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.
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 toadoptgaming 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.Womenare less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobbyas 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.
We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in theindustry, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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, issomething femalescurrently 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 tocompete 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.
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 singlefemale 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.
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.
(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)
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 ofentertainment. 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.
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 ofa 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.
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 theservice (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 couldforce 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).
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!
IronStylus: Bit of an inside joke between the dev team
Where does the third bullet come from for Graves’s Buckshot?
IronStylus: Uhh.. Hextexh?
Any idea how Melee Quinn would have been played?
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?
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?
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?
IronStylus: There’s a lot of champions being developed all the time 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?
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?
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.
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 samefield (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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (MOBA). Detailed map that doesn’t intrude
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.
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.
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
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!
What are the challenges Riot faces with improving the game?
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?
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?
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?
Tryndamere: Because 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?
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?
Tryndamere: Yah and it irks me we don’t do this yet.
How would you go about fixing Dominion?
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.
Why are you not working with the independent developers making you custom clients?
Tryndamere: Just to follow up on this:
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.
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.
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 (http://developer.riotgames.com/sign-in) 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.
Why is it so crucial that changes are gradual, that you don’t scrap the client in one day?
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?
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tryndamere: It’s pretty frustrating when people try to position us as greedy, because look at it from our perspective:
We build pretty much the first successful free online game in the west that core gamers actually really like and play
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!
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
Are the new Behavioral alerts and the Suspended Chat option a method of preventing bans?
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: 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?
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?
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?”
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?
Tryndamere: More mature tech, less international reach / less focus on localizing the experience.
Why not build a new front end?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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 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 Gun ( E )
Mana cost reduced from 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 to 50 at all ranks
Missile 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 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 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 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.
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 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)
Bushwhack ( 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.
Consume ( 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
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 Blade ( Q )
Now scales with Total Attack Damage rather than Bonus 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.
Condemn ( 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.
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.
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.
Tailwind ( Passive )
Tailwind is now local instead of global (800 range)
Tailwind movement speed buff increased from 3% to 5%
Howling Gale ( Q )
Now gains +0.1 Ability Power ratio per second that Howling Gale is charged before release
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 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.
Eclipse ( 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.
Rather than decaying to 0% over a certain duration, the slow now decays to 1% per 7.5 Ability Power over its duration
Whimsy ( 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! ( 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 Tides ( Passive )
Bonus movement speed now scales at +1 bonus movement speed per 10 Ability Power (0.1 AP Ratio)
Aqua Prison ( Q )
Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.65 to 0.5
Ebb and Flow ( W )
The percentage power of later bounces now scales. Each bounce gains 0.75% more power per 10 AP.
Tidecaller’s Blessing ( E )
Slow percentage now scales at +1% slow per 20 Ability Power (0.05 AP Ratio)
Tidal 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 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 Valor ( Q )
Ability Power ratio reduced from 0.7 to 0.5
Aria of Perseverance ( W )
Base heal amount reduced from 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 at later ranks to 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100
Song 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)
Crescendo ( 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 health increased from 375 to 405
Health per level increased from 71 to 76
Base Armor increased from 7.4 to 9.4
Salvation ( NEW Passive )
Soraka’s health and mana restoring abilities are 1% more effective for each 2% health or mana the target is missing
Starcall ( 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 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)
Mana cost lowered from 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 / 160 to 25 / 45 / 65 / 85 / 105
Infuse ( 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
Wish ( 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.
Gemcraft ( 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
Imbue ( 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
Shatter ( 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
Dazzle ( E )
Ability Power ratio lowered to 0.2 / 0.4 Ability Power (from 0.4 / 0.8 Ability Power)
The term “hat” is now searchable in the item shop. (Finally!)
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:
The following items have been remade (see below for details on new items):
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)
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 (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
Sightstone / Ruby Sightstone
Sightstone no longer have their own restriction, but are restricted by your stealth ward cap
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 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.
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
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
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
Reduced experience required to level by roughly 10% per level to compensate for the above minion change
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.
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
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
Recently some of the big names in American sports have been under fire for using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). From A-rod to Armstrong, PEDs are starting to look so common that many argue that to compete without them sets one at a disadvantage. Yet in eSports, the issue is almost never mentioned. And while the idea of taking steroids to enhance your video game playing performance seems pretty pointless (do you even lift?), I want to make the argument in this article that there are PEDs that ought to be discussed, if not regulated, in eSports.
I’ve divided this article into three parts: First, I want to look at PED policies and regulations in the Physical Pro Sports to provide some context. Second, I will argue that there are some PEDs that may impact the performance of Professional Gamers. Finally, I’ll tie it all up by applying the analysis of the physical Pro Sports PED policies to the context of eSports, and exploring what solutions might work better than others.
Before beginning I want to quickly point out that I’ve limited the scope of this article to performance enhancing drugs as opposed to recreational drugs. While there’s obviously a lot of overlap, the analysis tends to be pretty different and would warrant its own article.
