Archive for the ‘Riot News’ Category


News Update July 23 Banner



Lead Game Designer Ghostcrawler took some time on the forums to discuss the overall direction of Riot’s balancing, the feedback from both the community and the competitive scene and how Melee vs Melee interaction should be improved. On Twitter, Morello continued the topic and added some tidbits about Riot’s current balance priorities as well as acknowledging the need to work on unpopular Champions. Balance Designer Statikk hosted a Q&A on the new Community beta and addressed specific Champions like Akali, Kha’Zix, Yasuo, Lucian, Lee Sin and Ezreal, Taric, Alistar, Quinn, Zilean as well as much larger topics like Spell Vamp, new Champions easily reaching the enemy backline and balance favoritism, or lack thereof. Finally, GPL icons are in store and clarity from CertainlyT on why Zyra’s W grants her “free’ Cooldown Reduction.


Recent News



PBE Update July 22 Banner



GPL Icons in Store Banner


The Garena Premier League (GPL) hosts South East Asia’s greatest League teams including Season 2 World Champions the Taipei Assassins. This season, we’re adding permanent summoner icons featuring the GPL team logos for 250 RP. If you’re a hardcore GPL fan, you can pick up all 12 icons for 2400 RP (20% off the regular price).

As before, you’re not just showing off your team allegiance with these icons – 20% of each purchase goes straight to the team, while we use the other 80% to directly support esports through prizing, streaming, events and more!

Rep your favorite GPL teams as they compete for the top spot of the Summer Season!

[ Link to Post ]


a (1) a (2) a (3) a (4)

image 90 image 89 image 88 image 87

image 85 image 83 image 82 image 79



Who does Riot balance for Banner



You seem to be terribly biased in balancing League

Ghostcrawler New PortraitHmm. I felt like Age of Empires 3 was pretty balanced. I did err on making skirmishers and dragoons cool. That was the last game I balanced myself, and it was over 10 years ago.

Now, I have hired a lot of designers whose job it was to balance other games, so I’m fine if you hold me accountable for the work they do, but it’s really not fair to the hundreds of developers who work on titles like WoW and LoL to attribute all the game design decisions to one guy, even if he does like to post on forums a lot.

If you have concerns about the high level direction of League, I’m happy to address those. If you want to talk about changes to individual champions, you’re better off addressing the developers who make those changes. I’ll point you to the recent Q&A with Statikk for instance.

[ Link to Post ]



Is it true you want Champions with flashy plays to be LCS-viable

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe believe there are champions that are more fun to watch than others. That is absolutely not our sole balancing criterion or design direction though. I would say that over time we want to make more of the champions more exciting to play. The guys with fewer exciting moments and just several varieties of “hit that other dude,” are the kind we want to update.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you not want Lee Sin changed before Worlds

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’m not sure if this was from me or Xelnath, but that wasn’t the message we intended to send. Rather we try to be careful as we approach the end of the competitive season not to make radical changes to the game. Preseason has been our traditional time to upset the apple cart. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to try to balance champions going into worlds, and that includes Lee Sin.

[ Link to Post ]



How are your plans to turn all Champions into OP frost mages going along

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s no fun if they are all frost mages. You need someone for them to dominate.

[ Link to Post ]





What is the high level direction of League as far as Riot is concerned

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a big question, and probably beyond the scope of a single forum post. But since I kind of asked for it, I will say that we want to improve champion diversity (both which champions get played and making sure they feel as different from each other as possible), we want you to play with friends (because that’s often a better experience), we want to explore strategic diversity, and we want to look at those areas of the game that are starting to feel a little stale (not just dated like SR, but stale mechanics as well).

I know that’s vague and arm wavy, but like I said above, preseason is a better time for larger changes, and we’d rather socialize these ideas to a lot of you guys in different regions to make sure we have plenty of feedback. It’s something we’ll start to talk about more. Stay tuned.

[ Link to Post ]



TP’s short cooldown encouraged passive, melee-vs-melee top lanes

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYou touch on a couple of different issues that have a strong interaction. First, we agree that top melee vs. melee does get a little boring. Strategic movement (versus say just having short-term speed boosts) is a way to get those guys interacting a little more with the rest of the map, but we agree there are risks of passive play and having no consequences for bad play. Just increasing the cooldown might help with the second part but does nothing for the first part, and meanwhile means the summoner spell could just be dead. We don’t have any changes to announce but we recognize the problem.

[ Link to Post ]



If you’re taking the flak for decisions, you should be getting the credit for them, too

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTotally, and I have no problem with that aspect of the internet. It’s the other half that bothers me. Imagine you’ve worked on say Braum for months, whether you were the designer or the writer or the artist making particle effects. Then the champion that has consumed so much of your life goes live… and some high level designer gets all the attention for it. That’s really unfair at almost any company and it’s particularly unfair at Riot. We really try to avoid the rock star thing.

I’m fine with you blaming me for anything (and most Rioters would feel the same way) because I also don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to pass the buck, but be aware there are a lot of people that work really hard on this or most games. Don’t boil down the company to just a few people whose names you might know.

[ Link to Post ]



You shouldn’t balance the game around pro-players; they’ll adapt

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t balance the game just for the pros. We do pay a lot of attention to how they are playing because A) they tend to influence what a lot of other players are playing, and B) their skill is such that they are very sensitive to small balance nuances that many other players might not notice.


As far as champion popularity, the issue isn’t that we are afraid of player wrath if we nerf popular champions. Sometimes the champion is popular just because they’re overpowered. But sometimes they are popular because they are fun or because others in the same role aren’t as much fun. We try to be very responsive to players, and that includes having a game that is balanced but also a game that is fun to play. If you keep slapping players across the wrists for playing fun champions it’s really easy to send the unintentional message that we don’t want them to have fun.

[ Link to Post ]



Why does it seem like Riot is constantly understaffed

Ghostcrawler New PortraitRiot tends to have small teams, but it depends a lot on what that team is working on. The live team has more than 3-4 people, but that’s really not the whole story. A lot of Rioters contribute to balance, from playtesting, to live data analysis, to assimilating community feedback, to “Hey this experience happened to me last night, maybe we should look at it.”


There are also risks to having too many people working on a team — it’s hard to keep in tight communication and make sure two groups aren’t trying to solve the same problem in different ways. In any case, “design” is my team. I don’t tell the balance team what to do, except at a very high level. I talked a lot about WoW class balance, which led to this persistent myth that I did it all myself.

[ Link to Post ]



Slower Champion release means less potential balance issues

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere are some solutions to having a huge champion roster. Yes, the game would probably be easier to balance at 100 champions or even 5, but that would be boring. One of the things that keeps League fresh (by which I mean it contributes but isn’t sufficient to solve the problem all by itself) is a constant stream of new champions (and some updated old ones as well).

[ Link to Post ]




What purpose do you want Supports to serve on a team

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUtility is fun. We don’t want supports to just be warders, nor we want them to just be the dudes who don’t get any kills in order to funnel all the gold to their carries. We also don’t feel that we nailed the season 4 gold income, so it’s something we’re going to have to keep working on.

[ Link to Post ]




Where’s the Bruiser rework promised for Season 4

Ghostcrawler New PortraitPromising anything is dangerous, because it implies we should ship changes that we aren’t happy with just because we said we would. The game still needs a fighter / bruiser rework. Some of that is itemization changes. Some of it is just giving melee champions some interesting ways to interact with other champions beyond just smashing someone with an axe or be kited endlessly.

[ Link to Post ]




Who does does Riot want to balance League of Legends for

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUltimately, we try to balance for the players who are playing the game, which means all of them. I know that’s a tall order, but we wouldn’t be happy with a model that was to only balance for the best players or to neglect them. We do want LCS to be fun to watch, but we also want League to be fun to play for the Bronze player who is still finding their way. Sometimes those directions are contradictory, say for a champion that is only good in organized team play but not solo queue, and in those cases, balance gets super tricky.

[ Link to Post ]



Why are most Champions forced into a single role and lane

Ghostcrawler New PortraitAll things being equal, champions that can fill multiple roles are cool. There are two big footnotes to this. First, we haven’t always been great at supporting novel use of champions. In the past, if an AD Marksman started to get played as an AP, we’d sometimes stomp it out quickly because it was unintended without really establishing if the play pattern was healthy (e.g. did it have sufficient team play and counterplay) and if players would be able to come up with strategies to counter that play.

We are trying to be less reactionary to those opportunities. Second however, game health still is a thing we have for which we have to be mindful. Jungle Alistar tends to be pretty frustrating for the other team, so it’s not something we’re likely to support without some fundamental changes to his abilities. Support Annie, Mid Lulu, AP Ez are champion roles we have no fundamental issue with, as long as they don’t eclipse the champion’s performance in all other roles.

[ Link to Post ]



Is your design goal to make sweeping changes to keep League fresh

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt isn’t our philosophy to constantly reinvent the game. We think the core games is pretty compelling. There is a risk that League can get stale though. New champions and alternate game modes can help offset that, but you do see players who just get bored if they think the meta is too rigid or each game just feels too similar to the last. So in that sense, we do think it’s healthy for the game to evolve.

I think I am reacting most to the subtext of the accusation (which I realize isn’t yours per se) that the changes are sweeping, arbitrary or thoughtless. There is a happy medium between the extremes of ossification and the wild, wild west.

[ Link to Post ]



Is there truly no room for melee DPS

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere is room for melee DPS, but we’re not there yet. It’s harder to give melee skill shots. It’s harder to give melee a reason to go in, do damage, then break off the attack, since they are designed to do damage in a small window (when they are in melee) and spend the rest of the time gap closing / being kited. It’s harder to keep the distinction between fighters and tanks, since fighters have to be fairly survivable to even get to melee.

We think we can address all of those issues, but they will take time, and sadly longer than we originally thought. Some of these changes are champion updates to give them more to do than just whack at an opponent. Some of these changes are more systemic, such as making sure fighters and tanks build items differently.

[ Link to Post ]



How are we to speak with developers when they rarely respond

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe are trying to get back to that. There was a time when more Rioters were all over the boards and Reddit. For a variety of reasons, that has eroded somewhat, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I personally always loved that about Riot, and it’s something I am passionate about trying to get back to.

[ Link to Post ]




It seems Riot underrates small tweaks made to Champions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll be totally frank here. I think it’s playtesting. The logic the designers use to make every change is typically pretty sound and we have a culture of beating up ideas. By that I mean, nobody is changing anything without getting a lot of input. We also try to leave room to react to player feedback when you guys see the patch notes or even our initial thoughts on potential changes.

We also do have some very strong players who work here (i.e. Challenger tier) and we rely a lot on them and a whole bunch of other Rioters to put these changes through their paces. But even if we played 200 games with every balance tweak, that is far, far fewer than the bazillions of games that get played when a patch goes live. Yes, there are plenty of unintended consequences that we really should have caught, but there are others that we just never realistically could have predicted until some smart player tried out something wacky and a bunch of other players adopted it.

One idea is to try and leverage the PBE better. Most participants just mess around to get a feel for any patch changes, but aren’t really trying to exploit a change the way they will once it goes live. We have some other ideas as well.

[ Link to Post ]



What exactly does the Design team do

Ghostcrawler New PortraitDesign is a discipline. The “big three” disciplines in game development are design, programming and art, though there are others as well (production, sound, QA, etc.) At Riot, teams are multidisciplinary, meaning that the champion team for instance has a lot of people on it that are not designers.


