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Game designers Fearless, Ghostcrawler and all held Q&As on the official forums. Here are all the questions they answered:

 

 

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INTRO Jo Fearless Graylock Lead Designer Gameplay Systems

Fearless New PortraitWHO AM I?

Hey everyone, I’m Jo Graylock. Before I came to Riot I was an RPG designer for most of a decade, as well as Jiu Jitsu instructor and metal radio show host. The vast majority of my developer experience comes from my time at Obsidian Entertainment. Lots of awesome people making awesome games there, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to work on my favorite game.

I try to play a ton of everything, but favorites are LoL, Fallout 1 and 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, Tactics Ogre, Dino Run, FTL, and Risk of Rain, with healthy amounts of D&D and Warmachine at the table. When not gaming, I’m usually doing lots of tabletop painting, playing volleyball, or spending time with family.

I currently own: 2 cats.

WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT? WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?

I started as an individual contributor at Riot, working on the Sona update before moving into systems work, first on the Jungle Update for 2015 before following up with Cinderhulk. After that, I moved to lead the Lead Design spot for Gameplay Systems. I’ve been lead for the Juggernaut items and the 2016 Season work so far. I’m really looking forward to keeping this season exciting throughout the entire year.

WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?

I’m going to be here to talk about all the systems stuff in LoL. This means items, the map, the jungle, and all the other rules level stuff in the game. A lot of our changes can be pretty easy to miss, but also a little mysterious or obscure. I’m really excited to bring this stuff into the light, as well as the reasons behind why we change the game. I’m also really happy to talk about how we work as designers, both in what our day to day looks like, and some stories about how we think about problems and overcome them. Riot designers were super inspiring to me before I got here, and I’d love to give back a bit of my time to pay that forward.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?

Let’s talk about stuff, for realzies. The openness and honesty of Riot was a big reason to work here, and I’d like to keep that tradition going. 🙂

EDIT: Going to meetings for a bit, will be back around dinner time.

EDIT2: Alright, heading out for some dinner. Thanks for talking everyone! Look forward to a lot more!

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Are you guys going to rework Guinsoos Rageblade

Guinsoos Rageblade Final IconWe are looking to slowly reduce power, but the base goal is one we want to keep. Just need to pull levers to get it into balance.

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Whatre your thoughts on the AP CDR gap with items like Essence Reaver

Essence Reaver IconCurrent thought is that max CDR shouldn’t be something that mages just get by accident, and should be something that actually has meaningful trade-offs. ADC builds are still very much in flux and we’re actively still looking into tweaks to make sure that going into Reaver is powerful, but has a few more trade-offs as well. 5.24 has a small change to delay the rate at which ADC’s get the full CDR, which should help with how free that stat is currently. Totally possible we’ll need to do more there still.

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Whatre the plans for underwhelming Juggernaut items like Steraks Gage

Steraks Gage Final IconWe have some more communication on this coming next year. TLDR is that these items are all answering the question we wanted them to answer, but some could still get some small changes to adjust how well they answer those questions.

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Are there plans to create a more defined subclass of AP Juggernauts

Fearless New PortraitWe’ve talked little bits about these guys, but the crowd is pretty small. Given that we have some pretty large blocks of champs that are in very difficult spots, my guess is that the work on this group might be a ways off. That or they might get some love from the projects targeted towards other groups. That tends to happen a lot when it comes to systems projects, just because everything is so interconnected.

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Whats happening to Cull

Cull IconCull is on watch, and probably needs a small buff. Staring items are extremely sensitive to small changes, so have to tread carefully.

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What kind of designers work at Riot, and what are their tasks

Fearless New PortraitAt Riot we don’t split up game designers much besides Designers and Tech Designers, with the main difference there just being the ability to check in code. In terms of things like systems design or mechanic design, these are competencies that each design has some ability to do, but will be stronger or weaker depending on who you talk to. At Obsidian, I moved between being a Cinematic Designer, a Combat Designer, a Systems Designer and even a Technical Designer for one project. Each company has their own ways of understanding their teams, and I think that’s smart for each company to set out who they want and how specialized they want them to be.

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Fearless New PortraitAnd for the last question, there is a place at almost every studio for designers that don’t have tech educations, definitely including Riot. I have a film background before I got into gaming, and I’ve worked with Designers with every sort of education, from Art, Philosophy, Architecture and Literature. I’ve also worked with plenty of incredibly talented designers who did not complete a degree. The most important thing for a game designer is that they are great at understanding and making fun games. Some people learn things that help them do this in school. Some people mod and some people figure this out along some very strange paths.

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What was your journey to becoming a Systems Designer like

Fearless New PortraitWhen I think about the work that I did, really everything has been some form of system, apart from Sona. For example, even though I was the Cinematic Designer for Alpha Protocol, most of my work there was building out the game experience of the story. AP wanted the cinematic sequences to still very much be an interactive part of the game that gave players the space to express themselves, experiment, and feel like they could “win” the story by getting to be the character they wanted to be. A lot of the decisions we built into how players picked their dialogue options and how those payed off and showed progress all went back into making sure the cinematics could be that gameplay experience.

Basically, being a systems designer was simply a matter of taking on a big project, and then consistently thinking about the entire impact and interactions of the project. It also really helps if you’re comfortable working on the nuts and bolts level stuff, knowing that when you do your job well, players might not even notice a lot of what you’ve done. Great systems design is often like great film editing, in that many of the best examples are amazing because of the subtle things that they do that most people won’t (and shouldn’t need to) notice.

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Whatre your thoughts on permanent modes like Dominion

Fearless New PortraitI’m really not an expert, or even particularly familiar with the other game modes. Before I started working at Riot, I was actually pretty into Dominion, and would play a few games every week, to test out champ match-ups and builds in the faster setting. Once I got to Riot and found myself on a team that is entirely focused around SR, I pretty much only play SR to make sure that I stay as current as possible and am testing and experimenting as much as possible in the space that lets me build awesome stuff for players.

Sorry I don’t have more deep thoughts to throw in here.

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll be completely honest: we have neglected them, especially Dominion and TT. We view the heart of League to be SR, and that’s where we spend most of our development effort. We aren’t happy with that answer however, and we have some ideas for how we can give Dominion and TT a little love. We’ll talk more about this soon. We are unlikely to add new permanent maps in the future. Often, they lack the depth of SR, which means they are popular at first and then slowly lose players over time. In some regions where we have fewer players, it can also cause long queue times by sub-dividing the bucket so much.

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What RPGs have you worked on

Fearless New PortraitI worked on Neverwinter Nights II, Alpha Protocol, Dungeons Siege III, and South Park: The Stick of Truth, along with some projects that never quite saw the light of day.

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Did you intentionally design the thin walls on SR that can be dashed over

Fearless New PortraitMap geometry is an element we generally keep fairly fixed, while letting champs determine how they want to interact with it, given that it’s going to very likely be stable. A lot of systems work is about making sure we have a solid rules base for champions to interact with and navigate, and the map is a very base layer set of “rules.”

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Whatre some of the funniest bugs youve encountered while balancing

Fearless New PortraitI didn’t understand where the decimal point for move speed values were supposed to go, so I had a Sona that pretty much just blinked where you clicked for as long as her E was up. Caught before it got into a playtest, but very fun for a few minutes.

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Are there any Mastery or Item ideas for Preseason that got scrapped

Fearless New PortraitThe marksman items had a lot of revisions, some of which had some extreme power, and of course some of these lined up with champ iterations that were very strong. Combine that with the fact that we have some high skill marksman specialists in the main playtest group I’m in, and we had a few playtests that felt like an alternate game mode where the goal was just to run as fast as you could away from the marksman. Not good for the game, but very entertaining to see the roles flipped so hard.

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Is there anything already live that you feel is unappreciated unnoticed

Fearless New PortraitI think our bounty changes, coupled with the game pacing changes to towers and minions are very exciting, personally. I care a lot about making sure the game is still fun, even when you’re losing, and these changes make it much more clear what you should be doing when a team is down, and cut down on some of the worst game states to experience as a losing team.

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INTRO Greg Riot Ghostcrawler Street Game Design Director

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWHO AM I?

My name is Greg Street, Riot Ghostcrawler. Before working at Riot, I was a lead designer on World of Warcraft for 6 years. Before that I was a lead designer on Age of Empires for 10 years. Before that, I was an oceanographer, which is where the crustacean avatar came from. I was an army brat who lived lots of places, but I identify most as a Texan.

My favorite game of all time is Dungeons and Dragons. I have played for 30 years, in all 5 editions. For video games, I’ll just list broad families of games that I love and that have influenced me: XCOM, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Chrono Trigger, Diablo, Doom, Civilization, Legend of Zelda, Dark Souls, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Mass Effect, Metroid, Grand Theft Auto, and Okami. Outside of games, I enjoy travel, reading about history and science, and being outdoors. My last research project as a scientist involved collecting live, radioactive alligators. I have been attacked by animals as diverse as: Portuguese Man-o-war, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Stingray, Rock Rattlesnake, Coatimundi. My favorite animal is the Mantis Shrimp.

I currently own: 4 dogs and 2 cats.

WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT? WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?

I joined Riot in 2013 and I am now the game design director for League. I describe my job as a combination of three things: I’m ultimately accountable for the design quality of League, I work with the other leads to determine long-term strategy and our big bets for the next year, and I manage the design department. I work a lot on projects such as our Season 2016 plan. I help answer things such as what kinds of champions should we be making, what do we want the pace of the game to be, and what new features does League need.

WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?

The best kinds of questions to hit me with are about our design philosophy or core design values. The kinds of questions I can best answer are “Would Riot ever consider this Big New Feature?” “Where do you see League in 5 years?” “How does Riot balance for such a wide range of skills?” “How much counterplay is acceptable?” “What were Riot’s goals with preseason?” “Is League too snowbally?” “Does Riot make too much change to the game?” “How many champions can League support?” I don’t directly balance champions or design new items. I’m fine if you blame me for bad balance, but if you want to know our thoughts on a particular change or the state of a champion, you’re better off asking the Rioters who are working directly on them.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?

If you know anything about me, you hopefully know that I strive to be really transparent with players and that I have very thick skin. AMA.

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Is the complexity and tacked on passives on new Champions a good thing

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe feel overall that the ramp up in complexity on champs (the extra passives and double passives and so on) isn’t a great trend to stay on. It’s a challenge when you’re in the trenches, because you want players to get excited about each new champ that’s released, so we keep trying to outdo ourselves. If we released [next champ] with Vlad’s Q, I think we’d all be disappointed. But that’s the short term view, and in the long term view, we don’t want to end up at a point where champs have 4 passives and 20 abilities and so on.

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How many champions can League support

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think by around 300 we’d need some kind of seasonal roster or something. At the current rate we make champions, we won’t have to worry about that for some time. The game can handle a lot more than it has today IMO.

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What do you think of Vladimir

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe agree with just about everything you said. “What is the problem with Vlad’s Q?” used to be a question on our design test for potential new hires, but we removed it because it was too easy. Thematically, he’s fine. He needs better abilities. We’ll get there, potentially with the mage roster update this year.

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Wasnt Mordekaiser changed for the sake of evolving the game

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe strive for evolution, not change for the sake of change. That doesn’t mean we always nail it, and it’s an easy trap for developers to fall into, especially folks who haven’t been making games for very long (which is almost every Rioter). It’s a compass heading.

Morde was not change for the sake of change. Morde was not working as champion and we didn’t think it was possible to deliver on his current direction in a healthy way. He really needed a change the same way Poppy and Sion needed a change. Were there other changes we could have made that might have worked out better? That’s entirely possible. Was the community right and we should have listened to them? In 20/20 hindsight, that happens all the time. I’m trying to illustrate there is a difference between a bad change and change for the sake of change.

Change for the sake of change comes about when you see devs say things like this:

  • I’m bored. I think I’ll try something crazy.
  • I never envisioned this champ as X. I’m going to try Y because that fits my personal impression.
  • Z hasn’t gotten any changes for awhile. It’s his turn.
  • I don’t know what will work, so I’ll try this.

Change to add depth to the game come about when you see devs saying things like:

  • This pattern lacks counterplay so we need to add an opportunity for the enemy to do something.
  • We can’t increase this champion’s winrate without their pick rate skyrocketing and players seeing them every game. We are going to have to change some of their abilities.
  • This system is something solved that players don’t really think about anymore. We need to get interesting decisions back in.
  • Our values or goals are X, but this champion isn’t meeting those goals. We need to make changes to meet them.

In general, the changes we try to make are strategic, try to deliver on goals or values, try to open up options or decisions for players, and try to fix real problems.

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How do you feel about the video game industrys development

Ghostcrawler New PortraitBig games are very expensive to make. This makes studios (and more importantly, their publishers who put their money up front) reluctant to take big risks. There have also been some spectacular failures of big games that were super high concept that just didn’t resonate with players and lost millions.

If you look at indie development, you will see a lot more risk-taking and even spot some of the next new trends. You’ll also spot some coming out of other regions, especially China. (I realize asking you to download a Chinese mobile game is a non-trivial ask.)

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Do you agreedisagree with Zileas list of ten balance design antipatterns

Ghostcrawler New PortraitConflicted purpose. If you have an ability that is say both a shield and a heal, it can be an interesting decision about when to use the ability. You may need the shield now but you may need the heal even more a few seconds later. It is possible to screw this up, which was his point, but it’s possible to make it work out well as well.

He is my boss, by the way, so I’d love to tear down his arguments in a way that could publicly humiliate him, but I actually agree with his list for the most part.

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What would you say are the biggest pros and cons of the PBE currently

Ghostcrawler New PortraitPros: Great for “feels” feedback. Good at catching bugs. Good as a point of reference for players to discuss on boards and Reddit.
Cons: NA only. Players don’t know how to participate. Bad for balance data (sample size is so small that matchmaking suffers, and players aren’t generally in tryhard mode anyway).

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Do you think Hybrid champions will be supported in the future

Kayle Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe are fine with hybrid champions or rule-breakers, but we need to establish that is our intent and not let it just sort of happen accidentally because the kit is overloaded. We didn’t really have a good framework for this before say 12 months ago when we started considering rosters.

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What do you think should be done to make Sona a viable Support pick

Sona Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe think her kit is fine. Not every champion needs to have a ton of mechanical complexity so long as they still have strategic complexity. For Sona, positioning (when to hug and when to not) are supposed to matter enormously.

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If you were to redesign League would you still use the AD and AP stats

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI haven’t socialized this with the team, so they might disagree, but back in the day, League made the conscious choice not to go with the Strength, Agility, Intelligence model that Wacraft 3 originally used. The idea was that items were a bit more agnostic and any champion could use them. Was that the right call? I’m not sure. While there are still a lot of champ agnostic items, we also are jumping through hoops now to make sure e.g. Marksmen items are attractive to Marskmen but not necessarily to mages.

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What are your thoughts on Preseason games being a lot more snowbally

Ghostcrawler New PortraitSo interestingly, our data suggests that games are no more snowbally than before the preseason changes or all of last year. We realize there is a common perception among players that it is more snowbally, so we are trying to unpack that and figure out why the discrepancy exists. Games are definitely shorter, but a shorter game that isn’t more of a shut out would actually be a pretty good place for the game to be.

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Will you be aiming for strategic diversity in Season 6

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe also would like to see 10 different ADCs get played. Balance and strategic diversity play into that for sure. But it’s not the only factor. Players (of any game, not just League) really hate to be wrong, especially in front of strangers. That can lead to a situation where everyone wants to know “Who should I pick?” by which they mean “Which champ should I pick that is currently considered the best so that nobody will get mad or make fun of me?” In other words, the perception can sometimes drive the reality.

The perception that there is a best and second-best ADC can often cause players to choose those champs, even if their winrate would be better with a champ they’ve played a lot or really enjoy. Seeing what the pros pick can also have a huge trickle down effect on ranked queue champion choices. The difference between a “strong” and “weak” champion can often mean the difference between a 55% and 45% win rate. Think about that. That means you’d win approximately 10% more games if you picked the right champion. If you played 10 games, you might win 1 more because of your champion pick. Your individual experience with that champion can have a far bigger impact. Overall, League is a pretty well balanced game. That doesn’t mean we can’t do better, and we will strive to do so. But we’re not talking about champions who are twice as likely to win a game as another choice.

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Why are you reworking Taric before Warwick Is it the gems

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitYeah, it’s pretty much just the gems.

Seriously though, a lot can go into the determination of which champion update we work on next, including whether we have potentially good ideas for how to fix the champion (thematically, visually and mechanically). We do have someone working on Warwick, because he desperately needs it, but it’s too soon to tell how or when that may pan out.

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If Rioters hate ballofstats Champions why was Mundo given free stats

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitGenerally speaking, we do two kinds of changes — things that have a chance of a long-term fix and things that are band-aids just to tide things over until we can get to a long-term fix. That said, Mundo is somewhat simple, but I don’t know that he needs a major update.

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It seems that Yasuo is designed purely around free stats from his passive

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitYasuo’s winrate generally isn’t all that high because his skill cap is insanely high, one of the top 2-3 in the game. That is the challenge for why he is tricky to balance moreso than the double passive, IMO. We’d have to ask the champion designer who worked on him the origin of the double passive though.

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How When will you fix Champions who rely on free stats to be viable

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s less about free stats and more about whether a champion is nothing but a bag of stats. If your win rate is high because your stats are higher and not because you make good decisions, that’s the kind of thing we want to fix. We have fewer of those champions this year than we did last year.

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How often do you play League and whats your favourite team role

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI tend to play in bursts like lots of players. I am playing fewer games now because I have been spending so much time on Fallout 4 and the Bloodborne DLC. Before I came to Riot, I’d say I played mostly Support (I played a priest in WoW) and ADC. I have tried to double down on improving my weaknesses rather than my strengths since I have been here. Jungle is by far my weakest role. I need to spend more time there.

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What are your thoughts on the diversity of item recipes or lack thereof

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe want the early items to be a little safer because you aren’t locking yourself out of potential later items. You may not have enough information early in the game to know which items (or even in which order) you’ll want at the end. This means some amount of similarity among the builds themselves. There probably are some opportunities for those mid-tier items to branch out a little more.

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Was it a conscious decision to move League toward mobility and flashy plays

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think there is a tendency to want to design a champion that gets a lot of YouTube videos made because of flashy plays. Similarly, in a game with 130 champions, you can’t just offer a kit of skill shot + shield + steroid. I’ve said before that I think the concern that too many of our champs lately have been on the more complicated end is very fair and something we want to combat. You can have champions that make strategically interesting decisions (or even big plays) without them having double passives and lot of gigantic tooltips.

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Do you see League lasting another 10 years If so how will it change

Ghostcrawler New PortraitEasily ten years. It’s not going anywhere. I think the biggest gains we have to make are outside of the core game loop. We can’t ever take our eye off that ball, but it’s pretty fun already and we don’t want to bury it under tons of complex systems. On the other hand, some of our systems outside of the game are pretty weak. For example we have focused a lot on fixing player behavior problems but not as much on helping you play with your friends.

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Does Riot consider the Juggernaut reworks a success

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt was a good proof of concept for the roster project. We’re happy with Garen and Darius, less so with Skarner and Morde. Overall, hitting 4 champs is probably not enough to feel like a roster was really updated. However, compared to Marksmen, Juggernauts barely even had a function in the game, so in that sense, we feel like it was successful.

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Whats the reason for having 6 bans per game instead of 10

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t want to be in a perpetual arm’s race. We have some fear that if we did 10 today it would be 12 next year and so on. There is some evidence that giving each player one ban in solo queue might be a better experience. We have some changes with the new team builder (with still just 6 bans) and we will see how that plays out first and then evaluate.

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Has there been a region where Riot have found it impossible to support League

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThis is a great question but I don’t have a great answer. Maybe another Rioter who has been here longer will share a good story with me that I can then relate to you guys. Going into a new region is a fairly expensive commitment in that we have to localize a whole lot of text and VO and then either set up servers and matchmaking ourselves or find a regional partner who can do so. We have to be convinced that we can develop a sizable player base in a new region for it to be worth it. That is usually the biggest barrier to going into a new region. There are some interesting quirks though — we can’t play on Korean servers because Korea requires you to have the Korean equivalent of a social security number to play. (We were able to play when we visited Korean PC bangs though).

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I think League could use more miniobjectivesminigames like Skarners crystals

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI agree we could have more, and we’ll probably add more over time, but not toooo many more. Imagine a game with 10 “Skarners” and 10 “Skarner crystals” all over the map.

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Are Champion mains taken into consideration when that Champion is reworked

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t make the changes just for those mains for a few reasons. Maybe they main that champion for reasons we don’t want to encourage. Maybe there are a bunch of potential mains out there who aren’t playing the champ but might with a good rework. Ideally we don’t alienate mains, and we do always target our survey questions towards both mains and non-mains.

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Should there be more champions whose spells provide options to enemies

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s a cool space but it increases the amount of information you need to play the game by a lot. Consider the Poppy rework — you have to know to step on her shield. Maybe you’ll stumble upon that at some point but maybe you won’t.

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Is fun to play as or fun to play against a priority when making Champions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe look at “play as” first. If nobody wants to play the champ, it doesn’t matter if they are fun to play against. We definitely look at how frustrating they are to play against once we really get into development.

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How do you feel about additional gamemodes maps

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’d love to see a more casual yet still competitive mode around some of those less-played maps.

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Whats the best ways for individual players to impact Riots decisions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt depends on your target. If you’re looking to change our development culture or something, that’s pretty hard. If you want to give feedback on a champion change, there are a lot of ways to do that. Posting in the threads (often the PBE threads) where the developers are asking for feedback or discussing upcoming changes is a good way to focus your efforts. Just don’t assume that there is some kind of magical lever that you can pull to guarantee your suggestion will get incorporated. That’s just really hard to do when you have millions of players with their own suggestions. 🙁

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Do you think every Champion should occupy a unique team role

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s fine if they are in the same space but have different play styles. It’s probably not possible for us to come up with 130+ different strategies.

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Why arent bad changes reverted more often eg Cassiopeias rework

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Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think I mentioned this earlier, or maybe it was Twitter or ask.fm.

I think it sucks when we do an update that is okay but not awesome. The reason is because it generally gets a champion into a healthier play space (so they are no longer at the top of the “on fire” list) but we haven’t made them awesome either (and because they are no longer at the top of the “on fire” list, they may not get touched for awhile).

We’d like to hit Cass again when we look at mages in 2016. I can’t promise because it’s impossible to predict how the projects will work out. I really wanted to update Volibear for the juggernaut update, but it just wasn’t coming together.

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INTRO Mark RiotScruffy Yetter Lead Game Designer Champions

Scruffy Final PortraitWHO AM I?

Hey everyone,

I’m Mark, but you can call me RiotScruffy here. I’m a totally obsessed video gamer (in the best possible way), and games like DOTA, WoW, LoL, and pretty much anything with the Star Wars brand have occupied the best years of my life.

I’ve been a few places around the game industry before Riot, most notably I worked at Treyarch on Black Ops 2 right before I joined. They taught me some great stuff about how to make everything feel OP, and how to really sell a fantasy.

