Riot Games hopes to release more of its smaller League of Legends updates for things like champions and items throughout the course of 2021, the developers announced this week. This commitment doesn’t mean that the bi-weekly updates will be shrunk down but instead means that we’ll see more middle-tier projects worked on this year that fall somewhere between the per-patch changes and the larger projects like entirely new champions and the Visual and Gameplay Updates for different characters.
Mark “Riot Scrufy” Yetter, the Gameplay Design Director on League of Legends, looked ahead to Riot’s plans for these sorts of projects in the latest Gameplay Thoughts post shared on Friday. Yetter said Riot plans to ramp up its work on these smaller projects throughout the year and said there’s room to improve the game further through these.
“In 2021 we’re interested in increasing the amount of smaller scale design work on Champions, Items, and Runes,” Yetter said. “We feel like our bigger projects (New champs and VGUs) and patch-by-patch balance changes are on a good track, but there's a middle zone that can give us a little more flexibility to improve the game.”
Yetter also shared some examples of what these sorts of projects might entail. Projects “overly skewed towards Pro Play” was one example given, a type of project that wouldn’t affect normal players as much as pros but would still impact the game overall. An example of that category included the Tahm Kench rework that’s been kicked around in the past and is supposed to happen some time in 2021. Ideas suggested for the rework so far include moving Tahm Kench’s ultimate to his “W” slot and reworking the new mobility tool to be a shorter and faster ability meant for engaging on enemies. His ultimate would then become a variation of his Devour move that would allow it to become more powerful than it already is by being gated by ultimate-level cooldowns.
Other types of projects include “Older champions that need love” like the new ultimate being given to Rammus or “Items not hitting their goals” where certain items are altered to better suit the purposes players purchase them for. Riot said it hopes to “establish a small pipeline for these projects” that’ll lead to several of them being shipped throughout the current season.