Not every team needs a designer on it. Some are focused on say engine refinements. Others have someone with enough design skill that they can fill in for not having a dedicated designer. Most teams that touch the game directly do have designers though. There are designers on the Live team who do balance the game. (It’s more accurate to say that they are accountable for short-term patch-to-patch changes that can’t wait for a larger update or rework, but that’s a Riot technicality, not something you need to understand to have an opinion on LoL.)

Fortunately, while your question sounds like you’re just curious, it isn’t necessary to understand how Riot (or any game developer) is structured in order to give feedback on the game. In fact, I often say that if your post is focusing a lot on the people making the game and not the game itself, that’s a good hint that your post probably isn’t super helpful in terms of providing us feedback. “I don’t think Jax is competitive in this situation,” is what we call actionable feedback. That’s the kind of feedback we can discuss. “Ghostcrawler nerfed Jax,” doesn’t provide us much actual information. Maybe it helps you feel better by venting, but as I pointed out, since you don’t really know how we structure our teams internally, your statement is likely to not even be correct.

[ Link to Post ]



Why do Rioters respond to trolls but not to reasonable threads

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a reasonable concern. My personal experience from a decade and a half of trying to communicate to players is that if you step into a good discussion, you risk derailing it. Devs can still read and appreciate the discussion, and we do, but if we try to “reward” the thread with our appearance, it ends up attracting a lot of folks who want to make “Rito where” posts or troll or whatever. Troll threads are in essence already ruined, so a dev jumping in can’t make it much worse. 

[ Link to Post ]



Have you ever thought that some top laners liked Melee vs

Ghostcrawler New PortraitOf course. That’s why I asked the question. A lot of the answers are “Because then a ranged champ doesn’t shut him down,” which is a reasonable concern, but doesn’t really get at the issue of how to make melee banging away on another melee interesting. In team fights, we think there is more for melee to do, whether they’re trying to block the front lines or dive past them to hit the softer nukers in the back. But slow, top lane duels feel like they need some help.

[ Link to Post ]



Riot doesn’t hate melee top laners, they just can’t balance them

Ghostcrawler New PortraitExactly. We are trying to formalize (for want of a better word) what strengths melee should have to help them offset the huge advantages that ranged champions have. The traditional solutions have been that melee are hard to kill, or they really mess you up if you fail to kite them. Both of those cause a lot of balance problems though. The first means melee slap fights are boring. The second means that melee vs. ranged encounters can be binary — either the melee zeroes the mage, or the latter escapes.

[ Link to Post ]



Is it true you don’t know where the “Renekton” balance bar lies

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThe Renekton “bar” came about, IIRC, because we were just nerfing whoever the dominant melee was at the time and the next melee would come take his or her place. We realized this was because many melee were just ball of stats without interesting interactions (I exaggerate, which I often do, but you get the point). We decided that Renekton actually had some interesting gameplay going on, so rather than nerf him, we’d make him the bar for how melee should act. That doesn’t mean just giving his abilities to all the other melee and it doesn’t mean buffing the stats for Mundo or whoever else to help them pass Renekton.

It means trying to find unique ability and item hooks for those melee below the bar. (Also to be clear, the bar doesn’t mean we nerf all other melee to have worse win rates than Renekton. It’s just a target for power and kit.) Unfortunately, that does take some time and exploration which is why we haven’t delivered on it yet. I hate that we haven’t delivered on it yet, but that’s the story for how it happened.

[ Link to Post ]



QA on Balance Design Banner



State of Kha’Zix and Hecarim and popular Champions not being nerfed

Statikk New PortraitYou have made a ton of comments, and I’ll try my best to address them all.

1) Kha’Zix

Firstly, I actually think Kha’zix isn’t far off from being balanced. In fact, we have seen him get spot-picked in Korean pro games even in his arguably currently “underpowered” state (I believe they are actually evolving E first).

The changes to Q and its evolution path were actually largely motivated by Game Health concerns with the Isolation mechanic. Essentially, Isolation is a mechanic that works super well later on in the game when you are more heavily grouping up since you have allies to play around, but early on in the game (especially pre-6) avoiding Isolation is not really an option for some roles (ex: the opposing jungler). We think it’s appropriate that Kha’Zix has to invest in his Q to apply this kind of pressure to the enemy team that Isolation brings, and it’s clear that at least some evolutions such as E are still competing with it.

I think Volty (Kha’Zix’s original designer) kind of nailed it on the head when we released Kha’Zix. He claimed that Kha’Zix is a champion we have to normally re-visit in order to re-balance his evolutions to be competitive with one another, and I honestly agree with that. The game and our understanding of the game changes so much even on a daily basis. I suspect we’ll have to revisit his evolutions in the future, but for now we want to monitor how the Q buffs in 4.12 have affected him.

2) Hecarim

Agreed 100% that we went overboard with the Q Mana cost tuning the last time we changed him. This is something we’re looking to change with the next upcoming patch. His Q Mana cost will now be in the middle ground between where it was before and where it is now.

3) Balance “Favoritism”

I think it’s a bit unfair to jump to conclusions about why we are hesitant to nerf X champion versus Y champion. Firstly, there’s always going to be variance in the power of champions after we change them. Getting them right 100% out of the game is honestly unrealistic, as it takes time for everyone to understand how to optimize champions after we change them.

Lucian was a case where we were more concerned with ensuring that he was still functional post Attack Range changes. Yes, we went overboard on our first shot, but this is something that can be and will be corrected in the upcoming patches (everybody deserves a second shot amirite?).

Lee Sin is a different beast altogether. Firstly, we didn’t go through with our first initial larger changelist months ago due to a legitimate concern that players brought to us which was that we were fundamentally altering his gameplay identity with our changes. This made us go rethink our approach to Lee Sin and instead of normalizing him into a champion we know fits the game, we are trying to fit his unique identity (early game gambit, late game falloff) into the game. This is something we will be pursuing fairly aggressively with Lee Sin.

In addition, we always have to assess what each champion brings to the game and how that can affect our analysis of the situation. Let’s be honest, Lee Sin is one of the most fun and exciting champions in our game, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone why he is so popular. We’ll continue to adjust his power as we always have (and if you don’t think we’ve changed him a ton…go look at his patch history), but Lee Sin is a champion that as a design team we feel brings a lot of positives to the game.

[ Link to Post ]



Melee Carries, Assassins, Access to Team Backline, Stealth & More

Statikk New PortraitHey Sayath, always a pleasure to read your posts. I’ll answer the questions in your Summary as best as I can:

1) State of Akali

Akali currently looks to be in a decent spot, and as I hear she is starting to gain more popularity recently especially in solo queue. I also think she will be benefiting from the changes we are making to the overall game to make it less anti-Assassin. As far as Game Health goes, I still believe she is a champion with a lot of flaws. When she gets ahead, there is usually very little individuals can do to overcome the situation due to her simplistic mechanics (tons of just “I click you and hope you die” abilities) and when she’s behind she has very little power to come back since she doesn’t have any strong “fallback” patterns and the her primary defensive ability (W) is still tied to our primitive and hard counter-y stealth system.

2) Squishy Melee

We are still exploring what it means to be a squishy melee in the game. Yasuo was obviously an experiment in this field. I see 2 possible positions for them:

1. Enemy backline (Assassin): I think everyone is familiar with this pattern. In my mind there are 2 inherent steps in this pattern – 1. The Infiltration to get to the right target and 2. The Execution when they arrive at the target to take them out. Assassins should be champions who rely on flanking and other creative ways of infiltrating towards the enemy’s high-priority targets. I think a large part missing in a lot of our Assassins is an interesting Execution phase, where they still need to make a play once they reach the target to finish them (maybe Zed after the more recent changes meets the bar now).

2. Ally backline (Melee Carry): This is a term we’ve thrown around a ton but have never truly delivered upon. A lot of the supposed Melee Carries we’ve put into the game are honestly very Assassin-like in their pattern since we often give them the tool to access the enemy backline. The idea behind this character would be similar to that of a Ranged Carry mindset – start with whatever targets present themselves, usually the enemy frontline and eventually make their way through the team to clean up the enemy’s backline.

Yasuo was a champion I believe had a lot of potential of fulfilling this role due to mechanics such as Wind Wall which keeps him safe from the enemy backline while he deals with the enemy frontline, but once again we ended up giving him a way to easily access the backling via his ult which I think really undermines this role’s purpose and essentially turned him into an Assassin. To me it feels like a somewhat lost opportunity.

3) Spell Vamp

Spell Vamp is honestly another old system that we probably need to revisit and re-set the goals around its purpose in the game. I would say in its current state, Spell Vamp being any more prominent would probably just lead to abuse cases. One of the largest problems with Spell Vamp is how much it favors resourceless champions vs. Mana champions. This is something we’d have have to take a hard look at if we wanted to adjust it, but I don’t think there are any immediate plans.

4) Stealth

I don’t just think it would be beneificial, I think it is integral to the health of all stealth champions that we figure out a better system for them to work under. The current binary / hard-counter system is one that provides little gameplay and disallows these champions to scale with player skill effectively. It’s something I’m very personally interested in investigating but have never found the time to.

[ Link to Post ]



Who do you think are the top 5 Champions in need of Rework

  1. Statikk New PortraitUrgot
  2. Poppy
  3. Mordekaiser
  4. Yorick
  5. ??? – can’t decide =/

Once again, my personal opinion. I think the above 4 have incomplete/confused identities/roles within the game and have flawed play patterns that offer very little counterplay.

[ Link to Post ]



Immobile Mid-lane Mages, Athene’s, Deathcap and Void Staff

Statikk New PortraitThis is definitely an issue that we have struggled with a lot internally. We call this class of characters the “Immobile Mid-Lane Mages” and I 100% agree with your identification and breakdown of the problem.

I’m definitely on the same page with you when you say Mobility Creep is one of the largest contributors to this. As we’ve added more and more mobility to the champions in our game (for good reasons – mobile champions are really fun to play, create a lot of “outplay” moments, etc.), the Immobile Mid Mages have fallen off especially in the competitive scene.

The bottom line is that we have done a poor job of valuing Mobility as it relates to the amount of power it gives to a champion’s kit. Champions with high mobility need to be paying a larger cost for having that strength, and this is obvious with examples like Kassadin, LeBlanc, or Lee Sin. Mobility is actually a tool that scales extremely well with player skill, pros are able to exploit both the strategic map mobility and tactical in-combat mobility to its fullest extent.

As far as itemization goes, I know the Systems team is looking into different the lesser used items such as Rylai’s. The lack of Mana Regen in the Rylai’s + Liandry’s combo is interesting (I believe most stack a few Doran’s Rings to try to get around this), but overall I think it might be pointing out a larger issue in our game which is our ever-growing pool of Resourceless champions and how we have maybe warped the game to allow Mana users to compete with the resourceless guys over time. A big example of this is how strong Athene’s is at the moment. When you look at the item objectively, Athene’s is pretty insane in terms of gold-efficiency, but this leads to a scenario where the only mages that are viable are the ones who can leverage Athene’s effectively. This is something I’ll definitely bring up to the other guys on the team to see if this is another avenue we can help attack the problem.

Overall, I don’t think there’s an easy fix to this problem. I think we’ll have to do a lot of systematic changes to the game in order to get Immobile Mid Lane Mages back into the game in a healthy way, but it’s something definitely on our radar (just not right at this moment since we are prepping for Worlds).

