Let's Talk about Olaf - League of Legends Community

SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
03 Jul 2013

Hey GD, I'm SmashGizmo and I'm the dude currently working on Olaf changes. We've left Olaf in a pretty bad spot for way too long and as I move forward with trying to get him back on track I want to hear your thoughts on Olaf.

Any and all thoughts on the character are appreciated, but here are some food for thought questions that I'd like to get some responses on:

What makes Olaf cool?
What's fun about playing as Olaf?
What's miserable about playing against Olaf?
What role does Olaf fill in your mind?
Do you view Olaf as a Top Laner or a Jungler?
What items do you want to build on Olaf?


SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
03 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOPGangster View Post
First off, coming from a Pre-season 1 Olaf veteran I am SO damn HAPPY that youɒre going to fix Olaf!

I have played Olaf through the thick and the thin; I play other champs but I always come back to my one main. I have played him almost 1,000 times in ranked alone, and I have A LOT of normal Olaf games. I usually make a big thread when Olaf sucks, I am very active on the forums about getting a movement (Olaf tier 2013) started to fix him, I try atleast.
Glad you're stoked about this, it's great to see this sort of enthusiasm about Olaf! (especially with the pre-written insta-response, that's some dedication bro! )


Before I get into the rest of your post, let's start off with some basic info on the scope of Olaf changes. Right now we are not looking at a full scale rework of Olaf (think Karma), but rather a refactor (think Kha'Zix). What this means is that we're sticking with the core skills of the kit and trying to solve the problems with the character through shifting mechanics rather than redoing skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOPGangster View Post
In my opinion the main two things we need to keep with his kit are:
  • Anti-CC
  • True Damage
  • Must be TANKY DPS
The main reason we pick Olaf over other champions is because he has the ability to neutralize an ADC or AP carry if played properly. Olaf is a STRONG anti-carry because of this. However due to the nerfs and creating of Botrk Olaf's job became extraordinarily hard to the point where only the diehard Olaf fans were playing him and STILL struggling.
Can you elaborate on how you think Olaf neutralizes an ADC or AP carry? Does he chase them out of the fight? Does he kill them before they can get away? It's interesting to me to hear his strength as single character neutralization, as this is typically the type of strength I associate with strong CCs (i.e. Warwick ult), which Olaf doesn't have.

I'm also interested in how you think BotRK hurt Olaf more than the average bruiser, as he seems to me to be one of the less impacted bruisers due to Ragnarok neutralizing the crippling slow from BotRK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOPGangster View Post
The things Olaf needs are:
  • Gap Closer
  • Defined weakness
  • Sustain
  • Late game scaling

The number one complaint I have read about Olaf is that if the player is good he has no counterplay. This is true, I exploited this to climb from low 600 elo to Gold IV today. So if you guys remake him make sure he has a weakness. Since you're remaking Olaf I think it is important he has a gap closer, this would advance him into the meta and offer different options OTHER than the mandatory ghost. Late game scaling is what makes Olaf well Olaf. If you get fed from early game you know his mid is decent, and it SHOULD be only up from there. Currently Olaf does not scale well into late game due to the LW + Botrk vaporizing him even when built full tank.

With that in mind I am super excited to hear your feedback, Olaf is without a doubt my favorite champion and I play him ALL the time.
As his kit is not getting rework levels of change, Olaf will not be getting a gap closer. While I get the knee-jerk reaction that he needs a gap closer, I think it's important to realize that his lack of one is a crucial component to defining Olaf's weaknesses and making a CC-immunity not completely stifling to play against.


PhreakShoutcaster
03 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmashGizmo View Post
Hey GD, I'm SmashGizmo and I'm the dude currently working on Olaf changes. We've left Olaf in a pretty bad spot for way too long and as I move forward with trying to get him back on track I want to hear your thoughts on Olaf.

Any and all thoughts on the character are appreciated, but here are some food for thought questions that I'd like to get some responses on:

What makes Olaf cool?
What's fun about playing as Olaf?
What's miserable about playing against Olaf?
What role does Olaf fill in your mind?
Do you view Olaf as a Top Laner or a Jungler?
What items do you want to build on Olaf?
I wanna help!

What makes Olaf cool / fun?
I tend to be more gameplay driven, so this is one in the same for me

To me, it's the ability to just go ape**** on people. Attack speed buff + life steal + Undertow on a .25 second cooldown. The ability to just outright win when I shouldn't because I can clutch in the right circumstances.

What's miserable playing against Olaf?
The fact that I can't dent him. He removes my CC, just walks at me, and nothing I do will matter. I'm just destined to die if I'm weaker than him.

What role does Olaf fill in your mind?
Right now, I feel he fills a generic bruiser front line role. He's a big dude who does pretty decent damage and is hard to remove. Can dive if needed.

However, I'd like to see him more damage-based. I have these cool attack speed/ad scaling abilities, but I just build Warmogs to do my job. There's really no reason for me to build damage since I kill two birds with one stone via health items. Even just having the option would be nice.

Is Olaf a Top Laner or a Jungler?
I actually really liked the idea of him as a jungler, and was one of my favorites. But I guess I'm biased :P

What do you want to build on Olaf?
I don't mind building health since I'm melee, but I want to get items like Youmuu's and Maw of Malmortius and be able to go crazy in short bursts.


SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
03 Jul 2013

Sorry for the delay on responses here, I'm still reading through everything .

Just wanted to say 2 quick things before writing up another large response.

1. The "Do you view Olaf as a Top Laner or a Jungler?" question is not meant to make you guys think that we strictly think of characters in terms of only one proper role nor is it meaning to imply that I will be aiming my refactor at succeeding at one role over the other necessarily. I simply want as much information as possible on how players identify the character and how that character fits into the standard metagame is an important piece of this (IMO).

2. I'm seeing a lot of comments about how cool Olaf is as THE berserker in LoL, specifically in terms of the near death rage. I'm curious to hear some thoughts about Olaf and Tryndamere differ in your minds in this regard, as they're both tapping pretty heavily into the berserker fantasy. Does Olaf fill this role better or worse for you and why?


Riot MorgageddonPlayer Support Tech Specialist
03 Jul 2013

Morgageddon wonders what the single strongest weakness to Olaf is...

OPINION STARTING

His Q is interesting. It's a cooldown reducing axe that can be used early (with mana) to chase someone down and force them out of lane. Mid game, if you have won or lost a lane, it allows you to attempt to farm if you are zoned by a stronger foe or a ranged top. I'm not sure how best to change this to enable a stronger Olaf besides his W.

His W is rather lackluster early levels, and late levels usually has enough hp and regen that it's not quite as strong or useful feeling but for returning hp between skirmishes. I would posit changing his W into an aura, where if he performs damage as auto attacks he still heals, but can also AoE absorb health by damage done to enemies. This allows him to use his W and Q in lane to gain hp back from range if he's being zoned hard, which is a huge weakness to his kit currently.

His E is a staple of being Olaf. It allows him to trade with almost any dueler effectively and efficiently, as well as eliminating mages or adcs.

His R allows Olaf to get to anyone in the back line and eliminate them, providing he has enough health and time to stack his full combo, or if they've already taken a little bit of damage. Perhaps, being an 'all-in' champion, his ultimate could also increase his movement speed if he's running at an enemy, or the lower Olaf's health is. This again would play into his 'all-in' technique and be better for him to chase enemies down directly, or if he's at lower health. Combined with his passive to increase his attack speed as he's low, it could be good, or horribly overpowered.