I currently own: 1 cats.

WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT?

There’s kinda two sections here for me, the past and the future:

The past (and present): I’m the Lead Designer of the Champion Update team, which has worked on many of your favorites (and unfavorites I’m sure) like Sion, Poppy, Gangplank, Fiora, Juggernauts, Marksmen updates and many more. I have a TON of history with this team, having helped build it up from the ground when I started at Riot almost 3 years ago until now.

The future: I’m going to be moving over to be Lead Designer of the Champion team. A new set of challenges and a really talented new group of people there is really exciting. Building up the next generation of new champions and hopefully surprising you all with some great new innovations is my goal.

WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?

Champ-Up has grown and changed so so much over these past years, and I can talk about so many things. “Why did we start doing group updates like Juggernaut/Marksmen?” “How do we decide how much to preserve or redo on a champ-up like Poppy?”

Or even less specific stuff that is more related to our champion/game design philosophy like: “How have we evolved our strategy for making interactive gameplay without overusing skillshots?” “How do we build up a new champion from concept to completion?” “How did we go about categorizing our champions into archetypes so that we could better understand them (see juggernauts)?”

I’d also like to bridge the gap – when I can – of how our general game design practice can carry over into good character mechanic design and vice versa. It might be cool to do some topics that explore how to apply our champ design principle to other systems or even games altogether.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?

Anything about Champ design or Champion updates is definitely on the table for me. Get creative, I’m open to whatever cool topics you all would like to talk about.

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What would you say are the top 5 Champions that need to be changed

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  1. Scruffy Final PortraitYorick – Both super unhealthy for the game and incredibly unsatisfying/lame
  2. Taric – So much promise with so little delivery. He has a ton of upside in making him more interesting, cohesive and higher quality
  3. Urgot – incredibly unclear fantasy and unhealthy gameplay
  4. Talon/Akali/diana – the trio of assassins with the potential to be great, but lacking so much in gameplay depth and interaction that if they ever are strong its the most frustrating experience
  5. Xin Zhao/Aatrox/Pantheon/Irelia – The grouping of fighter types with overly one directional gameplay patterns. This results in a “stat check” where they press their buttons in the right order and the rest is up to numbers not skill. (fiora used to be in this camp)

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Will there ever be more nonlinear skillshots like Dianas Q

Scruffy Final PortraitI don’t see why not. It’s a cool way to create new feel and gameplay – see Vel’koz geometry Q

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Could you give us a few spoilers about Tarics rework

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Scruffy Final PortraitWe want to solidify his role as a tanky protector type support with armor affinity. The gameplay is pretty nearly 100% and we are working hard on the new visuals. There are some really great surprises in his new kit/visuals but I will not spoil those.

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Do you have any thoughts on Ao Shin

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Scruffy Final PortraitNo comment on Ao Shin sorry, this was just a way premature reveal and there are a lot things in the pipe on the new champion team right now.

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For Season 6 are you focusing on making new Champions or reworking older ones

Scruffy Final PortraitA lot of the work I’ve started on the Update team will be finishing in 2016, so I will still have a loose hand in it, but my main focus will be running and creating awesome improvements and innovations for our new champion team.

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Is there any fantasy or gameplay niche you feel is missing from League

Scruffy Final PortraitI think there are a bunch of new fantasies that I’d be excited to explore. I’m especially interested in pushing for really really innovative ideas that will completely break the mold of what we currently consider champs can be.

My pet project – The “branching future character:” A good warrior comes in contact with a corrupted weapon, his/her choices throughout the game will either keep them pure or cause the corruption to take over. By the end of the game you have transformed into one of multiple possible kits.

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What are your plans for Mordekaiser

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Scruffy Final PortraitThis is a good question. Statikk and Feralpony have been posting about morde and he is in their team’s hands. They will be the better people to have the long term discussion with.

My personal opinions:
-Solo morde needs love, he may not be the “main” role but he has a lot of room to become more playable
-W in solo has had some improvements, but is still a pretty lackluster ability without an ally, this could be a good area for us to look into again

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Why did you redesign Mordes W to only be usable with allies

Scruffy Final PortraitI think the original thinking was that morde was oriented towards a solo lane so clearly before, that it would take a lot to make him even remotely viable in the duo lane. In retrospect we clearly overestimated how much we would have needed to do there.

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How much influence does the original Champion designer have on a rework

Scruffy Final PortraitWhenever possible we get the original champ designer to consult heavily on the rework project, but it’s usually a good idea to get someone fresh to actually own the project. (attachment too strong can be a problem)

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Do you think theres a future for pointandclick spells

Annie Single Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitI think that point and click spells have a bright and consistent future in LoL, they provide a clear, satisfying, and reliable output. The key is making sure that the champ kit outside of the point and click offers enough places for interaction and counterplay. Take GP Q for example, which we kept point and click because the new E is so interactive.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

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FOLLOWUP Tahm Kench

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Zenonthestoic Final PortraitFollowing on from the Mordekaiser Update Follow-Up, here’s our internal design review for Tahm Kench. Please see Statikk’s post on Mordekaiser for more context on what these design reviews are.

I’ll paste the actual review in this first post, but I’ll also have a much more in-depth and verbose explainer posted as the first comment on this thread. I hope you like words, cause I got a lot of em.

I will leave this thread open until Monday.

Original Goals:

  • Make a tank who is not defined by AOE CC or single target pickoff
  • Offer a powerful and cool support function through ally devour
  • Enable strategic map mobility for two people
  • Can be played in multiple positions: both solo and support

What’s working:

  • Ally devour is a big, cool moment for Tahm and his team
  • Tahm is picked frequently as a support, mostly for devour
  • Tahm is played successfully in top, support, and jungle

Problems:

  • High level of frustration playing against:
  • MS away from enemy means ally devour is never the wrong move
  • Tough skin means killing Tahm feels like not an option either
  • Ult is mostly used solo, particularly outside of competitive play
  • High damage output means Tahm often chases down and kills people where it feels inappropriate for a support to do so

Possible next steps:

  • Ally W no longer has MS away from enemy (going live in 5.24)
  • Encourage cooperative use of R: minimum wait time but quicker arrival
  • Reassess E tankiness: reduce shield duration and/or grey health duration
  • Investigate why some champions cannot opt out of fighting Tahm (more on this below)

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Zenonthestoic Final PortraitGreetings fellow riverboat captains!

Tahm Kench has been swimming up and down Summoner’s Rift for a few months now. At this stage, we typically do a internal follow-up where we sit down and talk about what did and what didn’t work, guided by our original pre-release goals. We’re making that player-facing. Before we dive in (heh), let me just say we’re very much aware that a lot of you feel Tahm is very frustrating to play against. We hear you and none of the things I’m about to say should take away from the validity of what you’re feeling. We may disagree on the why and the what to do about it, but your feelings are valid and we’ve heard you.

Alright, enough touchy-feely stuff. Let’s talk video games.

When we set out to make Tahm Kench, we wanted to make a “tank’s tank”; someone who can become ridiculously hard to kill while having a strongly felt effect on the game (internally we call these “outputs”: how does the game change for everyone else because Tahm is in it?) We also decided in the very beginning of production that his outputs should fall outside the usual tank outputs of “AOE CC an entire teamfight” or “lock down / pull in one guy and enable your team to kill them”.

Halfway through development we pivoted a little from wanting Tahm to be exclusively a gold-taking solo lane tank to embracing his support identity, but we liked the thought that we could deliver a champion who succeeds in different roles. We hadn’t made one of those in a while (Bard, Rek’Sai, Kalista, and Azir are all very strongly role-bound, and Gnar’s jungling is at best a super niche build) and we thought it’d be neat to enable player experimentation.

Some things we obviously nailed: Tahm is tanky as all get-out and cannot be ignored. His output is a uniquely powerful ally saving move; not only is it strong, it is also super cool. Saving that low health squishy with a flash W creates a strong “holy shit Tahm, you just saved my life” moment for your ally.

Here’s what didn’t work out: we expected that ally devour would be somewhat frustrating for the enemy, but we failed to predict just how bad it would be. We’ve clearly heard your feedback that the champion is frustrating to play against, but we also have other data points to back this up. When supports enter the top 3 of most banned champions, something tends to be off. Soraka’s recent rise in bans due to our changes to Grievous Wounds and the addition of the Windspeaker’s Blessing mastery is one good example of this. Clearly enough of you are so frustrated playing against Tahm that you’re happy to spend one of your three bans on him.

So let’s talk about this. We have always known that uniquely strong safety moves will create frustration. Some amount of frustration is absolutely a necessary part of the game. Frustration at your plans not working out or the enemy outplaying you is an essential low moment in a PvP game like League, which buys us the high moments when things do work out. So frustration per se is not a bad thing. It’s when a moment feels unfair or like there was nothing else you could have done that we have a problem.

Part of this was a last minute decision to give Tahm MS away from the enemy with an ally in his stomach. This came out of lane testing, particularly when Tahm and his ally lost their lane. It felt like there was absolutely nothing Tahm could bring to the table once the lane started to go against him. Particularly when the enemy kept ganking to drive the advantage home, Devour never seemed to help. We may have overreacted to feedback here.

Devour should feel like a sacrificial move. The Tahm player should feel like he saved an important ally’s life at the cost of his own or of at least a good chunk of his health. The 20% movement speed away from enemies means that not only does Tahm save a friend, he thereby also buys himself more safety. Stripping this mechanic was a no brainer; expect to see this change for 5.24.

There are two more contributing factors to the feeling of frustration I want to talk about real quick. One is that he just seems unkillable, and the other is that he outputs a buttload of damage.

Tahm’s E is a necessary tool for a tank champion, but the exact tuning may be off. The active should be the button that allows him to wade into the thick of things and pick up an ally in need, and the passive should make it so he doesn’t just straight-up lose to any amount of poke. Our current feeling is that both the amount of time over which the shield decays might be too long (turning the shield from an anti-burst tool to a “lol I got two health bars” tool over the duration of a typical teamfight) and the delay before grey health turns back into health might be too long, making it too easy for Tahm to get to full shield. We’ve not made up our minds about this yet, but it’s on our radar.

Finally, damage. Tahm has the potential to do an exceptional amount of damage for a tank. Abyssal Voyage’s passive is tuned to be very strong. On any champion who has the tools to get to you and stick to you easily this would almost certainly be problematic. But we cannot look at a mechanic in a vacuum (the poor guy would suffocate). Against most of our roster, Tahm does not have the tools to get to an enemy and stick to them. Nearly every ADC should be able to kite him, anyone with a mobility tool should be able to opt out of fighting him, and so on. We believe that as long as Tahm’s stickiness and catch potential remain as low as they are, it is okay for him to have the damage he does.

There are edge cases that may need looking at here. For one, if you go into a 2v2 trade that turns into a 1v1 and you’re now in melee range of a Tahm who already has 3 stacks on you, you will likely not be able to get away from him without a kiting / mobility tool. Yes, there are certain champions that don’t have any of these tools and they just never can 1v1 Tahm, which feels bad against a support. So the TL;DR on his damage is: yes it’s very high, but the problem is that certain champs can’t opt out of fighting him when they should be able to. If anything, we’d look at that.

We have some thoughts about the cooperative use of Tahm’s ultimate as well, but I’ve been going on for too long already. How do you feel about Tahm’s current state? Do you disagree strongly with any of the above?

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What are your plans for Malzahar

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Repertoir New PortraitWe haven’t really locked down which champions we’re likely to work on yet, as their ship date is still likely a long way out. For you or any other Malzahar players out there, what kinds of things would you like to see done with him? And what kinds of things would you not like to see or see left alone?

edit: Wow, I went to sleep and woke up and this has 60 new comments. Thanks everyone!

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Will it be possible to improve Malzahars auto attack animation

Repertoir New PortraitA lot of people mention this. Seems like it’s worth giving some love to.

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Why not change the AD scaling on his Voidlings It doesnt make sense

Repertoir New PortraitI think their oddness (especially their AD elements) may be really important to a lot of Malzahar players.

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The Voidlings are unreliable and they should be a core of Malzahars kit

Repertoir New PortraitI really like how you talk about the relationship between Malz and his Voidling. I think figuring out what the Voidling’s – errrrrrrrrrr Steve’s – personality is and how that blends into the pair’s relationship is probably really key to having the most interesting gameplay for Malzahar. Thinking about questions like “What does Malzahar want Steve to do for him?” but also ones like “What kinds of mischief does Steve go off and find himself in?” Personally, Steve is more interesting when he gets into some mischief, as long as that mischief is due to AI that seems reasonable and learnable by the Malzahar player.

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Malzahars current kut is awkwardly split between AoEs and DoTs

Repertoir New PortraitI have to admit, I don’t have particularly strong feelings towards W and Q, but that’s the kind of thing I’m trying to gauge here. For W, I think its uses in zone denial and anti-tank properties are nice and appreciable for the Malz player (and I like it’s old but cool particles), but the actual act of laying down an instant cast puddle under someone’s feet before ulting them isn’t actually skillful. For the Q, it’s a cool cast paradigm that feels pretty darn good to hit, but it’s odd that he frequently layers the suppression from his R over the silence on Q, effectively wasting a lot of the Q’s value.

That’s just mostly how I feel personally. Mostly interested in what others think, however.

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Can you share how Dragon Trainer Tristana legendary skin was developed

[ Note ] Dragon Trainer Tristana is available for purchase. You can find an in-game preview of her HERE.

Dragon Trainer Tristana Banner Single

Galetta Final PortraitYo!

So I was trying to think of any like note worthy things in development of the skin and I have a few.

  • The skin was actually started over a year ago before Tristana’s visual update, and by started I mean concepted based on her old model. But once we saw what champion update was cookin (CUTE STUFF) we decided to wait and re-concept her with the new model in mind. With the new model we were able to make Riggle bigger and it gave us ultimate freedom with her animations.

  • One of the first animation to be completed was her AMAZING death animation….the entire team (like 40 people) groaned and made sad noises when it was shown in our team review. Lol
  • Her animations were done by a team of all male animators, so a team of grown ass men made all dis cute! Even the dance. :3
  • Aside from that stuff we pretty much left nothing on the cutting room floor. We got all of the VO, SFX, animations, and particles that we wanted, this skin was a real labor of love. We really wanted the bond between Tristana and Riggle to feel as real as possible and I think we did it based on the community’s reaction to her. 😛

If you have any more questions let me know, and I can most likely answer them!

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Was Dragon Trainer intended to be a legendary skin before Tristanas VU

Galetta Final PortraitYeah even back then she was going to be a Legendary, but once we started concepting we quickly realized that he old model was going to restrict us greatly. Not just from an animation standpoint but from a modeling standpoint as well, she was so tiny and compact that her proportions compared to Riggle’s just didn’t feel great.

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Did you also make the Riggle ward skin

Galetta Final PortraitI did! I’m super appreciative to the animation team who allowed me to animate the ward. Since I’m currently being mentored by an animator at Riot I was super excited to get to work on an asset for League! I’m super biased in my opinion (for obvious reasons) but I would say pick up the Riggle ward since it’s so friggen cute and it’s one of our only wards that’s actually a living creature! :3

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Will there be future skins thatll use the Dragon Trainer theme

Galetta Final PortraitI think it’s safe to say that, like with most skin lines, we won’t stop with a single Dragon Trainer. When more skins come out and who they are for are up for community speculation at this point.

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What happened to Dragonmaster Swain Will the skin ever be released

Whist Final PortraitWe haven’t forgotten about this skin OP (TheBravoRay, skins-team’s Swain super-fan, talks about it weekly). Not sure when it’ll finally happen, I hope we can do it in 2015 but I can’t promise anything.

Swain needs a badass legendary skin and giving him some awesome Dragon transformation anims would be really fun. Hype hype hype. I wanna animate dragons.

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Follow Up Banner

Whist Final PortraitJust so nobody has any new expectations that will get crushed: Dragon Master Swain is not slotted for production at any point in 2016 currently. There was a glimmer of hope for the skin in 2015 when I posted that, but it wasn’t able to happen.

Sorry, I share your pain :\

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What happened to Zeds chroma pack

KateyKhaos Final PortraitYou’re not going to like my answer, but I’ll try to let you down easy. We have them. They still exist. We have a couple kinks we needs to work out with these and chromas in general.

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Here’s a collection of fanart I enjoyed from this week. You’re welcome to share more in the comments:

 

Elderwood Fiddlesticks by hiper:

elderwood_fiddlesticks_by_korhiper-d9ioccc

 

Fiora by Neo-TK/ecmsuitey:

LIDWk3a

 

Mistletoe Soraka by Lighane:

mistletoe_soraka_by_lighane-d9ikaro

 

Snow Day Syndra and Snow Day Skins by MizoreAme:

tumblr_nyns7zNv9d1sww1t3o1_500

 

lUWt6QD

 

M62Mvto

 

Lulu by muju:

whTzX3H

 


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

QA Poppy Rework Banner

Poppy’s Q&A on the NA Boards has concluded. You can find all the developer answers below. For an in-game preview of Poppy’s rework, check HERE.

 

 

Hey guys,

We’ve gathered a bunch of the folks who worked on Poppy for some Q&A about the Keeper of the Hammer! Whether you’re interested in Poppy’s gameplay, story, art, or sound, ask away and we’ll be happy to answer!

Check out these links if you need to get up to speed:

 

 

Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer: Check out Poppy’s reveal.

 

 

Champion Insights: The story behind Poppy’s champion update.

 

 

The Arsenal: Forging Poppy’s Hammer.

 

 

A Hero’s Calling: A weapon holding the hope of a kingdom has found its champion. She just doesn’t know it.

 

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Why does Poppys new passive go against her playstyle

Solcrushed New PortraitThe shield is intended more to create zones where fights happen (although it also serves poke, fallback and item synergy) which is why the shields love flying into walls. It will drop much closer to Poppy in teamfights though.

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What other variations for a Poppy ultimate did you test for her rework

Solcrushed New PortraitOne I remember is a global ally targeted AOE knockback that had separate cooldowns for each ally. I was toying around with the idea of her being a superhero who swings in to save civilians in distress.

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Was it hard rewriting Poppys personality so she could be more cheerful

Solcrushed New PortraitWe knew we needed to move her personality beyond just being angry and stubborn relatively quickly.

Finding a noble Demacian hero that did not feel like a mini-Garen, that wasn’t easy.

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Do you think the new Poppy can be a viable support

Solcrushed New PortraitFrom our testing her lane was rough as a support, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see people make it work

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How did you come up with Poppys new ultimate

Solcrushed New PortraitWe were looking for something that really played up the ‘disproportionate power’ part and asked ourselves ‘what is the most visually impactful feat of strength we could have in the game?’

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Will you consider buffing the damage on her ult

Ququroon Final PortraitThe power of the ability is in the massive distance (or knockup), so we prefer if it didn’t do tons of damage.

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Why does Poppy s new ult make the enemy untargettable while flying

Solcrushed New PortraitPower budget and differentiation.

We wanted to keep this from becoming a better Lee Sin R or the like.

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Do you think Poppy will become a contested pick on the pro scene

Solcrushed New PortraitI think she has the tools to become one.

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Is her autoattack range increased in her rework compared to old Poppy

Solcrushed New PortraitNot now, we may do it depending on how the currently ongoing attack range increases are going.

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Did you have any thoughts for a future Poppy skin while reworking her

Solcrushed New PortraitThere were about 20,000 sports skin ideas thrown around, with slugger being the obvious one.

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Is Poppys new W supposed to stop consecutive dashes or just the first

KarateMonkey Final PortraitPoppy’s W will stop only one dash per champion per cast.

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Why was Poppys hair color changed from white to blonde

Lonewingy Final PortraitThe team wanted to make sure she doesn’t look like A relative to Tristana. And so Poppy have her own unique space visually.

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How did the audio team record the sound for Poppys new ultimate

KarateMonkey Final PortraitTo make her ultimate SFX I went to the local hardware store and bought a bunch of bricks, cinder blocks and a really big hammer. I then brought it into our Foley room and Poppy ulted all over the place.

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Why does Poppy taunt Tristana with I dont get Yordles. Too fluffy

Stellari Final PortraitShe says that to all Yordles. XD But she generally feels yordles are too disorganized — she’s definitely drawn to orderliness of Demacia.

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Whats the story behind retooling Demacia Rising for Poppys theme

ProtoShredanoid New PortraitHello! Regarding the music – we really wanted to capture both the Demacian and the Yordle aspects of Poppy. We ended up really liking the contrast of the low brass representing the strength and seriousness of her Demacian side and the playful flute for her Yordle roots. The first few theme ideas ended up sounding too solemn, but when I experimented with playing a lighter, more uplifting (Dorian), sprightly variation of Demacia Rising on flute, the piece fell into place. There is also the element of the flute not fully fitting with the low brass and the rest of the orchestra which I believe to be very fitting for a Yordle in Demacia.

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How does Poppy relate to Tristana

Ququroon Final PortraitIn League’s past, Meglings were a separate race from Yordles. Quickly into the game’s release, we genocided unified Meglings with Yordles, making them a single race.

Tristana and Poppy are both Yordles, but have no direct relation to each other.

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Why did you change Poppys lore so drastically in her rework

Stellari Final PortraitOne of the reasons the team changed her bio was because we have a lot of Champions with stories nearly identical to hers. During the Bilgewater event, we released a chapter in the novella about Miss Fortune seeking revenge for her dead parents, and using the weapon they gave her to attain it.

Personally–and I’m not the narrative writer, so this is just an opinion–I find Poppy’s new story to be very endearing. It’s very human (yordle?) to be confident, but also not understand your own strengths. She’s a badass yordle with Imposter Syndrome! I had the most fun working on her, I think.

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Will you do animated faces for future reworks like you did with Poppys

Partiest Cat Final PortraitYordles are always the best candidates for this kind of thing (big heads = lots of visual real estate) but people seem to love it (us too!), so we’ll do our best to look into adding it where we can. No Promisesâ„¢, but we’re always looking for opportunities to make champs more expressive!

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Will Poppys legacy skins be available in store after the rework goes live

KarateMonkey Final PortraitThe legacy skins will be made available for a limited time once she goes live.

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How happy are you now with the Great Yordle Unification Pass

Lonewingy Final PortraitYordles have trait varieties, think about how many dog breeds out there and they look completely different from one another but they are still dogs. Same goes for yordles. They could have different ear shape/positioning also different eyes, and fur color. As long as they don’t look like smurfs, gnomes and dwarfs. They have more animalistic traits and less human traits on their face as well.

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Follow Up Banner

Ququroon Final PortraitI’ve been really happy and satisfied with the progress made on the GYUP (though it really just became us working on a couple). At the beginning of this year, female yordles were… mostly just potatos, but now they’re much further along.

There’s still a lot of yordles that need updating though, but we did make a sizeable chunk. Of the 11 Yordles, 4 are updated to new proportions (Heimerdinger, Gnar, Tristana, Poppy). We’ll be getting to them in time (hi Corki?), but there is still work to be done.

