LoL developers plan to reduce the impact of early ganks and emphasize 1 vs 1 battles

Riot explained that it wants players to focus more on “honorable and fair 1-on-1 duels.”

The League of Legends developers have spoken at length about the mid-season update. The mid-season is a great time to look at the meta and balance in gameplay.

In addition to the fact that Riot wants to work on assassins or support roles, the staff is also focusing on changes to the phases of gameplay, and more specifically, the early stages of the match. What does this mean specifically, and what impact will it have on the linear phase and ganks?

Changes to the early stages of the game

Riot Truexy, one of the game’s designers, spoke about the goals towards the early stages of matches in League of Legends.

As League has evolved, laning phase has become more and more about finding an advantage in order to roam to other lanes rather than kill your direct lane opponent. While one of the high points is skill diffing the enemy laner, it’s become more and more common that the best play is to go influence another lane. Similarly, the windows of having a “fair and honorable 1v1” are few and far between, with ganks and roams interrupting the laning phase extremely frequently.

Riot’s mid-season goal is to put an emphasis on this phase, which means:

  • increasing opportunities for 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 fights with enemies,
  • reducing the impact of very early ganks and wandering from other avenues,
  • reducing the loss of early mistakes so that one lost fight does not mean the end of the alley phase of the game.

In the upcoming patch, it will be more difficult to destroy multiple tower armor plates in a single attack (especially within a gank). It will be possible to use a single totem to encase more ganking paths, and it will be slightly easier to withstand a tower assault.

The largest change of the patch will be syncing when the minion waves meet between lanes. Previously, the mid lane minions would meet well before the side lane ones would. This desync would mean each lane would have the time to quickly clear their wave and leave vision to look for a gank. If the enemy laner extended themself to farm the wave or was weak to a dive, the player would complete the roam, if not then they could return to their lane and miss almost no minion experience or gold. Syncing the waves increases the opportunity cost of roaming and should give attentive laners a bit more leeway when risking themselves to push or farm a wave.

Long term, we’ll monitor how these changes affect all levels of play and adjust accordingly. We don’t want to remove roaming and playmaking as it’s an integral part of why League is fun and why there’s a risk to pick weaker, scaling champions. We hope these changes even out the balance between laning and roaming, so that there’s more outplay moments and bit less “jg/mid/support roaming diff”.