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League devs unveil ARAM changes

League of Legends senior game designer Stephen “Riot Mort” Mortimer announced the upcoming changes to the beloved ARAM mode coming with the 9.7 patch.

League’s upcoming update will feature what Mort calls a “mini-ARAM event” with several missions and a host of changes to the ARAM game mode. These changes are temporary and will serve to help Riot gauge the reaction to the map better, but some might return at a later date.

The first change everyone will notice is the return of the Butcher’s Bridge, the variant taking the ARAM action from a frozen canyon in the Freljord to an overgrown bridge in Runeterra’s pirate stronghold of Bilgewater. Towers, bases and even the Poros get a shantytown-style, cutthroat makeover.

Differences will be more than just skin-deep, however. Riot will be trying several big changes to the game mode features. ARAM is getting a ban system, where players will pick 10 champions that will not be featured in the random draft, both the initial one and the rerolls. The map’s own mechanics have been retouched as well. A new map-wide effect will reduce damage coming from over 900 units away – except for ultimates and damage over time effects – in order to make poke champions less oppressive for their opponents.

Meanwhile, several updates to minion spawning and stats help to keep the game brief. After the first 15 minutes, your little allies and enemies will spawn more often, move faster and do more damage to structures, with the bonuses ramping up over time and maxing out after the 25-minute mark.

Finally, a new summoner spell – Backtrack – is introduced for the testing period. It serves as a combination of Shield and Flash, giving you a small shield and pulling you towards your fountain after three seconds, helping you get away from a sticky situation. The distance traveled depends on the type of the champion you take the spell on – longer for melee, shorter for ranged.

You can also expect some item changes as well. The upcoming patch will introduce the Mariner’s Vengeance, essentially a version of the Guardian Angel, using the same build path and stats. However, instead of a delayed revive, on death, the champion becomes invulnerable for four seconds, cleanses any crowd control effects and his basic abilities refresh their cooldown. After four seconds, the champion dies – so make them count.

Another item, the Ghostwalkers, makes a return. It is similar to what was temporarily available during a previous ARAM test period. It still lets you move through the walls of the map like Kayn, but now, it cannot be used if you have taken damage in the last 3 seconds. On the other hand, once inside of a wall, you get 250 movement speed bonus.

Finally, the designers have made an adjustment to the Warmog’s Armor that helped tanks get around ARAM’s healing reduction. The armor is being changed to restoring 5% of your missing HP per second, instead of 5% of the max HP. You still get health back when you’re low, but you can never quite top up to full with the passive.

The upcoming test period will also see adjustments to many runes and champions. Over a dozen runes see their cooldowns reduced to match ARAM’s faster pace, and several that work off takedowns or with time – such as Triumph, Presence of Mind, Grasp of the Undying and Overgrowth – have stronger effects.

Finally, many champions that were seen as particularly strong or weak in ARAM get an adjustment to how much damage they do, how much they take, or both. ARAM power picks like Ziggs or Sona got a significant nerf so they could no longer be almost auto-win options – or more likely, for being permabanned. To compensate, some assassins, tanks and bruisers got buffed.

You can read the entire list of adjustments on the Nexus page. Note that all of these changes are only temporary – but by the looks of it, they might be a welcome change in the somewhat stale ARAM metagame.

Thumbnail image credit: Riot Games