Trying my hand at a Soraka rework

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Nightwhite3

Senior Member

09-11-2013

I like your ideas because it seems she would be a viable mid laner with your changes.


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xethik

Senior Member

09-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samizul View Post
This seems like a well written post Falkor. I've got a couple points of feedback. I'll go ability by ability rather than talking about the entire kit since one of your goals is obviously to not change her playstyle much from live.

P - Why not change this? It's almost a free Aegis aura on a passive, which is really strong late game but doesn't come up a ton in lane. Personally, I find stats-only passives pretty flat, and they get even harder to feel the power when it's an aura, where the power has to be amortized over up to 5 champions, but as few as 1. This passive has always annoyed me because, while strong in certain situations, it's hard to feel and there isn't much play around it.

Q - AOE silence - scary! (though I'm working on an even scarier version of an AOE silence) I'm not sure why the mana regen is over time - you're reducing how powerful the spell feels because getting a chunk of mana is always more noticeable than even a ton of regen over time. The very brief duration is probably taking too much power off of it - you could probably afford to have it rank up from 1->2 seconds. Otherwise it seems cool. This ability does have the classic problem where you want to drop the AOE on both enemies and allies, which makes can make it feel like the player is never using it optimally, but I don't know that it's a total dealbreaker here - the original didn't have this problem because it was single target.

W - This is probably the most interesting ability, and it has some good and bad ideas. I like that you're going for a combat oriented heal. We try to give our heals some sort of combat utility so that their power is not just in the sustain, which is why her heal has armor on it. You've tried to solve this problem by making the heal bigger if the target is actively in combat, but your solution creates another problem. You're putting a buff on a character where, if the enemy attacks them, could actually heal more than the attack deals. Imagine a support Janna thinking she's helping by AA-ing a just-healed target (generally, a perfectly reasonable thing to do) but in this case her AA actually nets the target health. We try to create designs where enemies never feel punished by doing what is normally a correct choice.
I assume you want to remove the armor stats buff but still give combat utility, so maybe have the next AA or spell damage drastically reduced? Then Soraka could time her heals the way Janna times her shields, getting clutch "blocks" on incoming AAs or spells, and the enemy wouldn't ever feel bad for having attacked, because they still did some damage, and they can note that Soraka player timed her spell very well.

E - This has the "no optimal use case" issue even more so than the Q. I believe Karma had a similar spell which we removed from the game for similar reasons. I also don't think her kit can support a counting mechanic like Annie's because she also has to be constantly watching the map to help allies with her ult, and keeping track of both would be a bit much. You've also designed this as a spammable spell, but players are going to want to hold the slow version when it's available. Finally, having CC on an ability but not on demand can be frustrating, especially as a support who has to be very reactive. Only thing I like here is changing her spamming spell to something directional rather than AOE. What else do you think you could do here?
Samizul, I hope I don't come off the wrong way, but I have some questions more directed at you and game design in general.
I've definitely seen your name around, but I think your old title was "Game Designer". Did you recently switch to Champion Design? Are you one of the guys/gals working on Ao Shin?

Anyways, more on topic, I have to agree one hundred percent with what you said. You have a very strong grasp of good and bad design, glad to see more people like you working at Riot. I think we can take what you said even a little further, though.

This Soraka kit has very little counter-play outside of the W, which has weak (Dota-esque, if I'm allowed to say that) counter-play. It doesn't feel particularly strong to use yourself and punishes your opponent more for making a mistake than making you feel good for a clutch W. Outside of casting while a projectile is in mid-air (extremely difficult in League), you rely on your opponent making a mistake instead of you making a play. Generally, that isn't a great feeling.

So, outside of that, the kit needs more counterplay. Right now, there's just the "don't let Soraka get in range" factor, which is true of all champions. She doesn't really seem to have any risky plays she can make or give enemies an opportunity to react, similar to many older League of Legends champions. You really want to work things in like that.

Make sure these are realistic enemy choices, too. For example, a bit goofy, but imagine if Soraka's heal was instead of Caitlyn-esque ability that flew from Soraka to her target. An enemy could intercept it and eat some damage and prevent the heal. Obviously, this would be awful. When are enemies going to be between Soraka and her heal target? Why not just use this ability out of combat and remove the chance all together? A better version of this would be a channel that granted armor/MR or splitting damage and could be interrupted by "breaking the chain". Soraka can either cast this on a front-line target taking a lot of damage and give enemies a better chance or interrupting this or going with a safer play and casting it on a back-line carry, making them more resilient to any ranged damage reaching him/her. This gives more choices to both the player and the enemy, without one being right or wrong.