PED’s in Physical Sports – Regulating ‘Roids.
Historically, of the four major American physical Pro Sports, Major League Baseball has had the most issues dealing with performance enhancing drugs. Just after the mid-90s MLB player strikes, there was a significant boost in anabolic steroid use (that strangely correlated with a number of record-breaking streaks).
But despite baseball having the most association with steroids historically, all of these sports have dealt and continue to deal with PEDs. In fact, the issue was gaining so much attention that Congress threatened to start regulating PED testing themselves, as well as reevaluate the antitrust exceptions sports franchises have so liberally enjoyed. Why are PEDs such a big deal, one might ask. Amongst many safety and image concerns, the driving motivation behind PED bans is: to preserve the spirit and integrity of the game.
In response to the threats from Congress, different leagues instated different policies. In the NFL (arguably the least-restricted league), all players are tested at least once a year, never during a game, and almost always in the off-season. In the NBA (arguably the most-restricted league), players are often tested frequently during the season, and sometimes even in the locker room right after a game. The MLB and the NHL are somewhere in between.
Penalties for PEDs are very league-dependent, ranging from a slap on the wrist “name and shame” to years of unpaid suspension. The type of PED and the number of prior offenses all weigh into the penalties given. Unfortunately, these policies may not be as effective as the leagues would hope. MLB’s “Mitchell Report” indicated that most PED use is going undetected. Most recently, sports leagues have been going after the producers and suppliers of PEDs for tortious interference with the player-contracts.
Steroids in particular are extremely difficult to combat. Teams and coaches have every incentive to “look the other way” because of the benefits the drugs bring. Anabolic steroid chemists are staying ahead of regulations, with a huge demand to change the drug enough to avoid detection, but not enough to lose its effects. Finally, the leniencies of league policies allow many drug tests to be duped or avoided completely.
From Physical Sports to Virtual Sports – Are PED’s an issue?
While steroids aren’t exactly an issue for eSports, they are not the only performance enhancing drug on the market. For example, in 2012, almost half of the NFL’s PED-related suspensions were due not to steroids, but to Adderall (that’s right, PED-related, not recreational related). Many prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are banned by most sports leagues (the notable exception being the NHL), although leagues do hand out exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
Adderall is considered a performance enhancing drug for many reasons – the effects combat fatigue, allowing players to train longer and harder. The mental stimulant allows for heightened awareness both during competition and during practice. The enhanced focus enables play-learning and other strategic aspects to be more easily retained. In fact, the amphetamine class was specifically tailored by the US military during World War II for these very reasons – fighter pilots in particular showed great benefits from amphetamines during combat. And ask 1 out of any 3 college students, and you’re sure to get a similar response.
But Adderall is not the only issue. Several over-the-counter energy drinks (albeit requiring an over-18 or over-21 ID, depending on the state) are prohibited by many major sports leagues. Dozens upon dozens of prescription medicine, from stimulants to painkillers, are heavily regulated in sports. Anything that gives a player an unfair advantage is an issue – and many of these drugs have serious potential for eSports, where mental acuity and stamina are some of the most important skills a Pro Gamer can have.
Here’s my point: as eSports progresses and professionalizes, as it has been doing in great leaps and bounds over the last decade alone, should league officials start to be concerned with performance enhancing drugs? I think they should. When players are able to gain significant advantageous over each other for non-medically related substances (or abuse of those substances), we start facing threats to the spirit and integrity not only of the game, but of the industry.
Crossing Over – What can eSports learn from its physical companions?
The first lesson is clear: don’t wait until it’s too late. By the late 90s, players associations had such control over drug testing and had so many privacy policies in place, it has been an uphill battle for leagues to get control over PED usage. While having enhanced performance certainly attracts more viewers, it does so at a very high cost – the integrity of the game.
Of course, how regulation should occur is difficult to say. What should or should not be regulated? Illegal drugs? Prescription drugs? Over-the-counter PEDs? And Should teams agree to urine tests periodically during worlds? Or is once a season enough? These are all questions that will need to be dealt with, and there are no easy answers.
The penalties are easy enough to cross over from the physical sporting world – suspensions are already the prime form of punishment in eSports, and would likely be the preferred sanction for PEDs as well.
Fortunately, the amount of control eSports leagues in general have over the players and teams is high enough that any problems with PEDs can be easily squashed – important, no doubt, to maintain a certain image for eSports. But as eSports grows, and as the money involved starts piling higher and higher, how much more incentive will players have to use PEDs to gain that competitive edge? In physical sports, regulation is very difficult. It does not have to be that way with eSports – if eSports leagues can get policies in place and cooperate with sponsors, team owners and venues from the get-go, detection, punishment and prevention should never be an issue.
Like the article? Add me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!
