How to Write Patch Notes

Reading the latest League of Legends patch notes, I noticed this format:

  • Tantrum Damage modified from 115/130/145/160/175 to 100/120/140/160/180
  • Curse of the Sad Mummy Duration reduced from 3 to 2.5

Notice the “from” and “to” with exact numbers. It does not say, “Tantrum Damage modified. Curse of the Sad Mummy Duration reduced.” This is especially important for test notes, as you want people to test if the numbers actually come out that way, especially since some of the notes are correcting ability numbers or text so that they match (ditto for graphic effect and area of effect).

While we are talking about doing things right, I may have attacked the City of Heroes patch notes before, but one thing they do well is pointing to themes. Some of that is the advertising copy for, “Come try our new stuff! It’s awesome!” but the valuable part is expressing the developer intent in the patch notes. “We observed that players were able to reach unintended levels of defense through stacking buffs and abilities, so we are adjusting this through the following changes…” Even when there is no theme, that is helpful: “We are making a variety of balance tweaks to powers across all classes, correcting a variety of issues that have accumulated over time. There may be some unexpected effects from making so many changes at once, so we would appreciate it if you would pay attention to X while testing.” For test notes, explain what you want tested. For live notes, explain your intent before you need to explain it in each of twenty forum threads.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “How to Write Patch Notes”

  1. I know only the obsessed subset of gamers really read patch notes (ie: us), but I fully agree. The more detail the better, and knowing the WHY behind something is also very important (and I think helps to stem some of the nerfbat rage).

  2. That always got to me with LotRO patch notes.

    “We’ve changed a thing in that one area with the people. You’ll know it when you see it”

    “Orc blades in location X are now sharper”

    “Minstrels are useless again, working as intended. See skills for details.”

    etc etc etc. I think they were just trying to be funny or cute but patch notes isn’t the time and place, imo.

    1. God I hate the LOTRO patch notes. Especially when they try to get cute with them. “The way X power worked was making baby goblins cry! We fixed that!”

      Just give us the INFORMATION, people!

  3. Sanya Weathers has a great article on this too:

    I disagree with Hess, though. I enjoy the humor Turbine puts in there. The balrog nerf was one of the best.

    [16:49] Balrog: u no that sweet attack i had that could almost 1shot that stupid elf? yeah, they dropped the crit multipliar down by 50%. how the hell am I suppose to 2shot her now?
    [16:49] Balrog: completly unplayable

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