trying to include the patch number of the game when I wrote this stuff down. A lot of things, systemically, have changed since some of these ideas were written down and I will try to clarify those where I can. I’m going oldest to newest, so that should be interesting. The vast majority of these are re-designs of existing champions with an eye toward two things: enhancing the thematic expression of a character and improving what Riot calls the character’s effect on “game health,” which based on their design ideology aims for a few things in a modern sense but at the time of writing might have meant different things.

Graves Rework Ideas – 7/24/2014 – Patch 4.46

Passive: True Grit

Graves’ shotgun shells deal substantially more damage based on Graves’ proximity to his enemies, up to (50% AD) bonus damage to adjacent enemies. This damage is calculated when the attack hits, not when it is made.

Q [ Unchanged ]

W [ Unchanged ]

E – Quickdraw

Cost: 40 / 30 / 20 / 10 / 0 Mana
Cooldown: 16 / 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 Seconds

Passive: Basic attacks reduce the cooldown of this ability by 1 second. The cooldown reduction is increased based on the amount of bonus damage True Grit deals.

Active: Dashes a short distance, gaining bonus attack speed and resetting Graves’ attack timer.

Attack Speed: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%

R – Collateral Damage

Passive: Graves gains bonus armor and magic resistance for every second he is in combat, stacking up to 5 times. These stacks fade by 1 per second if Graves hasn’t dealt or received damage for more than 2 seconds.

Armor and Magic Resistance Per Stack: 3% / 5% / 7%


Graves fires a shell that explodes on the first enemy Champion it hits, dealing damage in a cloud of shrapnel beyond. The shell itself deals less damage the further it travels.

Initial Damage (Point Blank to 125): 300 / 450 / 600 (+150% bonus AD)

Minimum Damage between 525 and Max Range: 200 / 300 / 400 (+100% bonus AD)

Explosion Damage: 125 / 225 / 325 (+75% bonus AD)

Damage needs to fall off exponentially so that fighting graves his maximum range (ish) is the ideal way of dealing with him.

Damage Formula

Bonus Damage Capped at 50% Total AD

[((200 / Range)^2)*50]% Total AD

This means that from 0 to 200 (melee range), Graves deals 50% of his total AD as bonus physical damage

At 225 range, Graves deals 35.12% of his total AD as bonus damage

At 400 range, Graves would deal only 6% of his total as bonus damage.

And at 500 range, Graves loses the bonus damage. Basically, engage Graves from his maximum range. If he can’t hit back hard, it’s almost not worth it for him to hit back.

Remember that the removal of his bonus armor and magic resistance makes it riskier to go in close for max-damage Qs, but unless his enemy retreats, he’ll be more rewarded for doing so. Dodging Buckshot is no longer an easy way to evade all of Graves’ damage. This reinforces Graves’ identity as the master of close-quarters combat for marksmen. He wants to get in there and mix it up, and he’s rewarded for doing so, but he needs to be able to survive doing it as well. Graves’ ideal build path includes armor, health, and attack damage. He doesn’t really need to crit as long as he’s getting in close and fighting, and he doesn’t really need attack speed either. Quick Draw will provide more than enough mid game attack speed. Plus, the more Graves gets up in people’s grills, the faster Quick Draw cools down (2 seconds for a full proc of True Grit, 1.25 seconds for a partial proc). Assuming Graves can get 20% CDR (Essence Reaver and a Ghost Blade), Graves can reset his dash with 4 True Grit hits and 1 standard hit, or any combination thereof. That’s important because it’s a little different than Lucian who can use lateral movement and other spells to get his dashes going with Relentless Pursuit. Graves by contrast needs to get in close and stay in close. He has other tools to do that – the slow field from Smokescreen is pretty useful for creating an ideal engagement zone for Graves, but…


So, the thing I’m most proud of from that are the Passive, which makes Graves’ shotgun a shotgun before Riot got around to it and I had the same basic idea of making shotgun-style attacks even more powerful for Graves because of making close-range attacks power up his Quickdraw even faster, which is the same direciton Riot went a whole two years later. Now, at the time, I didn’t consider technology like multiple projectiles off of auto attacks or AA-based ammo systems or I would have moved in a similar direction. I also wasn’t prepared for the changes from per-level to growth stats and wasn’t prepared for Riot to introduce the massive bump to marksman damage in Season 6. Still! I’m proud of that.