Mana cost increased from 45/50/55/60/65 to 45/55/65/75/85
Flame Chompers ( E )
Range reduced from 950 to 900
Cooldown increased from 20/19/18/17/16 to 24/22/20/18/16 seconds
Damage reduced from 120/175/230/285/340 to 100/150/200/250/300
Super Mega Death Rocket ( R )
Minimum damage decreased from 150/200/250 to 125/175/225. No changes in ratio
Maximum damage decreased from 300/400/500 to 250/350/450. No changes in ratio
Why are these nerfs necessary?
RiotGypsy: Hey guys,
Super sorry I don’t have time to talk but we’re trying to get Jinx out as soon as possible which means I’m spending all my time tweaking, balancing, and burning down bugs. Again, thanks for all your feedback. I’ve read all of it.
The damage nerfs are intended to trim excess power that Jinx doesn’t necessarily care about. E is more about the snare and R is still going to deal a ton of damage to low health targets thanks to the execute.
The E range and CD changes are targeted at the situation where Jinx gets ahead in lane, runs up to you with minigun, and then throws traps WAAAAY behind you when you try to run away. This circumvents the arm time and guarantees either a snare or a ton more minigun shots. We want Jinx to be able to use E offensively but the range and frequency was making it much too effective.
[Inxplotch] Why did you decide to make a Mafia skin for Jinx?
Ransom: Hey! So Mafia Jinx is dressed as a flapper from the 1920s. Flappers were basically the fun-loving party girls of their time. Now who does that sound like? So it was a natural fit, as flappers were also known to hang out with mobsters back in the day.
[TheFearlessSeal] Why was Jinx at the pool party?
Ransom: It’s pretty clear to everyone that Jinx loves to have fun, and is the life of every party. Of course she’d show up, and I’d like to think Ziggs invited her, as they have a lot in common. In fact, you guys may have noticed that her original model had quite a bit of tan. That’s because she was at the pool party! I think whether a champion likes Jinx depends on who that champion is – Zaunites in particular are more likely to get along with her. Piltover gang – not so much.
[Vorx] Who thought of Jinx’s dance animation?
[Griffinite1] Are there going to be any interactions toward Jinx by existing champions, such as new VOs?
Ransom: Nothing planned at the moment, but I wouldn’t rule it out. We have our hands full with new stuff at the moment.
[Hlemguard] Since when has Jinx been in development?
RiotYoung: It’s been taking quite a long time… once we set the initial ideas, the actual development doesn’t take that long as it follows our production schedule but the idea about the Jinx started somewhere last year?
[maatttxd] What gave you the idea / inspiration for another crazy champion like Shaco and Ziggs?
RiotTeaTime: When I did her first sketches I thought it would be cool to introduce a new female villain unlike any others, we have some quirky ladies but no downright insane ones. The team really pushed for that crazy aspect of her!
[tomato-andrew] Did you have any ideas or concepts you wish you could have fit into her kit/personality/gameplay that you ultimately had to cut?
RiotGypsy: Story time! Here’s some crazy abilities I eventually cut:
Drop the Hammer (R): Jinx calls in an orbital light strike anywhere on the map, dealing MASSIVE damage in an AoE 5 seconds after cast. Think pantheon ult here, except it’s just the damage. Cut this because it was totally awkward to use. Liked the idea that Jinx has her own super weapon floating above the battlefield ready to wipe out everything!
Insanity (Passive): After Jinx is in combat with champions for 10 seconds she gains 100% multiplicative attack speed while using minigun and shoots an additional rocket at nearby enemies when using Rocket Launcher. Liked that this made her feel very crazy and unhinged but at the end of the day it was a raid boss passive meant for a tank, didn’t work for a squishy marksman.
Stinger Swarm (R): Jinx takes aim in a direction and let’s loose a volley of hundreds of rockets over 3 seconds. This was like MF R that could be blocked. Very awesome, very chaotic, very the same as MF ult. CUT!
Circle of cats (R): Jinx fires a rocket across the map that she can detonate at any time, spawning a circle of gas around that point that turns enemies into adorable kittens (think polymorph). This skill was fun and thematic but Jinx really didn’t need anymore CC on her kit with W and E.
Finally – Ranged Udyr (Old kit): Jinx originally had an Udyr like kit. Q, W, and E were all different weapons she could equip and the ultimate changed depending on the equipped weapon. Eventually canned this kit because it ended up creating a character with a tool for every situation and no real weaknesses. Udyr is okay like this because his weakness is built into the fact that he’s melee. Wasn’t all bad though, managed to preserve a lot of the “different weapons for attacks” feel in the current Q.
Personality / Visual
[Zerglinator] What does Jinx think of yordles?
RiotTeaTime: Yordles… She likes them, for the most part, especially Ziggs. They’re entertaining and she likes being entertained.
[Zerglinator] Is blue her natural hair color?
RiotTeaTime: Her hair was not the color she was born with, but it’s definitely permanent now. Same with her eyes.
[hmblcat] What about a possible relationship between Jinx and Ziggs?
