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Posts Tagged ‘Riot’

 

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EUW Community Coordinator Draggles hosted a Q&A today on all manner of topics. Here’s the breakdown.

You can read the most important details of the Q&A here.

 

 

Draggles New PortraitHey guys,

3 red posts in the last week on EUW? I suck. It’s been a busy weekend as I went to Play Expo in Manchester to check out some university esports, followed by a short spate of illness (curse you, Irish weather!) but I’m back. 

I feel we’re due for an impromptu Q&A! Feel free to ask anything and I’ll do my best to answer! 

Draggles reserves the right to not answer any question that he deems to be dangerous to his future career prospects or to Riot as a company… or anything that will make him look stupid. Trolls beware!

EDIT: You can also ask me anything, at any time, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RiotDraggles

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When’s the first major content patch for the preseason

Draggles New PortraitSo it’s just over 3 weeks to the end of the season (November 11th 00:01 GMT). A lot of the proposed changes can be found on the PBE Boards and more specific stuff on this post. There’s a hell of a lot of changes – most will need to relearn the jungle as there are brand new items that build out of Hunter’s Machete. There’s also the possibility of a new, roaming camp in the river, as well as repeated-Dragon-killing buffs. Not all of this is going to make it in to the final preseason patch but it’s certainly an idea of our direction. 

I think this may all be hitting on the 11th but there might be a small delay between end of the 2014 Season and the preseason changes. We’ll be giving you more context on these shortly before we push the patch to live.

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Will there be more new Champions this year

Draggles New PortraitYep! But this shouldn’t really be a surprise considering our previous release schedule 

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Will Supports get some kind of love during preseason

Draggles New PortraitAs a support main, I feel you. Supports are getting the following items (as it stands currently):

Raptor’s Cloak

  • Recipe: Rejuvenation Bead + Cloth Armor + Rejuvenation Bead
  • Grants bonus movement speed when near turrets


Ohmwrecker

  • Recipe: Raptor Cloak + Kindlegem
  • Active now boosts the damage of nearby towers by 100% or prevents nearby enemy towers from attacking.
  • Stats adjusted to fit the recipe items (Health/Armor/Regen/CDR)

and the ones I’m most excited about:

Crystalline Bracer

  • Recipe: Rejuvenation Bead + Ruby Crystal
  • Grants Health and Regeneration.

Righteous Glory

  • Recipe: Catalyst + Crystalline Bracer
  • Grants Health, Mana and Regeneration
  • Active: Grants +60% MS to you and nearby allies when moving towards enemies for 2 seconds. When this speed boost ends, it emits a shockwave, slowing nearby enemy champions by 80% for one second.

^ This, to me, screams “ALISTAR”. It’s like a charging Randuin’s! I am excited!

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Will you be nerfing specific Champions

Draggles New PortraitI think we’re holding off on rebalancing specific champions until we see how the preseason plays out – it’s going to radically change the meta overall. Obviously we have a couple of patches to go before the 11th November (providing we keep to the biweekly schedule), so any last-minute tune-ups could still come about then.

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Do you think Solo players will appreciate Season 5’s meta

Draggles New PortraitCompletely understand your concerns, but I feel it’s best to see how the first couple of weeks of preseason play out before you make too many judgements. Strategic diversity/multiple win conditions are our aims for preseason, but it’s honestly something we’ll have to wait and see as to which way it goes.

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What happened to the Shaco rework teased this year

Draggles New PortraitI don’t remember seeing it announced, and the crazy thing about reworks is sometimes they fall through, or something else takes priority. I’d love to see Shaco reworked; put some character into his moveset that compliments his actual lore in the same way that Braum’s and Jinx’s moves are representative of their characters. The problem with a Shaco rework is that his stealth, his boxes and his clone are all iconic features of his moveset and so it would be tough to distance him from these.

Like in the case of Sion, before he was a axe-wielding zombie Schwarzenegger with a pink shield and a stunning look. Like, what? HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? Now he’s much more thematically cohesive – much like his story where he is an unstoppable juggernaut, he has so many moves that fully represent that, while still keeping his quintessential shield/axe. I’d like to see this sort of thing happen to Shaco if and when a rework goes ahead.

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How does MMR work and how does it affect LP gain loss

Draggles New PortraitWe keep MMR calculations under wraps. I’m being completely honest here when I say that this information is also kept from most people, including me. Everything I know about matchmaking comes from this Knowledge Base article. I do know that op.gg or any third party sites don’t have access to this info, so any figures they associate with your account are estimations only.

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Is it technically possible that patches can affect ping

Draggles New PortraitIt is very rare for patches to affect ping unless we drastically change our infrastructure. Unfortunately there are so many jumps in each connection from your PC to our platform that it’s very difficult to give an “overall diagnosis” for any problem. Needless to say if the problem is immediately fixable from our end, we get on it straight away. If it’s an ISP issue we will reach out to ISPs to find out what’s going on. It could be the backbone ISP (the one that services all the ISPs in a region) or a degraded connection somewhere along the line.

Honestly your best bet, when experiencing high ping or packet loss, is to run this tool, and look for high numbers along the way. If you don’t want to do that, feel free to post them on the forum and it becomes a hell of a lot easier to specify just what’s giving your connection the hump.

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Why is Shyvana blonde in her Championship skin

Draggles New PortraitI think it fits the colour scheme of the “Championship” line of skins. Little did you know, Thresh was hiding a giant blond afro.

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What is with the recent EUW server instabilities

Draggles New PortraitWhat sort of hiccups in particular are you experiencing? We had a brief moment of downtime and a server restart a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve actually been able to really improve the quality and quantity of the uptime we have – so much so, that we’re planning to move EUNE to the datacentre in the not-too-distant future.

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Will there be more Red activity on EUW forums

Draggles New PortraitThis is always something that has affected us on the EUW forums. The fact of the matter is that EU just has fewer employees than NA, as well as having different specialisations. With cross log-in on Boards, however, this problem should be a thing of the past for English-speaking players. And in fact, if you wanted to talk to some devs right this minute, you can use your EUW login to discuss gameplay and champion/item balance or talk to the story/art team. Just make sure your region is set to EU West in the top left. Also remember timezones are a thing. With the majority of the main game devs 8 hours behind at the minimum, the crossover “quality time” period is a matter of 2 or 3 hours each day.

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How about a chat no one on either team can read

Draggles New PortraitI’d say it would be a good outlet for anger. A therapy, if you will. Also, your Summoner name seems relevant.

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Any plans on creating an item with an active dash effect

Draggles New PortraitOoh, interesting thought! Would open up a lot of champions to be viable, but then it would also become a “must buy” on every champion. Not sure we want to enforce something this heavily that it would be useful for ALL ROLES. Aside from wards, of course.

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Suggestion Sightstone grants ward charges per minute

Draggles New PortraitI don’t know if there’s anything coming for Sightstone, but I feel with some of the new jungle vision changes (killing the Raptors (currently Wraiths) gives you the ability to see invisible units for a short time the next time you are caught by an enemy ward, for example), the vision game may change all over again.

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Who are the main Rioters that represent the UK

Draggles New PortraitThe UK community team consists of BoltonYukaNavigator and myself. Our plan for this year is to give you guys way more heads up on which events we’re going to be at. 

Additionally none of us are “PR”, so to speak. Every Rioter essentially controls their own PR as we’re all allowed to speak out about stuff whenever we want… within reason, of course.

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IF you could nerf one Champion, who would you choose

Draggles New PortraitOlaf. Honestly I’m glad he’s not in the meta right now because he is an absolute nightmare. *shudder*

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Do you still think about LCS Recap sometimes

Draggles New PortraitAll the time. I miss it a lot of the time. In some ways I miss the crazy late nights and the caffeine overload but I’m glad I’m now with the company that made it all possible. In fact, I’ve been here 10 months today!

