With the League of Legends World Championships now complete, it’s time for Riot to kick back, relax, and do nothing for the rest of 2016, right? Wrong! With 2017 nearly upon us, they’ve decided to go ahead and drop Patch 6.22. It marks the start of pre-season, and it brings with it a slew of huge changes for the MOBA in preparation for next year. Here’s an overview:
From revamping the Ranked system (again), to adding some much-overdue features in Replays and Practice Tool to finally moving the client update to open beta, it’s a year for leveling up all around. We’re hard at work to make a season worth remembering, and that starts right here.
So what else is on the agenda? The latest in our series of class updates – the Assassins – are prowling the rift, armed to the teeth and ready to parkour across any obstacle to reach their prey. Unlike a full-scale update (like Yorick or Poppy), class updates aren’t targeted at reinventing characters from the bottom up. They’re for taking a group of champions that feel a little too similar and making them more distinct while improving their overall game health.
While Assassins may receive top-billing, there are plenty of other gameplay changes in pre-season’s supporting cast. All in all, pre-season is a time of chaos and change. It’s a tumultuous period where innovators thrive and the only way out is through. So grab an Edge of Night, channel yourself a spell-shield and dive right in. We’ll be tossing daggers right next to you.
So, Assassins are the big focus this time around. Talon, Katarina, LeBlanc, Rengar, Fizz, Kha’zix, Akali, Zed, Ekko, and Shaco have all received changes. Stealth as a whole is getting tweaked too:
Conceptually, stealth is easy to understand: “you can’t see me.” Mechanically, that means a few things. First, stealth is tied to the vision game: when you don’t know where someone is, there’s a chance they’re closing in on you. This creates both strategic and tactical advantages: for example, Evelynn roaming the map unseen or Wukong getting into initiation range. Second, stealth is a powerful (albeit unwieldy) form of in-combat defense, since stealthed champs can’t be targeted and skillshot aiming becomes rough guesswork.
Across League’s history, we haven’t done a great job of handling these traits separately. Case in point: Vision Wards are the one-size-fits all counter to stealth, regardless of what enemies are trying to do while unseen. To keep things generally balanced, we’ve had to give stealth champions more overall power to offset situations when pink wards shut them down, and that makes them overbearing when wards aren’t in play. There’s simply not enough middle ground.
Crafting a more refined approach to stealth has implications on multiple parts of the game, and pre-season’s the best time for us to adjust all those levers at once. Make sure to read both this and the Wards section for the complete story!
If you’d like to read up on everything in more detail, I’d suggest heading over to the official patch page. Alternately, you can watch this video from Redmercy instead, which lists everything you need to know in just 17 minutes or so.
There’s a lot to take in with Patch 6.22, but it’s par for the course for Riot. They aren’t scared to experiment, and I like that! They’ll be monitoring and adjusting all these new tweaks over the coming weeks, and by the time 2017 rolls around, everything will feel normal again I’m sure.
Last Updated: November 9, 2016