Posts Tagged ‘league of legends’




Braum, the Heart of the Freljord, revealed


The frozen peaks of the Freljord have for centuries punished the weak. But as these feared glacial lands host the graves of the frail, for the mighty, the land is a cradle, a place that elevates mere strongmen into true champions. Braum’s story started here, and as his strength and fortitude grew, so too did his legend. Today, his feats inspire all from the poorest of peasants to the fiercest of raiders. And as he prepares to bear his shield into battle once again, he goes knowing he carries the hopes and adoration of the Freljord’s people with him.





Passive: Concussive Blows

  • Braum’s basic attacks apply Concussive Blows. Once the first stack is applied, all basic attacks from Braum and his allies apply further stacks. Targets that sustain four stacks are stunned and suffer bonus magic damage. After being stunned, Braum cannot apply Concussive Blows to his target again for a moderate duration.


Q: Winter’s Bite

  • Braum propels freezing ice from his shield in a straight line skillshot, dealing magic damage (based on Braum’s max health), slowing and applying a stack of Concussive Blows to the first target hit.


W: Stand Behind Me

  • Braum leaps to the aid of a nearby ally, positioning himself between his target and their nearest enemy champion, and granting both Braum and his target bonus armor and magic resist based on his total armor and magic resist.


E: Unbreakable

  • Braum raises his shield in a target direction, negating the damage from the first attack from the shield’s direction and reducing the damage of all subsequent attacks as long as the shield is raised. Braum intercepts projectiles with Unbreakable, causing them to hit him and then be destroyed. He also gains a minor speed boost until he lowers his shield.


R: Glacial Fissure

  • Braum slams his shield into the ground, sending out a huge long-range skillshot that knocks up and damages all enemies caught before leaving behind a strong slow field.


Braum is a strong and resilient melee support capable of making game-changing plays while saving his team from a barrage of enemy attacks. He forms symbiotic bonds with the marksman he fights alongside, forming a wall between the two teams and leaping to the aid of his allies as he transitions into a late game tank.

Bot lane

In lane, Braum functions most effectively as a reactionary or opportunistic support, constantly on the lookout for chances to apply Concussive Blows to the enemy duo. Accurate use of Winter’s Bite triggers the mark on targets who’ve wandered from their minion wave, while Braum can tag aggressive enemies with basic attacks before leaping back to the ranged safety of his marksman with Stand Behind Me. After applying Concussive Blows, Braum and his marksman have two solid options: either follow up hard and try to activate the stun, or zone the enemy and take up aggressive positioning. Concussive Blows is powerful enough to win almost any trade, while the threat of triggering the stun acts as a powerful deterrent, forcing the enemy marksmen away from valuable minion gold. Braum’s also a powerful asset during friendly ganks: by dashing to his jungler with Stand Behind Me, Braum’s able to get into the heart of the enemy duo. After they’ve been tagged with Concussive Blows, the jungler’s extra attacks accelerate the stun and help secure kills.

But while Braum is undeniably useful on the offense, he’s an absolute colossus when defending. The additional defenses provided by Stand Behind Me help both Braum and his marksman survive otherwise lethal damage, while Unbreakable has the potential to completely shield his ally from all incoming damage when positioned correctly. When activated, Unbreakable protects all of Braum’s allies behind the shield from basic attacks and targeted and pass-through abilities like Varus’ Piercing Arrow, Taric’s Dazzle, and Caitlyn’s Piltover Peacemaker, but not placed abilities like Nidalee’s Bushwhack or Swain’s Nevermove. More importantly, Braum can move while using Unbreakable, meaning he can reposition with his ally as they head towards the safety of their tower, or as the enemy team moves to flank around the shield. Braum is also able to continue attacking and casting abilities while he shields with Unbreakable – landing the slow from Winter’s Bite while moving back deters enemy junglers and marksmen still further.

Braum gains solid initiation or follow-up potential once he hits level six and unlocks Glacial Fissure, offering friendly junglers easy ganking targets with its huge knock-up and slow. If Braum’s looking to cut off his target’s escape route, he can quickly reposition with Stand Behind Me before firing Glacial Fissurebehind his target. The ability’s slow field is large and powerful enough to force flashes and secure kills. Finally, Glacial Fissure is equally powerful as a disengage tool, nullifying chases when aimed correctly.


The more allies around Braum, the more his shield shines. In small-scale skirmishes, he darts in front of his allies with Stand Behind Me before using Unbreakable to block pick attempts and soak up the subsequent damage. Should his team be outnumbered, Glacial Fissure is again a strong disengage ability, particularly in the jungle’s narrow pathways. Alternatively, when Braum’s part of the more powerful skirmishing group, a well-aimed Winter’s Bite slows and applies Concussive Blows, all but guaranteeing a kill.

While other supports operate best within their team or deep in the enemy ranks, Braum functions best as a physical wall between the two teams, soaking up damage with Unbreakable while his team’s damage dealers get to work. The low cooldown on Winter’s Bite helps Braum slow both approaching and fleeing enemies while setting up Concussive Blows for his team. His passive is strongest here – by floating between the two teams, Braum’s able to use basic attacks on the enemy tanks and fighters as he hits the enemy backline with Winter’s Bite, potentially setting up stuns against the entire enemy team. Meanwhile, Stand Behind Me gives Braum the sudden celerity he needs to dart to his teammates and protect them from harm with Unbreakable, which has the potential to turn around even the most lamentable of teamfights, or protect his squishies when they’re being attacked. Finally, unleashing Glacial Fissure through the enemy team splits and (literally) slows their hopes of a coordinated assault, giving Braum and his allies the opportunity to move in and clean up.

Works Well With

Champion Insights

As with all champions, we designed Braum to fill a specific gap in the League of Legends champion pool. Specifically, he’s the first true tank support that we’ve created, a champion who takes the hits for their team. We’ve had plenty of defensive supports – champions like Nami, Soraka, Janna etc – who negate damage through heals or shields, along with fighter supports like Leona and Alistar, who are generally great at initiating teamfights before diving deep into the enemy team and disrupting as much as possible. Braum’s something different: he’s a tanky support who literally takes the hits for his team, and as such requires a new mindset, position and playstyle to most conventional supports.

The key to Braum’s unique playstyle is Unbreakable, his E. It’s an active defense, similar to Yasuo’s Wind Wall, but while Yasuo’s ability was created so that he’d have the means to protect himself (the team utility is considered a secondary bonus), we specifically designed Unbreakable so that Braum could protect his team. It makes Braum different because he – more than any other champion – creates zones of safety behind him. He defendsthroughout the game, first by protecting his marksman during laning, then by protecting his entire team and tanking during late game. While other supports focus on buffing, heals or disruption, Braum fills a unique role between the two teams, taking the brunt of the damage for his team and letting his damage dealers do their thing.

This positions him literally between the two teams, and gave us some interesting design questions to answer. Specifically, how else does a defensive melee support contribute in fights when he has limited damage and can only land basic attacks on the enemy’s beefy frontline? This is where we brought in his passive, Concussive Blows, and Q, Winter’s Bite. Braum can harass while protecting, not necessarily through his own strength, but by applying Concussive Blows to enemy targets. This greatly amplifies his team’s power while keeping Braum’s positioning consistent throughout teamfights. And while Braum can’t easily harass the enemy backline (Winter’s Bite only affects the first enemy it strikes, and Braum’s basic attacks are melee), when his allies get jumped by enemy fighters and tanks, he can quickly reposition with Stand Behind Me before peeling multiple targets with Concussive Blows.

We’re excited to see what you guys make of Braum. If you’re interested in testing him before his live release, get into the PBE and give him a whirl. We’d love to get your feedback!


3rd Party Banner


With the recent debacle over Riot allowing Curse Voice to be used by players, I thought I’d give you guys an objective rundown of why this is a non-issue. If drama is what you crave, Reddit is more than welcome to supply you; this will be a factual analysis.

This article will address the Curse Voice and 3rd Party software general. I hope I’ll give you an idea of the difference between an app that provides a service and one that harms the competitive environment of a game. I’ll also talk about pay-to-win software, exploitative apps, suggested policies and cookies. Ned Stark dies somewhere in this article.



Curse App Legal


Quoting Shapzar in his Reddit comment:

“Programs that give you information you have already earned (such as visible timers) are ok. Programs that give you information you have not earned (such as enemy timers/timers in the fog of war), ones that make decisions for you, or take actions for you, are NOT ok.”

 Curse Voice doesn’t provide more information to the player than what’s already available. If something happens in the fog of war, the program won’t alert you to it. Onto the second point, which is more controversial: is an automated timer taking actions away from a player?  The answer to that relies on a distinction between player decisions and mechanics that don’t require thoughtful/skilled input. This translates to what 3rd party software should be acceptable in LoL.

 Here’s a jungle overlay that I’ve been using for over a year:

Jungle Overlay

This is a standard buff overlay, which you can download for free. You click the appropriate icon when the objective is down and the timer starts. It was confirmed as legal all those years ago and still is. It requires some player input, but it lifts the responsibility of memorizing numbers and puts a focus on the timer so you plan out your teamplay accordingly. The overlay is, in this case, passively assisting your play with information you want to keep track of.

 The difference between this and Curse Voice is that the latter will, reportedly, remove the mediator (you) and start the timer by itself. So the question becomes: is this click on an overlay or memorizing of numbers an interactive mechanic? If so, then the software would be treated as a hack, because it’s assisting people through an automated feature. If not, it’s as harmless as all the other jungle timer apps that have existed since the early days of stonewall008.

 I don’t think these required tasks are indicative of player skill, and I’ll give you an example with another game: StarCraft II. There are two features that did not exist in the original and were implemented with the Heart of the Swarm expansion – auto-mining and worker count. Auto-mining sends your initial six workers to a mineral patch automatically when the game starts (resource gathering). Before that, you’d have to order your units as soon as the game started. Similarly, you had to keep track of how many workers you’re sending to mine a single base; more than the maximum meant some workers were moving pointlessly between occupied resource nodes, not doing anything. A UI window was introduced to keep track of worker count.


Ease of Play Did these features cheapen the experience? Was the game ruined for the casual masses flipping birds and crushing candy? No, because neither of those mechanics contribute to a player’s thought process in-game – they were busy-work, something that became reflexive with practice. You were not a better player for clicking on a mineral patch quicker than your opponent – maybe you had lower latency, faster mouse response or maybe you’re the Flash in which case how is it fair you’re playing StarCraft ladder? It’s a parallel situation when counting workers on mineral patches – you just did it because it was the optimal way to play, not because you had a deeper understanding of the game. And this is where my main argument for automated objective timers in LoL lies.

 The act of you timing Dragon or blue buff, in itself, doesn’t make you a better player. It makes you a competitive player, because it’s a requirement in a game that’s objective-focused, but keeping timers in your head, or on a sheet of paper, or on an automated overlay isn’t indicative of a mechanic you’ve developed as a result of becoming better at the game. Am I improving, mechanically, when I click on that timer? No. I don’t associate this action with a choice in the game, I don’t consider whether it’s a must – I do it because it’s stuck in my head and I have to do it if I want to win. If a 3rd party software exists that does this for me, I will not, magically, become Challenger. Timing objectives is not a result of assessing the game situation – it’s the video game equivalent of accounting and that’s boring and non-interactive.


“If we allow automated timers, we have to allow highlighting low-health minions, track ward placement and enemy cooldowns, etc.”


 It’s a reasonably analogy, if you only take Riot’s short statement as evidence of their upcoming 3rd party policies. But it falls apart when you consider that all the above-mentioned information depends on the game environment, therefore, depends on the player’s involvement. CS-ing is a mechanical skill, but it’s also a strategy – getting in range, timing your hits and AA resets so you get all minions, avoiding aggro, calculating risk and so on. Vision and enemy cooldowns also directly influence player choice in a game, so if you have software that tracks wards you saw get placed or downtime of enemy spells, that software is harming your personal assessment of how the match is developing. Timing objectives, in itself, is neutral. Actually taking objectives is player-involved.

 Let me present an alternate scenario for those who find the above statements confusing. You have two apps – one times objectives, the other –  enemy cooldowns. Now, you stop them individually. First, you lose the objective timer. This doesn’t change the environment, because you can still time objectives yourself and you still have to develop a strategy to take them. The timer was passively influencing your gameplay; it was providing a service that’s easy to keep track of and its automated feature doesn’t give an advantage over the enemy. Now, you disable the enemy CD timer. If that timer was proper, it would be collecting information on current cooldown reduction, level of spells and would have the entire lolwiki database to work with.  It’s humanly impossible for you to accurately reproduce the results of that timer. Worse, still, the timer was actively altering your gameplay, making you more aware of when to commit or disengage, etc.





 If you’re worrying Riot will allow apps that calculate your movement with Tier 2 Boots, you’re overly dramatizing – no company writes their 3rd party software agreement without considering what’s abusing the concept and what’s not. Let me break down the difference between a beneficial app and a harmful one:

Good App
Bad App

* Provides irrelevant service for competing
Does the opposite. (no, seriously)

* Has no impact on player’s performance

* Doesn’t use datapools to calculate

* Is free

* Doesn’t provide hidden information

* Doesn’t generate input (macros, bots, etc.)

* Doesn’t monitor or decrypt user data

* Doesn’t interfere with game files

I should point out that the price of an app is of no importance if it follows point 1 about what’s expected of a “good app”.  As long as it follows the above guidelines, the app should be optional, therefore its price is a non-factor. At higher levels, people will feel forced to use software that makes following the game flow easier. That’s where accepted apps are beneficial – they provide a better service that helps people focus on developing a strategy. They don’t take away the element of strategy from players – that’s what bad apps do.

Let’s go over this again. TeamSpeak – allows players to communicate between each other, makes no active impact on the game, passively provides a service. Approved. Motion Tracking (imagined name), gives you an estimation of a Champion’s path and arrival time, taking into account Movement Speed, abilities, masteries, runes and in-game statistics. Rejected.