TL;DR

Make his W also heal from his Q throws
Make his R allow increased speed the lower he is or if he is running at enemies.

OPINION ENDING


PhreakShoutcaster
03 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmashGizmo View Post
2. I'm seeing a lot of comments about how cool Olaf is as THE berserker in LoL, specifically in terms of the near death rage. I'm curious to hear some thoughts about Olaf and Tryndamere differ in your minds in this regard, as they're both tapping pretty heavily into the berserker fantasy. Does Olaf fill this role better or worse for you and why?
IMO Tryndamere just happens to be at 1hp for a while. But Tryndamere just says, "Screw it I can't die for 5 seconds" and just sort of happens to be at 1hp. Then he either wins or runs away or dies.

Olaf gradually gets down there and then has to fight for his life. Unlike Tryndamere getting like 25 AD, Olaf gets double attack speed as well as a gigantic life steal boost. Olaf actually can win a battle because he's at 10 hp and you get this super tense moment of, "OMG am I actually going to win this?"


Riot MorgageddonPlayer Support Tech Specialist
03 Jul 2013

Morgageddon oops'd.

Well color me embarrassed, I forgot about the spell vamp component of W -_-


PhreakShoutcaster
03 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riot Morgageddon View Post
Morgageddon oops'd.

Well color me embarrassed, I forgot about the spell vamp component of W -_-
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooob.

Though to be fair, the spell vamp is 1/3 effectiveness due to Q being an AoE ability.


Riot MorgageddonPlayer Support Tech Specialist
03 Jul 2013

Morgageddon tries to redeem himself!

The only issue with a rage mechanic Olaf is that he'd need a major change to his W for a sort of self heal, due to the fact that as it is, he wouldn't sustain enough to counter his need to push. Granted, his Q could be used to engage/disengage but it's nowhere near as useful as Tryn's mocking shout (slow and AD reduction) and his spin to win escape, Olaf only has a slow to escape with, nowhere near the same mobility.


Riot MorgageddonPlayer Support Tech Specialist
03 Jul 2013

Morgageddon wonders...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kopikatsu View Post
Which do you prefer, though? Do you think that it would be worth looking into an alternative resource for Olaf?
I almost think a health cost would make more sense for Olaf: retool into all health costs, thereby making health regen and vamp great items for him from the get go.


SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
03 Jul 2013

Ok, so I'm on page 22 now and the thread's growing faster than I can read it and I don't want to leave any posts unread but I also want to start outlining some of my thoughts here tonight so here we go.

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Let's start with a rough statement of my high level goals for Olaf changes.

1. Reduce the disparity between high skill level power and low skill level power on the character.

The biggest reason Olaf is where he is now is that he was sitting below a 50% winrate when we nerfed him, despite being among the top 4 competitive picks for a staggeringly long period of time. The simple fact of the matter is that pro players are exceptionally good at optimizing everything about Olaf and our average player is not. While having a high skill cap is typically a good thing for champions, it's best when the skill differential is in aspects of the game that are noticeable. Take Lee Sin for example. Our average player is no inSec, but when they watch inSec, they see how he uses his skills quickly and flawlessly and they immediately understand what makes him so successful with the champion and how they need to improve. With Olaf, the pro level optimizations largely come from difficult to see places, namely in optimizing the usage of his steroids, ghost usage, build order, pre-teamfight positioning, teamfight coordination and Undertow usage. Basically, it would be great if learning to play the wild berserker who's entire goal in life is to go ape**** on the opposing carry wasn't so hard and mathy.

2. Clear up the use cases for Vicious Strikes and Ragnarok.

This goes hand in hand with goal 1, but I think it's important to point out specifically. In my research on the current iteration of Olaf, I found myself frequently frustrated by the assortment of stats on both Vicious Strikes and Ragnarok. It doesn't seem to make sense that you get Armor Penetration when Ragnarok is active, as this creates weird incentives on the ability that make you want to cast it as soon as you start hitting someone, rather than using it to wade through CC effects. Vicious Strikes suffers from a lack of clarity in when I want to use it (before I Q to get bonus AD for the ratio? before I E to spell vamp off it? only when I'm low to use the lifesteal with Berserker Rage?). Clearing up what these buttons are meant to do should really help the usability on the character which should go a long way to solving problem 1, as well as generally making them more viscerally satisfying.

3. Clear up Olaf's itemization options.

This thread has confirmed my suspicions that people are generally pretty confused about what they want to build on Olaf. Most people seem to be onto HP and CDR as the optimal current builds, but there's also a large segment of people who want to build offensive items on the character ranging from 1-2 offensive item splashes to full balls out offensive builds. While I have no delusions about making offensive builds competitively viable on a Melee with no gap closer, I also don't want our non-pro players to feel bad about building swords and axes on a berserker... that just feels like what I should be building and it shouldn't feel as awful to do it as it does right now. I personally think it would be thematically awesome if people could enjoy a ravenous hydra + black cleaver on Olaf and just roleplay having 2 super badass axes through their build (again, with no delusions about the competitive viability of such a build).

4. Overall buff to the character.

Competitive vs. noncompetitive disparity aside, Olaf's in a pretty poor spot right now and he straight up needs a buff. The changes are not a success if they do not make Olaf more powerful than he is now. Obvious, I know, but considering his current state, I consider it irresponsible to not list this as a goal.

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That being said, let's run through the kit and what I've gathered from your feedback in here along with my own thoughts on Olaf's abilities.

Berserker Rage
I'm seeing a small number of complaints about this ability being hidden power within Olaf's kit, but most people seem to see this as a visceral representation of Olaf's berserker nature and a key piece to some of the high points of the kit (outlasting fights on a sliver of health through this + lifesteal). I tend to agree with the latter line of thinking and am a rather large fan of this passive. I would like to make a minor tweak to this ability to clear up it's optimization by putting a floor on how low your HP % can go to still gain AS, as I think it feels like a false promise to have the ability scale all the way down to 1 HP. This sort of scaling can work for Tryndamere's Bloodlust, as he realistically does get to live at 1 HP routinely, but I think Berserker Rage should be hitting it's optimization somewhere around 10-30% max HP (tbd based on testing).

Undertow
Most people in here seem to find Undertow's play pattern very cool and central to how Olaf functions but there also seem to be a number of people who point out how the potential perma-slow is one of the most frustrating pieces of Olaf's kit. I think the potential for a perma-slow is crucial to Olaf's ability to function in the game today, as he has no innate mobility and needs to function in melee range of his opponents. I think there are some superfluous bits of power on this ability, namely in terms of it's value for scouting, and it's power in the burst case due to repeatedly throwing the axe right at your feet and I'll be trying some experimental changes to solve these issues without disrupting the core chasing pattern of "throw axe -> chase after axe -> pick up axe -> throw axe again -> repeat" (which I believe is a thematically awesome pattern that plays very well in game).