[ Link to Post ]



 Lucian feels like a better Ezreal right now

Statikk New PortraitFirstly, I’ll start with new Lucian. Flat out, he’s just currently overtuned and that will be corrected soon. This means that Lucian’s current state is not really a useful grounds of comparison when it comes to power level.

To address Ezreal, we honestly feel Ezreal is still fitting the vision we set for him. He’s a long-range, mobile, poke ADC and he fits that pretty well. In fact, Ezreal is still being valued in the Korean competitive scene.

I don’t think it can be easily assumed that Ezreal is “weak” at the moment. He has things that Lucian doesn’t have (long range) and Lucian has things that Ezreal doesn’t have (hyper mobility). That’s a great place to be in when they can be valued for different reasons. I think something to clarify is that Ezreal should probably not be the most mobile ADC in the game given that he has such high range. He can be mobile sure (and he is because of his E), but being the most mobile is probably not ideal given his other strengths. I think it’s easy to forget, once a champion has not been dominant for a while, the times they actually were dominant and how small of a change it takes for us to revert back to those times.

Purely using Win Rates averaged over all skill levels is a dangerous way to approach game balance. In fact, I think this kind of mentality has heavily contributed to the Mobility Creep that continues to grow in our game. Some things simply scale extremely well with player skill level – it turns out that Mobility is one of these things. The fact that a lot of our more mobile champions do have “lower” win rates is not an accident or mistake. It takes a ton of mastery and skill to leverage Mobility to its maximum potential.

[ Link to Post ]


What’s your opinion on underplayed Supports like Zilean, Alistar and Taric

Statikk New Portrait1) Taric

Similar to Garen, I think Taric is at a place where we have to weigh simplicity vs. mastery. If we were to change Taric, I doubt we would put more emphasis on Auras as they are biggest examples of “Power without Gameplay.” Stat-based Auras typically have to be fairly game-warping before they are noticeable and satisfying, which is why we usually avoid them.

Overall, I think we need to find a more interesting core gameplay pattern than “stand near an enemy and press all your buttons” for Taric. I don’t want to get your guys’ hopes up, but we actually do have some experimental Taric changes that are pretty different from his current kit. No guarantees on if it will ever release or when, but he is someone who the Reworks team is looking at potentially changing.

2) Zilean

Zilean’s kit unfortunately has very little counterplay, and it’s the large reason why it’s hard for us to find a place for him in the game. Currently when he’s powerful, he creates an extremely frustrating experience for the enemy laner. He is also one of the champions that is higher up on the Reworks priority list, but because we would have to change his kit so drastically to make him healthy for the game, it will definitely be a while until we can release changes.

3) Alistar

The W+Q combo is something that we never intended to exist, but it’s something that Alistar players have gotten used to and is honestly integral to his current balance and gameplay. If we were to revisit him in a Reworks style approach, I think there’s a high likelihood that we would remove the combo and instead give him more ways to create situations where he can W enemies into walls to setup a follow-up Q. This is probably a healthier version of his combo, but it’s not something we’d do unless we supplemented the kit with ways to function and succeed without the combo.

I agree the heal is also something that doesn’t necessarily mesh well with his kit – both from a game health perspective and a thematic perspective. Functionally it is honestly just a bunch of sustain in lane (arguably not a “bunch” anymore now that we’ve tuned it down over time) and then falls off in usefulness once it gets to late game. It creates a fairly un-interactive lane pattern that is diametrically opposed to his all-in initiation combo style. It’s something I think we’d have no qualms of removing if we found something better to replace it with.

[ Link to Post ]



Are there any plans to rework Garen

Statikk New PortraitThe difficulty of a champion like Garen is that we see him as a great beginner champion. He’s easy to pick up and easy to understand, so he does bring a lot of positive to the game even when he isn’t necessarily a strong champion at the competitive level.

If we wanted to make him more healthy for competitive play we would have to start weighing the costs of adding complexity to his kit via new mechanics and probably adding more points of mastery in his gameplay which probably means making him overall more demanding to play.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned working on this game is that it is rare for any decision to be completely free of costs or tradeoffs. Almost every change we make that has a benefit also has a cost and we always have to weigh them against each other.

In Garen’s case we would have to understand the costs we would have to pay in his simplicity in order to make him a healthier competitive champion. I can say right now, that there are no immediate plans for work on Garen, but you’re definitely on the mark when you say that if we do go and change Garen we would need to try our best to preserve his low skill floor while still increasing skill ceiling (which is extremely difficult to do).

[ Link to Post ]



What's your view on Quinn

Statikk New PortraitIn terms of balance, we think Quinn is actually pretty strong.

In terms of design, I think we all feel Quinn is somewhat of a missed opportunity. Here’s a list of things I think we are not exactly content with:

  1. She’s a sub-par bot lane ADC
  2. She’s overly reliant on snowballing / doesn’t have a great fallback pattern
  3. Her ult specifically is great when she’s ahead (potentially makes her feel overbearing when ahead due to the amount of burst it adds) and feels almost useless when behind or even

Overall, I think Quinn is a fun champion with a lot of potential, but we’re simply not there yet.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think Spell Vamp is in a good place right now

Statikk New PortraitUnfortunately, I actually don’t have a ton of insight into Spell Vamp and how it should function in our game (probably more appropriate for one of our Systems guys like Xypherous), but I will say that although a “Spell Vamp ratio” on each spell would make Spell Vamp healthier and more functional in our game, it would be an extremely inelegant solution. For example, how would players know whether they had good Spell Vamp ratios or not?

We would probably have to display it in the tooltips somewhere and that has its own complexity and costs as well. I think you are getting at the heart of the problem though, which is that Spell Vamp is a lot weaker on champions who have to expend resources (Mana) to get returns out of it. Personally not sure what the answer would be here still.

[ Link to Post ]



The Direction of LoL Balance

Morello was up on Twitter yesterday, tackling balance questions one at a time. The first 5 are sequential, after which come a small set of replies.







How will you address unpopular Champions like, say Viktor


Will you address Diana’s currently poor state


Don’t you feel that you’ve overnerfed Kha’Zix


How long does it take to rework or update a Champion


Which takes more time - new Champions or new updates


Will we see a solution to the ball of stats fighters



Single Posts banner



Why does Zyra’s Passive on W give CDR and not, say, Magic Pen

CertainlyT New PortraitHi there. Zyra’s W gives CDR for two reasons:   First, Seeds have relatively little inherent value. We wanted to ensure that Zyra could cast more spells as she began to replenish her seeds faster, because as you put more points into W, you are expressing a desire to have more plants.   Second, because we wanted Zyra to be able to buy non-CDR items. We wanted players to be able to buy the items that made sense for them in their particular game from the entire line of mage oriented items, such as Zhonya’s or Abyssal Scepter, not be restricted to the (at the time) small pool of CDR items.

A bit of context: We struggled during her development to balance 0% CDR Zyra builds against 40% CDR Zyra builds. The latter could put so many seeds out that certain enemy team compositions felt completely stifled. When W’s cooldown was at a healthy level assuming 40% CDR builds, all other item paths felt terrible. Giving Zyra “free” CDR (20% on release) was accompanied by raising the cooldown of her W to compensate, meaning that Zyra’s effective CDR cap for Rampant Growth was 20%.   Today, it’s unlikely we would make the same decision, as CDR is a much more accessible stat. This is the reason that I lowered Zyra’s passive CDR on W from 20% at max rank to 10%. In a game now filled with CDR choices, the “free” 20% was actually stifling her ability to purchase items. Hopefully getting to 40% these days involves a good amount of choice and compromise without leaving the player feeling like they are struggling to get to cap if they so desire or going way over if they do opt for CDR items.

[ Link to Post ]



Can we have an update on Dunkmaster Darius

Baconhawk New PortraitThe answers to these and all your other questions will be answered in time, friend.

(He looks kind of amazing. Graceful, even).   [ Link to Post ]




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






A New Dawn Cinematic Banner


Riot just released an awesome cinematic! Watch the glorious CGI, read the story behind the scene, download concept art and wallpapers from the video and check out the minisite devoted to the cinematic!



Day breaks over a landscape consecrated by blood and steel. A battle begins as a new dawn rises.














Categories: LoL News, Riot News Tags:

Champion Rotation Week 27 Season 4 Second Banner


The following Champions will be free-to-play until July 29th:

  • Blitzcrank - 3150 IP or 790 RP
  • Dr. Mundo - 1350 IP or 585 RP
  • Gragas - 3150 IP or 790 RP
  • Kog’Maw – 4800 IP or 880 RP
  • Nasus - 1350 IP or 585 RP
  • Skarner – 4800 IP or 880 RP 
  • Trundle - 4800 IP or 880 RP
  • Urgot – 3150 IP or 790 RP
  • Xerath – 4800 IP or 880 RP
  • Ziggs – 6300 IP or 975 RP

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


News Update July 21 Banner



Everyone’s favourite parrot IronStylus comments on the size of the Champion Update team and what the requirements for working at Riot are, Rioters address the issue of queue-dodging in ARAM instead of rerolling and ARAM-only accounts, Lead Champion Designer Meddler explains the thought process behind the latest PBE changes to Varus, Nome addresses the buggy state of the Death Recap screen, an explanation of the steep cost to move to the NA East Coast realm and news on upcoming nerfs to Heal and changes to Exhaust on the PBE.


Recent News


PBE-Update-July-17-Banner (1)




Champion Update Team Banner



The Champion Update team should be bigger

IronStylus New PortraitWelp! I’ll never turn down more awesome people to work with in order to up cadence!

So, if you know anyone who’s a:


  • Concept artist who has top tier drawing and painting skills with the ability to design and render characters for our in-game environment.
  • 3D artist who is prolific in Zbrush and Maya who can expertly model, retopo and hand paint textures.
  • Animator who specializes in hand-keyed animation which is targeted from the top down 3/4′s view.
  • Technical artist who is proficient in rigging/skinning.
  • VFX artist who can hand-paint their own textures/assets and implement them clearly keeping in mind timing and graphic readability.

..then let me know 

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

Do they have to know how to do all of those things

Meddler New PortraitNo, each of those is a separate set of requirements.

[ Link to Post ]





So you’re not hiring people because the requirements are too specific

IronStylus New PortraitNo, we hire the people who are right. We’re certain hiring, just head over to the jobs page. All the positions I’ve listed are available. The requirements we put down are industry standard. Maybe the only exception is hand-painted texturing ability and hand-keyed animation. Those are genre and sometimes company specific. 

Not sure what “advertise” means, but we go to a lot of conventions, conferences, schools, etc. We’re always looking to recruit. 

You can indeed train people, but the skill sets I’ve listed are minimum requirements for pretty much any industry job. Also, it’s best to have people who already have a great start than to train up someone from nothing. Just throwing more bodies at the project helps no one.

[ Link to Post ]



These skills are hard to learn at school or even trade programs

IronStylus New PortraitIt can be difficult to get a straight answer in school as to what skills (technical and personal) one needs to know to get into the industry. That’s why it’s super important to look at specific companies and what they specifically need in order to tailor your education. Part of learning is knowing what you want. Sometimes that’s hard to find, I understand. No one told me how to get where I am, I had to learn in a fairly difficult way. Now I try to communicate best I can to students and aspiring professionals what the qualifications are for the industry.