Curse Voice

Banning 3rd party software altogether is the no-brainer here. If we remove the community aspect of developing for the game, we avoid the risks of having it in the first place, but we’re left with nothing. Fact is, apps are already being used in LoL. Whether it’s a harmless Skype call or a jungle timer overlay, or a malicious drop-hack or macro-bot for Cassiopeia’s E, we won’t get rid of systems that go against an establishment. Didn’t work for the States when they banned alcohol in the 20s, won’t work for software on the Internet. What we can do is help Riot form reasonable restrictions on 3rd party software.

And may I point out how hypocritical it is that the community wants to be more involved in the direction of the game but then actively rejects community-created apps?





 Curse Voice is currently in closed beta, so it’s not an equal playing ground for people who want to take advantage of it. In its boom of popularity, marketers take advantage and provide popular streamers with keys they give to people who subscribe. Or give them away to people who like their page or lick their shoes or whatever – this is common business practice. Whether it’s unethical and taking advantage of consumers is a side topic. For this article, the main factor is the software isn’t provided to everyone.

 Further segregation will occur if Curse Voice is not a free app. If this indeed becomes a software players need installed to compete and puts those who don’t have it at a disadvantage, then either the program will be banned or the community will look for alternatives. Either way, paid required apps are unacceptable, because they constitute a pay-to-win model.

 As I’ve established in the previous section, I don’t believe Curse Voice will be a necessity. But the arguments against paid apps concern the practice in general, and it’s something Riot will have to actively discourage, through their policies. If common logic dictates the development of future 3rd party apps for LoL, the benefits they’ll provide players with will not justify people paying for them.

It’s a thin line that outside software can thread when it’s being used in a competitive environment. To completely erase that line is squandering the potential of a community to deliver quality service.





 Timers won’t make you Challenger. Yes, 3rd party software is a gray area when it comes to what’s allowed and what’s not. These issues have existed and have been resolved in the industry since the dawn of online games. There are strict and logical policies that ban programs which destroy competitiveness. Companies today have the tools to differentiate between 3rd party software used. The community that commits to developing them for serious use understands the guidelines for their implementation, they’re not just blindly putting together macro bots or dataminers or whatever have you.

 To ban all apps from being used is to go the way of companies that don’t put faith in players. The fear of exploits when LoL has grown to such scale is real and, yet, it’s no more justified than the fear of any company putting out an online game. I hope this article has at least made you consider that pulling a curtain over 3rd party software in general isn’t necessary. What is necessary is having proper Terms of Service that can’t be misinterpreted.

You have been DDOS’ed from this article.


My Info Article Ending


Sexism in eSports banner


  Disclaimer: Some of you may remember this article being published a few weeks ago. It underwent heavy editing since then and should be a lot tighter on arguments now. Enjoy reading!


  I believe gamers need a realistic perspective on the issue of sexism in eSports and gaming in general. Here are the major points this article will address:

  • The banal sexist remarks and misogynistic jokes we’ve all grown accustomed to as a result of constant stereotyping.
  • The male dominated culture of gaming.
  • Team Siren‘s impact on professional gaming last year and the negative perception they have created towards females who want to become pro gamers.
  • Female gamers being forced to either openly express their gender or hide it entirely.



Stereotyping Females


  We all like to make our assumptions about a group of people who seem consistent in behavior; stereotypes make life easier for us. They also lead to a complete lack of understanding issues in society and almost always promote hate speech, abuse and bullying. So how much do we really know about what women go through when they try to adopt gaming as a hobby or profession compared to men?

 There’s a huge difference between how two players, a man and a woman, are seen in the eyes of the majority. Females are condemned and bullied for being incapable of competing in gaming alongside men because the male-majority assumes women can’t achieve the same skill in video games as men, which is untrue. Let me explain.

  There are no studies that show females are weaker players than males. You can use the argument that there are far more men than women in pro gaming, and casual gaming in general, but that’s due to how games were originally marketed and how “gaming” was assigned, and socially upheld, as a male gender role. As a result women have had less time to: develop serious interests in gaming, develop the skills needed to compete at a top competitive level, and make major contributions to gaming, both in achievements and in their numbers. 

 However, this does not mean that gaming is incapable of embracing strong female contenders. For example, StarCraft II player Scarlett is recognized as one of the strongest players in the scene at the moment, consistently beating top-ranked opponents, despite being “a gamer girl.” But she is one of few and that is the problem. Women are less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobby as a result of consistent framing and the rest of the community alienating them. The problem with sexism in pro-gaming starts at the bottom of the pyramid; if the industry molds around female interest and starts marketing itself equally for both genders, then we’ll see the issue resolved in more serious gaming.

Anna Prosser

 We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in the industry, alongside the community’s shock and inability to properly accomodate the increasing flux of women becoming interested in games. Pro-gaming isn’t a viable profession for women yet, as the industry hasn’t tried to reach up to a female audience. Circumstances have developed a situation where women who wish to make a living out of their hobby are cornered into finding alternate ways to do it, because their gender is a detriment to this.

 One such alternative is streaming. Streaming generates revenue through view count, rather than skill. (sometimes, skill results in a bigger audience, but this is just an isolated case, whereas in pro-gaming skill is a requirement). It favors one gender over another, because looks and character generate attention quicker than just playing well in most cases. Note that this does not include all female streamers, but it’s simply the reality of the medium. Because (most) women are left without opportunity to pursue a pro-gaming career, but streaming is easily available to them, you get a discrepancy in relevance of the two careers for females.

 Women didn’t become involved in streaming with the mentality of selling their looks. But they approached a scene that was (and still is) awkward in how it accepts them. Exploiting gender traits for revenue isn’t a conscious decision made by the majority – it’s simply a logical alternative to professional gaming when professional gaming fails to provide women the proper environment for a stable job.



Team Siren


Team Siren Promo Video The majority of the playerbase has only had bad experiences with female teams. To have girls compete in pro-gaming is a recent concept and is burdened not just by the gaming community’s prejudice, but by segregation in the real world. What few opportunities females have had to be recognized as eSports material have gone down in history as sore examples and have further exacerbated the issue. Such is the case from last year with Team Siren.

I believe the majority have seen their introductory video. One can immediately tell this promotion wasn’t thought through. It implies that their team (Gold I at the time) was capable of taking on any competition from the pro teams. The Sirens tried to sell immaturity and snobby attitude to the public and this severely imapcted the perception people had of female pro players.

Trash-talking enemy players during games only served to further degrade Team Siren’s image. The team’s reaction to the community backlash, coupled with poor management, forced the Sirens to disband a month after creating the team.

Ironically, the demise of Team Siren may have actually benefited women who wish to compete in eSports, by bringing attention to the issue that there are practically no pro women gaming currently. Attitude and marketing aside, the Sirens were brave enough to step up to the spotlight as a team of women aiming for the big scene. If the focus had been more on gaming and less on selling an image, the team could had been a success.

This all partially leads to the creation of the 2014 Amateur Challenge for ladies.



Scared of eSports

Colalin_tps  We shouldn’t ignore the fact that what being a gamer means for a male doesn’t mean the same for a female. There are societal views and expectations that all weigh heavily on a woman’s decision to commit to gaming. Women generally care more than men how they look in the eyes of the public. It’s a problem with gaming in general that it continues to be shunned by popular opinion, but women are much more affected by this than men.

  Women want the approval of others and when gaming doesn’t resonate with the people around them, they tend to stay away from it. Those women who have committed themselves to gaming and feel comfortable with are attributed the same characteristics, simply because they are a minority.

  There is a fact working against females who want to be in eSports – they’d be among the first. Teams participating in the Season 3 World Championship didn’t have a female member and, historically, have never had. After extensive research, the only example I found was Lin “Colalin” Ying Hsuan, substitute player for Taipei Assassins and Taipei Snipers. Statistically, women who compete in pro-play are a rare sight. A female wishing to pursue this career is going against the odds and that’s a demotivating realization.

  As a male you’ll probably face a wall of criticism if you go right now and tell your parents you want to abandon everything else and become a pro-player. This is without taking into consideration outside views and having the evidence to show them that people like you have become successful in pro-gaming. Now imagine how it would feel from a female’s perspective – she holds both a responsibility towards friends and family not to be perceived as “weird’ or “out of social standards” and she can’t show that women can become pro players and make a living.

  A woman who’s decided to be a pro gamer has all of this to overcome and she can’t be sure whether or not it’s even worth it.



Catch 22


  All these complex reasons for why sexism is so prevalent in gaming boils down to a simple truth – female gamers just aren’t taken seriously. Because the community is dominated by men, they assume everyone is male. Women then stick out as sort of exceptions to the rule, and they either need to conceal their gender or openly express it.

  In the first scenario, a woman is afraid of revealing who she is, because she understands the repercussions of doing so and the backlash that will follow. And insults targeted towards female gamers rarely attack the way they play; more often than not they’re just gender abuse. The male community treats women like outsiders and that’s why so many girls hide behind male avatars and nicknames – they don’t want to be blamed for being themselves.

  Good, then the problem is gone since they pretend to be male and we don’t have to care about their problems. Wrong! Being forced to hide your identity doesn’t solve anything; it’s a band-aid, a desperation move. This actually magnifies the second situation gamer girls find themselves in – expressing their gender.

  Most women simply choose to forget they’re women when they game online. This hurts those who don’t want their gender identity bent by senseless sexism on the part of the majority. When a girl gamer openly displays the fact she’s female, she’s seeking attention. If she doesn’t, she emphasizes the problem for those who are honest with their gender.

  This is not something women can solve for themselves. The male community of gamers needs to look at the way it views girl gamers currently. If basic understanding and respect aren’t present, we can’t move forward.



2014 Amateur Challenge

 Background: keSPA ( Korea e-Sports Association ) hosted The Amateur Challenge Ladies tournament this year, which features exclusively all-female teams on the pro Korean scene (OGN).

All female league  The all-female league in eSports, though inherently wrong, is currently the only real opportunity women have of breaking the gender barrier of the scene. People have likened it to other amateur leagues already out there, but what it gives girls with an interest in pro-gaming is a chance of creating a competitive environment where they are able to improve, gain experience as teams and compete at the peak level, and have a chance at making a living playing games competitively. “Professional status,” as in making a living playing video games, is something females currently aren’t even given a chance to achieve, and this league changes that!

  Though segregation of genders is inherently wrong, in the case of pro-gaming it can lead up to an equal audience of men and women. Once there are females at a skill level high enough, with experience backing them, we could see a female team climb into the LCS, and beyond. This will, indeed, make eSports a scene where anyone can become big.

  A female league is a solution born out of lack of alternatives. The fact that it’s, right now, the only shot women have at becoming relevant in eSports shows how deeply rooted this issue has become. There are girls out there who can and want to compete on the same level as other pro players, but, as all the above-mentioned arguments point out, the community and the scene have been slow to adapt to the rising interest in gaming among women.



The Sad Reality

  Female leagues serve to artificially equalize the number of men and women competing in pro gaming. The more females being involved with the scene, the more will start aiming for a career in eSports. And this is the bothersome aspect of the whole issue – we’re not that far off as a community to fixing it, we just refuse to acknowledge that the issue exists, due to the preconceived notion that games, and the leagues the pros play in, are unisex.

  In a previous section I touched on the topic that no LCS team has a female in the roster. This isn’t only applicable to the actual team members; several teams lack a single female staff member. It proves how male-dominated the gaming industry is. Bad thing? Certainly. It does make one consider whether or not we truly appreciate talent more than we appreciate the comfort of a mono-gender environment. The people reading this are among the most dedicated players and viewers of eSports and LoL. I’m assuming we all want the same thing – the best experience pro-gaming can deliver and a sport that can keep us a close community.


What Can I do to fix this


Everyone could make this easier simply by avoiding misogynistic remarks they’d never use in person. When referring to a player, talk about their skill, strengths, weaknesses and exclude gender from your mindset. This goes both ways: if you use your cleavage to attract people to your stream, then you know what kind of people to expect. Allow me to quote Magic the Gathering player Jackie Lee, from an amazing article of hers:

1. Gender jokes are not funny, they’re insensitive.

2. Seek criticism and express criticism at poor behavior.

3. Don’t insult someone based on gender. (or race, or sexuality, all these characteristics do not determine a person’s qualities)

Small note, all these points relate to both men and women. Gender equality goes both ways.


My Info Article Ending


eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)


When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:


What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?


In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 


Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.


Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!

Concept Banner

Let’s start this year this some fantastic artwork, courtesy of digouts from the community and IronStylus!


Early Champion Concepts

IronStylusEven more early concepts

Champion Rotation – Preseason Week 7

Champion Rotation – 01.07 – 10.07



 Early Champion Concepts


Check out some early sketches of League Champions!










Corki 2



Corki, Second Version



DrMundo Render

DrMundo, Render and Texture Map

Gavid, The Plant King

Gavid, The Plant King





Kassadin Render

Kassadin, Render

Lee Sin

Lee Sin











Priscilla, The Spider Queen

Priscilla, The Spider Queen

Rob Blackblade, The Dashing Rogue

Rob Blackblade, The Dashing Rogue

Tabu, Voodoo Shaman

Tabu, Voodoo Shaman

Vi 2



Vi, Second Version



Well, The Hydrosoul

Well, The Hydrosoul





IronStylus – Even more early concept


See what our beloved senior artist has to add to the collection of early Champion artwork!


