With Teamfight Tactics Set 8 Monsters Attack on the horizon, Riot has had some introspective thoughts about TFT and how to improve upon it. Set 8 of TFT aims to be a more flexible game but, at the same time, meet expectations by being more straightforward.
We had the opportunity to be part of a Preview Event where we got to speak with Riot developers and try out Set 8 of TFT ourselves. Here, we will discuss how TFT has transformed into a game that meets player expectations.
Riot Is Making Set 8 More Straightforward For Players
One thing that is almost universally agreed upon between players and even Riot developers is that TFT is a game with massive depth. The way units, augments, traits, and items interact with each other means there are nearly endless possibilities of how to play a single game of TFT.
Although the game has massive depth, Riot wants TFT to be straightforward for players to understand. One thing that prevented this from happening in Set 7 and 7.5 were the 2-slot units, the dragons.
In a developer post Riot released, Stephen "Mortdog" Mortimer said that one of the biggest pain points for Set 7 and 7.5 were the dragons themselves. The dragons in Set 7 were 2-slot units, meaning they take up extra space on your board. It decreased the number of units you were able to use on your board. Above all else, they were strong in a not-so-straightforward way.
"[With] a 2-star Nomsy (tier 3) made players think, wait, how strong is that unit? Does it beat my 2-star tier 4 carry that is not a dragon?" said Mortdog during the TFT Set 8 press event.
Mortdog went on to say that in TFT, a 2-star tier 4 carry should almost always beat a 2-star tier 3 carry. But thanks to Dragons in Set 7, that expectation was broken. That is why the TFT developers made the decision to remove 2-slot units entirely from TFT. This way, the power structure should be much clearer between the two opposing boards.
"With Set 8, you can now look between two boards and say yes, I should know if I am going to win or lose here," said Mortdog.
And this is true for Set 8. While playtesting, it was very clear why I was losing some matches. I had weaker lower-cost units while my opponents had stronger, higher-cost units. There was no 3-star Nunu one-shotting a tier 5 dragon like we have seen in the past. The strength of the boards felt clearly defined, which was missed from sets 7 and 7.5.
Creating A More Flexible Game In Set 8
One of the biggest pain points in Set 7 of TFT was the compositional variety. One trait, Scalescorn, originally would deactivate if there was a dragon on the field. This prevented players from playing Scalescorn units with dragon units. This limited your board and made the game much more inflexible. This was later removed because of that. In set 8, there are no traits that prevent them from being used together.
One of the best examples of this we experienced during the preview was the Threat units. Threat units have no active traits, but they are stronger than typical units. For example, Zac is the best HP tank in the game. Any composition can bring in Zac at the end game to make themselves stronger. Let's say you have a lot of support units, but you lack a carry. Any field in this situation, whether you are playing Defender units or Aegis units, can flex in a Bel'Veth who is an attack speed carry with the Threat trait.
By making a trait that is not active and has no benefits from adding more units from that trait, Riot has created the most flexible units since the launch of TFT.
The game also does a better job of giving you what you need at any given point. With Hero Augments, the game looks at your units and sees what traits you have, and gives you a Hero Augment based on your board. It is not always perfect, but I never felt like the game was giving me useless Hero Augments.
Dead Augments are also a thing of the past. In past sets, there were Trait Augments. Trait Augments are Augments like Scorch, which only benefited Ragewing compositions. The problem is that you would be offered Augments like Scorch even though you were running a Lagoon composition. This created a situation where players were down a whole augment to choose from. Trait Augments are now a thing of the past and will not be offered in Set 8 of TFT.
Because Trait Augments are gone, the game becomes more straightforward, and players are not wondering how they can use a dead Trait Augment in their composition. This also makes set 8 more flexible because you are no longer forced to pick the one useable augment when the game gave you two dead trait augments.
Speaking of not getting dead augments, dead PVE items are also a thing of the past. In previous sets, PVE rounds from 4-7 and beyond gave players a random item. Many times, the item that was given to players did not fit their composition. That has now changed. Now PVE rounds give players what is known as an anvil. Once players beat the PVE round, the anvil will give players a few options of an item component or item to choose from. This prevents players from being stuck with an AP carry item for their AD carry comp. This opens up the late game dramatically because it gives you the opportunity to come back rather than hoping that the items you get somehow fit on your board.
With all these changes, Riot has given TFT players more agency over their board in set 8. Players are no longer stuck with dead items and augments that do not benefit their current board. The Hero Augments also help guide players in the direction they should go, and because of things like Support Hero Augments, your board remains flexible. Players are also less likely to be confused about the power structure of the panelboard.
The TFT Development team has shown that they have learned how to fix the pain points of Set 7 and make a better set for the game. The game now feels more dynamic and flexible while, at the same time, not confusing and is more straightforward. Set 8 for TFT is definitely a step in the right direction.
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All featured images are courtesy of Riot Games.