[Red Posts 22/01] Mage Update – Brand, Cassiopeia, Zyra, Vladimir, Malzahar & Vel’Koz, State of Syndra, Xerath, Ryze, Swain and Fiddlesticks, Meddler on Irelia’s [ E ] and Swain, Dynamic Queue Disabled, Champion Mastery 6 and 7 and More
- Immobile Mage Update
- State of Ryze, Syndra and Xerath
- Meddler on Irelia’s [ E ]
- State of Singed
- Dragon buffs to receive changes
- 2016 Ranked Season is live
- Party Rewards for Dynamic Queue
- Dynamic Queue disabled for all regions
- Champion Mastery Levels 6 and 7
- Fan Art Corner
The next class update will be focused on â€œtraditionalâ€ Mages and Iâ€™m here to give you guys and gals some of the initial details. Similar to the Juggernaut and Marksman releases, these updates aim to take look at an entire class of champions and accomplish 2 primary goals:
- Ensure the class as a whole is relevant and satisfying to play
- Differentiate each champion within the class
Many Mages are intended to lack mobility but have not necessarily been given clear answers as to what they should do about it or why they work without it. For each sub-class of Mages (this is something weâ€™ll dive into more in a different post) these answers will vary, but our intent is to make it clear that each of these champions is powerful in their own unique way.
On the flip side of the coin, many of them no longer meet our evolving gameplay standards of interactivity, depth, uniqueness, etc. This is also an opportunity to go back and adjust these champions (especially some of our older ones) making them more interesting to play as, with, and against.
Who are we working on?
Similar to the Marksman update, weâ€™re aiming to release ~6 significant updates. The champions we are currently considering (but are still subject to change) are Malzahar, Velâ€™Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, and Zyra.
For each of these champions we aim for them to be 3 things:
- Distinct – offer a unique reason to be picked
- Cohesive – deliver on their core thematic and gameplay fantasy
- Healthy – balance-able and fun to play as and against at all skill levels
Note that given the scope of these projects, we wonâ€™t necessarily solve every issue on every champion – and fortunately we won’t have to since all of the champions already succeed in their own way at some of the above.
On top of the 6, we are again looking to do a sweep across the entire class (as we did with the Marksman) to find potential tweaks that will make them more unique, interactive, and exciting to play. The smaller-scale changes done to Twitch and Lucian are good examples of this.
What can you expect? When?
Weâ€™ve learned a lot from our previous projects and better understand the line between something unique and something unfamiliar. Our priority is to find ways to evolve and enhance the current direction of a champion while still accomplishing the above-stated goals.
In some ways, the feeling of change is unavoidable; we are updating these champions so things WILL be different. Weâ€™re confident that we can retain the things you guys love while adding new dimensions.
This is all still a far ways off, so donâ€™t expect anything soon. As you can infer from the title, weâ€™re aiming to release these changes around mid-year and weâ€™ve only just begun to delve deeply into these projects.
How can you help?
Weâ€™d love to have your guysâ€™ feedback and opinion on the Mages before and during their development process rather than only at the tail end – especially for the â€œbig 6â€ (Malzahar, Velâ€™Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, Zyra).
We are most interested in the following about your favorite champion:
- What aspect is most core or sacred to their identity?
- What issue bothers you the most when playing them?
This doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ll be magically giving everyone dashes or any other instant remedies to all their problems (weaknesses often exist for a good reason). Instead, this information will help us understand which direction to take each champion and where the opportunities lie.
We wonâ€™t be talking in the short-term about exact changelists since weâ€™re still in such a state of flux, but we hope you guys are as excited as we are about the updates ahead!
I can’t guarantee voidlings will be exactly the same as they are now, but this perspective is something I’m trying to strongly consider when working on Malz.
Swain was definitely very high on our “want to do” list. What it really came down to is that we feel he really needs a full-on rework (gameplay, thematics, visuals) similar to Sion or Poppy in order to really deliver on an awesome version of Swain.