Next up:

Irelia, the Will of the Blades – 7/24/2014, Patch 4.46

Hiten Style
Passive: Every 5 basic attacks or spellcasts, Irelia gains a charge of Hiten Style. Her next attack will consume Hiten Style to deal bonus True Damage. Additionally, Hiten Style attacks against enemy champions restore health and mana.

{{pp|18|31|33|34|35|37|38|39|41|42|43|45|47|49|50|51|53|54|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18}} + 60% Bonus AD True Damage {{pp|18|23|24|25|26|27|28|29|30|31|32|33|34|35|36|37|38|39|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18}} + 45% AP Health and Mana

Q – Bladesurge
Irelia becomes untargetable for .5 seconds, becoming a living blade of energy that slashes forward to deal physical damage to the first enemy she hits. This ability applies on-hit effects.

Physical Damage: {{pp|5|30/55/80/105/130 + {100|AD}}} Minimum Range: 250 Max Range: 750 Cooldown: 8 seconds

W -Equilibrium Strike
Irelia’s next attack gains 125 attack range and will cleave, dealing magic damage in an area around her. All enemies hit are slowed for 3 seconds and Irelia gains movespeed for each enemy hit (to a cap). Irelia’s movespeed and the slow both decay over their duration.

Damage: 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200 (+85% AP) Magic Damage Area of Effect Radius: 250 Slow: 65% Movespeed: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 per enemey hit (max 105) Cooldown: 10 seconds Mana Cost:

E -Transcendent Blades
Passive: Irelia gains a Spirit Blade every 15 seconds, affected by cooldown reduction. She can store up to 3 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 5 blades.

Active: Irelia fires one of her Spirit Blades, dealing damage to all enemies in a line. Each blade deals 20% less damage each time they pass through an enemy.

While Hiten Style is available, Transcendent Blades deal True damage.

Magic Damage: 34 / 41 / 48 / 55 / 62 (+15% AP / 30% Bonus AD) (45 / 54 / 63 / 72 / 81 + 20% AP / +40% Bonus AD) True Damage Cooldown: Ammo stored per 15 seconds

Range: 650 Width: 175 (slightly larger than a Teemo) Missile Speed: 1500 (faster than live)

R – Ionian Fervor

Passive: Hiten Style with Equilibrium Strike or Bladesurge, additionally reduces Irelia’s other basic ability cooldowns by 3 seconds. Attacking an enemy champion doubles this effect.

Active: For 5 seconds, Irelia’s attack speed is increased and she gains bonus damage resistance. Whenever Irelia is stunned, immobilized, or suppressed, this duration is refreshed.

Attack Speed: 60 / 70 / 80% Bonus Damage Reduction: 30 / 40 / 50% Cooldown: 100 / 90 / 80 Seconds

Change Context:

Irelia’s metagolem problem is basically that she’s a bag of fighter stats with low skill investment and high output. To compensate for this, Riot has had to take a sledgehammer to every part of her kit that makes Irelia different from other fighters. Like Olaf and Singed, she has some immunity to crowd control, making her an adequate diver. Like Jax, she has a targeted dash that deals damage and a conditional stun/slow. Like Jax, she has the ability to apply bonus damage to enemies. Unlike Jax, who has burst and tankiness to compensate his all-in potential, Irelia has sustain and sustained damage. The goal of this rework is to restore Irelia to some of her old glory while introducing skillful counter play and removing some of her unassailable power. Irelia’s base fighter stats would need to be removed – she needs to operate in a zone more like a mana-dependent Riven than another Jax that’s even more vital to stop in terms of snowballing.