Ransom: I think there’s no doubt that Jinx has a real fondness for Ziggs – they both have a fun-loving, explosive personality. But I also think Ziggs is terrified of Jinx. So it’s like Jinx wants to hug Ziggs all the time, but Ziggs is all like, get me away from this lady! But hopefully he’ll come around someday…
[Redefusion] How old is she?
Ransom: Jinx is approximately – to use a reference you guys all know – Vi’s age. Maybe a little bit older, despite acting and looking significantly younger. She’s a youthful, fun-loving personality, and I think she’ll always be that no matter how old she gets. I can’t even imagine grown-up Jinx.
[MrEyus] How does Jinx feel about the more eccentric yordles – Lulu, Veigar and Ziggs?
RiotTeaTime: They’re the only ones who might really -get- her, ya’know?
[tubbimurra] Does her laser pistol have a name?
[atomsk216] Does she still love cats?
Ransom: Regarding her love of kitties – that was me referring to the ears on Pow Pow, her mini-gun. Since then, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about which species those ears belong to, and I admit to not being a cat owner. That being said, it’s clear Jinx has some affection for cute critters. And I think you will DEFINITELY see her love of graffiti appear again. Get excited!
[richaslions] Why does Jinx stray so much from the typical female archetype in LoL?
RiotTeaTime: I think the standard female champion archtype is cool, it’s a good and rather safe neutral base (in most games) for a female hero, however, when you have 100+ champions having a single female body type gets stale, diversity really gets important! We wanted to add some variety with Jinx, and she was a great champion to give a super thin frame when we can contrast it with enormous chunky weapons!
[Time4ManMode] What exactly is the story behind the tattoos?
RiotTeaTime: The story that I had in mind was that she’s so enamored by weapons that she went to get a full body smoke and bullets tattoo but she can only sit in a seat for so long without getting SUPER bored, thus a quarter-body tattoo
[Griffinite1] Do you think Vi is too serious in her teaser for Jinx?
Ransom: Great question. Vi’s teaser certainly doesn’t sound like her in-game. But the point is, Jinx’s crimes have hurt a lot of innocent people in Piltover. And for the first time, we’re getting a glimpse of serious Vi, the one who realizes that she has to protect her citizens from this terrible menace. We all know that Vi is tough – we’re just seeing her at her toughest in that piece.
[fr3nzical] Can Jinx and Varus get married?
Ransom: I have to say, I love the relationships that the fans come up with our champions. Right now, I don’t know that Jinx is dating anyone, but if I find out about anything, I’ll let you know!
Also, this wouldn’t be a RiotRansom post about shipping unless I mentioned that I think Quinn and Jarvan IV are definitely a thing.
Gameplay / Balance
[vakabiel] What makes Jinx a viable pick?
RiotGypsy: The two most “strategic” things Jinx brings to a team are her ability to cleanup teamfights and her strong objective control. Her always-on steroids contribute to both of these, allowing her to drop baron, towers, and champions very fast if allowed to just stand there and autoattack.
If Jinx’s team is winning a fight and one champion falls she is very likely to chain that kill into another thanks to the passive. Also, in higher up competitive play, she offers a strong 2v1 with the pushing potential of rockets.
[vakabiel] What’s a good support champion for her?
RiotGypsy: I’ve seen her do extremely well with Janna and Nami. Janna shield gives her insane poke once her rockets get to about 650 range + the passive is very appreciated given how slow Jinx is. Nami E is strong for the same reason and Nami bubble allows Jinx to easily follow up and CC chain the target with her E into W.
[Holoflash] What inspired you for the Chaotic Neutral trait?
Ransom: So all the hardcore D&D players totally called me out here for not understanding the strict definition of chaotic neutral, and I deserve it. My understanding of alignment is not quite as nuanced as your typical dungeon master’s! When we were working on Jinx, we repeatedly described her as chaotic neutral in order to convey the fact to our team that she’s not an overtly malicious murder machine in her every waking moment. Not the Joker, in other words.
If she were walking past a stranger in a dark alley, she wouldn’t automatically stab that person and take their money. But if she were walking past a stranger in a dark alley near a PILE OF FIREWORKS, she would totally blow up the fireworks and unintentionally light the stranger on fire because fireworks are freakin’ fun. That’s her attitude. She’s not a classical villain archetype, but more of a trickster archetype who loves chaos.
[TwoTurtleLoves] Can she jungle?
Solcrushed: I think she can jungle decently, I consider her jungling as pretty good as far as Marksmen go. (Quinn being the best at it)
[Seth_Bader] How will Jinx contribute to late game teamfights?
Solcrushed: Late game she will bring a lot of poke power coupled with AOE damage due to rockets. She is one of the strongest late game carries in the game but generally takes longer to get to that point than others like Kog or Vayne. Also as you said, she brings a lot of cleanup power.
[H4jr0] What’s the current state of her burst and overall DPS?
Solcrushed: I actually consider her burst as one of her weakest points and the reason she can have ‘high’ numbers. Most of her damage is deferred (Minigun needs ramp up time, W and R have long cast times and E has an arm time). She generally cannot win short burst trades and need to either hit them without them hitting back (Rockets and W) or engage in an extended engagement where she can make use of her minigun.