[ Link to Post ]



Shouldn’t Riot have no problem finding the right people to hire

IronStylus New PortraitWe have a whole page of postings. We also visit a lot of places talking to prospective hires. It can be a challenge to find the right people who have the necessary skills in both technical areas and personal areas. “Soft skills” are super important to culture fit.

[ Link to Post ]




Not so Random ARAM Banner



Fixing the not-random factors of All Random All Mid

L4T3NCY New PortraitHeya guys ^_^/

This is definitely something that is on our radar. We also agree from a design perspective, that ARAM-only accounts manufacture a disingenuous experience, and aren’t in the true spirit of ARAM (the “R” stands for Random btw).


Much like the game modes on other maps, certain champs in ARAM trend to being more effective and separate into perceived ‘tiers’. The issue is the asymmetrical champ selection experience that ‘ARAM-only accounts’ create. In all other modes, when picking, you have an equal opportunity to choose champs you want as the other team does. ARAM-only accounts undermine this by giving a statistical advantage of hitting those ‘tier champs’ compared to other players. Here lies the crux of the unfairness.

Making ALL champions available on ARAM is likely to contribute a net positive to the overall sustainable health of ARAM as a game mode, but there are still many things to consider. There is so much energy and passion from you guys surrounding ARAM, we want to do justice to that spirit and not just pull a trigger without thinking.

Personally, I like the idea of making all champions available in ARAM games, and hope this is something we can eventually take a closer look at to find a healthy solution. ^_-

[ Link to Post ]



If you unlock all Champions in ARAM, you can rework the reroll system

L4T3NCY New PortraitYou’re absolutely right here. The reroll system is one of many facets we would need to revisit before implementing something like this. We agree that simply switching on ALL champs in ARAM with it’s current shape, would not feel very good. If/when we do it, we want to do it right. ^.^o

[ Link to Post ]



Is the ARAM pool locked because you want people to buy the Champions

Tiki New PortraitCan’t stress enough how much the above is not the case. I believe L4T3NCY was referring more specifically to how the re-roll system in its current state doesn’t necessarily work as well in a situation where all the champs are unlocked. Imagine 2 situations:


1. Current situation, player has a limited amount of champs available in ARAM (assuming it’s a non-ARAM only account). These are likely Champions they are familiar with or have been interested in at some point, even if they’re not great ARAM champs. Rerolls will consistently get them something they are likely to know.

2. Unlocked situation, player has access to all champs available in ARAM. The day this gets turned on, you’re likely to start playing with a slew of unfamiliar characters. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the long run, but it is very different. Your re-rolls mean something a little different now. Instead of rolling out of a champ you don’t want to play into another you’re familiar with, you’re much more likely to get another champ you don’t know which can feel pretty disruptive.

If we’re going to design something new, we want to keep that second player experience in mind. I think exposing players to more champs is probably a good thing in the long run, but not at the expense of a really poor initial experience. Don’t know the exact solution, but it likely revolves around revamping the re-roll system in some way to give players a little more control, or some alternative that meets the same need.

Anyway, as someone who plays a LOT of ARAM I’m pretty passionate, if we do ever do this I want us to approach it in a way that feels good for my fellow ARAM players 



Summary of community ideas to make ARAM better

Tiki New PortraitThanks for discussing all this folks! Here are some of my thoughts on what’s being talked about. Disclaimer that I’m not a designer, just an ARAM player with a vested interest in the mode 

Altering champ selection based on win rates: This could definitely make the core experience nicer in some ways (I could do with less Sona’s showing up in queue myself) but I feel like it’s no longer ARAM at that point. Much as I don’t love certain team comps, I still like the overall concept enough to roll the dice and see what I get. Also games are short enough that I’m OK with it. Would want to do some research (big shock) on this and talk with actual designers on the long term implications.

Hybrids of all champs available & only your champs available: Even though this would likely thin out the # of games where you or your opponents have a seriously OP comp I still think it wouldn’t address a core problem. Namely that when I see the enemy team with a super OP comp, can I trust it was because of randomness and we all had a fair chance at getting that comp? If I can’t, a part of me wants to rage and it ruins the experience overall.

Seeing opponents beforehand: Unfortunately I think this would make queue dodging worse. I suspect a significant # of players would dodge if they saw the enemy team ultimately rolled something better. 

Draft pick all random: Again, a pretty different mode, but an interesting one! I wonder if players would actually pick “bad” ARAM champs into the mix in hopes of the other team getting them, or if everyone would just pick OP champs and hope for more. I think the later one is more likely, but I think the former would be really cool.

I personally love the craziness that ARAM brings, even if I get my share of crappy team comps. I like being forced to play champs I don’t love, I like playing awesome ARAM champs, and mostly I like seeing variety. One thing ARAM can bring that is tough with SR & other modes is consistent variety. There are so many champs and I love the thought that they can all get some play.

Love the discussion on all this!

p.s. I love me some Yorick in ARAM 

[ Link to Post ]



Is ARAM mode really giving me a random Champion each time

L4T3NCY New PortraitARAM’s champ select RNG is not ‘rigged’ by any means, but certain players are curtailing their champion pools to gain an unfair advantage in what should be a random (there’s that word again) experience. This is the cause of your Master Yi déjà vu.

[ Link to Post ]



Punishing queue dodging in ARAM to get the pick you want

L4T3NCY New PortraitTo the general sentiment here RE queue-dodgers, we would like to do everything possible to discourage them. Harsher penalties are one valid path, but we should consider the reasons for queue-dodging too. Some players aresimply just gonna dodge until they roll a Lux. :/ But others might be doing it due to the perceived unfairness in champ pool selection, which is something we could realistically have a chance at mitigating.

As someone who used to play ARAM back when it was a custom game mode on SR and the rules were a “gentlemen’s agreement”, I feel like we’ve taken some Cloud Giant sized steps forward on queue dodging, but of course, could still improve on player’s experiences even more. We should all be spending less time in champ select, and more time on the Abyss! \>o<


Queue-dodging is a shortcut to Frowntown for everyone. Don’t go there guys. Everyone is frowning. Like this-> :(

[ Link to Post ]



Varus PBE Changes Banner



Why was the CD on Varus’s ult decreased on the PBE

Meddler New PortraitCouple of thoughts behind the change we’re testing:

1. As a non mobile ADC giving Varus a bit more safety/control via his ult being up more reliably’s an appropriate place to offer a bit of power.


2. Following on from that one of the prime reasons to pick Varus in a team comp is if you want crowd control from your marksman slot (with a focus on team disruption, and greater reliability as a counterinitiate, in contrast to Ashe’s strength as an initiator). Amplifying that strength’s therefore fits well with our goals of increasing clear strengths and weaknesses for champions to create further distinctions between them.

[ Link to Post ]



Why not increase the size of the ult’s hitbox

Meddler New PortraitA higher hit rate, via width, was something we’ve talked about as well. Agree it feels like it’s missed a lot, it’s a pretty fast skillshot (2000) with a fair bit of width already (around 100 from memory, not certain off the top of the head) though so I’d be a little hesitant to make it too generous (would also reduce the current cases we see of chaining it with allied CC from your support which can add some interesting play to bot lane comps, CD reduction by contrast supports that).

[ Link to Post ]



Will Varus get back the 5 MS he lost

Meddler New PortraitNo plans to do so at present. Wouldn’t rule it out of the question entirely, there are likely more interesting ways we can add power to him though.

[ Link to Post ]




Follow Up

How much power does 5 ms usually translate to anyway

Meddler New PortraitFrom what we’ve seen it varies a lot depending on that champion’s kit and role. On some that’s not massively position dependent (not a primary target or heavily range constrained) it may not have too big an impact. ADCs on the other hand do tend to be pretty sensitive to MS changes. Vayne’s a particularly good example of that, with even small changes to her movement speed translating into noticeable power differences.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

In Vayne’s case, is it because it increases her movement radius under stealth

Meddler New PortraitNot completely certain, couple of things I’m inclined to attribute it to though. Vayne doesn’t have any way of projecting influence beyond her auto attack range. Combine that with the way ADC trading/CSing/harassment bot often skirts just around AA ranges (to the extent that a 550 AA versus a 575 AA is a really noticeable difference) and a small difference in MS can make the difference between being able to land or avoid a hit or not. Similarly kills or escapes will often come down to a single AA’s worth of health, often just barely landed or escaped.

Agree with your point that dashes/blinks should be expected to reduce such impacts. In Vayne’s case however I think the factors amplifying movement sensitivity are strong enough to outweigh the mobility she gets from her kit though.

[ Link to Post ]



Why not buff the slow on his E then

Meddler New PortraitNo shortage of champs with slows. As above we’re seeing if there’s mileage in buffing something more distinct. On top of that a slow’s fairly or completely ineffective against a fair number of diving champs, in contrast to a root.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think Ashe actually could be buffed to a top-tier ADC pick

Meddler New PortraitI’m not sure top tier’s necessarily a good goal, that implies she’s potentially strong even against those that are meant to be good against her and therefore overwhelming against those weak to her (given she’s not as much of a baseline pick as some other champs). Sometimes picked in competitive play (with the right team comp/enemy team comp) on the other hand I could see being appropriate. We did see a little bit of that last year with some of the Ashe/Zyra lanes being run. Personal suspicion is she’s probably not too far off situational picks like that being valid, particularly with the decreased number of assassins in the competitive meta of most (all?) regions right now.

[ Link to Post ]



Death Recap Banner



Can you update the Death Recap info screen

Nome New PortraitIt’s a thorny question, and depends what you mean by updating it.

If you mean the multitude of bugs, then that’s going to take a lot of time, and might not be worth the effort. Rather, we need to go back and re-assess what the value of a good death recap is. We don’t want to go the combat log route; raw information is rarely actionable. Likewise, I’m not entirely clear on how the existing implementation is useful outside of letting you know how much magic or physical damage you took. We’ll probably update it at some point in the future once we knock out some competing UI features, but if we do, expect more of a redesign.

[ Link to Post ]



Shouldn’t it be a priority for Riot to fix buggy features

Nome New PortraitTo make an analogy, consider an intricate mansion built with a poor foundation that’s resulting in structural issues. The citizens find it unsightly, but still recognize the value in the property. There’s a few ways for the city to address this–

  • A. Build a nice facade that hides the issues.
  • B. Carefully rebuild the foundation piece by piece without touching everything else.
  • C. Demolish and rebuild from the ground up.

Now, we’re fairly certain that we’ll want to do Option C at some point. This makes A and B much less attractive. But then there are other uses of resources, like building that new elementary school, cleaning up the city square, etc.

This is the situation we’re in–the bugs that plague death recap are deep. How deep? There’s already been a few attempts to fix it to no avail! We have to prioritize redoing the feature with all the other things we’re doing, and measure value that way. Maybe I’ll share some of our concepts for how death recap could work in the future. We’re definitely thinking about it :)

[ Link to Post ]



Suggestion for Death Recap 2

Link to the suggestion thread.

Nome New PortraitSome critique here–

This is moving more towards the combat/death log approach, which I think is less compelling on the basis that it doesn’t provide actionable information. Players who die generally need one thing out of death recap–which is why they died. Unfortunately, why is never an easy answer, so most players tend to be OK with extracting the why out of the how. Combat logs explain thehow, but not the why. If we were to redesign, we’d want to head more towards why.

