Just Around the Corner: New Build Path Changes Coming to League of Legends in Preseason 2021
Sat 7th Nov 2020 - 3:03pm
Every preseason in League of Legends, Riot Games likes to test out all sorts of new changes to switch up the season that is yet to come. Sometimes it is through new champions, others an overhaul to an old system (like runes). For this preseason in particular, Riot is taking a hard look at most of the items in the game and is giving them either new art, a few changes, or a complete redesign. While some players may like things the way they are now, others are excited to see what is to come in the next season. In this article, we will not go into what items are being changed, but the types of changes occurring, and will go over each change for each role/champion type in the game.
There is only one change announced so far being made to jungle items, but it is certainly an interesting one. Last preseason, Riot made a huge change to the support items by making them much easier to upgrade, since they came at no cost to the player. In this preseason, Riot plans to do the same to jungle items. They aren’t completely sure yet on how to implement certain aspects of it, but the goal is to allow junglers to effectively upgrade their starting item with no cost to them. This way they can focus more on farming in the early stages and will not have to worry about going to their fountain to upgrade their item.
This upgrade will be incredibly useful to junglers that have good sustain like Olaf or Hecarim. With this change, champions can easily heal up as they farm their camps and can get their item sooner and go for an early gank. If this change goes through it will have a huge impact on the way jungle is played and will force laners to be more cautious in the early game so they aren’t as susceptible to a more powerful gank.
As of now, Riot is concerned with the ADC role and it’s monotony. The role has become far more straightforward, which in turn makes it less fun for the players. For most champions there is a single build path (such as Infinity Edge into Rapidfire Cannon for champions like Jhin) and Riot wants to change that. They want to give the role new items that give players enough damage to be worth buying as well as give them enough versatility so that they can make a more interesting build. An example of this would be Mercurial Scimitar or Death’s Dance, which gives the user enough damage to merit buying as well as enough fun addons to make the item more useful and interesting.
Unfortunately, Riot has said that they are not concerned with the power level of the role and think it is in a good spot with its high team reliance and glass cannon nature. However, they did say that they wanted to make changes to make the role more survivable so that ADCs aren’t as susceptible to an overly fed assassin. It is worth mentioning that Riot also said that they want this benefit to come at a cost and will force them to sacrifice their damage.
Riot thinks that, for starting items, mages get pretty slim pickings, and most players would probably agree. For most, the only option is Doran’s Ring with the occasional Corrupting Potion or Dark Seal. But there are changes coming in the next season that will give mages a wider variety of starting items to choose from. Hopefully this means that there will be enough variety to pair with each unique mage champion and will help better fit their laning needs.
Riot also wants to make a change to Cooldown Reduction to something called Ability Haste. As of now, Cooldown Reduction scales the more of it you get, but with Ability Haste, the cooldowns will be more straightforward. An example would be that 10 Ability Haste will be equivalent to 10% more abilities cast and so on up the percentage scale. This means that you don’t need to buy tons of items with high Cooldown Reduction. The change is a bit confusing but Riot will make more defined updates in the future to clarify what they are trying to do with this.
Similar with the ADC, Riot is worried about the monotony of the role’s buildpath. For most it involves something like Black Cleaver into Dead Man’s Plate, and they plan on changing that. Riot wants to showcase what AD fighters can really do and maximize their potential in duels and teamfights. A good example of this would be Sett. Sett is a champion that, while taking a standard fighter build path, can really show his stuff across the map. He can fight his laner 1v1 and has the potential to come out on top. He also can use his abilities in a teamfight so that he can do some damage as well as survive the onslaught. By making more champions like this, they have a better chance of having an impact on all stages of the game.
When it comes to mid lane AD assassins like Talon, Zed, or Qiyana, there is a very standard lethality build that can’t really be deviated from too much. There are so few items in the game that give lethality, so these champions are stuck buying the same items game after game. Riot wants to make a change for that. They want to open up the possibilities and give these champions a little more variety in their builds. And if these mid lane champions get some sweet lethality items, so can other champions like support Pyke or ADC Varus.
Riot is also worried that, because of the lack of lethality items, assassins are taking items that don’t really fit them as well just to fill in the gaps. Similar to their solution to AD fighters, Riot wants to give assassins their own set of items that make them more unique and more fun to play.
Again, Riot Games has said that there are too few items for a certain role, in this case, tanks. Because the tank role is so wide, Riot is concerned that there isn’t enough variety to suit the massive role. For example, a Nautilus support would want a different build from a Garen top yet they are both tanks. To fix this, Riot plans on adding a bevy of items to the game that can fit any tank for any situation.
They also admitted that there is little support in the magic resistance field. There are items like Adaptive Helm and Spirit Visage, but not too much beyond that. So Riot also plans on helping the role by adding more MR items into the game. With any luck some of these cool new items will be able to put on other champions too for all sorts of cool builds.
Riot was also worried that tanks didn’t have a “finisher item” like Deathcap. There is no item that a tank could buy (maybe save Warmog’s Armor) that would help them end a game. Because of that, Riot plans on giving tanks a new item that will give them and their team the opportunity to close out a game.
Yet again, Riot admits there is monotony and slim item pickings in yet another role. Many of the enchantress champions, like Nami or Yuumi, have a pretty set (while admittedly strong) buildpath. Which is normally something along the lines of Athene’s Unholy Grail and Ardent Censer. After that there are items like Redemption or Locket, but then there isn’t really too much to build without getting some items that aren’t really fitting to them. So, Riot plans on giving these champions some more items and more variety in them so that their build path can vary from champion to champion and from game to game while still being interesting.
Mostly unique to these enchantress champions, Riot wants to add a more balanced amount of active items like Redemption or Twin Shadows. They said that they wanted to keep it at about 2 items so that there is an even balance between active and non-active items. This way, there is more variety in the game while still not overwhelming the player.
And, similar to other roles, they want to add a “finisher item” here as well. Riot wants something that has everything (similar to Death’s Dance). They want it to have things like mana/health regeneration, Ability Haste (formerly CDR), and some way to protect themselves, this way they aren’t as susceptible to enemy attacks and can be a bigger player in the later stages of the game
Riot Games has really put a lot of thought and effort into some of these changes and clearly want to try and make the game more interesting for the players and make the item range more diverse so that each game is unique and so that any champion can have the potential to carry a game if the rest of their team isn’t doing too hot. We can only hope that these changes are as good as they look on paper, but it will definitely take some fine tuning to make everything work as planned.