Posts Tagged ‘Riot’

Devblog on Mastery Banner

Riot have released another awesome devblog, this time detailing what it takes to master League!


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Pwyff New PortraitIt’s the second entry in our ongoing League of Legends design values! Last time we had environment and clarity designer Richard “Nome” Liu go in-depth on why Clarity is important in League of Legends. Up this week is Riot Games’ Vice President of Game Design, Tom “Zileas” Cadwell, here to talk to one of League’s most central themes: the pursuit of mastery. 

Zileas has been a part of Riot Games for a long time and he’s actually the one who first introduced several of the terms used in our design values series – like Counterplay. Today, however, Zileas will be focusing more on mastery as it relates to every design decision we make in League and why it’s so important to the game as a whole. Onward!



Mastery Banner


Players are driven to play different game genres for different reasons. In MMOs, it might be a feeling of progression or social achievement. In single-player, story-focused games, it might be about immersion, or making your way through a deep narrative. In the MOBA genre, we believe the main thing that motivates players to stick around is the pursuit of mastery.

Whether you’re trying to be the best League player in the world or you’re just picking up on how to last hit, playing League of Legends is about continually growing and becoming a better player. We believe that players who play League are seeking mastery, and our design philosophy is deeply tied to this idea. For our part, we hope to make a player’s journey endlessly rich and fulfilling; someone who adapts quickly and instinctually should be rewarded as much as the one who spends days figuring out the most optimal path forward – both are pursuing mastery in their own unique ways.

We’ve identified three major areas of mastery: personal expertiseteamwork, and adaptability.




Personal Expertise


Personal expertise is the direct skill you bring in controlling your character to win a fight or earn gold. It’s your ability to last hit, execute a basic combo, dodge and land skill shots, or make an informed decision in a fight. Some of the ways we can support personal expertise include:

Creating optimization paths for champions is a design strategy we’ve spent more time on over the years. When we design or update champions, we ask if there are multiple levels of mastery possible – places where a player can fine-tune their skills to become even better over time. Yasuo and his passive, Way of the Wanderer, is a good example of growing mastery, where maximizing Flow through movement and ability use – and ensuring that large flow increases aren’t ‘wasted’ on a full bar – can separate the good Yasuos from the great Yasuos.

Rewarding consistent demonstrations of skill is an important philosophy for us, and this means smoothing out cases where this isn’t true. As an example, system overhauls are large projects that try to build more potential for mastery. We continue to look at League and ask ourselves: when and where are players unable to use their skill to shine? And where these problems exist, is there a way we can fix it?

Here are some examples from the 2014 pre-season changes where we made system overhauls to reward consistent skill:

  • Reducing team snowballing allowed players to win more often via their skill than their stats. When teams snowball out of control prematurely it becomes impossible for the opposing team, even with amazing play, to recover. On the other hand, a really ‘fed’ single player can still be focused and killed.
  • Stronger support scaling allows support players to continue to show their skill into the late game, rather than being overshadowed by the rest of their team in importance. When your power level is too different from other players in the game, even highly skilled players can feel like they’re not making a difference.

Counterplay, which will be further detailed by Morello in another blog, is the philosophy of designing champions to be challenging to master for both the player playing them and the opponent trying to beat them. When two champions fight, we want nuance, thought, and timing to matter in both directions, which means the best player should win. You’re only as good as the opponents you can beat, and a champion that lacks counterplay is one which, if executed perfectly, leaves their opponent with shallow or nonexistent response choices.

Thresh_Screenshot_01  Thresh_Screenshot_02





Teamwork is the ability to read a teammate’s intentions while also giving cues in turn, or the ability to stay positive when setbacks occur, or the ability to do what’s best for the team at all times.

We design for teamwork in two major areas: teamplay and team incentives.

Teamplay is a design philosophy similar to counterplay, and Statikk will be going more in-depth in his dev blog. In short, if a particular strategy or set of abilities become stronger with increasingly effective team coordination, teamplay is there. At a basic level, this means that we have to design in a way where your teammates need to care what you’re doing, and react to it. To do this, we try to make abilities, like Thresh’s Dark Passage, which greatly increase in power when the team collaborates effectively.

Team Incentives encourage players to play as a team. Basic systems like assist gold are an example of this, as are objectives like towers, dragon and baron. We’ve also positioned all of League of Legend’s out-of-game rewards and ranked play (wins/losses) entirely around team success in order to reward players for playing as a team. This has the final effect of helping players understand that the path to mastery must involve the mastery of teamwork.






Adaptability is both your ability to learn and respond to new ideas, new threats and new changes, along with your ability to play in a variety of styles. Different players are adaptable in different ways. Some choose to pick up a large number of champions, while others spend that time deeply mastering one along a variety of builds. We try to support both, but fundamentally believe that to pursue mastery in League is about being an adaptable player.

Our primary method of rewarding adaptability is through system and play balance changes. We aspire to keep as many champions as possible viable at a competitive level (to mixed success, admittedly), and also spend a lot of time trying to increase the amount of viable team-level strategies. The better balanced the game is, the more we can reward players who remain adaptable against a wide breadth of threats, and similarly reward them for investing time in learning to play less-popular champions and strategies.



Closing Thoughts


We’re committed to continuing to improve the potential for mastery in League of Legends, and look forward also helping you understand the ways we can achieve this goal (or give us feedback if you feel we’re not!). We fundamentally believe a game where you know you’re getting better with effort is also a game that’s rewarding to play. We also hope you’ll remain committed to your own mastery – and that this blog can serve as a reminder to challenge yourself to master new skills, champions and strategies!

 Tom “Zileas” Cadwell



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



News Update July 23 Banner



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


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PBE Update July 22 Banner



GPL Icons in Store Banner


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

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

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

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Who does Riot balance for Banner



You seem to be terribly biased in balancing League

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

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

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

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

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

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Do you not want Lee Sin changed before Worlds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Why does it seem like Riot is constantly understaffed

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


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

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Slower Champion release means less potential balance issues

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

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What purpose do you want Supports to serve on a team

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

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Where’s the Bruiser rework promised for Season 4

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

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Who does does Riot want to balance League of Legends for

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

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Why are most Champions forced into a single role and lane

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

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

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

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

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

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Is there truly no room for melee DPS

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

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

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How are we to speak with developers when they rarely respond

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

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It seems Riot underrates small tweaks made to Champions

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

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

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

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What exactly does the Design team do

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


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

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

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Why do Rioters respond to trolls but not to reasonable threads

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

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Have you ever thought that some top laners liked Melee vs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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QA on Balance Design Banner



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

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

1) Kha’Zix

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

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

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

2) Hecarim

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

3) Balance “Favoritism”

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) State of Akali

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

2) Squishy Melee

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

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

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

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

3) Spell Vamp

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

4) Stealth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Lucian feels like a better Ezreal right now

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

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

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

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

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

Statikk New Portrait1) Taric

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

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

2) Zilean

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

3) Alistar

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

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

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Are there any plans to rework Garen

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

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

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

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

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What's your view on Quinn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Direction of LoL Balance

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







How will you address unpopular Champions like, say Viktor


Will you address Diana’s currently poor state


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


How long does it take to rework or update a Champion


Which takes more time - new Champions or new updates


Will we see a solution to the ball of stats fighters



Single Posts banner



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

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

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

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Can we have an update on Dunkmaster Darius

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

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




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







Summoner Rift Visual Update Banner

Writer’s commentary: “LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT IT!”



It’s nearly time to push a big update out to PBE and we want to provide context on what’s around the bend. As some of you have guessed, we’ve been working on an update to Summoner’s Rift for a while now. This effort is a big part of our commitment to continually improve League of Legends. We’re focusing on preserving the spirit of Summoner’s Rift and evolving how the map communicates gameplay.

Given the importance of Summoner’s Rift to League of Legends, the fundamental structure of the map remains untouched. Flashable walls, turret ranges, lane sizes, brush interaction and ward placements are exactly as they are on the current map. The intention is to keep moment-to-moment League of Legends the same while improving gameplay through additional clarity.

What clarity translates to is the updated map doing a better job of drawing eyes to the most important information of the moment. When fights break out, the environment should be the background, allowing particle effects and champions to pop off the screen and feed players the crucial data they need to make the right play.

Beyond this, Summoner’s Rift should help players and spectators stay oriented. The western half of the map looks damaged by the emergence of Baron Nashor, while the eastern half feels ancient and overgrown. This, alongside each quadrant’s respective buff, gives every jungle section thoughtfully placed landmarks and subtle color cues. Speaking of the jungle, a cadre of new monsters made Summoner’s Rift home, sporting designs that more accurately reflect their respective gameplay characteristics. For example, the Krugs’ (double golem replacements) rocky exteriors look like the damage soaking mini-tanks they are–and they appear weaker than the hulking Blue Sentinel.

Once the update moves onto the PBE, we will begin sharing a series of features to give you insight into the development of the update. You can expect:

  • Dev blogs written by artists, designers and producers on the team
  • Live Q&A sessions with the developers
  • PBE patch notes with the latest developments

The dev blogs will kick off soon, providing insight into the art and design of the update. We’re also creating a dedicated Community Beta environment for you to give us crucial feedback. On the technical side, new texture rendering tech requires a bit more RAM than the current map, but we’re working on optimizations to mitigate the impact. This update absolutely shouldn’t require you to upgrade your PC (or Mac) when it launches to live.

Even when this update ships to live we’ll continue to make updates. There’s always room for improvement and we’ll be looking to you for ideas.



Q: Is this replacing today’s Summoner’s Rift?

  • Yes. We’re still ironing out the full launch, but this update will eventually roll out to every queue that loads up Summoner’s Rift. More details to come.

Q: How much is gameplay changing?

  • We’ve made a number of quality-of-life changes around readability, but you won’t be fail-flashing because of the new map. Flashable walls, turret ranges, lane sizes, brush interaction and ward placements are all exactly as they are on the current map. Dragon and Baron feature reworked design and art, driving them toward feeling more intimidating and powerful. From a purely gameplay perspective, we focused on clarity, eliminating randomness in their attack patterns so skilled players can predict and avoid the monsters’ attacks.

Q: When’s it hitting live?

  • We don’t have an exact date right now. We’ll be squashing bugs, ensuring great performance and listening for player’s feedback throughout the update’s stay on the PBE. All the work ahead makes a firm date tough to pin down.

Q: How do I play the update?

  • The update will soon patch out to our PBE environments and that’ll be the only place to play until it goes live. We’re working to get the map ship-shape and will keep you posted as launch plans take shape.

Q: Will you do a Team Builder-style beta on live?

  • We’d love to open up such a great avenue for feedback and we’re exploring the possibility, but technical hurdles like patch sizes and performance concerns make a live beta a tricky proposition for this update. We’ll keep you posted.

Q: Will I need to upgrade my PC or Mac to play?

  • At this very moment, the new map is more memory (RAM) intensive than the current map, however we’re optimizing like crazy and we’re committed to performance parity with the current Summoner’s Rift. You will not need to upgrade your PC or Mac.

Q: What’s this mean for other maps?

  • We’re not quite sure yet. We’re laser-focused on getting this update to players globally.

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

eula vs tos

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

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

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

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

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

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

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

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

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

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

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

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

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

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

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

TOS Violations:

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

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

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

EULA Violations:

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

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

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


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

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!


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!

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

California has recently passed a law that will allow minors to effectively “take back” statements they say online. The bill, which will go into effect starting January 1, 2015, will require

the operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to permit a minor, who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application, to remove, or to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, service, or application by the minor

Reading further into the bill, it is important to note that “remove” doesn’t require deletion – it does, however, require the service provider to restrict public access to the statement. California State Senators have called this an “eraser button” for minors, who may not fully understand the damage they could do to themselves by making spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff posts that they don’t mean. Many speculate this is a response to the Justin Carter case, to help protect hot-headed children and increase online privacy.