[ Link to Post ]



How will you address the “why” you died in a Death Recap

Nome New PortraitI don’t want to delve too much into this, as it’s still a problem space under exploration. Some examples of why could be–
“You just took 2000 magic damage. You have very low MR.”
“That champion is several levels above you.”
“When you died, you still had both your Summoner cooldowns up.”
Note that not all of the why is directed at experienced players either.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Tentative nerfs to Heal and Changes to Exhaust coming to PBE

Ricklessabandon New Portraitnot sure if this is relevant or not, but heal is potentially getting nerfed in the 4.13 patch (the changes should be in the next pbe update).

i also have a change to exhaust, but that’s it for summoner spells in 4.13 (and again, they’re candidates—like anything else on the pbe, they will be subject to change/removal).



Can we expect buffs to Soraka before her rework

Meddler New PortraitTesting at the moment to see if we can add one of the things from the rework to her current kit. Initial testing suggests it may not function well enough without other corresponding kit changes, looking into it though in case we can give her a bit of help sooner.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think Sejuani will become popular with the new items

Meddler New PortraitI think it’s safe to say she’s a strong pick in solo queue with the Quill Coat/Ancient Golem changes. Not sure that necessarily translates to FOTM though, Amumu and Maokai may be favored picks over her still if you want a tanky jungler that can build heavy defense.

[ Link to Post ]




Why does it cost 2600 RP to switch to East Coast Servers

Marowe New Portrait I’m sorry I jumped into this thread without saying much; I wanted to quell some confusion surrounding the suggestion to contact Player Support for a free transfer. 

I understand why you’re frustrated. I played with east coast ping for a couple of years before moving to the west coast. Understanding doesn’t help though, and I’m sorry that I can’t do more for everyone here.

LAN doesn’t support english as a language option and it isn’t intended to be the long-term solution for connectivity issues that east coast players are facing. We’re not ready to say too much about the plans for the east coast at the moment, and I’m not really the one equipped to talk about it. You can keep an eye out for updates like this one in the future:…92229#45392229

[ Link to Post ]



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


Champion Skin Sale July 25 Banner

The following Champions and Skins will be 50% off until July 25th:


  • Gragas – 395 RP
  • Viktor – 487 RP
  • Yorick – 440 RP

Glacial Malphite – 675 RP


Hextech Janna – 487 RP


Tundra Hunter Warwick – 260 RP


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


News Update July 17 Banner

Doom Bots are here as a featured game mode and will be going away on July 27th, QA Analyst Repertoir elaborates on the Vel’Koz changes we saw in yesterday’s PBE patch and shares more buffs on the pipeline, Lead Champion Designer Meddler continue his Q&A with updates on Fizz, Zed, Syndra, Yorick, Zilean and Sion, as well as the team’s mentality when buffing and nerfing. Lastly, 32 skins will be getting their splash arts replaced with those from the Chinese client.


Recent News






Doom Bots are Here Banner


After weeks of tweaks and tests, the Doom Bots of Doom have been set loose onto live! If you’re looking to test your abilities against League’s craziest challenge yet, then sign up! What’s more, play a game against the Doom Bots and you’ll earn a unique summoner icon regardless of whether you win or lose (which might take a few days to appear).

Get to it before we haul the Doom Bots back into the FGM workshop on July 27! And while you’re catching your breath between games, tell us about your Doom Bot stories! Did you win? Did you… not win?

[ Link to Post ]



Context on VelKoz Banner


Related PBE Update





Repertoir New PortraitHey guys,

You may or may not have noticed that there are Vel’Koz changes on PBE. I just wanted to pop in and tell you guys our plan for them and a bit about our direction for Vel’Koz on the whole.


Let’s start with what our goals for Vel’Koz generally as a champion. When making Vel’Koz, one of the most important things that had to be true about Vel’Koz is that he fulfills the role of a terrifying laser face melter. On his release, I’d say it’s fair to say he felt that way, but his ult often felt like there was something lacking if you actually built the primary mage offensive stat – Ability Power. I definitely understand that Vel’Koz is an effective support, and our changes try to give consideration to the fact that players are finding success playing him as a support.

That said, our intention for the character was always that his R would be feared in a similar fashion to an ultimate like Fiddlestick’s Crowstorm in that it should be an incredibly meaningful, powerful moment for Vel’Koz and an incredibly dangerous moment for opponents. Given how his R’s damage scaled, it had that feeling in the early game, but with a full offensive build, it tended to lose that effect as games went on due to its lower Ability Power ratio. We knew this was likely going to be the case on Vel’Koz’s release, but we decided to go forward with his release numbers because we saw him as a challenging character to pick up and play and high base damages on the R would provide a relatively standard experience per cast of the ability. Now that he’s been out for a few months, we want to really emphasize that when he buys damage, he yields results via his ultimate, and that’s why you’ll be seeing the lower bases and higher ratios on his ultimate for now on the PBE.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that we are aware that support Vel’Koz’s damage will take a hit if we go through with these changes, but it is our intention that Vel’Koz’s character-defining ultimate scale really well with items to better hit character highs on the ability. If taking the base damage off of a character’s ultimate is the only change that moves him out of the support position, then that’s probably a sign that numbers were out of whack anyway, since supports are primarily picked for their utility anyway.

On the note of utility, we are indeed looking at reducing the slow on Vel’Koz’s ultimate, but allowing it to stack on targets as well. For those of you that remember the Vel’Koz release teaser, we really want to bring out that feeling of him focusing in on a single target and evaporating him, and we think this change helps to clarify that purpose and achieve that goal without doing a mechanic like ramping damage or something of the sort.

All other changes on Vel’Koz are aimed at just making various spell effects better match their visuals.

That’s a lot of text though! Here’s what we’re looking at for PBE stuff to test for now…


64px-Void_Rift Void Rift [ W ]

  • W1 missile width increased to match W2


64px-Lifeform_Disintegration_RayLife Form Disintegration Ray [ R ]

  • Range increased to 1550 from 1500
  • Base damage reduced to 350/475/600 from 500/700/900
  • Ability Power Ratio increased to 1.5 from 0.6
  • Slow reduced to 15% from 20%
  • Slow now stacks on targets up to 5 times, up from 1

Hope this helps to clarify things,


[ Link to Post ]



Won’t a 75% slow on Vel’Koz’s ult be too strong

Repertoir New PortraitOne thing to remember about slows in League of Legends is that there are diminishing returns on high value slows. Whereas a 20% slow will usually slow for most of the expected amount, a 75% slow may only slow for around double the 20% slow after diminishing returns. If you ever want to see what I’m talking about, run through a wall of Thresh’s R; despite being a 99% slow, it doesn’t slow you down to ~3-5 MS.

[ Link to Post ]

TLDR Portrait TL;DR – The slow will stack up to a 75% slow, but slows have diminishing returns, so targets will not lose a full 75% of their Movement Speed.




Why are you forcing Vel’Koz players to buy AP to be relevant

Repertoir New PortraitHonestly, we are not trying to solve “Glass cannon mages are not seeing play” with these changes, because that’s probably a symptom of a greater issue that probably isn’t a good idea to address with a numbers arms race or character identity misalignment. Vel’Koz was always intended to be mainly a glass cannon mage, and we’d like for his numbers to reflect that.

All that said, there may be work to be done on these numbers still. Thanks for the feedback; I’m still not sold on this as a final changelist yet, so I’ll keep everyone posted.

[ Link to Post ]



Shouldn’t Vel’Koz receive buffs to compensate for these changes

Repertoir New PortraitOne thing that’s worth noting is that we don’t actually think Vel’Koz’s current overall power level is too far off. We just think the actual distribution in power in how his ultimate deals damage is out of whack, focused far too heavily into the base damage and not enough in the scaling.

[ Link to Post ]




Meddler QA Part 2 Banner


Meddler Q&A – Part 2


Part 1 of Meddler’s Q&A





Champion Updates Banner


Will there be any changes to Sion's kit

Meddler New PortraitThere’s a full Sion rework (visual and gameplay update) underway at the moment, with a core theme of ‘undead juggernaught’.

[ Link to Post ]




Do you consider Syndra to be in a good place



Meddler New PortraitI’m a bit concerned Syndra may be too strong a lane bully at present, it’s also possible we’ve now made her stun a bit too easy to land, in contrast to its previous state. Don’t think the live balance team have any immediate plans for her, an adjustment at some point might be needed though.

[ Link to Post ]



Any plans for Zed

Meddler New PortraitI feel he’s a relatively healthy assassin design and personal opinion is he might be a bit on the weak side. He’s a champ we’re talking about right now, but haven’t got firm plans for yet.

[ Link to Post ]




Can Riot look into updating Zilean

Meddler New PortraitWe’ll work on Zilean at some point and that will include replacing his passive with something more satisfying throughout the game. Will definitely investigate whether there are opportunities to use ‘time mage’ better as a theme as well for his kit as a whole, too early to say what changes that might result in or when though.

[ Link to Post ]



Will Yorick get a Visual Update

Meddler New PortraitYorick? Full rework and visual upgrade together at some point most likely. Ghoul summoning gravekeeper’s got a lot of potential as a concept that Yorick’s not making use of, plus the playing against experience in lane can be pretty frustrating.

[ Link to Post ]



Will Fizz get a Visual update soon

Meddler New PortraitDon’t think he’s on the list at the moment. I’m no artist, so not my area of expertise, but doesn’t leap out to me at least as particularly in need.

[ Link to Post ]




Balance Banner QA


Are new Champions supposed to have already released counter-picks

Meddler New PortraitWe do want champions to have identified weaknesses, we don’t want those weaknesses to be specific to a single other champion though. Many mages for example are vulnerable if you’re able to dive them, which gives the other team a range of possible picks that can accomplish that. Having a single counterpick on the other hand can lead to very binary performance (did you ban out your counterpick? If so, grats, you win, if not you’ll get stomped) and lack of choice for the opposition.

[ Link to Post ]



What’s the thought process behind buffing or nerfing Champions

Meddler New PortraitConstant assessment of how champions perform in different lanes and at different levels of skill/types of play, gathering of feedback (from regular players and pro players), some use of statistical analysis (as an indicator of things to investigate, not a guide) and a lot of playtesting. Same answer with any other part of the game, though there are some things that require really large sample sizes, or long periods to master, where we’ll need to go with a best estimate and then continue to balance post launch.

[ Link to Post ]



Will the new Champion be purely a top laner

Meddler New PortraitPossible we might see said champion elsewhere, top lane’s our prediction for where they’ll probably function best based off their kit/our internal testing.

[ Link to Post ]




Game Design Banner


What do you think of mini-game mechanics like Draven’s axes

Meddler New PortraitI’m generally a fan of abilities on champions that require you to build skills unique to that champ, in particular because it gives a really distinct path to mastery for players that really want to invest in that champ. Manipulating Orianna’s ball, especially how you use the distance return, is another good example of that.

We will be doing other champs with unique skills in that sort of line, wouldn’t want to do anything exactly like Draven’s axes though, that’s Draven’s thing.

[ Link to Post ]



Will you be making Senna, Lucian’s wife, a Champion one day

Meddler New PortraitWouldn’t rule it out, wouldn’t count on it either though. Characters mentioned in other champions’ lore can be good opportunities for future champions, sometimes characters are better suited to be non playable parts of the cast though, so a character getting named’s not a guarantee they’ll one day be a champion.