A large reason why we have chosen the current 6 is based off our confidence that we can deliver a solid update given the more limited scope they will get being as a part of a class update. We’re being a lot more careful about over-reaching since it’s definitely bitten us in the past.
Really substantial change for Swain’s likely to be quite a way off yeah (highly unlikely this year, can’t predict so usefully beyond that). We do think he’d benefit a lot from a full overhaul, he’s certainly not in Taric, Yorick etc tier though, they’ve got significantly bigger problems than he does.
Vel’Koz is a great champion, but he honestly lacks Distinctness. He has some hints here and there of uniqueness (Q targeting, true damage from Deconstruct, etc.) but none of them are pushed to a point where it truly differentiates him.
Don’t worry, even within the 6, the amount of change each champion will see is pretty drastically different.
I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised, we’re pretty aligned on where there is potential for Distinctness in Vel’Koz’s kit. We just don’t agree that he’s there just yet.
We’re not going to be ready to talk details of what will/won’t change for quite a while. It’s likely that Vel’Koz’s changes will be at the small end of the spectrum though, he’s fundamentally solid apart from his lack of distinct enough outputs (what he does isn’t distinct enough, how his does it is very distinct though).
Fiddle is also a champion we considered, but ultimately felt wasn’t the right fit.
To do a quick rundown on our perception:
- Distinct – Fiddle is extremely distinct on the roster. Playing as and against him offer unique experiences.
- Cohesive – Fiddle is decent in terms of cohesiveness. He has a somewhat niche thematic as a terrifying scarecrow, but it’s understandably cool. It could probably be pushed a bit further especially in terms of the satisfaction from all his base spell (Drain, Terrify, and Dark Wind).
- Healthy – This is debatable, but Fiddle is certainly not the largest health problem in the game. Tactically, his spells’ gameplay could probably be more robust in terms of interactivity (counterplay). Strategically though, there are many ways to deal with Fiddle whether through vision, knockbacks, stuns, etc.
Fiddle is certainly a bit dusty and old-feeling, but that means he may be more in need of a visual / polish pass more than anything. It’s not like he wouldn’t benefit with some more significant work, but he’s a champion that we feel can be a put in a decent spot even with just some minor number tweaks.
Really good point. We don’t intend to destroy Support playstyles, but truthfully many of these champions’ fantasies and gameplay manifest best in a role where they can get gold and be the primary threat for their team.
We’re very aware that Zyra, Vel’Koz, and even Brand to some extent all have identities in the Bot Lane.
We haven’t yet started work on Zyra other than ideation, but one of the things we tended to be excited about was more plant interactions, like she brings the forest alive around her. Not sure where that means we’re going to take her, but I am excited to see what the team comes up with.
The more we work on these group champion projects, the more I think we tend to find that if someone already has something going for them (like Zyra an “counterengage mage”), it’s usually a good idea to start ideation with how we might be able to crank that current strength up to 11.
Simple is a great rule of thumb to lean on. We’re definitely keeping that in mind for these projects.
We agree with you on the “mini-games” thing. Mechanics start feeling like forced “mini-games” when they feel arbitrary, uninteresting, or simply don’t align with the expectations and desires of the champion. We understand this space a lot better after the past few projects.
We think mini games, when well done, can feel like a really fun, natural part of a champion’s playstyle in a way that expresses their personality/theme. Draven axe catching for example taps into his show off nature, Bard’s chime collecting fits well on a weird dude that wanders and saves things etc. If the minigame doesn’t feel compelling, or doesn’t fit with the champion it’s on however then yeah, that can feel pretty jarring. I’d agree Skarner’s an example of that – if he had a reason to really want to defend the crystals in the jungle it might be another matter (e.g. if they contained others of his kind, frozen, that could eventually come out late game and join his fight).
We’re going to try and tackle Ryze before the mid year, we think he’s enough of a problem we need to act sooner . Unclear whether that’ll mean some degree of rework or just significant balance changes.
If I recall correctly, Syndra made it pretty far through the selection process, but I believe we determined that she either needed a ton of work to really spice things up on her, or that we could give her a little love on the mechanics side closer to release and still get pretty good mileage. As these projects tend to fall in between these two amounts of work, we ultimately passed on her in favor of others.