What does this mean for League of Legends? The biggest glaring possibility is that the California bill could give California minors an “out” to tribunal action. Riot is an operator of an online service (self-admitted in their Terms of Service), and all users are, by Riot’s own terms, required to register in order to use Riot’s services. So, in theory, California minors should be able to request the removal of comments they write in-game – never to see the public eye.

This would probably include the removal of content on tribunal reports.

Even the purpose of the California bill seems to be to allow this type of removal – toxic comments are typically made in the heat of the moment – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t typed something they haven’t meant, without thinking, say when a teammate throws their silver-to-gold 5th promotion match. So does that mean California minors have a “get out of the tribunal free” card?

Possibly. The tribunal has a couple things backing it. First, Riot could argue that minors have waived that right by agreeing to the ToS. This is a weak argument, since it is unlikely a California court would allow a minor to waive this right at all. Second, Riot could argue that the fact that the chat is anonymous protects the privacy of the minor. This could work, depending on things like a.) the purpose of the tribunal action, b.) the impact and degree of the minor’s language, and c.) whether the courts view LoL as a social media outlet (unlikely).

What do you think? Should the California law give minors an out to tribunal action? Or should Riot still be allowed to post content by minors to be judged by the community?


Like the read? Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for more posts! (yup, I just gave in)

I always prefer duo-queue to solo. Feel free to add me in-game! 

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


Part of my own legal education has been the study of Professional Sports law (in the United States), so I decided to do a quick comparison of regulations and punishments between some of the major US sports organizations to Riot’s eSports organization.

In this article, I’m talking about professional League players in the eSports setting; not your everyday bronze scrub.


The Original Setup – Rules and Regulations in Physical Pro Sports


In the four major US sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), the rules and regulations are set up sort of like a corporate hierarchy: you have the Commissioner at the very top, who controls most aspects of the game itself – the schedule, regulating officials, league-based discipline, etc. The Commissioner’s power over the league and its teams is set forth through a League Constitution  (similar to a corporation’s bylaws). However, these constitutions don’t directly dictate the relationship between teams and players – those are set up contractually.

In each of these sports league constitutions there is a clause called the “best interests of the game” clause. It basically gives the Commissioner the authority to do just about anything as long as the act is in the best interests of the game as a whole.


A New System? – Rules and Regulations in League of Legends


Unfortunately, Riot’s eSports regulation setup isn’t publicly available, and most professional player contracts have a non-disclosure clause. With the  lack of available information, the best we can do is apply current sports law concepts and see how they fit onto Riot’s eSports infrastructure.

In League of Legends, the setup is very different from the club/league “franchise” arrangement most other professional sports use, but the outcome is essentially the same. Riot effectively takes on the role of “league commissioner,” exerting direct control over both the game and the teams simultaneously.

The biggest difference is that instead of holding “commissioner” power through a league constitution, Riot seems to be given that power contractually – teams sign lengthy contracts that give unilateral control over League events to Riot – which seems pretty obvious. If you want to play their game in their tournaments, you have to agree to play by their rules.

Ok, so instead of becoming a commissioner through a “league constitution,” Riot becomes a commissioner through individual contracts. Is that really any different? The answer is yes.


The Differences – Advantages and Disadvantages of Riot’s eSports Setup


Setting up commissioner power as contractual agreements has advantages and disadvantages. It’s advantageous to Riot on several practical levels:

First, Riot maintains a direct relationship with the players – as opposed to professional sports law, where only teams and owners are parties to the bylaws, and players have no direct relationship with the Commissioner. Second, individual contracts allow a large degree of flexibility – great for different teams in differing circumstances (e.g. foreign teams). Finally, Riot could distance themselves from principal-agent situations with teams/players, which has  several benefits – not the least of which involves avoiding antitrust violations.

However, there are some legal disadvantages to having a contractual setup rather than a series of league bylaws. The first is that contractual damages are very limited. Harsh penalties designed to deter behavior don’t fly in contract law – if actual damages can’t be proven with certainty, Riot has no case. This poses a problem, for instance, with cheating – you want to punish cheaters even if cheating didn’t actually help them win, but a court will require you to prove that damage was done. This may explain why Riot caught several teams screenwatching last year, but only chose to penalize when they were certain it had an impact on the game.

A related disadvantage is the lack of a “best interests of the game” clause. In professional sports law, such clauses are kept extremely ambiguous on purpose, to meet whatever new situations can come up (e.g., dog fighting, gang-related signs… etc). It also allows for flexible discipline measures to be taken – commissioners can fine teams, revoke draft picks, or even force team ownership transfers outright.

But the ambiguity that makes the clause so valuable in a bylaw is also what makes the clause detrimental to contract law. Ambiguous words and phrases are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to tell if both parties really agreed to the same thing. (e.g., what exactly constitutes a “performance enhancing” drug? Is it limited to anabolic steroids? What about prescription medications such as Adderall? Energy drinks? Caffeine?). In some situations, courts can strike entire clauses from a contract for being too ambiguous – a pretty severe disadvantage.

Will we ever see any of these issues get raised in court? Probably not, as most teams and players are not in any position to negotiate or test any of the terms in their contracts. Their bargaining power is effectively nullified by the fact that Riot has a stranglehold on League of Legends – it is, after all, their game.

Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!

Galio Banner


A community idea for an anti-AFK system, the Mercy Vote, a quick update on Galio, Lyte on reinforcing the current Honor and Champion Select systems, a brilliant community compilation of suggestions to improve SR’s visuals and the latest Champion/Skin Sale!


Mercy Vote

Quick update on Galio

Lyte on Community & Forum features

Visual Overhaul: Summoner’s Rift

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires August 5th



Mercy Vote


Mercy Banner

This is an old thread that only recently received attention from Reds. Let’s see a community suggestion to resolve the issue with AFK-ers in Ranked.

Do you believe that the toxicity of this community should change? Is cultivating a more positive gaming experience important to you? If so read on!

A Brief Look At Toxicity

People are toxic because the tools to be toxic are simple and readily available – the ability to control their character and communicate. Emotions tend to run high, and can negatively impact individuals when things do not go as planned. Over the years I’ve played the game I’ve seen a decrease in toxic behavior across the board. I believe that creating tools to be positive is to be credited for this – from the tribunal to the honor system and beyond. I believe that giving more avenues for positive behavior can continue to improve the community as a whole.

The Problem

4v5 games are painful. It isn’t fun for me to be on the losing side, knowing I’m about to waste 20+ minutes for no good reason. It isn’t fun when I’m on the full team, either. Unbalanced teams take a lot away from the strategic points of this game and lead to something much less interactive. Many players have tried to think of ideas to combat this, but inevitably ideas fail for the following reasons:

  • Too easy to abuse
  • Promotes trolling
  • Offers no incentive to be positive

The Proposal

What I propose, is a mercy slash command or ui element. This command will only be available to the team with 5 people, and only when certain conditions are met: There is a player that has been disconnected or idle for x seconds/minutes, AND the idle/disconnected player would cause unbalanced teams (a 4v4 would not qualify for mercy).

When the team with more players pass a mercy vote successfully, the short handed team will get a vote option popup to accept or decline mercy. If they choose to accept mercy, the game ends immediately. Instead of “Defeat” showing in game and on the match history, it would simply read “Mercy”. A mercy would incur less penalty than a defeat for the short handed team – whether it be lp, mmr, etc. The team that passed a mercy vote will also get a nice counter on their profile page next to the honor counters that indicate how many times they have passed mercy on outnumbered enemies.

The short handed team could also vote to decline mercy, and battle on taking their chances. If at any time the dc player reconnects or the idle player becomes active, the mercy vote is immediately nullified.

Now let’s get into how this type of system combats the flaws of other ideas brought forth by other users (as represented via bullet points above):

  • Too easy to abuse
    Since it is now the enemy team placing the vote, there is nothing that the 4 man team can do to abuse the system. They do not have the control.
  • Promotes trolling
    This system inherently promotes positive behavior instead. I’m much more likely to pass mercy on a team that remained positive than one that fought in all chat.
  • Offers no incentive to be positive
    This system offers a direct tie-in to the honor system, and can reap any rewards Riot chooses to do in the future (banners, icons, etc). This system mutually benefits everyone, as it allows you to end a game without wasting another 15-20 minutes if both teams use their votes to show that the outcome is already known.

Hot Points Brought Up So Far

Originally Posted by Maple Leaf 67 View Post
And how do you avoid rampant elo inflation?

This is a question I’d like to target more towards a red if I could, as it’s come up a couple of times now in the discussion. I know that as far as an individual’s own mmr goes this system over a long period of time would have them placed a bit more accurately to their proper mmr.

One idea to combat inflation, as stated by a couple of posters in this thread, is to simply apply the “floating” mmr loss to the person who left the game as an extra deterrence to afking or leaving. I question how much is too much with this particular idea, but would definitely like a red to get involved one way or another! Personally, I’d imagine something like -25% loss to the four people that stayed, and that -100% total loss that’s now floating around could be applied to the leaver. 200% total loss given to the leaver would prevent inflation, and as someone who’s experienced a couple power outages in my time (2 over the past two years) I don’t think it’s too much. After all, not only did you guarantee a loss for yourself but a loss for 4 other people as well! In this scenario, getting counted for losing 2 games if you leave 1 seems fair.

Tell me again, how does this prevent someone from just leaving the game and saving people in their promo matches?

Well, it’s a voting system. Meaning if I’m on the winning team I’d have to believe that the match was worth a mercy. Not only that, but if I’m on the losing team I have zero interest in taking a 200% penalty just for a chance that random strangers don’t get impacted negatively from a lost game. Clearly this is a tool meant for solo queue!

I truly believe that this tool could ONLY have a positive impact on the player base – allowing us to send out and receive more positive energy. If you agree, please bump. If you disagree, please state why so that we can work together to make this community better!

And now for the epic visualization concepts!

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Here’s a mockup variant for allowing mercy at the end of a game:
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 Reds’ Opinion:

Riot Baconhawk Button Rioter Riot Baconhawk: I just want to say this is an interesting concept and I’ll put it before eyes that are more qualified than mine.

A likely issue: Players harassed into leaving

Riot NeuroCat Button Rioter Riot Neurocat: I like the concept. One potential problem is that if you offer rewards (reduced LP loss, promo series loss nullification, etc), you create incentives for a team to harass a player performing poorly to leave. Even if the enemy team doesn’t actually decide to show mercy or the teammate you harass doesn’t actually leave, the tradeoff in the minds of the losing team is:

“I don’t harass my teammate and hope they leave” > ‘Guarenteed’ loss
“I harass my teammate and hope they leave” > Possible mercy, which means potential loss mitigation

The expected value for LP gain increases with teammate harassing behavior in that case.

However, I can’t immediately see problems with the system assuming mercy losses count the same as normal losses. This lets you end the game at 10 minutes if its super one sided, without forcing people to AFK in well.

Won’t the double LP loss discourage leaving?

Riot NeuroCatButton Rioter Riot Neurocat: Its true that the double LP loss on leaving is a strong disincentive to not leave. However, that doesn’t necessarily remove the incentive on the teammates of the feeding player to not harass. There probably exist some players who just don’t want to deal with the game anymore over taking that LP loss.

Wasn’t this system on the PBE awhile ago?

Riot NeuroCatButton Rioter Riot Neurocat: I believe you are referring to Equalize.
What would be interesting is if Equalize changed death timers in a way such that if it was a 4v5, if a player on the 5-team died, their death timer wouldn’t start until another person on their team died. Effectively always keeping one dead member in a state of “limbo”. Of course this would need to be completely opt-in on the side of the 5-team, but it could be a way to even out that disadvantage, if both teams want a fair match.