[ Link to Post ]



Was there a Champion that you wanted to make but isn’t in the game

Meddler New PortraitPlenty! The best ideas we’ve had but haven’t finished are ones I’m still hopefuly we’ll figure out a way to do. Then there’s Barn the Sentient Barn, who I’ve got a soft spot for but, even being really, really optimistic, would have to describe as ‘incredibly unlikely’.

[ Link to Post ]



What are the odds of seeing a new global ult

Meddler New PortraitReasonable at some point, though almost certainly with some constraints to ensure it’s situationally powerful but not a guaranteed ability to force a 2v1 or ensure a 1v1 goes in your favor.

[ Link to Post ]





32 Splash Art Updates Banner


Riot Silver: Hey dudes and dudettes!

Wanted to jump on here to let you guys know about some skin splash changes headed to PBE. Specifically, we’re replacing the splash art for around 32 skins (For right now, no bases). Some of you may recognize these splashes from other League of Legends regions.

We’re constantly seeking to improve LoL across the board, and splashes are no different – as you may have noticed, we’ve been concentrating on base splash updates in recent patches. As with other art assets, a lot splashes in League have aged over time. We 100% want to improve all of this out-of-date content, but for now a lot of our work is focused specifically on updating base champion splashes.

This led us to seek out stopgap measures for showing love to some of the most out of style splashes where we already have better alternatives available (cough…Grandma Lux). To reiterate, this is a temporary step focused on, right now, only the worst offenders.

Let us know what you think!


Why didn’t you do this sooner?

The art style for these splashes was a bit different from our visual target, and we didn’t want to create a long-term rift in our splash content. However, due to the amount of time and resources we need to bring these splashes fully up to our visual target, we have reconsidered some temporary solutions for these splashes.

Why didn’t you change X splash?

We specifically picked splashes that met the goals of this small update, so there could be several reasons:

  1. We feel the current splash is of higher or comparable quality (We’re looking for instances where there is a noticeable upgrade.)
  2. Alternatives are too drastically different from current splash or in-game model (we’re looking to improve overall cohesion in addition to just visual quality.)

What if I don’t like X splash?

Let us know! The goal here is to improve, not detract

Why are these only skin splashes?

This change is a stopgap for a few skins while we focus hard on updating base splashes to our current style target. These splashes are a bit more sensitive given that they’re more highly visible (e.g. minimap icons, champion select, etc…). In general, we’re looking to err on the side of caution where there’s a very clear quality increase with little risk of confusion.


  • Noxus Hunter Anivia
  • Red Riding Annie
  • Rusty Blitzcrank
  • Goalkeeper Blitzcrank
  • Desperada Cassiopeia
  • Siren Cassiopeia
  • Mr. Mundoverse
  • Tango Evelynn
  • Minuteman Gangplank
  • Dreadknight Garen
  • Alien Invader Heimerdinger
  • Blast Zone Heimerdinger
  • Nightblade Irelia
  • Aviator Irelia
  • Commando Jarvan IV
  • Silver Kayle
  • Viridian Kayle
  • Sorceress Lux
  • Chosen Master Yi
  • Candy Cane Miss Fortune
  • Pharaoh Nasus
  • Snow Bunny Nidalee
  • Leopard Nidalee
  • Ravager Nocturne
  • Forsaken Olaf
  • Glacial Olaf
  • Ruthless Pantheon
  • Noxus Poppy
  • Frozen Shen
  • Hextech Singed
  • Black Belt Udyr
  • Curling Veigar

[ Link to Post ]



All Updated Splash Arts


Huge thanks to Reddit user IfishIII for putting up an imgur album with all the new splash arts!



Noxus Hunter Anivia


Red Riding Annie


Rusty Blitzcrank


Goalkeeper Blitzcrank


Desperada Cassiopeia


Siren Cassiopeia


Mr. Mundoverse


Tango Evelynn


Minuteman Gangplank


Dreadknight Garen


Alien Invader Heimerdinger


Blast Zone Heimerdinger


Nightblade Irelia


Aviator Irelia


Commando Jarvan IV


Silver Kayle


Viridian Kayle


Sorceress Lux


Chosen Master Yi


Candy Cane Miss Fortune


Pharaoh Nasus


Snow Bunny Nidalee


Leopard Nidalee


Ravager Nocturne


Forsaken Olaf


Glacial Olaf


Ruthless Pantheon


Noxus Poppy


Frozen Shen


Hextech Singed


Black Belt Udyr


Curling Veigar



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


Champion Skin Sale July 21 Banner

The following Champions and Skins will be 50% off until July 21st:


  • Graves – 440 RP
  • Miss Fortune – 395 RP
  • Volibear – 487 RP


Deep Sea Kog’Maw – 487 RP



Sanguine Garen – 260 RP


Veigar Greybeard – 375 RP




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


News Update July 16 Banner



Patch 4.13′s forecast is released and details upcoming changes to early aggression junglers and hyper-carries, with an overall effort to diversify picks. This will be the last big patch before Worlds and it will be big in terms of number changes, but minor in terms of content introduced.

 System Admin Rincewind explains the server outage NA players experienced – it was caused by failing to see an error in the logs. Moving on, Pwyff picks up on yesterday’s discussion about Lee Sin’s state; the gist of the arguments presented is that Lee Sin is part of a problematic archetype of Champions – early aggro junglers – and it’s not just down to him being imbalanced.

 Sona’s update is back on the PBE for testing; the goal of the rework is to make Sona more rewarding to players who invest time in learning her and give her more options to make plays and influence the game in a healthy way. Meddler talks Orianna’s passive and why it’s a part of her kit and also hits at adding a small AP ratio to Lux’s passive.

 Finally, IronStylus discusses Irelia’s visual update being a part of her gameplay rework as well as overall transparency with upcoming VUs, FeralPony talks possible light nerfs to Zhonya’s Hourglass and Riot have released a video rundown of Patch 4.12!


Recent News

PBE-Update-July-15-Banner (1)





Patch 4 point 13 forecast banner


Live Gameplay: Hey all,

As a result of this being one of the last patches to really react to the game before the World Championships, expect this to be a large patch in terms of number of changes. Probably not in terms of huge scope modifications, but more like small to mid balance tweaks across a number of champions.

As another reminder: these are not promises for what will be in Patch 4.13, rather, they’re a forecast of what we are currently working on and the problems we see.


Them competitive diversity picks: At the heart of all of this, our core goal with patch 4.13 (and 4.14) is competitive diversity. There are a few champions we’re looking to give small buffs to, and others who are, by nature of being the best, skewing picks into who can play against them and who can’t. You’ll probably see a lot of smaller changes in this line of thought.

Them aggro junglers: There’s been a few big discussions going around on this, but we agree that early aggro junglers are still very stifling – particularly in competitive level play. While we’re still watching how our tanky jungler changes have rolled out from 4.11, we think there are a few ‘top tier’ dudes (fine, I’m saying it: Lee Sin, Elise, Evelynn) who can afford a nudge down.

Them hyperscaling marksmen: With the Lucian changes in 4.12 (and Lucian being on the downward trend thanks to hyperscaling marksmen like Koggles and Trist) we’re on light watch to ensure the marksmen pool gets a little more diversity. In terms of categorical picks, we’d love if other marksmen had their strategic choices and niches to play, rather than a single ‘type’ (ie: early game vs late game hyperscalers, etc).

Up today, designer Riot Jag will be hanging out in the comments to discuss some of the things we’re looking at in 4.13.

[ Link to Post ]



NA Platform Outage Banner


Rincewind New PortraitHello Summoners,

Here is what happened today. The NA platform went crazy and it was totally preventable.

TL;DR: We missed an error that showed up in the logs during restarting the platform after the deploy. Unfortunately not fixing that error in time led to instability much later.

The longer version:

The platform has static and dynamic configuration values that are stored in a database or configured when the platform is up. The static values persist between restarts of the platform.

When we started the platform today, the static values did not load. We failed to detect this particular error condition in the automated deploy process as it occurs once in a blue moon.

When the platform went live several hours later with important configuration values missing, the platform buckled under load. We attempted to fix it by lowering the load on the platform by taking the following steps.

1) Stopping additional players from logging in.
2) Turning off all queues

The above steps would have allowed players to be still logged into the platform rather than dropping all players and causing a huge login queue.

We did load all the missing configuration values, however the errors in the logs did not give us the confidence that we would be safe. We proceeded to do a restart of the platform. We recognize that it was a preventable incident. We are taking the following steps to prevent such incidents in the future.

1) Find an engineer who will be made a scapegoat and make him do pushups till he collapses. (This might be hard as all of us on the team are responsible.)

2) Improve error detection during a deploy

I will be around for some time to answer any questions.

[ Link to Post ]



State of Lee Sin Banner


Related Collection 


Nerfing-Lee-Sin-Banner (1)



Lee Sin will never be meaningfully nerfed by Riot or reworked

Pwyff New PortraitThat’s an insane rabbit hole of a discussion so I won’t hop into that thing, but one thing about Lee Sin is that he’s a game of balancing pros and cons and what they mean for the health of the game.

Honestly speaking, Morello’s statement re: Lee Sin being an “untouchable” champion due to public perception is a bit binary, so I’ll re-examine it:

When we say we have difficulties approaching a champion due to perception problems, it’s partially public outcry but it’s also due to the fact that perception is so inherent to the game. Given that League is based on a player’s preferences and capabilities, it’s obvious that champion tiers will also be tailored to the common thread. Only in a ‘solved’ competitive game can objective truths (ie: character power) can come forth. In chess there might be a dozen openings that lead to a meaningful game, whereas the rest have been hashed out so much that they’re inconsequential. Fighting games are another example of this, where a champion tier list is completely based on public perception, and one player’s performance at an international event (Isai’s Jigglypuff in SSB64, GamerBee’s Adon in SF4, etc) can completely warp what’s considered to be objectively the best.

In this regard, League is such a strong online community that group-think is virtually inevitable and only the stubborn players end up breaking the mold. At S3 worlds when Zed / Ahri / Fizz / Gragas / Orianna were the staples, Faker picked a Riven into Zed and ended up drawing a ban as a result of it. There are tons of cases where solo queue heroes would pubstomp a pro player with a unique champion, ultimately resulting in that champion becoming the hot new fad in competitive play. What happens after that? Every aspiring competitive player picks up on that champion, and suddenly we have solo lane Soraka beating the crap out of top / mid lane.

This is a super long way of saying that yes, we’re dedicated to preserving game health above all else, but because perception is so closely tied to game health and group-think is so dominant, we find ways to navigate that space through constant communication paired with nuanced design changes to nudge the game in certain ways.

In terms of actual tangible work: we’re looking at Lee Sin because we agree he’s distorting the early game jungle. But it’s not just him. It’s early aggro junglers like Elise and Evelynn. We took a step back for a patch because we wanted to take a moment to consider how the tank jungle changes had fallen out. I have a very strong suspicion that those will have a larger impact than most believe (we’re already seeing a shift in solo queue play, but competitive is actually quite slow on the uptake) but making gut calls is often when we get punched in the face (ie: we didthink Trist needed buffs on top of item changes, but looks like that went a little too far). Game design and balance is an art more than a science, and it’s tough to consider the layers – how does this affect objective game health? How does this affect perceived game health? How quickly will teams adapt? Are there any competitive teams willing to experiment?