Diana Concept

Diana Concept

Diana Final

Diana Final

Graves Concept Filled in

Graves Concept Filled in

Graves Rough Concept

Graves Rough Concept

Graves Sketch

Graves Sketch

Graves Shotgun

Graves Shotgun

Graves Final

Graves Final

Leona Ingame

Leona Ingame


Leona’s Sword


Leona’s Shield


Leona, Final

Quinn Sketch

Quinn Sketch

Quinn Sketch Colored

Quinn Sketch Colored

Quinn Portrait

Quinn Portrait

Quinn Concept

Quinn Concept

Quinn and Valor Mockup

Quinn and Valor Mockup

Quinn and Valor Final

Quinn and Valor Final

Quinn and Valor Concept Filled in

Quinn and Valor Concept Filled in

Skarner Sketch

Skarner Sketch

Skarner Head Sketch

Skarner Head Sketch

Skarner Concept

Skarner Concept

Skarner Concept Polished

Skarner Concept Polished

Skarner Concept Final

Skarner Concept Final

Skarner Concept Color

Skarner Concept Color

Talon Initial Sketch

Talon Initial Sketch

Talon Sketch Filled in

Talon Sketch Filled in

Talon Mockup

Talon Mockup

Xerath Black and White

Xerath Black and White

Xerath Color

Xerath Color

Xerath Mockup

Xerath Mockup

Viktor Turnaround

Viktor Turnaround

Volibear Turnaround

Volibear Turnaround

Ahri Mockup

Ahri Mockup

Fiora Mockup

Fiora Mockup

Sejuani Turnaround

Sejuani Turnaround

Kevin Tuggles Turnaround

Kevin Tuggles Turnaround






Why is Sejuani’s boar called Kevin Tuggles?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Bit of an inside joke between the dev team ;)





Where does the third bullet come from for Graves’s Buckshot?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Uhh.. Hextexh?





Any idea how Melee Quinn would have been played?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Nope. She never had a kit in that incarnation. Only idea was a vault which would be a 1-2 with Valor.




Would you come back to finish Melee Quinn if given the chance?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Personally, yes. Only because I don’t think we ever explored deep enough into that territory. Would have been cool to try!




Why this obsession with pointy edges in sketches?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: It’s very unconscious and I need to stop doing it :/

It’s very much a default “form language” as we call it. I tend to like points, tapers and flares. Luckily I think I did a fair amount of the opposite with Diana. She’s all crescents and curves.



Are you working on the next champion?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: There’s a lot of champions being developed all the time :P The “next” isn’t something I’ve worked on, but I’m helping concept a couple champions which may or may not come to be. Nothing approved or slotted though yet. Very early in the concept phase currently.



How many people are involved with these creations?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Tons of people are involved! Often, at the beginning of a character however, there’s primarily 3. An artist, a gameplay designer, and a creative designer. They help flesh out the concept package of a character. Funny thing is, on a LOT of these (Leona, Skarner, Xerath, Diana, Quinn) the designer was Volty. He and I are great friends and he’s one of my favorite designers to work with.

I LOVE everyone I’ve worked with but Volty and Runaan have a special place in my heart for what we’ve worked on together!



Who has the say how these Champions will end up in the end?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: It’s a big group decision. Different people from different disciplines give feedback and help mold the idea. Once the group agrees, it goes forward.





Champion Rotation – Preseason Week 7


  • Amumu - 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Blitzcrank - 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Brand - 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Fiddlesticks - 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Jax - 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Jinx - 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Lucian - 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Malzahar - 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Shyvana - 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Zyra - 6300 IP / 975 RP



Champion/Skin Sale – 07.01 – 10.01


Sale January 10




  • Ezreal - 440 RP
  • Malphite – 292 RP
  • Nami – 487 RP






Missed any recent articles? Catch up here:



twitter-icon-png-13Follow me on Twitter!


Riot Pls Banner

A whole new year is ahead of us, Summoners! What will change in League? What do you want changed? Here are my wishes / anticipations: 



Team Builder



client banner


   I’d say this should be the most urgent update on Riot’s list for this year. The PVP client affects each and every player: bugs, massive memory usage, slow load times, and so on, hurt everyone’s experience. We’re all aware of the issues that plague LoL’s client, but I’d like to list some of them so there’s better visibility on what needs fixing:

  • Heavy on the memory and CPU load, slow load times

   League of Legends was released in 2009, back when Riot Games was a really small team. When you have limited funds and limited number of people working on the same field (programming, design, bug testing, etc.) you need to manage your resources properly. The company then packaged the client code using Adobe AIR, which was more suited for making smaller, cross-platform apps. Adobe AIR did not support GPU mode until 2011 when Stage3D was introduced, which allowed faster rendering. It’s a solution to the problem of making a cheap, multi-language client. I assume the initial creators did not anticipate the community taking such a massive interest in the game so they chose the option that best suited their financial status at the time. League of Legends grew (and is still growing) at an enormous pace, so once the company was committed to the tech, they couldn’t change everything in one day, or even implement massive changes to the existing client, because of the consequences it would have on the playerbase.

   I am not a programmer so I won’t waste your time with ideas that likely can’t work. I do know there are lots of independent developers making custom clients, which is an opportunity for Riot to hire talented and passionate people for this work. The philosophy for now seems to be making incremental changes to the existing client while slowly phasing out the aging tech. So the “leap” we experience once the client is fully rebuilt may not be as dramatic, but it’ll certainly be a lot safer when millions of players are affected.

  • Bugsplats, disconnects, freezes, post-game crashes and so on

   The most problematic area of League of Legends lies outside the actual game. It is perhaps these issues that drive away the biggest number of players from the experience. This has been a philosophy of Blizzard’s for twenty years now – once the product ships, it needs to be stable. Errors distract and alienate, they put a bad name on companies and are never subjective – it’s something that NEEDS fixing. I would like Riot to put more priority on creating a non-interruptive process from login to game. Think about this – would you rather solve an in-game bug or one that prevents the player from entering the game in the first place?


Wintermint, a PVP Client developed by AstralFoxy



servers banner


   Occasionally, you can play on EU: West without a hitch… or so they claim. It really is disheartening getting lag spikes in the middle of a match or even being disconnected and unable to log back in. Servers should be a top priority for any company running a major online game and I’m glad Riot has focused on improving infrastructure this year. There’s not much to say here – better servers are on the way, we just have to be patient.



features banner


   Comparisons are inevitable in these lists, so I’ll make one with Valve’s DotA 2 client. My gripe here is that Valve has had working in-client Replays in DotA 2 since beta and has created a really solid interface around it – you can sort games using a player’s name, get specific details like who won, K/D/A, etc., then either download them into a folder or watch straight from the client. In-client replays are nowhere to be found in League and it should be unacceptable that we have to resort to 3rd party solutions for a feature that so many players have requested for years. I will say that this is currently being tested on the PBE, but it’s been there for so long with seemingly no release date in sight.

   Why is this important?  Replays are a key element of any strategy game – new players can examine how others handle situations from a bird’s eye view and veteran players can likewise better understand what they did wrong and how to improve. There is no better way to evaluate a team’s performance post-game when so many things are happening at once; replays allow a user or commentator to pause and draw conclusions from a situation. Replays can also greatly benefit Youtubers – unlike streaming, Youtube videos are usually more polished, with scripted commentary, so a solid feature that allowed the content creator to edit parts of his/her gameplay quickly, without the hassle of installing additional software, goes a long way toward more and better League footage.

   The achievement tab was scrapped awhile ago and I think Riot really missed out on an opportunity with that decision. Achievements bring a LOT to a game’s longevity. They’ve always been a way to keep players in the game, by dangling shiny rewards on the screen that got progressively harder to obtain. In the case of League, there is no real end-game to strive for, which means you commit because you enjoy the experience and/or to climb Leagues. The hardcore audience has the Ranked system to keep them excited to compete, but more casual players really don’t have many options. I consider Achievements a clever way of keeping everyone involved, while not being a game-changing mechanic or a nuisance. Plus that shiny animation that pops up when you get one – it’s like Christmas on your monitor.

   Allow me to put a little backlight on the subject – back when the game was still young, there was a big effort from writers to make the universe of Runeterra feel like a real fantasy world. A total of 31 “chronicles” were released, detailing events that happened in the world of League of Legends. Champions had lore ties with the Journal of Justice and it was a really great way of establishing relationships between individual characters and even factions. If not for the journal, we wouldn’t have had one of the first pro-events in League (the Ionia vs Noxus and Demacia vs Noxus matches) and we wouldn’t have had the Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

Journal of Justice decoration

   The Journal was scrapped at the start of Season 2 and since then we’ve had lore introduced in different ways, with various degrees of success. What I really liked about those chronicle entries was their non-engaging nature – they were a small feature of the client at that time and weren’t anywhere near as bombastic, say, as the Freljord events. I think handling a fictional world’s story should be done in a way that doesn’t break the immersion – the Journal of Justice, however simple, was really how you’d expect historical events to be described – on a tattered piece of paper, usually with very artistic and noble language that writers of old would use. Making a non-integral part of League dramatic and central detracts from this idea. I miss this form of adding roleplay elements to League – Quinn’s “Journey into the Freljord” letters were as close as we got to that original form of releasing lore for the game. Once again, it’s nothing urgent and I doubt too many people are holding their breaths for this feature, but it’s something small that could solidify Runeterra as an engaging fantasy world.

Note: Riot is currently looking for writers:



Team Builder banner


We had a very intriguing announcement last year – a brand new way of handling Roles that doesn’t rely on pick order. Team Builder seeks to remedy the toxicity in Champion Select and allow everyone to pick the role he / she feels most comfortable playing. Here are the basics:

  • Team Builder will allow players to queue up for a specific role with a specific champion
  • The “leader” or host can request roles for whatever team composition he/she wishes
  • Testing is currently done with minimal flexibility, i.e you cannot change anything during Champion Select except Runes and Masteries, though it’s possible players will be allowed to change Champions within a given role later on

We’ll most likely see Team Builder hit live this year, so what does this mean for us? Let’s examine what’s good and what’s not about this new method of queueing:



  • No chat arguments about Team Roles
  • Most likely everyone will be playing the Champion they are strongest at, at the position they feel most comfortable taking
  • Minimum chance of having an unexpected composition (two people argue and they both lock in ADC) that players will feel feel uncomfortable playing around
  • Smarter matchmaking – Team Builder will account for a player’s experience with a certain Champion or Role and will adjust the search algorithm accordingly
  • Players can opt out of a composition if they don’t agree with the leader with no penalty for doing so



  • Will most likely reinforce the current meta even more
  • Sharp lack of players queueing for the most unfun / unrewarding Role at the time, which in turn will increase queue timers
  • Potential abuse of the system if players are allowed to change Champions after they’ve arrived at Champion Select

The biggest possible negative of Team Builder is it puts further emphasis on the current meta. I for one believe there are viable alternatives to it, now more than ever in Preseason. Back when LoL was young the game went through several pseudo-metas, most notably the AoE Press R compositions and the HP-stacking bruisers. What we have now is certainly the most balanced comp, i.e it can compete in any scenario, but that’s just it – team composition is effectively a non-factor in the game’s strategy today. It would be amazing to see Melee Carries handle bot lane or ADCs returning to former glory as solo mid picks… maybe a tri-lane on top? ( I can dream.) Team Builder may have provided the tools for creating diverse compositions, but I don’t think it will nurture the mentality needed for it to happen. After all, if you lock Champions to certain Roles, you really don’t have many options, do you?

Team Builder is a brilliant system that faces perils most systems built for a huge online community do. I really hope we see it polished and released this year, even if only for Normal Games. It’s probably Riot’s greatest effort to reduce player toxicity and I hope it succeeds.



fanmade banner


I’m always blown away by how creative LoL’s community is and has been for many years. Back when Nika was running the Summoner Showcase we were seeing dozens of fan creations every week. Go to a major gaming event and you’ll see League cosplayers everywhere, showing off costumes that often take weeks and months to make. It’s a shame, then, that we don’t see Riot getting more involved with fans of the game.

   One marketing area that could really benefit from passionate fans is physical merchandise. Lots of people out there like making custom T-shirts, pillows, mugs and so on with their favorite League characters, but you can’t really be selling those without permit. Given how crazy creative fans can be with their hobby, why not host contests or entire events where they can show their work? Lots of companies look into community content as a serious way of establishing business relationships.

   Another area that’s similar in principle is in-game visual content. Valve has the DotA 2 store maintained almost entirely by community-made gear for Champions. Every day I see so many incredible skin ideas and it’s upsetting that so many of them are forgotten or overlooked. I applaud Riot’s intention to not focus too much on monetization and skin making over fixing other issues, but getting fan ideas into the development cycle can be equally positive while also rewarding for both the community and the company. I really hope we see more interaction with fans from Riot during S4.



Graphics banner


sivir old vs new decoration   I must say, I was repeatedly amazed last year by the amount of detail put into new and old, reworked Champions. 2013 was definitely the best year for older Champions to shine. Archaic models that hadn’t seen updates since beta were reworked to match the fidelity of newer releases and it was a joy seeing the return of old-timers such as Nasus, Sivir, Karma and more. On the graphical side we also got Howling Abyss with all its snowstormy glory, buscuit-eating poros, and collapsing towers. New brush popped up all over Summoner’s Rift to replace the inferior grass of Season 3 and now you have moving grass everywhere and what would you do without that? With all that said, however… our 5v5 battleground is still in dire state visually.

   Summoner’s Rift has always been practical and unintrusive with its contrasting color palette and lack of distracting detail. But it’s never been fun to look at the map, not unless it’s snowing there. Even with the texture update we got in 2012 the map still fails to impress. There are two reasons Riot hasn’t taken the initiate here – one is not to strain the resources of players with older hardware and  the other is a design choice. By keeping the map visuals clean it’s easier to distinguish Champions and spells, especially in teamfights.