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Why does Morello hate Irelia

Draggles New PortraitBecause much like Lee Sin, no matter how much you keep Irelia down, she keeps coming back.

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How do you feel about the return of the Shurima Empire

Draggles New PortraitMy thoughts on Shurima can be summed up in the form of these cakes. (Seriously I have no idea how our head office allowed me to make this contest considering the terrible pun)

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Who do you think is the best player in the world

Draggles New PortraitBest player in the world may well be DanDy. He just… doesn’t make mistakes, ever.

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

 

 

News 15 10 Banner

 

 

Summary 

 Several Champions have dust covering them on their official pages, so look forward to reveals soon! Riot have posted up new job applications for Research and Development and have now confirmed they’re looking into making new games; in another official blog, players who’ve referred 10,000 people or above will finally get their chance to design a Champion (note that 2% of Champion designs actually make it in the game). 3rd Party Apps are now allowed, lots of lore and story progression is heading to League’s client and official website, a discussion on the removal of Janna’s tattoo and a bug where some spells were automatically cast after others is being resolved.

TL;DR in featured comments.

 

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Smoke surrounds the splash arts of several Champions up on League’s official website. Here are links to all of them:

 

 

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Today we posted this somewhat ambiguous job description for talented, risk-taking pros who love the open-ended path of R&D (research and development). Of course, we’re also still seeking those who love the ongoing challenge of constantly shipping content and maintaining a live service like League of Legends, but R&D teams require folks eager to work in a more experimental kind of dev environment.

We know posting a JD calling out R&D initiatives will raise some questions and kick up some speculation, so we’re sharing a few thoughts about all of our open development roles, including R&D.

We’ve mentioned developing games other than League of Legends in the past, but we’re not ready to announce, discuss, or launch any new games yet or anytime soon™. When we are, League of Legends players will be the first to know. These future games might be from large teams or smaller teams at Riot, but no matter the size of the team working on them, they will be the types of games that we all love to play.


WHAT IS R&D @ RIOT?


At Riot, R&D involves small teams working without constraints, with the freedom to fail and learn, incubating great games and great ideas. The idea isn’t blind trial and error, but a scientific method that relies on instincts, experience, and process to discover a creative result.

We’ve only got a few R&D projects going at a time, with a handful of people on each team. We’re exploring some familiar genres and some experimental ones, but all of them are genres we expect core gamers love. We don’t know how many (if any) of these explorations will ever ship.

So does this mean we’re pulling Rioters away from League of Legends? Definitely not. League of Legends is still our #1 priority and will be for a long time.

As an R&D team member, you’d ideate, explore, debate, and develop across game genres and concepts that’ll eventually help Riot Game become Riot Games. We’re looking for veteran developers and gamers from a wide variety of disciplines, so if you have a passion for the R&D phase of game development, expertise that can contribute to bringing a project to life, a high tolerance for setbacks and changing direction, then check out the gig, here: R&D JD.

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About five years ago, not long after the debut of League of Legends, we launched the refer-a-friend program to reward players who invite their friends to play the game. For bringing friends into the game, players could reap rewards from forum flair to free skins (50 referrals) to a commemorative plaque in Riot’s office (500 referrals) to a piece of named content (1,000 referrals) to a trip to Riot’s offices in Los Angeles to help us develop a champion (10,000 referrals). 


Referral2


Thanks in large part to passionate players telling their friends about the game, League of Legends grew faster and larger than anyone could’ve predicted. We’re extremely grateful to every player who encouraged even a single friend to play League of Legends – we couldn’t have done it without you.

As we sunset the original refer-a-friend program, we’re checking in to make sure we’ve fulfilled all of these promises. At the higher reward levels, we’ve still got some work to do. We’re nearly finished with the plaques. The wall of plaques outside the Riot PC Bang looks great and is a frequent stop on tours.


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We’re still naming content after players as promised. So far, we’ve named seven pieces of in-game content after players, and have 11 more to go. As we head into the 2015 season, we’ll be looking for opportunities to name some more content after players and we’ll continue to do so in future seasons as well.

Regarding the ultimate promise to develop a champion, the idea itself was pretty flawed — we were a young company five years ago, and didn’t really think through how we were going to successfully deliver the “develop a champion” promise. We now know that champions take an average of about six months to develop, during which time close to a hundred people have a hand in the design and development of that champion, cumulatively contributing well over 10,000 hours of work to each champion that ships, so the idea that a single person could completely develop a champion in a two-day trip was frankly rather silly, but we still want to fix this in a meaningful way.

Some time ago, we did make an attempt to to fulfill the ten thousand referral promise, but we didn’t really hit the mark. We flew uber referrers to LA for a day including a tour, review of work-in-process content, a collaborative design sesh, and a trip to an amusement park.

We’re going to try again, and this time we think we’ve got a way to make it truly reflect the weight of champion development as was intended with this program reward. We’ll be reaching out to everyone who legitimately earned the top reward, but we’re sharing the plan here as well.

So here’s the idea. There’s this thing Rioters do called Thunderdome. We’re going to invite every uber-referrer to a Thunderdome event next year in which they’ll get to spend at least three intense days designing and developing a champion, getting it to at least “paper prototype” status.

Working with a dedicated team of Rioters including a champ designer, narrative writer and concept artist, the participants will build concept art, a paper kit (champion abilities), champion bio and any extra story elements that help define the character.

After Thunderdome, we’ll commit to carrying these champion concepts forward into further design and development. We do need to set expectations by noting here that fewer than 2% of champion concepts ever make it into the game and can’t show any favoritism. The Thunderdome concepts will have the same chance as any internal design to make it into League as a realized champion. However far the concept makes it, we’ll keep reward winners updated.

We’re also going to add a bunch of bonus extras to the trip including swag, noms with Rioters, a visit to the NA LCS, and gaming with Rioters in the PC Bang. We’re still hammering out the specifics, but we’re going to make damned sure that the core champion design experience delivers on our promise.

We all know League is more fun with friends, and these players brought tens of thousands of friends into the game. We want to make sure that these players feel that Riot’s a company that keeps its promises. We didn’t want to just say sorry and move on. It might’ve taken five years, but we’re gonna do it right.

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Single Posts 15 10

 

 

Update on Riot’s Policies on 3rd Party Apps

Sargonas New PortraitHey everybody!

I wanted to jump back into this discussion to share some updates. As those following this topic know, back in the spring we made some clarifications that 3rd party applications with particular functions were considered against our Terms of Service (that link goes to the old Forums thread, which is a mirror of this one), and that the use of such applications was prohibited (and could even potentially lead to disciplinary actions). One of the several contributing factors to this topic was the early beta of Curse Voice and recent updates to Razer Comms, and the conversations that arose around them.

Over the past few months we have been working with the developers of many applications, including Curse and Razer. Because of this, the latest revision of Curse Voice (version 6.1.X) and Razer Comms (version 2.1.X) no longer violate our current guidelines. I should note, however, that with all third party apps these situations are subject to change as programs evolve, and this issue may be revisited in the future if the situation warrants it. Also… Curse Voice, Razer Comms, and all other 3rd party programs are not supported by Riot. Because of that, we can never guarantee the user experience when they and other programs are run in tandem with League of Legends. We always suggesting disabling such programs in your first step towards any troubleshooting, should problems arise

Hopefully this clears up any remaining confusion out there.

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Bug with spells being cast immediately after one another

SuperFoxMan Final PortraitHey all,

We’re currently aware of a bug where cone targeted abilities (e.g.: Annie’s Incinerate, Nidalee’s Swipe, Kassadin’s Force Pulse, etc) are reversing their direction when castimmediately after using another ability (e.g.: the Flash Summoner Spell, Nidalee’s Pounce, Kassadin’s Rift Walk).

