Nerfs, Buffs and Bugs - Analysis of the Impact of Patching on League of Legends

Artian Kica, Andrew La Manna, Lindsay O'Donnell, Tom Paolillo and Mark Claypool

In Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Collaboration and Gaming (CoGames)
Orlando, Florida, USA
October 31 - November 4, 2016

While traditional software patches primarily fix bugs, modern online computer games use patches to change gameplay, as well. Despite the importance of gameplay changes for both game players and game designers, to the best of our knowledge, there are no published results nor available 3rd party Websites that analyze game data and patch data. We analyzed the effects of patches on gameplay in League of Legends (LoL), a popular online game created by Riot Games. Our methods: a) harvested all available patch data - over 160 patches with over 7700 changes - classifying patches based on a novel taxonomy; b) gathered game statistics from over 11,000 players in over 465,000 games; and c) analyzed both the patch data and game data, with emphasis on correlations. In addition, we developed a publicly accessible Web site that allows for interactive exploration of the game data and patch data. Analysis of the data shows that Riot patches LoL gameplay an average of twice each day, about ten times more often than Riot patches LoL bugs. Patches tend to keep all player-chosen champions close to a win rate of 50%. While most patch gameplay changes can be categorized and even quantified numerically, the impact of combined changes are not always straightforward and interpretation of patch text is required in order to understand the full impact.


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