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Tortferngatr

Senior Member

09-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Needles K View Post
That did happen, but then you gave her the new Defiance spell, which is even more that way†, so this doesn't seem to have been a major concern.

† Specifically, half of its effect is wasted when you're near an enemy and the other half is wasted when you aren't.
However, there are more situations for which you can simultaneously access both effects (like teams with multiple melee/midrange champions) and utilize the full power. Even the effects on their own are potent--shield bomb can cleverly strike enemy champions who would be impervious to Inner Flame, and on allies it's still free Shurelya's+Locket. If you get allies in dueling range with the enemy team? Awesome.

Think Orianna--yes, she frequently wastes part of W, but there are so many good ways to use it (and so many situations where you can use multiple benefits) hat you don't feel bad for not using its entire potential.

I have my own idea I've been concocting. I'll post it when I can.


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FalkorsRaiders

Senior Member

09-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samizul View Post
snip
Red post! Thank you to all who have commented. As I said, it was a draft (roughly 4 hours between college classes) and knew I had alot of work. Been reading everyone's input as I can, been playing a bunch of ARAMs with a person who randomly added me a while back, so I'm still reading. Haven't even read the Samizul's post yet.

On a related note: Going to try and shoot for another kit up by tonight. In order for those to understand what I want to keep, I will list them here:

Soraka's ultimate should remain untouched and unchanged
One of Soraka's abilites needs to be able to heal target ally
One of Soraka's abilites needs to be able to give mana to her team
One of Soraka's abilites needs to be spammable/AoE
Soraka's passive needs to help her team, not herself


Things I want to change/remove will be listed here:

Soraka needs to lose the magic resist shred(with how magic pen works now, mr shred is nice, but ultimately holding back power she could have)
Soraka's heal needs to lessen the power of continual sustain, but reward clutch healing
Soraka needs a form of crowd control that is more then a silence (don't mind keeping silence, but may try some kits without it)
Soraka cannot have a move that costs 0 mana AND can be used for harass



There may be some room for negotiation on stuff, but this is how I want Soraka to end up. I love using Soraka, but as an AP mid laner. I don't want her there though, I main support. I want her down in the bot lane playing that Season 4 support game in an lcs match and Morello be completely okay with how she worked. Will that happen? I don't know, but I can hope and try as many times as I can.


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xethik

Senior Member

09-11-2013

I see a lot of people comparing the suggested W to spell shields, Black Shield, Rammus W, and so on. There's a big difference between these, though. One, Black Shield/Spell Shield are best used when the projectile is flying at you, but before it connects. Spells often move at a reasonable speed for this and are tuned that way. Auto-attacks are not. In addition, spell shields negate spell effects (and sometimes give a secondary bonus, such as mana or attack speed), but don't make it even harder to kill the target than before. There's a difference between absorbing a spell or attack and healing and absorbing the attack and gaining attack speed. From a basic look, your goal is to kill the target. Healing directly prevents that, mana gain doesn't.

For Rammus W and Thornmail: When you attack this target, you take damage yourself. However, this doesn't negate the autoattack you used. You still did damage, but you took a little for that. At times, this damage doesn't deter you. If you're at full health, you don't care that the low health Rammus popped W and is running away. The punishment isn't two-fold. You aren't doing 0 damage and taking damage yourself. With the suggested W, you are effectively a) having an auto-attack absorbed and then b) the enemy gets healed for a bit off it, too. That's too much punishment with no trade-offs.

EDIT: Fiora Riposte is one of the few examples of this I can think of. And I will say this: Fiora is not the best designed champion in the game. At the same time, I'm not horribly against the ability because the flavor of the ability fits her champion well. That being said, I wouldn't be totally against seeing Riposte being tweaked in a Fiora rework.


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Leaf of the lake

Senior Member

09-11-2013

I would rather see her W mitigate all non-tower damage by a certain percentage for a period of time, similar to yi's new meditate. The purpose of a clutch heal is typically to mitigate burst damage, which is often magical. This would be in conjunction with removal of her MR granting passive; it turns her magic damage reduction into an active ability that requires choice on when to use it, like her current armor bonus that this would be replacing.