Champions who rely on cone targeted spells to finish their combos are most impacted by this, like: Nidalee, Kassadin, Pantheon, Annie (Flash + W), Darius (Flash + E), Singed (Flash + E), Riven (2nd cast of R), among others.

We’re currently tracking this to find a proper fix (due to the nature of the bug we can’t make any promises on a timeline) but, in the meantime, the best workaround is to slightly delay your cast combinations to accommodate.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

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Will you update Janna’s new splash with her tattoo

[ Note ] Some players have noted Janna doesn’t have a shoulder tattoo in her new splash art. Here’s the old art and the new one.

Baconhawk Final PortraitFYI Splash tends to take more liberties with artistic content, but is always based on the in-game model.. In-game models do not change (often) based on splash.

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Follow Up

Why, then, did you re-add Pentakill Sona’s tattoo

Baconhawk Final Portrait

These are good points, but note I didn’t say we never alter an in-game model to match the splash. I said rarely. Janna’s tattoo, as I understand it, was an addition to an otherwise plain splash. Sona’s tattoo was really prominent and added a lot to her character (Pentakill band member…? yeah, tattoos work there). A tattoo on Janna is not really befitting of her pure, windy self. (That last part is totally my opinion). Does that make sense?

This is not to say we won’t ever add it. But as it stands now, we are not adding it to the ingame model.

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There will be short lore on the client and long lore on the site

Carnival Knights New PortraitThis. We’re also hoping to serialize lore on the website, so that in addition to the ‘long bios’ we can add new stories as we go without erasing anything.

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Follow Up

So we’re getting story progression

Carnival Knights New PortraitYes, story progression. Champs doing things that progress forward on a linear timeline. With the in-client tech issues we (sadly) could not showcase this, but with the website we can.

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

 

 

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Summary

Ghostcrawler answers forum drama regarding players being ignored in the development process of League and delves into the community split on reworks and who the game should be balanced for. Morello continues the discussion regarding Soraka’s upcoming rework and, more specifically, her passive making her squishier. Finally, a few suggestions about more functions for the Smart Ping wheel and an explanation on Reddit by Socrates regarding the extreme LP losses Diamond players in EUW have been experiencing lately.

TL;DR in featured comments.

 

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Riot needs to listen more to its player base

Ghostcrawler New Portrait One of the things that really infuses the workplace here is value that players are the most important thing, period. I am convinced that Rioters really believe that in their souls and we’re pretty good about not hiring people who aren’t bought into that value. If it has felt lately that we’re putting ourselves up on a pedestal over you guys, then that’s just a communication failure on our part. I love that aspect of Riot. We aren’t the VIPs; you guys are. If you don’t feel that way, then we’re just going to have to work harder to convince you.

Now, I’m not going to comment on the story elements at all. That’s not my gig and I’m not armed with the proper context to have that conversation. Apologies in advance.

I can talk about the champion updates and related issues about gameplay such as the Fortify and defensive play topics mentioned by the OP. 

First, we don’t know better than players. We have some experience making games and hopefully we’ve hired folks with some natural talent for game development, but at the end of the day players are going to decide if they play the game or not. To put it in a bland business sentiment, this product is for you. The biggest challenge here is that players rarely speak with one voice. It may seem to you that “everyone” wanted a champion changed in a certain way or even all the “X players” really liked a specific identity that we decided to change. It’s just rarely that cut and dried. (And man, this job would be so much easier if it were.)

Remember that only a small minority of players ever post on forums, or reach out to us on Reddit or Twitter, and also remember most of you are only viewing those conversations in one or two languages at most. What may seem like universal consensus is rarely anything close to that.

And that’s okay! We’re not trying to design a game based on community vote, and you probably wouldn’t be happy with the results anyway. We do very much value player feedback and we use it to make informed decisions. That’s the reason I cracked open this (long) thread this morning — to see what you guys thought.

To provide some context on champion updates specifically, here is the way I view player sentiment. Feel free to disagree. 

Player response, again IMO, generally falls into one of these categories:

1) I am indifferent to this champion or her changes.
2) I play the champion because she is broken, so I’m not going to be happy once she is fixed.
3) I believe the champion needs to be updated, but I am excited about one particular direction, which is unlikely to be the one Riot chooses.
4) I believe the champion needs to be updated, and either Riot managed to pick the direction I liked, or I was happy just to see an update period.

Out of those four categories, you’re going to see a lot of communication from players in groups 2 and 3. Indifferent group 1 dudes are unlikely to post that they are still indifferent. Group 4 might post a little. As a result, it can feel like there is a lot of negative sentiment every time we make a change. We keep gathering data though, to make sure in the long term that the champ is getting more play and that players are enjoying playing her. To be fair, we sometimes miss the mark, or frequently a champion requires a few subsequent rounds of updates to really deliver on the promise of the update.

I’m not sure of a better way to operate other than considering player feedback in this way. I don’t think polls or votes would really be a strong way to design a game. I’m not sure how we could isolate the most hardcore or passionate players of a specific champion and redesign her with the aim of pleasing those dudes. We’re totally open to suggestions though. How would you determine the best way to update a champion? I’m not asking because we are without a process, but because some of you don’t seem happy with that process.

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He’s not wrong to say that

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThe point I was trying to make was that forum posts aren’t good quantitative (numeric) sources of data. They are excellent qualitative (value) sources of data.

Saying “everyone is saying X” doesn’t provide a ton of information, and is almost certainly not technically true. We get less information out of something like “100 posters agree with me that Nidalee sucks” and a lot more about reading something like “What I really liked about Nidalee was how she threw spears across the map. If I had wanted a champion that changed into an animal, I would have picked Shyvana.”

Again, there is a difference among “we know better than you” and “we make decisions informed by what you’re saying” and “we go implement whatever you want.” We shoot for the middle option if that wasn’t obvious. 

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Some people are happy with their favourite Champion and don’t want a rework

Ghostcrawler New PortraitOkay, that’s fair. I was describing the feedback once we’d already announced that we’re working on an update, but there are players who are reasonably happy with the state of a current champion and think he or she needs tweaks at most. Point taken.

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Why is Cassiopeia’s rework taking priority over Sion’s, Urgot’s or Poppy’s

Ghostcrawler New PortraitA lot goes into determining the order of champion updates. Here are just a few elements:

– Maybe someone is already working on another champion, but it’s taking longer.
– Maybe we’re trying to coordinate a visual update with a gameplay update.
– Maybe we don’t have a good idea yet for how to update a particular champ.
– Maybe an update won’t help because the champ in question is being dominated by another in the same role with even worse counterplay, so nobody is going to play the former until the latter is always fixed.

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Summary of player complaints on Riot’s control over League’s design

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThis is one of those threads that has gone on so long in so many different directions that it’s difficult to respond to the variety of comments. Nonetheless, I’ll try to hit a few common responses.

 


“You guys need to engage with us more.”

We’d love to, but what specifically do you mean by that? I don’t have the breadth of knowledge or even the bandwidth to debate point-by-point every topic that comes up in GD. I don’t want to get into the situation where we have to convince the community to allow us to make a change. That would be remarkably inefficient and risks feeling like the crowd sourcing model that I said we wanted to avoid. However, if there are specific opportunities to talk to players that you think we are missing, we’d definitely consider those. I am thrilled that some of you mentioned you feel like we have gotten better about providing context for design changes. That’s awesome, but there’s still a lot more we can do.

“You’re just making an argument for why you don’t have to listen to us.”