[AmeliaPondLoL] Suggestion: Allow Jinx to manually detonate her ult
RiotGypsy: Her R had this at one point. It was a simple 3000 range AoE nuke that she could detonate at any time after launch, causing shrapnel to rain down on the battlefield. I eventually moved away from that because the spell didn’t feel at all crazy enough. It was just too precise in its execution. Felt like a spell a sniper would use, not Jinx.
[ChaoticPenor] What is Jinx’s weakness compared to other Marksmen?
Solcrushed: Jinx has a very key weakness not shared with most other Marksmen and that is her lack of burst. Almost all of her power is deferred and not fit for short trades. Her steroid also looks stronger on paper because she has very bad base AS and AS per level. This was done mainly to emphasize the difference between her Rocket and Minigun form
[Drunkasarous] Will we get more lore on Mr. Fishbones?
Ransom: Poor Fishbones. All he wants is a normal life in the suburbs and some kids and a dog. But Jinx just won’t settle down! This doesn’t quite answer your question, but I will say that as a writer, I feel that Fishbones represents Jinx’s subconscious preoccupations and desires – her hidden, repressed self. She may be a crazy party girl outwardly, but she has some latent desire for normalcy on some level, which I think is fascinating.
I’ll also drop a making-of story here. Fishbones is a classic story of Riot teamwork. RiotTeaTime gave the launcher his name. Then one of Jinx’s animators had the brilliant idea of having her perform a ventriloquism act with Fishbones, and asked me to write some lines for it. RiotGypsy asked whether it would be funny if the rocket launcher had a completely normal, law-abiding, and boring personality. So I remembered this ancient claymation show that used to air on TV called Davey and Goliath, about a boy who would get into trouble and get moral lectures from his sermonizing dog. Fishbone’s voice and personality is a pretty blatant parody of Goliath, and Jinx’s actress had a blast doing that voice.
[FutureHeroNextGen] Is Jinx connected to Zaun?
Ransom: So Jinx’s origins are quite mysterious – she just shows up in Piltover one day to wreak havoc, with no rhyme nor reason to her madness. But Piltover’s finest have tracked her for long enough to deduce that she has spent a significant amount of time in Zaun. Her weapons are dirty and vicious and modded, as if they were assembled from parts collected from the hextech black market in Zaun.
They’re certainly not clean and streamlined like Jayce’s inventions. And her style of dress is a little dark and street for Piltover. And the graffiti – that’s something you see in Zaun more than the other factions. So there’s clearly a past chapter of Jinx’s life that takes place there. As we learn more about her, perhaps that story will be told…
[FutureHeroNextGen] Is she involved with Viktor’s lore?
Ransom: I think Viktor is a bit serious for Jinx’s taste. Not sure how they would get along.
[Pabro] Are Vi and Jinx sisters?
Ransom: Not sure why this is such a hot topic. Vi and Jinx don’t behave like siblings at all! I mean, they’re always bickering and making fun of each other, and that’s not very sisterly, right? Actually, wait a minute… Perhaps this topic DOES merit some further consideration. So here’s what we know: Vi claims in Jinx’s teaser that she has no idea who Jinx is or where she came from. So if these two are related, Vi clearly hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Which is interesting, and there’s also the fact that we don’t know a whole lot about Vi’s past as a street urchin. So who knows? Seems like there are a lot of interesting story paths this rivalry could go down. I can’t wait to see how it will play out!
[Pabro] What experiences from Jinx life made her so crazy?
Ransom: As I said earlier, Jinx’s past is an extremely mysterious one. The citizens of Piltover have deduced that she’s spent a lot of time in Zaun, which is certainly not the sanest city-state in Runeterra.
[hmblcat] Will we ever learn of Jinx’s true identity?
Ransom: I think there’s a lot about Jinx we don’t know yet, and her bio simply introduces her and doesn’t really say much about her past. Our goal is to definitely continue this story in some form, as clearly you guys are fascinated by this particular rivalry.
[Griffinite1] Is there any more story planned for Jinx’s release/the near future?
Ransom: We obviously wouldn’t kick off the story of Jinx and Vi with such a bang if we didn’t intend to keep it going in some form. Now while that may not happen as quickly as everyone would like, it’s definitely the plan. So please be patient with us. We’re just as excited about Vi and Jinx as you are, and we want to wow you! You do bring up a good point, though. It seems like Jinx performs a lot of her crimes just to get Vi’s attention. As if it’s her way of hanging out with her favorite police officer. That’s kind of a strange behavior for a criminal, I think.
Did you feel torn between Jinx and Vi’s characters?
Ransom: I worked on the champion concept pitches for both Vi and Jinx, and obviously wrote a bunch of stuff for Jinx alongside the writing team. I’ll be honest, I was very much in love with Vi from day one, but the process of working on Jinx brought me around to the side of the Loose Cannon. I agree, Jinx picks on Vi a great deal, and much of it is totally not called for. But that’s Jinx’s personality – she’s a wiseacre and a troll, and she clearly has a favorite target. As for why that is, we’ll just have to see how the story unfolds.
