League of Legends’ healing philosophy is changing after drastic durability update

Bewitching Yuumi in League of LegendsRiot Games

League of Legends’ patch 12.10 durability update has changed the way everyone sees the game ⁠— including Riot. The developers have announced a change in design philosophy around healing with nerfs in line for champions like Dr Mundo, Soraka, and Yuumi.

League of Legends has fundamentally changed since the game’s durability update in LoL patch 12.10. As damage crept up year-on-year, Riot pushed the pendulum far into the other direction by increasing every champion’s tankiness.

In doing so, the meta has shifted quite drastically as scaling teamfight-orientated champions start re-emerging into the meta.

However, the deliberate design decision has had knock-on effects for the game. As Riot tackles rebalancing League around its new design philosophy, the developers has encountered one major issue: healing.

Dr Mundo in League of LegendsRiot Games
Riot has changed how it sees healing in League of Legends following the durability update.

Across the durability update, healing has been cut slightly to keep drain tanks and enchanters in check. Back-to-back nerfs to Grievous Wounds, though, have allowed them to thrive a bit more than players were expecting.

This is a deliberate design choice by Riot, and one they’ll continue to balance League around for the foreseeable future.

“We intend to balance around 40% [Grievous Wounds] and move towards being a purchase that doesn’t feel great without a critical mass of healing,” developer Matt ‘Phroxzon’ Leung-Harrison told players on June 13.

The reason for the change is two-fold. One is how it forces Riot to design healing champions, keeping in mind there’s an easy counter purchasable for less than 1000 gold in some instances.

“High Grievous Wounds creates a bunch of champion design debt and requires making healing tools really strong to compete,” Phroxzon explained.

However, it also directly ties into the second reason behind the philosophy update: Grievous Wounds isn’t fun to build. Riot wants players to build more impactful items that empower their own champions rather than keep enemies in check.

“Grievous Wounds takes away from items that are more exciting for your champ,” he added. “So while it indexes high as a strategic game state choice, it’s only an intellectually satisfying one.”

Riot’s initial pass of healing changes will go live on LoL patch 12.12 targeting Dr. Mundo, Soraka, Viego, and Yuumi. Developers will evaluate further nerfs on a “case by case basis”.

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