This makes me sad, because it’s the exact opposite of the impression I was trying to make. Let me try another angle. How many times do you make a point on GD or anywhere and have someone else disagree? Many of those threads go on quite long because you might think a champ is oppressive while someone else thinks they are fine, or underpowered, or just needs a small tweak. In these frequent situations where there is a lack of consensus, how are we supposed to navigate the right path, when almost every design change (or even lack of change) is going to disappoint someone? (And if you think you’ve seen a thread where “everyone” agrees on a design change, I’d love to see it.)

Again, this is how feedback works. If you tell us your concerns, your goals, your ideas, then we will consider them as we make changes. We also seek feedback after a change to see if it’s hit the mark, and then frequently iterate over the course of a few patches before we feel like we’ve really accomplished the goal of the update. Do you really want a game where we implement every change that gets posted on GD? Wouldn’t that be terrifying? If not, how would you decide who to listen to or not?

We love feedback and we do appreciate it when you take the time to post something. For all the complaints you may still have about League, I suspect you’d have a whole lot more if the feedback cycle didn’t work to improve things over time.

“You’re calling us a vocal minority.”

The point I was trying to make is that quantifying this or any forum is challenging and prone to abuse. In the end, the numbers don’t really matter. It comes down to the strength of arguments. We aren’t trying to make the majority happy. We’re trying to make everyone happy, without watering down the game, as ridiculous a goal as that sounds.

Here is another example. A couple of months ago, USA players were taking us/me to task for not nerfing Lee Sin. While he had some defenders in that thread, it was, to be fair, pretty one-sided. I said we thought he was too good at too many things. The next day the Chinese forums exploded with a lot of players who love the way Lee plays that were outraged that we would consider him broken. Were there more of them than there were US players? Was the overall passion of the Chinese players greater or less than those of the US players? I have no idea. How to you even measure something like that? In the end, we tried to figure out how we could tone him down without wrecking those aspects that players really liked about him. Nearly every change to the game plays out similarly.

“You only talk in generalizations, not specifics.”

High level, long term design is what I do. That’s the only thing I feel comfortable discussing unless I’ve had a really recent discussion with someone on a specific topic. We have been trying to get more Rioters out here so you have a bigger chance of talking to someone who is working on your exact feature. But that’s also a two way street. I’ve been doing this a long time (sixteen years!), and it’s not really possible to scare me away from forums. But when we ask other Rioters why they don’t spend time doing it, the three most common answers are: I’m scared of saying the wrong thing, it takes a huge amount of time, and the environment feels hostile. To the extent you can make the environment more positive, you’ll see more participation. I’m not saying don’t criticize. I’m saying don’t be a stereotypical internet troll when you do. Yes, it’s part of our job and I will do what I can from my end to encourage more designers to be out here.

If there are other high level topics you would appreciate me tackling (not specifics like Cass reworks or the future of lore) I’d be happy do do so.

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Why did Riot suddenly decide to rework the

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIf I am remembering correctly, the concern was that fear was really random. Sometimes a feared target would run toward you and sometimes they would run away (a particularly sad reaction for Fiddlesticks). A little bit of unpredictability provides situations in which players have to make on-the-spot choices for how to react, which is a good test of mastery and reflexes. But when it feels like RNG has more effect on your performance than your decisions, that can be really frustrating. Crit is another example, but that’s a very long discussion. 

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Communicate with Challenger and Diamond 1 players on private message boards

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe do some of this already, and may dive deeper into it. The main risks have to do with a sense of elitism. We already try to navigate a knife’s edge of perceptions about whether we design the game only for the pros or only for the average player. The thought that pros (or even top tiered players in general) might have a bat phone to reach the developers in a secret conversation in which other players can’t even participate rubs other players understandably the wrong way. The top-tiered players themselves get nervous of their comments being used against them, especially if it’s private correspondence that becomes leaked.

Finally, there are expert players who don’t have great insight into which changes would be good for the game overall, and there are Bronze players who can’t execute on plays but have a really good sense for specific changes that would improve the game for everyone. This is the whole “just because you eat a lot of good food, that doesn’t make you a chef,” argument.

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Soraka discussion Banner

 

 

New Soraka won’t be able to build health and will loses resists

Morello New PortraitOh Linna, I’m glad to see that some thing never change. Our war shall never resolve!

On a serious note, I’m excited to crack open how to make a healer with gameplay in a PvP game. Vesh has worked very hard to try to make this a reality, and the previoust costs/downsides with things like blue healers or even other LoL champions don’t do well when you give a character bonkers haling to friends.

I’ve been against healing as a role a long time – I’ve learned my problems are with its execution and lack of decisions (for themselves or enemies) that’s problematic. So, we’ve take a stab at fixing that.

You should be scared as Soraka. You’re trying to heal people who should kill people and protect people for you. You can still buy GA and have 80% of the value in defense. You’re not going to have 4000 HP and 200 armor/100MR on Soraka. As a healer, being tanky WOULD be the natural build, so we have to prevent that case.

THIS can let us make a character who SUPPORTS by HEALING to an unprecendented degree in LoL. No one else can do this. You want support to change a game? You want new reasons to pick a character? I hear you – super clearly.

It’s not all buffs. It’s hard ass choices.

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It’s a scary concept of how she may be too squishy with this passive

Morello New PortraitIt’s definitely scary – on this we agree. I think there’s three conversation points:

1) I fundamentally believe if Soraka is allowed to get tanky, we’ll have to gut her. This release valve is there to prevent this and allow her to be good.

2) New Soraka is both more narrow and more unique. Picking Soraka is very different than picking another support. If we want champions to have a unique strategic identity and have a reason “to be played,” this is important.

3) The current passive can be tuned into obliteration if it’s actually a problem, but we need a release valve. I know Soraka wants AR/MR/HP – that’s why we have to discourage it or it will run afoul of 1), and Soraka will be gutted, and we might as well have not done anything and left her in the dumpster.

Tradeoffs are a huge component of good design, and sustainable champions. We’ve chosen these ones because we believe it will allow us to actually make a real healer character.

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Follow Up

Morello New PortraitThat’s basically how insane her HPS and saving gets. It’s unlike anything we have on heals…2s Cooldown, high AP ratio, and big gains. You NEED to kill Soraka or a fight is unwinnable in this model.

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What if she’s so good at healing that she can't be allowed to be tanky

Morello New PortraitYes – this is the first time we’ve done that. My expectation is not that people get super excited about this, but instead it makes it so she can function and not get kneecapped as soon as she’s good.

This design technique acts as a release valve for bullshit scenarios without requiring us to murder the core functions and unique abilities of the character. A Critical Guideline of Soraka is that she must be vulnerable to being killed while healing to allow her to be an insane health-refiller. This means we have to put preventative measures in there to ensure she stays what way – especially as items will be buffed/nerfed/added/removed long after Soraka’s out.

So Soraka can’t get tanky. That’s the whole point.

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So you don't think that we need a

Reinboom New PortraitOops! Most of my post was focused at the “Ult up in…” (mainly).

I actually like “Warded”, it’s very positional, very informative, and difficult to describe in current tools. It’s exactly the type of problem that the radial menu would be perfect to solve.

For that I think the issue there is more “Where do we put this?”. Which is solvable (Another radial menu perhaps?).

If a team looks at the problemspace in more depth, I think that’ll be the real difficulty, thinking out in the blue.

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Why don’t you remove the

Reinboom New PortraitThat’s a consideration that’s been passed around quite a bit.

My worry there is that of familiarity.

Anecdotal case: When we were first developing the radial menu, the left and right were actually swapped.

We actually had it internally for nearly 9 months before we released it IIRC (the team prioritized the then new HUD and the item shop above the radial menu so it got set aside for awhile). That’s a LOT of time to get familiar to something in play behavior.

Even now, personally, I will accidentally ping as though it was what it used to be because the menu optimized around muscle memory. We flipped it for good reasons, but it’s still quite disruptive as an individual.