Funny / Off-topic
[DawnSpace] New Year Jinx with fireworks and stuff?
RiotTeaTime: erhmahgerdd.. such a good idea!!!!
[Pabro] Is Fishbones Mrs or Mr rocket launcher?
Ransom: Fishbones is definitely a Mr!
[Zeet19] What is Jinx’s opinion on Poros?
RiotGypsy: She thinks they’re adorable.
RiotTeaTime: Especially when set on fire.
[Errandar] What’s her favourite food?
RiotGypsy: She loves sweets but she forgets to eat sometimes.
[DICKPUNISHER] (writer’s note: lol) What does Jinx love buying the most?
RiotTeaTime: Probably skittles. Yep. And guns. Skittles and Guns.
[BuggyMuShi] What happened to Art Spotlights?
RiotTeaTime: The splash artists do miss doing them but recording splash art actually makes the process of creating the art waaaay longer, every hour we have to compile video so it breaks up our work a lot. We’re trying to think of better ways to bring back the art spotlights though, so we have not forgotten!!! ^
[AsperaAstra] Follow-up: Can’t you upload the entire video without editing?
RiotTeaTime: Splash arts take around 40 to 80 hours to paint, those would be pretty long videos~! We still would have to stop and compile the recordings, past 1hr or so it starts lagging the computers because we’re simultaneously working on enormous photoshop documents. We do the timelapsing afterwards but it just is so inefficient to record the splash arts :’(
The Bravo Ray: Hello fellow summoners and lovers of all things Battlecast,
We wanted to create a place for you to come and post, share, and ask questions on the Battlecast skin line. By creating this thread, we hope to help you understand our vision for the line, and gain insight into “The Glorious Evolution.” We welcome any and all feedback and suggestions on how you feel we can improve the line. The sky is the limit!
Our first discussion about the line is our most popular question….
Who is targeted for evolution?
As it stands, we are focusing on creatures and non-humanoids. This gives us a bigger playground when it comes to the visual thematic. (ie. arms evolve into cannons, multiple legs evolve into tank treads)
There are exceptions to the rule, Viktor and Xerath.
For Xerath, one of his launch skins was a sci-fi themed robot aptly named Battlecast. This was the beginning of the line. There was no suggested story attached to the name, but it was a very cool idea.
For our most recent skin, Creator Viktor, we took the design sense sparked from Xerath and continued that through Urgot and Cho’gath. This allows for an implied alternate universe that these champions share.
We would love to hear what other champions, you feel, are viable candidates for the BC line and why.
In the meantime, please feel free to ask us anything. We will be checking in with you and we will post more insight when we can.
“FOR THE GLORIOUS EVOLUTION”
The Bravo Ray: Mecha vs Battlecast skin line
This is another question that comes up quite often, what is the difference? Are they not the same?
Well let’s try to clear it up for you.
Battlecast design language is composed of heavy, crude, thick plating; exposed mechanical components; and sci-fi based weaponry. We like to show all the champions abilities on the design of the skin.
Let’s take Cho’gath, for example. In his BC Prime skin, all his abilities are visually identifiable on his skin. From his iron jaws, arm cannons, and his sonic speakers, these give artistic reason behind the champion’s skills.
Mecha or Full Metal etc.
Khaz’Zix’s Mecha skin slightly differs from the design language of BC, his being more high tech and stream lined. Unlike BC, he has more covered components and very high tech weaponry. Mecha tends to lean towards a Anime inspired design language.
Will Battlecast Xerath get a rework to fit him into the glorious evolution?
The Bravo Ray: We would love to get him more aligned with the recent iterations of the BC line, for sure. At Xerath’s launch, the overall theme was not established yet. It was not until BC Urgot, did we realize, we had something really exciting.
This would be a good discussion to have, with the skins and rework teams, to help tie him more thematically with his BC brothers.
He does retain the iconic face plate grill that they all share stylistically, maybe we could switch the paint scheme to the sinister black and grey.
Pantheon’s Visual Rework
Will you keep his character intact?
IronStylus: Personally I’d like to make Pantheon not just a “faceless Spartan”, but that doesn’t mean necessarily giving him a face. I mean, I think he’s iconic because ya know, the image of a Spartan-like warrior has that shape language.
Logistically, maybe if we did a VU on him we’d put a face under there, actually add some geometry so that it’s not just a hollow helmet, but I don’t think we’d bust open the helmet to reveal a head.
Even if we don’t make it particularly visible on the model, I’d like to give him a bit more depth, figure out to wrap him up in what stuff has gone down on Mt Targon with Protecty Sun Lady and Grumpy Moon Chick.
Maybe a skin where he shows his face?