Also, somewhat related, but the new proportions do allow us to have a greater deal of freedom. Final Boss Veigar and Omega Squad Teemo also employ these to great effect.

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Did you have any thoughts for a future Poppy skin while reworking her

Solcrushed New PortraitThere were about 20,000 sports skin ideas thrown around, with slugger being the obvious one

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How can a yordle hold a hammer this big with only one hand

Ququroon Final PortraitShe lifts.

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What is Poppys favourite food

Stellari Final PortraitClearly, it’s lollipops.

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What does Poppy call her hammer

Stellari Final Portrait“My Hammer”? XD

Hammer of Orlon, when she’s being official and sincere. ‘My hammer’ or ‘the hammer’ when she’s being casual (like, I am writing this on my laptop…but it’s actual rito’s laptop).

In my own headcannon, Mr. Hammersworth

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Can you recall any funny bugs you encountered during Poppys rework

Solcrushed New PortraitThere was a ‘ride the giant’ ult where she climbed onto the target and could periodically yank him toward a direction. Way too much clarity and frustration issues.

NOT LIKE THIS

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

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Quinn currently has a 73 winrate

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Repertoir New PortraitShe’s too strong. We’ll nerf her early game through some base AD and some Q nerfs, and then she should be in a better spot. I had some stuff submitted on Wednesday to the build that goes to PBE, but it looks like we didn’t ship to PBE on Wednesday due to the holiday week. Expect to see some stuff show up there on the next PBE build.

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Have you thought about tweaking how her passive scales with crits

Repertoir New PortraitYes, but I’m not sure what the right call is on that yet.

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What do you think happened to Quinn between patches 5 22 and 5 23

Repertoir New PortraitQ is dealing too much damage for the utility it provides, or it is providing too much utility for the damage it deals (or both).

Harrier is a bit stronger around levels 3-6 before she’s backed and bought any AD (because it now has a base damage that is scaling with her level rather than being all AD dependent).

Some other stuff that may be contributing:

  • She’s really good against Illaoi
  • Not having the option to rush Homeguards (which was fun, and many people were doing) may actually have been a buff because players are buying more combat-effectiveness in their early items.

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Why did you give Quinn her blind back

Repertoir New PortraitSo that in a balanced state she does not need to be snowballing incessantly in order to be useful for her team. That isn’t to say she’s balanced on this patch; she most certainly isn’t.

In a balanced state, she’ll be able to hit a good Q on a mage or marksmen to help her team win a fight, rather than having to have all her value loaded into her R and raw damage.

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Do youve any plans for Ezreal

Repertoir New PortraitEzreal feels like he fell a bit short of what we expected to see from him in the 5.22 preseason patch. We should look over him along with some others like Ashe, Sivir, and Twitch before the preseason ends. For him specifically, we nerfed some stuff to make room for the improved Q cooldown reducing effect as a precautionary measure, but it may not have been necessary.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitWe expected him to be fine, and he’s honestly not super far off. He tends to sit at a lower-than-average win rate when considered balanced by us and most players.

op.gg has him at a 48.5% win rate over the last week in Korea, where he has always been and continues to be a very popular pick, so that seems like decent evidence that he’s not horribly far off. I don’t think he requires much more than a slight adjustment, really.

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Can we please get some utility on Ezreals W back

Repertoir New PortraitIt is sad, and we’re not happy with it either. If we had the right low-cost approach (resources seem to mostly be allocated things at the moment), there may be something we could do. Of course there are things we could do, but it’s more a matter of finding a good long-lasting approach.

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Why is Veterans Scars being nerfed so hard on the PBE  from to flat HP

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not in charge of these changes, but one thing to keep in mind here is that changes to the early game power of something have a far greater effect than changes at all other points in the game. It’s why reducing someone’s base HP by 40 or base AD by 3 can result in substantial performance hits to champions.

I imagine this change is intentionally aimed at keeping it powerful in the early game (45 base HP is significant power, as noted above) without it scaling well into the late game. I do believe most the rest of the Resolve tree tends to scale very well into the late game.

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This nerf will make the midgame for tanky champions worse

Repertoir New PortraitVeteran’s Scars’ placement in the Resolve tree does make it accessible to more than just tank-types that are going down to Resolve keystones.

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Could tanks then also get a better secondary option than Veterans Scars

Repertoir New PortraitThat seems like a good solution if there is currently nothing attractive in the other trees.

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Why nerf the effectiveness of the tank tree so other classes can dip into it

Repertoir New PortraitIf we wanted trees to belong to only one class/archetype of champion, they would be 30 points deep instead of 18 so that you had to invest all your points in that tree in order to get to the keystones.

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FOLLOWUP Mordekaiser Update

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Statikk New PortraitHey all,

We’re going to be trying out methods of making our internal design reviews player-facing. These reviews are mostly done on major champion releases, updates, and systems tuning that we roll out. We may dig into our archives for recently released champions as well.

These reviews will probably not be very ‘polished’ in their presentation, rather, they’re meant to be a way of showing how we examine our work. By looking back at our original goals and then examining what’s currently working (or not working) in the present day, we can be more transparent about followup changes while also being able to discuss what ‘good’ looks like.

This is very much an experimental process, but hopefully it proves valuable in the long run. Our first trial is going to be… Mordekaiser.

Goals

  • Solidify Mordekaiser in the Juggernaut space (low mobility, high close-range threat)
  • Offer a different non-Marksman duo lane experience
  • Add new strategic meaning to Dragon

What’s Working

  • Strengths / Weaknesses profile aligns with Juggernaut space
  • Provides a different bot lane experience and has unique ally synergies
  • Dragon creates unique and memorable moments

Concerns

  • Extremely early / mid game dominant – lacks true, exponential late game scaling
    • Both Morde and Dragon follow this power curve
  • Too difficult to interact with in lane, due to sustain on top of sustain
  • High AP ratios (especially on R) still leading to Morde being potentially too bursty
  • Q damage ramping is extreme and readability is poor – leads to weird “what happened?” moments on Q3 hits
  • Tankiness is extremely inconsistent (unlike other Juggernauts) due to Passive’s scaling with direct damage output – increases snowball dependence
  • Dragon / pet controls are still clunky
  • Experience bonus passive may not be the optimal solution – it is effective and functional, but low in satisfaction and hard to understand

Next Steps

  • Lower sustain early, better damage scaling late
  • Dragon needs more late game relevance and potentially less early game power
  • Flatten Q damage out (more on 1, less on 3) while still preserving the 3rd hit as a big, high moment
  • Increase the importance of effectively utilizing Passive / E to survive in lane and fights

Hopefully this gives you guys a bit more insight into our current thinking on Morde and helps explain the direction we’re moving him in with the recent patch.

Feel free to chime in with any thoughts, questions, or concerns.

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Why havent you mentioned solo lane Mordekaiser in your post

Statikk New PortraitThis is a good point, definitely an oversight on our part.

I have personal opinions on this, but I don’t want to misrepresent the entire team’s analysis and design direction for Solo Morde.

I’ll try to get some analysis and thoughts back to you guys on this topic after the upcoming break.

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Its difficult to build Morde as a bruiser given the current AP itemization

Statikk New PortraitThis is an open question. In development, we didn’t think that Morde would continue to be so reliant on AP itemization. We envisioned him having access to the new Juggernaut items in addition to the hybrid AP / AD items.

What do you WANT to build when you play Mordekaiser? I think this would give us a better idea of where to push his itemization incentives.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitIf AP itemization is what Morde should be buying, I really like the idea of hybrid defensive / AP items being his mainstay (like you stated above – Rylai’s, Liandry’s, Abyssal, Zhonya’s make sense).

I think it’s a lot trickier when Morde’s optimal builds make him a glass cannon – so I’m pretty personally weary of pushing him into items like Nashor’s or Deathcap.

Would a build like Rylai’s + Gunblade + Tank items make sense for Morde?

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Why not nerf his AP ratios and give his

Statikk New PortraitI think more importantly than nerfing the AP build, we want to provide alternate build paths that allow Morde to truly live out the Juggernaut fantasy.

I can talk to the Live team / CertainlyT about the base stats situation.

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How about changing Mordekaisers shield so it decays slower

Statikk New PortraitWell if we made this change we would probably have to reduce how fast it generates as well, otherwise that would be a pretty significant buff especially in the lane phase.

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So your plan is to make the Ghost Dragons HP and damage scale with his ult ranks

Statikk New PortraitWell we’re not married to this exact solution, but overall we feel like an early / mid-game Dragon can be pretty overwhelming to deal with. As the game goes on though, the Dragon Ghost eventually just melts to the exponential late game damage scaling. We think this mostly has to do with survivability tuning.

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Why was Swain nerfed on the PBE

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Meddler Final Portrait We’ve felt Swain’s been borderline too strong for a long time, but his low play and ban rate have been a deciding factor in leaving him as is and keeping an eye on him. We’re now seeing him perform really well post preseason changes, so feel we need to take some power off him. Current thinking (still going through testing, so not a locked change yet), is that as a sustained damage, drain mage-tank, that CC’s the best strength to hit, hence the change to Nevermove so it’s got a lower duration at lower ranks.

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When was the ratio on Master Yi

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Meddler Final PortraitLooks like it got changed during the rework. I’d assume it was part of the balancing sweep that happened in the last month or so before the rework’s release and documentation was missed.

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Whats the context for the Ziggs changes on the PBE

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Meddler Final PortraitWe feel Ziggs is in a weak spot at the moment, and has been for a bit. We’re not looking to go back to the days of endless wave stalling though, so we’re adding power to places where it’s more anti champion/objective than anti lane minion (sweet spot on ult, tower damage from passive).

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Why not give Ziggs a different AA animation when attacking towers

Meddler Final PortraitSounds like a really good idea. Will bring that up if we’re doing some animation work on Ziggs at some point we could bundle that in with.

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Whats with the Skarner nerfs on the PBE

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Repertoir New PortraitFrom what I understand, the team just wanted to try out a few different avenues as to how we want to nerf Skarner. Though it won’t show up on the PBE over the holiday weekend, I believe the plan is to go with a pared down version of these nerfs for final changes.

It seems worth noting here that it can be difficult to really try more than one thing out at a time in an effort to land on the correct change when it comes to nerfs and buffs, because we tend to get large reactions from players when we do so. I’m not saying that reaction isn’t justified (since we don’t have the greatest history of being fully transparent on every change you see on the PBE), but I do think that’s what is going on in this case.

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Why is he being nerfed in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitWe think he’s too strong. Incredibly overpowered? No. But slightly too strong, hence going with a small set of nerfs. You’re free to disagree with that assessment; that was my first reaction too. That said, this is a character that is around a 54% win rate, with an experienced player win rate that appears to easily break 60%, so it’s not unreasonable to assess him as overtuned.

Skarner does have a low play rate, so yes, he can probably be balanced resting north of a 50% win rate. These changes aren’t intended to (nor do I believe they will) be an enormous power hit, just a small power trim.

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Skarner already has a low win rate the ult nerf will completely gut him

Repertoir New PortraitFirst of all, you could hardly call a nerf to his ultimate “taking a dump on him,” so please don’t blow things out of proportion.

As to trying to address a low play rate, there is an assumption here that we would like him to be a popular champion, or at least more popular than he is now. It’s unlikely that Skarner will ever be popular, given the theme, fantasy, and kit of the character.

His theme and fantasy aren’t bad, just niche. And his kit just doesn’t really have the best gameplay built into it, and it never really has. Keep in mind, when I mention good gameplay, I don’t mean that the kit has never been and will never be fun; it’s more that his moment-to-moment power has always been very stat checky. We’d have a lot of work to wholly fix that, and though we tried to chip at it with the Juggernauts update, it would be disingenuous of me to say that it was fixed. He’s now more strategically interesting insofar as he thinks about and tries to set up where he fights you, but it’s still not particularly interesting how he fights you when he does.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t an isolated Skarner case. It’s pretty consistent with many of the melee guys out there, especially the ones that we made 3-4 years ago.

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Will you end up nerfing Skarners spires or other areas of his kit

Repertoir New PortraitWe still think the spires should be important to his success, but there’s also an argument to be made for him having too many eggs in one basket, so to speak. For now, I believe we’re sticking with the ult AD ratio and leaving the spire strength intact.

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What are your thoughts on Yasuo at the moment

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Repertoir New PortraitYasuo is likely too strong, though it’s hard to say by how much. Honestly, and I don’t expect this to be a popular opinion, he’s probably just more frustrating than he is actually overpowered.

This could be me not remembering correctly, but I was under the impression both Brand and DFT were getting nerfs on the PBE.

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If Yasuos frustrating but not too strong shouldnt he be reworked

Repertoir New PortraitMaybe. It depends how frustrating a champion should be. I think there’s an argument to be made that if a champion isn’t frustrating in one way or another, it’s probably not very compelling/unique/interesting, though of course that isn’t to say we should intentionally make frustrating champions.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYeah, Yasuo feels great to play because he often has so much agency over how his lane goes. Unfortunately, that often seems to come at the expense of his opponents’ agency, so it may be fair to say that’s what’s so frustrating about him.

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By agency in lane do you mean his opportunities for outplays

Repertoir New PortraitBasically, yes. It’s about how much control someone has over their fate. If a character is 100% in control of how a lane goes if played well, then that implies it doesn’t even matter what their opponent does to defeat them, and it sucks to be that opponent and know that I can play as well as I want and it doesn’t even matter all that much.

 

It’s just a barrier based on how well the person can play their champion. These champions are commonly ones that people claim are overloaded. Yasuo, Lee Sin, Nidalee (to use a champion that I was responsible for) have all been guilty of this, and this is some of why we see them needing to be balanced around lower than 50% win rates; because when you actually play things perfectly on champions like these, you leave little room for your opponent to do much of anything.

Unfortunately, these champions are also commonly very popular because they have that feeling of being able to do anything with them, so it does someone beg the question of whether we should be trying to make more champions like that (that players feel like they are in full control of their destiny), or ones with clearer weaknesses for opponents to exploit (at the expense of some of that control).

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Why was Hecarims unit collision ignore moved from his passive to

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Repertoir New PortraitI don’t have any deep insight into the particular Hecarim changes on the PBE, but I imagine it has to do with Hecarim’s perma unit collision avoidance being somewhat fundamentally flawed given the kit he has. He just gets near you and then spams circles of damage onto you. If he is stronger and you don’t have a tool to get away, he will win.

On the one hand, yes, he’s always been this way, so the need for this particular change on this very patch is probably no greater than on any other patch. On the other hand, if he’s deemed too powerful at the moment by the balance team (which seems to be the case), it seems like a good place to trim power.

For what it’s worth, permanently ignoring unit collision is probably not something we should just put on champion kits, and I wouldn’t really be opposed to us taking this from Fizz and Kassadin as well, even if it meant we had to compensate them with power elsewhere. It’s just not that exciting for how powerful it is. I don’t think anyone selects any of these champions primarily because they are excited about ignoring unit collision. As any of these champions, I’d rather have just about any of my spells be a bit stronger rather than always avoiding unit collision.

Even if someone was picking these champions solely for these reasons, this to me is more an argument that pathing/collision should be more tolerable on average than having players choose champions that ignore the rule.

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Why not just remove unit collision in general

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not really the guy to make that call, but I will say I’d prefer that we do that over having champions that selectively ignore it on a case by case basis.

Unit collision between champions is actually something I do think is good, and I do think it’s nice that my minions may cause small reroutes for enemies that are ahead of me, so unit collision isn’t all bad. However, I do understand how frustrating and inconsistent it has felt on Live lately, and that’s not ideal either.

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Do you have any plans for Rengar

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Repertoir New PortraitI hope we have some plans for him, but I’d need to look into it next week.

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Meddler on various ingame mechanics

Why does…

Garen still have a silence

Fizzs ult increase damage taken

Veigar ult scale with other person ap

Udyr have Phoenix stance

Ahri charm not increase damage taken anymore

What’s the purpose of urgots ult

Enemies knocked back into bards magical journey not go through it

Meddler Final PortraitWe want to remove silences from highly mobile, high burst champions since those are the cases that leave very little counterplay if played correctly. Garen’s not very mobile, so we feel it’s appropriate he has a silence still.

Fizz ult has a damage amp on it so that more of Fizz’s burst combo is dependent on a long cooldown. That makes his choice of when he goes all in, and on who, more significant than if he can repeatedly use most of his full burst combo.

Veigar’s ult scales with the opponent’s AP so that Veigar has somewhat different target and match up preferences than other similar champions. It does add a bit more champion select counter feeling than we tend to prefer though, and can get drowned out by the sheer amount of AP he himself builds up, so there’s some debate over how appropriate a mechanic that is.

Phoenix is there to offer Udyr an AOE option should he wish it, and to add some nuance to his damage pattern, particularly while jungle clearing.

The damage amp was removed from Ahri’s E to shift her towards more of a mage pattern and less of a pick into kill model (contrast with Fizz being somewhat longer fight times, lack of untargetability, ranged versus melee etc).

Urgot’s a bit of a mess, and his ult doesn’t fit particularly well with the rest of his kit. It can lead to some cool plays, whenever we do an Urgot rework one of our goals will be to give him a kit with less conflicting notes to it.

While knocking enemies through Magical Journey would be cool it’s both quite a lot of power, in a really team dependent way, and likely to lead to a lot of unintended displacements. Bard’s already got a pretty hard to master playstyle and a fair bit of unreliability, so wouldn’t want to double down further on those elements.

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Fan Artist Feature Shilin

Hey Summoners! In today’s feature we’ll be hearing from Shilin, a talented community artist from Canada who enjoys telling stories and has her own original comic series! Continue reading to learn more about her awesome art and process.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitchto see even more of her work!

If you know someone that you’d like to recommend for a future Fan Artist Feature, please let us know here.

 

How did you get started creating League of Legends fan art?

My first league piece was actually the current Sona classic splash art that I had the honour of doing! I didn’t play league at the time because I was terrified of any PVP environment, but eventually my now girlfriend babysat me into the game through playing bots and learning about the champions’ stories, which inspired me to do a bunch of drawings as gifts for her of her favourites (Riven, Vayne). I also got a bunch of my own favourites after learning more about the champion lores, and out came all the fan art that I did!

 

What’s been your favorite piece to create, and why?

My favourite and most natural piece to create is the Nami/MF piece I did, Shipwreck. The composition came to me out of nowhere and the entire rest of the process was just putting what’s in my head onto the canvas, rather than battling the drawing to try to make things work out. I enjoyed thinking about the interaction between the two in the picture a lot, even more than the process of drawing itself. Did Nami strike at a time when MF is most vulnerable? Did Nami save MF from impending fiery doom and just savoring the moment before returning MF to the land? Thinking is the most fun part of drawing!

 

Do you have a dream project you’d like to work on?

I am extremely lucky because I am already working on my dream project–an original series called Carciphona (at carciphona.com). I don’t know how, but the public has given me enough generous support for me to be able to do this work of my own full time, write/draw/publish the story at my own pace, without the confines of a publisher’s deadlines and writing/art direction restriction, or fear of the series being dropped because it’s not mainstream or successful enough. Even to this day I feel baffled just putting this down in words; being able to do what you love for a living to this extent is like heaven for every creative, and I am so privileged to be there already.

Who’s your inspiration? Do you have any favorite League content creators?

In most cases, my inspiration lies in “what” rather than “who”. I feel most frequently inspired by things I see–even mundane things down the streets, stories I hear–be it a masterwork of fiction or the rundown of a friend’s day, news, experiences… There is so much to think about in everything that happens and there is always something to express through art.

 

But that is not to say fellow artists are not inspiring as well! I look up to many professional and peer artists alike and find motivation in seeing the fruits of their hardwork and gems of their genius. Some of my favourite League fan artists are:

Suqling – bask in her masterful storytelling and gorgeous art right before she strikes your vitals with her savage puns.
2gold – for her charming characters and beautiful colours!
Kaisinel – from monsters to people, kaisinel makes everything look SO GOOD.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

Please allow me a moment to convince you how awesome it would be to have a League MMO. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to explore all of the breathtaking lore and world building work Riot has put in!? MAYBE IF WE SPAM ENOUGH RITO PLS, WE CAN CHANGE DESTINY??? 😀

 
 
 

Last but not least, some awesome videos sharing Shilin’s painting process!

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

QA 19 11 Banner

Riot’s Preseason Q&A on the forums has now concluded. Follow the links below for all the responses from the balance team:

 

 

Preseason QA

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re about wrapping up now, we’ll have a finalized rundown later this week, but thanks for participating! We’ll probably close up comments by end of tonight.

Preseason Q&A

Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we’ve had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we’ll have a more high-level overview.

In the meantime…


Preseason so far

It’ll take a while for things to shake down, but I’ll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there’s anything not mentioned you’d like to get our thoughts on, we’ll be answering questions between 1pm-3pm (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).


General Game Elements

  • Masteries

Overall, we’re pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord’s Bloodlust, and we’ll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery’s just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.

On the other hand there are also some champions that aren’t sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we’ll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn’t feel like it offers many champs a good choice.

  • Minion Blocking

We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We’ll be looking to adjust this to make it feel “right” again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking’s calculated in 5.23.

  • The Jungle

We’re seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We’ve got some buffs to Hunter’s Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We’re also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you’re currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.

As far as Rift Herald goes, we’re seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we’d hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it’s a bit too punishing, so we’re reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.

  • Turrets

We’re currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that’s assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it’s also going to be due to a bug that’s removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We’ll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.


Champions:

  • Marksmen

Graves is significantly too strong, Kog’maw definitely too weak. We’ll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today’s hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast’s getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we’ll need to make further adjustments as well. We’d rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.

Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we’re looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we’ll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe’s Q that should help her out a bit. We’re also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren’t sure yet whether we’ll have changes we’re happy with for 5.23 or not.

  • Assassins

Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we’re looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha’zix/Zed), longer term we’ll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).

  • Other Champion Changes

It’s not preseason specific, but we’ve also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn’t from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.

The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there’s to align champion size better with each champion’s role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more…squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian’s not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).


Other Stuff

  • Items

Statikk Shiv’s looking too generically strong. We’ll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.

Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we’ll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we’ll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.

  • Clean Up, Bug Fixes

We’ve got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.

  • Game Duration

Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we’ve spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it’s looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).

In terms of direction, two of the big things we’re looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We’re also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that’s something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we’ll need to make some follow up changes.

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Have surrenders become more common this Preseason

Meddler Final PortraitYes, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in surrendering around the 20 minute mark post 5.22. That’s pretty standard after a major patch like this, given some champions tend to be out of line and people are experimenting with new stuff, so games can feel decided pretty early on. It’s something we’d expect to drop off noticeably over the next couple of patches though as we address major issues and people figure out what works and what doesn’t post changes. If that doesn’t happen we’ll need to dig into what else is going on.

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What other Champion groups are on your radar

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve just started talking about which class (or sub class) to look at next. We’re currently trending towards immobile mages. Given the need for preseason followup though it’ll also be a little while before the team’s ready to start heavy work on whichever class we go with.