For me, the question that comes after is there seems to be a strong opinion (in this passionate thread) that players would much rather us completely thrash Lee Sin so that he’s out of the way, rather than creating a sustainable design decision that creates weaknesses but doesn’t just cram him into D-tier. Is Lee Sin healthier for the game when he doesn’t exist at B, A, or S tier? If Lee Sin gets nerfed, do we get Elise, Evelynn, Rengar, and Jarvan IV in all games? Does that point to a systemic problem with aggro-junglers focused on early game? Is the game objectively better to play and watch when Volibear is jungling, or Lee Sin? I’m unsure if there are solid answers here and going for a democratic voice results in the loudest voice, maybe not the best one for game health.

[ Link to Post ]


TLDR Portrait TL;DR – Player perception leads to Riot looking into competitive games to properly examine a Champion’s power. Solo queue heroes can destroy pro players and they then become FoTM and draw attention, which leads to balance changes.

 Lee Sin’s distorting the early-game jungle is a problem, but the whole archetype of early aggression junglers (Evelynn, Elise) needs to be addressed. If Lee Sin gets nerfed and other strong early junglers replace him, it would indicate a flaw in the class in general, not just Lee Sin.



Isn’t Lee Sin dominant because other junglers got nerfed

Pwyff New PortraitYou raise some really good points across the board. For your first Lee Sin point, I’m pretty sure his high strengths are what make him so inhibitive as a champion, which is a super problem we face when we look at champions who are iconic for their strength. Kayle is a good example here where she’s being picked non-stop because she’s so damn good at everything. It’s a weird knife’s edge conundrum here.

For Lee Sin, his strength goes: insane early game pressure, high mobility, high damage, versatile kit. When we first looked to change Lee Sin (hello rework), we got a ton of pushback because nobody saw those as insane strengths. There’s some argument that we nerfed certain champions so Lee was inevitably the best, but Elise is also close to 100% priority and she got some reductions along the way as well. We haven’t touched Evelynn. We buffed Jarvan IV. Rengar was broken due to a bug with double-proccing on-hit effects so we’ll see how our changes affect him. The only major jungler threat we really touched was Kha’Zix and, to a lesser degree, Pantheon (bugfix delight). Kha’Zix might exist as a jungler in a world without the top tier junglers, and I still think Pantheon is waiting to get in there.

Regardless, we did back down on those because if the community backlash is so strong to a change, you do have to wonder who’s out of touch. It’s one thing to be a design team so confident in your changes that you’re immune to feedback, but we pride ourselves on our feedback loop and listening to players. This is a core attribute to us and one we value inherently. Sometimes I wonder if we should engineer favorable situations to change contentious champions before doing so (oh man wouldn’t that be funny).

Regardless, I think Lee Sin is actually problematic for competitive play, I’m less convinced for less than diamond level play. He’s played with tradeoffs at a lot of levels, but I’d also agree he has very few risks for being such a “high risk” champion.

As for the jungle itself, I think we have a significant problem in the game where players dislike losing “carry” agency. In an ideal world I don’t think we want a specific guy who’s gonna be like “you win or lose on me.” All champions should express skill and should equally contribute to a game being won. We talk about wanting junglers to carry from the jungle, I think we meant that we wanted the potential for junglers to have the strategical niche wherein a team can create a “jungle-carry” oriented comp. Protect the Yi? Maybe that’s a little idealistic given the scenario of the game. Regardless, I think in an ideal world we can see multiple ‘styles’ of junglers, but that they don’t get picked in a silo. Instead, they’re chosen to support and collaborate with a cohesive team strategy. Maokai for a protect the Kog comp, maybe Elise for a pick ‘n roll comp, maybe Lee Sin for an early aggro comp, etc.

[ Link to Post ]


 TLDR PortraitTL;DR – Lee Sin is a problem in competitive play, less-so in lower tier, as his skill-cap is a tradeoff for unexperienced players. The argument that Lee Sin is strong because other junglers got nerfed is wrong, because the only major jungler thread Riot has thus-far toned down heavily is Kha’Zix.

 Riot’s goal with junglers is to create multiple viable styles of junglers, where the picks are part of a team composition (for example, Maokai jungle in a “protect the Kog” comp) and not just there for their brute strength over other junglers.



Lee Sin can brute force victories even without Insec plays

Pwyff New PortraitThis is where I come back to perceived strength versus objective strength. Just because people can or cannot Insec doesn’t extend so far as to say “If you can’t Insec but are still winning as Lee Sin, you are winning with suboptimal play and that indicates Lee Sin is overtuned.”


I’m not denying that Lee Sin has consistently been strong in the game throughout all levels of play (see certain pro player complaints that Lee Sin shouldn’t be touched because he fits into all metas and is the most balanced etc), but league is about rewarding skill in a number of ways – positioning, decision making, mechanical skill, leadership, adaptability. Just because most Lee players didn’t understand the Insec plays doesn’t mean they weren’t using him effectively, it just means they were using him differently. I really push back when you say “oh he was accomplishing all this, and he wasn’t used to his full potential!” because emergent gameplay speaks to new heights, not untapped potential.

At the end of the day, we believe Lee Sin is strong and are looking at him, but to say he’s a singular force that’s warping the entirety of the early jungle, I disagree because there exists a whole slew of early aggro junglers that we need to look at.

[ Link to Post ]



Why isn’t Lee Sin being nerfed, as his state warps the whole game

Pwyff New PortraitHonestly? Because Lee Sin is part of a pantheon of early aggro junglers and isn’t single-handedly warping the game. He’s doing something as part of a group, which typically speaks to systemic issues than anything else. We took a strong look at Elder Lizard and tried there, then we looked at tanky junglers and tried there. Now we’re just looking at those early aggro junglers.

Urgot, Poppy, and pre-rework Eve were all single-champion warpers.

Lee Sin isn’t a golden boy, but he does have certain healthy mechanics that, if you were to speak about this five months ago, would not have been a problem. There was a lull period where he was being bypassed for other champions, so I dunno if I would accept a hyperbolic “Lee Sin has been best forever” statement.

[ Link to Post ]

TLDR Portrait TL;DR – Lee Sin is strong, but he’s doing things in the meta as part of the early-aggro jungler group, which points to a systemic issue, and not just an issue with one Champion. This class of Champions will be addressed by Riot in future patches, similarly to AD junglers, tanky junglers and so on.


Sona update is back banner



Fearless New PortraitHey everyone,

The return of 4.13 content means Sona is back on the PBE. She returns with her audio intact, an updated base model and textures, as well as updated Silent Night and Pentakill skins. We continue to improve her VFX as well, and will continue to update these as we move towards Sona’s release.

Sona has also had a few balance changes since she left PBE, mostly a few tweaks to react to her dishing out a tremendous amount of healing in playtests, and a usability improvement on her E.

  • Q
    • Mana cost increased to 55/60/65/70/75 from 50/55/60/65/70
  • W
    • Mana cost increased to 70/75/80/85/90 from 65/70/75/80/85
    • Base heal reduced to 20/40/60/80/100 from 25/50/75/100/125 (Max heal now 40/80/120/160/200)
    • Ratio reduced to 0.2 from 0.25 (Max now 0.4)
  • E
    • Fixed issue where Sona’s Movement Speed buff was removed when she used another aura

Questions for Sona players:

  • How many games have you played on the Sona Update?
  • What sort of game was this? (Doom bots, Summoners Rift 5v5, Standard Bots, Howling Abyss, etc.)
  • Did you find any bugs?
  • How was laning phase?
  • How was mid and late game?
  • How risky was tagging your allies with your auras?
    • How often was the risk worth the reward
  • How did you feel about your impact on team fights?
  • What did you think of Sona’s updated audio?
  • What did you think of Sona’ update art assets?

[ Link to Post ]



This rework is starting to look like a nerf to Sona

Fearless New PortraitThe goal of this rework is not to nerf or buff, and I totally stand by that. That doesn’t mean that she gets to be stronger at every phase of the game in all situations.

She is losing base healing, but is getting better healing at every W level after level one when the heal is used on a low health target. The ratio is increased by far on low health targets (anything lower than 75% health is better than live for the ratio).

The short duration of the shield means that the Sona player needs to use it well, or the effect will be lost. That is also intended. If we went longer, the shield has to lose power. The current tuning provides a Sona for saving her ally during trades and all ins, as well as during ganks. A longer shield (say 4 seconds) becomes a trade tool where enemies have to just retreat from Sona and her ally, because any damage you do is going to be blocked, and you’ll lose the trade if you and your allies don’t have similar or better damage mitigation. That doesn’t sound like a healthy pattern.

[ Link to Post ]


Why not increase the range of Sona’s auras from 350 to 700

Fearless New PortraitIf we did that, we’d have to dramatically pull down the impact of the auras. One of the reasons Sona can have so much power on her aura effects is due to the fact that she actually takes risks to apply them. That’s why we’ve actually increased her ratios as well, to ensure that squishier AP builds have big payoffs, along with big risks.

If we made these auras 700 units, she’s going to be safer, but much less satisfying and less impactful. There’d be less reason to want Sona on your team, and that’s completely counter to the goals of these changes.

[ Link to Post ]


TLDR Portrait Summary - On paper, Sona appears weaker, but that’s because her auras have a lot more situational power. The risk factor is being bumped up and as a result Sona will be more effective if used smartly, but she also needs to put herself in more danger. Sacrifices in her kit had to be made (like her range) so she retains those moment-to-moment strengths in the rework.

Orianna's Passive Banner



Why does Orianna have the passive she has

Meddler New PortraitOrianna’s passive ties some of her power to riskier play (putting yourself closer to the enemy than you otherwise need to with just your spells) and places some more importance back on Orianna’s own position – two sources of threat, not just one.

[ Link to Post ]



Is there any particular reason her ball interferes with mouse clicks

Meddler New PortraitNo good reason. Was talking to one of our engineers today about fixing that, it’s something we’ll need a bit of tech help to do.

[ Link to Post ]




Follow Up

Can you apply the same solution to Jarvan flag

Meddler New PortraitYeah, we’ll be going for a solution that fixes all the cases of this occuring with untargetable creations, not just Orianna.

[ Link to Post ]




Are you suggestion Orianna is a risky pick

Meddler New PortraitI’m saying she’d be safer than she is if the power currently tied to her basic attacks was instead accessible to her without a need to go into auto attack range.

[ Link to Post ]




Why doesn't Lux's passive scale with AP

Meddler New PortraitI suspect (before my time at Riot) simply because we hadn’t started adding scaling effects to passives much at the time Lux was made. We do plan on testing a small ratio on the passive, not sure yet if that would adding a ratio and cutting some of the base or just adding a ratio.

[ Link to Post ]



Doesn’t it make sense for Orianna’s ball to detext stealth Champions

Meddler New PortraitThematically, yep, quite agree. This is a case where clarity of gameplay, and a desire to not add another edge to Orianna, needs to override that thematic though.

[ Link to Post ]




Off-topic What’s Xypherous working on

Meddler New PortraitXypherous’ main focus nowadays is on systems design, so things like the vision refactor, adjustments to classes of items (e.g. the recent ADC item changes), potential plans for the 2015 season etc. Sometimes that stuff’s got a pretty long term focus and won’t be ready for public discussion for a while.

[ Link to Post ]



Irelia Visual Update



Discussing Irelia’s balance state and how it affects her VU

IronStylus New PortraitI feel you on the Octopus head..