Just a completely unrelated idea  I don’t necessarily think its a good idea or something that we would implement (I don’t speak for those who would), but just an interesting thought.

Quick update on Galio

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A small list of possible improvements to Galio, courtesy of ricklessabandon, he who defies capital letters.

How about making Galio’s spells scale off of Magic Resist?

ricklessabandonButton Rioter ricklessabandon: I’m actually experimenting with something like that currently. Galio as he is on live effectively has Magic Resist ratios on his spells, which gives us the opportunity to do something different/additional with his passive if we think that puts him in a better state overall.

Once we start working on the 3.12 patch the PBE might see something from me, but that’s far enough into the future that plans could change.

Will this cause a power-shift in his spells?

ricklessabandonButton Rioter ricklessabandon: The plan is to look at him as a whole and make sure everything’s in a good state, so power can be shifted where appropriate.

Lyte on Community & Forum features

Riot logo decoration

A small update on Lyte‘s recent Player Behavior & Matchmaking discussion.

Suggestion: Detecting toxic speech in chat, bringing negative players faster to the Tribunal

Lyte Button Rioter Lyte: We have a team of analysts and predictive modelers who have been doing research in this space. There’s a lot of potential, but like I mentioned in other posts, we’d rather use our resources for more positive reinforcement systems like the Honor Initiative or our new Champion Select solution. So for now, we probably won’t keep enhancing the Tribunal to be even more accurate–we believe we’ve optimized that system to the point where we are hitting diminishing returns. There’s a lot more value to players if our team tackles a brand new space like Champion Select or Honor.

Can you resolve posts about non-tribunal bans made in the Ban inquires sub-forum?

Lyte Button Rioter Lyte: Hm, I’ll have to see what we can do with forums. Too much segregation among the sub-forums isn’t an ideal situation either.

Could behavior alerts be unnecessarily freaking neutral/positive players out?

Lyte Button Rioter Lyte: Yes, there was a huge concern among the team about whether behavioral alerts would scare some players and determining what is the impact or damage of a behavioral alert that is sent to a neutral or sportsmanlike player. We’re diving into the data and looking at these specific questions.

Visual Overhaul: Summoner’s Rift

summoner's rift banner

A community proposal to bring the visuals of League of Legends to a new level!

We all know that Summoner’s rift looks old right now, specially since the release of the new TT and HA…but, what are the most important factors that make SR look old, outdated or just ugly?

__________________________________________________ ___________________
Things that need tweaks, improvements or remakes:



This is the one that deserves urgent attention…the cliffs look so empty, most of them are nothing but a textured polygon…not to mention its side textures look like a Minecraft grass Block.

Suggestions: tweak the textures applied to the cliffs, make them look more “complex”…also, adding grass, trees or other objects on the top of cliffs would help to make them look better…



I know the game is famous because of the cartoonish and handdrawn feel of the game graphics….but the trees are one of the weakpoints of the game art…this is more noticeable in large groups of trees…
The main problems are:

  • The lower part of the tree model doesnt blend with the terrain (the trunks) and makes them look out of place
  • The proportions are messed up (trees need larger Crowns and smaller trunks)
  • The height of the trees needs more variety…I know there are visual limitations with this(so trees dont block champions or roads, but still…

Baron’s nest:


Doing baron is a very special event in a LOL game…but, visually, it doesnt feel that special…I mean, the Baron’s nest is almost a Copy-paste from the Dragon’s one….It needs to bring a more”Epic” feel than what it is now (its almost empy).

White torches: 


I hated this ones since the SR visual upgrade, they just dont fit the map style….they look cathedral themed while SR is all about forests and wilderness…

Objects and decorations:


Some of the map objects are overused, specially torches(as seen in the attached image)


Well…nothing to explain here, the turrets look very ugly and outdated compared with the HA ones
The nexus could get some love too…

__________________________________________________ ___________________
Things that must be preserved:

The overall “”Fairy Tale styled forest” feel of the map

Some people who are new to LOL dont know about this but this is one of the aspects that makes LOL unique.
Every other moba’s 5v5 map is dark-creepy themmed while SR is a forest full of flowers bushes and such…while some people think this doesnt suit the genre, I think its part of the magic of SR, and it would be a shame to lost it in a VU.

Keep the “Single themed maps” policy

Please dont turn the purple side into a dark dead forest like Hon and Dota did….it gives people another reason to not want to be placed at the purple/blue side…
This is another thing I love of the direction art of LOL…SR is a bright forest, TT is a dark forest, HA is a frosty bridge, Dominion is a Steampunk monopoly and Magma chamber is a Magma chamber (lol)….
Different variations of the same map would be awesome like the old ones (ex: Halloween SR, Winter SR, etc) or even day/night cycles (purple lighting for night, so it doesnt affect visibility)

Fountain Circle (Lazor range indicator)

This is a VERY important aspect of the game…it needs to be there so we know the range of the fountain Lazer…in HA, for example, this area is nonexistent and its very hard to tell the lazer’s range.

Map proportions

Personally, I think the proporsions of SR are close to perfection…thats why people can play the same map over and over without getting tired of it…theres no need to change this in any possible way.

>Support for low spec systems< – IMPORTANT

TT and HA destroyed some laptops and low specs systems to the point of becoming unplayable maps for some…meaning some people can only play SR and dominion now….I dont think they will be happy if they cant run SR anymore…a possible solution is adding more custom options to the visuals of SR (shaders?, lighting options?, etc).

Remember this first post reflects my personal opinion on the subject and not the absolute truth of what shall be done to SR in a future VU.

Feel free to add your own feedback on this thread!

Reworking the Golem camp area

RiotForScience Button Rioter RiotForScience: “I’d flip the golem camp so that the two golems face the other direction” -Weegee7

As a Nunu player I love the idea because I think it would make it really easy to steal blue. What were the advantages that you were seeing to this change.

“Do something with that random statue near the blue side Ancient Golem camp. It’s there for no reason.”-Weegee7

There are actually a lot of details like that in the current SR. I agree we could do a better job of making those elements feel intentional.

“1. i would love to see sr on night
2. interactive object, destroying boxes, barrels, caves, etc.
3. make it look like the new beta site backgrouds” -Lax Is Back

The readability of the playspace is more important to us than even the Aesthetic of the map. Night scenes are inheirantly tricky because of more limited visability. Perhaps a map with a lot of artificail lighting could work for a night scene.

We added a lot of destructable elements into HA. I expect that to be a continuing trend, that being said they are also really expensive from a performance standpoint. We are very careful about how additions like that will impact our min spec players.

Concerning the Beta Site background…. this is a point that I will probably need to make more than once because it is somewhat hard to wrap my head around. That specific piece of artwork is not concept art, but is rather a promotional illustration. It is intended to give an idea of what current SR would look like in real life. It is not “forward looking” and should not be interpretted in that way. That being said, I am so happy that you like that image. I hope that you can trust us that if we can make one great image we can probably make another great, but different image.

Prettying up the Jungle camps

RiotForScience Button Rioter RiotForScience: “The jungle camps’ creeps are plain ugly…. The trees are all the same in some way. I wish there were more variety of trees instead of just 1 kind” -MasterForce

Good points on both counts. TT uses a couple different trees but orients them in such a way that they never feel repeated. A combination of very unique art and clever reuse of art is our construction method.

Map Skins

RiotForScience Button Rioter RiotForScience: “I’d love for there to be map skins, if that’s possible…. I find that giant Rule 63 statue of Pantheon/Sheeva in both bases somewhat odd. The perfectly lined up houses, and houses in general seem to “unnatural” for a forest, all lined up perfectly. Also, why are their houses in the middle of a forest in the first place”

I love map skins too! I loved the winter map that we launched with. However, at the moment, the Environment team’s priority is getting all of our artwork up to the level of our most recent maps (HA, TT) Rather than providing visual variants on existing maps.

Concerning houses and Statues, The way we see quality is a balance between Aesthetics, Design and Narrative. In the future our map props will have a much stronger narrative connection.

Clear transition between types of terrain

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “Since League’s indestructible terrain is kind of a big deal, it would make sense that it needs a clean boundary between the terrain and the paths, but it wouldn’t hurt to make the edges a bit less clean. Cosmetic saplings, short patches of grass near the tall stuff, etc. Hence the theme “nature vs. Summoners,” as the forest attempts to reclaim the Summoner’s battleground.

  • Have the lanes be dirt/gravel logging roads. Minion travel routes would be marked by especially packed earth/gravel, or a rut in the landscape.
  • Have the river flow underneath mid lane through grates or a culvert so that it actually feels more like a river.
  • All minions need complete overhaul
  • Different themes for each section of jungle/lane? One side is a pine forest, the other is deciduous? Possibly different seasons
  • Might be a bit much, but SFX for walking through grass/water would be awesome. Might be difficult for champs like Zac or Cassio but it would still sound pretty neato”

Good call. I love the idea of telling little stories in our environments. Signs of wear and tear on the roads, or overgrowth or signs of flowing water all contribute to the overall story of an area.

Changing the forest area

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “You could make the battle happening inside a village/city, since you can’t juke between trees, they could be houses” -IS17f8587dd251c04bf0cdb

I like this idea a lot, our collision areas really could be anything. As a chunk of random trivia, a portion of Crystal Scar is actually set in a village. I think we could push that concept further.

“I personally feel “Summoners Rift” Needs a new makeover, not a visual update D: . Rift:Typical rift features are a central linear downfaulted depression, called a graben, or more commonly a half-graben with normal faulting and rift-flank uplifts mainly on one side. Where rifts remain above sea level they form a rift valley, which may be filled by water forming a rift lake. The axis of the rift area may contain volcanic rocks, and active volcanism is a part of many, but not all active rift systems. I feel there is so much more than just paved roads inside a forest landscape” -Brzink

I have to agree with you, I don’t think that the map shows much evidence of either summoners or their rifts. Something to think about.

Concept Art

Summoner's Rift Concept Art

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: I want to take a second to talk about this image. I have heard it described as “Concept Art” implying that at some point we would reconstruct SR using that image as a template. This is not the case. This image is promotion illustration to give you the feeling of what our current map would look like in real life. It is not forward looking. It is not, and will not be the basis for any future development.

That being said I am so glad that you like the art! Trust us that we have the team to produce work that is even better than what you see in this image. While we will not ever make this exact image. We will make something awesome.

Asymertrical Visual style

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “I’d love it if SR was more asymertrical, I feel like blue and purple/red sides should have some sort of noticeable thematic difference (and if making a red and purple version is too much work, I don’t think anyone would mind getting rid of purple and making colorblind the default.)”

I really like what we did with Howling Abyss. One side has a distinctive Freljord style, and the other side has the silhouette of the Watches. To me this is much more distinct and readable than just a color shift. Great Point.

Follow-up: Art decisions on the Howling Abyss

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: We considered going right to left on Howling abyss. There is a visual hit that you take when you go to that orientation. It was eventually abandoned in favor of something more similar to the old Proving Grounds map. But I agree with you there are some design advantages to that decision. It is an even harder problem in the context of SR. If you flatten out the mid lane by rotating the map 45 degrees, you put the top and bottom lanes at 45 degree angles instead.

Concerning Lanterns, our current approach to environment art is to do as much unique custom art as is possible so seeing one prop so much that it is annoying is probably not going to happen anymore.

