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Jun 1, 2013

Incoming Xerath Rework! Possible Changes Proposed!

As a fairly strong but highly underplayed champion, Xerath's been on the radar for a rework ever since his release. Earlier today, RiotXelnath gave us the scoop on what's behind the scenes and in store for the long range tank! Check out their preliminary thoughts below:
Hey guys, 

It has been a week since I last posted here. There's a lot to cover and much to say. I've been spending most of the last week working on engineering level tasks to support Xerath with RiotSamemayhem, working with Davin on analyzing the results of the Xerath survey, working with the elusive and brilliant VFX artist who is crafting new visuals to support the work we're doing on Xerath and reviewing and revising our goals for Xerath with Statikk, 20th Century Faux and Gmang. 

I barely know where to start. So let's start with your feedback. 

It was a hard decision whether to talk publicly about the results of a survey like this. However, I felt confident that you guys are responsible, mature and capable of being level headed with the results. We reached out to 700 players to ask for their input on Xerath and what direction they would like us to take him. This doesn't mean we intend to design by committee; we're still going to do the high levels of concept and polish that you expect from Riot Games. 

Now it wasn't just 700 random players that we picked to survey. We picked 350 of the most hardcore Xerath players in all of league of legends. These are people who are hardcore Xerath fans, who play him in tons of games on a regular basis. Then we picked 350 players who have been very active with Xerath in the last month and have shown a preference for him. In a nutshell, these are 700 of the top 3000 people who play the majority of Xerath games in North America. 

We wanted to include other regions in this survey, but our outreach teams have been dedicated to restoring service to Korea and EUW. We know Korean players particularly like Xerath, so we will reach out to them once we're confident we're doing the best we can for them. If you didn't get on this survey and you feel you're a hardcore Xerath player, understand it *was* a random sampling within these extremely strict qualifications. 

So with that aside, what did you say? I know after reading this thread and reddit, I was a bit nervous. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what most Xerath players would say.

So who are Xerath players?

Xerath players are mostly max level players over the age of 18. 
Xerath players play league at a normal rate.
Xerath players are more likely than average to watch tournaments. 
Xerath players are dramatically more likely to visit the forums, but not post, than to not visit the league forums at all. 

Those factoids aside, let's get to what you care about.

The most important part of the survey was understanding what players perceive Xerath as being. 

Overwhelmingly, Xerath players expressed their love for Xerath as a long-range mage sniper. You overwhelming expressed a desire to see Xerath become a powerful, long-range artillery champion. Players felt that he should be fragile, awesome and constantly unleashing arcane power. 

Almost no players expressed a desire to remove the immobilization from Locus of Power. In fact, more than 46% of Xerath players described it as the one of the extremely fun things about Xerath. That said, many players did express dissatisfaction with how Locus plays out. You guys generally agreed that Xerath has a rough time killing people without his ult, but most players indicated they felt they could still get kills without it.

When asked what we should do in a Xerath rework, most Xerath players expressed both significant interest in seeing him reworked and fear that they would not be as strong with him afterwards. 

Where it gets interesting is *where* players expressed interest in changes. An overwhelming majority of hardcore Xerath players would like to see Locus of Power become a more meaningful, tactical and skillful play choice. Similarly, they felt Xerath did not offer enough opportunities to exhibit skillful play. Likewise, Xerath players expressed a significant interest in spells that hit harder, on longer cooldowns over many spells which hit for less. 

Furthermore, the response to Xerath's new visuals was possibly the most unanimously positive response in the survey. Thought a few players did feel his new visual was a little too "glittery". 

So what did this mean?

Well, in response to this feedback we're making some changes to our plans in development for Xerath:

Because Xerath players have expressed significant interest in fewer spells, which hit harder, we've eliminated the CDR / Doublecast passive and replaced it with a new passive which grants significant amounts of % spell penetration, which scales with your maximum mana pool. 

Similarly, I have removed the 2nd ammo charge from Xerath's W (Arcane Barrage) and instead dramatically increased its damage and AP ratio. I moved the power off of his base W ability and instead dramatically increased the radius and damage of his AoE explosive attacks during his ultimate. 

Because of how overwhelmingly consistent the perception of Xerath was as a long-range mage, we've decided to push this factor to the extreme. Xerath now gains +600, +1000 and +2000 range to all of his spells during Locus of Power. (Numbers subject to change before launch). However, this power comes at a price - Locus of Power drains mana per second while active and has an ultimate level cooldown, but in an unusual act of buffery, Morello insisted that we make all spells cast during Locus of Power completely free. This means that your time in Locus of Power is all about deciding which attack will provide the most value to your team, not which spell will force you out of mana fastest. 

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the new Xerath VFX, we've started the engines and all of Xerath's spells will be getting replaced with new, updated visuals. We've even toned back the "glitter" a few players commented on in the feedback and made sure to make Xerath's visuals more powerful and brutal.

As you can imagine, all of this feedback has taken a lot of time and energy to process, but we're going to do our best to deliver on the long-range, sniper artillery mage that so many hardcore players insisted we pursue. Now, naturally there were some players who were concerned about a rework, some players who loved him exactly as he is now. However, the majority of players who were concerned, expressed concerns about his power level. 

Now, I won't promise everything we do will be exactly what you want. I can't do that. However, what I will promise is that I'll do everything in my power to bring together a cohesive theme that turns Xerath into a powerful contender in the league of legends. 

As a special treat, here's a first pass on Xerath's new Q artwork: 
(Yes, there's a second shockwave on the ground. Still working on it. )

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He does seem very one-dimensional at the moment but fun with a good team surrounding you...personally I'm looking forward to these changes!
What do you think about the changes on his skills? Comment below!

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  2. Idk, Locus of Power sounds a little OP, it is going to be an active toggle or does it last for a certain amount of time, while draining mana?

  3. H0neyyBeeJune 02, 2013

    Seems good that there giving him some tlc but I mean, there are some much more desperate champions in need of attention. Nonetheless, the changes seem very interesting and could make Xerath a real contender

  4. TheKumquatJune 02, 2013

    Yes! Being the huge Xerath fan I am, I am super excited with this re-work! I always knew that Xerath was strong, but hopefully this re-work will bring some more power and gameplay to Xerath.

  5. Based on what the Riot guy is saying, I think it'll still be a toggle like it is now.

  6. So uh, I thought Xerath was their lightning mage. Now, no more lightning and they're gonna make someone else their real lightning mage?

    Wow, League has been that long, and out of 110+ dudes there's no "real" lightning mage. :D

    Brand, people. Why wasn't Brand the lightning mage. They had to make him a weaker clone (sorta) of Annie.


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