That’s a type of disruption I would rather avoid if possible for other players. Again, muscle memory is super significant here.

That said, a few of us have played with the idea of other types of ping as well. Establishing a different input behavior rather than replacing an existing one could open us up to do more. (And it means we don’t let you guys sink in to the muscle memory case in the replacement version).

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Single Posts banner

 

 

Cassiopeia’s rework is expanding beyond her just being a lane bully

Morello New Portrait Very true – Cassiopeia - WHEN powerful – is a lane bully only. That’s why you pick her and what she does.

While we were doing a little texture update, we had a really fast, low-scope idea to help fix her up and make her into something other than a “remove ability to lane champion” and focus on the other identity she does have; AP super-carry.

We don’t balance around alternate maps. That’s why I don’t like the idea of more maps, because they erode the game for low benefit. I do think the proper way to FIGHT stagnation and staleness is to add identities to “why do I pick this champion instead of X?” Cass’s low-scope changes are an attempt to address that, as opposed to “I take her to beat the shit out of people when they can’t fight me.”

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Extreme LP losses in Diamond EUW

Socrates New PortraitHey all, here is what’s going on in this case:

  1. The top 200 challenger spots were protected by a concept called ‘clamping’ before Master Tier was introduced. This ensured the top 200 dudes on the server had both the highest LP and MMR. This greatly slowed gains and losses, making small gains appear normal. Removing clamping means gains (both up and down) are more fluid now. Since in some cases clamping was actually protecting players from falling down too quickly, these players will see some larger losses and smaller gains until they’re back where the system expects them to be.

  2. In other tiers (bronze – plat) league standing is a very accurate mapping of player skill, but there is a buffer to slow players LP losses temporarily if they start to go on a losing trend. Since clamping was removed, but challenger and master must contain the very best players, the loss shielding is thinner in diamond than other tiers. In other words, gains and losses can feel more swingy.

Some of the gains and losses here do look a bit extreme but should become more stable over time. We’ll be monitoring how LP changes stabilize over the next few days and evaluating if we need to make adjustments or not based on the results.

This should have been more explicitly called out in our messaging around this to prepare players for the shift. I will work with the messaging team to update the original post around this.

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

 

 

Dev Blog Design Values Banner

 

Another entry in Riot’s design values dev blogs, this time covering giving players meaningful choices to make in the game.

 

 

Hey all,

It’s time for another entry in our ongoing series on the Design Values of League of Legends! Today we’ve got Lead Champion Designer Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon, here to talk about meaningful choices in League of Legends. This is a topic that goes fairly deep, so let’s just let him get started!

 

 Chris ‘Pwyff’ Tom

 

 

Why does Meaningful choice matter

To us, meaningful choices are one of the key things that allow a PvP game to have depth. The ability to make decisions that directly impact that state of the game is of absolute importance in driving satisfaction and mastery, and we always want to reward those make the best decisions.

Multiple attractive choices also allow for variety in experience, with games following many different paths. Meaningful choices (rather than single best choices) allow players to shape the state of the game based off their own preferences and what they feel they’re best at.

 

What makes a choice meaningful

Meaningful choices require that the player have sufficient understanding of the consequences of their decisions. Without knowing (or at least being able to predict) what’s going to happen, a ‘choice’ of option basically becomes random. That’s not to say that the player needs to know every detail, or they need to see exactly how their decision will pan out – just enough to make an informed choice.

Significant difference between possible outcomes is also required. Clarity is nice, but if the choice is between a set of almost identical options – or if all choices result in the same, final outcome – there’s no significance to the choice in the first place.

It’s also important that the choices offered are actually accessible. If there are three possible choices of strategy but two can be executed by only the top 0.01% of players (reaction speed, required actions per second, etc) that effectively means there isn’t a choice either.

Finally, for a choice to be meaningful there need to be situations where multiple options are potentially valid. If there’s always one obvious correct answer, it’s not a choice but a puzzle to be solved. Sometimes it’s okay for there to be one right decision (see below), but games defined by questions that, once answered, stay answered forever (otherwise known as ‘solved games’) face the challenge of staying fresh (once again, if the focus is on meaningful PvP interactions).

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Why sometimes a lack of choice is OK

Meaningful choice adds a lot to a game, but it’s not an essential part of every element. Skillshots or challenging combos, for example, can be satisfying skill tests for many, even if the correct play is the same every time. Additionally – and this is particularly true in story driven genres – plot, setting or character development can often justify a lack of choice.

In League, a lack of meaningful choice is worth accepting either because of the benefits a single option brings to the rest of the game, or because the choice is meaningful to other players. For example, participating in the vision game is almost mandatory if you want to be a successful team, but vision control in League of Legends creates a lot of interesting play – particularly around contested objectives.

Sometimes it’s better to simply not offer a choice in the first place. For example, having a deep, unified competitive scene on Summoner’s Rift – rather than a fragmented one split over multiple maps/modes – better supports our goals of making League of Legends a long-lasting, competitive game with deep potential for skill development. That’s not to say other maps or game modes don’t have interesting things to offer, but there are many benefits (and tradeoffs) for choosing to focus on one.

 

Different ways to look at choice

There are many different ways to present a meaningful choice, and I’ll run through a few examples:

 

Single versus Constant

Single choices often have a large impact on strategy and they commonly influence how future decisions in the game will be presented. This isn’t to say that single choices have right or wrong answers, but five strategically mismatched choices against five strategically cohesive choices can be very tough.

  • Utility mid like Lulu or an assassin like Zed?

Constant choices, on the other hand, are ones that influence the game by inches – each time you make a conscious decision, it’s just one step toward (or away from) victory.

  • Stay in lane and farm, go gank bot, try to steal the enemy’s blue buff?

 

Always Available versus Windowed

Choices that are always available are mostly related to mastery of efficiency. Knowing when to use something rarely wins a game single-handedly, but juggling the optimal timing of when to use many things is often what’s needed to edge out a close victory.

  • Should I use my potion when I’m near full health so that I can optimize my jungle efficiency? Should I save it if I’m thinking about recalling soon?

Windowed choices are ones that are only available under certain circumstances and can therefore carry more weight than always available ones. It’s like a form of efficiency, but also knowing what a windowed choice will lead to in the future.

  • While at the shop, do I spend my gold while I can, or do I save up for something I can’t afford yet? If I’m spending my gold, do I grab a Vamp Scepter or Boots and a Long Sword?

 

Tactical versus Strategic

Tactical choices are typically the ones that relate to pure combat mechanics and in-the-moment decision-making.

  • Which angle is Morgana going to fire Dark Binding at? Which way should I try and dodge, if at all?

Strategic choices, on the other hand, are ones that are focused on long-term decisions that dictate the pace and future opportunities within the game.

  • Do we try and fight them at Baron or do we let them have it while we go for an inhibitor?

 


While some of the above are direct examples of how we approach meaningful choices in League of Legends, I’d like to also look to the future before this entry gets too long.

td

Looking forward where we can do better

While providing meaningful choices is a core value that we design around, it’s not something we’ve always delivered on well enough. As a result, there are a number of parts of the game we’re looking to make improvements to offer more interesting decision points. Have a few examples:

 

Strategy

We’d like League of Legends to have a broader range of possible options when it comes to how teams try to win a game. While this does rely heavily on champion diversity to influence strategy, we hope for there to be many ways to close out a game – through objective control, split pushing, straight teamfighting, getting strategic picks on solitary enemies, and beyond.

 

Champions

Some champions share too similar a niche with other champions, making the choice between them more a question of who’s more powerful than what particular skillset you want on your team. We try to emphasize this distinction where possible – for example, both Trundle and Jax are fighters, but they are picked for a team for very different reasons (initiation, disengage, and strength against tanky targets versus ramping damage with strong offensive scaling combined with a high effectiveness against auto attackers).

