Most of you probably haven't seen since he posted on the Dark Harvest thread late but /u/Rovient, the primary designer on Runes design, posted this:
Hey all, Riot Rovient here, the designer who reworked Dark Harvest.
I've read nearly every comment in this thread (and most of the threads similar to this one) and what I've seen in all of them is thoughtful, insightful discussion about the rune. I actually find threads like this to be one of the most thrilling and inspiring parts of my job. Yes, the OP has a particularly negative view of DH which they're entitled to (and I thank you Famyos for being passionate enough to come to Reddit to share your concerns!), but to read discussion and debate around something you've worked on is always great. I've read what you hate, what you like, what you'd want to do to change it, what you'd want to keep the same. I've been reading, listening and absorbing.
Just so you don't think I'm just a super positive, faceless company puppet for Riot, here's an honesty bomb for you all. When DH launched and I watched Tyler1 wreck his enemies in a ranked game for preseason 9 without even trying I sat back in my chair and said "Oh fu*k". It truly was an oh fu*k moment. I knew immediately that I'd made a mistake and the early win-rate data showed us that DH was too strong.
After the first micro-patch landed it's win-rate dropped, but not by enough to allow me to rest easy. We needed to nuke it's early game damage to ensure it was never comparable to Electrocute. We nerfed it again in 9.24, perhaps a little harder than we should (I'd have liked to up damage per stack to 6 when we applied the nerf, but we certainly needed that win-rate to come down).
Currently, DH sits at a 50.1% win-rate, averaged across all champs and all MMRs. This figure varies across class as you'd expect, with mages sitting at 51.4%, assassins at 49.8% and tanks down at 47.5%, but finally the rune is not dominantly strong or even over-prevalent.
Some of you have absolutely nailed it when you said that when two runes have the same output, and that output is solely damage, it'll often be a struggle (or even close to impossible) to make both options viable; surely one will always be higher, so won't players take that one? Well, yes and no.
The fact that there's actual debate about whether DH is good or garbage is a really positive thing. You all have an opinion and most of these opinions are based on critical thinking! You all have strong arguments as to why Elec is always better, or whether the resets on DH make it more useful in team-fights. Some of you believe you don't have a keystone at all early with DH, and some of you love the mini-game and satisfaction of proccing it and stacking it. Some of you really miss the farming pattern of old DH and some of you prefer that the new rune encourages PvP interaction with enemies to get stacked.
You're all right in many ways, and I personally relish the fact that this rune, and the choice over whether to take it or another keystone, has not been solved yet. Maybe it simply cannot be solved, as DH's performance relies on far more than just whether it has mechanical synergy with a champion's kit. DH's trigger criteria is so simple, so available to all (who at least build AP or AD) that it demands you ask a different question of the game ahead before taking it.
Will this game be bloody? Will I be able to secure kills and important resets against their team (or do they have Kayle, Zilean or Kindred!)? Will I be able to stack against my lane opponent or do they have too much sustain? Maybe Electrocute will get me those pre-6 kills in lane and allow me to snowball for an early win, or maybe this game will go late and DH prevents my champion from falling off entirely (like me when I play Lee Sin).
Now, this all might read as pretty defensive from the designer responsible for such a divisive rune, so let's talk about what I'm not proud of.
A lot of your concerns resonate strongly with me, I can see them and I share some of them. But, if I had to pick one thing I'm really not happy with, it's that the Rune is often best on champions who are able to simply skip over the difficult moment to moment questions that DH should ask of you in-game. I want you to see that enemy champion on low health and think "If I can just hit them with my Q, or leap that wall to throw a cheeky skill-shot…" rather than "They're near death. TIME FOR KARTHUS R!".
With this in mind, I think it's totally justified that we lower the strength of DH on mages who can fire-and-forget ult the enemy team and gain maximum DH value. I'll be exploring some possible solutions in the near future with the rest of the team to make sure that the rune is still fun, satisfying and powerful in the right circumstances.
One possible solution is that souls don't automatically come back to your champion when torn form your enemy, but instead drop to the ground and must be picked up (with a generous enough life-span). Of course, this won't prevent longer range champions from proccing the damage or exclude them from taking the rune, but would require further commitment and risk taking from them in order to stack it up for larger future procs. This solution is also no real change to the play pattern of melee champions, who will rarely be out of range of their victim when they proc the rune in the first place.
Another solution is that DH can only be procced by basic attacks and single-target damage abilities; no more Brand Ult proc fiestas, but Kayn may be more sad since 2 of his 3 damaging abilities are AoE (not THAT sad, since using your ult to proc the rune ALWAYS feels slick AF). This solution certainly feels viable, so we'll check out how it feels and get back to you guys.
In both cases (or one of many other solutions we may experiment with), I believe the damage per soul needs to come up a little, probably only from 5 > 6 per soul. Packaging a change like this with a little buff always makes sense; yes, Zyra's plants aren't stacking her up for free anymore, but let her pick up those souls too often and she'll still shred you later on.
Anyway, the TLDR is that I've heard you, I'm listening and I really appreciate you all. The feedback (even the harsher stuff) is really worthwhile for me to read and I honestly do love scrolling through these threads. Keep it up, Reddit.
© Post "Riot Rovient on the current state of Dark Harvest" for game League of Legends.
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