Weather effects, destructible environments

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “I would love to see destructible environments, night and day cycles that are noticeable and weather effects like rain, snow and dust storms. Hazardous environments would be cool. And things on the map that act randomly that can push, root and knock up your champ in a non predictable manner. All of which impact game play in some form or another. Like dust storms could limit your view distance as would night. Snow could cause your champ to slide a bit. Lightning that would randomly reveal the fog of war in some parts of the map. Or acid rain that randomly leaves puddles on the ground that could damage you if walked on for a set amount of time”

Great ideas. Some of these have been on our radar for a while. We are trying to find the right application for varient gameplay modes.

Follow-up: Clarifying the statement

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: We will not add any novel gameplay into SR. We believe in the integrity of the map. Adding environmental Hazards, incidental changes to the fog of war, random events of any kind are completely out of the question.

The context of my comment was if we would ever add those ideas to any map, which we might. Most likely in the context of a brand new map variant. But we have no plans to do so.

Bring the towers from Howling Abyss to Summoner’s Rift

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “The towers on Howling Abyss are profoundly awesome though — they should be considered as a basis for a new iteration”

I am glad you liked those towers. We were initially going to add them in a future patch, but one of the artists here felt like Howling abyss would be much better if they were included in the initial shipped level. He busted his butt to get them in and I think the map is much better for it.

That being said we would not use them as the basis for future towers because they are themed for the story of Howling Abyss. If you look at the towers you will see a lot of details that explain the conflict between the Watchers and the Ice-born. We intend for future towers will be specific to the context in which they will be used.

There have been several posts that focus on speculation about potential future projects. I would prefer that we keep this discussion to feedback on Summoner’s Rift. What do you like about the map? What would you like to see changed? If you could change something, what would you change it to be?

Visual improvements to Dragon

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: “Dragon should look like it comes from the same fantasy world as Shyvana.

Seriously, their anatomies are completely different. You guys need to decide if dragons in Valoran have two legs or four legs. There is very little consistency in this game’s art sometimes”

We actually deliberately try to separate creatures from champions. We want to keep Shyvanna’s dragon form unique to Shyvanna. I agree with you about consistancy. From an Environment perspective we are working to create a cohesive look to our maps, and that is going to be a ongoing effort.

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires August 5th

Sale August 5

Enjoy the following champions and skins at a discount until August 5th!


  • Malphite – 292 RP
  • Malzahar – 440 RP
  • Syndra – 487 RP

Defender Leona – 375 RP

Defender Leona

Galactic Nasus – 260 RP

Galactic Nasus

Nemesis Jax – 487 RP

Nemesis Jax

Missed any recent updates? Check here!

Patch 3.10 – Big Changes to Elise/Master Yi/Ryze/TF, New MR Items, Jungle Nerfs // Rioters discuss Skarner and Rengar!

Ask Lyte: Positive/Negative Players and State of Tribunal; Spellbreaker removed, Tristana’s E and Season 4 Changes!

PBE: Nerfs to Vayne and AP Lucian, Xypherous on Phage, Arcane Helix, LoL’s New Site, Update to Olaf’s Kit and the latest Sale!

PBE Updates explained, Morello on Janna/Aura items, Xelnath examines Rengar, Future Caitlyn

PBE: Golem Spirit Nerf, Morello on Poppy/Karma/TF/Jungle Issues, New Rengar buffs

Jayce banner


Xypherous brings the hammer down on Jayce with nerfs on the PBE, IronStylus talks future visual updates, LCS goodies in the store, CrabWizard sinks his claws into the new Sales policies and the latest Champion/Skin Sale!


Future Content: Reworks and Visual Updates

PBE: Jayce Ability Rework

LCS Icons and Bundles in Store

Changes to upcoming Sales

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires July 15th




Riot logo decorationFuture Content: Reworks and Visual Updates


IronStylus gives us a list of the next champions to receive extensive updates.






IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: There indeed is a lot to be learned from our experiences on each of these characters. Going forward we’ve incorporated a lot of input we’ve received, internally and externally in regards to each character you mention.


However, as I’ve said before, Relaunch is essentially live balance for art and thematics. It’s changes made to a character for the holistic health of the game artistically, mechanically, and with greater concern for the IP. Currently there are significant outliers in consistency, visually, thematically, story wise, and gameplay. The goal of Relaunch is to correct those outliers and bring them back in line, where applicable, to address the core of how we want to portray these characters. Skins don’t address these core issues with the champion. Skins are aesthetic choices, not fundamental character balancing.

A while back, champions were never really created with goals in mind. Only recently did we start establishing goals such as established/desired player psychology, what fantasy we are trying to fulfill, how effectively are we allowing a player to roleplay that fantasy, and how generally fulfilling is that character inside the space we want it to occupy. With these directives going forward, we’re applying them retroactively also. Case in point, Relaunch. Older champions are now subjected to the same goal creation/adherence process that new champions go through. The aim is to make them look better, be more compelling/contextually concise, and play better.

I would put Viegar, Malzahar, etc, in a Master Yi tier of relaunch.

Here’s the general tier list of VU/Relaunch which is in my brain at the moment.

This is in no way written in stone, but using what precedents have been set can inform the levels of VU or outright rework might be in store for certain characters. This is a comparison list of what has been done,not necessarily how things will be done going forward, but some parallels apply:

Trundle – Full character relaunch. Hard reboot, consists of complete visual, thematic, and complete gameplay overhaul.

Sion (?) - SPECULATORY/SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Heavy visual upgrages, possible change in thematics, major gameplay changes.*

Karma – Character “Chapter 2″ relaunch. Soft reboot, consists of evolving visuals, thematic continuation of current story, major gameplay changes.

Sivir (?) - SPECULATORY/SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Heavy visual upgrades, possible change in thematics, minor game play changes.*

Master Yi – VU + Kit rework relaunch. Upgrading of existing visuals along the same lines as the original look. Thematic tightening. Major-ish game play changes.

Sejuani – “Corrective” relaunch. Adjustment of visuals to match thematic goals. Solidifying of themes and storyline, some gameplay changes.

Nidalee/Annie/Twisted Fate/Ashe/Soraka/etc – Straight VU. Might consist of some tightening here and there. Mostly aesthetic changes. Minor game play tweaks.

This list isn’t really applicable across the board when deciding which character gets which sort of relaunch. It only generally describes the intensity of a particular relaunch, and may vary depending on the character. No character is the same, therefore no solution is the same to solving each’s particular challenges.

*Sion and Sivir are conjecture to a large extent due to how in flux those projects currently are.



What are some champions that, in your opinion, can use a visual update?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusCaitlyn could use some sort of change to bring her in line with the rest of the Piltover champions, even if she remains dapper in her own way.

Irelia is pretty arbitrary in her design, I’d like to see how we can make her definitively Ionian looking. If not, then she just needs some good fidelity upgrades. She’s noodly and has low texture quality currently,

Jarvan is really noisy in game and though I equate him with royalty, i think he could stand to have a little more Demacian flavor injected into him.

Morgana‘s model isn’t the greatest quality at the moment.

Leona could use a pass at her geometry, make her a little less prom-dressy/armored bra wearing.

Quinn could use a simplification pass.



How would you improve Caitlyn’s visuals?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Ever read Lady Mechanika? I’d like to bring a bit of that into her, and retain the “Piltover posh” to her. Right now she feels a bit Willy Wonka. She’s charming, but I’d like to up-tech her just a bit while retaining that charm. I think she could tweak 20% more towards the serious in terms of visuals.




 PBE: Jayce Ability Rework


jayce decoration

Jayce has been pretty problematic on the competitive scene and saw nerfs to his Acceleration Gate in Patch 3.9. Now Xypherous has decided to further tone him down as part of testing.

Remember: This is an experimental build. All of these propositions are subject to change and most likely will. Also, nerf hammer… c’mon, I had to!



XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  A quick heads up here – There is some fairly experimental stuff on Jayce that’s going into the outgoing PBE build. You guys won’t have access to this for a little while as PBE builds timing and pushes, while regular – are always on a ‘as soon as we can’ basis.


You may see some craziness in the next few days from Data Scrapers but this content is really ridiculously rough.

1. Jayce should not ignore resistances.

Yes, I know no one levels up ‘R’ anyway at the moment – but for the moment, let’s pretend that Jayce theoretically shouldn’t ignore your resistances.

2. Jayce’s poke pattern is fairly unhealthy.

Mostly from a fog of war, long range Q+E standpoint.

3. Jayce’s burst shouldn’t hyperscale and his damage shouldn’t be dependent on optimizing really weird obtuse use cases

This mostly pertains to the ‘W’ functionality changes – where people are ‘rolling’ W charges to string together a 6 shot hyper charge. Also, Hyper Charge probably shouldn’t deal 260% damage on a critical strike – or 325% damage on an IE crit strike.

4. No, seriously. A lot of Jayce’s power is locked up in really obtuse cases.

A little bit of why Jayce is so powerful in competitive play and not so much in regular play is the sheer amount of edge cases you have to abuse to get mileage out of Jayce. While some could argue this is mechanical mastery of the champion – a lot of it is simply unintuitive fodder that we should clean up so that his actual intuitive combos are powerful.

So what’s going on?

We’re testing a fairly experimental series of changes designed to shift power away from these three cases and into the rest of his abilities – as well as streamlining some of Jayce’s muddier patterns. In general, Jayce is a decent character to have in the game but the vast majority of his power is locked up in extreme abuse cases at the moment – especially with end game super burst scenarios or long range poke scenarios.

I’ll have some more specifics as we start to refine what we have – but here is a rough list of the major changes:

Passive Statistics

Shifting around his statistics to favor mana regeneration as Jayce should be more of an active laner focused around spells to achieve victory. The shift in regeneration should also compensate for the removal of Mana on Hit from Static Field.




  • HP/5 reduced to 5 from 7
  • HP/5 per Level reduced to 0.5 from 0.7
  • MP/5 increased to 10 from 7
  • MP/5 per level increased to 1.0 from 0.7

Jayce may no longer level Transform but his abilities have 6 ranks.


Hextech_CapacitorHextech Capacitor ( Passive )

* Now additionally grants 5 to 130 magic damage for the first attack after transformation, based on character level.

Moved a portion of his transform passives onto his character passive.Additionally, Hextech Capacitor is weak at character levels 1-3 but stronger at 6 and 9 to smooth out power differences between the fact that he has multi-form abilities and no ultimate.


To_the_Skies!To the Skies ( Q )

* Mana Cost reduced to 30 at all ranks from 40/50/60/70/80
* Damage rescaled to 25/75/125/175/225/275 (+0.6 Bonus) physical damage from 20/65/110/155/200 (+1.0 Bonus) physical damage

To the Skies! had some early game spike power and late game spike power. Normalizing this curve such that you don’t have to stack a ton of early Attack Damage or a ton of late Penetration in order to utilize this ability effectively for burst.


Lightning_FieldStatic Field ( W )

* Passive mana gain on-hit removed.
* Damage rescaled to 60/110/160/210/260/310 (+1) from 100/170/240/310/380 (+1)

* Basic Attacks during static field now deal an additional 10/15/20/25/30/35 (+0.2) magic damage on hit. Numbers even more highly experimental and subject to change on this one.
* Cooldown rescaled to 13/12/11/10/9/8 from 10

Static Field should encourage Jayce to stay in Hammer form and engage on his opponents for prolonged periods of time while his Cannon Transform is unavailable.

Also experimenting with a W -> R -> W swap combo – though the current gameplay is a little unintuitive.


Thundering_BlowThundering Blow ( E )

* Mana cost increased to 85 from 40/50/60/70/80
* Now has a rank 6 that deals 23% health damage and up to 700 magic damage versus minions.

Thundering Blow in top lane was often Jayce’s easy-mode button. If Jayce was in a bad spot – he could simply Thundering Blow to escape. Aggressively gating the Mana Cost on this ability means that eventually, Jayce’s second chances will run out.

