Hello friends of the rocky weave!
Taliyah has been out for three patches now and we’ve had ample time to look at what worked and what didn’t. Having looked at a stupid amount of games myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was wrong about the W. Here’s the TL;DR: we’re switching the W to a vector cast*, removing the spell lockout before eruption, and nerfing the E to go along with those changes.
(* vector casting is the casting paradigm that Viktor’s Death Laser and Rumble’s Equalizer use)
If you’re still with me, let’s talk about why we’re making these changes, what I learned from the W, and what this means for the future of Taliyah.
First of all, why are we making these changes? It comes down to one very simple thing: using the spell with the constraints I put on it in the interest of game health proved too frustrating for too many people. I made a bet that most players would be able to accept these constraints (particularly the lock-out delay), and I was wrong. So we’re changing it!
Let’s talk for a second about what the lock-out delay was, why it was in there to begin with, and then loop around to double-cast vs vector cast.
Right now on Taliyah as of patch 6.13, after you cast W you cannot cast further spells until after the W delay is over; this is what I mean by lock-out. The thinking was that the W-E combo would have been too strong if we allowed you to get it off whenever you hit the W. The difference here is that on live in order to toss people into your minefield, you have to cast the minefield first, committing more resources and putting the enemy on notice. There’s no question this is healthier for the game as a whole as it provides the enemy with more of a chance to dodge, and it also allowed me to make the impact of landing a E-W combo much higher. (The math here is simple: the more infrequently an effect occurs, the stronger the effect gets to be, up to a limit).
Feeling locked out of spells that should be available to you (because they’re not on cooldown and you have the mana for them) just feels awful. Players have told us loud and clear, so after much discussion with other designers I made the call to remove this lock-out and look for ways to nerf the W-E combo. Before I talk about those nerfs, let’s touch on vector cast real quick.
Other than being fairer to the enemy, the W lock-out allowed me to design a version of vector cast that didn’t put as much pressure on the player to chain their inputs together as quickly as possible. By saying “don’t worry when in the delay you decide which direction you want to throw people to, you’ve got time” I wanted to give players something more learnable. It’s hard to track this, but anecdotally the W seemed very easy to pick up and use. It’s only when you start trying to optimize around it by chaining other spells into it that you run into the frustration of the lock-out. This new cast type of “press the button twice, but the delay starts after your first button press” was useful only in a world where there was no external time pressure on the player to execute quickly. Now that we’re dropping the delay, it becomes the optimal play to input W as quickly as possible so that you can chain E and Q into it (you can cancel the E’s animation with your Q). This means the double cast type becomes a hindrance, not a boon, to the player, so we’re removing it in favour of vector casting.
In this new world, a Taliyah who can hit her W can spike an enemy HARD. She can chain the E into it, getting the initial cast damage plus the combo damage out of it, and she can instantly start pelting the enemy with her Q. That’s a LOT of burst damage for a character who shouldn’t be mostly about burst damage (as a disruptor Taliyah should deny the enemy certain zones and bring a constant stream of damage). This means we had to nerf something.
What we landed on for now is nerfing the maximum damage you can get out of a perfectly played WE combo. The way we’re doing this is by introducing falloff damage to the E. Your first hit of the E will do the same damage as currently on live (so if you’re just casting it on the backline of the minions to push the wave, nothing’s different), but every further hit will do 10% less damage. So if you hit a unit with the initial cast of the E, then drag them through the maximum of 4 mines, each mine will do successively less and less damage. This works out to about a 150 damage nerf in the best case, but do keep in mind the best case situation of the rank 5 E has 720 base damage.
We’re hoping to ship these changes with 6.14.