IronStylus: Hmm.. I actually don’t know if I’d do a Pantheon skin sans helmet. I think the helmet is a big part of him, but heck, who knows? Maybe a good idea will crop up that warrants him unmasking.
Why do we have un-masked Kayle but not Pantheon?
IronStylus: I don’t see any immediate benefit for a helmet-less Panetheon skin, while with Kayle, you sort of have that unmasked Samus thing going on. As for Kayle, I’d say her big reads being her wings and sword trump the helmet/no helmet thing. It’s a neat aspect to her, but I don’t think it’s as equal value to her wings and sword. Just my opinion though.
Maybe do a recoloring of his armament?
IronStylus: Recolors are a big playground for us. I’d like to give his weapon and shield, base or otherwise, some personality. Base wise, if Targon is all about relic melee weapons, maybe we should figure out how to make his special.
Follow-up: Maybe expand on his weaponry, since it’s so deeply connected to his lore?
IronStylus: Yeah, that seems to be a trend with Targon champions. Funny thing is, I wasn’t even cognizant of the relic weapon thing when we made Diana. Started to all fall into place by coincidence honestly. But hey, Pantheon, Leona, Diana, all have relic weapons/shields/armor.
Is Pantheon’s VU on the way?
IronStylus: “On the way” is a very subjective term. Nothing planned or scheduled, but some artists have gone out of their way to make some awesome concepts for if and/or when a Pantheon VU happens.
Will there be a revealed connection between Pantheon, Diana and Leona?
IronStylus: There’s nothing set in stone. My hope would be to figure out a way to make Targon much more solid and tangible. There’s obviously some **** going down up there. Crazy eclipses, entire celestial body worshiping tribes being slaughtered every so often. It’s a big place, but these character must have some sort of connection. I’d like to figure out how we can explore and tell stories of those connections.
Offtopic: How many Champions are in line for rework?
IronStylus: Take a look at the list of Champions in the Roster. It’s safe to assume that.. oh.. 50 of them are in need of some sort of finesse. Model tweaks, texture update, polish. Others, say maybe 20, might have a usable rig, but could really use a geo swap-out and a new model. A legendary skin for such a champion might even create the ability for a VU to happen faster than expected, because we often have to do heavy work on the rig, or possibly rebuild it, making it ripe for a VU. Then 10 or so, of those 50, are high priority. Champions that require a major overhaul.
That’s a large pool of champions, and I’d go further than the supposed 50 to enact some level of VU on. We as a team look at pretty much everything up until early 2012 as ripe for some level of VU depending on current quality from stylistic, craft and thematic aspects.
Again, things can change. We do have those “Relaunches of opportunity” that arise. Sejuani-type situations.
Fun thing is, I’m not the exclusive concept artist for Relaunch. I physically work on the characters I’m best suited to work on, or most interested in, and for those that are beyond my scope, or aren’t really served best by my strengths, I cultivate work done by other artists who are passionate about the champion that needs concept art resources dedicated to it. We work very openly like that as a team. It’s not a single artists’ responsibility or duty. It’s the entire art team coming together to decide what’s best, put input into the pot, and submit whatever art they have time to. It’s resulted in some awesome results. We find that our designs end up looking more stylistically consistent when there’s a lot of influence from around the different members of the art department.
That said, there’s a lot of concepts sitting around just waiting for the team to crunch through the priority list. So, it’s possible anyone’s favorite champ is in that concept backlog waiting for the right time for production to start!
Off-topic: Any chance for a Halloween Diana skin?
IronStylus: Unfortunately no. She might be up for something early-ish next year. We’ll see
Announcing Heimerdinger’s Rework QA
Xelnath: Hey guys,
Have you met 20thCenturyFaux?
No? Perhaps you should. 20thCenturyFaux has been super helpful QA’ing the Xerath rework, supporting the creative team and generally chatting with you guys on general discussion. However, more importantly:
Coming in 3.13, 20thCenturyFaux will be gathering feedback and iterating on our favorite Revered Inventor – Heimerdinger.
When 3.13 comes to PBE, Heimerdinger and Xerath reworks will be available for testing, but not necessarily be shipping in 3.13. While we’re not ready to release their kits today, I want you guys to give a warm PBE welcome to Faux. This is his first time taking heavy feedback on PBE, so please do your best to help him out!
EDIT: 20thCenturyFaux desired his titled be changed to “The Donger Raiser”. I have made this appropriate for ages K-12 instead.
20thCenturyFaux: Hello! I’ve been around the forums a while but I’ve never done a formal introduction thread, which should be false by the time you’re reading this. I’m 20thCenturyFaux, and I’ll be in on this PBE iteration strat because more communication makes the Dinger more awesome.
Some random stuff about me:
I’ve played probably 300+ different levels of DooM II
I sometimes mix Diet Mountain Dew with bad whiskey, a crime against alcohol I will eventually be jailed for
I need a dispenser here
I grew up in Wisconsin, where I did terribly irresponsible things with fireworks every 4th of July. Since moving to California, I have yet to build a single sparkler bomb. This is awful.