Vicious Strikes
This is by far the least commented on skill through all of your feedback and it seems like very mixed feedback. As I mentioned in my goals, I think the use case on this ability is a bit of a nightmare and at the end of the day I really want to clarify and emphasize that rather than trying to solve this ability through raw power. To me, Vicious Strikes is at its coolest when it's enabling Olaf's survival and brawling in prolonged fights in conjunction with Berserker Rage, so my changes to this ability will be aimed at emphasizing this case and trying to deemphasize its power in terms of staying topped off on health throughout the laning phase.

Reckless Swing
Feedback in the thread seems to mostly be positive on this ability, though it's also pointed out as a playing against frustration point. While I agree that this ability can be very binary in terms of laning trades, my feeling is that this ability is exactly what Olaf holistically needs out of his E slot and as such I don't have any intentions on touching this at first. I also think there's a strong case to be made that the frustration of getting outtraded at Melee range is outweighed by the satisfaction Olaf players get from using Reckless Swing.

Ragnarok
The hands-down most Olaf-defining aspect of Olaf's kit. Your feedback on this is mostly positive because of the Juggernaut vibes you get using the ability and the strong thematic connection to being so engrossed in combat that you cannot be stopped. Some expressed concerns about the frustration from the opposing end of Ragnarok, but the resounding voice in here is saying that this is what makes Olaf Olaf. And I agree, but as I've stated in the goals, I believe that Ragnarok's use case is currently muddied by the Armor Pen. In this light, I'm going to be exploring options for a replacement stat on Ragnarok that helps Olaf during the phase of the fight when he's wading through CC effects rather than the phase of the fight when he's hitting people with physical damage.

All that said, I wanted to touch on one more thing before I head off to bed...

Mana
I'm seeing a fair number of suggestions in here discussing how they're frustrated at being oom with Olaf and how something like a fury system or straight health cost system would further drive the themes of the character home. I don't see myself taking this approach, as I think Mana is an essential gate to Olaf's ability to otherwise endlessly throw axes. That being said, I'm strongly considering stripping the mana cost entirely from Ragnarok and drastically reducing it on Vicious Strikes. To me, Olaf's steroids should be Cooldown gated, while his Undertow needs to be resource gated due to the Cooldown refresh mechanics on it.

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Anywho, it is now 1 AM and I'm getting too tired to keep going in here so I'm calling it for the night. I will come back tomorrow and try to finish reading through all the comments when I have time throughout the day.


RiotChunLive Balance Designer
03 Jul 2013

Spinning Axe make Olaf cool.

Riot pls


SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
04 Jul 2013

Hmm, I'd like to pose another question to you all.

I'm seeing the vast majority of the responses about Olaf's role referencing blowing up squishy targets as a core thing that Olaf does. If this is indeed what the character is meant to do, what is the intended counterplay from the opposing team? Is Olaf suppose to be weak to focus fire? Is a ranged carry supposed to be able to run away and turn on him after Ragnarok is expired? What is my recourse as an opponent to Olaf when he is trying to do his job of hunting squishies?


SmashGizmoAssociate QA Analyst
10 Jul 2013

Updating with first iteration of changes a little later on. Should see them on the PBE soon...


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
10 Jul 2013

I'm not 100% sure about PBE deploy times, so I can't say exactly, but suffice to say that the initial changes are in and starting to get some testing internally and they will go to PBE the next time PBE patches.


Sooooo that being said, let's get into the nitty gritty... Keep in mind that all the changes you see here are subject to heavy iteration before you get to see them on live. Numbers may shift to varying degrees, mechanics may be added and/or dropped, etc etc etc.


Olaf Changes, V1.0

Undertow

  • Slow no longer decays
  • Now has a minimum throw distance of 450 units
  • Axes now stick in walls and structures rather than going through them

Slow decay on this ability ultimately doesn't make sense to me. The slow decaying accentuates the power of re-applying the slow repeatedly and lessers the impact of hitting the epic long range axes that seem like they should feel the best to hit. If I need to re-tune the slow numbers from here to be slightly less severity or duration, so be it, but I can't conceptually get on board with this ability having a decay on its slow.

Minimum distance is being added to this ability to limit Olaf's ability to abuse repeated minimum distance Axe throws on top of Melee range targets. Ultimately this pattern is counterintuitive, adds a lot of burst to Olaf and makes the gameplay confusing to opponents who can't even see the axe in the ground since he immediately picks it up.

The wall sticking change for Undertow actually just started as a cool thematic idea from CertainlyT, but it also happens to solve a couple big issues I was running into with Undertow. The first is that it lets Jungle Olaf circumvent the minimum distance on Undertow to preserve his fast clear by standing near a wall and repeatedly throwing axes. The second is that it strips a bit of extraneous power off of Olaf in terms of scouting (i.e. checking baron over and over with it) and sniping, which ultimately aren't very cool places for a Viking to have power, which frees him up some power budget to spend on cooler stuff.


Vicious Strikes
  • Mana cost reduced to 25 from 40/45/50/55/60
  • Now provides 1% enhanced healing from all sources for every 2% health Olaf is missing during the duration

At the end of the day, this ability feels like it should be cooldown gated, not mana gated, so I've reduced the mana cost to a fairly negligible number to reduce this ability's strain on Undertow.

The scaling increased healing effect on this ability is meant to supplement Olaf's fight-your-way-out pattern and better communicate to players when they want to use their W. It also opens up a tuning lever on his lane-sustain so that he feels less oppressive when ahead and more resilient when he's behind. I also hope that this clarifies Olaf's itemization options (in particular, opening up lifesteal items more for him), though that remains to be seen as I'm not really convinced that players plan around this interaction with Spirit Visage (same mechanic) at the moment.


Ragnarok
  • Mana Cost removed
  • Cooldown changed to 120/100/80 from 100
  • Active duration changed to 5 from 6
  • New Passive Added: Olaf gains 10/25/40 Armor and Magic Resist passively
  • Active Changed: Olaf removes all disables from himself and becomes immune to them for the next 5 seconds. During this time, he gains double Attack Speed from Berserker Rage

As with Vicious Strikes, it feels crummy for Ragnarok to constrain your ability to cast Undertow and as this will only ever be used once per fight, I've just stripped the mana cost off completely.

The larger changes here are about clarifying Ragnarok's purpose and counterplay. After looking through feedback on how players perceive the counterplay and discussing this with numerous designers, I've come to the conclusion that Ragnarok is a more interesting and healthy ability if it functions as a trade off rather than a god mode. With this direction in mind, I've added a passive Armor/MRes component to give Olaf the tankiness he needs to be a front liner with no mobility and made the Ragnarok button press decision more about becoming unstoppable in order to do damage, at the cost of the resilience from damage. Hopefully this opens up the option to the opposing team to focus fire down the un-CCable monster coming for their Carry, rather than leaving them feeling completely resigned to Olaf being able to get to and kill their Carry. With this being the new decision point surrounding Ragnarok, I've scaled the duration back 1 second, as I believe that Olafs should now be casting Ragnarok slightly later in teamfights once he's closer and facing imminent CC rather than using it at the start of his approach to mitigate all the incoming damage. I also think these changes holistically add a nice side effect of giving CC-users a small satisfaction out of forcing Olaf's ult by hitting his resists, thought this is admittedly pretty minor.





