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Midseason  2017

We've reached the halfway point of the 2017 season. Now's the time to look back on the past six months of League and pave the way for what's coming next.

Early Season Retrospective

We set out in preseason to make assassins fairer to play against, siphoning some of their insta-burst strength into skills such as mobility and target selection. Rengar and LeBlanc posed special challenges we’re still working through, but for much of the roster, their mid- and late-game impact is no longer dictated solely by a few early kills (or deaths). Item-wise, some of our Lethality changes launched weaker than anticipated, but when we followed up with buffs to all Lethality items, their users dominated the meta. We’ve since found a sustainable middle ground.

Then there’s the jungle. We updated Smite and the monster camps so junglers could choose a clearing path that matches their playstyle (ex. single-target vs. AoE). This gave the jungle role too much early-game influence, but we’ve since dialled these adjustments back and are happy with where things have settled. Preseason also introduced plants to the jungle, and after some quick usability improvements, they’ve become a regular element of Summoner’s Rift gameplay. With a small adjustment to Honeyfruit’s spawn time in place, plants are offering dynamic moments in the jungle without overly warping matches.

Beyond preseason, League’s roster has gained some new and updated faces. Warwick and Galio got makeovers, Camille dove onto the Rift, and Xayah and Rakan will soon mark our first true dual-champion release. We’ve also shipped smaller ability updates to Alistar, Shyvana, Aatrox and Cho’Gath, creating smoother experiences and healthier gameplay.

Last topic: marksmen. With junglers, assassins, and tanks (Courage of the Colossus) all coming to the fore, marksmen have struggled through the roughest meta they’ve faced in ages. We tackled these factors individually by reducing early jungle pressure, reining in assassins and Lethality, and narrowing Colossus’s focus. Toss in a few targeted improvements like the Warlord’s Bloodlust update, and we’re finally emerging from the woods.

With the first half of 2017 in the rear-view mirror, what's in store this midseason?

Tank Updates

We're giving Sejuani, Zac, and Maokai new abilities to master, carving out unique identities for them among the teamfight initiation crowd.

Sejuani

The Winter’s Wrath

Sejuani's becoming a true barbarian warleader. Once the Winter's Wrath charges into battle, frosty strikes from her warband leave enemies vulnerable to Permafrost's targeted lockdown.

Zac

The Secret Weapon

Goo-man's getting even goo-ier. Stretching Strikes grabs enemies and knocks 'em together, while Let's Bounce carries enemies along for Zac's wild ride.

Maokai

The Twisted Treant

Maokai's getting back in touch with his roots as a vengeful nature spirit. By summoning a giant wall of roots to snare his enemies.

Durability Items

New Options

We're plugging some holes in our defensive itemisation lineup with two new additions.

On a less-flashy note, we're also adjusting a bunch of existing durability items. Several will trade a bit of health for extra resistances; others will see tune-ups to their unique effects. Full details to come in the patch notes!

Non-tank Pickups

We also want to ensure that people who aren't tanks have solid defensive options as well. Several items have passives that damage dealers would love to have, and we're adjusting their build paths and stats to line up better with what they need to do their jobs. To give you an idea of what we mean, here's the new Guardian Angel.

Team Contributions

Doing what's best for your team often means sacrificing personal glory, especially if you're not a damage dealer. We're adding new rewards for supports who've mastered their laning playstyles and amping up the recognition any non-carry gets for the plays that help lead their team to victory.

Support Quests

Ancient Coin, Relic Shield, and Spellthief's Edge now offer quests. By making sufficient use of your item's passive (Favor, Spoils of War, and Tribute) you'll evolve it, gaining a powerful new effect.

Contribution Clarity

League's not the best at recognising accomplishments that don't involve killing people. That makes it hard for non-carries to get the recognition they deserve. We're giving these groups better ways to track and celebrate their successes.

End-of-Game Stat Updates

We're adding new stats to the end-of-game screen, giving everyone from supports to split-pushers to tanks new ways to measure their team contributions.

  • Damage mitigated on self
  • Damage to towers
  • Vision score
  • Crowd control score

Look for more stats to crop up down the road, such as team healing, team shielding, and deaths prevented.

Gameplay Clarity

Health bars and kill call-outs make it easy to track the impact of your damage in real-time. We're expanding similar clarity to Summoner Spells, items, and crowd control with clearer particles to highlight those plays.

  • In addition to updated icons, crowd control effects are now written out above champion health bars
  • New attribution visuals draw a connection from wielders of various summoner spells and items to the targets they're influencing
  • Death visuals are now team-coloured, making it easier to track the body count as fights unfold

Item Impact Tracking

A number of items already track how well you've been using their effects, such as total damage blocked by Locket of the Iron Solari. We're expanding that functionality to other items to help players see the impact of their purchases. Active items are also getting a shiny new border in the UI to help you remember to use 'em more often.

Rift Herald

Rift Herald now drops the Herald's Eye item when defeated. Use the eye before it expires to bring Rift Herald back as a structure-smashing siege engine.

As an ally, Rift Herald will push down the nearest lane, reducing enemy buildings to rubble unless forcibly stopped. Fighting against her in lane is similar to fighting her in the pit - poke her in the eye to send her crying home to the Void.

Looking Forward

Though we've got plenty to talk about with midseason itself, we wanted to take a quick moment to comment on three of the projects coming later in the year.

Honour Update

We’re currently working on a significant overhaul to the Honour system, due to ship later this year.

The current Honour system doesn’t really reinforce how valuable teamwork is. The new system is designed to be much more integrated with the actual experience of the game, featuring greater incentives and rewards for players who are consistently honourable.

10 Bans

When the 10 ban format comes to regular play, it’ll look different than what you’ve been seeing in the pro scene. There are some fundamental differences in how bans are used between the two scenarios, so we’ll be adapting the system based on the needs of matchmade games.

In the regular play system, we want to make sure we give all players equal agency (everyone gets a ban) while keeping champion select fair (where it doesn’t matter where you end up in the pick order). If possible, we’ll also be cutting down on champ select’s overall length. Expect to see more shortly after midseason.

Once 10 bans launches, you’ll need to own 20 or more champions to play ranked (up from 16). We’ll be running an IP boost weekend very soon to give you the chance to make up the difference.

Team Competition

Playing League with friends in Normals or Ranked Flex is one thing, but we think there’s an opportunity to add a new competitive experience into League, one different from the now-retired Ranked Teams queue. We want organised teams to compete for rewards, but include and appeal to players of all skill levels.

Think something along the lines of forming a team with your friends and entering an amateur tournament together, where the stakes, intensity and rewards are ramped way up! We’re still working out exactly what this looks like, so stay tuned.

We'll have more to share regarding these features as we move into the second half of 2017. In the meantime, get ready for midseason! Thanks for joining us for today's look into what's next for League.

Mid-Season Invitational

The Autumn Split champions from all 13 regional leagues will face off in the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, beginning April 29.

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