Irelia’s base damage has been lowered slightly, as has her damage per level. To compensate, her base attack speed has been increased, as has her attack speed per level. This all corresponds to her new passive, named, appropriately enough…

Hiten Style Hiten Style is a counter-based passive that grants Irelia scaling bonus true damage on her basic attacks and abilities. Two of Irelia’s basic abilities apply on-hit effects, effectively allowing her to gain 2 stacks of Hiten Style on a hit. Hiten Style has the added benefit of granting Irelia health and mana when she engages an enemy champion with it.

This prevents Irelia from sitting indefinitely in lane using Hiten Style against minions to sustain herself. In order to sustain, Irelia has to risk. She has to be sure that she’s going to win a trade. There are a number of ways to do so – using Lifesteal in addition to Hiten Style on a Bladesurge can give her some free extra healing, and Equilibrium Strike’s bonus range gives her a lot of flexibility to score some bonus health and mana while offereing a good amount of harass.

The downside of Hiten Style is that she will probably want to use it to Harass rather than wave clear, though applying on-hit effects to all enemies effected by Equilibrium Strike gives her strong pushing potential. Hiten Style’s unique interaction with her abilities is what differentiates what Irelia intends to do at any given time.

Bladesurge is very different, but functionally very similar. It’s new static cooldown and non-refund/cooldown on kill mechanic seems like a nerf, and it’s intended to be, but its first-target-hit dynamic makes it a kind of melee Mystic Shot. This massively increases Irelia’s overall mobility, but also prevents her from using it to optimally perform a targeted dive. Its variable range is incredibly long for a dash, at 250 to 750, allowing her to dash the full length of a level 18 Tristana’s auto attack. Its incredible speed and immunity to being targeted give her a strong gap close or disengage. Bladesurge’s new targeting dynamic is a bit like Jinx’s Zap!, insofar as an indicator is drawn for the first 0.4 seconds Irelia is untargetable, indicating her path of travel. Irelia then dashes along the path in the last 0.1 second, dealing damage and relocating to the first target hit. Avoiding Bladesurge is key to dodging Irelia’s burst damage, as is similar with Jinx.

Equilibrium Strike is vastly different from its current incarnation. No longer a targeted, ranged ability, Eq Strike is designed to give Irelia the same disengage but also give her an option for front loading its burst. The % Health mechanic, which is confusing and difficult to understand for both Irelia and her enemies, has been removed. Instead, the balance created is that Irelia steals movement speed for enemies hit, and she steals more move speed for each enemy hit. When combines with Bladesurge, Equilibrium Strike offers Irelia a lot of Poke + Disengage, but it’s neither instantaneous or guaranteed, since a character with a ranged re-engage (such as Jarvan IV, Renekton, Lee Sin, Jax, or any number of other characters) won’t rely on their movement speed to stay in melee. By contrast, it gives her the ability to quickly back off of an engagement or follow up on an engagement.

Transcendent Blades has moved from Irelia’s ultimate to her new ranged Harass mechanic. It’s an ammo-based ability that allows her to fire a blade that deals damage to all targets in a line. The base damage is relatively low, but its missile speed is much faster than the current Transcendent Blades. Irelia can fire off as many Transcendent blades as she has available. Unlike Bladesurge and Equilibrium strike, while Hiten Style is available, Transcendent Blades will deal a flat double damage. If Irelia has all 5 blades available while Hiten Style is active, she can reliably dish out a lot of poke damage. Though the blades are faster than they are on live, their hitbox is much more narrow to promote skillful use.

Ionian Fervor is the name of Irelia’s new ultimate, and it’s a little complex, but the idea is solid. Whenever Irelia uses Bladesurge of Equilibrium Strike to apply Hiten Style, her cooldowns are reduced by 3.5 seconds, double the effect versus champions. That means Transcendent Blades are up faster, giving Irelia more ranged capability, it means more Bladesurges. In fact, hitting an enemy champion with Bladesurge empowered by Hiten Style will instantly grant access to another Bladesurge. This lets Irelia stick to targets or evade them so long as she can continue to perform skillful plays.

