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Riot talks Rune and Mastery changes for LoL S4

Riot has been talking up its pre-season changes for the fourth season of League of Legends over the past few days, with the final post discussing runes and masteries. Today we take a look at what the MOBA developer feels about the current climate of these out-of-game options and how they can be changed to improve the in-game action.

As it stands, Riot believes that runes aren't really customisable enough. There's a lot of options sure, but the fact that flat damage, magic resist, armour etc. offer such good early stat boosts, players tend to stick with those and come to think of them as part of their base stats. Ultimately Riot wants to open this up to more experimentation.

“Ideally, runes should be used as tools to supplement your play style for a given champion,” said Riot QA analyst, Rickessabandon. “Whether it's boosting your duelling power in the laning phase or setting up for an epic late-game build, runes should help define the framework of your unique play style. We're giving runes clear strategic value and purpose in the new season to reinforce this point while making it easier for you to understand what to expect from your rune selection.”

I usually just copy these from the highest rated guide for my champion/role… does that make me a noob?

When it comes to the actual changes Riot intends to make, the first will be to tone down a few runes that are seemingly overpowered at the moment. It's also going to even out the differences between scaling runes and flat runes, making level six or similar the point where their power advantages change; so before six, flat runes are better and after, scale runes are.

But it's not just runes that are getting a look-in of course, Riot also wants to overhaul masteries again. The changes this season aren't going to be as drastic as with the last one, but there are some planned that will be noticeable.

First up is the removal of improved summoner spells, as Riot believes these are too often a go-to choice, reducing the versatility of the masteries, since invariably some points will go into one or more of those roles.

It's also making mastery tablets work similarly to the base vs scale rune tradeoff. If you invest your masteries into lots of lower tier options, you'll find your early game augmented the most, but if you go deeper into the tables your late game will be improved more. The idea is to create unique playstyles – it'll be interesting to see if that can be achieved with just these tweaks.

Finally, there are some new masteries going in there designed to help support characters, as well as a breakdown of some big temporary boosts like Frenzy and Biscuiteer. These now offer more of an ongoing reward.

KitGuru Says: So that about wraps up the Riot breakdown of its upcoming pre-season patches. What did you guys think of them? Do you think Season 4 stands to be better or worse than season 3? 

If you missed some of our previous coverage, Riot also talked about Vision/Ward changes, improvements for support players, changes to experience and the meta game and a jungle overhaul

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