I get a certain awful joy out of dying in Roguelikes because I know it’s happened to tons of other people the same way
RAISE YOUR TURRETS
Anything new you can share on Heimer’s rework?
20thCenturyFaux: I think so, but I figure it’s probably better to save that for when 3.13 hits PBE. Once I start talking details it’ll be hard to stop xD
Are these changes targeted for a 3.13 PBE release?
20thCenturyFaux: I’m not sure, but I know as soon as the release guys have something nailed down they tend to announce it. There’s a million considerations about when to put content out–what other stuff is coming out, localization, etc.
I also don’t have a ton of understanding about Production generally, haha
How’s development coming along?
20thCenturyFaux: I got the bug sweep back and I’m chewing through all the stuff they found the last couple days. There’s a particularly tricky code bug with Heimer turrets refusing to shoot after he dies plus one or two little things, but I fixed the other stuff they found. I have to figure out how to get his backend set up for PBE and talk to publishing to figure out the exact time yet, but from my end it’s mainly polish stuff. As for the kit, if I save the juiciest reveal for when he’s playable, he gets more playtesting ^^. I will say that I picked up where Xypherous left off, rather than starting from scratch.
I also want to make sure I get it right and not just give in to temptation at a billion in the morning on a friday night, lol.
CaptainLx is a guy who has really been a major part of making the in game animations amazing for years now, if you were at Gamescom you may have seen the Dunkmaster Darius splash worked on and here he runs through how the animations were added to that original concept.
It’s very cool, interesting and makes me want to play Darius right now (while dribbling a ball irl).
Meddler: If we do end up making changes to Soraka at some point her passive would definitely be a prime spot to do some work, agree there’s plenty of room there to make something more engaging. The current one’s certainly not useless, there’s only a tiny amount of gameplay associated with it though, and even then the power it offers is pretty hardly to directly appreciate. Would be inclined to look at passives that support her healer with some combat effects playstyle in a way that didn’t buff her passive sustain (which has been the big problem we’ve had in the past with her).
Isn’t her passive efficient in its own way?
Meddler: Her passive definitely offers power, particularly early on in lane and once team fights start, no argument there. It doesn’t create much gameplay though. You don’t stand near allies you wouldn’t otherwise stand near because of it, the decisions associated with the rest of her kit instead overwhelm that as a consideration. There’s also not much you can do to be a more skilled user of that aura, it’s just there, and the actions that maximize it (be with your team, don’t die, be in a fight but no need to be right in the center given its large range) are the actions you’ll be taking anyway.
Compare that with say Nami’s passive by contrast. Sure, often the extra movement speed’s just be an incidental benefit, there are regularly moments though where you’ll get an opportunity to use spells in a way or at a time you otherwise wouldn’t if you want to access the power that passive offers you (E an ally to help them get away, even if they can’t spare the time to auto attack, look to angle an ult through your team as well as the enemy’s etc).
Does that mean that AoE auras from items are also toxic to gameplay?
Meddler: In a lot of games item purchasing results in some really significant decision making (what, when, on who). How feasible it is to properly utilize many of the auras is a big part of that decision (will I be able to get close enough to get them within Abyssal’s range, can we create teamfights that take advantage of WotA’s sustain enough etc). As a result I generally feel much better about our item auras than passives like Soraka’s. That’s not to say they’re great examples of gameplay versus power, there are some solid arguments in their favor though.
Will you be reworking her ultimate as well and will Infuse lose its mana gain component?
Meddler: Can’t see any reason to significantly alter Wish, it’s a great spell and a really healthy heal (generates clutch saves, has skillful uses, has multiple use cases, comes with a significant cost).
As far as Infuse goes mana restore to ally has been a bit problematic, particularly given there’s no cost apart from the CD to Soraka so much of the time it’s simply ‘Push Infuse on ally without max mana or you’re doing it wrong’. A healthier approach there would be something along the lines of giving Infuse a mana cost, so it’s not an automatic choice to give mana to an ally, but then also reduces Soraka’s other mana costs to compensate. Might result in too much transfer of agency from support to team mate though (‘Spend your mana to heal someone else while they actually engage with the enemy, then give away the remainder as well’) so some potential issues there too.
Isn’t Soraka a weak aura support compared to others?
Meddler: Sona’s auras are somewhat better certainly, there is some play going on there, though the decisions associated with the activation effects do often drown out decision making based on the auras. Wouldn’t be inclined to put something like that on Soraka though, in part simply because that’s already Sona’s thing – would much rather create more distinctive niches for champions where possible than homogenize them unnecessarily.
R.E. picking Soraka for her aura, particularly against certain comps, then yes, there is some decision making offered there. Again though it’s pretty overwhelmed by all the other things that go into ‘Should I pick Soraka’ – how she’ll match up against lane opponents, what sort of team comp you’re running etc. It’s definitely the best argument in favor of the current passive in my eyes, feel there’s strong opportunity to do better though.