However, we wanted to preserve Jayce’s engagement pattern if he chooses to be active – hence the To the Skies! Mana changes.


Mercury_Hammer Transform: Mercury Hammer ( R )

* Now grants 5 to 35 Armor and Magic Resistance, based on character level.


Shock_BlastShock Blast ( Q )

* Damage rescaled to 60/105/150/195/240/285 (+1.2 Bonus) from 60/115/170/225/280 (+1.2 Bonus) - Probably needs to be scaled up a tad.
* Missile Speed increased to 1450 from 1350

* Missile Width decreased to 50 from 60.
* Missile Area of Effect decreased to 160 from 175

* Accelerated Missile Width remains at 60.
* Accelerated Missile Area of Effect decreased to 225 from 250
* Accelerated Shock Blast initial speed increased to 2550 from 2350
* Accelerated Shock blast now decays down to 1550 during flight

Changes here are mostly to increase the dodgability of Shock Blast, especially from fog of war + acceleration gate circumstances.

The acceleration of gate also favors using E after launching Q – as this will give the opponent the smallest amount of time to react.


Hyper_ChargeHyper Charge ( W )

* Damage reduced to 70/80/90/100/110/120% from 70/85/100/115/130%
* Critical strikes now simply add 100% of your total AD to the damage (this can be further modified by critical strike damage) rather than being dependent on the rank of the skill.

* Cooldown rescaled to 14/12/10/8/6/4 from 14/12/10/8/6
* Cooldown now begins when Hyper Charge is fully consumed

* Mana Cost rescaled to 30/38/46/54/62/70 from 40

Hyper Charge harass becomes more dominating depending on the rank of the spell in a lot of cases. Early ranks of Hyper Charge tend to be less than mana efficient in a lot of ways. These changes are designed to reduce some of obtuse abuse cases of Hyper Charge with IE or priming the skill but to also make Hyper Charge’s cost roughly equivalent to its effect.


Acceleration_GateAcceleration Gate ( E )

* Mana Cost reduced to 20 from 50
* Has a 6th rank that increases Movement Speed by 55%.

Jayce brings Acceleration Gate as his primary team utility. The Jayce player should feel confident that his team contribution shouldn’t be necessarily gated by his playstyle or what he is forced to build. The cooldown nerfs in 3.9 should control Gate”s spamminess and uptime – and thus the Mana Cost here seems to be unnecessarily restricting him to Mana intensive builds.


Mercury_CannonTransform: Mercury Cannon ( R )

No longer has an armor and magic resist reducing proc.

This proc effect was mostly unnecessary – while it ensured Jayce made it to late game, the combined effect of the proc means that Jayce effectively ignored far too much of his opponent’s armor than was healthy.



Will Thundering Blow get a damage nerf?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Have not yet decided on if / what Thunder Blow needs to have changed, although with six possible ranks, it seems likely that we can rescale the damage such that per skill point, you are getting less power.

Unsure if he needs it exactly at the moment – as we’re doing quite a bit at once here.



Won’t making Jayce like the old Karma (6-level spells) make him weaker during early game?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Potentially – Jayce differs from old Karma in that he has two abilities he is ranking up base damage for per point.

Karma was ranking up side bonuses with her ranks – while Jayce is levelling both To the Skies! and Shock Blast simultaneously.



Follow-up: Does this change fix his power-curve?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Not particularly. In this case, it’s just a simple recognition that there was no amount of passive power that we could put on Jayce’s Transform level ups to actually make it feel worthwhile to rank up unless we went to ridiculous overpowered passive stat land.

He also didn’t need any *more* complicated mechanics to get him through – so the simplest solution here was to simply stop trying to make Transform a compelling level up and just rebalance his spells around assuming people simply weren’t going to put points in Transform anyway.



Won’t buffing the base damage of To the Skies! make Jayce even harder to deal with?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: I suspect that this is true somewhat – though lane tests right now seem to indicate that Jayce really needs to use all his abilities well in order to do well. We have a couple of other minor changes as well such as reducing his health regeneration in favor of more mana regeneration as he should really win the lane by using his abilities on you a bunch.

I’m not sure I have a whole lot to assuage your fears, other than the fact that I just ripped off 1.0 Bonus AD scaling from his Q, reduced the levelups on his ‘W’ TAD scaling, roughly 5% armor shred in his early game. While I’m sure that Jayce will have a great deal of magic damage punch to him in his Hammer form – I’m not sure that his first couple of purchases will actually cause the lane to be unconquerable.

Essentially – I do think he will be harder to itemize against but most of the changes are targetted at limiting abuse cases when he’s ahead and figuring out where the balance lies in that paradigm.



 Are these nerfs aimed at FotM Jayce?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  The FoTM Jayce is a good playstyle – it just needs a bit more counterplay – which is why we opted to really target some of the more esoteric high end abuse cases like ‘W’ priming.




How about making the Accelerated Shock Blast (E+Q) a single target skillshot?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Oh - Interesting.

So, the unfocused ball hits the gate and turns into a piercing beam?

That kind of change I definitely can’t get out in the timeframe required for this change – but that’s actually something we should look into as to whether that pattern makes more sense.



Follow-up: Won’t this just make it a 1000 MP/H Nidalee Spear?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  It is terrifying notion – but the benefits are that it opens up space for both unempowered Q and empowered Q to be satisfying without one drastically outclassing the other.

It would also mean that then we have additional space to play around with Acceleration Gate duration / cooldown to open up some space as right now Gun Q isn’t actually a spell, since it’s Gun Q + E that is theactual spell and thus the cooldown / conditions of ‘E’ tie directly into Q’s satisfaction level.

For example, if Q by itself was satisfying – you could put an absolutely ridiculous cooldown and duration on Acceleration Gate. You could make the Gate last 12 seconds and have a 40 second cooldown – because now normal Q’s and empowered Q’s have a purpose – which would actually open up a lot of interesting team cases without making Jayce ‘Team Speed Up all the Time’ guy – but rather Jayce brings ‘Giant Semi-Perma Zone Control in a Team Fight’ guy – or you could set up a siege and start peppering multiple empowered Q’s forward – but as soon as that Gate drops, you know you can rush Jayce, etc.



 Can the Accelerated Shock Blast not deal damage when it reaches the end of its range?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I have not currently tinkered with that – that might be an interesting change if we deem it necessary, although at the moment I want to tackle the fog of war reaction issue first.




 Are you worried that Jayce players will then max W over Q and E?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I suspect that’s kind of what you should do on Live right now, given the Acceleration Gate changes in 3.9.

So.. not particularly, as it can’t be worse than the current optimal Jayce style.



 Any plans to change/rework Jayce’s current passive?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I have no idea why the flat speed boost is there – but I suspect it’s there to actually cover a bit for the mind-share it takes to transform mid-fight.

As in – it does take more planning and execution to perform swap combos as Jayce – thus the additional movement speed and ghost allows for a bit of grace in terms of mental mind share allowing you to focus on the combo, rather than mouse moving while doing so.

It also has some way additional side benefits in making the transform “feel” right from a visual perspective. Because Jayce changes his walking posture – intuitively, you think that Jayce has slowed down because his center changes.

Agreed that the ghost effect is probably superfluous – but there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to remove it. I also agree that the shifting to lane case is a bit odd but outside of it feeling silly I don’t see negative implications to it.



Isn’t the new W underwhelming for a 6-level spell?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Currently testing at 75%/80%/85%/90%/95%/100% and cooldown from 13/11/9/7/5/3.

Essentially – max rank ‘W’ right now is ‘You have roughly 2.5 Attack Speed while you are in Cannon form’

And.. oddly enough, as ridiculous as that sounds – still far weaker than live due to the priming use case.



Won’t he lose too much damage with these changes?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Hammer ‘W’ adds on-hit magic damage regardless of what form he is in, so Static Field –> Switch –> Hyper Charge makes up for quite a bit of missing damage due to the swap combos (either direction.)




Where are you “shifting the power so that is usable for the vast majority of players”?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  While I’m not listing all of the numerical rebalancing because frankly, it’s going to flux – from the original post there are these following comments:

  • Hammer form simply gives free resistances without needing points put into it.
  • Hammer ‘Q’ has drastically increased base damage
  • Hammer ‘W’ has a magic on-hit proc that can be used in either form
  • Hammer ‘W’ has reduced cooldown per level

From the followup posts in this thread, I’ve talked about:

- Gun ‘W’ having drastically reduced cooldown per level – but cooldown starting when you consume the procs.
- Shock Blasts ‘Q+E’ combo is agnostic of gate location.

You’re absolutely right that I’m not talking about quite a few numbers that matter at the end of the day to see whether these are nerfs or buffs – because in the end, those will be tuning points we’ll have to use.

Agreed that it’s far far easier to notice what is coming down because they’re the factors currently seeing abuse.



Why are you reworking his kit right after the Patch 3.9 nerfs?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  Yes – those nerfs were substantial band-aid hits to his most powerful build. Considering that Jayce already has a below average win rate for most players – it means that the only Jayce players that will be successful now are the ones who can best abuse Jayce’s obtuse strengths.

Which means that if we let the nerfs settle in without changing his kit – only the highest end players will be able to use Jayce. Consider the fact that we haven’t given power back to Jayce anywhere – but only took away power from his best build. Were his other builds viable or playable? General win rate seems to suggest that isn’t so – but currently you’d be crazy to amplify any part of Jayce given that it’ll be a straight buff to the competitive Jayce build.



Are you trying to remove Jayce’s potential as an AD Carry or Caster?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  To a certain extent, yes.

Currently, the glass DPS form of Jayce doesn’t seem to be providing a ton of healthy gameplay overall – regardless of how strong or weak it is at various brackets, because it seems to emphasize excessive amounts of physical burst, coupled with an inability to build Armor to resist it – with team mobility.



Problems with the new Jayce build


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  Feedback! Awesome.

Again – still not sure when you’re going to get this on the PBE but hopefully we can really hammer on this until Jayce reaches a state where people are comfortable with his style.

Let me talk about some of the points raised here and my initial responses to the changelist proposed:

To The Skies!

I’m running into two problems here – his additional AD ratio on To the Skies! early is creating a large early game spike due to how much flat AD you can stack early – and his AD ratio on To the Skies! late is creating a bigger later-game spike after his full penetration / AD build becomes.

If To The Skies! is supposed to be a good way to melee all-in – having the ability so heavily dependent on the AD ratio for the damage seems odd as it means that Jayce is effective when he’s ahead but fairly poor when he’s behind.

Jayce’s AD ratios late game are fairly ridiculous at the moment – we have to tone this down somehow but there are alternate solutions here.

Okay, so listening to reason here, simply toning down the AD ratio and give it higher base damages, especially with later ranks while keeping it physical damage
 should accomplish what I want it to do – while trying to attack both of the problems listed.

Great - This is why I talk to you guys early because I’m being reckless. Moving on.

Transform Abilities and the oddities of level 6

One of the problems with transform character is that their power level at 6 / 9 get heavily out of sync with other champions.

Hextech Capacitor will add magic damage on changing to either form – and that Hammer will provide passive resistanecs – but with non-linear scaling I can probably add a spike here in resistances / proc damage that will help curb some of the level 6 power here.

Removing the shred will tackle a lot of his abusive power – which means that the Capacitor can hopefully inherit this power.

We’ll also need to remove some of the early level 1 to 3 power – so the curve on Hextech Capacitor should probably spike at 4/6/9 – so I’m going to try something like 5/5/5/20/20/20/40/40/40/65/65/65/95/95/95/130/130/130 magic damage first.