The major thing I think that’s worth it from this is new Hiten Style, the new Bladesurge, and the idea of CC’ing a character just making them made, that you’d have to kill Irelia in order to stop her. There’s still a ton of problems with this version of Irelia, but the multiple attack resets emphasize her aa-focused power. All of that to say, I don’t think that Irelia has a clear enough identity in a number of directions and that’s one of the things that doesn’t work tons here. The numbers are also all over the place.

And last:

Warwick, the Blood Hunter – 5 / 7 / 2015, Patch 5.8

Passive: Bloodhunt
Whenever Warwick is near an enemy champion or large monster not at full health, he begins to gain Hunger, increased based on his proximity to wounded enemies and the amount of health they are missing. Killing a large monster or enemy champion sates Warwick’s Hunger, reducing it by 33% of its current value. When Warwick reaches 100% Hunger, he howls, marking and revealing enemies detected by Bloodhunt for 6 seconds. Once all enemies lose the mark, Warwick’s Hunger will drain to 0 over 3 seconds.

In addition, Warwick gains ( 5 / 10 / 15, increased by 1% per 1% Hunger) movement speed and increased healing and regeneration effects (8 / 12 / 16, increased by 1% per Hunger) based on his current Hunger percentage.

Warwick gains more Hunger per second the closer he is to a valid enemy and the more wounded they are. 

Hunger Gained Per Second Formula:

2100 units: 3 per second (increased by 1% per 1% enemy missing health)

For every 300 units Warwick moves closer to an enemy detected by Bloodhunt, he gains 3 / 4 / 5 additional Hunger per second over 3 seconds. Players should be able to watch this bar as a meter for how close they’re getting to a valid enemy. These gains can only apply once, as well. So while Hunger is ticking, Warwick gains 3 per second, up to potentially 9 per second when chasing really low health enemies. For his range vs. a scented enemy, he gets ((2100 – [distance to target])/300) * (3 / 4 / 5) hunger every second. This particular generation rate is dynamically updated every half second, based on Warwick’s distance to his enemies. So if he is 600 units from a 50% health valid enemy at 0 Hunger at level 6, he’s generating 4.5 hunger per second plus 15 (a total of 19 per second). If he moves away from his prey, he’ll start to lose Hunger generation, but potentially not trigger his Bloodhunt. If he moves toward his enemy over the next three seconds, closing to just 300 units away, he’ll increase his Hunger generation to 22 per second, a noticeable uptick in growth. Hunting a half-health opponent through their Jungle starting at 2100 units, Warwick will take about 15 seconds to close on his target before he howls, revealing them and starting the chase minigame. The major thing is that I don’t want Warwick’s howl mark to be revealed unless Warwick is visible to his enemies. 

Q – Frenzy

For 6 seconds, Warwick’s attacks are enhanced, dealing bonus magic damage based on his enemies’ missing health and adding a stack of Duress for 2 seconds, up to a maximum of 4. For each stack of Duress on a target enemy, Warwick will attack an additional time, dealing modified damage and applying on-hit effects each time.

(First attack does full damage and full on hit effects, stack-based attacks deal half damage from all sources, including on-hit effects.)

First Attack Bonus Magic Damage: (4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8% total AD) (+20% AP), increased by 2.15% per 1% missing health, up to 150%

Subsequent Damage Per Stack: (1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5% Total AD) (+10% AP)

Maximum Bonus Damage (Target with 4 Stacks):
Rank 1: (8% Total AD) (+60% AP) to (12% Total AD) (+90% AP)
Rank 2: (13% Total AD) (+60% AP) to (19.5% Total AD) (+90% AP)
Rank 3: (18% Total AD) (+60% AP) to (27% Total AD) (+90% AP)
Rank 4: (23% Total AD) (+60% AP) to (34.5% Total AD) + 84 (+90% AP)
Rank 5: (28% Total AD) (+60% AP) to (42% Total AD) + 99 (+90% AP)

Duress stacks are added on-attack, while its damage is calculated on-hit. 