So this is where I'm starting with my changes. Feel free to let me know what you think and I'll try to address any concerns you guys want to bring up. As I said before, this is an early iteration and I expect to be doing a whole bunch of iterations before getting to where we need to be with Olaf.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldmanj View Post
so definitely quite a bit of changes. I like them for the most part. The added armor and MR passive is great for olaf and frees him up for more damage items and options or for being an even more powerful tank for the team. i can deal with the undertow change, many wont like it but i think it is intuitive and fun.

what I dont particularly like is that there is no boost to some of olafs other abilities now that there is a range constraint to undertow and his armor pen has been removed entirely. could you go into more detail as to where the power from these mechanics and stats have been redirected to?
Taking off the slow decay on Q is pretty huge in terms of adding power back onto Olaf's Q, IMO. The difference in feel in the playtest today was pretty massive from the experience on live. I don't want to derail forward progress by looking back too much, but I do just want to throw this out there that I do think Olaf's peak power before we nerfed him was certainly too high in competitive play and the nerf aspects of the Q changes are all aimed at hitting it's old power in the competitive arena while having fairly minimal impact across lower skill players.

In addition, the healing buff on W is a considerable buff to Olaf's windowed sustain, which should let him better outlive fights through lifesteal. The whole idea is to shift this missing power towards his passive/W/R gameplay, as this gameplay extends Olaf's engagement window, allowing his opponents more time to play against him rather than getting vaporized once he gets on top of you. Likewise, the shift from Armor Pen to Attack Speed is again aimed at extending Olaf's engagement window. Armor Pen was allowing Olaf to burst harder vs. low armor targets (due to Q benefiting largely from it), which was one of the biggest pain points of playing against Olaf and I'm hoping that shifting the burst potential of that armor pen will 1. allow Olaf to brawl other frontliners better with sustained damage and lifestealing and 2. force him to stick to carries for longer to kill them rather than bursting them down super quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldmanj View Post
Edit: I am also wondering with the mana changes and the new minimum distance added to undertow why mana is even on olaf now, the previous infinite axe issue should be resolved with the minimum travel distance. keeping him tied by mana seems silly if only undertow is using it
I've discussed this quite a bit earlier in the thread, but the tl;dr on this is that mana constraining his Undertow is what allows the pattern of the ability to not be abusive, and I'd really like to preserve Undertow's use pattern because I think it's thematic and awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaeta View Post
It sounds like the passive Armor and MR are lost when Ragnarok is cast (and maybe also while on cooldown)?
They are only lost during the active duration of Ragnarok. It would be pretty awful if they were lost while it's on CD IMO. Basically my feeling is that Olaf feels super clunky when Ragnarok is down and when he's in this clunky state in teamfights, he needs the defense to make up for the fact that he's very kiteable and pokeable.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB4UAME View Post
the offensive steroid will be non-existant. He ults at the start of a fight to get to someone. Since every adc has BotRK, flash or an escape he won't get into range for a good 3-4 seconds of his ult. So that's mostly irrelevant. It's his gap closer, he NEEDS to be immune to CC to attack ANYTHING in a teamfight behind their tank line.

His ult has counterplay. Baiting it out.
Why does it need more, when all he does is trade his life for your carry?
This is how players currently use the ult.

- Fight Starts
- Olaf Ults
- Olaf runs through the fight (takes minimal damage cause he gets over 2K in defensive stats for free in addition to CC-immunity)
- Olaf Q, Auto, E, Qs your carry (bursting him super hard due to flat penetration obliterating low armor targets)

I contest that this pattern is inherently flawed because it offers up no clear forms of counterplay. This pattern of Olaf, when strong, frequently leaves a fairly large subset of characters feeling totally helpless and hopeless vs. Olaf and thinking to themselves, "there is nothing I could have done there to not die to him."

I am saying instead that Olaf is healthier if we open up a distinct vulnerability during his ult and try to patch up his weaknesses outside of it. This version isn't intended to be used exactly the same way as the current ult, again, because I think the way the current ult is used leads us to a core design flaw in Olaf.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by exe3 View Post
While your reasonings are fair i'm still sad about the Undertow changes. I don't play Olaf but whenever I had I found Undertow to be one of the most interesting skillshots in the game, most of what made it interesting seems to have sadly been removed.
Strongly disagree. Undertow has an awesome chasing pattern and an awesome thematic. I threw my axe, and by going to pick it up again, I get to throw it again. This is just friggin' sweet, one of the coolest abilities in our entire game IMO. What doesn't make it cool is repeatedly slamming your axe into the ground at your feet to deal unreasonably high burst that then forces the rest of the character to be balanced around an abuse case. I dunno, please argue with me here if you really think I'm off base with this, but I think having a 0 minimum distance allows players to use this skill in an unintuitive way that forces the rest of the skill to be worse for the sake of balance.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

People seem to be assuming that the W mechanic is replacing the existing mechanics rather than being added to the ability. I've updated the original list of changes to reflect that this is not the case:

Vicious Strikes

  • Mana cost reduced to 25 from 40/45/50/55/60
  • Now provides 1% enhanced healing from all sources for every 2% health Olaf is missing during the duration THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT MECHANICS ON W, NOT REPLACING THEM


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broseph Stalin View Post
I would think the counterplay for olafs ultimate would be that he's charging into the entire enemy team to get the highest priority target making him extremely vulnerable as it is. He's not immune to damage ya know.
60 Armor and MR doesn't make you immune to damage but it's an incredibly high amount of mitigation. If the counterplay to the 4K HP guy running at my carry is supposed to be "focus him" I think it's completely unreasonable that he gets tank steroid level stats while he does so while still posing a realistic threat of soloing your ranged carry in under 5 seconds.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Probably shouldn't have put a number to the minimum range...

Olaf's pick up detection on Axes is fairly generous and I played with that number quite a bit before arriving at 450. With no boots, throwing at minimum range, it'll take you about half a second of walking towards the axe before you pick it up. The intent here is solely to prevent repeated axes at your feet and if people disagree with my tuning of this number, I'll tweak it until it feels right.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kachine View Post
This is true, however, what will happen to Olaf jungle?
Addressed this in the original post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmashGizmo View Post
The wall sticking change for Undertow actually just started as a cool thematic idea from CertainlyT, but it also happens to solve a couple big issues I was running into with Undertow. The first is that it lets Jungle Olaf circumvent the minimum distance on Undertow to preserve his fast clear by standing near a wall and repeatedly throwing axes. The second is that it strips a bit of extraneous power off of Olaf in terms of scouting (i.e. checking baron over and over with it) and sniping, which ultimately aren't very cool places for a Viking to have power, which frees him up some power budget to spend on cooler stuff.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kachine View Post
Ah I see, however, will wall sticking apply to all walls or he'll still be able to throw axes over low ledges such as by the river? Against any champion who has a dash/jump spell that can go over low ledges, Olaf will have an extremely hard time catching up to them. Also, chasing in the jungle will be quite a pain.

Also, what if you reduced the free resists that Olaf gets from his ult but increases his MS? Olaf is extremely ghost reliant right now.
Unfortunately, all these boundaries in our game are functionally the same so I don't even think it's possible to make it not awkwardly stick in these ledges. It does look a bit goofy in a few places, but so does Nautilus Hook and I think the gameplay goals are worth the aesthetic tradeoff for the time being.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonixxiii View Post
Is the Q change he can't hit point blank, or he can't have it land point blank?
Can't have it land point blank. The hitbox is still the same, you just can't repeatedly cast it at your feet while standing still.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labcown View Post
Have you thought about putting a CD Floor on his ability?