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Would you say Preseason buffed Armor stackers like Taric too much Taric Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, we’re also seeing Malphite and Rammus, other champions who are rewarded for stacking armor, do well right now given the number of AD damage dealers being played. I don’t think we’ll make any changes to those champs individually until we’ve got the bigger picture balanced, it seems reasonable to believe that they’re just reflecting a temporary meta state rather than themselves generally overpowered.

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Which Riot employees are responsible for the Preseason patch

Asyrite Final PortraitThere were 4 teams responsible for the in game changes:
Game Systems – things like Masteries, Items, minions etc
Live Gameplay – Rift Herald, ongoing balance tuning
Champion Update – Marksman
Playtest – Sanity checks on content before it goes Live

It’s really a bigger team effort though, and the collaboration between teams is pretty huge.

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Meddler Final PortraitAlso worth calling out that we had help from individuals on various other teams as well. Some of the champion team helped out with masteries, couple of folks from the team that worked on the Bilgewater event helped with Rift Herald’s model etc.

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What is the average game length that Riot aims for

Meddler Final PortraitOur goal with preseason was to keep games around the same average length as they currently were (around 33 minutes on average). Games in 5.22 look like they’re a couple of minutes shorter so far, at around 31 minutes, that’s likely to change though in 5.23 as we get in changes that either missed the cutoff for 5.22 or were bugged (minion changes, tower scaling defense respectively).

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How do you intend to fix the Champion kits and builds that Preseason broke

Asyrite Final PortraitHey man! We’re going to be watching, reading, listening, and playing a lot over the next few weeks to get a feel for where the new lay of the land is. Right now win rates are still being highly impacted by people learning new optimized item builds, masteries, abilities etc. Vayne as an example has an~8% delta in win rate between her most frequent build and her highest common win rate build (referencing champion.gg in this case since that’s available to everyone). If you look at the why, it’s because a subset players are still rushing BORK, which looks like it’s proving to no longer be the optimal build path. Just pulling that as one example. Over the next few weeks, as players discover those optimal builds, I’m expecting we’ll see the standard deviation for individual champ win rates get smaller, time will definitely tell though!

I know you referenced Kha’zix in particular, and he’s definitely taken a hit this preseason (to me it feels like it’s actually more about the removal of Trailblazer as opposed to Tiamat passive, but that’s just my $0.02). We’re investigating how we can give him a bit of love, but want to wait for things to settle before getting more aggressive with changes. Also note I used to play Kha’zix a fair bit so I feel your pain :).

Hope this at least touches on some of your concerns

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How about putting a short CD on Quinns ult and removing the cast time Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYes! I’ve given quite a bit of thought to this actually. One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don’t have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I’m keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches.

What I’m currently feeling is that it’s too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.

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Why was Quinn heavily reworked in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitI think on the Quinn update generally, we actually didn’t see her as “heavily reworked.” What we intended for her was primarily the changes to her ultimate, and then supporting changes to make that work well. Admittedly, we missed the mark on the proper supporting changes, hence our reaction to re-institute a utility-focused Q in 5.23, but we do think that the changes to her ultimate open up a lot of doors for her both strategically and tactically. That said, I know there are old Quinn mains that won’t agree with that.

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Do you think Quinns current ult may make her a problem in pro play

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s certainly a possibility that we’ll be looking out for. If she ever becomes popular, players will be quick to pick it up and let us know.

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Quinns current Vault E makes it impossible to proc W and chase targets

Repertoir New PortraitFollowing that conversation, I made some adjustments to where E places you when you cast from max range in hopes to address this issue a bit. I don’t currently think her chase is too bad at the moment, but that isn’t to say I couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

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Why is Caitlyn allowed to stack her passive on towers again

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CertainlyT New PortraitThis was done on purpose. Caitlyn is a (perhaps the) premiere siege marksman. She should feel good about attacking towers. We added this mechanic back in on Caitlyn because it made sense that she wouldn’t feel a tension between shooting towers and minions.

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Do you plan on buffing weaker ADCs to the level of the stronger ones

CertainlyT New PortraitI’ll go into some elements of our approach. As an individual contributor to the marksmen updates, it will only reflect my perspective, but hopefully it will be helpful:

1) Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors.
First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen.
Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren’t trying Essence Reaver on Sivir).
Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you’ll have to pick them in the right circumstances – If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you’ll probably be worse off than if you’d picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.

2) We aren’t sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players’ perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can’t just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn’t lead to a satisfying experience.

3) That is all very nebulous. So here are some specific answers.
We’re hotfixing Graves and Kog’Maw today (nerf and buff respectively). I’d look some obvious changes in 5.23 and a substantial amount of fine tuning in 5.24.
Caitlyn’s Q is indeed too weak. Even if we had to nerf other elements of her, it would be worth buffing the ability to let her actually reach towers and make skillfully avoiding it matter when playing against. I believe duo bot Twitch is very powerful and that players who are routinely failing with him are probably not good at the champion or are fixated on a strategy that is now less effective (teamfight AoE) as opposed to opportunistic assassination. Even the data supports this. His win rate is almost 50% when played in his best role. He’s not doing well in the jungle, and we’ll have to assess how much we can support him there.
* I don’t have a good sense for Sivir and Ashe’s balance right now, so perhaps someone else can reply to that. Anecdotally, they feel effective given their utility.

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Do you ve plans for Kha Zix Khazix Single Banner

Asyrite Final PortraitHaving played a decent bit of Kha’zix both in normals and ranked over the years, he’s definitely someone that was hurt more than we’d like due to the preseason changes (looking at you Trailblazer). While we want to avoid any heavy handedness right now due to the number of things that have changed, there’s definitely room to give him a bit of love, especially in regards to his early game.

I played him last night in order to get a better feel on Live, and after Twitch accidentally took my large Krug early which kinda boned me (hit lvl 2 at 3:55), I still managed to do alright. Like I said though, definitely want to show him some love in the near future, as well as potentially look at something more long term.

Hope that helps!

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Whats the balance teams stance on the Grievous Wounds debuff

Meddler Final PortraitWe see GW as a useful safety valve on healing/high sustain champions, and one that’s probably best accessed in game in response to an enemy getting out of control (e.g. a really fed Swain), rather than accessed via champ select before you know how needed it’ll be. GW on individual kits has the potential to lead to hard counter situations, and while we do want to reward good choices in champ select we’d like to avoid games that feel predecided before the loading screen.

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Only Teemo has Blind now do you think Blind is a good mechanic

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to remove blind from Teemo and I’d imagine will at some point look to use it on at least one other champion. Would want to improve the visual/audio feedback for the blinded player to help them play around the effect before doing so though. The important thing would be putting it on a champion where it doesn’t leave the enemy without sufficient means to respond. Teemo’s really range limited, doesn’t burst people down generally and lacks other survivability tools when in the thick of the fight. Quinn by contrast had much longer range on her blind, has a powerful mid fight reposition and is adept at forcing fights with targets of her choice.

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Thoughts on Twitch

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Repertoir New Portrait I’m excited that the changes for 5.22 did not seem to make him too powerful, and given that, I’d like to keep pushing that direction in an upcoming patch if there’s an opportunity. An example of something we tested internally but didn’t end up shipping (for power concerns) was that the reset on Ambush had more Movement Speed and dropped into stealth instantly instead of with the 1.5 second fade time. This isn’t necessarily exactly what we’d do with him moving forward, but making that added mechanic feel right is probably the basic idea.

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Why do mages have such a hard time efficiently hitting 40

Pwyff Final PortraitI know Jag had a very specific reason as to why he kept Herald a one-person buff, so I’ll poke him to answer here.

For the CDR topic, I wonder if the ideal state of Mages is that they are guaranteed to hit CDR cap without much tradeoff or if they can be balanced in a way that investing into CDR is a meaningful decision (ie: giving up MR and maybe even Sorc Boots to double down on cooldowns for the additional utility). A world where a mage decides between high-damage, higher-cooldown abilities vs. lower-damage, utility-focused, lower-cooldown abilities seems like an interesting decision if done well.

In other words, right now there’s a large mentality shift of “I will always hit the CDR cap” to “I need to think try very hard to hit the CDR cap.” Additionally, since outside of the keystone masteries there hasn’t been anything more powerful injected into Mages, it might feel like a power decrease but we have a lot of noise and data we’ll need to parse through to see if this is actually true. Are mages weak? Are mages properly calibrated against their core stats (CDR, AP, mana regen)? Honestly speaking I want to see more before just saying “if you raise gold costs on AP and make it more difficult to hit the CDR cap, of course mages are going to be weak,” – it’s hard to assess that without seeing how the ecosystem of the game actually plays out, not to mention the strength of Deathfire Touch.

[edit]

Additional note on other champions getting more ‘free’ access to CDR than mages. These kind of comparisons are really weird to me, because CDR is one of those stats that’s very closely tied to the balance of the kit using it. CDR on marksmen tends to be very singular in purpose – damage – and often dependent on proper positioning to use well. Most Mage abilities tend to be fight-starters or fight-stoppers, meaning they have the ability to dramatically change the landscape or flow of a fight on a single ability cast. CDR to them is far more valuable and, in their natural item builds, needs to be ‘priced’ accordingly.

If stats were just generically priced without accounting for the stat affinities of the classes purchasing them, I think we’d get some really, really weird scenarios.

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ADCs can deal AA damage yet they reach the CDR cap easier than mages

Pwyff Final PortraitI edited in an answer regarding that, but I do feel like we’re in a bit of a vacuum comparison. A mage using abilities on cooldown can often stop or outright deny a champion threat. A marksman can do the same via a steady stream of damage but we’re basically talking variance in power. Mages have high variance – high highs, low lows (no abilities to cast), while Marksmen have less highs but more consistent output. In a balanced world, these two types of damage output would be well balanced against each other, but Mages also get the addition of utility, which needs to be considered as well.

I suppose this is a long way of saying damage isn’t the only thing to compare and Mages vs. Marksmen can’t really be boiled down to individual stat comparisons and who gets access to what. A reverse example (not totally comparable) might be if Marksmen were demanding total AD scaling on Trinity Force procs, similar to Lich Bane.

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Pwyff Final PortraitI think I’m saying that Mages have access to a lot more breadth of power than Marksmen and their itemization currently reflects that as well. If a Mage were to become a magic-focused Marksman I think it’d be easier to balance them, but then you’d be effectively choosing between the two. All a marksman has – all that they are identified by – is their pure damage with key positioning. A mage can be that, but they can also be the one who picks off fleeing champs, or controls the battlefield, or catches and blows up a stray squishy.

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Why can AD casters stack CDR so effectively and AP carries cant

Pwyff Final PortraitThe question is also what they do with those abilities. AD Casters get access to CDR very easy, but they can’t transform that CDR into an ability that starts and ends a teamfight on a single cast. An Ahri charm at late game can potentially mean a squishy target is dead without using any ability. An Ezreal Q cast on cooldown does not.

Really, really important distinction.

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Why did so many AP items get a cost increase in the Preseason patch

Meddler Final PortraitWe increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren’t however, so we’ll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong).

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Have you considered adding new items for AP carries

Meddler Final PortraitI expect we’ll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we’re thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.

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Are you considering nerfing Essence Reaver

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Meddler Final PortraitWe are. In particular it’s getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We’ll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.

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How would you make assassins  mages invest points in Cunning and not Ferocity

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be fleshing out the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones in Cunning, which should help somewhat there. For some champions though Ferocity’s probably always going to be more appealing (DoT mages especially will be really strongly drawn to DFT). Assassins by contrast are meant to be well served by the Cunning tree, so if they’re not getting decent performance from it we might need to make the Tier 3 keystones a bit stronger for them.

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Any thoughts on buffing Cull

Meddler Final PortraitIt’s looking like it’ll probably need some form of buff yeah.

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Why do Deathfire Touch and Thunderlords decree have such similar effects

Meddler Final PortraitWe’d like DFT to be the sustained damage option and Thunderlord’s the burst damage one. Both should have reasonable scaling though, hence the ratios – we’re not looking to make one of them a non item dependent option.

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Does Fervor of Battle work with Lifesteal

Meddler Final PortraitFervor of Battle’s proc damage, so doesn’t work with lifesteal, can’t crit etc.

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Can we get some Poppy teasers

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Meddler Final PortraitQuite soon (almost certainly next rework of any size to go out).

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Will there be Champion Mastery levels added to ARAM or other modes

CertainlyT New PortraitI’m not sure our designers who work on that are in this Q and A, so I’ll answer for them! I would be somewhat opposed to this on the grounds that ARAM doesn’t test a wide variety of skills and because the random mode is about encouraging you to branch out, not go deep on a small number of champions. However, I think it would be cool if there were ways to express your mastery of ARAM as such — for example, ones more related to the map or champion classes.

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Is Thresh considered Melee or Range Thresh Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThresh is meant to be a ranged champion. When we updated how we tag champions as melee or ranged he got missed for some reason (not sure why myself sorry). That’ll be fixed in the next patch.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

QA New Champ Select banner

[ Note ] You can find a preview of the new Champion Select on the PBE HERE.

 

 

Lyte Final PortraitHey all,

Lyte here. Last week we shared the new champ select for the first time. For the next couple of hours, the design team behind the feature will be here to answer all your champ select questions.

Here’s who’s hanging out with me:

Daniel “ryedan” Balmert, Kam “boourns” Fung, and Eric “Socrates” Kenna. Come ask us anything you want about the design, the visuals, or experience of the new champ select!

EDIT ::: Team’s going to grab some lunch! May drop by here and there to answer some remaining questions. Thanks for stopping by!

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Do you think the visual changes will distract from functionality testing

Lyte Final PortraitWe’re planning some deep dives and behind the scenes looks at the building of the new Champ Select, and our initial testing was actually with these ugly (sorry boourns!) prototypes that just had grey boxes and words. This is called UX lab testing in the games industry, and allows design teams to focus feedback and testing on the actual functional experience of the system and not be distracted by the polish of fancy visuals or animations. It’s only until pretty far in the project until you start adding in the stuff that makes the system look like magic.

The Champ Select quotes being played was actually a spontaneous idea by RiotBahamut. He was tinkering with the Champ Select and thought it would be cool, and the team instantly loved how it felt. We’re aware there could be some trolling or spammy experiences, but we think the overall value would be worthwhile. In fact, we’d love to add some more easter eggs to the system…

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Wont showing what Champ you want to play before bans encourage trolling

Ryedan Final PortraitBans are important. In the live version of Draft, the captain has the opportunity to use 3 bans to troll his teammates. Each ban used to “troll” allies means that some dangerous, high value champ is left on the table. The distribution of bans makes it so when you DO have someone trolling, their power is contained to a single ban.

Also, you don’t have to declare a champion intent if you don’t want. Something I pitched to Lyte was having the 6 roles (Tank, Mage, Assassin, Fighter, Support, Marksman) available in the champion grid as an option instead of declaring a specific champion, so you could be like “We have a Fiddlesticks jungle and we have a Leona bot, I think I should play a fighter top to round out the comp, but I’m not sure which one.”

What do you guys think?

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Lyte Final PortraitActually, we saw something pretty weird in our playtests with Distributed Bans and Pick Intent. Because every single player now has a powerful “choice” in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or the top 2 picks), it actually reduced trolling of Pick Intent. So basically, players were far less likely to ban a Pick Intent (unless they thought it was a S-tier champion or something) because they knew that if they pissed off their teammates, their teammates could reverse-troll them with their powerful choice.

If you’re super worried about trolling in Pick Intent either way, you can always let the timer run out and not choose any champs at all and display a blank helmet icon.

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It seems the new Champ Select will make it easier to distribute team roles

Socrates New PortraitOne of our goals with the new champ select was to formalize a lot of communication to make it easier to get on the same page with your team quickly. Ultimately we believe this will let players focus on strategy instead of just trying to figure out positions.

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When will the new Champ Select go live in EUW

Lyte Final PortraitWe’d like to do some pre-season testing on NA and TR first, and if things are going well, we’ll rapidly roll it out globally.

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Why do you do all your testing on NA

Lyte Final PortraitWe see this question a lot, so going to jump in even though it’s late in the thread. When we choose to test new systems and features, it has everything to do with timezone. Although some teams work in multiple offices around the world, 100% of our team works in the LA office which means we prefer to choose a test server that has a timezone that does NOTcompletely wreck our sleep schedules.

You generally want to turn on a new feature or system during off-peak hours, say 6 AM, and then monitor it for about 24 hours at a time. By choosing NA, we can basically wake up and sleep at an OK time which is far less exhausting for the team.

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Could you do a breakdown of how long every step of Champ Select will take

Socrates New PortraitI felt the same way with the old experience, Drafting can feel like it takes a long time and we definitely didn’t want to make it take longer. In our testing so far we’ve seen champ selects move slightly faster. The biggest change that impacts this is requiring champion selections to be locked in instead of it being possible to idle on a champ selection and have it auto lock at the end.

This is what it looks like from old to new:

Old Champ Select:

  • Ban Phase: 60s per ban (360s total)
  • Pick Phase: 60s per pick (360s total) *Remember, 2 players pick at once sometimes
  • Resolution/Trades Phase: 60s
  • Total: 780s potential cap

New Champ Select:

  • Position Assignment: ~4s
  • Planning Phase: ~35s
  • Ban Phase: 40s per ban (240s total)
  • Pick Phase: 40s per pick (400s total)
  • Resolution/Trades Phase: 40s
  • Total: 720s potential cap

The above is subject to changes based on testing.

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Will a lobby vote to kick players from Champ Select ever be implemented

Boourns New PortraitWe expect that the new champion select experience will greatly reduce these kinds of situations. We’re going to look at our metrics after release and see if there’s value in attacking the problem more.

That said, we don’t think vote kick is a great way to solve the problem. If we do work around negative champion select behavior it will be more around reporting that behavior after you dodge. Vote kick just has too many negative side effects (it may actually increase bullying of off-meta champion picks for example).

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Will we have the option of creating a custom pool of Champions

Ryedan Final PortraitIt’s always a cost vs benefit issue, but we’re willing to look at the benefit. Something we’ve kicked around is having your top X (5?) played champions stickied to the top of the champion grid (for easy access). We want to use something smart that doesn’t require management, otherwise it’s unlikely to get adopted (and therefore deliver any value) to many players. Item sets are great for power users, but we didn’t see as much use as we thought. It’s great for those couple of people that really use it, but we could have brought something much more useful to more players.

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Will we be able to show what Champion we want to play only to teammates

Boourns New PortraitThis is something we’re looking at adding, although I don’t know if it will be in the initial release. Personally I’d love to be able to bring the champion grid back up during picks and bans so I can convey up-to-date information to my team.

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So is it impossible now to wait the timer out without banning a Champion

Lyte Final PortraitNo, we’ve intentionally removed the ability to let the timer run out to lock in a Pick, or skip a Ban. When you’re in a team with strangers, skipping a ban is a confusing and frustrating experience for the rest of the team (and they often misunderstand it as the Captain being AFK). If you really want the challenge of skipping bans, grab 4 friends and join Dynamic Queue as a Premade of 5 and ban random champions.

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When will the new Champion Select go live

Lyte Final PortraitTo be honest, we’re not sure when we’re going to go live yet. We have some polish we’d like to do, maybe a new feature or two, and have one nasty bug we need to fix before the Ranked 2016 Season. The team would love to do another PBE test, and potentially a roll out to NA and TR before the Ranked 2016 Season begins to iron out any further kinks, but we’re working around the clock right now and it’s hard to predict when each of these pieces will finish.

 

 

Will people be able to see the Masteries of teammates in Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitRight now, there are no plans to allow everyone to see your Champion Mastery in Champ Select. We may re-visit this in the future though, and would just have to balance out the negative behaviors that were created. For example, in a distant future when we have more than 5 levels of Champion Mastery, maybe we only show Champion Mastery only when you are Level 10 or higher–this is a significant investment, and something “cool” to show you’re a master with a champion.

However, Level 10 might be a lofty, challenging goal. If we decided to show, say Level 2 Champ Mastery or higher, it would create an immediate perception that if you WEREN’T showing Champ Mastery with a champ, that you shouldn’t play Ranked at all. We’re aware some players would love this type of “gate” on who you can play in Ranked, but it’s not something we’re going to consider today because there are more important issues to improve in Ranked Mode.

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Will we be able to choose and buy champion ward skins in the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitYes! This is a feature we’re still working on, but didn’t finish by the first PBE release.

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Why did you choose the last three people to ban instead of the first three

Lyte Final Portraitboourns remembers the crazy testing we had to do with Distributed Bans. At the beginning, we actually had Players 1, 2, 3, get the bans, then Players 4 and 5 get 1st and 2nd pick. However, this was super confusing to players in the testing because they already had yearsof prior experience of picks “starting” from the top of the team. So, we swapped it the current format where Players 3, 4, 5 get the bans, then we “reset” into Pick Phase and start from the top. This was much clearer for current players of the game, so we stuck with it.

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Did you consider adding Summoner Icon Select to the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitThis is a tricky situation. Your summoner icon isn’t really shown in champ select (unless you count the load screen). Let’s be honest – as your ally, I care more about what you’re playing than what your icon is in champ select.

Now, being able to choose icons, ward skins, skins, chromas, finishers etc. all together AFTER I’ve selected my champion is a feature set we’re considering.

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Will the new Champ Select replace Team Builder or will it be a separate queue

Lyte Final PortraitWhen we started this project, we always felt like this was the “end-game” of Team Builder. We’re actually considering closing down the old Team Builder queue, and slowly replacing many of the queues with this new Champ Select experience. So, the Ranked 2016 Season will just have this new Champ Select experience as its queue, and in the future, Normal Draft will just be this new Champ Select experience.

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Lyte Final PortraitAll the testing so far has suggested that the new Champ Select is the best possible League experience, so we’re considering sunsetting the old Team Builder.

We’d also like to replace some of the other queue experiences (like Normal Draft and Ranked) with this new Champ Select experience.

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What steps are being taken against pre game negativity

Boourns New PortraitThe design of the new champion select experience is specifically aimed at reducing conflict in champion select, we think that setting the right environment up for cooperation and communication is the best safeguard against toxic champion select behavior. Your specific example is incredibly rare, even right now, and if it’s a pattern of behavior that player will already be punished by existing systems.

That said we have some designs in our backlog for reporting pre-game toxicity. We’re going to see how negative behavior in champion select looks after release and decide if it’s valuable to do something like pre-game reports (we’re hoping there will be so little it won’t be necessary).

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Why not let 5 people pick 5 bans instead of only giving 3 bans to 3 players

Ryedan Final PortraitOne other reason is because it would make it harder for fresh level 30s to transition into ranked. You need to own 10 (# players in game) + 6 (# of bans) champions. Newer players would be forced to unlock 20 total champions (instead of 16), which might deter more people from trying it.

That’s in addition to the other diversity reasons.

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Isnt it a good thing to restrict Ranked to level 30players only

Ryedan Final PortraitThere’s no such thing as “not ready for ranked” as far as skill. The spectrum of Bronze to Challenger covers everyone. The reason we have the level 30 cap is to make sure you’re not playing against people who have access to raw stat advantages over you.