   The problem is we already have an example of what Riot can do with map design – the reworked Twisted Treeline. It is an absolutely gorgeous setting and it doesn’t hurt the experience by being this detailed environment. Here’s a short list of graphical options I’d like to see implemented in League down the line:

  • Better Anti-Aliasing: AA is the technology that makes jagged edges appear smooth. Riot uses FXAA for LoL, which is the least performance-demanding method of all, but it blurs textures and hurts the fidelity of the visuals. A solid alternative would be SMAA, which is similarly light on demand, but doesn’t affect textures.
  • Ambient Occlusion: It’s used to blend objects placed on the ground with the ground itself. AO makes those corners touching the horizontal plane darker so the eye loses that line of contrast between the two. It may sound like a negligible feature, but the difference when using Ambient Occlusion in games is quite astonishing.
  • More / Better lighting: Twisted Treeline features some impressive use of lighting on the Recall Platform and Shrines, which tells me there is a way to implement this on Summoner’s Rift as well. There are torches on SR, but the light coming from them isn’t dynamic and so they just blend with the rest of the textures. In-game objects that are perfect candidates for better lighting would be the crystals on Towers, inhibitors, torches, Nexus and Dragon (y u no breathe fire). Immersive lighting also depends on the surface its cast on, so metal textures on the Recall Platform of Summoner’s Rift, glass for the crystals on buildings and so on, would make the effect much more apparent.
  • HDR (High-dynamic-range imaging): HDR makes textures appear sharp without changing the actual textures. It’s a complex method, so here’s the short version: HDR adds more dynamic range to an image, which is the difference between light and dark in that image. It’s essentially higher contrast that’s giving the illusion of more detail.
  • Bloom: Goes well with the above-mentioned better lighting. Bloom is a trick used for really bright objects (like torches) to make it seem like they’re bleeding out light from the edges. It really is that – you just turn those edges into light sources of their own. If you had shining bright crystals on Towers and inhibitors and added bloom, it would seem like light was radiant, instead of just illuminating like a lightbulb.

Graphics are secondary, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be a priority. Here’s hoping we get a better-looking Summoner’s Rift this year. Or maybe even Magma Chamber!… we’re not getting Magma Chamber, are we.

Dawngate Screenshot

Dawngate (MOBA). Detailed map that doesn’t intrude



balance banner


   It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride this year on the Rift, with Champions and items rising to insane popularity before getting swifly cut down by NerfMasterSuckTown. We’ve had our fair share of bugs and exiles hopping around the map with six cleavers deleting teammates and enemies in two seconds, Ryze building Manamune and not getting reported for it, Ezreal having more CC than tanks, Ranged carries buying lifestealing blades that turned them into Sonic / Duke Nukem in teamfights and so on, but those were fixed in a timely manner. It’s fair to say the game’s overall stable at this point, even with the massive changes that Preseason brought. So I want to focus on Riot’s philosophy of handling balance, rather than wishing for individual fixes for this year.

   What you have with League of Legends is essentially cycle balancing. Here’s a strange analogy – imagine all the Champions of the League are riding a Ferris Wheel. Eventually, some of them will reach the top, which means they’re the easiest to see. These Champions then become FotM (Flavor of the Month) and become overplayed, banned and commented. Now, it doesn’t have to be an actual balance issue leading to this – maybe a popular streamer showed a Champion stomp or a professional E-sports player won with some unexplored pick or item. It doesn’t matter – the end result is you get a disruption in game flow, where one strategy appears prevalent and so everyone copies it. This makes the game monotone, predictable and, as a result, boring to play and watch. So Riot “fixes” the issue by nerfing that particular issue. But by turning the Ferris Wheel so the top Champions (or items) come down, others go up. Thus you have cycle balancing.

Updated Riven banner

   This was used to bring Black Cleaver back into obscurity and deter the double Relic strat at the start of Preseason, among other cases. It’s what we see all the time in patches when Champions become pick/banned consistently. But is this a proper way of handling balance? I’d argue no, because cycle balancing is not fixing the issue, it’s preventing an issue from having a harmful effect on the game for too long. Let me give you an example – Riven is nerfed because of a continuous community outcry. Prior to this she is getting banned all the time, in games where she’s not she snowballs really hard off top or mid, deals insane damage and so on. So it appears she’s simply out of line, right? But there are lots of reasons why Riven’s dominance occurs in the place. Maybe her counters got nerfed too hard or in such a way that it ruined the fun aspect of those Champions and so people no longer wish to play them, even if they know they could beat Riven this way. Maybe Riven’s lack of resource is giving her that game-winning edge over Champions that would normally beat her, but are restrained by mana costs. Or maybe the issue isn’t Riven at all? Maybe Lifesteal is too strong with mechanics that reset the Auto-attack timer? You see how the more we elaborate on the cause, the bigger the issues we’re exploring become. This was just one recent case I used as an example. I’m not being biased in my assessment of Riven as she’s not a Champion I enjoy playing, but she does present cycle balancing in a good way.

   I don’t think either Morello or anyone working at Riot would go so far against the established philosophy of cycle balancing, especially given how successful League of Legends has become and that any massive changes are probably too risky for the reward they’d bring. But I do hope the balancing team at least examines the bigger case issues with balancing LoL and not just individual Champions and items. Nerfs are not fun – that we can all agree on. The less of them there are, the better, and if you rework, say, the way minion EXP works or increase Mana Regeneration for Champions who struggle in their matchups, you might solve more than one issue and save players the trouble of nerfing their favourite picks… or you might cause an apocalypse. But at least it will be a fun apocalypse.



soon banner


So the last section was a bit too serious for this optimistic topic… let’s look at the announcements I think we’re all excited for:

  • Visual Update for Baron Nashor
  • Awesome skins!
  • Visual reworks of Evelynn and Urgot
  • Complete reworks of Sion and Xerath
  • Dragon Master Swain
  • Release (or at least teaser) of Ao Shin
  • Release of Zelos, teased to be Irelia’s brother
  • Release of Kassadin’s daughter

All of this is confirmed content, though whether or not we’ll it all released in 2014 is uncertain.



What do you wish Riot delivered on in Season 4? Or beyond? Share below!


twitter-icon-png-13Follow me on Twitter!



Trynd Reddit Banner




Tech / Development



What are the challenges Riot faces with improving the game?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Riot has grown from 60 to over 1000 in 4 years and a lot of our staff are not developers – they are publishing staff that work on “publishing” (aka delivering) League of Legends to players around the world.

That is why we have so many regional offices and why we can do cool things like run global tournaments.

Additionally, League of Legends is many orders of magnitude larger than the biggest online game ever – this is not a boast (we really don’t care about size, we care about delivering great experiences) but this DOES add huge complexity and makes every mistake a big deal since it impacts millions upon millions of players.

Additionally, Blizzard has been around for nearly 20 years – Riot built League of Legends in 3 years on a not great tech foundation (very long story) so we’ve had to improve the underlying infrastructure and foundation WHILE the game was growing like crazy. That is hard to do.

The reason we didn’t have a great tech foundation is because LOL was our first game and we had limited capital and the inability to attract the type of great talent we have now. So our capabilities NOW are WAY stronger than ever which is why the game keeps improving across every dimension.

But it’s like building a CITY and then saying, “we need a suburb”. It takes time to transition your millions of people from the city into a suburb and you need to build the suburb and all the roads, power infrastructure, sewers, houses, strip malls, etc – all in parallel while maintaining your city.

These aren’t excuses, it is simple fact and I am explaining the reasons for why things are how they are.

The good news is is that there is an awful lot of light at the end of the tunnel and everything we have been doing for the last year or so and will do in the future will leverage our much better infrastructure (both ops hardware and software tech) to make things easier to maintain and improve over time.

You guys will continue to notice a lot of little improvements – we just won’t go about thumping our chests and talking about how proud we are of those things because they are largely behind the scenes – and the thing that matters most is having a really fun game.



How does Riot assign priority to current projects / community requests?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We’re laying the foundation now to enable us to do the types of things you are highlighting.

There are always trade-offs between invest up front in the infrastructure to make later changes easier, or deliver cool stuff now, with the implication that it will “cost” more total developer time, but will get out faster.

We do our best to strike the balance – and I’m hopeful that you guys will see a lot of this efficiency investment bear fruit in 2014 and beyond. We’re in this for the long term.



Is Riot still catching up to technology standards to improve LoL’s aging platform?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: The point with highlighting that other stuff is that while we’re working on core engineering adjustments, we are also working on lots of cool things with our other team members (like the jinx video).

Building core technology takes years (literally) before you can even see triangles render on screen, or have a tool that improves another developers work flow.

Blizzard and Valve have very mature tools that they have iterated on for years and they keep updating.

We started without that luxury, so have had to play catch up.

The good news though, is we are indeed catching up, so the lives of our devs will continue to get easier, which means more cool stuff for you guys faster.



Why not hire more people so you can push more features out quicker?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter TryndamereBecause PEOPLE are the key to Riot. And we can’t just go hire 100 engineers in a month or buy companies with a bunch of developers and expect them to magically do a good job.

We need to spend a lot of time “onboarding” Rioters to learn about our culture, who we are and how we work, because most other companies are vastly different and we have to teach people to “unlearn” a lot of the bad habits they bring from other companies.

This is a slower approach, but it is worth it.

Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships. And Riot must continue to be a great team for us to deliver the awesome stuff you guys expect from us.



Is Riot doing enough to help new players?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We think we do have a lot of opportunity to improve here and have a team spun up to work on this.

We historically have not really focused on the new player experience because we wanted to focus on our core players. We are OK with lots of people bouncing off the game because it’s too hardcore and not for them – if it means that the people who this game IS for will stick around.

We’re reaching a point now though where a little bit of love will go a long way. So you may have noticed things like the range indicators on towers for co-op vs AI, and the new login screens new players see to help with education, etc.



Have you considered weekly hotfixes over monthly patches to address serious issues?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Yah and it irks me we don’t do this yet.





How would you go about fixing Dominion?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: The real fix would probably be to spin up a small team dedicated to managing Dominion. Focus = results.

The issue there is the trade-offs with other things. If we do that, then what else do we give up?

It’s worth raising though, so I’ll discuss internally. Thx for the reminder.



Client  / 3rd Party Software



Why are you not working with the independent developers making you custom clients?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Just to follow up on this:

  1. We have talked to the author of Wintermint (and other cool client projects) and our first thought is to collaborate and potentially hire these creative, talented and passionate LOL players who want to help us develop great things for our players. These discussions continue.

  2. We are very motivated to continue to improve all aspects of League of Legends to deliver a better experience for you all, which of course, includes the client itself. When you are Riot though, there are lots of additional considerations that need to be managed such as: a) Building a client that works in 15 different languages and in regions around the world (oftentimes that requires different UI’s) b) Balancing the work on the “client of the future” vs. supporting the current development efforts in the old technology as we continue to develop and release new stuff every patch. c) The above bullets are solvable and are things we are actively working on.

  3. Surely you can all appreciate our position which Astralfoxy discusses above: our front-end client is very important to the overall game experience and there is major risk involved for us to enable different 3rd party clients to offer entry points into LOL through these channels. That being said, we are (of course), always excited to help the community develop cool things which is why we released things like our API portal ( and why our first instinct is to collaborate with these talented authors who want to help.

We appreciate all of your patience as we continue to improve League across every dimension – and while sometimes things take longer than we all want (oftentimes the last 10% takes the longest because “shipping” something to tens of millions of gamers across the entire world is quite complex) please do rest assured that we are never “done” and never satisfied with the way things are. We will always strive to improve and we listen to and appreciate all of your feedback.

Thx guys~



Why is it so crucial that changes are gradual, that you don’t scrap the client in one day?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We chose to do things other than re-build the client from scratch at that point, such as:



  • Expand internationally (it takes engineers to support us launching in Korea as an example because we need to build custom software to support the PC Bang owners and how they manage their business). We think having a more global LOL community was a good thing for our players since it enables cool international competitions, gives us the numbers to attract sponsors like Coke, Nissan, AMEX, etc – and enables our pros and their teams to build real, viable careers around the game. It’s also simply awesome to expand the community globally as LOL can become a unifying language for people. Walk around Taipei with a Teemo hat and you’ll be stopped on the street and highfived without speaking a word of Mandarin. That is cool.

  • Focus on the backend platform to enable it to scale. Each shard of LOL supports multiple hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players. That is hard to do and we have a demanding game (matchmaking, chat, etc). It takes a LOT of time to stabilize, optimize and scale something so massive. This is a constant focus and must be and we’re always improving here.

  • We wanted to build features – things like the Tribunal, spectator mode, and new game modes like ARAM we believed were more important to add to the game at the time than replacing the client.

We are at a different point now though, and are actively working on migrating, per some of the previous posts.



So can we expect a new client soon?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: No new client that you can tell the difference for for season 4.

But, we’re actively stripping out the underlying libraries and components of the front end and replacing them and have been for a while.

Change will be incremental and positive until one day, it’s totally F’ing different in an entirely new tech stack.



Why was Wintermint shut down?


(Long explanation of Wintermint and why it was shut down, from the creator herself.)


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: The issue is that we’ve just been too silent on this issue so you guys are having to fill in the gaps with guesses. Well, we can fix that ;) so hopefully some of my posts in this thread are a positive step in that direction.






Why are in-client Replays still not a thing?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Replays are a great example of why “shipping” something to tens of millions (literally) of players is hard.

From a software standpoint, replays are essentially shippable, which is why it is on the PBE and being refined in a live state. But, the hardware to enable us to operate replays in the super sexy state you guys desire (and that allows us to do REALLY cool things with replay technology in the future) means that we need to deploy special hardware in our many data centers all around the world and do a lot of complex hardware configuration adjustments to make it all work.

The problem is that even though we are hiring the best network operational professionals all around the world as fast as we can, we STILL can’t keep up with the growth of League of Legends around the world from a hardware standpoint – and we prioritize that over shipping a new feature like replays, because we treat things like our EUW service stability as a higher priority than adding a new feature (that while cool, is not mission critical).