Maybe so that even at 40% CDR and Point Blank Throws, it takes 2-3 seconds to throw it again?

This wouldn't affect those who throw it mid-range then pick it up, because it'll take those 2-3 seconds to get to the axe, but it'll nullify the whole Point-Blank-Spam issue.
I've thought of a floor and it feels like an inelegant solution because it creates weird optimization regarding when you're supposed to pick up the axe.

The other option I've considered is having the pickup's cooldown decrease scale multiplicatively with CDR as opposed to additively with CDR (think Hecarim's Rampage mechanics), but with the variable times when you can pick up the axe, this starts to make optimizing really messy again.

Basically, I just want Olaf to feel good about picking up the axe when he wants to throw it again without needing to consider further optimization and I think the flat reduction feels good for this and that the minimum range both feels appropriate and solves the 0 range abuse cases. I will continue to monitor how up close and personal axes feel on Olaf and explore other options if this proves problematic, but based on the initial testing with minimum range, I think it's promising. I can understand the concerns about the feel of low range axes with a minimum range, but I do want to urge you to not be too hasty in your judgement of the mechanic based on the range number (subject to tuning as appropriate), as ultimately what matters here is that low range axes feel appropriate to Olaf players and fair to opponents.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SOGENT View Post
Olaf's axes are just as core to being "Olaf" as his "unstoppable" ult is. And his axes are where almost all of his most satisfying, teammates-pat-you-on-the-back, plays come from. It's always very satisfying to lane a blind over-the-wall axe on an enemy who just turned a corner or flashed/dashed through it. When you or your team are able to pick up that kill, you feel like something you did skillfully is rewarded after being able to estimate exactly where they are in the fog.

I'd suggest just reducing the minimum throw distance (450 seems like a LOT) just so Olaf can't literally throw an axe at his feet while standing still (which doesn't make much sense thematically). A shorter distance makes it so that he still has to move while while dueling to utilize his axes, and higher skilled players will have higher DPS due to good mechanics (throw, aa, move, E, move, pick up axe, throw, aa, move, etc), while removing the simple 0 range throw that's really just a boost in power, while not adding anything to his gameplay.

There's other ways to curtail the power of Q. You could increase the cooldown of the axe when not picked up or have picking up the axe refund a portion of the mana cost (w/ a higher base cost), making chaining axes even more important. You could limit the slow to only the first enemy that the axe passes through. Flavorwise/thematically, the first enemy hit removed the momentum of the axe, so it no longer has the force to slow anyone hit afterward. This also adds an element of counterplay to teamfights since Olaf needs to find an opening to land the axe clean on the ADC rather than just chunking it through everyone. The front line can now attempt to block it, similar to counterplay for Caitlyn's ult, giving the ADC more time to kite backwards.

I also agree with problems some people have with the ult. Losing stats by activating the ult has an "un-fun" feel about it. There are situations where it will be clear that it's right to use the ult, but there's going to be situations where the player may feel bad for having used the ult in the first place because it ended up making them weaker.

I hate to be critical because I LOVE THAT YOU GUYS ARE WORKING ON OLAF AGAIN! THANK YOU! Just wanted to put in my 2 cents on the big parts of his kit.

TLDR
A good solution will cut out some of the power while not taking away the play. I feel like making the minimum range as high as 450 and no longer passing through walls takes some of the play away from Olaf, limiting him, rather than being an elegant solution that opens him up to more skillful or satisfying plays. Finally, using his Ult and losing stats has a very un-fun feel about it.
Right, so this is why I'm regretting putting a number to the minimum distance because 450 sounds like a lot, but in reality, Olaf takes 1 step from the location he threw the axe from and he picks it up. Again, these are iterative changes and can and will be tuned as is necessary, but 450 sounds deceptively high for how it actually plays.

All your suggestions regarding CD/Mana on picking up Axes only further accentuate the problematic cases for Axes when he chains them together to permaslow + tonsofdamage people. I've considered mechanics like this, but I guess my feeling right now is that there's already a sufficiently large tradeoff between the power of Undertow when you're in a favorable enough position enough to fetch it and an unfavorable enough position to be unable to fetch it that I don't really want to enlarge this disparity. Olaf needs longer ranged Undertows to play when behind and maximizes shorter ranged fetched Undertows when ahead, making this difference more pronounced only makes the character more binary which is already a reasonable complaint with his laning.

Re: Ult trade off feeling crappy at times, I guess I just don't see a healthy counterplay option to godmode Ragnarok. Massive mitigation, CC immunity, and the offensive tools necessary to catch and kill high priority targets just leaves teams with so little in the way of counterplay. I feel like I've been beating the thought process behind this change to death in this thread and while I can understand the concerns with my approach, I at least think the core design behind this mechanics shift merits testing to see if it can work.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinDelMarr View Post
Let his axes go through walls but not turrets as a compromise. Or else prevent all other skillshots from going through walls because realistically they should hit the wall and stop by Undertow logic (or else blast a hole in the wall). The vision it grants is minimal, it's a single instant in time.
Axes sticking will be all or nothing. Expectation would be pretty bizarre if they stuck in some terrain and not all. This change is being tried out, it might get pulled in the end, who knows, I just think the concept of it is cool and the gameplay that comes with that thematic actually solves some issues with Undertow.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjaxon View Post
Stop looking at his ult from the perspective of a ranged adc player?
P.S. Sorry for the bitter tone.
I've played this game for as long as it's been out of beta and my five most played champions have been Pantheon, Jarvan, Nunu, Darius, and Xin. I'll bet I've played more games on Pantheon alone than I've played on every ranged carry combined. If anything, I've made it my mission in LoL to make Ranged ADCs' lives a living hell >.

That being said, I'm working on design now and the counterplay of, "screw counterplay, they're a ranged ADC and deserve it" is just not acceptable. There always needs to be an element of fairness in PvP games and if your champion routinely leaves his victims saying, "well, nothing at all I could've done," then that's not OK.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick Renegade View Post
SmashGizmo, I get that you want to add counterplay to his ult and his teamfight play pattern. However, by making him vulnerable during the ult AND taking away his burst, I think you may be changing his role too much. I'm worried those two changes together mean that he'll spend 5 seconds reaching the carry, hit them a few times, then just get kited forever once his ult is up since he couldn't kill anything during those 5 seconds.

I would also argue that "dodging his Q so he doesn't reach you during his ult" is at least some valid counterplay, though I agree on its own it's not enough.

I love the increased durability while his ult is down, as well getting rid of counter-intuitive "spam Q at your own feet for teh burstz" play. I also like the increased emphasis on surviving brawls through lifesteal that increases along with his damage as he gets low on health. I think you are definitely on the right track with that stuff.

I'm mainly worried that, much like other auto-attack reliant melee champions, he just won't be able to spend much time in melee taking advantage of that stuff. Do you envision his play pattern in teamfights to be more about attacking the enemy frontline with true damage while tanking, then only using his ult to jump on a carry sometimes? I'm worried he won't have enough utility to protect his own carries if he doesn't dive, and won't do enough damage or lifesteal against tanks to make that playstyle effective. It just seems like these changes would take away most of his ability to usefully dive carries. What has testing shown so far?
I envision Olaf brawling with frontliners by default and then seizing opportunities when carries get too close by going all-or-nothing mode with Ragnarok. Whether this proves to be his actual teamfight pattern or not remains to be shown, but in my minds-eye, that's where I see him.

