@Certainly T. Plans for zyra?

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CertainlyT

Champion Designer

01-11-2014
8 of 8 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolan View Post
I really enjoy playing Zyra. She's really fun, despite her issues. So I'll share my thoughts and ask some questions towards CertainlyT.

I feel like her latest nerfs were supposed to balance out her bot lane role but only made me weaker in the mid lane (where I enjoy playing here more-so). In fact, I just feel more unsafe in regards to picking her in such a situation. So I've stopped doing it.
-Any plans to reintroduce Zyra mid?
Great post and excellent questions. I think our mid metagame is very stale at the moment, especially at the competitive level, largely due to a small number of offenders. I'm not willing to balance around those because they are not in a good spot and that would just present further issues when they are brought into balance.

In solo queue, I feel that Zyra is an excellent midlane choice against bruiser heavy teams, especially when put into poke/seige compositions, for example with a Jayce and Ezreal on my team in other lanes. You could run Nidalee there, but I think you risk being overrun and those two should bring enough damage to allow tower pressure. They just need a way to keep the enemy frontline from reaching them. Lux, Gragas and Karma also work in this context. I also think she does well with pure tanks (like Nautilus) since she synergizes very well with other CC champions due to the delays on her CC and the high sustained damage output of plants.

Quote:
I think the bugfix on W makes a real change - now I can double-seed and trigger both seeds with 1 spell, whereas before I couldn't do that, since for some reason the W wouldn't spawn the 2nd seed on time, or at all.
-Did this bugfix affect her power level invisibly? Was fixing it a reason for some of the nerfs?
Definitely, there were a number of under the hood buffs in that patch which didn't read well on paper but made her stronger to compensate for the nerfs to her raw power. They were also driven by a desire to nerf her at the pro level, where for example double seeding was trivial due to playing on zero latency, more than the online level.

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Nonetheless, the Q range nerfs really hurt her safety in lane - previously lanes as Lux were entirely skill vs skill, but now they feel like I'm on the losing side from the get-go. Not to mention the damage loss makes it so I need 500 ap to compensate for it? I really wish for this nerf to be reverted, since it was one of the core reasons for mid zyra's downfall, I think.
-Any chance of undoing the Q nerf?
Not at this time. I'd prefer to make her slightly faster so she can get into position for good Qs than to allow her to cast them from so far outside a lot of opponents' cast ranges.

Quote:
W's CDR was overly strong, yes. It's free stats on her. But the loss of it is also felt - her kit natively had this CDR before, which means that all her skills receive an invisible cooldown nerf that didn't get offset with any sort of buff? Furthermore, seed timer is also affected by CDR, this change made it so you get seeds a lower rate. For a champ who ENTIRELY relies on this mechanic to get their damage out, isn't this a huge nerf to Mid Zyra (compared to Bot Zyra who uses them as wards and slow-machines)
-Are you looking into lowering her CDs because of this? Or maybe just her Seed Timer?
I'd prefer to assess our CDR itemization before looking at any particular champion. I'd also like to see single plant spell casts be utilized more, as that is a much more efficient poke strategy (since the second plant does half damage). Personally, once I adjusted to that, her seed flow felt great.

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Plants seem entirely balanced to me, but I always feel that their AI should be a bit closer to Heimerdinger turrets. They do attack the closest target and they do focus on the target of your autoattacks, but whenever I summon plants while being attacked, there's no guarantee that they'll focus my offender.
-Is it possible to make plant AI aggro the champion attacking Zyra, trying to protect her in a way?
I strongly disagree with the Heimerdinger approach. Having plants automatically attack your opponent in response to them taking offensive actions against you is not something that we'll see on Zyra while I have a role in her development. Players should succeed based upon their actions not because the game casts spells or performs actions for them. Learning to control your plants should be an important part of the process of mastering Zyra. At present, I think it lacks sufficient visualization for the player to improve in this area. That's definitely something I would like to improve over time (small steps so far).