We had the fortunate and unfortunate situation of being a no-name company with very limited capital (money) and immature technology build a great game that people really loved. This means we grew extremely rapidly and continue to grow extremely rapidly. This creates a situation where it is very hard to scale both the technology and the organization to keep up with all of the demands of our players across all the different dimensions we need to keep doing a great job at: – Gameplay balance (constant tweaks / season updates) – Features (replays, new client, etc) – eSports around the world with ground up TV show capabilities that we built (because no one else could help us – we can’t really go ask ESPN to cover us since they’re like “wtf is League of Legends?”) – Service stability issues (millions upon millions of simultaneous concurrent players) – Player support issues (millions of tickets) – Player behavior / community engagement funtimes – Security (omg hax) – API / partner support – Additional polish / game improvements (new maps, modes, art, graphical improvements, etc)

Oh yah, and we need to build a company (organization) made up of amazingly passionate, creative people who can collaborate very effectively with each other and who are passionate about delivering all this cool stuff to you guys.

That’s why we try to focus so much on “talent and team” and build a company culture that people WANT to work for and that wins awards (

This isn’t even to mention our intentional expansion to bring League of Legends to other players around the world where we open new offices that also need to be fully aligned with our mission and culture – which adds even more complexity. Also not to mention how we need to plan for the long term and think about being Riot GameS rather than Riot Game. ;)

We really do try our best to deliver great experiences for you guys all the time – and when we let you down, no one takes it harder than we do, trust me. We know we can be better and we are working on it day and night.

We appreciate you guys bearing with us as we continue to get even better, but hopefully you guys recognize and appreciate that we DO do a lot of things pretty well and really do try to always keep your best interest in mind. When we make mistakes, it is more likely due to an execution failure, rather than through poor motivations.

If you want to hear more about this stuff, peep my blog where I’ve touched on this in the past.



Why are Replays difficult to implement?


Riot RoboLions Button Rioter RoboLions: Any implementation of replays requires extra resources. Your client is only aware of the information that is exposed to it, nothing in fog of war, off screen health bars, etc. This is so that you cannot use a third party app to get that info and hack it into your game to get an advantage. So to get everything you need for a replay file that information has to either get stored on our servers to be downloaded later or we create another stream with the complete information that has to be piped in on a delay (like LoLReplay).

Each of these solutions requires extra resources and to do it right we’d need both server hardware and added bandwidth. And there would be considerations for any alternative solutions that we haven’t accounted for in our current infrastructure or UI which would take time to develop and troubleshoot.



Future Plans / 2014



Are there any jobs spaces available at Riot?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We’re trying to hire writers – know any, please send em our way.






Why didn’t we get a Winter theme for SR?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: You’ll see why in Q1 of 2014.






Any plans for an MMO universe based on LoL?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: I personally love MMO’s, but they are quite a pain in the ass to build.

We think the LOL IP is quite extensible and do think there will be more games that leverage it, but the fit has to be really strong.



Will Riot sell more physical merchanise this year?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Yup – we finally have a head of Merch – and can’t wait to unleash the crazy.




Ethics / Monetization



Is Riot being greedy with their payment model?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: It’s pretty frustrating when people try to position us as greedy, because look at it from our perspective:



  1. We build pretty much the first successful free online game in the west that core gamers actually really like and play
  2. We did this by building a really fun game, constantly investing over and over to grow and improve this game and by NOT selling power of being money hungry. If you compare the price of League of Legends entertainment per hour to every other form of media, we’re the lowest around (we should probably commission a study to explain this), but the easiest examples to think of are: movies, magazines, books, box games, etc. $60 for 10 hours, woo!
  3. Millions upon millions of our players spend zero dollars on league and enjoy it endlessly. We’re COMPLETELY OK with this. Greedy how? You do not have to spend money, it is completely opt-in.
  4. We spend tens of millions of dollars building a pro-esports scene to help some of our best players become global superstars who make hundreds of thousands of dollars (or a million like Ocelote:
  5. We build a TV show that also costs millions and we run ZERO ads on it to deliver a great experience to our players, entirely free

We do all this because Ryze and I are gamers. Always have been, always will be. We play the shit out of League of Legends. When servers go down, we flip out. When we don’t deliver on something we promised, we flip out (Magma chamber where?) and change the world internally. When we overreach on legal language with eSports contracts to prevent competitors from paying our pros to promote their games, we acknowledge the error and change it immediately.

And guess what else? Most game businesses focus on metrics like ARPU (average revenue per user) and try to build their entire companies and organizations around optimizing for driving to a sale (think Zynga). We do the OPPOSITE.

We train our entire company to drive towards ENGAGEMENT. Meaning, MAKE COOL SHIT and deliver VALUE and if people PLAY enough because they love what we do, then they will WANT to spend money. Our focus is entirely different.

So, no offense – but I completely disagree with your greed accusation and yes, it pisses me off because I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life building this company, game and team to deliver great value and to treat players well – and largely because the Rioter to player ratio has changed from like 1:5,000 to 1:50,000, our core message and passion is being diluted.

So, thanks for the additional reminder we need to do better at explaining who we are. But FUCK me if I don’t allow a little emotion to slip in when the takeaway is so utterly wrong for who we are as a company.



How many people are on the skins development team?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Less than 10% of our devs work on skins. Monetization and content is the least prioritized “initiative” we have actually, it is just a lot higher visibility than a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that we will release over the coming months or that goes to improving our underlying tech, infrastructure, etc.



Why did you decide to sell “Limited Skins” this year?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: That was not a decision that was made lightly and there has been a lot of debate about it.

The reality is though, is that less than 2% of our players were even around at the time to have an opportunity to get those skins – and the ultimate consensus was that it wasn’t very player focused to them to have many of the skins that they wanted the most to never be available.

Thus, we still made rules about how these skins will be handled, plus gave everyone who owned them previously refunds, plus the special icon.

I think we did our best to reach a happy compromise – and if that isn’t enough for you, well I apologize and respect your perspective.



What’s your take on Runes? How do they fit the Free-to-Play model?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We’re evaluating runes. Not sure where we’ll end up, but that is definitely an area we’re not happy with.

Re: bang for the buck – my point isn’t about skin purchases, those are vanity items. You do not need it, just like you don’t need those sunglasses from Chanel.

To PLAY League of Legends infinitely is entirely free. That is tremendous value.



LCS / E-sport



Is Riot only focusing on LCS?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We have many leagues going on around the world, so the assumption that we’re only focused on LCS is wrong.

There is the OGN in Korea (a partner we work with rather than doing our own league) There is the Garena league in SEA Tencent has a league, in fact multiple leagues (starting up) in China.

We’re also working on building the Challenger tier and building other leagues in different regions.

We’d love to work with more partners, but the eSports ecosystem is still very immature. Glad that Gamespot is trying to get involved on the journalism side, glad that MLG and IEM exist, etc – but there is no OGN in the west, so we had to build our own.



Did Riot fold to pressure from critics when reworking the LCS contracts?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: And how would you know we wouldn’t have changed anything? It was a LEAK of a DRAFT contract. If the teams were like, “hey guys, let’s discuss this” – we are always reasonable, and our teams will attest to that. If any of the owners would like to say otherwise, well, I’d be happy to have a public discussion.



Follow-up: Was it your company’s intention to hurt the competition with these contracts?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Our goal is not to harm other titles – and in fact, we think that if we help motivate other companies with eSports titles to step up THEIR support, that will be a good thing.

Blizzard bought IPL – right? That bodes well for SC players.

Valve historically hasn’t really done much to directly support eSports, partially because their 330 employees (as often quoted) are focused on building core, scalable tech and not sending dozens of people to events and coordinating with partner organizations around the world.

Different companies have different approaches, and that’s OK.



How would you respond to criticism that you’re only trying to grow League instead of the E-sport scene as a whole?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: I saw it, and of course, completely disagree.

Also, we’re not “all about” boosting eSports overall, we’re about boosting League of Legends as an eSport. BUT, we do think this has an overall halo effect on eSports and the ecosystem.

When national press covers the event at Staples, that is a positive step forward overall.

Similarly, when pro players make hundreds of thousands of dollars (and there are a LOT of LOL pros making a ton of money, instead of just a handful of people in other games), that is also a good thing. When big sponsors get involved, that is also good and other sponsors take note.

Why do we do LCS and all that? Because it is our players (the League community) wants. That’s it. That’s pretty much the reason we do anything – because you guys will be into it. We don’t want to pretend we’re the savior of eSports – we’re not and don’t aspire to be.

Re: international competitions being mandatory before the tournament finals – that’s a silly argument and I’m surprised a guy from the UK (who presumably watches soccer) would argue that. The Champions League in Europe is the number one sporting tournament in the world and MOST soccer (football) teams never even make it into the Champions League and when they do, all the teams don’t even play every other team.

Also, the “drama” can persist over years – IE – if Fnatic makes it back to the world finals, damn right there will be drama if they go up against C9 again, etc.


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: People are misconstruing our goals. We don’t care about what the “mainstream” thinks aside from the fact that it can help potential advertisers and sponsors support the ecosystem.

We do eSports for LOL players.

We don’t do it for other games and we’re not trying to save the world.

When we say that we think LOL is a sport, we simply mean THAT. We think Starcraft and CS are sports too. But we don’t really care about the public debate about the difference between an eSport and a Sport – the point is, we know they’re sports which is why we are building this sporting infrastructure the way we are.

Our players know it to – and that’s what matters to us.



Why can LCS teams only participate in events hosted by Riot?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We want more teams involved, that’s why. If all the top teams are the only teams that play over and over, well that doesn’t really create a very cool eSports ecosystem in our opinion.

We very much look forward to building out the Challenger tier – if you guys haven’t watched those games, these dudes are awesome and the real up and coming talent.

We’re focused on the long term here guys, but with things like BOTA, we’re trying to satisfy both.



Player Behavior  / Team Builder



Are the new Behavioral alerts and the Suspended Chat option a method of preventing bans?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Exactly.

It works though, trust me.

Best of all, it actually reforms people too. A lot of players “learn” to not be dicks from the tribunal due to the report cards, etc.



What steps have you taken / are taking to improve Player Behavior and the community in general?


Lyte Button Rioter Lyte: Last year, we started experimenting with a lot of ideas to improve the player experience. We do agree that a large part of player behavior is rooted in player psychology and perception; however, when we talk about behavior in online games we’re talking about something bigger than just games–the internet is like an infant society that’s still developing and figuring out its own culture. When the first online communities and games were born, there were no social structures, or expectations about how interactions should be.

When we first started looking into player behavior, it was a pretty new space. A lot of developers said that we should just ban players and move on, but we quickly realized that that wasn’t a great solution for League; after all, you mentioned that players can just make new accounts. So, we buckled down and started doing research. We learned that we have a pretty awesome community, and players aren’t innately bad–it was all about context. All of us have our bad days IRL, and sometimes we get frustrated in-game and lash out at others–that doesn’t make us a bad people, it makes us human. But when a typical player is in a game with someone having a bad day… the bad days can spread. So we started building features like Reform Cards (which show players exactly what behaviors were deemed unacceptable by other players) and Honor (which gave players little high fives to help reinforce and highlight awesome behavior). We were inspired when we saw that when players got Reform Cards, up to 70%-75% of the players improved their behaviors and never got another Reform Card; but like you said, we started to change perception in online games that some of these behaviors were just not OK. A player once wrote Riot and mentioned that “in other games, it was OK to say f*g, but now they know it’s not cool.” It shows that improving sportsmanship and player behavior is a collaboration between Riot and the players, and it starts from the ground up–changing our own perceptions and showing the world who gamers really are.

In 2014, we’ve decided to focus on a few different pillars of behavior. One of our mottos internally is to “make being awesome the path of least resistance” and “just make it easy to be sportsmanlike.” When it comes down to it, players want to just have an awesome experience in League. They want to jump in a few games, play a few hours, and log off thinking, “Arghhhh I just want to play one more game.” Playing in an extremely lopsided match, or having a DC can all ruin this experience, and we know we have a lot of areas to work on; in fact, we could work on League for 100 years and never complete all the great ideas out there. We have to pick and choose the features that will have the biggest impact.

As some players might know, our first focus is Team Builder. This is a new feature that we hope will re-define the experience of League, and gives all the power to the players–we want you to play League however you and your friends want, and this feature will do that by allowing you to define the meta you want to play, and choose the exact champion and role you want to play in that meta. The reason we’re focusing on this feature is because all the research points to the pre-game lobby as the source of many problems. Conflicts typically start in Champion Select, and regardless of winning or losing, that lobby can kill all the fun of a match. Team Builder will completely re-make the Champion Select experience, and so far, players seem to love it (especially when they are running 2-jungle strats on the PBE :)

We’re also going to focus a lot more on positive reinforcement. We want to show players what awesome teamwork looks like, and highlight positive behavior. First, we want to finish expanding the Honor Initiative and have some great experiments lined up to really boost the system. But in the future of League, what if players had access to content or features IF they were a positive force in League? What would such a world look like and would players love or hate it?

Finally, we know we’re a bit behind on social features. We know that playing with friends is the best experience in League, but it’s not as fun or easy as it could be–we’re going to start fixing that.

Anyways, I’ve gone on long enough, we hope you stick around to check some of the new stuff out in 2014!






What issues prevent you from properly communicating with players?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Part of why I think we’ve also been not optimal at communicating relates to internal management structures as well.

Ryze and I have attempted to “create space” for many other Rioters to step up in certain areas and to drive on various topics that they oftentimes own and are responsible for. This is important, especially as we scale, but we probably need to do a better job of ensuring that we still are communicating sufficiently in the interim.

This is the same issue internationally, where we try to empower our local teams to “own” the messaging and build the relationship directly.



Is it true Riot has sold out to a Chinese company?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We didn’t lose control to a foreign entity – where did you ever hear that?