As for what testing has shown so far, you guys are getting eyes on the first set of changes that have been ready for testing. In the only game he's been in thus far, he drew his lane vs. Elise and then went bananas on the opposing ranged AD lategame with Q -> E -> Q -> E chasing, typically using Ragnarok to break free from the frontline CC mess or Elise cocoons in order to chase the opposing ranged AD out of the fight (and ultimately killed him pretty much every time). Axes into walls had a bit of a learning curve for the Olaf player, but after getting used to them he said he wasn't really bothered by it, as any time he felt like he got robbed of his Axe by a wall, he would almost instantly get the Axe back on his natural chase path which let him take another shot. Ult attack speed changes had very little opportunity to shine due to teamfights scattering on both sides due to teams trying to not get boned by the junglers AoE lockdowns (Nautlius vs. Amumu), which left Olaf running around using skills rather than sitting and brawling. W numbers looked like they're probably overtuned for sustain in lane at the moment and the Olaf player claimed that he wished he had bought a vamp scepter earlier to abuse this sustain pattern. Note that this is just feedback from one game, you can only draw so much from it, but in general, I didn't see any warning signs that the direction on these changes is inherently wrong. I'm interested to see how patterns establish with the feedback over more games.


XelnathSystems Designer
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmashGizmo View Post
I envision Olaf brawling with frontliners by default and then seizing opportunities when carries get too close by going all-or-nothing mode with Ragnarok. Whether this proves to be his actual teamfight pattern or not remains to be shown, but in my minds-eye, that's where I see him.

As for what testing has shown so far, you guys are getting eyes on the first set of changes that have been ready for testing. In the only game he's been in thus far, he drew his lane vs. Elise and then went bananas on the opposing ranged AD lategame with Q -> E -> Q -> E chasing, typically using Ragnarok to break free from the frontline CC mess or Elise cocoons in order to chase the opposing ranged AD out of the fight (and ultimately killed him pretty much every time). Axes into walls had a bit of a learning curve for the Olaf player, but after getting used to them he said he wasn't really bothered by it, as any time he felt like he got robbed of his Axe by a wall, he would almost instantly get the Axe back on his natural chase path which let him take another shot. Ult attack speed changes had very little opportunity to shine due to teamfights scattering on both sides due to teams trying to not get boned by the junglers AoE lockdowns (Nautlius vs. Amumu), which left Olaf running around using skills rather than sitting and brawling. W numbers looked like they're probably overtuned for sustain in lane at the moment and the Olaf player claimed that he wished he had bought a vamp scepter earlier to abuse this sustain pattern. Note that this is just feedback from one game, you can only draw so much from it, but in general, I didn't see any warning signs that the direction on these changes is inherently wrong. I'm interested to see how patterns establish with the feedback over more games.
I want to emphasize an important point here. This is the beginning of our testing cycle on Olaf's changes. If changes don't play out well, we won't ship them. However, we're picking changes that remove invisible, uncounterable power and making sure players understand why they died and understand how they can handle that situation better next time.

What mechanics do you think we should adjust on Olaf to help us achieve those goals? (Visibility, Clarity, Counterplay, Learning)


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twitchious View Post
I actually have a post about exactly this a little bit up. In Smash's older Olaf post he said he had a set minimum for Olaf's Passive. But the newest one he does not mention this, so I was wondering if he removed it or not. Sorry for posting this again so quickly, but I love my Olaf. <3

Edit: Also glowing red axes when he reaches the max attackspeed threshold would be awesome. It lets both Olaf and the enemy know Olaf is gonna rip your face off.
Sorry for failing to address that earlier, I'm currently playing without a set minimum and keeping that change in my back pocket for later if I can start to see the value in it later. At the moment, I feel like I'm trying to figure out larger scale issues with his kit that people are more invested in (for better or worse), whereas a minimum cap on his passive has only given me a few slightly positive points of feedbacks, a few slightly negative points of feedback, and largely indifference.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnerBlade View Post
I realize this is off topic, but will we be seeing anything done with Pantheon by you? He's screwed by level 13 and is severely outclassed by Kha'Zix and Zed.
Can't really say as Olaf is my life for the time being and I have a hard time seeing what lies beyond this project.

Just off the cuff, I don't think Pantheon's in as bad of a spot as most people seem to think he is right now. I think his largest problem is that midgame trains you to be an assassin, when his strongest role later in the game is a weird hybrid of split pusher and something between peeler and AoE zone control mage. I just don't think most people understand how to best use heartseeker strike as a zoning tool in the phase of the game where teams can effectively peel a 1 dimensional diver off their ranged AD.

But honestly I shouldn't answer questions like this in here as it kinda derails the point of this specific thread. Maybe I should set up a seperate AMA thread or something if people are interested in my thoughts of other stuff on live?


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Probably need to get to bed soon so that I can get ready to head out to Evo tomorrow, but I want to ask yall something else before I go.

How would you feel if the AD bonus from Vicious Strikes was just a (higher) flat number instead of scaling off total health? I'm currently finding this tooltip to be a big gross nightmare of mechanics and am wondering if the health -> damage component of this skill is really adding anything to it at this point. Changing this to a flat value should make offensive itemization feel better since he loses the theoretical hyper scaling off of defense and the base numbers could be scaled to the point where they make Olaf sufficiently threatening even if he built tank.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnerBlade View Post
Couldn't that cause him to drop off somewhat late game?
Largely depends on the numbers. From how I see it, Olaf is building his largest health items within his first 2 items most of the time, and maxing W last. Which means he's probably usually sitting at somewhere in the 2.5-3k ballpark at level 13 with a rank 1 W (35ish AD). By level 18, he gets to rank 5 W and ~4k hp (75ish AD). So the growth from mid to late game is roughly 40 or so AD during his W's uptime.

If instead it was something like 20/35/50/65/80 bonus AD, we're instead looking at his level 13 with a rank 1 W giving 20 AD and his level 18 rank 5 W giving 80 AD, adding an extra 50% scaling to the ability between levels 13 and 18. It's weird because at first glance it looks like the one with the ratio will scale harder, but since it's scaling up with your base HP while staying at rank 1, you're getting a larger portion of the power earlier. Of course, this approach runs the risk of Olaf going all Irelia on us and maxing W in lane and being a giant sustain jerk, but I still think there's potential to adjust his power curve in a healthier way towards late game even by removing the HP ratio.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSHarrison View Post
Even if all players don't agree with a set minimum on passive, you're a designer and they aren't. At some point you can't make all players happy, but you can make a solid champion based on your design intuition.

As far as his ult, I know his CC immunity is iconic, but what if slows could affect it?

I don't know about maintaining full CC immunity. I feel like we are trying to tackle a problem where we don't want Olaf to be too punishing to ADC given his lack of counterplay from the ADC perspective. But by that logic, the irony is that we are trying to balance for this problem with Olaf, so that the same problem can continue to exist with ADC. Namely, if you don't counterplay the ADC, your team will lose, yet given all the mobility of ADC, BotRK, support CC, it's near impossible to counterplay ADC if they position themselves properly. You can make this same statement and replace the word ADC with "Olaf." It just strikes me as ironic that ADC, who have little counterplay late game, are countered specifically by Olaf, who also happens to offer little counterplay against him, and both are extremely punishing when not countered.