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I really enjoy Zyra's fragility and lack of mobility, it fits the theme of a plant mage. Of course, if she can afford it, building bulk and MS via items is possible, but should this be encouraged? My personal vote would be on No, since circumventing one of your base weaknesses like that seems like a cheap move. But if it's possible, some options might be given to Zyra with just a simple change.
-Should Zyra's plants Autoattacks trigger effects that trigger on Zyra autoattacking? (ex Furor Upgrade, Spellthief)
Probably not. There's only so much one can do with a spell and I think Zyra's plants are already given a lot of cool interactions with items. Plants proccing Red Buff is not something you'll see anytime soon!

Quote:
Regarding the ult fix, where it used to stun on landing, I agree this wasn't fair and possibly overpowered. But it was one of the ways to guarantee that enemies remain long enough in plant range so that your plants can get enough autoattacks off. While plants did gain a buff to AA damage, it doesn't feel quite...gratifying? In a way? I'm unsure how to express it.
-So, would it be possible to give plants a higher %AS steroid if they get ulted, while also applying the AS Steroid bugfix treatment (where targets affected by an AS steroid immediately feel the effects rather than after the 1st attack post-acquiring the buff) ?
I think a better approach would be to re-think the attack speed increase and replace it with a more noticeable and satisfying damage amp. That would also give more flexibility since AS is frustratingly non-linear when given to finite lifetime pets. Zyra also uses our scripts to control her plant AI and that limits us to 0.25 second intervals so making small changes to plant AS is not possible without doing some bad things (like sending your client a ton of extra network packets).

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Passive talk, I get it entirely - ability deals true damage, passes through targets and activates upon death, while also having a long range. Fair to use. Got nerfed, more fair to use. However, I still feel a huge issue lies within - if you select a direction to fire during the 2s lockdown post-death (after you die, before you can shoot), you cannot change direction via repeating the command BEFORE this lockdown ends.
-Is it possible to fix this direction lock, or is it working as intended?
No, the present functionality is suboptimal. I should go back and fix this now that I am less of a scripting noob. We also have some new technology that Xelnath made for the Xerath rework which could prove helpful here.


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VIOLENTxSHINOBI

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Senior Member

01-11-2014

Mr CertainlyT sir, sorry to bug you but do you have any insight on this from a designer POV? I realize I am in no way high ELO or a designer, I am just curious. I really Love Zyra and have had pretty good success with her on TT and I am just looking for more ways to use her kit effectively and it isn't every day you get to ask the champ designer about something

Quote:
Originally Posted by VIOLENTxSHINOBI View Post
Fair enough. I probably should have worded my question in a different manner since I understand it is a counter engage tool. What I really mean is: why is her Ulti reserved for such a counter intuitive mechanic? If she is a long range mage why make her Ulti (typically a defining ability for a champion) in such a manner?

As an aside, with Flash and so many gap closers/dashes nobody really gets hit by the popup anyway, they just take the frontloaded damage (at least when I play her lol).

EDIT:
Think Darius or Yasuo Ulti's here. They define the champ in a lot of ways and work not just well, but symbiotically with the rest of their kits.


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Thales

Senior Member

01-11-2014

Xelnath: Though I'm a support Zyra main (possibly verging on former, Sejuani is very alluring), I've also played her in mid. I feel like support Zyra has much more strategic use of seeds than mid Zyra does. In mid, I find that they more often than not just turn into a way to boost a spell's damage, without the fancy positional games advertised in Zyra's release info. Thanks to brush in bot lane, there's a lot more you can do with them as support, but in mid, seeds just don't feel as gameplay-intensive as they ought to be. After laning, they're both pretty good, but mid Zyra really feels short-changed here.

I'd be a big fan of a more interesting buff to plants from ult. Attack speed isn't as invisible as raw damage would be, but it's still kind of unsatisfying.

I'm very glad we're having this conversation.


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nightheat

Senior Member

01-11-2014

Don't do nothin to zyra she still played in LCS dat mean she fine.


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The Soraka

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Senior Member

01-11-2014

seriously dont do anything to zyra.
Her damage is WAY to high for someone who doesnt put themselves in actual danger to land her cc and damage.