I particularly like the idea of making her q only hit champions if there is a champion in range. That would make using it in lane a lot more viable.

Finally, what she really needs in her kit to be viable is some form of CC. I believe applying this to the enemy cast version of infuse is the best approach. Instead of just a silence, have it apply a silence+slow, with a shorter duration than it does now.

Her ult is generally fine, so that really just leaves the matter of what to do with her passive. One of the ideas mentioned was having her deal additional magic damage on AA, although that begins to step into orianna's and lulu's design space. Orianna differentiates herself by causing incrementally more damage by repeated attacks, while lulu differentiates herself by being able to give her passive to an ally. How would soraka differentiate herself here? Would she also apply some kind of debuff? What kind? Reduced healing is inappropriate. Something akin to shen's lifetap would either be overpowered or feel underwhelming as a passive ability. Armor/MR shred is possible, though that steps into kayle's design space, and raka already has MR shred on q. The most appropriate kind of debuff I can think of would be a simple percent damage decrease with a short duration, limiting its application to only one target at at time (and at best two for a brief period while changing targets). This percent damage decrease would apply to both physical and magical damage, and would expire after say... 1-1.5s of not being attacked by soraka. This keeps with soraka's role as a protector, and allows her to mitigate damage from whoever the most threatening enemy is at the time. However, she must constantly reapply it in a teamfight. My main concern with such a passive is potentially giving birth to an AS/AP mid soraka, with runaans letting her apply her passive to multiple enemies at once.


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Javarino

Junior Member

09-11-2013

I'm probably speaking out of turn, as I have purposely avoided soraka for the simple reason that there are a lot more support champions with better/more rewarding skills, but at the same time I have a desire to see Soraka as a better champion than she is now.Playing against her is annoying, and playing with her feels like you're playing with a very useful buff item, and infinite health pots. At the same time, keeping soraka a healing mage is still a probable solution, the difference should be in the execution.

1. Her heal should have more interaction than "press champ to add health". It is boring, lazy, and above all, annoying, especially in the early game when many champs rely on poking and soraka can destroy their entire playstyle. Poke, heal, Poke, heal, and laning just drags on.
2. Infuse is tough, as a skill it isn’t broken, but the extra mana just kind of seems dull or too useful in lane, useless once mana is no longer a constraint, and while the silence is useful it is also a dangerous spell for soraka due to how close she has to get to use it.
3. Starcall is useless, simple enough. Does very little damage, range is too short to damage enemies, hits minions which upsets the farm of the adc, and reduces magic resist which is generally ignored by the adc anyways.
4. A global heal? Seriously? This kind of ultimate is something that really should never have been implemented in the first place. To start, Soraka already has a heal, so this is basically a repeat skill. Second, it is a confusing skill in lane that CAN help an ally across the map, but puts a lot of strain on Soraka players to watch the health bar of everyone, and if used to save one champion may be wasted on the other four. It is incredibly useful in teamfights, but also boring, and not fun to face from an enemies perspective. All their hard work, and one skill can replenish an entire team. Unlike other ultimates where the danger is the order in which they are cast or the range at which they will hit, Soraka’s is inevitable, global, and annoying. Either the soraka perpetuates an enemy’s inability to fight back, or she is sniped first and forgotten about.

Proposed changes:
Passive- All of Soraka’s abilities now apply starlight to the enemy. Allies (and maybe soraka) can consume starlight on ability or basic attack hit, healing themselves for 5% of the total damage dealt to the enemy.

Q- Changing starcall to a skillshot, that explodes on contact and fires bananas at up to 4 targets. This provides soraka with some range, and keeps her banana firing capabilities intact.

W- Soraka marks a target unit, increasing their armour and magic resist and making them immune to all stuns,slows, roots, and fears for 1.5 seconds. After this time, the unit is healed for half of all damage taken during the shield in addition to a small base amount.
^^^
This instantly makes her heal more interesting, having to calculate the best moment for its use, and preventing soraka from spamming her heal and negating all damage. Perfect for great escapes and gank dodges, but when used carelessly will be put on a medium cooldown and will heal for much less.