At some point, I have to wonder how much we are running in circles here, justifying a design direction for Olaf that will only exacerbate the same problem that exists with ADC.

Anyways, another idea for Olaf's ult might be to make it based on missing health when activated. Like a MS buff of 1% MS per 1% health missing, or defensive/offensive stats based on that. This gives Olaf incentive to fight around as best he can to lose some health and optimize when he activates his ult. But even then, he can just rush back carry and the carry is forced to not damage him. Even in the current iteration, he'll probably still rush the back line and it's up to the ADC to be able to kite him for a few seconds and hope to outdamage him. I just feel like if you aren't counterable by CC or dodging skill shots, then you are only counterable by greater damage. I think an arms race with an ADC will be really hard to balance so that both sides feel viable.

I think making Olaf ult vulnerable to slows would help a lot in this area, even if it's only partial vulnerability.
Hmmm, I disagree with your assessment of the similarities between Olaf's problems with counterplay and ADCs as a class's problem with counterplay. Namely, to the extent that there's a problem with ADCs being too powerful (debatable, I think a select subset of them are right now), the problem isn't about "what was I supposed to do," but rather, "why am I incapable of doing what I'm supposed to do." Ranged AD counterplay in the late game has always been fairly well defined. When you get to them with your damage, they die. The problem when ranged ADCs are too powerful always fundamentally boils down to, "this character cannot be got to" or "this character does not die when I get to damage them."

The problem as I see it with Olaf is one of a lack of definition on what I should do to play against Olaf. The answer players always seem to give boils down to kiting and running away for the duration. I fundamentally have issues with this because a key component of kiting in our game is CCing your pursuer and Olaf is un-CCable. So traditional short range kiting doesn't work because the character ignores the rules of the game, which leaves us with the only option being to run from him for the entire duration of ragnarok. A ghosted late game Olaf with Ragnarok will be running somewhere in the vicinity of 500 units/second. At live values of Ragnarok, this means that with completely mindless ult usage, he still gets to force you to run away 3000 units (slightly higher range than a rank 2 Nocturne ult) as your only form of counterplay. Or to flash a wall. At which point Olaf has effectively made the fight a 5v4 or forced your whole team to flash the wall. And this answer is still dissatisfying because ideally you should have a way to play when an opponent is ahead, yet your best form of counterplay (flashing a wall) gets largely nullified when the opponent is strong enough to force fights on towers (the walls near towers typically add much less distance for Olaf to chase than say, flashing out of Drag/Baron pit).


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
11 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khristophoros View Post
Current Vicious Strikes sucks I guess. I mean, Sion gets 65 AD with 100% uptime. But yeah a lot of times scaling is not ideal even though people look at it and think "oh it's a % so it must be amazing late game!"

Speaking of Sion, he's already shown you how to avoid that Irelia issue. If you want to avoid making the ability sustain too hard you can implement a health cost. Sion needs about 22% lifesteal before he begins to actually gain sustain by having E toggled on. So that's why his E does not make him into a sustain monster early in the game.
Err, difference is that Vicious strikes gives you Lifesteal/Spellvamp while Sion's doesn't innately have that as part of his Enrage pattern. I mean, there are still ways to implement that sorta.... but at the end of the day just reducing the lifesteal would be the most clean and direct way to combat an emergent sustain-brick build of the top of my head.

Hmm, I'm still curious as to whether that would happen though, as Olaf's sustain is windowed much tighter than any of our other obnoxious sustain laners. Not sure how much of a difference that makes across all matchups (my hypothesis would be that windows don't matter much vs. poke lanes, but make it feel more fair in brawly lanes), but it at least doesn't seem as overtly bad as Irelia, Tutlemax Udyr, Aatrox sustain paterns in terms of frustration.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
16 Jul 2013

Guess I should've made it clear that I would be gone all weekend when I mentioned I was going to Evo. Sorry for the delay on updates.

Just gonna rapid fire my thoughts to you guys so you know what's going on, but I honestly don't have enough time for a lot of back and forth until later in the week.

Undertow

- Min Range
- Overall confident in the change
- Distance currently tuned at 400 (pickup radius is 250, cast ranges are measured for the center of a character so Olaf is currently walking under 100 units to retrieve min range axes)
- Slow Decay
- Confident in the change
- Unlikely to change slow values until I'm confident in larger scale changes and am at the phase where it's time to do balance tuning
- Wall Sticking
- Unconfident in the change
- Testing feedback has been inconsistent
- More experienced Olafs dislike it more than newer Olafs, laners dislike it more than junglers
- Planning on trying an iteration where wall sticking only occurs if the axe would land inside impassible terrain, essentially trying to keep it as a solution for junglers who rely on the lower min range without disrupting its current use cases
- Going to try lowering axe's vision radius on impact to reduce the ability's scouting power without fully removing the scouting aspects


Vicious Strikes and Ragnarok
- AS feels pretty meaningless on Ult, probably getting removed
- AD on Vicious Strikes muddles the use case considerably
- Likely to iterate on Vicious Strikes by removing the spell vamp and AD and replacing with AS of some sort
- Undertow scaling off the AD and spell vamp is making the usage of this skill overly confusing
- Would like to make it clear that this is your berserking steroid, best used in conjunction with Berserker Rage, rather than providing a hodgepodge of stats that are difficult to optimize
- Still trying to figure out what to do with Ragnarok
- Passive Armor/MRes that is cast aside during Ragnarok is conceptually better in terms of defined counterplay and seems well liked by Designers
- However, creates some weird feelings for players with less design context, where they are hesitant to trade off their defensive stats and then go in
- Still trying to find the balance between offering sufficient counterplay to opponents and providing the Olaf player with what they want out of Ragnarok

So I guess the tl;dr is that I'm still not happy with the W/R mechanics and will be shifting those around until I'm happier with their defined use cases and will be trying to find a more intuitive way to accomplish my goals on Undertow.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
16 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krampus Claus View Post
Don't take the bonus AD off of vicious strikes, what makes olaf a strong duelist in AA range is the multiplicative stats granted by the bonus AD from vicious strikes and the AS from his passive. Also if W only increases the bonus AS from your passive, it's useless unless you're at low health. Replacing it with more AS is just a flat out nerf.

Can you say specifically why you are concerned about the interaction between vicious strikes' bonus AD and spellvamp with Q? How about just replacing the spellvamp with some more AD, lifesteal or armpen?

I understand your desire to support Olaf being played as more of an AA based bruiser, but also remember that Olaf's inherent lack of mobility means that, without his ult and ghost, he often gets kited out of AA range and is only be able to hit enemies with Q and E. So, unless you plan on giving him some more mobility, be careful to not nerf ability based Olaf in favor of AA based Olaf.
I specifically don't like that players have a strong natural urge to press W before Qing to get the bonus AD and spell vamp on their axe. This pattern encourages Olaf players to use their strongest auto-attacking steroid before they've closed the distance, which is a fairly large misuse of the ability's power in most situations. I wonder if maybe just taking the spellvamp off is sufficient to make this use case less attractive. I dunno, I'll think on it. I agree that the AD provides better gains for Olaf by accessing the multiplicative scaling and conceptually feels better, but I just don't like the W + Q interaction and how it frequently leads players into a poor skill usage cycle.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
24 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cizjut View Post
No words from Gizmo since a century, is Riot just forgetting again about Olaf?
Nope, we're still working on him. I apologize for the lack of posts but last week was a bit slow on Olaf work due to suring up more immediate Live Design changes and keeping up with this thread eats up a ton of my time when I try to do so, so I tend to come and go as my schedule permits.

