League of Legends lead gameplay designer Mark “Scruffy” Yetter took to the forum boards on Friday to provide players with insight into some potential changes that could be on the way.
Yetter’s update focused on how they are looking to balance the game and one of the most significant aspects of the update was a clear intention to ‘widen the jungle champion pool.’
These updates allow players to track the direction of the balance team even before the changes come to the Public Beta Environment.
Jungle Champion Pool
Regardless of whether the Jungle role is seen as strong or weak, low Elo players are currently dissatisfied with the position.
Yetter’s update revealed that Riot Games has a list of ways to fix the problem, starting with some changes in Patch 10.4 to add more champions to the jungle pool.
This list currently includes:
Although these changes may not all make it to live, the focus is to buff the champions’ jungle clears without affecting their lane.
Riot wants to make jungling more appealing, and it’s apparent that the developer believes low-Elo players will start using these champions in different roles.
Are they viable Junglers though?
With the listed already having Area of Effect abilities, and a few of them having attack resetting abilities, their jungle clear should already be relatively strong, they would just need a buff to their damage to monsters to help them on their way.
However, these champions are not renowned for their ganking abilities. Darius has decent crowd control, but he can be easily kited.
The rest are purely assassins, who will show up in lane with the hope of bursting someone down. Without crowd control or other abilities to assist with ganking, these champions may remain relatively useless until they reach level 6 and have access to their ultimate ability. This relies on their laners to be able to initiate ganks.
The stand out ones are Talon and Diana. Talon with his parkour ability in Assassin’s Path (E) will allow him to have creative jungle pathing. Maybe his focus would be to find the enemy jungler and kill them in a 1v1. Maybe he could be played similar to Rek’Sai, where the focus is his pathing and ability to gank lanes from unconventional angles. This would make up for the lack of Crowd Control, as he can turn up behind the target with a slow on Rake (W).
As much as Diana relies on her ultimate for any form of Crowd Control, her ability to jump onto anyone at level 1 with Lunar Rush (E) means her ganks should be decent. In the past, she was a viable jungler, so changes should help her jungle clear and keep her in a relatively healthy state.
Will it work?
There are many problems with the Jungle at the moment, primarily experience. These changes are to make the position more interesting for low ELO players, the hope is to provide champions they already play. It probably will not change anything for those who are higher ELO, and it will not solve any of the problems Junglers are facing.
For the lower ELO players, maybe it could help. Opening the jungle pool allows people to play the champions they love, so they aren’t forced to learn new ones on top of playing an unfamiliar role. But Riot should be trying to understand why the Jungle isn’t a popular role before making changes attempting to make it more popular.
Depending on the changes made, Jungle Talon and Diana are definitely ones to watch, especially at lower ELO.
Soroka will be getting a look at, due to her dominance in solo lanes. Her self-healing on Starcall (Q) is too reliable in 1v1 lanes as it is low risk against melee champions and too hard to dodge.
Aphelios is also getting some changes in the form of more clarity. The offhand gun icon will be added to his health bar. His ultimate will have a lowered range and color changes to make it clear when it is cast and what it will do. Crescendum’s Turret will have clearer visuals, helping to display the threat so players can react better. In addition, more nerfs will be going his way. The changes will make him easier to understand for those playing against him; coupled with the nerfs it should bring him into a balanced state.
Sunfire Cap will have some improvements, with the current changes being its damage increased by 1.5% of the wearer’s bonus health for 4 seconds after they apply an immobilizing crowd control effect to an enemy.
Currently, Stopwatch is too common and the item feels like a must-have. As much as it is great to see an outplay with a Stopwatch, it also holds back the action and is too good at negating burst. Riot is looking at how they can change and/or reduce its presence over the upcoming patches.