I don’t know what the plans are regarding increasing the ban count, but it’s a heavy issue. If you could ban 5 chess pieces, we’d have all pawns. On the flip side, zero bans means that the absolute best options will be picked 100% of the time, leading to stagnation in picks (first pick always gets queen).

You need to maintain a comfortable amount of bans that permits something powerful left on the board, while still allowing the player-base to deny commonly accepted “OP” picks. You need fewer bans than “must picks” in order for bans to mean anything, otherwise it’s just a false choice.

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So its possible that 5 strangers can be matched against 5 premades

Boourns New PortraitWe prioritize matching the same size groups against each other. It may happen that a premade 5 gets matched against solos, but it should be very rare based on our simulations using live data. We’ll know more when we look at real matches post release. If it’s happening too often we’ll take measures to make sure we’re getting fair matches.

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Is it possible to pass the ban to someone else or just skip a ban

Ryedan Final PortraitI like the idea in principal – both sides still get the same ban # and everyone is happy. However, I think this goes against one of our pillars when re-designing the champion select screen – Clarity on what’s happening now and who’s going next. If people can pass on bans, shuffle them down and move actions around, it gets hard for someone to understand what’s going on. For example, who gets your ban? how many seconds do you have to discard your ban? If a person thinks they aren’t banning then suddenly they are “granted” a ban, it might be weird.

If you don’t know who to ban or don’t care, ban Yorick. It will make Lyte mad because he likes to play him.

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Youre forcing one trick ponies in Ranked to climb using at least two roles

Lyte Final PortraitThis is a pretty common misunderstanding in Ranked play today. On average, players are only proficient at about 2.2 positions today. In fact, as you go higher in skill, you become more specialized in particular positions. However, we have some ideas to actually encourage players to master multiple positions beyond 2, and potentially reward players for truly being a master of all positions in League.

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How does the new system distribute players who picked the same roles

Boourns New PortraitIf you’re in a premade party the system prevents this. You must have party size + 1 unique positions selected. So if you’re duo you can’t go bot/supp, supp/bot. Instead you must have one more unique position.

If you’re soloing the system will prefer to give you your primary choice when possible.

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What if your pick order was based on the team role you picked

Boourns New PortraitWe wouldn’t do pick order based on your position because it would betray to the other team where each champion was going. This was something we looked at earlier, but didn’t do because part of the strategic fun of draft is being able to fake out the other team with a flex pick like lulu. By having assigned positions we already think it will be likely that you will get the champion you want even if you’re last pick. BTW last pick also has power because it allows you to counter-pick your lane matchup.

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Heres a suggestion can you let us communicate during Loading Screen

Boourns New PortraitRegarding loading screen chat: you’re not the only one who would love that feature! It’s difficult to do because, frankly, there’s not a lot loaded in the loading screen (including chat)! 😀 There are no shortage of people here who would love to see it happen, it just hasn’t so far.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

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Will skins in the future be delayed past their relevant event

KateyKhaos Final PortraitWe’ve stated that we’ve got some stuff planned for Snowdown. In a case like that, yes, skins would be held for that event. There will still be instances where you won’t see a champion skin for a bit due to them being a part of an event/group of skins that will be released.

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What’s the status of Shens rework

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’s high ish on our list of smaller reworks (smaller as in some gameplay changes, with visual/audio changes as needed to support those, rather than a full relaunch). Marksmen polish, bug fixing and followup, plus Poppy, are the champion update team’s big priorities at the moment though. Shen’s rework definitely won’t be this year, early next year’s looking like it could be feasible though.

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Do youve an ETA for when Akalis rework will be released

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have a timeline for Akali at present. Could be a moderate time after Shen, could be a long time after.

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Why not tackle assassins after your Juggernaut Marksman updates

Meddler Final PortraitWe haven’t decided which class to tackle after marksmen. Assassins are definitely a possibility, but still just one of several options we’re talking about. If doing assassins we’d definitely want to sync an Akali rework with that of course.

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Do youve any plans for Talon

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’d be good to do some work on him someday, give him some more distinction from standard assassin tools, a more meaningful passive and better counterplay. No current plans for that though, that’ll likely wait until we tackle assassins at a group whenever that is.

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Whats happening with the Taric rework

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Meddler Final PortraitFor quite a long time we were blocked from working on Taric because we hadn’t found what we felt was the right way to update him without losing core parts of his character. A little while back we found a direction that we’re really happy with, so we’re now in a position where we can look at putting him into the pipeline.

Progress in terms of direction and goals basically, rather than progress in terms of producing the actual character for the game.

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Will the new Champion Select roll out to ARAM 3v3 and Dominion

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[ Note ] You can find an in-game preview of the new Champion Select HERE.

Lyte Final PortraitWe have to first finish the “Blind Pick” version of this experience, then we’ll figure out how we want to tackle unique maps.

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Four premades in SoloQ will have full control over the surrender vote

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s pretty easy to detect if 4:1 premades are surrendering too early, holding the 5th player hostage, so on and so forth. It’s also super easy to resolve, including things like forcing 4:1 premades to have unanimous votes to trigger a Surrender. At the end of the day, there’s way less toxicity to 4:1 situations than players are portraying right now.

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Will we ever get the chance to kick a player from Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitThe new Champ Select should solve a lot of conflicts because of the system design and things like Pick Intent, Pick 2 Positions, and Distributed Bans. However, if there are still meaningful negative experiences in Champ Select, we’ve considered allowing players to queue dodge and “report” a player and supply a reason. If the reported player was being toxic, we could make sure there’s no queue dodge penalties. But, for us to do this feature there would need to be meaningful Champ Select toxicity, say greater than 5% of lobbies.

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Will you solve the issue of players trollbanning other peoples pick intents

Lyte Final PortraitIf a player wants to troll, they are going to find a way to do it whether Pick Intent exists or not.

We believe Pick Intent is still a net-positive feature, and provides more value than damage. What we did notice was that by introducing Distributed Bans, far less players trolled Pick Intent. Because nearly every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or 1st/2nd pick), players are less likely to troll one another in the drafting process because that other player could counter you with something equally damaging.

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How do you plan to balance premade groups playing in high ELO queues

Lyte Final PortraitThere’s a weird misconception around high MMR queues.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen, but here’s a few scenarios:

1) High MMR players will group together with their high MMR friends, and we’ll get to watch some pretty crazy matches between players from different pro teams queuing together. This will be highly competitive and entertaining.

2) High MMR players will decide to all go solo, so it’ll be just like Solo/Duo Queue today except sometimes they’ll face off against premade teams from a lower skill tier.

High MMR players are already waiting in queues and being repeatedly matched with lower tier players, or placed with teams that have Duo Queues of lower skill. This already happens, and won’t be fixed with Dynamic Queues. It’s not really easy to fix the problem of “not enough high tier players” in a queue 😛

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Why do the last three players in the new Champ Select get to ban

Lyte Final PortraitPlayer 1 and 2 get first and second pick, which we’ve seen are also “valuable” choices in Champ Select.

Whether we add more bans or not is a super complex topic that Ghostcrawler or Meddler have talked about before, so I don’t want to dig into it here again.

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What if a team with one Bronze Silver Gold Plat Diamond player queues

Lyte Final PortraitYou can’t even create that team because Tier Restrictions still exist in Dynamic Queues. Your team has to be within 2 tiers of each other.

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Will we be able to trade picks in the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitYes, there’s still a Trade Phase in the new Champ Select.

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Can we just fill any team role

Lyte Final PortraitYou can do this! Just select “Fill” as your Primary position and queue up.

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What if I get countered or the Champions for the role I picked are banned

Lyte Final PortraitActually, just like in today’s Champ Select, if you really have to you can negotiate with your team to swap positions. Just like today, you could go, “Hey guys, I really can’t do well versus a Darius Top, anyone mind swapping positions with me?”

We’re not removing any functionality, you can still do this stuff today.

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Premade groups will ruin Solo Queue in Master Challenger ELOs

Lyte Final PortraitI’ll be honest, anyone that says they can predict how Dynamic Queues will shake out for high MMR players is just making a wild assumption at this time.

Even we can’t make a prediction about what will happen, but we can map out the scenarios. IF Dynamic Queues are dramatically destroying the experience for many players, we’ll know and we’ll figure out how to solve it. To say we should never try something because of a hypothetical scenario is being risk-averse. We have to be OK taking risks once in awhile if we want to keep pushing League’s potential.

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Will we be able to lock Champions to prevent them from being banned

Lyte Final PortraitWhen we introduced Pick Intent, it was critical that we also introduce Distributed Bans. Because every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (either 1st/2nd pick, or a ban) we saw less trolling of Pick Intent because every player had some leverage over the other players. It’s a weird dynamic, but Distributed Bans were effective in reducing trolling. We do not intend on allowing players to “lock” something from being banned during Pick Intent because that could introduce far more damage than positive in the long run–imagine preventing a ban of an S-Tier champion that gets first picked by the opposing team. Chaos would ensue.

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Can we be allowed to report players during Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitNot at this time. If there are still significant toxicity issues in Champ Select, we may introduce a feature to allow a player to dodge, and report a player and supply a reason for their dodge. With some machine learning magic, we could assess this report in real-time and remove any potential queue dodge penalties as well. But, this feature is pretty costly, so it’d have to be worth doing.

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Have you considered allowing players to queue for one role only

Lyte Final PortraitOne of the big criticisms of Team Builder Classic was queue times, so forcing everyone to choose at least 2 positions really, really improves queue times and ensures queue health. By allowing players to only select 1 position (even if they understand they are waiting longer to play that 1 position), it significantly influences the entire matchmaking ecosystem if only 20% of players choose 1 position only. To us, it’s not worth damaging the entire health of the queue to give players this amount of control.

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Why not group premades with premades rather than with solo players

Lyte Final PortraitThis pretty much already happens. We’ve made a few changes to the matchmaker so similar group comps are paired against each other. Premade 5s pair more with Premade 5s, before being paired with 4:1 or 3:2 for example. I’ll also note that really, the vast majority of players wanted Dynamic Queues, but of course Reddit is a pretty hardcore demographic and once a thread swings one direction, generally the opposition are not going to jump in to voice an opinion. Most players also don’t realize when they are in games with premades. Nearly 100% of Ranked Games has a Duo Queue today, but players only remember the games when Duo Queues were negative.

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Wont queues be just as long as with Team Builder if no one picks Support

Lyte Final PortraitActually, with the “Fill” position, we’re in a pretty good spot for position distributions. We’re also willing to incentivize the in-demand positions with some small bonuses from the future crafting system.

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Heroes of the Storm had groups in Solo Queue and the feature was removed

Lyte Final PortraitTo be clear, Blizzard’s reasons had to do with skill disparity and variance on teams.

We’ve added multiple matchmaking features that solve this problem including Tier Restrictions (you can’t queue with friends beyond a certain tier in skill). Also, CS:GO has a Dynamic Queue system that works pretty well, so you can’t just point to 1 game and say “it’s a bad idea because that game moved away from it.”

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Lyte Final PortraitWe’re also doing a lot of features like Clubs to help players find more friends to play with, and make more friends. We don’t have to do one or the other, we have to try many things!

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Why not split your feature into a Solo Queue and Small Group Queue

Lyte Final PortraitSplitting the queues into a Pure Solo and Group Queue would have all the queue health problems that we (and other studios) have faced before. When you have a smaller playerbase on a server like Turkey, both queues would be negative experiences. The more you segregate your playerbase, the worse the experience in each island.

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Why not add voice chat if youre trying to make League more teamoriented

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve been doing a lot of research on voice chat and the impact it has on the game experience. We have some ideas for how we’d like to solve the negatives that voice chat has, but no teams are actively working on integrated voice chat for League. As you can tell with the 2016 Ranked changes, we are trying to make League more of a team sport, which does make voice comms more valuable.

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Skill ranking is irrelevant to how effective group matchmaking is

Lyte Final PortraitWhen players make statements like “Skill Ranking” means nothing, it might not actually reflect reality.

What does it mean for “Skill Ranking” to mean something? Technically, it means things like if I have Player A (1200 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR) they will reliably win 50% of their matches against each other over 100s of games. It means things like if I have Player A (1240 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR), Player A will win their matches 54% of the time if you’re using the basic Elo equation from Chess. Of course, this is a simplified model because most PvP games are team-based so there’s additional variables… but you get the point.

I don’t think players can concretely say that in CS:GO, the Dynamic Queue system is so bad that a significant number of matchups are erroneous and therefore Skill Rating means nothing. On average, a higher skill player will still beat a lower skill player. The question is, how consistently does this happen? If a higher skill player beats a lower skill player at a predictable % of the time, I think the system is working effectively. If a higher skill player should beat a lower skill player 60% of the time, but only beats them 40% of the time on average, something is broken.

I may have gotten a bit too into the math weeds here, but unless you can see the data like Valve (or like us), you can’t simply conclude that Skill Ratings mean nothing in Dynamic Queues. Could it become less accurate than before? Yes. However, if 30% more players enjoy Ranked, and Skill Rating means 2% less… is that a valuable tradeoff? Maybe. Until we try this out for a bit, we don’t know what those numbers will be and what the tradeoffs are, so it’s too early to make wild assumptions.

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Why do you think 41 queues will level out at 50 winrate for the solo player

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve dug into examples like this many times before, and it’s generally because the Normal MMRs of the players don’t reflect their Ranked MMRs. This is a known problem that we have some fixes for called “Splashing.” Basically, as your Ranked MMR increases, we “splash” some points into the other queue MMRs to make sure they are all tied a bit closer. But, in practice this didn’t work too well because a lot of higher tier players mess around in Normals or only want to play casual in Normals with friends, so they DIDN’T want their Ranked MMR to affect other queues.

Long story short, it does look bad, but actually if you look at the matches holistically, you still have very close to a 50% win rate in those matches.

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Why not learn from Normal games how premade behavior affects queues

Lyte Final PortraitThis is exactly why we’d like to work in Normal Draft Queues first, because they are a close model of how a Dynamic Queue might work. We’re also testing “Ranked Queues” in NA and TR, to get an even closer model of how things might shake out.

We’ll know more soon, we just need players to give us a chance to try things before jumping up in arms and condemning it. We aren’t crazy, and we know this is risky–but, we want to try.

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How did you gather data that suggests most players want Dynamic Ranked

Lyte Final PortraitWe run random sample surveys across the entire global playerbase regularly, so we tend to get a nice representative response from all demographics–the hardcore, the average, the player that never visits forums, the player that visits Reddit 8x a day, etc.

 

The truth is, in every survey we’ve done, the majority of players were interested in Dynamic Queue. That doesn’t mean we just use that data point and force Dynamic Queue on everyone because we also saw that a non-trivial number of players were solo purists, and loved the idea of “true” Solo Queue and their experiences may get slightly worse because of Dynamic Queue. So, we assessed all the potential negatives that Dynamic Queue had, and implemented upgrades or new features that tried to address them. Did we succeed in making it overall a great experience for the vast majority of players? We don’t know yet. We need to try, collect data, learn, and iterate.

That’s how design is.

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I think the queue change will contribute to the communitys declining skill level

Lyte Final PortraitI don’t believe skill level required to be a top tier player has diminished over time. In fact, it’s increased over time.

1) When you look at Ranked data, most players are only proficient at 2 positions. 2.2, to be specific. There wasn’t really a time period in League history where players were proficient at all 5 positions. In the new Champ Select, you still have to master at least 2 positions to rank up effectively.

2) As the game has matured, the skill level required to compete has only steadily increased. There are more websites, guides, blogs, deep analysis on game mechanics than ever before which is improving education of players on game mastery. There is more infrastructure in eSports (for highschool, colleges, and pro) than ever before, and it’s greatly improving the ‘average’ skill level of top players. 4-5 years ago, there was no true understanding of ‘optimal’ ways to play the game, and you didn’t have to understand little nuances to be in the Top 500 players in the world. Today, by about Level 15, players already are beginning to get a feel for the meta, what champions are effective at what positions, etc. A top player today would absolutely crush a top player from a few years ago.

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What the majority of players want may not be whats good for the community

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s getting late–I need to get some rest so will skip some of your bigger discussions for now. At the risk of sounding offensive (which is NOT my intention with this reply), couldn’t we use the same arguments against solo purists? What if Dynamic Queue is something solo purists say they don’t want, but actually is better for them in the long run too?

 

My point is, I agree that players sometimes say one thing, but mean another. Or, sometimes players really don’t know what they actually want. But, I’d be wary assuming “the other population” is the one that doesn’t know what they want, and your population knows exactly what you want and that you must be right. It’s a game designer’s job to try to figure out the reality behind the fog, and try to understand what is actually the best experience–but I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong. This might be one of those times, it might not be. But, we’re willing to give it a go and pivot as necessary–even if it’s mid-season.

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Marksman Update in the 2016 Season

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Ezreal Final PortraitChampion Update team here! While you’ve probably already seen the big changes due for marksmen (if you haven’t, check it all out here http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/site/2016-season-update/preseason.html ), we wanted to set aside a moment for a deeper dive. The new marksmen update comes hot on the heels of the juggernauts update (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/page/gameplay-update-juggernauts ) and, with so much changing so fast, we think it’s a good idea to pause for a more philosophical reflection.

But first, a quick look back.

When we set out to tackle the juggernauts, we were working with a whole lot of unknowns. This was a set of champions that didn’t have much in the way of strategic identity. By really highlighting their strengths, we gave them clear ways to succeed (and fail) in an unfamiliar environment. Making something from nothing is a really interesting space to work in and we think we’ve achieved our philosophical goal with many of them. The tricky bit, however, was calibrating the juggernaut’s appropriate weaknesses against their raw power.

With marksmen, we have a few advantages. First, because the class as a whole already has a clear function and they’re played in pretty much every game of League, we have a much stronger understanding of their capabilities and expectations. Additionally, because the core weakness of every marksman is “blow ‘em up,” they have some pretty clear checks in place when it comes to solo-carrying games.

Looking forward, our vision remains consistent: We want to give each updated champion a unique reason to be brought to a game, and we want each champion to feel different whether playing against, as, or with. For some, this means sharpening what they already do well, or should do well. For others, it means finding new elements that make them feel special. We want you to have a reason to pick Graves over Lucian, and vice-versa, outside of just dealing more damage.

Our additional goal is to ensure basic attacks between marksmen are as differentiated as possible. This is a new goal that’s very important for this group in particular, given how reliant they are on basic attacks.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the changes. We’ll be throwing out a high-level overview of the updates before we go a little deeper on the philosophy behind them, in case you haven’t checked out the site.

 

Graves Final Portrait

“This calls for the ol’ double-barreled ‘Hello.’”

Graves’ double-barreled shotgun is one of the most distinctive weapons in the marksman arsenal. However, this weapon was underutilized as a kind of mid-range, burst, poke, cone spell. So we doubled-down on the classic shotgun fantasy. Now Graves’ basic attacks fire four rounds (eight on a crit!) in a cone in front of him, dealing damage and knocking back minions. Graves has tradeoffs for this unique mechanic, as he has to reload after firing two rounds (but can quickly reload via Quickdraw), and his basic attacks can be body-blocked.

Because we basically pushed Graves’ Q onto his basic attack, we decided to give him a new Q in the form of End of the Line, where he fires out an explosive canister, leaving behind a trail of gunpowder. That canister then explodes after a few seconds (or immediately on colliding with a wall) and detonates the gunpowder for additional damage.

With the defensive buff from Quickdraw and his incredibly high threat on close-range targets, Graves is the kind of marksman you want to bring when enemies have a lot of backline access (see: diving assassins). The tradeoff here is that Graves loses out on a lot of long-range target selection that other marksmen have, since his basic attacks can’t go over enemies.

The changes focuses on pushing Graves’ identity as a close-range, brawling marksman, and we’re excited to see how he does once he gets into the fight.

 

Quinn Final Portrait

“Justice takes wing.”

Despite its innate coolness factor, Quinn’s old ultimate still had problems. It forced her into overwhelming danger, often leading to trades at the cost of her life (not a great deal!). We are re-imagining her ultimate to play up its tag-team, high-speed nature: Valor now swoops down to carry Quinn, giving her massive out-of-combat mobility. This sharpens Quinn’s identity as a rapid-response marksman. Quinn can aid skirmishes in the jungle, swap lanes to help ganks, respond to split-pushes (or split-push herself), and make it back in time to help with a team fight. Need eyes on Baron? Send Quinn to scout it out!

 

Corki Final Portrait

“Bombs away!”

Corki, the Daring Bombardier, hasn’t been very true to his title. Optimal play for Corki was to play it safe and poke from a distance; he lacked the tools to make big plays. We decided to fix this in an… explosive way. With the addition of Special Delivery – a single-time upgrade to Valkyrie that amps up the damage, range, and disruption of the ability – Corki needs to focus on what sort of decisive action he’ll take to capitalize on the skill. It won’t be easy, but the reward is huge.

Finally, to further push Corki’s identity as the magic damage marksman, his auto-attacks now deal split magic/physical damage and his gatling gun shreds both resists. This allows teams to build around Corki being the primary magic damage dealer, something rather unique in the strategic space of marksmen.

 

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“Fortune doesn’t favor fools.”

Miss Fortune has been synonymous with the famed WOMBO COMBO since she first strutted onto the Rift, though much less so after frequent nerfs to Bullet Time. We wanted the WOMBO back, so we increased her ult’s duration by 50% and increased the number of bullet waves as the game progresses by… a lot.

As for her new passive, we drew a lot of inspiration from Double Up. In lane, Miss Fortune draws tons of strength from her Q, especially in a 2v2 scenario where she can put a lot of pressure on both targets if they don’t position properly. These changes are our way of doubling… down on that thematic, with more rewards for precise target juggling and positioning (the precision is important as well, as there are champions like Varus or Twitch who excel at dumping out a lot of group AoE damage).

 

Caitlyn Final Portrait

“Meet the long gun of the law.”

For Caitlyn, we had to ask ourselves, “How much further can we push the sharpshooter fantasy?” The answer: Like, a lot further. By giving Caitlyn massive range on any enemy she can net or trap, we’re emphasizing her sharpshooting strengths. Giving Yordle Snap Trap an ammo system amplifies Cait’s natural ability to create choke points, while also improving her ability to dominate territory around objectives. The choice between spreading traps for surprise ambushes and setting up lines of defense gives you different ways to capitalize on Cait’s role as League’s #1 sniper elite.

 

Kogmaw Final Portrait

“Feeding time!”

Everyone’s favorite Void puppy just got even more adorabler. Kog’Maw already has a familiar identity in his “Protect the Kog” team comp, but we felt we could amplify it while also separating him from other tank busters. Now, Kog’s Bio-Arcane Barrage doubles his attack speed and attack speed cap, up to five attacks per second (!!!). This makes him the quintessential attack speed “proc” champion, a low-mobility machine-gun of death. It does wonders for creating a unique itemization path and, of course, it makes him look way cooler.

