League of Legends is a pretty fast-paced game, but Riot may be looking to tap the brakes just a little bit. In a recent Reddit thread, Riot Axes—properly known as lead gameplay designer Bryan Salvatore—said the studio is now looking into making changes “intended to slow the pace of combat.”
LoL has been around for 13 years now, and has understandably evolved during that stretch. As Dot Esports points out, the past few years in particular have seen a real shift toward high-speed combat: Average teamfights now last for about 14 seconds, compared to actions in earlier years that could go on for as much as a full minute. Salvatore didn't say what Riot has in mind as far as possible slowdown mechanisms, but it certainly sounds like broad damage nerfs are coming.
“We believe League of Legends is best when it is on average be[ing] fast-paced and exciting,” he said in response to a question about past Riot discussions on time-to-kill in League matches. “But yeah I think it would be fair to say it has overcorrected towards damage, which is hitting away at clarity ('I can tell what just killed me' / 'I can tell what I should have done differently') and skill expression ('That assassin/mage hit their whole kit, so they earned the kill').”
Salvatore said mage supports aren't Riot's “primary focus” at the moment, because even though their damage output might be outsized, it's nothing new and “not the cause for any recent damage creep.” In fact, having damage-focused supports is a net good for the game.
“Allowing players to pick damage oriented supports and get enough gold to really scale with them was a major part of the changes that ultimately solved support autofill problems and we'd be hesitant to go back on those,” Salvatore wrote. “We'd prefer to tune durability around the reality that many teams swap a defensive character (support or tank) for a damage dealing one and balance the two approaches against each other.”
There's no timeline for any of this to happen, but Salvatore said Riot will reveal more “within the next few weeks.”