Hextech Capacitor and Hammer Form Resistances will get a spike in power at level 6 and 9 to help smooth out this curve.

Hyper Charge

Starting with 75%/80%/85%/90%/95%/100% may be too drastic for an initial pass – However, the goal here is to really put some power into hammer form as well – rather than a complete hyperscale form based on how many ratios you have.

It’s hard to gauge how much of the power here in lane is from the heavy level-ups on the skill combined with the increase in AD – I’ll try a smoother curve for the first iteration.

The problem case with Hyper Charge is how powerful the lane poke can be and how powerful the late game power can be – however, with 6 ranks in the skill and the new CD formula, I can actually change the levelups on this quite a fact.

Hyper Charge adjusted to – 70/80/90/100/110/120%.
Hyper Charge now deals 100% bonus damage on critical strike, rather than multiplying the whole attack.
Hyper Charge CD adjusted to 13/11/9/7/5/3 – CD starts after the cast finishes.

Let me update the initial post with the key points.





Button Rioter Xypherous:  Quote:
Blind responses (ie, without being able to see them in action):- Reducing his health regen while expecting him to be in melee more seems problematic

 Mana related starts such as Faerie charm is heavily hindered by this change – resulting in a need to purchase early sustain related items. Itemizing right out of the gate for Mana will be poor and generally ineffective due to the need to cover your health bases far more than mana, if aggressively trading.

Trading 2 hp/5 for 3 mp/5 means that you should probably consider starting with sustain related opening moves.

- TTS seems undertuned; at max rank he’ll do less damage if he has 188 or more AD (roughly a bloodthirster or manamune on top of base)

TTS is/has always been bonus AD scaling – so it’s 188 bonus attack damage that it evens out at, so basically a full bloodthirster and manamune and last whisper.

But it’s laaate.

- Thundering Blow: Punishes early game, pushes him even more into continued reliance on tear / manamune, which will marginalize the impact of this change.

Almost every other ability had mana costs reduced for normal Thundering Blow cadence. Repeated Thundering Blow cadence without hard engaging with other spells will almost certainly be OOM.

- Hypercharge – Still seems spammy, mana cost seems prohibitive (once again forcing him into tear builds).

Pure ranged poke + thundering blow pattern will require a lot more mana – certainly true. Builds focused around To the Skies! and aggressive trading will not – ideally.

Accel Gate + Shock Blast combos are also reduced in total cost.

This is the most unrelenting safe attack pattern – so if you want to be safe consistently – you’ll probably be forced into heavy mana.

- Transform: Mercury Cannon – Another nerf. Shred will be missed, but no real opinion beyond that.

Proc is mostly unused power here from players.

If acquired early, mostly a trap to put points into until late.




LCS Summoner Icons + Bundle now available!


lcs banner

The new LCS icons are up for sale! Aaand the price is rather… displeasing.



Magus Button Rioter Magus: Summoners,

During the break we saw five new teams enter the LCS after winning their promotion series. With so much new blood in the LCS waters, the top teams continue to fight for every advantage as they move closer to the Season 3 World Championships.

In the spirit of this rising competition, you can show support for your favorite team by grabbing an official team logo Summoner Icon for any of the North American and European LCS teams in the Summer Split.

When we introduced these Summoner Icons on the PBE, we got a ton of insightful feedback. One thing everyone seemed to notice was that if you follow all teams equally, or if the idea of splitting allegiances makes you squirm, it was hard to collect all of the icons. As a result, we’re introducing new icon bundles that’ll help you pick up all of the Season 3 icons with fewer clicks.

Both of the EU and NA LCS bundles are 1600 RP each, which is 20% off the regular price for the 8 Summoner Icons included in the bundles. You can snag all 16 icons in the Summer Split Bundle for 3000 RP (25% off the regular 4000 RP price).

These icons are now available in the store until the end of the split for 250 RP, and are permanently added to your account. When you purchase a team icon, 20% of the price goes directly to that team as a bonus and the other 80% goes to support esports (prizes, salaries, events, streaming).

To show off your team pride, all Summoner Icons–including the new esports team icons–will be shown on the loading screen before each match.

These LCS team Summoner Icons will be available in the store until the end of the 2013 Summer Split, so support your favorite teams today!


LCS Icons – Support your Team


What do you think of the icon price tags- 250 RP for an icon, 1600 for an 8-icon bundle, 3000 to catch them all? Share below!



 Changes to Sales coming soon!


Skin Sale Decoration

Riot’s newest eCommerce associate, WizardCrab, is here to talk about the on-going plans to handle sales



WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: Hey all!

I’m the new associate in eCommerce here at Riot and I wanted to make my presence on the forums known! I’m happy to talk about anything regarding the semi-weekly champion and skin sales, F2P rotations, new flexible cost bundles, life, football (American), curling, why water chestnuts are the worst, why League needs more Crab-type champions, dogs, cats, east coast living, west coast living, the growing issue of crab underrepresentation in Congress, mini golf, advantages of walking sideways, and I suppose League of Legends. Or whatever.

I’d first like to let you in on a couple of changes regarding the semi-weekly champion and skin sales. I’d like to make the selection criteria a little more transparent. First off, every champion sale will include:

  • 1 975 RP champion
  • 1 880 RP champion
  • 1 790 RP or lower champion

The skins sales will be a little more complicated, so bear with me. Skin sales will now generally follow a pattern over the course of 2 weeks (4 sales):

Sale 1

  • 975 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 2

  • 975 RP skin
  • 1350 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 3

  • 975 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 4

  • 975 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

This is our attempt to fulfill two main goals with the sales. The first is to get through all of the eligible champions and skins within a semi-reasonable amount of time. The second is to avoid having some weeks of all high tier item sales followed by weeks of all low tier item sales. We would like a more moderate spread every week, and think you might like that too.

I also wanted to let you know that we are planning on releasing some 1350 RP skins in the coming months. With these releases we currently plan on having an initial sale for the first few days at 975 RP.

Anyway, feel free to use this thread to discuss the new sales system or ask me questions about anything (especially the topics above)!



Will you put 1350 skins or legendary skins on sale in the future?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: 1350 skins will go on sale as I outlined. Legendary skins will not go on sale. There are no 1350 Legendary skins (in fact the only Legendary skin that isn’t 1820 is Surprise Party Fiddlesticks). If you’re referring to the three skins that were once 1820 and are now 1350, they are no longer considered legendary and are eligible for sales!



 Will these sales be consistent after the 2 weeks?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  Yes, this will be the new policy moving forward.





Do you plan to increase the number of champions/skins per sale to 4?


 WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  We don’t plan on adding more champions or skins to these sales. But one of the biggest reasons why we added the new bundles was in order to help people get access to more content at reduced price points. And the new schedule should help in general.




Will you put forgotten/aging skins on sale?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  I know there have been a number of highly sought after skins that have not yet been on sale. I’m trying to get them on sale as soon as I can. That’s why I say one of the goals is to get all of the skins on sale. Please don’t expect that I can suddenly put them all up on sale immediately, but I really hope the upcoming sales will speak for themselves.



Any news on the lifetime RP purchase rewards?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: It’s still a priority but we really don’t have an ETA. There are a number of other pieces that need to fall into place before we an make this happen in an awesome way.




Why doesn’t this sale include 975 RP champions?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  I haven’t actually started this system with the champion sales yet. But it begins on the following sale.




How will you handle the new bundle sales?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  We’re going to try to put out a new set of limited-time bundles out once per month.





 Champion/Skin Sale – expires July 15th


Sale 15 July

Get the following champions and skins at a discount before 15th July!



  • Miss Fortune – 440 RP
  • Pantheon – 395 RP
  • Vayne – 440 RP



Full Metal Rammus – 487 RP


Full Metal Rammus


High Command Katarina – 375 RP


High Command Katarina


Road Warrior Miss Fortune – 260 RP


Road Warrior Miss Fortune



IMPORTANT: Justin Carter was released from prison after an anonymous person paid the 500 000$ bail cost. The trial is scheduled for next year and he can still face 10 years behind bars, but he’s free until then. The petition, although no longer required, still shows support for his case and has already gathered 125k votes.


Heimey gonna fix yo servers!


Join for a lengthy discussion on Europe West‘s recent server overload and the consequent 20-win IP Boost reward! Also, check out Damiya‘s explanation on the PvP Client instability as well as the latest Champion/Skin sale!


AMA – EUW Server Issues
> Server Instability
> Player-focused
> Non-related questions
PvP  Client
Champion/Skin Sale



AMA – EUW Server Issues


Rioters Demorphic, Riot tmx, sonicdeathriot, ScottThruDaHeart, Riot Pwyff and Riot Banksy discuss the recent server instability on EUW and the 20 win IP-boost compensation that’s now being sent to accounts affected by the issue.



demorphic Button Rioter Demorphic: Hi everyone!

I’m Matt “Demorphic” Elliot, and as promised we will be kicking off an AMA today at 6pm UK time with three members of Riot’s senior technology leadership:


Scott “Scott Thru The Heart” Gelb, Vice President of Technology Ron “sonicdeathriot” Williams, Vice President of Operations David “RiotBanksy” Banks, Technical Director.

Joining us will also be Tomasz “Riot tmx” Ankudowicz, our Live Services Producer for Europe.


We’re here to talk with you about the recent service disruptions you’ve experienced on EUW, and to answer any questions you have about how the League of Legends service operates, and why it sometimes breaks badly.

I’d humbly ask that you focus your questions on the service/technology side – the Rioters with me today are super busy working on improving the network infrastructure behind League of Legends to avoid issues like this in the future, and they don’t often get a chance to hop in and take your questions.

They will also be fielding questions from multiple European languages, so please bear with us. Realistically we will not be able to answer all questions live. However, we have commited to following up this session with a more comprehensive set of questions and answers before this coming weekend.

We’re going to be doing more deliberate community communication like this moving forward – we understand that not getting this kind of face time with the team at Riot HQ is also a big point of pain for EU players, and we hope this is a valuable step in the right direction.

Please kick things off and we will be jumping in at 6pm UK time. You then have our undivided attention for 2 hours. So fire away!



EUW Server Instability



How will you communicate with EUW players during technical issues?


Riot tmx Button Rioter Riot tmx: Beside keeping the platform in good health, communication is our main goal. It always was, but we know we didn’t really do great job here. So, about plans:

1) We’re working on standardizing Live Incident communication in all languages. These will be high quality, automated and localized announcements posted regularly during the incident and we know it’s going to work better, than our current system. We’re still finalizing the scripts.

2) We introduced new program called Post-Incident Messaging. Every time our platforms come through the issues, we’re going to tell you about it within next 24-48 hours. We will summarize our efforts, tell you what we’ve done, what kind of problems we noticed, what was the impact and how did we mitigate the incident. We will be actively answering all your questions and we really want to put our best effort into this.

3) We’re also working on improving the communication within the client, as we know that some players don’t even check forums for service status. More info coming soon.



Any plans on avoiding future EUW server overloads?


sonicdeathriotButton Rioter sonicdeathriot: Service quality across the many regions League of Legends runs is actually about the same when looked across a full year of data, however sometimes a certain region will have a bad run of issues that can last several days.  Also, when issues happen our biggest regions do tend to have extra player impact when issues occur.  This is due mainly to:


1. When a big region has an issue that kicks a lot of players out of the game or off the platform it puts a lot of stress on the systems that let players back into the system.  This creates complications that lead to the need for us to limit the number of players per second we can let back into the service which means in large outages it can take several hours to let everyone back into the service.   Also when this kind of load is placed on the system it can sometimes create secondary issues that will extend the unplanned downtime.   There is a lot of work going on in our Operations and Development teams to greatly increase how many players per second we can let into the service and also improve the stability of the service when it is under stress when huge numbers of players are trying to log back in after an outage at peak times.