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stàr

Senior Member

01-11-2014

I never want Zyra to be strong again no offence, just her roots are so strong, try and face a zyra in any choke point where she can just insta lay plants into grasping roots and her R, and the game is over, she is so freaking strong when she can combo. I'm a victim of her early OPness, I'm still really scared of her and I just can't like her as a champ;/.

I don't understand why she is allowed to instantly plant seeds, wouldn't it be a cooler and easier to balance her if she had to pre plant the seeds? It feels bad when she has no seeds 1 second and has 3 the next out of the blue, if you made seeds less reactionary and more preemptive couldn't you buff her plants then and make her less frustrating to play vs?


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Jolan

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Senior Member

01-11-2014

Thank you for the response, but there are some additional questions I want to put forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CertainlyT View Post
In solo queue, I feel that Zyra is an excellent midlane choice against bruiser heavy teams, especially when put into poke/seige compositions, for example with a Jayce and Ezreal on my team in other lanes.
While I do understand the poke-heavy aspect of Zyra, it doesn't work as well as other poke/siege heavy champions. Turrets auto-prioritize Plants as well as take them out in 1 shot(imo balanced) and the nerfs to Q's range make it even less possible to do ranged harass.

On the other hand, without ulting, Zyra only has access to a Snare that goes from 0.75s to 1.75s, with a cooldown longer than before (due to W nerfs), as well as Vine Lashers, which Slow on Autos for 30%. Considering the nerfs to her upfront burst, is this currently enough to hold back heavy bruisers who gapclose, burn plants with Sunfire/Built-in AoE (ex Mundo W, Shyv W) and then proceed to wreck Zyra before leaving safely with their MS steroid? I think my examples in this case might be biased due to them being the top 2 beatstick bruisers in the current metagame, but I'm still unsure that Zyra's current toolset allows her to effectively stall. I want to hear your opinion on whether this is mainly an issue with the current favorable champions or not.


Quote:
Definitely, there were a number of under the hood buffs in that patch which didn't read well on paper but made her stronger to compensate for the nerfs to her raw power. They were also driven by a desire to nerf her at the pro level, where for example double seeding was trivial due to playing on zero latency, more than the online level.
I'm really thankful for this - I feel like the entire reason I couldn't doubleseed was due to my latency, but if pros could already do that, and this just opened up the same thing to the rest of the public, were the nerfs that deserved? I don't have an opinion here because I haven't seen how Zyra handles in a 0 ping environment so I'm interested in knowing what caused the need for nerfs in this situations.


Quote:
Not at this time. I'd prefer to make her slightly faster so she can get into position for good Qs than to allow her to cast them from so far outside a lot of opponents' cast ranges.
Understandable for the range nerfs to Q, but what about the Damage ones? Having 500 AP just to undo the effects on Q's damage loss is no negligible task. Or does the plant buff (+6 damage on autos @lvl 18) cover up for it?


Quote:
I'd prefer to assess our CDR itemization before looking at any particular champion. I'd also like to see single plant spell casts be utilized more, as that is a much more efficient poke strategy (since the second plant does half damage). Personally, once I adjusted to that, her seed flow felt great.
Difficult to say anything here. CDR buys were a poor choice on Zyra since she automatically gained 20% from her W, and masteries giving her 6% means that with a Blue pot she was hitting 34%, close enough to the cap of 40. The S4 changes + nerfs means you only get 15%, meaning you're looking into a 20% CDR item to compensate, with a blue pot to max at 40%. Which is a non-issue for Bot Zyra since Talisman already gives you 20%, but that in turn makes it so Mid Zyra has to consider CDR items. Of course, here comes the logical conclusion that CDR itemization needs to be looked at, so I understand your choice here.