  • Morello’s mentioned his desire to rework Irelia’s kit several times in the past to help get her away from her “ball of stats” nature, as well as stating that Irelia’s core theme may be changed as a result. Does this impact her VU-wise? Would a new kind of Irelia require a new kind of visual theme than what is present already? Would Morello’s kit rework get in the way of a potential VU, or even coincide with one? What are the chances of pushing both reworks out at once, making Irelia a full champion relaunch? I won’t ask for specifics on her kit rework from you, since it’s not your department – mainly just how it relates to her visual style and the possibility of that changing.

I think that we’d end up making the two coincide. As she currently stands she would fall under the VGU (Visual & Gameplay Update), which pretty much means “full relaunch”, but we don’t use that term any more. Chances are we’d approach her as that sorta chunk. Similar to previous VGU’s. Now.. that COULD change, but my bet is that we’d save the two (or three, depending on theme changes) to be, as you’ve said, a relaunch.

  • What do YOU think Irelia’s theme is or should be, visually or in-game? Does the way you envision her match with the way she’s portrayed now?

I think she’s a bit dopey, but honestly I love the idea of Irellia. Unobtanium blade wielding telekinetic ionian genera? Fucking sweet. Let’s make her legit! Maybe I’m boring but I’d just like to see that solidified. I have a concept floating around (which may or may not be the final, who knows) which takes some aesthetics from Karma and Yasuo and merges them in order to get Irelia, a young, fiery, headstrong Ionian military commander. Not sure if what I’ve got on paper will stay, but it’s where we’ll start.

  • Do you have any plans for Ionia at large, in terms of visual theming and cohesion? Most of the Ionian champions vary widely in terms of looks, from bright pastel ninjas like Akali and Kennen, to heavily-armored warriors like Irelia and Zed (he’s wearing light armor, but he has quite a lot of it on).

  • Relating to my last question, what kind of relations would you like Irelia to have with other League champions, namely other Ionians or enemy Noxians? I would imagine she wouldn’t think too highly of Yasuo or Darius, for example.

I’m not sure about Ionia in general, but we’d probably end up visiting her corner or it when we address her specifically.

  • Are there any Irelia skins on the pipeline for once a VU is done? I know you guys are wont to make skins for champions who are on the pipeline for VUs, since it’s more work for no reason, on an inferior rig and model, no less. What are some skin options you could explore with Irelia, and have done any concepting for them already?

There’s at least one that comes to mind that’s concepted but I’m not sure it’s really dependent on her VU. She’s not in terrible art shape, she’s just unhealthy for the game.. or so I hear.. She might get a skin before a VGU

  • Lastly, and I’m leaving this at the bottom because it’s not Irelia-related, but how much will Shen change were he to receive a VU? He’s portrayed as a tank in-game, yet visually, he’s the exact opposite of a tank. How would you go about bringing Shen’s tank identity forward, without overpowering his ninja identity, and vice-versa?

I’ve attached an Irelia picture for some eye candy. Seriously; why isn’t this her splash art over in the States? I know you guys don’t like using the Chinese art for champions on other servers, but come ON. That art is friggin’ gorgeous.

Edit: And I seem to be unable to add attachments. Sigh.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Do you think Zhonya’s Hourglass needs a shorter statis duration

Feral Pony New PortraitGenerally speaking, lowering the statis time is a buff more than a nerf (except for a few skill specific interactions like Kennen/Morg ults). Taken to a slight extreme, imagine ZH with a statis of .5 seconds. You could still use it to escape from the largest burst damage spells and then immediately escape or continue fighting with minimal disruption to your personal damage pattern or movement.


Inversely let’s say the duration was increased to 5 seconds from 2.5. Using this puts the caster is a tricky situation, you use the stasis to escape an immediate threat but losing control of your actions for the next 5 seconds gives a ton of control and opportunity to your opponents. In teamfights it reduces your ability to contribute (as 5 seconds is an eternity in a teamfight) meaning you’ve turned that teamfight into a 4v5 and giving the entire enemy team time to huddle around your soon to be dead body.

Not to say Zhonya’s couldn’t use a light nerf but personally I don’t think it needs anywhere near the level of a full rework or gutting. I would certainly like to hit the stat efficiency of the item a bit when we do a pass and increase the stasis duration slightly but that has the really heavy cost of people learning, memorizing, and feeling the invuln timing on both ends.

[ Link to Post ]

TLDR Portrait TL;DR - Shorter-duration statis on Zhonya’s will actually buff a lot of Champions, as you can use the active to dodge a disable or damage spell and continue with your combo or your retreat uninterrupted. If anything, a longer-duration statis will actually nerf the item and force AP mages to make more meaningful decisions about when to go into stasis. With all this being said, however, Zhonya’s will far more likely get a (light) nerf to its stats than to its active duration.


Shouldn’t Riot be more transparent when it comes to VUs

If Riot unveils every single change they plan on making, then they’re going to get negative feedback as people complain. Which is going to make them change their mind, which is going to make more people complain. It makes far, far more sense for them to reveal what they’ve done as opposed to what they’re doing. They’ve given all the info that’s relevant, they’re working on dozens of projects at once, when something’s done we’ll know. Riot doesn’t have to give us a step by step of everything they’re doing. That kinda gets in the way of them, you know, doing things, which I’m thinking is a bit more important, all things considered.


IronStylus New PortraitPretty much this, however, as I’ve said before it’s about a couple of things:

1) We actually do have our next 8 or so champions mapped out on our hitlist. Thing is, those could TOTALLY change depending on what happens in many other areas. Anything from an event like Freljord, to a champion loosing flavor in the season. We don’t want to announce commitment to something when all of a sudden the need to revamp that champion might not be as pressing,.

2) We actually like having some mystery and surprise. We don’t want to unload everything as to not spoil the fun when BOOM here’s your favorite champion that’s needed a lot of love for a long time now suddenly up-rezzed. We’d like to keep at least some plans a little more under wraps than others.

3) Raising expectations is bad because if we promise, and for some reason not deliver, it makes us feel bad, it makes you feel bad, and we all just.. feel bad.

All that said, we are discussing just how transparent we should be when we’re talking about Champion Updates. I think it’s going to vary depending on the champion. I can pretty much guarantee that we’re not going to go 100% throw our plans on a billboard, however I think we might try to open up the process a little, no promises on that however.

We’ll see. I’m generally an advocate of talking about plans depending on our level of official commitment, but I like to stay away from too much speculation.

[ Link to Post ]



Patch Rundown – 4.12




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






Categories: LoL News, Red Posts, Riot News Tags:

Patch 4 point 12 notes Banner


Patch 4.12 Contents


Recent News






Pwyff New PortraitHey Summoners,

Welcome to patch 4.12! With only a few patches between now and the League of Legends World Championships, our focus is on the competitive scene and the things we can do to ensure the landscape is diverse and healthy. Part of how we’re accomplishing this goal is to look at champions who are skewing champion select in one way or another while also looking to healthy “almost there” champions, like Alistar or Ahri. For either side (strong or weak champions), our main philosophy is to look for strengths to highlight while also emphasizing weaknesses. This ensures a champ can hold onto their strategic value while still havingmeaningful tradeoffs. You’ll also hear me repeat this many times. Too bad.

For you Twisted Treeline fans, we’ve got two item overhauls with Grez’s Spectral Lantern and The Lightbringer (they’re now two separate item lines with different functionality), so be sure to read up before hopping into your 3s game.

Final thing: we’ll also be shipping jungle timers with patch 4.12! Read just below for a rundown on those but, as part of our focus on gameplay clarity, we want to ensure that the right skills are being rewarded in League of Legends. In the case of jungle timers, we want to focus on the meaningful choices you make with the information you’ve earned, rather than the quick arithmetic you can do with the clock. Also be sure to read our dev blog on Clarity for more philosophy!

And that’s it for now! Read up on the changes below, and we’ll see you next patch!

[ Link to Post ]



Jungle Timers

Jungle Timers Text


















Essence Reaver

Ardent Censer


Sunfire Cape


Summoner Spells



Howling Abyss

Howling Abyss Text

Twisted Treeline

Twisted Treeline Text

Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar


Lord van

Twisted Treeline, Crystal Scar & Howling Abyss

Twisted Treeline etc Text

Intro Bots

Intro Bots Text

New Audio Engine

New Audio Engine Text


Bugfixes text

Upcoming Skins

Upcoming Skins Text


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



Patch 4 point 12 Maintenance Banner

Servers are going down in several hours for Patch 4.12. Here’s a full schedule and a list of content you can expect to be in the patch:


Recent News






At 03:00 PDT for NA, 05:00 GMT for EUW, 02:00 GMT for EUNE, 04:00 AM AEST for OCE, 03:30 (VE) for LAN, 02:00 (BO) for LAS,  03:00 for RU and 06:00 for BR,servers will go down for maintenance so Patch 4.12 can be deployed. Here’s a full schedule for all regions!

NA, [ EUW, [ EUNE ] , [ OCE ] , [ LAN ] , [ LAS ] , [ TR ] , RU ] , [ BR ]

Note: The server status pages were recently updated and now they’re much easier to navigate and keep track of.


Server Maintenance Schedule for Patch 4

Riot Noc Administrator New PortraitOn 07/16/2014, starting at 01:30 PDT,ranked queues will be disabled in preparation for patch 4.12. At 03:00 PDT the servers will be shut down and all games currently in progress will end in a draw and stats will not be recorded. We estimate the battlegrounds will be unavailable for 6 hours.

[ Link to Post ]



Patch-4-point-12-Forecast-Banner (1)


Ahri New Portrait

Ahri’s a cool fox gal that we’d like to see more of, but she’s currently sitting just below the top-tier mid picks. We’re investigating ways to make Ahri feel better to play without just tipping her into the perma-pick category (hello S3 worlds).

Alistar New Portrait

OH BOY. We really want to bring Alistar back up as a support, but our big challenge is to make sure he doesn’t also become an insane jungling cow god, because that gets obnoxious. Access to what’s essentially a mini-Malphite ult at level 2, combined with powerful tower dives and displacement makes for a worrisome combination that keeps us up at night. Worrying.

Kassadin New Portrait

This guy. Man.

Lucian New Portrait

Like we mentioned in the 4.11 patch notes, Lucian is still strong and his super well-rounded nature makes him less of a strategic pick and more of a must-pick. We’re really exploring ways to give Lucian meaningful weaknesses while also highlighting some of his core strengths. At this point we probably can’t bring along all of his advantages, but we’re looking to maintain Lucian’s mobility / burst while also highlighting his spellslinger archetype. You’ll see more as we go!

Them aggro junglers: Depending on who you talk to, there are roughly 3-5 competitive junglers in the ‘very strong’ category who are outshining entire categories of dudes (see tanky jungler buffs). That said, we’re balancing our approach here to make sure we don’t just hit one so the others become default picks, but this gang has such high early aggression that they’re still inhibitive in the game. Chances are high we won’t have anything for these in 4.12as we’re still watching how the 4.11 jungle item changes have affected the scene, but we have a strong inkling that these dudes will still be around.

Up today we’ve got Riot Hongyou from the Live Gameplay team to answer some of your questions / comments on the forecast.

[ Link to Post ]



All PBE Updates for Patch 4.12 Cycle:


PBE-July-1-Banner (1)

PBE-Update-July-4-Banner (1)


PBE-July-7-Update-Banner (1)

PBE-Update-July-8-Banner (1)




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