Tencent is simply an investor and the guys who publish LOL in China. They bough out our previous investors (VC’s) that’s it and they have ZERO operational influence.

Brandon and I run Riot and that has never changed.



“Why are you making skins instead of fixing the servers?”


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Artists work on skins – they don’t work on the client, engineers do that.

So, we do stuff in parallel – otherwise we’d just have our artists do nothing.



Why does Valve have more features in their front end?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: More mature tech, less international reach / less focus on localizing the experience.




Why not build a new front end?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: We are. But it’s a lot more complicated to be responsible for building the whole stack and to enable it to serve the whole world than it is to build a skin that doesn’t need 100% full functionality for every region.



Why change champions that I can spend money for?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Well, this is because we don’t really focus on money. We focus on the game. And if a character isn’t super-healthy for the game, well then we’ll change it. Typically though, our remakes are still very much within the spirit of the champion – Karma & Heimer jump to mind as recent examples. If you don’t trust that we will continue to optimize for a very balanced game, well, I think that’s a deeper issue than one tied to payment.



Why should I continue playing if I don’t like your philosophy / direction?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Only stay if you enjoy the experience. If you don’t and would rather be part of a different community, than we respect that. We actually fire (ban), 1% of our a players every month through the tribunal – and we think that is a good thing. We build League of Legends for core gamers who love healthy, friendly competitive experiences with an awesome community. If you think someone else does that better, well, I’d disagree, but I’d respect your choice.



Do you focus on security / making sure you don’t get hacked?


TryndamereSquareButton Rioter Tryndamere: Most important thing for us is to continue to fortify our infrastructure. We are attacked daily and most of the time you guys don’t notice. We’d like that to be true 100% of the time.



twitter-icon-png-13Follow me on Twitter!


 Happy New Years from the team!


Vayne Guide Banner

There’s a lot more to Vayne than Silver Bolts! Find out everything you need to know to hunt the demons of the League!



twitter-icon-png-13 Follow me on Twitter!


Artists whose work I’ve used to make this guide:

New to the series? Check out my previous articles:


Master Jinx in 5 Minutes


Vayne Complete Guide



Jinx Guide Banner

Here’s everything you need to know to outsmart the Piltover Police! Hope you enjoy!


twitter-icon-png-13 Follow me on Twitter!



Finished Guide on Jinx

Click to Zoom!



Patch 3 banner

Patch 3.14









Summary: We’ve increased the cast range and reduced the mana cost of Phosphorus Bomb while adding in a new mechanic to the ability so that bombs are now lobbed before exploding instead of instantly damaging an area. We’ve also reduced Gatling Gun’s mana cost and increased Missile Barrage’s total attack damage ratio at later levels.

Context: By adding more gameplay depth to Phosphorous Bomb, we can more effectively balance Corki’s abilities, especially his mana costs. Historically, Corki was too dependent on his overpowering early game damage, allowing him to abuse his lane opponents and snowball the game. Now that we’ve addressed that issue, we have room to make him more competitive in the later parts of the game.


Phosphorus_BombPhosphorus Bomb ( Q )

  • Mana cost reduced from 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 to 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100
  • Now lobs a bomb through the air that explodes at the end location, instead of instantly damaging the area
  • Cast range increased from 600 to 825
  • Now additionally grants vision while the missile is in the air


Gatling_GunGatling Gun ( E )

  • Mana cost reduced from 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 to 50 at all ranks


Missile_BarrageMissile Barrage ( R )

  • Total Attack Damage ratio increased from 20% to 20 / 30 / 40%






Summary: Barrel Roll’s cast range has been decreased, but to compensate we’ve slightly changed the mechanics of the ability. Now, if a player continually presses the hotkey for Barrel Roll just as the barrel reaches its destination, it will immediately explode on arrival. Body Slam now deals full damage to all targets hit and has a longer cooldown that’s cut in half whenever Gragas collides with a unit.

Context: We want to reward Gragas for fighting strategically in close combat as opposed to sniping opponents with his barrel. The changes to Body Slam encourage Gragas to get into the fight if he wants to hit his full damage potential and maximize his mobility.


Barrel_RollBarrel Roll ( Q )

  • Now has a small buffer before the barrel reaches its destination (not when Gragas casts it) where Barrel Roll can be activated again to explode on arrival
  • Cast range reduced from 1100 to 950


Body_SlamBody Slam ( E )

  • Now deals full damage to all targets hit (rather than divided amongst them)
  • Cooldown increased from 7 to 12 seconds
  • Cooldown reduced by half if Gragas collides with a unit






Context: Sometimes we want to adjust a champion’s overall power without affecting their balance and functionality, we first look for ways to add gameplay and readability for their opponents. In Morgana’s case, that means displaying the radius of Soul Shackles to both Morgana and her victims.


Soul_ShacklesSoul Shackles ( R )

  • Now displays the leash radius to Morgana and her victims for the duration of the effect






Context: Nasus has received a visual update! By hitting Nasus’ sustain in the early levels, we’re hoping to tone down his ability to indefinitely stay in lanes by playing passively. Opponents should be able to capitalize on harassing Nasus in the early game if they don’t want him to become an unstoppable force in the late game.


  • Nasus has received a visual update!


Soul_EaterSoul Eater ( Passive )

  • Lifesteal rescaled from 14 / 17 / 20% (at levels 1 / 6 / 11) to 10 / 15 / 20% (at levels 1 / 7 / 13)






Context: We’re buffing Nautilus’ late game utility to further define his role in teamfights.


Staggering_BlowStaggering Blow ( Passive )

  • Root duration increased from 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 (at levels 1 / 7 / 13) to 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 seconds (at levels 1 / 6 / 11 / 16 / 18)






Summary: We’ve changed the mechanics of Javelin Toss so that it now gains bonus “travel” damage only if the ability travels further than Nidalee’s human auto attack range. Additionally, we’ve changed the damage calculations to be based on where the ability was cast from, instead of where Nidalee is when the Javelin hits the target. We’re also reducing Bushwhack’s vision and armor/magic resistance shred duration.

Context: We wanted to clarify that the optimal way to play against AP Nidalee is to get up close and personal in order to limit her poke damage. Bushwhack’s old debuff duration was oppressively long given current game flow, so we shortened it.


Javelin_TossJavelin Toss ( Q )

  • Now calculates damage based on where the Javelin was initially cast rather than where Nidalee is when the Javelin hits the target
  • No longer gains damage from distance traveled until it exceeds Nidalee’s human auto attack range (maximum damage unchanged)


BushwhackBushwhack ( W )

  • Vision and Armor / Magic Resistance shred debuff duration reduced from 12 to 8 seconds






Context: The damage, cooldown, and heal of Consume have all been lowered at early ranks in order to keep the ability in line with new Smite.


ConsumeConsume ( Q )

  • Cooldown at earlier ranks reduced from 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 seconds to 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 seconds
  • Damage at earlier ranks reduced from 500 / 625 / 750 / 875 / 1000 to 400 / 550 / 700 / 850 / 1000
  • Heal at earlier ranks reduced from 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 / 250 (+.75 Ability Power) to 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.75 Ability Power)



New Sivir



Summary: Boomerang Blade will do less base damage and scales with total attack damage instead of bonus AD. As a tradeoff for stripping some early to midgame power, we’re making it so that each target hit by Boomerang Blade will feel it a little more.

Context: In the early game, when Sivir gets slightly ahead with attack damage items, she can deal a large amount of burst damage with just one well-placed Boomerang Blade. This allowed her to shut down her opponents and control the lane. We didn’t want to simply nerf all of Sivir’s numbers, so we approached her changes with two goals in mind. First, reduce Boomerang Blade’s burst damage on a single target during the laning phase and midgame. Second, allow Boomerang Blade to remain strong in AoE situations, especially later in the game, to be more in line with Sivir’s strengths.


Boomerang_Blade2Boomerang Blade ( Q )

  • Now scales with Total Attack Damage rather than Bonus Attack Damage
  • Damage changed from 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+1.1 Bonus Attack Damage) to 25 / 45 / 65 / 85 / 105 (+0.7 / 0.8 / 0.9 / 1.0 / 1.1 Total Attack Damage)
  • Damage falloff per target hit reduced from 20% to 10%






Summary: We’re taking some of the hidden power away from Vayne’s Condemn.  The targets she condemns will no longer be unable to act at the end of the effect unless she stuns them against a wall. Additionally, we’ve removed the ability for Vayne to get a free auto attack on her victims while condemning them away.

Context: Similar to our Morgana changes, when we want to reduce some power on a champion without directly reducing their numbers, we first look to introduce more gameplay for opponents or to shave off hidden power. Highly-skilled Vayne players were getting a lot of trading power in lane by landing a free basic attack on a champion after hitting them with Condemn.


CondemnCondemn ( E )

  • Vayne can no longer queue up a basic attack on a champion after hitting them with Condemn.
  • Fixed a bug where the target would be briefly unable to act at the end of the effect, even if they did not hit a wall.
  • Condemn now deals all damage after knocking the target back. Wall hits are now displayed as critical strikes.



Support Champion Changes


Context: We’re making changes to the way abilities scale on champions designed for the support role. Our goal is to emphasize utility and protection over damage output and, with more gold flowing to supports, we had to tweak numbers to ensure certain champions didn’t become too oppressively powerful.

Check out our microsite for some of the high level changes we’re making.






Summary: We’re removing Janna’s global passive and making it a local effect while increasing the movement speed bonus. We’ve also reduced the overall damage of Howling Gale, but it will scale more with ability power the longer it is charged. The active and passive movement speed affecting portions of Zephyr now also scale with ability power. The ability power ratio of Eye of the Storm’s shield has been reduced, but it now has the added benefit of providing additional attack damage based on Janna’s AP.

Context: We’ve been saying for a while that we wanted to hit global passives that provide hidden power, and we’re using this opportunity to tweak Janna’s Tailwind. As for her Tornados, the additional ability power scaling per second means that Janna will need to fully charge her Howling Gale in order to do high damage at end game.


TailwindTailwind ( Passive )

  • Tailwind is now local instead of global (800 range)
  • Tailwind movement speed buff increased from 3% to 5%


Howling_GaleHowling Gale ( Q )

  • Now gains +0.1 Ability Power ratio per second that Howling Gale is charged before release
  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.75 to 0.35
  • Charge damage reduced from 25 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 to 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35


ZephyrZephyr ( W )

  • Passive self-movement speed buff now scales at +1% per 50 Ability Power (0.02 AP ratio)
  • Passive self-movement speed buff changed from 4 / 7 / 10 / 13 / 16% to 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12% (+0.02 Ability Power)
  • Slow debuff now scales at +3% per 50 Ability Power (capped at 80% total)
  • Base slow reduced from 24 / 30 / 36 / 42 / 48% to 24 / 28 / 32 / 36 / 40%
  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.6 to 0.5


Eye_Of_The_StormEye of the Storm ( E )

  • Attack Damage buff of the shield now scales at +1 Attack Damage per 10 Ability Power (0.1 AP ratio)
  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.9 to 0.7






Context: As a result of their positioning in team fights, support tanks often require more survivability to make their contributions felt. We believe Leona has the tools to provide consistent disruption in team fights, but we wanted to bolster her survivability and let her evolve into a full tank as the game progresses.


EclipseEclipse ( W )

  • Base bonus Armor / Magic Resistance reduced from 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 to 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65
  • Eclipse gains Armor equal to 20% of Leona’s bonus armor
  • Eclipse gains Magic Resistance equal to 20% of Leona’s bonus magic resistance






Summary: Several aspects of Lulu’s kit are being adjusted to scale with ability power in this patch. The damage of Pix, Faerie Companion, Glitterlance’s minimum slow decay and Whimsy’s movement speed boost now all scale with AP. However, we did remove the AP bonus from Whimsy and slightly lowered its base movement speed buff.

Context: As with the other supports, our goal with Lulu is to focus on utility, not damage. The changes that best demonstrate this philosophy are the buffs to Pix, Faerie Companion and Whimsy. These better highlight Lulu’s ability to bolster high attack speed allies and grant large speed boosts where needed. With Glitterlance, we wanted to improve her slow as she gained additional ability power, but didn’t want to alter her strong base value.


Pix,_Faerie_CompanionPix, Faerie Companion ( Passive )

  • Added a 0.15 Ability Power ratio
  • Base damage reduced from 9 / 21 / 33 / 45 / 57 / 69 / 81 / 93 / 105 to 9 / 18 / 27 / 36 / 45 / 54 / 63 / 72 / 81


GlitterlanceGlitterlance ( Q )

  • Rather than decaying to 0% over a certain duration, the slow now decays to 1% per 7.5 Ability Power over its duration


WhimsyWhimsy ( W )

  • Movement Speed bonus now scales at +1% per 10 Ability Power (0.1 AP Ratio)
  • Removed the Ability Power boost
  • Base movement speed increase reduced from 35% to 30%


Help,_Pix!Help Pix! ( E )

  • Offensive damage Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.6 to 0.4






Summary: We’ve reduced the ability power ratio of Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave but buffed Surging Tides along with Ebb and Flow. The bonus movement speed of Surging Tides and bounce power of Ebb and Flow now both scale with ability power. In fact, with enough AP, subsequent bounces of Ebb and Tide will actually heal and damage more per bounce.

Context: While Nami’s general scaling is in a good place, we saw opportunities to add additional utility to her movement speed buffs and debuffs. The most unique change with Nami’s AP utility scaling is on Ebb and Flow. Additional AP now improves the power of each bounce and can eventually reach positive values where each bounce is more powerful than the last.


Surging_TidesSurging Tides ( Passive )

  • Bonus movement speed now scales at +1 bonus movement speed per 10 Ability Power (0.1 AP Ratio)


Aqua_PrisonAqua Prison ( Q )

  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.65 to 0.5


Ebb_and_FlowEbb and Flow ( W )

  • The percentage power of later bounces now scales. Each bounce gains 0.75% more power per 10 AP.