As a quick note for Living Artillery: Changing the damage from raw poke to execution allows Kog to differentiate himself from other long-range pokers. Kog by himself might not make for the perfect poke composition, but if you combine him with enough additional pressure, he can pick off fleeing enemies while also becoming a central damage turret for his team.


So those are our rough thoughts on the update. We’d love to hear yours as you test the changes in action (soon), but these, in tandem with the marksmen itemization update, should bring some interesting changes to the class as a whole.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Whyd you gut Miss Fortunes dueling potential in her Preseason rework

Miss Fortune Single Banner

Ezreal Final PortraitI can understand that feeling, whenever we refocus a champion’s design we will have to take power away from one area in order to place it into another. In MF’s case, we certainly took down her dueling potential a notch. Though in doing so, we’ve given her a much more solidified role in the aoe carry. She has even more incentives to pass damage around to multiple targets.

Ps. You are a badass for running jungle MF, how the heck did you do it?

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Is her new Love Taps passive a gimmicky bonus or a necessity on her kit

Ezreal Final PortraitOne of the problems with ADCs was that they all had the exact same play pattern. Part of our update is focusing on changing it up a bit. For example, Graves reallllly wants to get in close, Kog’Maw needs to plan ahead of time for his damage window, etc. For MF, she can still certainly get off a ton of damage on a single target, it just isn’t as free as before. Her bonus attack speed is actually far larger than before, just for a far shorter window of time. So now she chooses between short duels and long form target swapping.

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Whyd you make the more minor ADC changes for example to Ashes Q

Ezreal Final PortraitUnsure as to which Q change you are talking about, though I’ll chat about the main two. We made it only castable at 5 stacks since the ability was didn’t propose a good choice. Either you cast it well at 5 stacks and got a fantastic benefit, or you cast it below 5 and went home sad. For the cooldown removal, we really wanted to let players push the limits of the spell. If they were able to keep it up all the time, then they deserved to be rewarded!

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Are there any plans to update Ezreals W

Ezreal Final PortraitThere are no current plans to update Ezreal’s W. I do have to admit, I would love to see us update that ability with something far more interesting, but that is a change for the future.

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DEV BLOG Vision in the 2016 Season

Vision Changes Single Banner

Pwyff Final Portrait Posting for Xypherous!

We’ve generally been happy with some of the new vision mechanics in the game with the advent of Season 5. However, as the vision system has grown organically over time, the map has become increasingly brighter and brighter since Season 4.

Additionally, the amount of unused trinkets and profusion of various vision types made it hard to consider expansions onto an already bloated system so this Season will mostly focus around concentrating the vision game to fewer discrete points.

Sight_Ward

First off, we’ve removed Green Wards. This is a pretty big sledgehammer to vision overall and the map is significantly darker because of it. We heard a lot of feedback on this and I wanted to give more context:

When vision is in a “consumable” state, it does a few things to the game that we want to change. First, because map knowledge is so powerful, the ideal state of vision for two teams is basically “as much as you can.” That means that teams will be perpetually funneling their excess gold (or in the case of supports and some junglers, their core gold income) into as much vision upkeep as possible. The compelling decision of when to ward and where to ward gets flattened.

For supports, engaging so heavily with the vision system means they’ll often need to give up late-game purchases and slot efficiency to ensure the map is well lit. For others, it becomes a gold dump to push an advantage. By taking all ‘safe’ vision (invisible wards) out of the gold stream and placing them on meaningfully gated cooldowns, teams will have to think a lot more about where they want to set up on the map, rather than it being a given luxury for who can do it.

In addition to the removal of Green Wards, we’re also doing the following changes:

vision ward

Pink Wards will still remain buyable and represent an investment into permanent vision control over an area. They’re also slightly cheaper and fall into Sight Ward’s original cost range.

  • Trinkets

The Trinket System has been streamlined down to 2 basic options, plus 2 “alterations” that become available at Level 9. Trinkets also now continuously improve with level rather than at discrete levels in the game.

Warding_Totem_item

Warding Totem will now behave like the upgraded Warding Totem on live which slowly charges up to store additional wards. The duration and charges have been tweaked to increase continuously with character level.

We like the flexibility and general gameplay of the upgraded trinket as it allows you to maintain vision over a small area for a long time or tactically cover a wide area by yourself if you’ve built up charges over time – giving it a much wider range of potential uses.

Sweeping_Lens_item

Sweeping Lens has taken a hit in power now that there aren’t potentially green wards everywhere.

To compensate, red gains the ability to warn against things that you can’t see in the area letting you know the shape or silhouette of things in fog of war without revealing them directly. This includes things like jungler monsters (check if that camp is up!) and Pink Wards, in addition to providing the silhouette of stealthed threats like champions in brush, fog of war or stealth.

Sweeping Lens’ core functionality becomes alerting you as to whether or not anything in the swept area can detect you and allowing you to disable them.

  • “Alterations”

Instead of upgrades, which are strictly better than the original trinket that you have, we’ve instead chosen to move in the direction of side-grading and altering existing functionality of trinkets.

These swap the functionality of your existing trinket by improving the power of some aspects and decreasing the power in other aspects.

Farsight_Orb_item

Yellow Trinket’s alteration – the Farsight Totem is unlocked at level 9 and functions similarly to the Farsight Orb on live with some improvements. You gain vastly increased range and a shorter cooldown… at the expense of having visible wards and losing the ability to build charges.

In a departure from live, these “blue” wards now last forever and don’t count towards your ward count. Since these wards are easily destructible by opponents, we don’t foresee this as contributing significantly to the overall vision of the map unless a team decides to use multiple blue trinkets in parallel to light up disparate regions of the map over time.

So you can light up the map as long as you do it as part of an ongoing campaign to hold territory for extended periods of time.

Oracle's_Lens_item

The Sweeping Lens’ alteration – the Oracle Lens (also unlocked at 9) – is more tame in comparison and very similar to the Oracle upgrade on live. In lieu of gaining true sight, the red trinket simply has a much wider sweep range and follows you around for 10 seconds.

However, combined with the fact that red trinket can warn you against enemy units that you can’t see – this means it will also provide a proximity check so you don’t walk headlong into an enemy ward or brush.

  • Closing

Vision remains an important key strategic strength in League of Legends. The current vision system has a ton of small moving parts, as well as a few mechanics that just make the system kind of obtuse to interact with.

We want to streamline the existing vision items to a smaller core set of vision items while also allowing that core to branch out in interesting directions and overlapping functions. Overall, the power in vision should be more condensed in the options that remain.

We’re taking advantage of the overall reduction in small vision buys to offer more interesting total item build options in the form of the Sightstone upgrades or the Jungle enchantments. Our goal was not to make the overall vision experience more complicated, but allow vision options to form the basis for more interesting total builds. From the support who forgoes his actives in favor of a powerful AP build, to the support who doubles down on active items, to the Jungler who forgoes combat in favor of map wide vision and utility.

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Isnt the removal of Oracles Lens another indirect buff to stealth champions

Xypherous Final PortraitKind of? Other systematic changes such as Marksmen getting better kite / soak options / the removal of Brutalizer / the removal of Trailblazer and the like would probably be indirect nerfs to those characters.

The only stealth champions that haven’t been indirect nerf/buffed in a lot of ways is Akali / Evelyn / Twitch at this point. Eve has never been affected by the true sight from Oracles as her stealth shuts itself off and Akali’s stealth is rather situational.

Twitch, I agree might be a problem – but I’m not sure he was ever at a range to be detected by Oracles when he was murdering you in Stealth. Still – he’s probably the biggest beneficiary of the changes.

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Vaynes impossible to fight without an Oracles Lens

Xypherous Final PortraitTrue – but so much of her itemization has changed that it’s hard to tell whether she’s better or worse from a total power perspective.

BoRK is noticeably worse early now, for example – so her assassination playstyle kind of takes a hit.

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What about Shaco Rengar KhaZix and Vayne

Xypherous Final PortraitLoss of an early brutalizer and trailblazer hurts Rengar and Kha’zix pretty substantially I find. Similarly, Vayne and BoRK is no longer as powerful as an early power spike.

Shaco, on the other hand, builds whatever he wants – but Shaco is also likely affected by the loss of the early Brut as well.

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Do the Trinket changes mean people dont have to be reminded to upgrade them

Xypherous Final PortraitIt scales on a per level basis – so not for most roles. The goal is that people should only feel compelled to exchange their trinket when they want fundamentally different functionality – rather than just a more powerful version of their existing one.

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If upgrades are supposed to be sidegrades why are they still levelgated

Xypherous Final PortraitExcellent question. They’re level-gated because they’re meant to serve mid-game or late-game vision functions that would be overpowered in early game.

Because players don’t move around a lot in lane – things that can affect others at a long range or a wider area are significantly more powerful – hence the level-gate.

If you want to be really specific – the best trigger would probably be something like ‘Buyable after laning phase’ – unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell when it ends that organically in an understandable way – hence the level restriction.

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Why cant we have some way of recharging Sightstone outside the base

Xypherous Final PortraitThere’s are a couple of reasons why you want players returning to base on a regular cadence – doubly so for a class that doesn’t have much other reason to return as their item upgrades are relatively less important.

More practically, this favors the team that is pushed in rather than the team that is pushing in most respects – as the winning team is the one best suited to ‘waiting out in the field.’ We’d never really be able to put a recharge timer on it that seemed useful without causing some really weird side effects in this case.

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Why was ward duration decreased from 180 seconds to 150

Xypherous Final PortraitThe goal was to make the map overall darker and chip as much unnecessary vision power away as possible – hence the reduction. It also helps separate the two use cases out for vision a bit better – shorter term stealth vision vs. longer term control over an area.

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So Sightstone was nerfed even further and isnt worth a supports item slot

Xypherous Final PortraitThat’d be a perfectly reasonable response if the item isn’t worth the slot. If that was the right call to make, I’d expect most of our players to do the same and then we’d simply adjust.

Not entirely convinced the item is weaker given that it’s one of the few sources of invisible wards – so the relative strength should be incredibly high – but if that’s actually the case – yeah, you’d be wise to avoid buying the item entirely.

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There needs to be a Sightstoneesque item that works like a Sweeper trinket

Xypherous Final PortraitI could see that – but the conflicting data point for me here is that the reason why Sweeper’s have such a high hit rate on live is that there’s always wards up due to the prevalence of buyable green wards – at least at higher level play.

I’m uncertain as to how much value is lost as we’re moving from a mostly-lit world in which Sweeper has a fairly high hit rate – to a somewhat-dark world where the hit rate will be much lower.

Vision removal in the item system should be somewhat better covered by cheaper pink wards as well. It may still very well be the case that red trinket has no comparable option and thus Sightstones need to exist so that you can have a red trinket in your inventory – but I’m not inclined to say that this is actually a bad state.

Basically, what I’ve found is that more choices in how you spend gold in vision has mostly led to either negative or kind of poor game-play in general. Complex gold decisions around vision hasn’t yielded good returns in either skillful play (as you should sink as much as you can) or have been particularly satisfying without being brutally overpowered.

The approach we’re trying this season focuses more around complex choices in how youuse vision – rather than how you acquire it – by both severe rate limitations – as well as allowing some more complex functionality to exist without a gold investment.

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Vision is integral to winning Why are so many players not warding

Xypherous Final PortraitIt’s likely that warding just isn’t viewed as an activity that makes a ton of sense from an abstract perspective. Put down sticks that grant vision? What?

Eventually, we’ll want to revisit the concept of static wards to begin with and see if there’s a better analogy that still plays a part in the vision game. This is super speculative – but imagine if, instead of a pink ward – you placed a tiny speed shrine that also provided vision.

I suspect that eventually, we’ll have to shift the analogy to like ‘mini-buildings’ or ‘mini-structures’ rather than ‘sticks that see’ in the long long run.

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Why not have tutorials that teach players the importance of vision

Xypherous Final PortraitTutorials and teaching players are definitely worth pursuing – However, with warding and such, it feels very much like a state of like ‘Well, we could teach them how to do Assembly… but.. maybe we should look at what we want them to do and confirm that’s actually a deep and engaging activity first.’

The other portion of this is that I believe Tutorials that teach you how to ward are going to have a major gap in that you cannot learn from your current enemy if the enemy has found some new clever way to use them. Hence – any tutorials are going to have a continual lag time – so whatever you’re teaching should also have some kind of learnable component from observing your enemy and allies in game.

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What led to the pink ward trinket option being removed

Xypherous Final PortraitA lot of the trinket options were removed to streamline the system down. There are some interesting expansion opportunities for the trinket space that I want to look into – and so we removed it to condense the space down to the bare minimum to replicate what most of the players on live regularly use.

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DEV BLOG Starting Items in the 2016 Season

Pwyff Final PortraitPosting for Xypherous!

Our original intent with starting items before this season was to give players the ability to reflexively counter their opponents with generalist options running alongside more pronounced counter-items for specific circumstances (Flask, Doran’s Shield).

However, after a couple of seasons of attempting to balance this world, we’ve grown unhappy with how confining this approach is and the general problems that resulted from this approach. We’re decided to take a different tactic and adopt a pattern closer to the support line of items: Starter items that clearly express some kind of goal or intent in lane alongside a more generalist item for each of the positions in the game.

Magic – Doran’s Ring vs. The Dark Seal

Doran’s Ring is a powerful farming generalist item while The Dark Seal signifies an intent to roam and pick up champion kills along the the way.

While this doesn’t support the full spectrum of mages in mid, it does represent two of the largest factions – push mages vs. assassin roamers.

Attack – Cull vs. Doran’s Blade

Cull is an early skirmish option designed to be focused primarily around farming and light aggression.

Doran’s Blade on the other hand, is a generalist option that scales much better into mid-game and is better in skirmish situations.

Jungle – Hunter’s Talisman vs. Hunter’s Machete

Machete has long favored a certain class of attack speed centric characters and this represents a quandary of how to actually support mage or tank style junglers from the get-go.

Machete now doubles down on its auto-attack centric nature while Talisman focuses on area burn and mana regeneration. Talisman is primarily designed for spell focused junglers – especially those that have repeated area of effect attacks on moderate cooldowns (like Brand or Zyra).

Both of these initial items are required to upgrade into the Tier 2 Jungle item, so your choice of initial item will eventually become moot. However, this flexibility of starting options combined with the patience system should open up stronger opening jungle patterns to a wider variety of junglers.

Lane Sustain – Health Potion vs. Refillable Potion

One of the major issues with Crystalline Flask right now is that we are unable to push its power to the point where it feels non-abusive in lane. This is due to the fact that it stacks with potions and thus any power add-on in Crystalline Flask gets doubled down on because you stack potions with it.

Hence, the new inventory rule: you can only ever have one type of potion in your inventory at any time.

Refillable Potions are 3 times more expensive than a potion but benefit from the fact that they will recharge once you return to the fountain. Normal Healing Potions represent more healing up-front for less gold but is obviously temporary in nature.

Refillable Upgrades – Jungle vs. Lane

This, by itself, would probably still be on the weak side. However, Refillable Potions can upgrade into two versions: Hunter’s Potion and Corrupting Potion.

Hunter’s Potion is a roam-centric potion that can regain charges out in the field while you are killing large jungle monsters. It’s designed primarily to support a Jungle playstyle that focuses on maximal uptime or bolstering characters with low innate sustain.

Corrupting Potion is similar to Crystalline Flask on live – with the added benefit of combat power. During its effect, damaging enemy champions will burn them for magic damage over time. Corrupting Potion represents an intent to harass your lane opponent until they give up.

Mana Potions – Removed

Mana Potions have been removed from the game. We’ve generally found that the decision to opt into Mana Potions was one that was either forced upon some champions (aka “I need this mana to function”) or one that was generally only available to a handful of circumstances.

The best use cases of Mana Potions were typically to circumvent Mana restrictions for boom/bust play patterns (ie: save up to X amount of mana before dumping it all in a large burst of damage, repeat) vs. attrition-based approaches that are more in favor of straight mana regeneration. A champion being able to access their big “all-in” combo more frequently also makes it challenging for us to balance appropriately, and we’ve seen some more frustrating champions have their power reduced as a result.

With the removal of mana potions, we can also retune some champion mana values back to a middle ground. We’ve looked at the data for champions that frequently bought 2 or more mana potions in the game and we’ve either increased their maximum mana or the mana regeneration values based on their class.

  • Closing

For the start of the season, we’ve focused on granting at least two options to a particular need in the starting item space to support a wider variety of playstyles and intents from the start of the game.

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Why are you both buffing earlygame harass and nerfing Dorans Shield

Xypherous Final PortraitBased on usage – the maximum sustain starts were most frequently used by characters that thrived on early harass. Pantheon, Kassadin and the like were the most effective users of maximal sustain starts – and they frequently used that high sustain to capitalize on early bullying pressure.

While I agree with you that there’s a dearth of solo lane tank starts – most of the solo tank starting item patterns that seem to make senseat first glance – we’ve found that when those options are strong – they tend to be better on pretty much anyone but solo tanks – like bot lane support/adc pairs.

You’ve gone and added a ton of new items for every other class

If we’re not talking about starting items – this item pass has mostly focused on AD Marksmen and some light AD work – rather than ‘every other class.’

The other facet of this is that in the Juggernaut update – there have been a ton of items – while their primary users aren’t tanks – have added to the tank pool of items (DMP and Sterak’s.)

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Why are you buffing Dorans Blade

Xypherous Final PortraitFree lifesteal in the ferocity tree makes the relative advantage of picking up a Doran’s Blade weaker in the early item selection phase – as it means it now has to compete with some of the older component based starts (Long Sword + 3) at a much large disadvantage.

Long Sword + 3 is especially problematic if it becomes the default option again – as that’s more early in-lane sustain, hence why we try to keep DBlade competitive with it.

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Its power creep to buff one item start for ADCs so it competes with another

Xypherous Final PortraitIn order to run this argument – you need to run through this by several means:

  1. The mastery AD tree gives you as much power in terms of raw offense as before / The beneficiaries of Doran’s Blade have more total raw power than before in pre-game.
  2. Similar argument to #1 – but from a relative perspective – AKA – everyone lost more than they gained.
  3. That this power advantage hasn’t been taken into account elsewhere – like their most powerful first item buy.
  4. That other starting item paths haven’t been buffed as well or heavily adjusted.

While I’m not convinced any of these are true or false as there’s a lot of mechanics going on – I know that a lot of the AD efficiency, early potential spike in AD power, the conversion from total pen to bonus pen in the AD system and the decoupling of flat pen from % pen in the mastery system make the AD curve less steep than it previously was.

While I can’t go out to say that ‘No, power creep isn’t happening’ – What I can say is that I can see other factors that work in the opposite direction of power creep – so adjustment based off initial reads is likely the best solution.

You can strongly make the claim ‘I think a Solo tanks early game is weaker than it was’ – which is probably true. I’m less certain about the statement that ‘Solo tanks are weaker’ as a whole – as most of the efficiency passes, especially in terms of MR – are more favorable to them.

All that said, I totally get why you feel the way that you do. It’s not your job to read every change and put them all together and evaluate whether or not it comes out in one way or another.

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If we arent meant to bring the new pots to lategame why do they cost so much

Xypherous Final PortraitYou can claim this about most non-upgradeable starting items.

However, the catch-22 part comes in only if you assume that games cannot be won before slots start to become a problem or that the item’s power curve doesn’t translate well into the mid-game at all.

Sellback values mitigate some of the initial cost for the mid and late game – and the trade-off between a more powerful early start vs. a guaranteed late game is always whether or not you got enough interim value out of the item to make up the deficit in this regard in terms of either uptime or personal performance.

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Why do the Dark Seal and Mejai lose a flat amount of stacks per death

Xypherous Final PortraitThe most common points of feedback when losing a % of stacks is that it’s never worth it to trade kills and die with the item – since the better you did – the more stacks you lose. Experimenting with a flat amount of stacks so that players can evaluate their plays much better. Did you get 2+ kills? Then it was worth it, even if you died.

The other part of this is that a % loss on death lead to some awkward double-kill or post-death / post-assist death scenarios. While flat suffers from similar problems at the low end – it won’t be as ubiquitous.

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I feel like Mejai got even more snowbally than before

Xypherous Final PortraitThe item is likely more snowbally than before. The idea behind the Dark Seal is that you have a point in the game where you:

  1. Broadcast that you want to do a snowball route (since.. the Dark Seal doesn’t really build into anything else.)
  2. Have a chance to back out if things don’t go your way.

So there’s much less initial risk to the item – and thus the item can be snowbally but will be less feast or famine because a good player can cut his losses early, so to speak.

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Are there plans to make a third flask that simply heals faster than the others

Xypherous Final PortraitNot at the moment.

Maximum sustain in lane is something that players would always like more of (as the best way to beat your opponent is to simply have more health at any given time – go go 13 potion starts).

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Was it intentional to make the biscuits effect NOT apply to flasks

Xypherous Final PortraitFor now, yes. Although, I could certainly see us deciding the other way in the future easily based on item usage. Eternal Biscuit of Replenishment?

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What are the expected starting items for someone who needs sustain

Xypherous Final PortraitIf you need a huge chunk of sustain – the expected stat is that you get Corrupting Potion. The other facet of this is that there are a lot more individual sustain options in other pre-game systems (Lifesteal naturally in ferocity tree, for example) – so there should be enough customization bits out of game to bolster this as well.

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Do you think some Champions will become weak due to the Mana pot removal

Xypherous Final PortraitCurrently the stance is that we’d prefer if Mana purchases reflected more permanent decision making. This is why Frostfang’s line of MP/5 has been greatly increased for example.

Mana potions to support off uses is a niche benefit but the niche benefit doesn’t really outweigh tremendous initial costs in tuning. 😡

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It feels like Cull and The Dark Seal are trap items that make laning too weak

Xypherous Final PortraitAgree that these two items have a higher risk potential than the standard starting items. Dark Seal and Cull don’t necessarily have to be purchased as your first buy – if you want to take a safer route and see how the lane goals.

Doran’s Ring into Dark Seal instead of a second Doran’s Ring after you’ve gauaged the lane can be an effective way at mitigating that risk. Similarly with Doran’s Blade into first back Cull.

The other idea that we’re stressing here is that, in the absence of greedy items – there’s no real way to punish a safe lane that’s doubled down on being as not dead as possible. Cull / Dark Seal both support the notion that – if you try that approach – then I can respond by getting more out of the laning phase than you will via farm or more powerful rewards for roam.

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How do you think the jungle changes will affect AD assassins

Xypherous Final PortraitWe turn over the jungle pool every year pretty consistently – so the ability for an individual jungler to have the same clear speed as before isn’t as important. AD Casters will specifically generally have a harder time of it in this year than previous years.

It’s definitely something we’ll have to keep tuning as we get better data on how players are adapting.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

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Here are the most recent news in each category:

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Answering concerns of allowing groups in Ranked Solo Queue

[ Note ] You can find the official post that lists all the Preseason Ranked improvements HERE.