In contrast, Mundo and Shyvana do share a bit too similar a niche, with both being tanky fighters that deal AoE damage over an extended period of time as they try to wear down a target via movement speed. That’s not to say they’re bad champions or that there aren’t differences between them (one is better at long skirmishes, the other has superior initiation), but we can certainly be offering a more interesting choice between the two. Trying to find distinct gameplay spaces for champions is one of the core things we’re focusing on with both new champions and champion updates.

 

Items

Some roles have a range of interesting itemization choices throughout the game. AP casters, for example get to make choices like Tear of the Goddess or Fiendish Codex early, and Zhonya’s or Deathcap later on. Other roles, however, have fewer interesting options available to them. Marksmen have generally followed very similar build paths to each other with low variance. As a result, we’re trying to find ways to offer more distinct and appealing options, like the changes to Bloodthirster to better position it as a high end defensive AD item. In comparison, the old Bloodthirster – due to it having the highest AD in the game along with lifesteal – basically said, “Build this on every marksman that auto attacks or uses spells” (that is, all of them).

 

And onward

The above are just a few examples of where we think we can offer more meaningful choices for the future of League of Legends. Remember that this can go even more in-depth in systems like summoner spells, runes, masteries, or even lane positions on the map itself. Also, if you think there are unique opportunities where we can offer more depth or places where you think we’ve failed to offer sufficient choice, feel free to leave a comment below.


 Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon

 

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


Dev Blog: Exploring Runeterra

September 4th, 2014

 

Dev Blog Exploring Runeterra Banner

 

The sands of League’s lore have been shifting towards new ways of storytelling and a growing focus on locations and cultures in Runeterra, LoL’s world. Find out why that is in the latest Dev Blog released by Riot.

 

DEV BLOG: EXPLORING RUNETERRA


First of all, though these are technically my words, I’m just one of the many people involved with storytelling at Riot, and what you’re about to read is inspired by their collective passion. League of Legends covers a lot of ground at this point, but is ultimately always centered on the gameplay at its heart, so the idea that there are a lot of Rioters connected to narrative might surprise some. That’s a big part of why we’d like to talk to you about the current state of League’s story, as well as some of the changes you’ve seen (and will continue to see) as part of our evolving approach to storytelling.


STORYTELLING AS LEAGUE EVOLVES


Evolution is one of the core elements of League of Legends. Champions, events, skins, splash art, and the maps themselves are just some of the avenues through which we seek to continually level up every facet of the game. We want League to always feel current through design balance, art updates, and new character themes and stories.

We want League to always feel current through design balance, art updates, and new character themes and stories.

That means we have to be willing to look at work we’ve done in the past and honestly reevaluate it. In some cases – say, with a champion update – the original concept is mostly sound (or even timelessly awesome!) and all we have to do is bump things up to modern standards. Sometimes, however, we look back at decisions that made perfect sense when we originally made them, but are now at odds with our design values and ultimately limit our ability to continually improve League of Legends. That’s unacceptable, and in such situations we seek to aggressively reimagine content in a way that realizes its full potential.

As players ourselves, it’s easy to get excited about upcoming developments – but you, the players, don’t always have visibility into what’s coming down the pipe, or why. And so we’ve learned how crucial it is to communicate changes in ways that give you a sense of why choices are being made and what benefits can be expected. In this case, that first requires a bit of backstory.

nc-bilgewater


A BIT OF BACKSTORY


In the early days of League, we created a fictional background that would justify how players could control champions during games. We came up with concepts like Summoners, Fields of Justice, an Institute of War, and indeed, the League of Legends itself – all in an attempt to provide fictional context for in-game action.

After a while, these early choices began to create unexpected problems. Every new champion needed a reason to join and remain in the League, and as their number grew, the net result was that over time the world started to feel, well, small, and eventually less interesting. The institutions we’d designed fostered creative stagnation, limiting the ways that champions, factions and Runeterra itself could grow and change. Furthermore, the very idea of all-powerful Summoners made Champions little more than puppets manipulated by godlike powers. The background we’d created to explain in-game action was ultimately restricting the potential narrative development of the game’s defining characters.

Faced with these limitations, our use of narrative elements tightly bound to the original vision (Journals of Justice, Judgments, etc.) dwindled, because they felt fundamentally restrictive to our hopes for a more vibrant and expansive world. In response, we started (with efforts like the Freljord event and recent champion bios) to tell stories that explored the furthest limits of League’s original creative framework.

Time and again, we’ve heard players clamor for more story, fueling our desire to make the necessary changes to bring you bigger and better glimpses of Runeterra and its inhabitants. A lot of you have voiced your thoughts on these changes, and in a variety of ways – with enthusiasm, ideas for further new approaches, or even concern. In all these cases, we’re grateful for your interest, and we’re committed to both pushing narrative development further and doing a better job of providing insight into what’s going on under the hood with story.

nc-ionia


WHERE WE ARE TODAY


At a very broad level, we’ve decided to push League’s story beyond its original focus on explaining in-game action and forge a new narrative path for Runeterra – a world in which the factions and champions we all know and love have full freedom to grow, travel, and kick ass on a worldwide scale. From champion interactions to bios to events (and beyond), we aim to expand the scope of League’s story and pursue a more dynamic and wide-ranging world fit for the outsized capabilities and personalities of our champions.

Story has the potential to affect every element of League of Legends, so the decision to venture into new narrative territory wasn’t made quickly or capriciously. The need for change only became apparent over time, and the choice was made only after a great deal of deliberation. Further, we want you to know that this new approach is focused on opening up possibilities and unlocking a wider, more fully-fledged world – the point isn’t to tear up older stories that form their own cherished part of League’s history.

At a very broad level, we’ve decided to push League’s story beyond its original focus on explaining in-game action and forge a new narrative path for Runeterra…

But what does that mean?

Essentially, it means that the game and story aren’t one-to-one copies of each other. League as a game is about creating awesome gameplay, while League as a story is about creating deep, vibrant characters and factions inhabiting an expansive world. We don’t want to limit story because of gameplay, just like we wouldn’t limit gameplay because of story – we want both of them (and all the other elements of League) to have the freedom to be as great as they possibly can be.

Does this mean older story efforts like the Journal of Justice and League Judgments are meaningless? Of course not. In the same way that we can go back and enjoy old books, shows, films, art, and comics that have been superseded by more recent interpretations of the same material, League’s original lore remains a cherished part of its history. From comic books to classic literature, exploration of the same creative space in vastly different ways is a natural part of storytelling.

Runeterra is a big place, with lots of room to be explored in different ways by different people – including players.

nc-shurima


WHERE WE’RE GOING


When it comes to storytelling, things will continue forward much as they have done already– League as a whole evolves steadily over time, often in small steps, and the same is true of its story. We’ll continue to explore Runeterra through various mediums, in chunks both large and small, and we hope you’ll come along for the ride and continue to share your ideas and feedback.

The point is simply that League of Legends constantly evolves, and, as it does, its narrative needs to evolve as well.

Communication is where you should really notice a difference. Similarly to the gameplay team’s ongoing Design Values series, we’ll be back with future Dev Blogs discussing both our latest narrative efforts and our general principles when it comes to developing story in League. For example, one of the principles we’d love to discuss further is our focus on ensuring that champion identities remain consistent regardless of where you encounter them; for example, Darius should always feel the same regardless of whether he’s administering an axe in a story piece, the game, or a cinematic. Exploring champions’ backstories and motivations beyond what you see in the game doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly start feeling like different characters; what it does do is offer a huge spectrum of options for fleshing out personalities and deepening connections.

