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League of Legends has its own metrics for how it determines whether a champion is overpowered at a competitive level of play. League of Legends lead gameplay designer Mark “Scruffy’ Yetter outlined how Riot Games will determine whether a champion needs to be adjusted in a future patch. This was shared with us in a developer post.

What they said

“In our last update to the balance framework, I mentioned that we were feeling that our Elite band method wasn’t fully satisfying our goals,” Riot Scruffy said. “The old method using ban rate captured high popularity, high frustration champions that were overpowered, but would fail to discover overpowered champs in classes that are less banned.”

Due to this, Riot will now expand its MMR range. Now data will be examined from Diamond II and above, rather than Master and above. The change is happening largely because Riot’s old MMR range wasn’t providing enough data to assess the power from champion win rates. Keeping it at Diamond I still didn’t give as much data as was needed, so they pushed the range further.

The new criteria

Riot Games now has new criteria to use in determining whether a champion should be nerfed or buffed (compared to the old criteria):

  • Old “overpowered” threshold
    • Greater than 45% ban rate
  • New “overpowered” threshold
    • Greater than 50% ban rate
    • Greater than 54% win rate if below average ban rate, down to 52.5% win rate if more than five times average ban rate
  • Old “underpowered” threshold
    • Less than 5% combined pick/ban rate
  • New “underpowered” threshold
    • Less than 7.5% combined pick/ban rate

How they’ll fix things

Once champions are identified as “out of balance”, that’s when things get a little more complex. Riot Games then needs to identify how to adjust things. There’s no definitive framework in place to actually determine how adjustments should be made based on a formula. Instead, the developers have to understand the needs of the players and make good changes. The changes established before are simply to help reach the point in determining that a champion is overpowered (or underpowered) and needs to be addressed.

This new system should prove helpful in allowing Riot to determine when a champion needs to be nerfed or buffed. The end result is that balancing issues are kept to a minimum with regard to future patches.

Ryan Goodrich

Ryan has been writing since long before he could even write. He's written resumes, software user guides, consumer electronic reviews, and myriad web content spanning a variety of industries. But now he's writing about video games, which is much more interesting.

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