Tidecaller's_BlessingTidecaller’s Blessing ( E )

  • Slow percentage now scales at +1% slow per 20 Ability Power (0.05 AP Ratio)


Tidal_WaveTidal Wave ( R )

  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.7 to 0.6






Summary: With new gold flowing into Sona’s support coffers, it turns out Crescendo and Hymn of Valor would rock just a little too hard. We’ve reduced the ability power ratio on both, as well as adjusting the base heal amount of Aria of Perseverance at later ranks. She can still hit the high notes with her Power Chords, though, and we’ve added an AP ratio that’ll allow Sona to scale better into the late game. Finally, the base activated speed boost of Song of Celerity has been slightly reduced, as it now scales its speed bonus with ability power.

Context: Our core focus with Sona is to take some power from her abilities to shift into her Power Chord and her Song of Celerity, which allows Sona’s utility to scale into the late game while also ensuring her choice of Power Chord remains relevant at all stages.


Power_ChordPower Chord ( Passive )

  • Added a 0.2 Ability Power ratio to the damage of Power Chord – Staccato
  • Added a 0.02 Ability Power ratio to the damage reduction of Power Chord – Diminuendo
  • Added a 0.04 Ability Power ratio to the slow amount of Power Chord – Tempo


Hymn_of_ValorHymn of Valor ( Q )

  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.7 to 0.5


Aria_of_PerseveranceAria of Perseverance ( W )

  • Base heal amount reduced from 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 at later ranks to 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100


Song_of_CeleritySong of Celerity ( E )

  • Active speed boost now scales at +1% movement speed per 50 Ability Power (0.02 AP Ratio)
  • Active speed boost changed from a flat 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14% to 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12% (+0.02 Ability Power)


CrescendoCrescendo ( R )

  • Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.8 to 0.5






Summary: Soraka’s base health, health per level and base armor are all being increased and she has a new passive that makes her health/mana restoring abilities more effective when the target is missing more health or mana. Starcall now scales its magic resistance shred with ability power and if Soraka hits at least one champion with it, Astral Blessing’s cooldown is reduced. Astral Blessing has been changed so its armor buff now scales with ability power. We saw an opportunity to add a new mechanic to Infuse, allowing Soraka to use her own mana as either a donation or for additional damage depending on who she targets. Turns out Wishes should probably not ignore untargetable allies, so now Soraka’s ultimate affects everyone on your team.

Context: Our changes are focused on giving Soraka additional utility scaling and rewarding tactical plays in the middle of combat. We also introduced more gameplay to Soraka’s kit that promotes that in-combat healing style rather than being a simple health and mana battery.


Base Stats

  • Base health increased from 375 to 405
  • Health per level increased from 71 to 76
  • Base Armor increased from 7.4 to 9.4


ConsecrationSalvation ( NEW Passive )

  • Soraka’s health and mana restoring abilities are 1% more effective for each 2% health or mana the target is missing


StarcallStarcall ( Q )

  • Magic Resistance shred now scales at +1 Magic Resistance shred per 100 Ability Power (0.01 AP Ratio)
  • Magic Resistance reduction changed from a flat 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 to 6 (+0.01 Ability Power) at all levels
  • If Starcall hits at least one enemy champion, Astral Blessing’s cooldown is reduced by 5% / 6.25% / 7.5% / 8.75% / 10%
  • Mana cost changed from 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 to 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70


Astral_BlessingAstral Blessing ( W )

  • Bonus armor now scales at +3 Armor per 20 Ability Power (0.15 AP ratio)
  • Bonus armor changed from a flat 25 / 45 / 65 / 85 / 105 to 50 / 65 / 80 / 95 / 110 (+0.15 Ability Power)
  • Armor duration reduced from 3 to 2 seconds
  • Healing reduced from 70 / 140 / 210 / 280 / 350 (+0.45 Ability Power) to 70 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 270 (+0.35 Ability Power)
  • Mana cost lowered from 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 / 160 to 25 / 45 / 65 / 85 / 105


InfuseInfuse ( E )

  • Allied cast now gives an ally 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 mana + donates 5% of Soraka’s maximum mana (was giving a flat 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 mana for 0 cost)
  • Enemy cast now deals damage equal to 40 / 70 / 100 / 130 / 160 + 5% of Soraka’s max mana (+0.4 Ability Power) (was 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+0.6 Ability Power))
  • Can no longer be cast on allies who do not use mana or are already at max mana


WishWish ( R )

  • Now affects untargetable allies
  • Healing reduced from 200 / 320 / 440 (+0.7 Ability Power) to 150 / 250 / 350 (+0.55 Ability Power)






Summary: We’re switching up Taric’s passive so after each spell cast, his next auto attack is empowered to deal 30% of Taric’s armor as magic damage and reduce the cooldown of his abilities. Imbue’s AP ratio is lower and now also scales with a percentage of Taric’s bonus health. We’ve also removed the AP scaling of Shatter as well as lowered its base damage. Shatter now scales even more with armor, and the shred scales with a percentage of Taric’s armor. Finally, we’ve lowered the ability power ratios of Dazzle and Radiance, as well as increased their cooldowns.

Context: Overall we are adding additional depth and skill differentiation to Taric’s gameplay through a rework of his passive. Additionally, as a tanky (and fabulous) support that excels in the middle of a team fight, we’ve introduced more defensive scaling for Taric to further define his intended role.


GemcraftGemcraft ( NEW Passive )

  • NEW: After casting a spell, Taric gains a buff that deals 30% of his total Armor as bonus Magic Damage his next auto attack
  • Passive empowered attacks reduce the cooldown of all abilities by 2 seconds


ImbueImbue ( Q )

  • Cooldown reduction on auto attacks removed (moved to passive)
  • Base cooldown lowered from 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 to 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14
  • AP ratio lowered from 0.6 to 0.3
  • Added scaling from 5% of bonus health


ShatterShatter ( W )

  • Base damages reduced from 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+20% total Armor) (+0.6 Ability Power) to 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 (+30% total Armor)
  • Armor reduction now scales with 10% of Taric’s total Armor


DazzleDazzle ( E )

  • Ability Power ratio lowered to 0.2 / 0.4 Ability Power (from 0.4 / 0.8 Ability Power)
  • Cooldown increased from 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds to 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 seconds


RadianceRadiance ( R )

  • Ability Power ratio lowered from 0.7 to 0.5 Ability Power
  • Cooldown increased from 60 to 75 seconds



Minor Changes and Bug Fixes





Electrical_SurgeElectrical Surge ( W )

  • Fixed a bug where Electrical Surge would not properly hit a target if Mark of the Storm wore off or was fully consumed before the casting time of Electrical Surge completed. This fixed two scenarios:
    • Mark of the Storm will no longer wear off in the middle of Kennen casting Electrical Surge
    • If Kennen casts Electrical Surge just as Mark of the Storm is consumed by another ability, he’ll still deal damage and add a stack as normal






Context: We hit Shen’s end collision radius just a little too hard last patch, so we’re increasing it a little.


Shadow_DashShadow Dash ( E )

  • Collision radius at the end-point has been slightly increased





  • Improved Singed’s running animation





  • Improved Soraka’s running animation






DuskbringerDuskbringer ( Q )

  • Fixed a bug where the trail bonus was applying inconsistently





Assault_and_BatteryAssault and Battery ( R )

  • Fixed a bug where, if Vi’s Banshee’s Veil is popped at same moment Vi casts Assault and Battery, Assault and Battery would cause Vi to be locked into her charging animation.





  • The term “hat” is now searchable in the item shop. (Finally!)



Item Changes


Context: Because of our changes to the vision system (ward functionality, ward limits and trinkets), we’re removing Oracle’s Elixir from the game. We’ll continue monitoring the vision system changes and make adjustments as needed.

The following items have been removed from the game:

  • Eleisa’s Miracle
  • Oracle’s Elixir

The following items have been remade (see below for details on new items):

  • Philosopher’s Stone
  • Kage’s Pick
  • Emblem of Valour



Support Items


Support Item Context: Our core goal with support items in the preseason is to provide more gold generation items that also build into the late game. Players are limited to buying just one gold item though. For more information, check out our preseason website.



 Spellthief's EdgeNEW: Spellthief’s Edge

  • Costs 365 Gold
  • +10 Ability Power
  • +3 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +2 Gold per 10 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Tribute: Basic attacks against champions grant 4 gold, up to once every 10 seconds per enemy. Killing a minion disables this passive for 10 seconds.


Frostfang_itemNEW: Frostfang

  • Recipe: Spellthief’s Edge + 485 Gold (Total 850 gold)
  • +20 Ability Power
  • +7 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +4 Gold per 10 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Tribute: Basic attacks against champions grant 8 gold, up to once every 10 seconds per enemy. Killing a minion disables this passive for 10 seconds.


Frost Queen's ClaimNEW: Frost Queen’s Claim

  • Recipe: Frostfang + Amplifying Tome + 715 Gold (Total 2000 gold)
  • +50 Ability Power
  • +10 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +4 Gold per 10 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Tribute: Spells and basic attacks against champions grant 8 Gold, up to once every 10 seconds per enemy. Killing a minion disables this passive for 10 seconds.
  • UNIQUE Active – Arctic Embrace: Chills target enemy champion and all nearby enemies, dealing 50 magic damage and reducing Movement Speed by 50% for 2 seconds (60 second cooldown.)


Ancient_Coin_item NEW: Ancient Coin

  • Costs 365 Gold
  • +5 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • +3 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Favor: Being near a minion death without dealing the killing blow grants 2 Gold.


Nomad's_Medallion_itemNEW: Nomad’s Medallion

  • Recipe: Ancient Coin + 485 Gold (Total 850 Gold)
  • +8 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • +11 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +2 Gold per 10 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Favor: Being near a minion death without dealing the killing blow grants 4 Gold.


Talisman_of_Ascension_itemNEW: Talisman of Ascension

  • Recipe: Nomad’s Medallion + Faerie Charm + 970 Gold (Total 2000 Gold)
  • +20% Cooldown Reduction
  • +10 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • +15 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +2 Gold per 10 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Favor: Being near a minion death without dealing the killing blow grants 4 Gold.
  • UNIQUE Active: Grants nearby allies +40% Movement Speed for 3 seconds (60 second cooldown).


Relic ShieldNEW: Relic Shield

  • Costs 365 Gold
  • +50 Health
  • +6 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Spoils of War: Basic attacks execute minions below 200 Health. Killing a minion heals the nearest allied champion for 2% of your maximum Health and grants them the bounty plus 5 Gold.
    • These effects require a nearby allied champion. Recharges every 30 seconds. Max 2 charges.


Reaper's_Emblem_itemNEW: Targon’s Brace

  • Recipe: Relic Shield + 485 Gold (Total 850 Gold)
  • +175 Health
  • +12 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Spoils of War: Basic attacks execute minions below 200 Health. Killing a minion heals the nearest allied champion for 2% of your maximum Health and grants them the bounty plus 10 Gold
    • These effects require a nearby allied champion. Recharges every 30 seconds. Max 4 charges


Face of the MountainNEW: Face of the Mountain

  • Recipe: Targon’s Brace + Ruby Crystal + 675 Gold (Total 2000 Gold)
  • +375 Health
  • +10% Cooldown Reduction
  • +25 Health Regen per 5 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Spoils of War: Basic attacks execute minions below 200 Health. Killing a minion heals the nearest allied champion for 2% of your maximum Health and grants them the bounty plus 10 Gold
    • These effects require a nearby allied champion. Recharges every 30 seconds. Max 4 charges.
  • UNIQUE Active – Deadly Phalanx: Consumes 20% of your current Health to shield target ally for 10% of your maximum Health for 4 seconds. After 4 seconds, the target explodes dealing 10% of your maximum Health as AoE magic damage (60 second cooldown)




Jungle Items


Jungle Item Context: We’re adding additional gold generation patterns to several jungle items that complement the intended playstyle of those items. For more information, check out our preseason website.


Hunter's_Machete_item  Hunter’s Machete

  • Now also grants 3 health on hit versus monsters


Spirit_Stone_itemSpirit Stone

  • Now also grants 3 health on hit versus monsters


Madred's RazorsMadred’s Razors

  • Armor reduced from 25 to 20


Wriggle's_Lantern_itemREMADE: Wriggle’s Lantern

  • Recipe: Madred’s Razors + Dagger + Dagger (Total 1800 Gold)
  • +20 Armor
  • +25% Attack Speed
  • UNIQUE Passive – Maim: Deals 100 magic damage and heals 10 on hit against monsters
  • UNIQUE Passive: Gain 40% increased gold from monsters
  • UNIQUE Active: Places a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area for 180 seconds (180 second cooldown)


Spirit_of_the_Elder_Lizard_itemSpirit of the Elder Lizard

  • Attack Damage reduced to 30 (from 35)
  • Incinerate passive now procs on physical damage, damage increased to 16-50 (from 7-40)
  • UNIQUE Passive – Bounty Hunter: Champion kills, assists and epic monsters grant 40 gold and large monsters grant 10 bonus Gold.


Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_itemSpirit of the Ancient Golem

  • Health reduced to 350 from 500
  • UNIQUE Passive – Conservation: Gain a stack of Conservation every 1.5 seconds.
    • Lose Conservation stacks and gain equal gold upon killing a large monster.
    • Can gain up to 40 gold for a kill.
    • Maximum stacks 80.