The point is simply that League of Legends constantly evolves, and, as it does, its narrative needs to evolve as well. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share this process with you and to hear what you have to say about it. More than anything, we want to rekindle the conversation with you. What stories do you want us to tell? What parts of Runeterra would you like to see?

We’re excited to keep exploring the possibilities, and we hope you are too.

Tommy Gnox (but really the whole Narrative team)



Artwork of Runeterra:


Freljord_Wallpaper Ionia_Wallpaper Shurima_Wallpaper Bilgewater_Full



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


 

News Update August 22 Banner

 

Summary

A small patch containing bugfixes for Kayle, Sona and Yasuo, Lyte answers a complaint on the forums that players are “too sensitive” and punishment is being handed out for unjustified cases, Ghostcrawler addresses numerous balance issues in LoL such as Champions who can fill multiple roles, lack of diversity and unique mechanics and the age-old topic of Ranged vs Melee, more on ARAM’s fairness for re-rolls, EU LCS moves from Cologne to Berlin, identifying and fixing targeting bugs in League, clarity on the instability issues NA has been suffering and how to get a job at Riot by attending PAX Prime.

TL;DR here.

 

Recent News

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Want to keep up with news on the Public Beta Environment?

Here’s a list of the updates for Patch 4.15:

 

PBE Content for Patch 4 15

 

 

20th August Patch Update


 

General

  • [ BUGFIX ] Targeting is now more reliable in cases when units are stacked on top of each other
  • [ BUGFIX ] Resolved Spectator Mode choppiness that appeared after using time controls to jump forward or backward in the match

 

Kayle New Portrait
  • [ BUGFIX ] Fixed a bug where Kayle was unintentionally gaining too much attack speed per level

 

Sona New Portrait

  • [ BUGFIX ] Fixed a rare bug where Sona’s auras were refreshing indefinitely with too many nearby allies
  • [ BUGFIX ] Fixed a UI bug where allies with togglable or multi-cast ultimates (ex. Karma’s Mantra, Maokai’s Vengeful Maelstrom) would see their ult buttons light up when shielded by Sona’s W – Aria of Perseverance

 

Yasuo New Portrait

  • [ BUGFIX ] R – Last Breath now properly applies CC to Alistar, even when Alistar is ulting

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LoL players are too sensitive, which leads to undeserved punishment

Lyte New PortraitThis is a really challenging topic, and there’s no answer that will make every type of player happy.

In real life, there are laws for almost everything. However, one of the biggest problems with this model is that changing laws takes a lot time, and it can almost never keep up with the rapidly changing trends in the world. So, an example of what happens in real life is that some behaviors become “unacceptable” by society, but it can’t be enforced for years.

In online societies, trends change even faster. We could write a Summoner’s Code that lists out every single behavior that is allowed or not allowed in League of Legends, but would it actually do anything? Most human beings don’t know about every law in real life societies, and only some lawyers have a robust understanding of all the laws while most are specialized in some niche of law. You can Google “random laws” to find a huge list of things that are “illegal” depending on the country or state, or sometimes even depending on the city. For example, one random law in a city is that you cannot wear cowboy boots without owning at least 2 cows! Similarly, most players aren’t going to be able to memorize every single Summoner’s Code item or keep updated on new additions to the Code.

To give an example of how rapidly online societies change, a lot of players are using the phrase “rekt” now, but this phrase didn’t even exist in matches as recent as 6 months ago. Is this phrase offensive? Is it considered verbal abuse if you spam it? What if you said it once in a game? If we wrote a new “Summoner’s Code” to include this phrase, how many players would visit the Summoner’s Code frequently enough to see the new addition?

At the end of the day, most people get along fine in real life societies just using common sense. They don’t know all the laws, but they have mutual respect for one another. As gamers, we already have a pretty bad rep from those outside the gaming community. That’s our fault. We’re actually a pretty awesome community, but we need to respect each other more; after all, we’re all gamers and we have something in common that only we understand. Why is “Definitely Not Blitzcrank” a hilarious skin? Non-gamers have no clue what we’re talking about. 

It’s not about being babied. It’s about respecting the fact that we’re all here to have fun. No one deserves to be b*tched at just because they play the game differently than you. You know what? A lot of us play soccer or basketball differently too. Some players believe in half-court ball, and prefer bigger line-ups in basketball. Others believe 100% that fast-paced run and gun strategies are king. If players disagree with you on the court, do you start going “moterf*cker why are we doing a 3-guard lineup that sh*t is whack, you’re f*cking retarded for even trying that.” No. 

The majority of the world doesn’t tolerate random acts of jerk. I’m not sure why online societies need to either. People don’t always play nice in real life, but the answer isn’t “If you can’t handle it, go find another activity.” Maybe the people should stop being aggressive jerks. On a separate note, let’s stop spreading rumors that we’re banning things like “gg ez” or banning things like “plz stop feeding.” Right now in League, only the worst offenders (the bottom 1%) have been hit with any penalties at all. In a recent survey, a majority of players thought the penalties were too light. 

We’ve said this time and time again: the community agrees that excessive verbal toxicity isn’t tolerated here. It’s not tolerated in real life societies either. If a player doesn’t agree, they need to take their time elsewhere. They don’t have the right to tell everyone else to leave, when they are the outcast in the community.

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Riot draw the line on what’s a bannable offense and what’s not

Lyte New PortraitActually, we’ve (almost) never drawn the line.

Players have always informed exactly where the line is. We use information like Reports, Honors, Tribunal, LeaverBuster and more to determine what the community agrees is OK or not OK.

Every time you report a behavior, you’re voting.

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Balance Issues Banner


 

 

Can we hope for an overhaul of the boring meta the game is in

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI hesitate to use the word “meta” because that means so many different things to different players. However, we are hearing a lot from players that games are feeling a little stale. Part of that is from us occasionally over-zealously stepping in when players try something unexpected. But beyond that, we’re probably going to have to make some deeper, more fundamental changes to bring about diversity.I’m not talking about making random changes for the sake of change, and I’m certainly not talking about making League unrecognizable, but more that we would make some specific changes to keep the game from going stale in the future.

I know that’s vague, but it’s what I meant when I said we’d start using PBE to try out some crazier ideas that may not actually ship. We’ll start talking about some of these ideas pretty soon… maybe after worlds.

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Why don’t you remove Lulu from mid

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYou quoted me just above your question, so I’m going to re-quote myself. “Part of that is from us occasionally over-zealously stepping in when players try something unexpected.” We don’t feel the game really benefits when we slap champions that dare to stray from their assigned lanes. Maybe players will come up with counter strategies. Maybe having a less predictable game is more fun. If Lulu (or anyone’s) win rates or ban rates or play rates etc. go up and stay up and we feel the new strategy is going to stifle diversity, then we can step in. I’m worried we do it a little too quickly at the moment.

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Melees are at 50% win-rate

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYeah, when I say “need some love,” it’s not just buffing their health and damage. I tried to explain our point of view a few weeks ago that it isn’t just a matter of buffing melee until they dominate ADC or mages. It’s more about improving their kit, really deciding what they’re good at, and making sure ranged champs can’t do everything melee can do on top of fire from a distance. Unfortunately, that means it’s not a quick fix that we can do in one patch. Fortunately, it means that once we fix the problem that balance may be more stable and not require so much whack-a-mole.

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Do you think that is there low diversity and champions need more unique mechanic

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYes, we do think that. Note that it doesn’t need to be a different skill shot between the two, but there does need to be more distinction between champions in the same role. You should consider whether you want to play Graves or Lucian based on what you would have to do as those champions, what your team would do differently, and what the other team would do differently.

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How about adding Champion turnspeed to solve the melee vs ranged issue

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI don’t want to dismiss any potential idea out of hand, but overall we’re not convinced that is the right solution for League. It seems to work for DOTA.