Socrates New PortraitI’ve seen a few concerns popping up around opening ranked queues to larger premades over the last 24 hours. I want to walk you through why we’re making the change in a little more detail. First, I want to say this is the subject of debate internally and it’s something we’re going to be watching closely to see how it plays out over the preseason. That in mind, the argument really comes down to the following:

First, when we looked at your feedback around the issues with ranked queues, we saw a pattern:

“I had a leaver in my game, resulting in me getting demoted”
“I ran into a rager who ruined my promotions”
“I’m bronze V because these noobs I’m getting matched with”

What’s the pattern? As a player, I didn’t have control of who I was playing with in a highly competitive environment resulting in misaligned competitive intentions. We’ve built systems to address many of these issues, but ultimately we realized we had hit diminishing returns without implementing more fundamental changes.

Next, ranked standing currently is a reflection of your ability as an individual to carry in a team game. We of course believe great play should be recognized and rewarded and it should be the foundation of ranked standing, along with team work. Right now ranked standing is far more representative of personal mastery than teamwork. This is why when you look at solo queue the games are so different from high level team games. When we looked at this pattern, we asked ourselves why it should be this way. Why should the most authoritative standing of your abilities in a team game be a rating that requires you explicitly not play as a team?

Finally, we just straight up asked players if they wanted the change via a large scale feedback tool. A small number of players were strongly opposed, the vast majority of players were in favor or strongly in favor. This doesn’t make it the right decision, but it was a data point we considered an important part of the picture.

We believe this change will reshape behavior around the ranked experience and we’re excited to see what happens during the preseason. Change is scary, and we realize this is a big change. As the stewards of ranked we are going to be analyzing the hell out of the data we get during the preseason to make sure this is a step forward for the game.

For the open minded and the skeptics alike: we look forward to seeing what happens in the preseason and to hearing your feedback.

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Follow Up Banner

Lyte Final Portrait Sorry I haven’t been able to hop on this thread until now–busy trying to bughunt with the team and it’s been a long few days.

We knew that Dynamic Ranked would be a highly controversial topic, and it even was widely debated internally. It came down to a few key points:

1) The vast majority of players preferred to play League with friends, but there was currently no end-game progression in League other than Ranked (we’re not going to count Ranked Teams because we agree there are many issues such as a high barrier of entry). Most players do want to try Ranked, so players were forced to enter a queue that artificially capped your party at 1 or 2 and made the game less social. This was bad.

2) We added a few matchmaking features to bias the system so that it would pair similar group combinations against each other. So, premade 5s would most likely play other premade 5s, and so on and so forth. In our testing, and when we modeled data from Normal Draft Queue to emulate what it would be like if we did Dynamic Ranked, over 95% of the time groups were paired with similar size groups. We’ll have to monitor the behavior of Dynamic Ranked to see if the pattern is the same, but we’re hopeful.

3) There’s actually a pretty big perception issue with premades in League. When I talk to players, they always remember the premade that bullied them or made the game more toxic; however, when I point out behind the scenes and show them the data that almost every single Ranked game has a Duo Queue in it… they are shocked. The perception problem is that you only remember the games where a premade did have an issue, but you never remember the games where they were quiet and just didn’t give away they were a premade. We’ve been measuring toxicity in premade combinations for awhile now and believe that most most combinations of premade 2s and 3s are fine, and premade 4s have a little bit more toxicity than we’d like. Premade 5s are obviously awesome experiences. So what are we doing about premade 4s?

4) As you may have noticed, we’ve beefed up the Report System, and added new features to the Instant Feedback System. More than ever before, Premade 4s won’t be able to “affect” your account if they simply gang up and try to bully you with reports. In fact, if they do this often and they file false reports, they can be banned for this behavior. Secondly, in a Premade 4 situation, your reports are just as powerful as the group, so if they are showing toxic behaviors at all, your single report can have a meaningful impact and trigger a punishment. We believe measures like this will help balance out this specific scenario to be less negative.

5) With the new Champ Select experience, we’re giving players more benefits than ever before to play with friends because we believe playing with friends is the right way to enjoy League–we don’t want the game to become an anti-social experience. For example, there will be a promo bonus for playing in parties during the launch of the Ranked 2016 Season, and playing in parties is the best way to guarantee exactly what positions you want to play in the new Dynamic Ranked Queue. We understand that we’re going to frustrate the purists that enjoy playing solo and seeing what they can do alone among a group of 4 strangers but, we want you to give this a try before slamming it. More players playing Ranked means more competition for you, and it means quicker queue times at low and high MMRs. We also have ideas to expand the Ranked system even more in the future to give multiple ways for you to challenge yourself and your friends.

6) Like any big change, we’re going to have to monitor this one carefully. We ask you guys to be patient and give it a chance. We’ll ultimately make the right decision, but a LOT of players have voiced their opinions that they do want a more social Ranked experience and want to play in a Dynamic Ranked queue. Give it a chance, and we’re listening if it doesn’t work.

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Why are you allowing 5man premades in Solo Queue when theres Team Queue

Lyte Final PortraitRanked Teams had too high of a barrier–a forced roster, a roster cap, and playing X games together before your MMR stabilized. Solo/Duo Queue was a pretty anti-social experience, and players kept saying over and over again in research they want something in-between Ranked Teams and Solo/Duo. Hop on, grab a few friends (no matter how many) and play for stakes. I think this is going to be far more competitive than players think, they just have to give it a shot.

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Dont you think a solo player matching against 4 premades is at a disadvantage

Lyte Final PortraitNo, a 4:1 team is not at a disadvantage compared to the other 4:1 team. These cases all output a 50/50 win rate over time.

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Wont inferior communication make solo players unable to compete with groups

Lyte Final PortraitThis is why groups will match against other groups more often before being matched against teams of solos.

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TL DR Will I get Ranked Rewards

Victorious Sivir Minibanner

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitHey everyone,

Ranked Rewards are the culmination of everyone’s hard work throughout the season (or grinding those 10 ranked games at the last minute XD). We want to make sure everyone knows the exact requirements in order to unlock those rewards:

 


Ranked Season

  • Ranked Queues will be disabled on November 11th, 00:01 in each region. For NA, this is PST — Click here for EUW, EUNE, and OCE
    • You can queue at any time before this, and the game will still count. You can even queue at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, and the ranked game willstill count.
    • The Ranked Season will officially end once the final ranked game is completed in that region
    • Challenger/Master tiers will update one final time after the final games are completed (after the Ranked queue is disabled) which determine the end of season standings
  • To earn rewards, you must have played ALL 10 games
  • If you decay at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, you will get rewards based on where you land after the decay. Decay is turned is disabled on November 11th, 00:01 PST — the same time Ranked Queues are disabled
  • You can find a full list of rewards for each Tier in this Article
  • Rewards are displayed for specific queues. A full explanation can be found here

Ranked Solo-queue

  • Can be completed solo or with a duo-queue partner
  • Rewards are awarded depending on your ending rank at November 11th, 00:01 PST,NOT your highest achieved
  • You must be Silver Tier and above to receive a Loading Screen border
  • You must be Gold Tier and above to receive the Victorious Sivir Skin (If you don’t own Sivir, she will be added to your account.)
    • NOTE: If you purchased Sivir right before receiving Victorious Rewards, she willnot be refunded.

Ranked Teams

  • A ranked team must have completed 5 ranked games by November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • You must have WON 10 games in a single ranked team to qualify for team rewards
    • You must have 10 wins on the same team, not on multiple teams
    • If you won 10 ranked games on a team, and then are kicked from that team, you will not earn rewards. Player Support cannot override or change this.
    • If you were kicked from a team for whatever reason, you will need to win 10 NEWgames on that team (if re-invited) or on a different team.
      • For example, if you won 5 games, and then were kicked from the team (then re-invited), you would need to win 10 more games, not just 5
    • If your team goes into an in-active state before November 11th, 00:01 PST, your team will not earn rewards
  • The Ranked Team Ward Skin is unlocked for each individual (not team) based on how many points you individually earned during the Ranked Season:
    • You must WIN Ranked Team games to earn points — Points are individually earned, not tied to specific teams
      • Victory in Ranked Team 3v3 – 1 point
      • Victory in Ranked Team 5v5 – 3 points
      • Points are earned from ALL Ranked Teams combined. Points do not have to be earned within a single Ranked Team. Even if you leave the team, are kicked, or if the team disbands, your points remain.
    • Ward Skin tiers are unlocked at 20, 45 and 75 points respectively
      • You must earn 20 points to earn the base Ward Skin

Things that will get your ass disqualified from Ranked Rewards

  • Being banned or having active chat/ranked restrictions at November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • If you had any 7 day or more bans, they must have expired/ended at or before August 9th, 23:59 PST
    • For example, if you received a 7 day ban on August 2nd and it ended on or sometime before August 9th, 23:59 PDT, you are eligible for rewards
    • On the other hand, if you received a 7 day ban on August 3rd and it ended on or after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you are ineligible for rewards
  • Players banned for boosting during the 2015 season remain ineligible for rewards
    • Both those who boosted and those who did the boosting are ineligible
  • Players who received fraud-related (including Chargeback bans) and accidental/false bans will still be eligible
  • Players who had LeaverBuster suspensions are still eligible
  • Being ineligible for 2015 Ranked Rewards does not automatically disqualify you from getting other rewards in future seasons

Reward Distribution

  • All rewards (Borders, banners, icons, Skin Wards, Victorious Sivir/Champion) should be distributed by November 18th, 23:59 PST
    • Rewards are distributed in waves. If you see others with rewards, but you haven’t been rewarded yet, don’t panic! You will get your rewards in a subsequent wave
  • If you earned rewards, but did not receive them by November 18th, 23:59 PST, feel free to submit a ticket to Player Support so we can investigate further!

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Ive reached Gold only in Team Queue will I still get Victorious Sivir

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf your team is Gold AND you have won 10 games on that team, you get the Victorious Sivir Skin.

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If my last ban was on August 9th will I get the endseason rewards

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf the ban ends after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you will not be getting rewards.

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If I qualify for a Tier 3 Ward Skin do I still get the Tier 1 and 2 skins

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitYou get the skin at your tier. Think of it as a single ward skin that “evolves” depending on your tier.

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How is the Ranked decay time calculated

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitKeep in mind that decay is only for those in Plat and above. Other than that though, decay should start ticking the moment your game ended. So if you ended at 10am, it would decay exactly 28 days at 10am.

Just to be careful though, you may want to consider playing a game to make sure you don’t decay!

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DEV BLOG Marksman Itemization

Quinn Banner

Reinboom Final PortraitHello all! Riot Reinboom here to bring you a look into the thoughts behind the Marksman itemization changes this preseason. 😀

To jump straight to the point, Marksmen have a number of pain points in the game right now. There’s a distinct lack of individuality between Marksmen. For most, their items are incredibly prescriptive and there’s not a lot of deviation. Generally, as a class, they suffer from high team demands without a lot of self expression to work within those demands.

The major thread woven between most of these issues is a distinct lack of meaningful choice.

  • Meaningful Choice

We’ve mentioned Meaningful Choice before.

What’s most important here however is the method to achieving meaningful choice (rather than just choice). For Marksman items, we tackled this with three different strategies: “Autonomy”, “Reaction”, and “Prediction”.

Autonomy. Autonomy as a choice is represented by the tradeoff of multiple fantasies (whether they be gameplay fantasies, thematics, or anything you can form a personal attachment to). Feeling attached to Statikk Shiv because you personally value wave clear and are willing to sacrifice your other options for it, is an aspect of autonomy shown in item form.

Reaction. Reaction as a choice is represented by your capability to solve a problem presented to you. There are multiple types of reaction. For these changes, we’ll be focusing on responses to your opponents in the items they build, the champions they pick, and the needs of your team.

Planning. Planning as a choice is represented by the tactical and strategic goals you create for individual games. This can be seen by decisions on how you or your team should address each fight (and then building to work within that understanding), or the order for which you build your components, such as getting a Pick Axe to prep for your Last Whisper as you wait for your opponent to inevitably build armor.

  • Supporting Variety

When it comes to supporting more options for Marksman, we often run into a difficult problem we call “The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem.” Marksmans item choices have classically been guided by a very simple and direct point of output: “How can I do the most damage with the options presented to me?”

We’re operating under the assumption that this problem is fundamental to Marksman and their role within League. There are a number of reasons for this.

In games (not just League) single points of optimization, when that point can empower itself, tend to be notably strong. In Marksman’s case, their single point of optimization is damage. This is primarily caused by their damage being reliable via ranged auto-attacks, meaning they can leverage positioning (which is free) as a primary defense.

However, we feel like this identity is clear for Marksman. This type of distinct identity allows League to work as a team game, where each individual has their contribution. So in order to support keeping what makes a Marksman a Marksman while still offering choice, we’ll be exploring a different route: While picking up the stats that give Marksman their damage, we should offer choices among those items along the way.

You can see this already in the game with the choice posed by Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv. Unfortunately, the nuance of this choice can be hard to appreciate (am I behind, or could be behind in gold?), and even then there’s not a lot of these types of selections.

  • The Changing Landscape

To wrap it altogether, choices that end up just being damage optimization tests aren’t great. But that’s the expectation of a Marksman. And they have core needs on top of core needs built out of natural consumption of “a lot of different stats.”

The direction we went with to introduce meaningful choice to these restrictions is the idea of “horizontal expansion.” Take the model presented by the current system, and diversify within those bounds. Your options for lifesteal need to be greater than a single item. The items that define a Marksman’s play pattern should expand beyond just “awesome auto attacks.” Your options available for who you can target should be greater than “always buy Last Whisper.”


Identity

Who am I? Do I autoattack quite a bit? Okay, Infinity Edge. Maybe I autoattack a lot? Infinity Edge. No, seriously, autoattacks are my jam and I will hear nothing less. Fine, Blade of the Ruined King.

Not a lot there.

There’s a few valid ways of addressing this: we could push more differences between the auto attacks (insert roster devblog link here), or we could push some Marksman to be empowered by their abilities.

Identity items highlight and specialize the choices you made at champion select. Once again, “Who am I?” We don’t feel like in the current landscape the more caster-like Marksman are well served by this idea. Enter: Essence Reaver.

Essence Reaver is being changed to offer caster marksman access to a stat they’ve desired, but could never really (or rarely) fully utilize: Cooldown Reduction.

Essence Reaver now has the capability to generate you up to 30% Cooldown Reduction by leveraging the Critical Strike Chance available from other Marksman items. We you to feel comfortable making the same damage offers, choices, and expectations from the rest of the Marksman items while being able to uniquely leverage what your champion pick offered.


Multiplier

Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer. Am I behind or am I ahead?

There’s a lot of possible room with these items, except that Phantom Dancer is the poster child for TMDOP (“The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem,” remember?).

So we’re changing that. And we’re widening what it means to be a multiplier item.

In addition to be the damage curve definers, the pointed tip at the end of your two item spike, multipliers are getting an additional identity: “How should I fight?” This is a choice grounded primarily within autonomy (“What works best for me?”) as well as reaction (“What works best for my team?”).

We divided this choice into four large branches:

Phantom Dancer: I should skirmish and duel.
Hurricane: I want to team fight and wombo.
Statikk Shiv: I must push.
Rapid Firecannon: I need to siege.


Situational Offense

Last Whisper highlights an interesting problem. The usage of total penetration meant that even against champions not buying armor, Last Whisper was actually at least a +10% physical damage amp. This was actually a “generally useful” item masquerading under the guise of a tank killer.

We want to break the above expectations to make selective offense a little less automatic while, at the same time, making it easier to pick up a response when it’s necessary. Selective offensive items are now guided by their components and what you’re giving up, while being significantly more targeted than the current Last Whisper.

The components:

Last Whisper: I need to get through their bonus armor.
Executioner’s Calling: I need to stuff their life steal or health gain.
Giant Slayer: I need to climb over their mountain of health.

These items can be combined up, with a final selection of which type of selection are you leaving out:

Lord Dominik’s Regards: A combination of Last Whisper and Giant Slayer
Mortal Reminder: A combination of Last Whisper and Executioner’s Calling

Do note the change from total to bonus armor penetration, as all of these are still armor pen items at heart. It bears repeating: we do not want these items to be generalist damage purchases. This is also why we split the use case of Mortal Reminder (taking out high sustain targets like enemy marksmen, Swain, Mundo, etc) and Lord Dominik’s Regards (tank busting). If you find you don’t need the situational offense these items bring (or nobody’s building any armor!), maybe you can look into picking up another multiplier, or some…


Situational Defense

The key defense favored by Marksman is lifesteal, but there’s not a lot available here so all Marksman default to the same purchase: The Bloodthirster. This stat is so core that it actively pushes aside all other defensive choices until it’s covered.

We’re running with that idea. For Marksman, lifesteal means defense. The result is all the items in this category provide enough lifesteal before letting you branch into the types of defenses you should otherwise situationally take.

The Bloodthirster: I need to sustain through everything
Death’s Dance: I need to get burst off me long enough to hit
Mercurial Scimitar: I need to be free (of CC)


Going Forward

  • There’s a lot of new abilities and interactions presented by the changed items, and we don’t believe we have every one of these ironed out.

League of Legends hasn’t been tuned to the idea that some Marksman will get 40% Cooldown Reduction, for example, and it’s impossible to know the full effects of this.

We’ll be watching diligently to identify what’s problematic and what’s not!

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Why do ADCs need to dedicate only a single item slot to deal with tanks

Reinboom Final PortraitMarksman are the damage class that’s in charge with killing tanks (eventually).
We don’t want that to be increased (or increased to a notable degree) above what’s on live however.

One of the more difficult balancing points for a carry class is these expectations. If, as a class, we need Marksman to deal less damage to squishier targets, that’s difficult to do because it will break their expectations on needing to kill tankier targets. If we need Marksman to deal more damage to tankier targets, that’s difficult to do because that will make them delete squishier targets.

Lord Dominik’s Regards compared to old Last Whisper is this redirected in a vacuum. Moving from total penetration to bonus penetration is actually a rather significant nerf in damage against all targets, squishy and tanky. Everyone has base armor and there’s a lot of it. Depending on who the target is, just that conversion is a loss from anywhere around 10% to upwards of around 20% damage.

Giant Slayer is doing two things in that Regards.
1: It’s covering up the damage nerf on the item to some of the classes. If it’s still too high, it can be individually adjusted without much pain either.
2: It retains and confirms Marksman’s weakness of not favoring health (so things like Trinity Force and The Black Cleaver are less favorable if you’re also getting this)

(note: The damage it gives is based on the difference between the Marksman’s health and its target, so it gets weaker the more health the Marksman has)

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What if ADCs start killing mages with an early Rod of Ages or Rylais too fast

Reinboom Final PortraitPlanned initial reaction if that showcases itself is to push it out to maxing at 800 health difference.

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Why do AD casters reach their CDR cap much easier than AP casters

Pwyff Final PortraitI think it’s incredibly dangerous to compare AD casters – most of whom rely on their spells for sustained, low-burst damage (maybe not Graves) with little to no CC, vs. AP Casters, many of whom have game-winning abilities should they get the right catch.

CDR is, like any stat – mana, health, armor, whatever – something that interacts with the kit in its own way. Trying to extrapolate some grand truth seems weird. Additionally, this is me calling you out for posing an opinion as a question. A real question might be “why do you think making CDR an easily accessible stat is valuable for marksmen? Especially when compared to mages?”

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Do you worry that ADCs will deal too much damage and receive too little

Reinboom Final PortraitMany worries.

There is always that tipping point in sight. Marksmen optimize for damage so directly which means creating a desirable enough defensive item is difficult without pushing on this risk.

We’ve intentionally starved the high end damage points because of this. Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer had a ways it could go while still being “high end damage items”. Their damage is going down specifically to make room for more interesting abilities.

I don’t believe we’ve hit the balance needed for this perfectly yet. It’s difficult to get a degree of imbalance with this many changes (and there will likely be something that slips out obscene, oh preseason). But it can be adjusted once out.

More importantly, there are actually a notable number of more tools that let us reach those adjustments now. e.g. If a tank becomes unseen due to these changes, raising their base armor per level is much more meaningful now.

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You said that Grievous Wounds is bad for the game Howd that change

Reinboom Final PortraitWe didn’t change our mind. Personally, I believe that GW as it exists on live can’t be supported systemically and is very oppressive.

However, with these changes GW was changed to 40% reduction (down from 50%) as well as only blocking self only healing. So as an example, it will stop Soraka’s self sustain, but not her support sustain. 40% may very well still be too high, but we’ll be able to respond to it if so (lowering it further perhaps).

Having an response for “there’s a LOT of X quality on the enemy team, our team should have answers” is important.

It’s also important to note that this change is global, and it will affect other sources of Grievous Wounds. If this impacts other sources of GW too negatively (like what may happen with Morellonomicon) then we can adjust it after we get a better handle of GW through the preseason.

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Follow Up Banner

If the heal debuff ends up too strong why not restrict it rather than nerf it

Reinboom Final PortraitThere is a low point (in testing, I found that to be around 30%) for which GW just doesn’t feel attractive anymore, even when it is.

If it drops too much further, then we will seek out other forms of gating on the items. Duration is a clear hit (from the 3 and 5 now to 2 and 4, or 1.5 and 3). If that still not enough, then we’ll seek more complex options.

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Follow Up Banner

Why is there no prerequisite for GW to proc on Executioners Calling

Riot Axes New PortraitWe think this model is correct for Executioner’s Calling, particularly given the changes to Grievous Wounds (e.g. it no longer applies to healing from allies, so Soraka’s W isn’t reduced). It’s possible that we need to re-evaluate Morellonomicon, though I’m much less sure about that one.

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Can you design a different component than Zeal or Dagger for items like PD

Riot Axes New PortraitWe could, but adding more components carries its own costs and the value just isn’t there. By having them share so much of their build path, we allow you to choose which one you really need later, which means more adaptation to the game state. For this particular set of items, we value that pretty highly.

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Why are the item recipes for Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon identical

Riot Axes New PortraitThis reinforces the shared properties of those two items. It’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t consider it a big problem either.

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Why does The Bloodthirster have a 1500 gold combine cost on the PBE

Riot Axes New PortraitI’m gonna fix this one.

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Do you think The Bloodthirster will be able to compete with Mercurial Scimitar

Riot Axes New PortraitYes, I do. You’re glossing over the value of 10% lifesteal and effectively 300+ health later in the game – that’s a huge amount of power. That said, I do think we’re going to see a lot of double lifesteal builds, so I suspect it’s more a question of “Pick 2 of Death’s Dance, Mercurial Scimitar, Bloodthirster, Blade of the Ruined King, or Maw of Malmortius” rather than a direct comparison between these two items, and I think Bloodthirster fits in as one of those 2 in many situations.

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Why do both Last Whisper upgrades provide identical stats

Riot Axes New PortraitWhen we do that, it’s because we want to force a spotlight onto the one real point of difference – do you want to deal with tanky champs better or do you need grievous wounds? Stat differences tend to force you to optimize around your champion’s stat usage – you get a situation where Jinx always buys X, Lucian always buys Y, which means that neither gets much of a choice and Jinx just ends up with the property “Does more damage to health stackers” and Lucian just ends up with the property “Puts Grievous Wounds on targets”. There are situations where that’s a good thing, but that’s not what we’re going for here.

