SO IT SEEMS THAT RIVEN HAS BEEN A PRETTY HOT TOPIC ON REDDIT RECENTLY.
If you wanna catch up, these threads are specifically what I’m referring to: https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/b08xwo/the_hypocrisy_of_the_riot_balance_team_riven_vs/
Also a cool set of tweets by Blastoise talking about some data: https://twitter.com/RiotBlaustoise/status/1105548661214179328
Blastoise’s point is basically worth a separate post, but the tl;dr is that average number of games a player has on a champion can vary wildly and isn’t necessarily what you would expect.
I think the reason Riven has been so controversial is because there’s a lot of truth on both sides. Riven has a lot of numbers that point to her being OP and deserving of nerfs. There are also several things that point to her being "strong" but not "OP".
I wanted to try and clarify why Riven is NOT currently getting nerfed, and a lot of it has to do with global context.
Okay — so here goes — please read through to the end before commenting.
I think it’s important here to lay out some of our balance philosophy, which has mainly been alluded to in the past, and RiotRepertoir actually posted in a Riven thread earlier but it got buried: https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/b08xwo/the_hypocrisy_of_the_riot_balance_team_riven_vs/eid395g/
We’ve been trying to lock down a more solid foundation for balancing champions, and this work has been ongoing. While we still use our best judgement, we use some metrics as a jumping off point so we can make data-informed decisions.
We look at 4 different tiers of play when approaching champion balance:
- Majority (most players fit here)
- The sample size here is massive and the main things we look at are win-rate, play rate, and ban rate.
- High skilled (roughly plat+ MMR)
- Same as Majority but slightly stricter on criteria
- Elite (really high, like Grandmaster+)
- Winrate starts to fall apart up here due to sample size, so mainly look at perception and ban rate
- Pro play
- Look heavily at the overall systems and presence% of picks
As you can see, we use different metrics to evaluate each tier, but the general guidelines are
- If a champion is “OP” in ANY of the 4 tiers, they should be nerfed
- If a champion is WEAK in ALL 4 tiers, they should be buffed
Now let’s look at Riven across the tiers — this is from our internal data and should be more accurate than the public sites.
Majority – 50.2% win rate, 11% play rate, 10% ban rate. Fairly clear this isn’t an issue here.
Skilled – 52.0% win rate, 15.8% play rate, 20% ban rate. This is very close to nerf territory, will return to talk more about this.
Elite – 20.9% ban rate — pretty high, but not nerf territory, especially since popular characters tend to have slightly inflated ban rates. (for reference Rek’sai has a 61% ban rate here and is receiving nerfs)
Pro – 18% p/b — Cool that it’s showing up in pro, but 18% p/b isn’t close to OP for pro
SO BASED ON THIS, Riven is closest to OP in the skilled (plat+) category. This is where it gets really interesting, because if you just look at NA, I’d agree that Riven should be nerfed for this category.
Here’s how Riven looks in NA skilled specifically:
- NA — 53.3% win rate, 15% play rate, 35% ban rate
Yeah, obviously some subjectivity here but I’d say 53.3% win rate on Riven combined with 35% ban rate deserves nerfs.
Except.. There’s actually a lot of global difference here.
Here’s a breakdown of ban rate:
NA also wins with Riven slightly more, with the 53.3% win rate vs. the global average of 52.0 (which includes NA)
Now let’s look at another champion: Jinx in skilled.
Depending on where you look, you’ll get a pretty different view on how “powered” she is.
Global — WR 53.8%, PR 16%, BR 1%
KR — WR 51.8%, PR 7.2%, BR 0.2%
NA — WR 53.2%, PR 14%, BR 1%
VN — WR 55.4%, PR 23%, BR 1%
While Jinx isn’t a ban problem, if we just looked at Vietnam (which has more players than NA), a 55.4% winrate with a 23% playrate would be problematic. However, the Global average looks more reasonable (although Jinx is riding really close to nerf territory)
One more fun one that I found.. Check out Lucians skilled numbers:
Global — WR 49.4%, PR 21.4%, BR 22%
KR — WR 51.1%, PR 23.7%, BR 75%
NA — WR 50.4%, PR 22.2%, BR 16%
VN — WR 47.4%, PR 17.1%, BR 3%
75% Ban in KR?? — Lucian was mainly nerfed in 9.4 as a pro/elite problem, so this isn’t as relevant but still shows the vast differences that can pop up with champions across regions.
So that was basically just a data dump.. I hope after reading this post you all have a more complete understanding of our decision making process. Whether Riven is nerfed in 9.6 or not, she’s riding extremely close to the nerf line. What I would say, is that Riven definitely feels strongest in NA, which comprises much of this subreddit community. So, it makes total sense why the conversation has picked up so much steam.
I’m happy to have a discussion about whether or not a 52% win rate, 16% play rate, 20% ban rate champion (Riven) should require immediate nerfs. I think it’s also an interesting discussion about whether or not a 53.8% win rate, 16% play rate (Jinx) should receive immediate nerfs. Both are close to the “line”, and it feels like neither are currently over it.
So yeah, Riven is a pretty complex, and highly divisive topic. Hopefully some of the philosophy and data in this post can guide the conversation into a more productive place.
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