In general, Warwick gets a lot out of auto attacks against the same target. The amplification of damage is actually better with Ability Power, whereas Attack Damage simply increases his more reliable damage. Stacks of Duress only last for 2 seconds, so he has to keep on them. The purpose of this is that building AD items still gives Warwick a benefit with this spell at least from upfront damage, but his penetration won’t be there to back it up, whereas the ramp up off of Duress with Ability Power leads to more overall damage. If you give Warwick a more extreme AP and crappier bonus AD: 

141 AD (40 bonus), 138 AP:
First Attack: 194 to 220 damage
1 Stack: 223 to 264
2 Stacks: 252 to 308
3 Stacks: 271 to 351
4 Stacks: 313 to 395 

So, a theoretical 230 AP Magewick with 10 bonus AD wouldn’t hit that on the first attack, but by the fifth attack, it would hurt a lot. 

W – Cull the Herd
Warwick howls, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies. Enemies marked by Bloodhunt are terrified and flee from Warwick for 2.25 seconds. For each enemy that takes damage, Warwick’s attack speed increases by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30%, up to 3 times.

Magic Damage: 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 / 260 (+80% AP)

This is basically easy to understand. If Warwick can be a patient, rude dude, he can force enemies to flee from him, literally allowing him to herd targets. It’s also a cool li’l PBAoE. 

E – Find Their Scent
Passive: Warwick’s attacks and spells heal him for 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 (+0)% of his missing health. This effect is increased by Warwick’s Lifesteal and Spell Vamp percentages.

Active: Warwick charges up for a few seconds, reducing his movement speed while he sniffs the ground around him. During this time enemies in a target area leave a scent trail that lingers for 5 seconds around them as they move for the next 8 seconds. When Warwick enters the scent trail, he will consume it, gaining doubling his Hunger gained per second he remains in the scent trail.

This is kind of the big kicker. Warwick’s sustain tanking comes from the passive on this ability, and I think it’s a cool one. Each of Warwick’s attacks and spells heal him for a percentage of his missing health, increased by 1% per 5% Lifesteal and 1% per 5% Spell Vamp. Since Warwick is healing for his missing health on top of any life stealing he applies with his abilities, he is going to sustain an impressive amount of damage as long as he can stay aggressive. The active on this ability is designed to further support Warwick’s “blood hunter” paradigm Whereas Nidalee has a kind of triggered hunting sense and Rengar’s is a big ultimate initiation move, Warwick is always hunting, this is just how he can do it even better. What I envision is effectively enemy champions and large monsters generating a kind of Singed/Nocturne-style pool around them that’s visible to Warwick and his teammates which lingers for a few seconds and puffs off of them as they move around. Warwick enters these scent trails to get an idea for where his enemies are. Scent trails aren’t visible on the minimap, but can be visually seen 

R – Unleash The Beast
Warwick channels, able to move and attack for the duration while losing health every second to increase his Hunger, size, melee reach, and attack speed for 10 seconds. The channel ends when Warwick reaches 100% Hunger, at which point he can recast this ability to dash a short distance, stunning enemies he passes through for 0.75 seconds and applying on-hit effects, including the damage from Frenzy. Enemies cannot be stunned by this effect more than once every 4 seconds.

The dash is very short (350 range) but very quick (current movespeed * 4) and has a very short cooldown. Warwick’s total melee range increases to 225, but his attacks can no longer be cancelled. The big idea for this isn’t so much that Warwick stuns a single target and beats the tar out of them for a few seconds, it’s more that he has the opportunity 

So this is a Pre-Rek’Sai patch, and I was interested in introducing a few things:

  1. A stack based effect that essentially built up multi-attack as you harangue the target. That’s Frenzy and the Duress stacks.
  2. A new way of handling vision in Find Their Scent. There’s a lot of ideation on how the effect would actually play out in game that I’ve included in the discussion.

This is round one of League of Legends thought. I have 100 files in this vein, most of them containing multiple reworks.  So, be fairly warned that we’re in for a long haul this way. Again, a lot of these are either on Riot’s radar or have already been changed.