2. Our biggest regions like EUW are also our most complicated infrastructures to maintain.  This means that new release can take longer to deploy, troubleshooting problems can take longer, and there are just more things that can break, be misconfigured, or have other issues.   EUW and EU Nordic are both currently being rebuilt in Amsterdam on brand new servers, network, and secuirty gear (note that game servers will continue to be availble in Frankfurt with even more being added in Amsterdam).  This will give players the latest architecture we have been testing for the last several months to ensure EUW and EU Nordic can continue to grow larger and have even better service stability.  It is a huge undertaking but coming soon.



sonicdeathriot Button Rioter sonicdeathriot: I wanted to share a big wall of text for anybody who’d like to go deeper into the tech today. This write-up describes some of the big problems that were impacting all the regions in Europe (and other platforms outside of Europe) until about mid-April (and more recently for Korea):


EU Core Switch Summary

Since late October there have been several major outages in Europe that were related to scaling problem with our core switches in Frankfurt.  Our Korea players also suffered from this issue recently along with some other painful problems.  Last week we finally figured out the root cause of this painful issue.  The root cause around the malfunction of the core network switches was that our game servers were redundantly connected with two network interface cards (NIC) that were setup in an active/active load balancing mechanism we use in all of our environments around the world.* The network load balancing was accomplished through the use of a “smart” algorithm that dynamically moved traffic from one NIC to the other.* Since each server was connected to the network twice, every time the server flipped its active NIC, the entire Europe network would have to change its network packet forwarding tables to account for the change.* Specifically the MAC address table inside the switches needed to be updated constantly.* Typically updating a MAC address table isn’t as issue with just a few servers, but it becomes an issue as the server count increases when those severs are using “smart” load balancing. * When the game servers change their active NIC this has to be propagated across the entire network.* It starts from the top of rack switch that the server is directly connected to, sends the change to the core network switches and then is distributed out to all devices connected to the network.  As network traffic increases, the servers will swap the active NIC more often to distribute the load, which causes the MAC address tables to be updated at a rate that cannot be handled by the core network switches.*  In the case of our  Eruope (and Korea) game servers this means the MAC address table was updating millions of times per second during peak playtimes.  North America was spared this pain because we have fewer game servers on the core switches than we do in Europe (or Korea).


This is where the network flooding starts that would eventually crash the core switches that support the entire Eruope service. *Inside the core network switch, the MAC address table stores a MAC address mapped to a physical network port that is uses for forwarding and filtering network traffic. **As the rate of updates exceeds the capability of the switch, the switch falls back into a fail-safe mode where it sends the packets to all ports on the switch.* Traffic that is normally only sent to the destination that it addressed for, is now being broadcasted across the entire environment.* As a result all of our servers started getting lots of unneeded network traffic.** This had the net effect of essentially creating a denial of service attack across the entire network.* Welcome to meltdown city. *And when the core switches crashed they did not keep any diagnostic information we could access to help troubleshoot the problem.


To mitigate the above issue, we have done a few things:

1.*******Short Term Fix: *Disable secondary NICs on the game servers.  The idea behind this is that if there is 1 NIC and 1 related MAC address per game server (instead of 2), this completely removes the possibility of traffic jumping around from one NIC to the other.* The network will no longer have to update itself as a result of any server side load balancing.

2.*******Long Term Fix: Change the environment to use active/passive failover on the NICs.* The server will have a backup connection but it will only use it in the case of the primary path failing.* This will stabilize the environment greatly but still allow us to provide high availability in the case of a localized failure.


3.*******Upgrade the core network infrastructure with hardware that can handle a huge amount of additional load.* Why not, I mean, more power is better, right?!
a.       Upgrade the core switches so if we get surprised again with extra traffic for whatever reason, we are ready for it. *Different designs can keep up better with MAC address table updates which would allow us to better handle the load should something similar happen in the future.*
b.       An improved design will also reduce the chance of one switch failure crashing everything in the data center.


Current Actions:

We have been working on a daily basis with our network switch vendor (the same one used by the leading Internet companies and other leading websites). During the outages we’ve been passing the switch vendor logs we gather as we make changes to the Europe (and Korea) network infrastructure, and have been working alongside of them to diagnose the root cause of why the core switch isn’t able to handle the rate of change to the MAC address table. * We have also been working with the vendor to expedite the new network gear to upgrade Europe’s network, gear we placed orders for several weeks ago, but due to the very big capacity of this new network gear, it is built to order by the manufacture.  Some of this gear is already in installed and has helped stablize EUW and EU Nordic’s network since mid-April 2013.

We are sorry of this inconvenience, it has been a very difficult problem to track down and fix.  We have learned from this issue and are building a better network to protect the quality of the service in Eruope and in our other service areas.



Will this time communication between Rioters and EUW Community be better?


Riot tmx Button Rioter Riot tmx: Since we’re in Europe and we work on LoL in 10 different languages, it’s quite demanding to support forums in all languages the way we all wish. We have our Community department, but we feel it’s not enough. Obviously we’re going to improve and we’ll eventually reach our point, but it’s quite different comparing to our US HQ, where most of Rioters speak and comment in English.


Our plan for this is to encourage the entire Dublin office to be more active on forums: to be part of discussions, to talk to you about champions, new maps and other features. Obviously we’re all swamped with our daily work, but being active on forums is another part of our work. And we want to be closer to our community, for sure. Also, we’re actively hiring more folks to our Community department in all languages, so this should be noticeable pretty soon.



Any plans on splitting the EUW servers?


ScottThruDaHeart Button Rioter ScottThruDaHeart: We currently do not have plans to split the EU-West platform. We are constantly upgrading the infrastructure and adding additional capacity to support the growth of EU-West, one of the largest League of Legends regions in the world. We recently addressed one of the technical challenges we’ve faced with the scale of our core network. Ron Williams, our VP of Operations, is going into more detail on the specific issue and how we’ve solved it in a separate post (…23700#11923700). We have engineers working around the clock to fix the stability issues and dedicated teams that are focused on scaling our systems proactively to support the live service.



Riot tmx Button Rioter Riot tmx: We don’t want to split EUW, I think this has been messaged out already. What we do instead  is to improve our infrastructure even more. We already have top quality devices in place, but life brings us new solutions every month and we’re constantly upgrading our systems.



We recently performed large maintenance in the Frankfurt data center where we completely re-designed our network infrastructure or replaced all the database drives with the high-end solutions. It all gives us some additional power and if you take a look a year or two behind, we’re now able to provide service for over 100% more players comparing to the past. Also, not sure if you noticed, getting back on EUW platform is now quicker than ever, as we’re able to throttle players in much faster in the peak times or during the incidents



Will you be able to react to such problems faster?


Riot tmx  Button Rioter Riot tmx: Yes, we know this can be improved on our side. First decision the live producer takes after getting alerts about serious incident is to turn on the Compensation Mode. We always do it, and, if executed properly, your loss should be prevented. If it’s not, that means we pushed the button a bit too late and that’s completely on us. We understand the importance of this compensation though and always think about your disrupted games.



Communication, troubleshooting & compensations


Riot PwyffButton Rioter Riot Pwyff: While this is a very tech-focused AMA (given our subject matter experts), there was a specific wall of text that hit some good points, so we’ll try to address those. I’ll note here that this is outside of the scope of the AMA but silence can sometimes be interpreted as being ignored and that’s absolutely not the case.
Side note: Demorphic will be addressing compensation in this AMA, so that won’t be covered here. Just trying to get some other information out there.


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
Let me start of by giving my opinion on EU forums. I don’t really care that much for red activity. Most development or policy insights are only available from the NA devs, and those don’t post here (more on that below). I also don’t particularly care whether community coordinator X likes champion Y, or whether she will play ARAMs with the community now. Those posts are nice to have though. What I care about in EU is reaction to incidents. When there is something many people care about, there should be a red response. If the servers go down, we want that to be acknowledged within an hour. Sure, there is no hope to beat the hundreds of reddit threads that will pop up, and the “better give NA RP” joke is getting super old really fast, but sometimes it (feels like it) takes two or three hours until there is something going on in the service status forums. During the incidents over the Pentecost weekend, the responses felt super delayed at times. If the server just disconnects for a minute and then there is a small queue for 20 minutes, that is maybe not something that needs to be discussed, but if this happens very frequently, or the downtime exceeds a few minutes, there should be a red post.


Communication on live incidents has been a pain point for you, and that’s something we’re looking to fix in the long term. Going to echo something Riot tmx mentioned in an earlier post: “We’re working on standardizing Live Incident communication in all languages. These will be high quality, automated and localized announcements posted regularly during the incident and we know it’s going to work better, than our current system. We’re still finalizing the scripts.”
So things are on the horizon to address this!


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
Or take the recent discussion about Riot Korea giving out Silent Night Sona. A lot of people wanted to know what happened here. It was very obvious that the problems in EU had reached the point that some compensation would be handed out, and, in retrospect, it was also very obvious that Riot Korea caught you out cold there. However, it should not take eight or nine hours for a response to come in. When angry threads flare up before noon, then people expect an answer during normal office times, and not late in the evening. This answer does not have to be comprehensive, but a quick “I can confirm that KR gets X, we can’t say anything for EU yet, hang on” would be nice. Also keep in mind that you are already an hour behind the majority of the EU crowd. If a response is not out at 7 pm UK time, many people on the continent will be back from work and: no red response yet… Maybe another problem here is that you (Riot) refrain from posting, because you feel that a red response carries so much weight what it has to wait until everything is ironed out. I feel that this problem could be ameliorated a bit by having more “fluff” posting going on. Because then it’s “Oh, Demorphic said something about X issue” instead of “This is one of five Riot posts in the last three days. It *must* be super important and it *must* have gone through all kinds of review”. Haven’t thought this really through, though.


Waiting too long to respond to issues in an official capacity is a tricky subject, but on your point (that sometimes we wait too long and are too careful) is a valid one. Speeding this up and getting you the right information as it develops is something we really want to bolster going forward, although I will note we did basically say that “I can confirm that KR gets X, we can’t say anything for EU yet, hang on” on that day!


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
By the way, I agree with the decision not to give out a limited skin (even though I don’t have it and I really like it). The IP boost is okay, although I feel that a 10 win boost and some monetary or other gesture would have been nice (maybe 200 RP, or Aatrox going on sale the first week or something). Personally, I don’t care about a small amount of RP (I can buy those, after all), I care more about the gesture of saying that the recent incident were more serious than a normal cluster of downtime with the associated 4-win IP boost. I do feel though that Riot needs to teach their departments more to think about the impact of their decisions on the other regions. Obviously, Riot KR did not think about the angry crowd popping up in Europe. Or two weeks ago, when some NA dev made a poll on what the community wanted the Madred’s proc to be, this happened only on NA. No big deal, and I think people blow this out of proportion, but still: There is this nicking feeling: Why not here too? Such polls never happen in EU (okay, it happened once, and then angry NA players forced a sister conversation on NA).


Also valid. I’ll add one caveat here in that our designers do tend to go “heads down” on their work, so asking them to stay cognizant of a global communication strategy in addition to their work is a tough one. That’s certainly not an excuse, however, and it’s something we’re actively working on. To give some concrete examples to that, we have people working directly with our live designers to bolster their communications, but it’s an ongoing process.