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Whyd you take 100 HP off Black Cleaver and made it cost 500 Gold more

Riot Axes New PortraitI answered this in more detail elsewhere in the thread, but Tl;dr: shifting power from defense to offense is intended to help Juggernaut build diversity a little bit by making it an even better choice in some situations but a wrong choice in others.

As for its efficiency going down specifically, it was one of our outlier overly efficient items.

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Why were FIGHTER items like Maw Triforce and Cleaver changed for ADCs

Riot Axes New PortraitI can explain the changes – tl;dr all of those changes were motivated by their Fighter use cases, NOT Marksmen.


Maw of Marmoltius is being changed with AD Assassins and light Fighters in mind, as a potential go-to MR item. The addition of flat armor penetration coupled with a pair of unique passives that reward you for taking risks helps Talon or Wukong a lot more than it helps any Marksman.

I do think there will be some Marksman usage of this item and that’s perfectly acceptable, but they aren’t intended core users and I don’t think they actually like this iteration better than the previous one, except that the previous one was weak.


The Black Cleaver is being changed with Juggernaut build diversity in mind. I realize that’s going to look strange since they’d prefer the previous iteration of the item – because it gave them everything they might want in a single package. On Live, if you’re a core Black Cleaver user, you’re going to rush it pretty much no matter what – it isn’t contextual at all. With the changes, if you really need defenses first, you won’t be able to rely on that item to solve it for you – but if you’re doing well and want more kill power so you can snowball, it’s even better.

I do anticipate more use by non-Juggernauts – it’s a better item for Wukong, for example, and that’s fine. I will be very surprised if Marksmen adopt it – maybe one (Graves?), but certainly not on any widespread basis. There’s no reason to build it with Essence Reaver and Essence Reaver is simply better for those champions.

This is the riskiest change of the three, and if it does break The Black Cleaver for Juggernauts, we will certainly be following up.


Trinity Force was actually changed in 3 different ways for different reasons:

(1) Power reduced across the board – it was one of the highest outliers for gold efficiency in the entire game, so our efficiency normalization pass hit it especially hard. Basically we want you purchasing items because the cool things they do fit your champion and goals in a game, not because it just gives more power than the rest.

(2) Sheen traded AP for CDR. This was a net buff for most (but not quite all) Sheen users – the item no longer forces you to spend gold on a stat you probably don’t care about. Even among the characters who do care about AP and bought Sheen, CDR should be approximately neutral in most cases. I’m sure there’s a champ or two who end up being sad about it, but they’re a small minority. Trinity Force inherits this change, which does make it better for Marksmen – but also better for most Fighters.

The main reason we’re excited about this change, however, is that it gives us a much better ability to make the items that build out of Sheen exciting in targeted ways. The immediate payoff there is the new Iceborn Gauntlet – Tanks can have a Sheen upgrade of their own now.

(3) Critical Strike increased, Attack Speed decreased. This is inherited from the Zeal changes – both values are exactly the same as Zeal. This one’s happening because of Marksmen but I wouldn’t say that it’s for Marksmen – it means that Marksmen can’t really use Tri Force as their single Attack Speed item anymore (for the few that did use it that way), but it does mean they can use it for their single crit item much more effectively.

I agree that this feels bad for Fighters, but we’ve been over our other options here and short of making Trinity Force a much different item (e.g. increasing its bonus AD by 40 or something) there’s not a better alternative available, unfortunately. Options like Recurve Bow tend to feel just as bad for Fighters (at least Zeal has % move speed!), so they aren’t actually improvements.

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I think we should get another ADC option for Armor Penetration

Reinboom Final PortraitWould you be willing to divulge your thoughts on this? 🙂

We actually had three in testing at one point (with a slightly different profile). The number of new items and item changes was overwhelming for quite a few people.

It’s much easier to add more when there’s a clear trade already established, so it’s open design space in the future. Before we decide to explore that space once more I would like to wait some time first for people to get used to all the current item changes.

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How do you plan on nerfing Essence Reaver if it becomes problematic

Reinboom Final PortraitWe’re not beholden to how ER is currently worded. One of the responses we’ve considered is dropping its bonus CDR from crit to cap when you have 30% crit from other items instead of just 20%. I feel like ER is strong but in the same way that IE is strong. If those two balance comparatively, then nerfing (or buffing) it will most likely entail changing both.

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Wont Thresh suffer too much with Last Whisper affecting Bonus Armor only

Reinboom Final PortraitIt potentially hurts him more than most other champions. There tends to be those types of hits with any type of systemic change. We can adjust after (such as tweaking Thresh) if it’s a problem.

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Doesnt Bloodthirsters shield conflict with the passive on Deaths Dance

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, they do compete. They’re also a bit antisynergistic in that way. Prevented damage (such as from shields) isn’t “caught” by Death’s Dance. Death’s Dance exists to favor fighters and caster marksmen over others (where natural lifesteal is less favorable).

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New Masteries Build Tips and Theory Crafting

Stashu Final PortraitHey all!

First, if you haven’t already, go check out this player-made mastery calculator! I’ll be using this tool to link pages. Special thanks to Hudzen, DPatti, and Pyro for their work on it over the seasons – you guys are all awesome.

 

Anyway, let’s get into it. I understand that the new mastery system can be hard to get a feel for, so I wanted to get a few template-esque pages out there to help get everyone started. So, check out the links and associated champions below, and let me know what you think about these recommendations! And of course, please share some pages of your own 😀

Note: These are only intended as guidelines and should be just enough to get you started — I’ll leave the real theory-crafting / optimizing to you guys! I DO NOT want to prescribe your build, and rarely will there be a single optimal build, but if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, feel free to lean on what’s here until you figure out your own way!


12-18-0 Aggressive Jungler

Elise, Kha’Zix and Lee Sin

  • These assassin types will love the pen and burst damage offered by the Cunning Tree [hello, Thunderlord’s Decree!], paired with the more general damage amps offered by the Ferocity Tree. Savagery and Runic Affinity from the Cunning tree also really help out in the jungle.
  • If the early clear proves to be too challenging (Evelynn), opting into a safer 0-18-12setup might be the way to go.

12-0-18 Brawler

Darius, Nasus and Olaf

  • These juggernauts really benefit from the Grasp of the Undying mastery in the Resolve Tree. It turns their already high-health builds into more damage and sustain, allowing them to slog through the fight, dishing out and soaking up tons of damage.

0-12-18 Peel Tank

Braum, Maokai and Nautilus

  • If soaking up damage for your allies is more your thing, check out Bond of Stone in the Resolve Tree, and pick up some self healing and mana regeneration so you can keep yourself topped off while you protect your carries!

0-18-12 Utility Support

Sona, Soraka and Janna

  • Windspeaker’s blessing in the Cunning Tree multiplies the power of these more buff/heal-centric supports. In addition, picking up Secret Stash and Meditation will give their lane some serious staying power.
  • That said, swapping those 12 points into Ferocity, and selecting Thunderlord’s Decree as your keystone will give you some potent trading potential in lane. I encourage you to choose based on your own playstyle and preference!

18-12-0 Sustained Damage Caster

Ziggs, Cassiopeia and Azir

  • When you’re not just trying to one-shot someone, Deathfire Touch and co. from the Feroicty Tree will really amp up your damage over long periods of time, and the mana regeneration from the Cunning Tree will give you the resources to make it work.
  • When you ARE looking to one-shot someone (I’m looking at you guys: Veigar, Zed and Lux) , I’d recommend 12-18-0 instead!

18-0-12 Marksman

  • Ferocity suits the playstyle of most marksmen — Lifesteal and %armor pen? Sign ’em up!
  • Certain champions will inevitably make better use of certain keystones, but Marksmen should be able to viably run any of these keystones, depending on their preferred playstyles.
    • Do you like to poke with spells? Check out Deathfire Touch on Varus.
    • Is harassing with basic attacks more your thing? You’ll enjoy Fervor of Battle on Caitlyn.
    • More into heavy Crit/AD builds? Warlord’s Bloodlust can shore up your lifesteal and attack speed so you can focus on your core stats on Draven.
    • Some marksmen might opt into something like 18-12-0 for maximum damage, but I find passing up the laning defenses in the Resolve Tree too costly, personally 😉

Alright! That’s all from me. I left out a number of archtypes, like the light-fighting skirmishers (Fiora and Vi) , bulky divers (Vi and Xin Zhao) , and many more. Plus, many champions will have particularly unique set-ups, based on their kit, so I encourage you to break out of the molds I outlined above!

 

Today’s fan art collection is a tad longer, enjoy!

 

Captain Fortune by Mariana Ennes:

tumblr_nxbgmrLTAI1th7sueo1_1280

 

 

Pool Party Leona by TiNyThanhTruc:

leona_pool_party_by_tinythanhtruc-d9f9smy

 

 

Sona by Knarf97:

sona___league_of_legends_by_knarf97-d9f8crz

 


Ahri by j-witless:

morning_ahri_by_j_witless-d9f9o87

 

 

Riven by Tu Tu:

otLDlrw

 


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

Red Posts 03 11 Banner

 

Topics Banner

 

Here are the most recent news in each category:

Red Post Collection Thumbnail Official Site Post Thumbnail PBE Update Post Thumbnail

Current Sale Thumbnail Current Rotation Thumbnail

 

Also, check out Soulless Fire’s player cards for this year’s Worlds!

^9B9124C40317571144421D48E3A2FCA3E51789751B83A5BBD0^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

 

 

About the Harrowing
Slayer Jinx Single banner

Calisker Final PortraitHey everyone!

Some of you have questions around the Harrowing this year, and we wanted to give you a quick update:

In October, we shared that the Harrowing (and other seasonal events) are changing. You can check out the PBE Boards post here (sorry we didn’t post it to the main Boards as well, our bad).

In short: We’re releasing Legacy skins from past Harrowing events later this week. Zombie / Slayer skins are also rolling out soon, so get those chainsaws ready. We wanted to get you in the mood with a dark and terrifying tale of the unliving, “Shadow and Fortune: A Harrowing Story,” as well as updated biographies for some of our Shadow Isles champions.

And if you’re wondering about Snowdown, we have some great stuff in our bag of goodies that’ll look a little different from what you’ve previously seen. So hold on for info on that, we’ll share more once we have all the details sorted out.

[ Link to Post ]

 


How will melee Champions be able to lane against Ranged during Preseason

Reinboom Final PortraitFirst up, Base AD:

The base AD changes are a slight power curve shift (note: there’s an eventual base AD loss).
These were mostly done because last hitting felt bad due to the change in masteries (loss of flat AD). This was felt most by ranged AD characters.
5 AD is potentially too much but it’s a starting point. Marksman AD can be dropped further from there.

Second up, and much more applicable:

Isolating some changes without calling out the other systemic changes on big patches such as these is very misleading.
For example, this topic does not mention that we changed “call for help” at all in favor of melee in lanes. There’s now a second response ring wrapped centered on the attacker that causes your minions to actually respond (notably to ranged attackers) when they’ve shoved you off minions hard.

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Can you elaborate on what Call for Help means

Reinboom Final PortraitSure.

What is Call for Help:

If a champion auto attacks another champion, then find all allied minions and turrets in a “large” ring centered on the champion being attacked. Those minions and turrets found in that ring then check if the attacking champion is within their auto attack range (+ a rather significant search area increase of 400 units if the responder is a minion).

Here’s an example of the ring:

That part isn’t changing.

What’s changing is that there is now a second ring.

In addition to searching for allied minions and turrets around the champion being attacked, there’s a second search around the champions that’s attacking. This search is the same size, but only affects minions (not turrets). Minions responding to the second ring don’t search beyond their attack radius though. They respond only if they could naturally attack the attacker.

This looks like:

(red is the current ring, blue is the new secondary ring)

Also in the prior image, you’ll notice the ranged minions have aggro’d on Caitlyn. This would not have happened in the current game because those minions are outside the red ring.

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Why is Vayne getting compensatory buffs for the BotRK nerfs on the PBE

Vayne Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s changes on the PBE are not compensation for BotRK nerfs. They’re a push in the direction of making the character a bit more about using Silver Bolts effectively to win and less about out statting her opponents through raw Base AD.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s AD/lvl is getting reduced by more than other marksmen in the upcoming preseason changes, alongside the changes to Silver Bolts. Maybe this was less clear, but when I said Base AD, I meant AD at level 1 plus AD/lvl.

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What if Vaynes ult buffed her Silver Bolts instead of giving her bonus AD

Repertoir New PortraitWe thought about a few things that Final Hour could do rather than just give AD, but we decided to take it slow and not force a big change when we didn’t feel like we had a great idea as to what to do.

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Why not take risks and rework Vayne in some way so shes balanced

Repertoir New PortraitPersonally, I’m pretty willing to take what players would perceive as risks on most champions if I think the changes make sense. In Vayne’s case for the preseason, her change wasn’t really intended to be a major highlight of the preseason, but more that every marksman got at least a nudge in the right direction. If I thought I had a good direction for a cool, new ultimate (or a positive change to Final Hour) for Vayne, I’d probably try to make it happen. That kind of focus was not put into Vayne specifically for the preseason, however.

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Why didnt Trundle Talon Aatrox or Pantheon receive compensatory buffs

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not necessarily saying the other 4 mentioned here won’t need some love in the new season, but Vayne’s changes were made to her not because we wanted to give compensation buffs of some sort. They, along with the numerous other changes made for marksmen in the preseason (all marksmen currently have changes planned for 5.22) were made to push her more toward a particular playstyle. I do understand that Silver Bolts isn’t the most loved ability out there by non-Vaynes, but it is what Vayne is all about, and there’s much more gameplay in making her get those Silver Bolts hits off than there is in her AD/lvl.

Anyway, I’ll try to make sure we keep an eye out for the other AD users that maybe aren’t feeling so loved in this preseason. Thanks for the post.

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2015 Worlds skins icons and wards hit the road

worldsshopannounce_articlecard_092215_0

BY RIOT SHANTZILLA

As the 2015 World Championship wraps up, we’re getting ready to send off the skins icons, and wards that helped celebrate the big event. Championship Kalista and the rest of the legacy esports skins won’t be back until next year, so pick them up before they sail away on a flowing river of tears cried by those who ran out of time. Icons, wards, and bundles will also be joining Champ Kalista and crew when they depart at 23:59 PT on November 5!

[ Link to Post ]

 


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

Red Posts 01 11 Banner

[ Note ] You can find all the PBE changes discussed below HERE.

 

Topics Banner

 

Here are the most recent news in each category:

Red Post Collection Thumbnail Official Site Post Thumbnail PBE Update Post Thumbnail

Current Sale Thumbnail Current Rotation Thumbnail

 

 

Can you give us some context on Vaynes preseason Silver Bolts change

Vayne Banner

[ Note ] On the PBE, Vayne’s [ W ] currently has no base damage, but the % damage is increased to 6/7.5/9/10.5/12%.

 

Meddler Final PortraitVayne’s current damage against a 1000 HP target:

  • Rank 1 Silver Bolts – 60 (20 flat + 40 as 4% of 1000)
  • Rank 5 Silver Bolts – 140 (60 flat + 80 as 8% of 1000)

 

Vayne’s damage after the 5.22 change:

  • Rank 1 Silver Bolts – 60 (6% of 1000)
  • Rank 5 Silver Bolts – 120 (12% of 1000, also the minimum value for rank 5 Silver Bolts)

So, against a 1000 health target these changes are a slight nerf to the rank up value of Silver Bolts. At 2000 health rank 1 damage goes from 100 to 120, rank 5 damage goes from 220 to 240, so in both cases slight buffs. At present however Vayne’s also got a reduction of 1 AD per level, so at level 9 (assuming she maxed W first for sake of discussion) she’ll have missed out on 27 physical damage from those three attacks. Any attacks that don’t contribute to a Silver Bolts proc will also be weaker of course too, without the benefit of the extra Silver Bolts damage against a target that’s itemized at least some health.

Finally, to look at a later game scenario, let’s look at a level 15 Vayne with rank 5 W against a target with 3000 health. Previously she’d have dealt 300 damage per Silver Bolts Proc. With these changes she’d deal 360, though with at least 45 less physical damage as a partial offset.

TLDR: This change is neutral or a nerf against low health targets and a small buff, though one partially offset by lower AD/level, against health stacking targets.

 

 

That seems like a lot of work for whats essentially the same Vayne

Meddler Final PortraitYeah it’s a fairly small balance adjustment basically, aimed at focusing Vayne more on killing health stackers while weakening her damage against squishies.

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Was the Graves range nerf intended to force him off the bot lane

Graves Single Banner

[ Note ] On the PBE, Graves’ auto-attack range has been decreased from 525 to 425.


Scruffy Final PortraitWe still intended him for bot lane, though if he has alternate styles in top or jungle it’s not a bad outcome.

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With the Rift Herald added do you think duo lanes will move to mid lane Rift Herald Mini Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitI doubt they would a majority of the time because a lot of mages need that short lane to be safe in the early levels.

That said, I think it opens the possibility to switch up a strat and go for a duo mid, which could be a really exciting and viable move.

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How powerful is the Rift Herald stat wise

Riot Jag Final PortraitRH is pretty durable, but getting the Eye Backstab proc off is a huge amount of damage, so taking it solo is considerably harder than duoing. It should be questionable in terms of trading for Dragon, depending on your team comp and win style (if you’re an early game push team then RH will obviously be better). More details on the reward here:http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/z44jEiXG-rift-herald-pbe-feedback-thread

I don’t think the top laner solo jungle start will work anymore since camps only give you level 2 if you have a jungle item. That’ll push Ignite/Exhaust viability up a lot, along with the TP CD nerfs we have in.

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How is Rapid Firecannon going to work on melee Champions

[ Note ] Rapid Firecannon is a new AD item that passively builds stacks like Statikk Shiv and extends auto-attack range when it’s charged.

Reinboom Final PortraitIt’s a 35% increase that’s capped so it works pretty smoothly for most melee champions.

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How does the Energized stacking mechanic on Firecannon work

Reinboom Final PortraitIt’s Shiv fast, but slightly slower than what shiv is now.

It’s a single shot.

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Can you give us some context on the changes to Trinity Force

[ Note ] Due to the Preseason changes to Zeal & Sheen, Trinity Force now grants CDR instead of AP and most of its stats are lowered in favor of higher Crit Chance.

Riot Axes New PortraitWe’re standardizing item efficiencies across the board, and Trinity Force was one of a number of outliers – much too high.

For the crit specifically, the more closely your crit chance approaches 50%, the fewer attacks it takes for crits to average out (this is helped along considerably by some under-the-hood magic we do – crit isn’t quite true RNG). Basically, increasing the crit chance to 20% actually makes combat less RNG-driven for fighters. We’re aiming to have at least 20% crit on anything bigger than a Brawler’s Glove that has crit on it in the first place.

As for specific champions being impacted – most champions in the game are going to be impacted by at least some of these changes (even if they’re not strongly impacted by items, Keystone Masteries and general game tuning will have large effects on champion power levels). We will certainly be following up on champion balance as preseason progresses.

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Why didnt you replace Zeal in the recipe with Recurve Bow for onhit damage

Riot Axes New PortraitWe explored this – it felt really bad. Few Trinity Force users expect to be able to basic attack repeatedly enough to use that much AS + an on hit effectively, and it costs you the % movement speed (or requires us to drive the price up).

Zeal went back into it because that version felt so bad to play.

 

 

Certain melee Champions really benefitted from the AP on Trinity Force

Sotere New Portrait

Historically most of the melee fighter champions didn’t want AP. Jax and Irelia didn’t feel TERRIBLE about it. Trinity Force was their go-to item because it was SUPER efficient despite stats that weren’t ideal (AP and Crit, which were also incredibly anti-synergistic with each other). Over time certain champions were balanced around that super efficient Trinity Force (Corki, Irelia, Jax, Hecarim). In tuning the efficiency down and shifting the stats, we might reveal that said champions need changes. We’re keeping a close eye on them in case we have to adjust.

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Where is Riots stance on having a jungler build Sighstone as a core item

Fearless New PortraitWe gave junglers the Tracker’s Knife jungle item (essentially a jungler’s sightstone) because we believe that allowing them to easily opt into the vision game should be easier and a more recognized option for junglers.

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Why did you remove Green Wards from the store

Fearless New PortraitThe vision changes are about making the vision portion of the game more of an effort for the entire team, and a more learnable game for all. Green wards as a stand alone purchase ensured that many players never fully engaged in the game. By putting many of the baseline vision tools in the hands of every player, in every game, and then augmenting the ways the game tells players about how the vision game is being played around them, players have much more access to understanding a vital part of the game.

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Is it true that Trinkets will have two charges in the early game

Sotere New PortraitStarting trinkets will have multiple charges. It feels pretty good for coverage in lane, especially bottom where you get both people to draw from.

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What will the removal of Mana Pots do to manahungry AP support

Fearless New PortraitWe’ve increased the mana regen on Frostqueen’s Claim, and we are actively tuning around the support mana usage. We’ll be watching these champs and some of the mana starved junglers to make sure they changes we’ve made for them are doing enough to keep them reasonable. Maybe not 3 mana pot start full, but able to cast their spells and have a strong impact.

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Won’t the gold increase to Health Pots make sustain junglers better picks

Keeper Arcanus Final PortraitHealth Pots are 50g now, but remember the entire flow of gold has been changed. The price increase isn’t as disruptive as you’d think.

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Sotere New PortraitDefinitely something for us to watch. There’s a LOT of systems in play, however. Our playtests haven’t shown sustain champions really thriving due to there being a lot of other sources of health regen and new flasks to keep people topped off.

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How long will the Preseason changes be on the PBE before theyre patched on live

Sotere New PortraitPreseason will only be on PBE for one cycle. The content will be shipping with 5.22 on a normal patch cadence. Of course, we have a lot of follow-up planned once we see how the changes impact Live.

We’re trying to shoehorn supports into one mastery tree less. In fact, there’s no ‘Utility’ Tree anymore. It’s got a new name, and generally new purpose. While supports may still go down it for some of the tried and true gold generation masteries like Bandit, we expect them to explore other trees as well. 0/9/21 shouldn’t be the path that all supports need go down (as some could argue it is on Live).

Supports are generally going to be compensated through base mana buffs, itemization, and they also should be getting a bit more gold at the end of the day due to how ambient gold is going to scale (specifically towards the support team members).

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Happy Halloween to all readers! Here’s a Halloween-themed fan art collection with Battle Bunny Riven for good measure:

 

Happy Halloween! by ikebanakatsu:

tumblr_nx3lqkIoMZ1s3dwpko3_1280

 

Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat by Sanphy:

53232569_p0_master1200 53232569_p1_master1200 53232569_p2_master1200 53232569_p3_master1200 53232569_p4_master1200

 

Gankbuster Vi by suqling:

OAQs0f3

 

Halloween Sona by MonoriRogue:

halloween_sona_doodle_by_monorirogue-d9evdt5

 

Battle Bunny Riven by Unsomnus:

riven___battle_bunny_by_unsomnus-d9en3bt

 


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.