That being said, let's look at what I'm looking at testing for Olaf. I'll just try to bold out the things that have changed recently.


Olaf Changes, V1.1

Undertow
  • Slow no longer decays
  • Now has a minimum throw distance of 400 units
  • Axes now stick in walls and structures if they would land inside impassable terrain

Basically as I said last time, tuned the min distance down a bit, now the necessary movement to pick up an Axe is under 100 units.

Current status of wall sticking is that it has been mostly removed, but I have put checks in place to see if an Axe would land in impassible terrain and if it would, it instead backtracks and finds the last wall it passed through and sticks there. Essentially trying to get the best of both worlds, enabling 0 distance Axes for junglers, preventing you from throwing unretrievable Axes, and still retaining the scouting power of Axes.


Vicious Strikes
  • Mana cost reduced to 25 from 40/45/50/55/60
  • Base damage increased to 20/35/50/65/80 from 7/14/21/28/35
  • HP -> damage ratio removed
  • Lifesteal reduced to 8/10.5/13/15.5/18% from 9/12/15/18/21%
  • Spellvamp removed
  • Now provides 1% enhanced healing from all sources for every 2% health Olaf is missing during the duration

Spellvamp still seems to be adding really esoteric and misleading power onto this ability so I'm trying an iteration with the spellvamp removed. While I get that players feel clever for smiting with Vicious Strikes up to get bonus healing, I think that adds unnecessary burden of knowledge on Olaf's opponents and gives us the ability to more directly buff his jungle if it feel underpowered. Not to mention the spellvamp off smite was getting kinda silly with the new amped healing mechanic (~300+ burst healing out of nowhere late game).

I also feel like this was leading players to improperly use W before Q in chasing scenarios, though whether that was the spellvamp or just the AD remains to be seen with this iteration. I'm fine with W -> Q being situationally useful, but with a tightly windowed lifesteal/berzerker steroid, I don't like players feeling compelled to spend 40+% of the duration catching up to their long range Axe.

The HP scaling was limiting Olaf's build paths and causing his power to spike at level 13 rather than transition smoothly to 18, so I've removed it in favor of larger base damage numbers. I'm guessing these are too high right now, but I'd rather test them at too high to make sure they feel good and work than to discard the idea do to undertuned numbers.

Lifesteal scaled slightly down due to early feedback that his sustain was feeling pretty silly in conjunction with the new healing mechanic.


Ragnarok
  • Mana Cost removed
  • Cooldown changed to 120/100/80 from 100
  • Active duration changed to 5 from 6
  • New Passive Added: Olaf gains 10/25/40 Armor and Magic Resist passively
  • Active Changed: Olaf removes all disables from himself and becomes immune to them for the next 5 seconds. During this time, he loses the passive portion of this skill and gains 15/2025% lifesteal (PLACEHOLDER MECHANIC).

Still pretty unhappy with this skill.

Double passive bonus was going by unnoticed, which points to attack speed being pretty useless on this ult. I'm not really happy with just throwing more lifesteal on here, but I'll openly admit that I'm having trouble finding a healthy mechanic to put on the active portion of this skill. Right now, in lieu of a stronger idea, I've put on lifesteal mostly to drive home that focusing Olaf as a team during his ult is strong, but trying to duel him is a bad idea, and partially to proof of concept Olaf's lifesteal tank pattern by boosting his LS number to a somewhat obnoxious level to see how it feels to play as and against. Again, I can't stress this enough, this mechanic is intended as a placeholder while I work on finding the right mechanics that preserve the intended play of Olaf and counterplay versus Olaf.



Also, I get that people are scared of changes, I really do, but I want you guys to remember that this is an iterative process and you're getting very early eyes on my work here. Changes will come and go and get tweaked until I have confidence in them. I assure you that Olaf will not be seeing a net nerf with the final changes that hit live.

But at the same time, I want to point out that individual aspects of Olaf's kit will be getting trimmed to focus the character. Right now, Olaf's power is very diffuse and I'm trying to tighten that power up into the things that actually make Olaf awesome. And when it comes to Ragnarok in particular, I'm trying to figure out exactly how to make being completely immune to CC feel good for both Olaf and his victim at the same time, as I don't think we have ever really figured that out.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
31 Jul 2013

Just popping back in for one last time to give a final update and explain some things.

First off, yes, I am pretty much done with this thread and need to be so. I get that everyone just wants a Xelnath thread and I'm sorry that I'm not giving it, however I would like to point out that everyone works in their own way and frankly I'm not capable of managing a thread's conversation nearly as well as Xelnath. Dude's just a beast when it comes to processing what's going on in a thread and quickly engaging in back and forths and I'm just not. I read every post, carefully type out my thoughts, come back and have 15 more pages to read. That's just the type of forum poster I am. So with the speed at which this thread grew, I got overwhelmed and found keeping up with the thread to be more work than I really had time for between my other work responsibilities as well as the nitty gritty of actually implementing my iterations to Olaf, getting them playtested, gathering feedback, rinsing and repeating. This resulted in more reading from me and less posting, which seems to have kindled more than a little bit of resentment towards me from a number of vocal posters in here, which I suppose is fair due to what you guys have come to expect from threads like this from Xelnath. So the extent to which this thread fails is mostly on me and failing to meet your expectations, but the thread is most certainly failing right now and seems to mostly be the same handful of people saying the same criticisms over and over again, which isn't particularly conducive to useful discussion.

That being said, there's been a lot of useful discussion that I've been using to inform my decisions on changes and I do want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts on Olaf. I'm sure that my work on the character will be bettered by the immense contribution of the community and I hope that the final product of these changes reflects this and gives Olaf players some much needed love.


SmashGizmoQA Analyst
31 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpkabs View Post
When can we see the buffs? i was excited for it to be in patch 3.10 but it isnt.
I'd love to say 3.11 with confidence, but I'm still iterating on changes and until I'm sure my changes make Olaf both healthier for the game and strong enough to compete, he will not ship. 3.11 is a possibility, but due to the nature of the process, I can't make any promises on when this will go out, as the real answer essentially boils down to "when he's ready."


XelnathSystems Designer
31 Jul 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by HNK97 View Post
If someone like Xelnath can pay so much attention in the threads none of his excuses work. He's basically just said that he's too busy to hear us, he's doing something of his own on Olaf which a lot of us dont like
That's just not fair. SmashGizmo is naturally more introverted and contemplative.

Its far more draining on him to post here, because he puts a lot of effort into exactly, precisely writing what he's thinking.

When I started posting publicly, it was really hard on me too - it is only because I've been doing this for years now and have a lot of experience doing it (and working with awesome people who did this well) that I worry less about my exact wording.

Sure, maybe he could have posted more, but instead he valued giving you longer, more detailed posts, which are doubly draining on him.