Spirit_of_the_Spectral_Wraith_itemREMADE: Spirit of the Spectral Wraith

  • Recipe: Spirit Stone + Fiendish Codex (Total 2000)
  • +50 Ability Power
  • +10% Cooldown Reduction
  • +14 Health Regen per 5
  • +7 Mana Regen per 5
  • UNIQUE Passive: Returns 8% of spell damage dealt to monsters (half for area-of-effect damage) as Health and Mana
  • UNIQUE Passive – Bounty Hunter: Champion kills, assists and epic monsters grant 40 gold and large monsters grant 10 bonus Gold.
  • UNIQUE Passive: Damage dealt to monsters increased by 30%



Other Item Changes:


Context: We’ve updated the build paths for items that were previously built from the old gold generation items.


aegis of the legionAegis of the Legion

  • NEW Recipe: Rejuvenation Bead + Cloth Armor + Ruby Crystal + Null-Magic Mantle + 595 Gold (Total 1950 Gold)


Banner_of_Command_itemUPDATED: Banner of Command

  • Recipe: Fiendish Codex + Blasting Wand + 720 Gold (Total 2400 Gold)
  • +80 Ability Power
  • +20% Cooldown Reduction
  • UNIQUE Aura – Valor: Nearby allied minions deal 15% increased damage.
  • UNIQUE Active – Promote: Transforms a nearby siege minion into a more powerful unit and grants all gold that the unit earns (180 second cooldown).


Mikael's_Crucible_itemUPDATED: Mikael’s Crucible

  • Recipe: Chalice of Harmony + 720 Gold (Total 1600 Gold)
  • +40 Magic Resist
  • +12 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • UNIQUE Passive – Mana Font: Increases Mana Regen by 1% for every 1% of missing Mana.
  • UNIQUE Active: Removes all stuns, roots, taunts, fears, silences, and slows on an allied champion and heals that champion for 150 (+10% of maximum Health) (180 second cooldown).


OhmwreckerUPDATED: Ohmwrecker

  • Recipe: Ruby Crystal + Blasting Wand + 665 Gold (Total 2000 Gold)
  • +350 Health
  • +50 Ability Power
  • UNIQUE Active: Prevents nearby enemy turrets from attacking for 2.5 seconds (120 second cooldown). This effect cannot be used against the same turret more than once every 7.5 seconds.


Will_of_the_Ancients_itemREMADE: Will of the Ancients

  • Recipe: Hextech Revolve + Faerie Charm + Faerie Charm + 440 Gold (Total 2000 Gold)
  • +50 Ability Power
  • +10 Mana Regen per 5 seconds
  • +10% Cooldown Reduction
  • UNIQUE Passive: +20% Spell Vamp


Twin_Shadows_itemTwin Shadows

  • NEW Recipe: Amplifying Tome + Amplifying Tome + Null-Magic Mantle + 730 Gold (Total 2000 Gold)
  • Ability Power increased to 50 (from 40)
  • On Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar this item is 200 Gold cheaper







Context: Support players were often expected to shoulder the warding burden on the map. With these changes, we want to encourage all players on the team to participate in providing vision for their team. We also want to introduce more dynamic gameplay within the vision system and most of our underlying changes reflect this philosophy. You can read more about our changes to the vision system on the microsite.


Sight_WardSight Wards

  • Sight (Green) wards renamed to “Stealth Wards”
  • Sight wards limited to a max of 3 placed per player
  • Ward tooltips display how many stealth wards are currently placed


 SightstoneSightstone / Ruby Sightstone

  • Sightstone no longer have their own restriction, but are restricted by your stealth ward cap


vision wardVision Wards

  • Vision (Pink) wards no longer stealthed
  • Vision wards have 5 health
  • Vision wards have infinite duration
  • Vision wards cost reduced from 125 to 75
  • Vision wards limited to 1 placed on the map per player



  • Placing a ward will now display your ward count and the ward that will be destroyed.



Vision Trinkets (Summoner’s Rift Only)


  • Added a 7th item slot, which can only contain a vision trinket
  • Players can switch their trinkets at the store at any time by selling their trinket, but this puts the new trinket on a 180 second cooldown.
  • Added 3 free vision relics: Warding Totem, Scrying Orb and Sweeping Lens
    • Warding Totem - places a stealth ward for 60 seconds (120 second cooldown)
    • Scrying Orb - reveals a location within 1100 range for 1 second (150 second cooldown)
    • Sweeping Lens - disables and reveals nearby hidden wards, traps or devices for 4 seconds (180 second cooldown, 400 range)
  • These items automatically upgrade at Champion Level 9:
    • Greater Totem – stealth ward timer increased to 120 seconds (120 second cooldown)
    • Greater Orb - cast range increased to 2000 (150 second cooldown)
    • Greater Lens - sweep area of effect increased by 100%, cooldown reduced to 150 seconds, range increased to 600 (180 second cooldown)
  • These items can then be upgraded at the shop for 475 Gold:
      • Greater Stealth Totem - stealth ward timer increased to 180 seconds (120 second cooldown)
      • Greater Vision Totem – upgrades stealth ward to a vision ward (180 second cooldown)
    • Farsight Orb - cast range increased to 2500 (120 second cooldown)
    • Oracle’s Lens – active now additionally grants True Sight for 10 seconds after activation (90 second cooldown, 600 range)




Summoner’s Rift


The following changes are for Summoner’s Rift only



Brush Changes


Context: We’ve reduced the size and changed the shape of most brush patches in order to encourage more gameplay with warding and brush combat.

  • Generally cleaned up brush configurations that required two or three wards for full coverage
  • Generally reduced the size and wavy nature of each jungle brush
  • Top lane brush has been broken up into three smaller individual brush patches
  • Brush leading into river has been moved back slightly





For more information on our jungle changes, check out our preseason website.

  • Added an extra camp (Wight) near the Blue Golem and Wolves.



  • Cooldown lowered from 60 to 40 seconds
  • Damage reduced from 460 + (lvl x30) to 390-1000 based on champion level


Context: Gold income for junglers wasn’t scaling appropriately for dedicated jungle farmers and jungle difficulty was out of line with what we thought was appropriate. Here we’ve introduced monster levels that link with jungle difficulty and rewards.

  • Jungle monsters now have levels
  • Jungle monster level is based on the average level of the champions in the game when they spawn (equal to the average of all champion levels, rounded up)
  • Jungle monster level determines their HP / Damage and XP / Gold value

Context: Junglers who fall behind had no opportunity to catch up, so now Jungle monsters grant bonus XP to champions who are lower level than the monster they killed.

  • Jungle monsters grant 50% bonus XP per level to lower-level champions, up to a cap

Context: With such a wealth of cooldown reduction options available, Crest of the Ancient Golem was causing a greater swing in lane control than we’d like.

  • Crest of the Ancient Golem (‘Blue Buff’)
    • Cooldown Reduction reduced to 10% (from 20%)



Jungle Monster Statistics


Summary: Jungle Monsters have been tuned to better fit the revised items and flow of the game.


120px-GolemSquare  Ancient Golem

  • Health increased from 1400 to 1500
  • Gold reduced from 66 to 60


120px-LizardSquareElder Lizard

  • Health increased from 1400 to 1500
  • Gold reduced from 66 to 60



  • Attack Damage increased from 11 to 12
  • Experience reduced from 50 to 20
  • Gold increased from 5 to 7


120px-WolfSquareGiant Wolf

  • Attack Damage increased from 35 to 40
  • Experience reduced from 170 to 110
  • Gold reduced from 55 to 40
  • No longer critically strikes



  • Attack Damage increased from 8 to 14
  • Experience increased from 10 to 25
  • Gold increased from 4 to 8
  • No longer critically strikes



  • Attack Damage increased from 59 to 60
  • Experience reduced from 160 to 140


120px-GolemSquareSmall Golem

  • Health increased from 300 to 450
  • Experience increased from 38 to 40



  • Experience reduced from 103 to 90
  • Gold increased from 30 to 35


120px-WraithSquareLesser Wraith

  • Health increased from 150 to 250
  • Attack Damage increased from 10 to 12
  • Experience increased from 4 to 20
  • Gold increased from 3 to 4


120px-WraithSquareWight (New Camp)

  • 1400 Health
  • 75 Attack Damage
  • 15 Armor
  • 60 Gold
  • 150 Experience



Map Objectives


For more information on our changes to map objectives, check out our preseason website. 



Context: To reduce the early snowball effect of Dragon and to give it mid-game comeback value, Dragon now gives global gold and local experience based on its level while also doling out additional bonus experience for champions who are far behind in level. The Dragon level updates constantly, unlike other jungle monsters who level up when they spawn.

  • Dragon level minimum: 6, maximum: 15
  • Dragon local XP: 150 to 510 based on Dragon’s level, divided between nearby allied Champions
  • Dragon global Gold: 125 to 260 based on Dragon’s level given to all allied Champions
  • If the killing team is lower average level than their opponents, Dragon grants a bonus XP of +25% per average level difference
  • Bonus XP is sharply increased for the lowest level members of the team, +15% per number of levels behind Dragon squared (max total +200% extra)



Context: Turrets gave equal amounts of global gold when destroyed, despite outer turrets being that’s lane’s objective. While some of this is beneficial, we don’t believe a lane should lose simply because another lane lost their outer turret too early.

  • Outer turrets now grant 100 global gold per player and 150 gold split among the players who participate in destroying the turret
  • Inner turrets now grant 125 global gold per player and 100 gold split among the players who participate in destroying the turret
  • Inhibitor turrets now grant 175 global gold per player

Context: The player experience for last hitting under turrets was inconsistent between high attack damage champions and supports or mages. We’ve adjusted turret base damage and damage against minions to make last hitting under turrets more consistent across all roles.

  • Base damage adjusted to match minion health growth
  • Base damage against minions increased to make last-hitting under turrets consistent

Context: Global experience on the outer towers has led to weird cases in lane, like levelling up other lanes accidentally. We’re shifting this global experience to a phase of the game where it’ll be more appreciated and less likely to cause odd level ups and snowball advantages.

  • Outer turrets no longer give 30 global XP when destroyed
  • Inhibitor turrets now give 100 global XP when destroyed (from 70)

Context: Defending against a split pusher is extremely taxing and ultimately unrewarding. We’ve made this change to help teams defending against extended periods of split pushing. A successful split push needs to do more than inflict light damage to the tower over time.

  • Inhibitor turrets gain 15 Health Regen per 5 seconds





Context: Losing an inhibitor often puts a team behind for a long period of time with few opportunities for retaliation. This was because a downed inhibitor also granted a global buff to minions in all lanes. We want more comeback opportunities for teams who can capitalize on winning teamfights, even with a downed inhibitor.

  • Inhibitor death timers reduced to 4 minutes (from 5 minutes)
  • Inhibitors no longer grant a global buff to all minions when destroyed
  • Inhibitors now grant a stronger damage and durability buff to minions in their specific lane



Game Flow


Context: We’ve made some adjustments to game flow on Summoner’s Rift to alleviate some snowballing cases in the early and late game. For more information on our game flow changes, check out our preseason website.


Death Timers

Context: Early death timers were a little too punishing, especially given the importance of the early game. We’ve shaved a few seconds from this to help reduce early lane snowballing.

  • Early game death timers now start at 7.5 seconds (from 12) and scale to the same values over the course of the game


Minion Experience

Context: Minions becoming worth more experience over time creates a severe experience discrepancy between champions who can farm and split push late game compared to champions who are forced to siege or participate in objective control. We’re removing this discrepancy because it causes the former to spike in levels and gives an unfair advantage. Since this could potentially create some snowballing consequences, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this and could make further changes if necessary.

  • Lane Minions are no longer worth more experience based on game time
    • Minions still become worth more gold and gain more statistics over time
  • Lane Minions now have a level equal to the average level of champions in the game
    • Currently this has no effect on the game but will be expanded upon in the future


Experience Curve

  • Reduced experience required to level by roughly 10% per level to compensate for the above minion change


Bounty Adjustments

Context: Echoing our above change with early death timers being too punishing at the early game, we’ve adjusted gold income to better match how games flow.

  • Kills are worth 60% of the base reward at 2 minutes, scaling to 100% at 4 minutes
  • Assists are worth 50% of the kill value before 20 minutes and then they linearly increase up to 80% at 35 minutes


Assist Bonus Gold

Context: We’re adding an additional reward to players who get a lot of assists. We want these players to feel their contributions to fights, even if they have few opportunities to pick up kills.

  • If players have 2 more assists than kills they earn 30 additional Gold per assist
    • Additional assists increase this bonus by 15 Gold, capping at 60 Gold
    • This gold cannot be more than the original value of the kill


Minion Death Spree Reduction

Context: Single-minded pushing and proxy farming are fairly destructive methods of playing the game, mostly due to the fact that those champions are not accurately valued for their participation in the game.

  • Every 1000 gold earned from minions / monsters reduces your death spree by 1 death





Context: We’ve added a few new masteries! Masteries are a great way for players to tailor their play experience based on the role they want to fill. We want players to feel like they are committing to a playstyle when they invest heavily in a specific tree, so we’re revising masteries to scale as the game grows longer and to have more impact for each role.

  • Masteries have been updated.


Click here to interact with the new Masteries! 


Masteries Season 4





  • Fixed an issue where season 3 loading screen borders would show in incorrect queues in some cases





General Updates


  • We’ve fiddled with the client so you can now do things like mass dismiss notifications and suppress notification popups
  • We’ve also given the friends list and notifications a makeover, and overhauled the way notifications work significantly
  • Group Chat’s been reworked and will generally perform faster and smoother across the board
  • Your skin selection will now lock in place a few moments before you enter the loading screen! Previously, you could still flick through your skins up to the last second, only to be met with a friendly “Error: Null” message if you attempted to select a different skin



In-Game UI


Context: Health bars give vital information in-game but become muddled and difficult to read when you and your team are bunched together. We’re updating them to deliver important information at a glance while also allowing for instant identification of your champion, your allies and your enemies.

  • Updated champion health bars
  • Champion health bars now glow when the character is highlighted
  • Updated Smite particle, sound and icon




twitter-icon-png-13 Follow me on Twitter!