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ARAM Banner


 

 

ARAM isn’t truly random

L4T3NCY New PortraitHeya guys ^.^/ I realised we’ve never explicitly called this out before, so in the spirit of transparency, here we go! :D

ARAM’s RNG is truly random from within the champions you have available at champ select.

I’ll elaborate a little here. ARAM’s RNG is truly random from the champions you own + the free weekly rotation champs. There is no weighting on any groups or champs whatsoever. When using a reroll, you obviously can’t reroll a champ that someone on your team already has, so the system randoms again from your remaining pool (you are also guaranteed to not reroll the exact same champion again, so your pool is technically n-1). Rerolled champs go back into the available pool for everyone else to random if they use any subsequent rerolls.

Remember though, as pointed out previously in this thread and others, asymmetry in people’s champion pools (whether intentionally manufactured or naturally occurring through varied champion pricing) will probably cause certain champs to come up statistically more often than others. This is what we’re hoping to address by exploring the idea of unlocking all champions for ARAM.

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If all 10 players don’t own their Champions, what happens when someone re-rolls

L4T3NCY New PortraitOk. So if all 10 players own 0 champions, at first, everyone would be perfectly distributed across the 10 free champs on rotation that week. If you clicked ‘reroll’, here’s what would happen:

1. You CAN’T receive the same champ consecutively when rerolling, so that champ’s out. 9 left.
2. You can’t receive a champ that one of your team-mates already has, so that’s another 4 out. 5 left.
3. You would randomise one of the 5 remaining champs (which are all represented on the other team at this point, although you wouldn’t know that yet) and end up with a mirror match against one of those players. :D

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You can re-roll and get the same Champion several times in a row

L4T3NCY New PortraitTo clarify, you can’t reroll the same champ consecutively in the same game. Of course, in the next game you play and use a reroll, you have equal chance to potentially reroll whoever you had last game, as much as any other champion you own. Using 2 rerolls in one game back-to-back, there is a slim chance to reroll the champion you first started with on your 2nd reroll, but not consecutively.

If you do happen to reroll the same champ consecutively in a single game again though, that isn’t intended behaviour, so be sure to let us know by filing a bug with Player Support!

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EU LCS Moving to Berlin Banner


 

As part of our ongoing efforts towards full transparency with our LCS audience, we’re confirming that later this year our Riot Germany office and EU LCS studios will be moving from Cologne to Berlin.

Although Cologne has been an awesome home for us for the past year, we couldn’t be more excited about the move and to usher in a new season of EU esports in our brand new base.

We’ll be back later this year with a glimpse of our new studio once details are squared away – but suffice to say we’re excited to offer more space and a better entertainment experience for fans across Europe. We’ll be up and running in our new home by the start of the new EU LCS season.

Leaving Cologne wasn’t an easy decision. Cologne is often considered the capital of esports but Berlin is the German city with the biggest concentration of LoL players.

Although moving away from Cologne will doubtless be a disappointment for local fans who lived nearby, we’re confident that our newer, bigger studio will allow us to create a better entertainment experience for fans in Germany and across Europe. In Cologne, a large majority of our attendees came from throughout Germany to join us in studio, and we expect to see the same thing in Berlin.

We’ve been working closely with and talking to LCS teams about this move for a few months. Moving to an international capital city like Berlin offers LCS teams and players the opportunity for more sponsor attention and visibility, better cost of living and broader domestic and international media exposure.

We’ll be back within the next few weeks as we get the details ironed out, but wanted to give LCS fans from EU and around the world a glimpse of where our thinking is around the future of the EU LCS. Above all, we believe this move to Berlin will allow us to continue to grow and level up the EU LCS ecosystem and experience for teams, players and fans.

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Targeting Bugs Banner

 

 

Targeting is completely inconsistent

Boourns New PortraitHey guys, I think I identified what was going on with this. The BotRK post from last week rang some alarm bells for me. What happened was that the pixel perfect targeting part of the code was broken so the targeting system was making decisions based only on the bounding volume around models.

How this manifests is that when you have targetable objects near each other (like Taric near a tower, or minions packed in a wave) you will get imprecise targeting even though your mouse is over the model of the thing you’re trying to target.

I just checked in a fix and it’s going through the QA process.

Thanks to all of you for raising awareness on this. I’d been thinking that something felt “off”, but I thought I was just a baddie or had intermittent lag. Your comments helped narrow things down. This video is really helpful for providing a solid test case for us.

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Follow Up

Boourns New PortraitAlso, can you help us out by digging up any past threads on this. It’s a really tricky issue to test and I want to make sure we’re hitting all the right cases.

I already have g30therm’s thread and the BotRK post. Please reply here with any more that you folks remember.

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Will the fix address targeting BotRK’s active

Boourns New PortraitIt should improve this! Although the fact that this was a problem for BotRK implies that our bounding box selection algorithm might benefit from some tweaking. Even if we broke the pixel perfect selection part, the bounding box selection should still prefer to target something that your ability would work on even if you are touching other non-targetable things.

Either way with this fix, if you are over an enemy champion it should target them with BotRK.

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When will the fix be released

Boourns New PortraitNot completely sure, I don’t normally do engineering or release related things (UX designer by day) so I am not familiar with our hotfix policy. It should go out with the next patch based on my current understanding.

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Single Posts banner

 

 

Regarding Recent Instability on North America

ArmiesofZNight New PortraitHey Everyone,

Over the last couple of days, many of you have experienced some problems while playing the game. You’ve seen reconnect spikes, issues with game starts, and very large login queue in many occasions. We wanted to take some time to give you all a little more information on what’s going on, since we haven’t spoken much about this since the issues started occurring.

In the last couple weeks our datacenter and game have been the target of some DDOS attacks. The results of these attacks have caused instability in our service. We’ve been experiencing large attacks that have been filling up a significant chunk of bandwidth and causing parts of our system to lose connection to each other. The end result is a poor play experience for you all. While we’ve been able to turn on our loss forgiven feature as soon as the attack is detected, this does not equal a good play experience.

While we can’t share the details of the work we are doing internally to combat this (since it would give the attackers information to circumvent it), we want you to know that we are tackling this from many different angles. This includes working with our datacenter and internet service provider partners, as well as developing tools and services internally to make our service more robust against these types of attacks. Defending against DDOS attacks is an arms race that we will always be engaged in, and we are committed to reducing the pain you all feel as swiftly as possible when the service is being impacted by malicious attacks.

We want you to know that this is the top priority for the Live Services team. We share your frustration at the impact of these attacks, and we are working to make sure you can play the game every time you want to.

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Attending Pax Prime

Dannamoth New PortraitWe are currently looking for high skilled players (platinum+) to help us build out a Gameplay QA group. This is a great opportunity for someone looking for an entry level job who is bright, passionate, and wants to help shape League of Legends. Working with others and being able to give effective feedback are critical components for this role. You will have the opportunity to work with design, engineering, and art to influence the creation of new game modes, champions, and champion updates, among other things.

The QA Recruiting team will be at PAX Prime at the end of this month. We will be setting time aside on Friday and Saturday(29th and 30th) to meet up with interested folks. We will be spending time somewhat close to the Esports entrance. If you aren’t attending PAX Prime, but will still be in the area, also reach out! I’ll do my best to answer any questions in this thread in the meantime.

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

 

Devblog on Mastery Banner

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

 

Recent News

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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.


Yasuo_Shield_Screenshot

 

 

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

 

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.


KhaZix_evolve

 

 

Adaptability

 

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 nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

 

News Update July 23 Banner

 

Summary

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

 

Recent News

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 


F.A.Q


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 nolchefo@gmail.com.
 

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.” 

accept-button

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!