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Essentially the start of the changes to the character were centered around the ult and making it more usable and the initial proposal for ult change was a slightly less polished version of the change you see on PBE today.
We liked most of what we saw with this version of the ult, but it left a fundamental flaw in the character where he had an ultimate that made him want to stick by and protect his teammates that was constantly at odds with the 650 range snare dash that screamed “initiate on the opposing backline.” The two mechanics didn’t make sense together, so we set out to re-focus the W around shorter range, but faster teamfight positioning that was most effective vs.
the opposing front line to keep Maokai closer to his allies.
Maokai still has decent ability to start fights by opening with Sapling slow to make up the extra range lost on the W, but it doesn’t feel quite as inevitible and frustrating when playing against, and meanwhile Maokai gets to feel much better about using the W to get in useful positions for protecting other members of his team.I want to continue to monitor this and test my assumptions about how this is playing out on PBE, but as I said, thus far I’ve been pleased with the result that this change has on it’s kit alongside the other changes that support it (the E for giving him some reach in ganks/initiation scenarios and the R for preferable teamfight positioning).Hope this helps you understand where we’re coming from on this!Â Â :Â Yes, as we’ve said in the forecast, itemization is also being looked at and improved for Tank Junglers this patch, which involves some changes that I won’t go into on the Golem line since we’re still hashing out some of the details before sharing them with yall.Still not sure when they’ll be ready for PBE, but I can tell you that the benefits that tanks are seeing from these changes in internal playtests have been very promising.