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
A thing that is being brought up all the time is that most dev interaction is centralized on NA. Some devs, e.g., Morello, have explicitly said that they will only read NA General Discussion. While it certainly is annoying, I can understand that most devs can not handle the logistics of keeping multiple conversations over multiple boards. Since everyone is free to post on the NA boards (and Riot is not being overly zealous with the inactivity purges), I think it’s okay the way it is. I think that it’s a laudable effort of Xelnath to talk about the Xerath changes on multiple boards, but I can see that this won’t work for the high-level devs that have to talk about a lot of stuff. For a while, we had FeralPony and Meddler as the dedicated EU devs, but that seems to have died down to intermittent “batch mode” posting. Still, I can live with the current solution. It’s surprisingly easy to get something out of Morello when you have the right timing.


As you’ve noted, bandwidth is a huge issue for key designers that you want to talk to and I understand there are frustrations with the situation being something like “go to Twitter to talk to Morello!” or “Time your windows with Xypherous being on the NA forums to chat with him!” and so forth. That said, this is such a broad issue that it can be difficult to mandate a single solution without completely burning everyone out (IE: Posting schedules, etc). A very small part of me wants to say that communication is a two way street, so making an effort to go to someone is part of it, but sometimes that’s not a great experience for you and I get that. What I can say on this front is that it’s something we’re aware of, but the issue is fairly deep. Not a great answer here but we’d like to work with you to get there.


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
Do you agree with my assessment that EU summoners can sometimes feel a bit behind when seeing all those things play out against them (even though none of the decisions and issues behind these things are *meant* to screw EU)? If yes, can you think of ways to give *us* something cool, given that changing most of the things I outlined above seems either pointless or useless, seen from a cost/benefit point of view?


This is a super leading question! Being very careful here, I would just say that making you feel unique is far more important than making you feel like you’re ahead or behind any other region. It’s on that note that I won’t try to debate you on points that you feel EUW was left behind because that will inevitably lead me to draw comparisons to other regions and so forth. As I said, being careful here because this is drawing us to some odd conclusions in the first place, but wanted to at least throw out something vague so it doesn’t look like it’s been deliberately skipped.


Originally Posted by abuzeus View Post
Are we going to be in 2011 again? The recent server pains and the increasing frequency of server hiccups makes me fear that there will be capacity issues again. Are there? (Of course it’s not nearly as bad as in 2011. Yet?)


There are some huge plans (including a move to a brand new data center that can handle some fairly staggering capacity loads) in the works, but there will always be hiccups in transition. Just know that we’re consistently pushing to improve our service.



How to resolve lag


sonicdeathriot Button Rioter sonicdeathriot: There are a few things players can do to minimize the chance of lag:




1. Playing through wireless connections increase the chance of running into issues that can create lag.  If you have to play through wireless, try setting your wifi router to a different channel.  Most wifi routers sold ship on the same wireless channel, so if you around other people using wifi it can create interference that will affect the speed of your wifi connection from time to time.


2. Ensure your PC’s network is dedicated as much as possible to the game.  If you are running other programs that use the network like music streaming, video streaming, file downloads, etc. these could be overwhelming your Internet connection for short periods of time.


3.  Make sure you are seeing lag, video card framerate dropping can appear like lag. Check the FPS counter in the upper right corner of the game screen.  If it drops below 20 you could see symptoms that look like lag but are actually related to something overloading your PC’s CPU, memory, or disk resources.  Shut down other things running in the background and if you are constantly seeing low FPS numbers then you might want to consider upgrading your video card or other PC resources.



Can the players help in any way to resolve technical issues?


Riot tmx Button Rioter Riot tmx: Most of the issues are on our side and we’re able to track them down relatively quickly. But sometimes we do ask for Bug Splat logs, tracert/ping details, screenshots, champion bug videos or r3d logs. These might actually be very helpful in the investigation or at least speed things up.




Riot Banksy Button Rioter Riot Banksy: When issues arise, players can always contribute to helping Riot debug.

  • Providing detailed information about what happened from the player’s perspective
  • Including screenshots when appropriate
  • Posting logs from the session

Instructions on how to obtain a DxDiag file
Where to find your game logs






20-win IP boost to compensate


demorphic Button Rioter Demorphic: I want to address the fat elephant in the room: the 20 win IP boost we’re delivering as compensation. We will be going into more details about this during the AMA.

First up though:

We’ve started running the script to add the 20 Win IP Boost to your accounts, but it might take up to 3 days to complete, just because of the large number of players on EUW. Thanks for your patience!



How do you know which players to reward?


Riot tmx Button Rioter Riot tmx: We’re giving this compensation to players who were affected by our poor service. In other words, if you tried to log-in during this period at least once, you’re on our list and you will be compensated. Other story is if you tried to log-in and were unsuccessful for full two weeks. It should not happen, but if you are one of these unlucky players, please contact our Player Support and we will get back to you.



Why IP and not RP for compensation?


Riot Pwyff  Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: I suspect we’ll be answering this multiple times down the road but to reiterate:

We’ve never given RP as a widespread compensation for server instability. There was one case where less than 1% of NA players were unable to access their purchased content for more than a week and we compensated them with RP. To reiterate: we have never given out RP for any server instability in any region.




Originally Posted by Spooned View Post
Yeh, that’s not true at all. As far as I remember, there’s been given out RP two times since ‘League of Legends’ launched (one for 350RP and another for 550RP). I’m sure of the 550RP one, and I even found a link for you: Post by Tryndamere. I’m sure you’re in a better position to inquire for the other.
This was in direct relation to server instability as well, so your statement is completely wrong.


Riot Pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: AM CAUGHT. In this regard I’d rather not argue technicalities (it’s DDoS attacks!), so I’ll just go ahead and eat this humble pie.
Apologies, this is actually a demonstrable case where we’ve given out RP for this specific type of server instability. On that note, giving out RP to our players has problems outside of cost (of which IP boosts actually have a monetary cost as well), so this isn’t a simple case of greed.
Final note, and not meaning to be too jovial here, but I find it rather ironic that the one demonstrable case of giving out RP for server instability was… Europe. Sorry. HAD TO POINT IT OUT.



 demorphic Button Rioter Demorphic: Moving forward, compensation is a concept we’re going to have to reevaluate. It’s clear that IP boosts arent good for everyone anymore. Also legacy skins aren’t realistic for established platforms. This causes as much pain as it solves.

Should we have service disruption in the future, we’d like to be able to offer an apology that’s satisfactory to as many players as possible. We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear.

All I can do is promise that we will be smarter about communication both internally and here with you guys when it comes to compensation.

We get you if you don’t accept this apology, but we still hope to earn back your trust in the future.



I still can’t connect, what should I do?


Riot tmxButton Rioter Riot tmx: Yes, we’re still working on this issue and I’m sad seeing some players still having connection error. Our recent fix was based on the network configuration changes and we know it finally worked for majority of players. Connection Error does not happen to players facing this issue week ago. If you still can’t connect and it lasts for days, please contact EU Player Support and ask them to forward your e-mail address over to me. I’ll work with you directly to get it resolved. We did it in the past with some other players.



What about LP lost during server instability?


Riot Pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: On that front, because it’s just so difficult to clearly prove a loss due to server issues (and at what point we apply a cut-off point) that retroactively compensating LP is nearly impossible for the entire player base. We do turn on loss forgiven mode as soon as we know issues arise, but there can be delays and we apologize for that.




Is the PBE involved in the technical issues lately?


Riot tmxButton Rioter Riot tmx: We do use PBE for testing our deploys, patches, hotfixes, etc. It’s in constant use for client-based issues and new releases are always first deployed to the test server and many bugs are caught this way. It does not cover all the re-configurations (this word is unfortunate, but I’m talking about all platform changes, firewall policies, drives, front and backend applications, database modifications, Coherence tweaks, etc) we perform on our network and system infrastructure. On the other hand, PBE lives in our datacenter and is hosted from some of our standard game servers, so in fact it is a part of our bug investigation.



Non-related questions



Why was the decision to split European servers made?


sonicdeathriotButton Rioter sonicdeathriot: EUW and EU Nordic do not share the same servers.  They do share certain network switch infrastrcuture today.  We are currently completely seperating EUW and EU Nordic from any shared network gear to prevent a network gear issue from impacting both regions at the same time.   It will always be possible that Internet or Data Center facilities that suport EUW or EU Nordic could still create issues that affect both services.



What happened to the Custom Sets tab?


Riot BanksyButton Rioter Riot Banksy: Soon after the 3.7 release, we started to see potentially similar service disruption issues globally. We quickly ascertained that the root of the issue was network related and wanted to quickly nullify any variables that may be causing the issue. As a result, we decided to revert the 3.7 client to remove the possibility that we were in fact creating a self-inflicted problem. In the roll back to an older client, we removed Custom Item Sets. This feature will be returning in an upcoming release.



How was the server issue in Korea different from the one in Europe?


sonicdeathriot Button Rioter sonicdeathriot: I just posted a long read on the core switch issue that has occasionaly affected EUW and other regions over the last 6 months.  We upgraded the Europe based networks in April to eliminate this problem (we did not know root cause at that time but we thought we would try a different architecture with even larger capacity equipment to see if we could make it go away, and it went away).

Once we saw Europe improve we ordered more gear for Europe and gear for Korea.  As mentioned in my long read, this gear takes a long time to get from the manufacture as it is made to order (it is too expensive for them to keep it sitting on the shelf waiting for someone to order and it is customized for each customer’s needs).  So around the first week of May we ordered for Korea but knew we still had the problem to deal with until we could get the new gear shipped into Korea and installed.   So we continued to work on root cause of the problem in Korea with the manufacture of the core switches.  Wednesday the 22nd of May we pushed a change to the Korea core switches in an attempt to address what the manufacture thought was the root cause.  Things worked well for a couple of days until Korea hit their Friday night weekend peak player load.   Korea crashed twice at their peak Friday night the 24th and then every peak time for the next 4 days.  Creating huge login queues and multiple additional off peak outages as we tried to stablize the service.   On Weds the 29th of May we finally stablized the Korea service during peak times but continued to deal with daily outages as we had to clean up lots of small problems still affecting them.  We don’t have Korea fully out of the woods yet, we are dealing with another issue that has affected 10′s of thousands of players about every other day at peak times.



PvP Client


Rioter Damiya shares a few words on the dreaded Adobe Air Client, as well as opinion on the way lore is implemented in the menus.



Will you be switching the Adobe Air Client?


DamiyaButton Rioter Damiya: There are no current plans to move away from Air.





Damiya Button Rioter Damiya: I’ll be the first to admit there are some problems with the client as it exists right now, but Air (and more specifically the Flash ecosphere) is not the culprit. PVP.Net is a complex piece of software that has to be shipped out to over 30 million people twice a month (more or less); improving legacy code designed for a more humble 10 thousand players is somewhat akin to replacing parts of an airplane engine… While midflight, over the Atlantic, at about 35 thousand feet. It’s a delicate process, and the number one priority is ensuring the continued stability of the player experience.

That said, the process of improving parts is ongoing; the Login screen was reworked a few months back, and with the 3.9 PBE patch, we’ll be rolling out a rewrite of the view code for the Runes screen; it should be more responsive and less buggy.

Keep an eye on the PBE forums for more info on that in the near future.



Will you improve the way lore is presented?


DamiyaButton Rioter Damiya: We’re  aggressively exploring options to improve the presentation of lore in  PVP.Net. I feel like Freljord was just the tip, as they say. Of the  iceberg, that is

I’m a huge fan of the stuff Kitae’s team is doing

I’ll bring up the Ping thing but I don’t know that there’s a really good way to do that.



Champion/Skin Sale


Champion Sale  10th June

Pick up the following champions and skins at a discount until June 10th!





Karthus – 395 RP

Sejuani – 487 RP

Swain – 440 RP



Almost-Prom King Amumu – 260 RP


Almost-prom King Amumu


Foxfire Ahri 487 RP


Foxfire Ahri


General Wukong – 375 RP


General Wukong



Good luck on the login queue!


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