E- AOE spell, Soraka marks a target area and calls down a wave of light that silences and marks all enemies caught in it, or increases allied mana regeneration by 50% for 5 seconds

R- Sacred Ground- Soraka summons a blessing light that bathes an area in a healing aura for several seconds. Allies walking through the aura gain massive health regeneration (like 30 per second or something) and enemies caught in it are slowed with starlight being proc'ed constantly.
^
My favourite change, an ultimate that will feel like an ultimate, not just an insta heal button, with very little play involved. A proper sacred ground placement could keep an entire team alive


My two bits, wrote this before reading the thread so I'd just like to say here that I agree with aoe silence, just with a small delay in the cast time, and I hope that my passive changes make soraka a better fit for support pushing WHILE keeping her role as a healer intact.


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Tortferngatr

Senior Member

09-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckmaster View Post
There's one thing i want to make sure is at least discussed, and that's AP mid Soraka. It really hasnt been as viable since she lost the ability to give herself mana, but it's a side of soraka that I miss dearly. I hope riot at least takes ap soraka into consideration with any changes to her kit. I'm a support soraka main, but I'd like to see her playable both as a "zero gold support" and as an actual mage.
It's her main ARAM build. Annoying as all hell in its current incarnation but actually kind of interesting.

Sneak peek of my idea that I think might be helpful: What if whenever Soraka's autoattacked (or autoattacked with a cooldown like Thresh's E passive) she and allied champions near her regained a small portion of health and mana (effects reduced strongly vs. minions), with a visual effect conveying the effect? As the basic support, it encourages her to utilize basic attacks to harass her target, a basic support skill.

It would obviously be small in lane (something like an AoE Doran's Blade+Doran's Ring scaling with level and AP if you frequently harass and really meh otherwise), but the heal value would spike at levels 6, 11, and 16. At level 18 it would provide a small amount of usable AoE sustain and encourage constant tactical harass with autos. (It would also make mana-hungry harassers' load slightly easier to bear).

Also gives Soraka a funny on-hit build. Maybe.


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Samizul

Champion Designer

09-11-2013
2 of 3 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by xethik View Post
I see a lot of people comparing the suggested W to spell shields, Black Shield, Rammus W, and so on. There's a big difference between these, though. One, Black Shield/Spell Shield are best used when the projectile is flying at you, but before it connects. Spells often move at a reasonable speed for this and are tuned that way. Auto-attacks are not. In addition, spell shields negate spell effects (and sometimes give a secondary bonus, such as mana or attack speed), but don't make it even harder to kill the target than before. There's a difference between absorbing a spell or attack and healing and absorbing the attack and gaining attack speed. From a basic look, your goal is to kill the target. Healing directly prevents that, mana gain doesn't.

For Rammus W and Thornmail: When you attack this target, you take damage yourself. However, this doesn't negate the autoattack you used. You still did damage, but you took a little for that. At times, this damage doesn't deter you. If you're at full health, you don't care that the low health Rammus popped W and is running away. The punishment isn't two-fold. You aren't doing 0 damage and taking damage yourself. With the suggested W, you are effectively a) having an auto-attack absorbed and then b) the enemy gets healed for a bit off it, too. That's too much punishment with no trade-offs.

EDIT: Fiora Riposte is one of the few examples of this I can think of. And I will say this: Fiora is not the best designed champion in the game. At the same time, I'm not horribly against the ability because the flavor of the ability fits her champion well. That being said, I wouldn't be totally against seeing Riposte being tweaked in a Fiora rework.
This is pretty much the principle we work on. When a player does an action, he shouldn't end up with the opposite of what he intended to do. AAs still damage rammus and thornmail wearers, and casting on a spell- or black-shielded enemy doesn't speed them up or give them health. Fiora is able to negate an AA (as can Jax) and while she returns damage, she won't heal off it.

Also, I could imagine my version of the spell (heal, then DR from next major source) would possibly be instacast, as the best feeling support shields in our game (Janna's and Lulu's), which more easily allows for those clutch saves.

All that being said, this is not in fact the *best* example of an ability making an enemy feel bad for doing the "right" thing. The heal is small enough that in most cases you'll net damage by attacking. But if an ability bends or breaks a design principle it's good to go back and think about how it could be changed to have similar gameplay without breaking any principles.


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MortalPrisoner

Junior Member

09-11-2013

I liked the rework, but having read the criticism I would like to comment on an alternate skill for Soraka's E.

Make it an ally targeted gap closer that reflects projectile spells back from where they came. You could even have Soraka take a percentage damage if the skill is too op. Call it like 'Intercession' or something.

All I've learned from Riot champ design is you can never have too many gap closers.


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