Quote:
I strongly disagree with the Heimerdinger approach. Having plants automatically attack your opponent in response to them taking offensive actions against you is not something that we'll see on Zyra while I have a role in her development. Players should succeed based upon their actions not because the game casts spells or performs actions for them. Learning to control your plants should be an important part of the process of mastering Zyra. At present, I think it lacks sufficient visualization for the player to improve in this area. That's definitely something I would like to improve over time (small steps so far).
I see your point. Zyra is a champ where plant positioning is vital to your gameplay and the pay-out for control coming from skillful play is much better than that coming from the game controlling your plants. But I do agree that the current visual marker on plant targets isn't enough. Maybe something similar to turret targeting? I'm not quite sure here, Zyra by herself creates a lot of visual clutter from her Q, W, E, R, Plants, Autoattack on both her and Plants, so even for the Zyra player it's difficult to determine what exactly your plants are aiming at in the midst of combat.


Quote:
Probably not. There's only so much one can do with a spell and I think Zyra's plants are already given a lot of cool interactions with items. Plants proccing Red Buff is not something you'll see anytime soon!
Haha, well I expected as much here. It was just a fun interaction I had in mind, coming from the idea to have plant autoattacks trigger Spellthief.


Quote:
I think a better approach would be to re-think the attack speed increase and replace it with a more noticeable and satisfying damage amp. That would also give more flexibility since AS is frustratingly non-linear when given to finite lifetime pets. Zyra also uses our scripts to control her plant AI and that limits us to 0.25 second intervals so making small changes to plant AS is not possible without doing some bad things (like sending your client a ton of extra network packets).
I understand. In a sense, I still enjoy that Zyra is a plant-based mage who had a lot of her power stuffed into her spells, with them having the side effects of spawning plants. The only plant interaction she has is her Ult, but the AS buff really does feel too 'invisible'. I wouldn't say that it feels unrewarding, but with the ult bugfix, I don't see Enraged plants doing as much damage as before. I don't want to create an overload, but maybe putting part of the AS boost into plant AS and having the ult grant them a bonus like Vine Lashers slowing more or something similar. I do not want the ult to gain power, but I want to feel that using the ult to Enrage properly placed plants is more rewarding than just using it to peel incoming enemies from my ADC (which bot Zyra does)


Quote:
No, the present functionality is suboptimal. I should go back and fix this now that I am less of a scripting noob. We also have some new technology that Xelnath made for the Xerath rework which could prove helpful here.
Thank you. I really have been hoping that this gets addressed since it's a skill that only gets accessed on death and thus getting used to it is difficult, such a behavior only makes it more tricky to handle.

Again, thank you very much for answering my questions.


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Hamut

Member

01-11-2014

You've noted that Zyra's ranges were too long. I agree, but that begs the question of why champions for whom the range is not part of their identity (Xerath, Nidalee, Tristana, Kog'Maw, Twitch and the like) have similarly long ranges. Lux is the biggest offender here (excepting the ult of course) though I'm sure there are other champions with the same issue. Do you think lux's ranges should be nerfed like Zyra's Q?

On a somewhat unrelated note, what is your opinion on the different types of plants? When playing as Zyra (I am not an experienced Zyra player but I have played her a couple of times free week) I found myself using the wrong plant much of the time but I didn't even know there were different types of plants until I first played as her and when I play against her and I still don't notice them. Do you think the complexity is necessary (or even beneficial) to add depth to her kit or does it increase the burden of knowledge on her opponents too much and reduce the ability of a Zyra player to optimize his/her decisions (by being forced to choose right spell for situation but also being forced to consider which type of plant is created)?


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Marcopolo69

Member

01-11-2014

Zyra is my favorite champ i have played her since her release and then through out every nerf that being said as someone who enjoys playing her mid the q nerf was a nerf in the wrong direction i feel that i would much rather have this nerf reverted entirely than a ms buff.

thanks for your time Certainly T =D


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Cancer Fizz

Senior Member

01-11-2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by st*r View Post
I don't understand why she is allowed to instantly plant seeds, wouldn't it be a cooler and easier to balance her if she had to pre plant the seeds? It feels bad when she has no seeds 1 second and has 3 the next out of the blue, if you made seeds less reactionary and more preemptive couldn't you buff her plants then and make her less frustrating to play vs?
no,she would just place them and they will be zoning you for years,it would be horrible.