I’m interested to know why you think Xerath is in a weird spot. Is it because of the state of the meta-game? Or is it that there’s something he’s failing to deliver that he seems to be intended to be doing?
As far as what we thought, Xerath seems to be up to par in Distinction, Cohesiveness, and Health. I’ve seen some people argue his gameplay is too similar to Lux to be considered distinct, but we actually see Xerath as more of an extreme range DPS mage, whereas Lux is more of an extreme range burst caster that relies heavily on catching squishies out and killing them with quick full combos.
I don’t think it’s a great ability, in particular because it can be really unclear what result will happen before she uses it, leading to press the button and hope plays that can feel unfair (in a way you can’t influence) to one player or the other. It’s also an ability that, due to the way it can punish fighting back and its nature as a targeted spell, can leave opponents without apparent options.
Having said that though there are a lot of other champions/abilities I think we’d be much better off looking at first that need the work more. An Irelia rework someday’s a definite possibility, think it’s unlikely we’ll do one this year though.
We don’t have any plans to make significant changes to Singed (almost certainly balance adjustments at some point, but none currently planned). He’s got a distinct playstyle, a deep mastery curve, creates great high moments and certainly isn’t a jack of all trades. He is a bit weird thematically, but not in a ‘this guy’s failing to deliver on his core fantasy’ kind of way.
I’m not personally convinced the root from the Fling/Mega Adhesive combo’s sufficiently relevant to justify its existence on the kit, could imagine a world in which we took that out and replaced it with something a bit less niche. I don’t play Singed much myself though, so I might be just unaware of a bunch of value that interaction provides.
We’ve been experimenting with some possibilities over the last couple of weeks, including changing the 4th buff to something a bit more felt than minion/monster damage. Currently waiting to get some insight into how dragon’s being valued in the start of the ranked season/first couple of weeks of professional play though to inform how big our changes should or shouldn’t be.
The 2016 ranked season is now live! Gather your allies and gear up for all new challenges as you climb the ladder in 2016. Weâ€™ve introduced a swath of changes over the course of preseason, as well as newÂ dynamic groups — now you can queue for ranked play with any number of friends. With new champ select, youâ€™ll queue up for your two best positions — youâ€™re guaranteed to always end up with one of the two positions you select — and join a team of players whoâ€™ve done the same.
Celebrate the launch of new champ select and the 2016 ranked season with Party Rewards. Howâ€™s it work? Simple. The larger your premade group, the larger the IP bounty you rake in. The bonus is even bigger for new champ select-enabled queues like Normal and Ranked draft. The All-Star bonus from Team Fireâ€™s win at All-Stars is active in Taiwan, NA, and Korea!
Check out the details below!
|Premade size||New champ select queues||Other queues|
Party Rewards are live starting today (10:00AM PST on January 20) until 11:59PM PST on January 24. Weâ€™ll see you on the Rift!
TL;DR Dynamic queue was disabled because of a load issue, Solo/Duo Ranked is temporarily re-enabled, and all matches played in this mode still count towards your future Dynamic ranking.
Earlier today, we saw an issue on EUW that required us to disable the dynamic queue system. This was due to an issue with player load on the servers. This has also affected the KR server in a similar way.
As a result of this, all ranked modes based on the dynamic queuing system were disabled and remained down while we continued to investigate. When deciding on a course of action we had two options:
a) Leave ranked disabled until the issue was resolved
b) Re-enable the previous Ranked Solo/Duo queue
We chose option b) because we wanted to ensure that those of you who enjoy ranked could still play your placement matches. As we did not have a clear ETA on a fix, we proceeded to re-enable Ranked Solo/Duo until the issue is resolved.
What does this mean for your placements and rating?
Any games played on the currently available solo/duo queue system will count towards your placements and ranking when the new system is back up. For example, if you already played 2 games before the issues began in Dynamic Draft and 6 more in Solo Queue, youâ€™d have 8 games played – and these all count towards your placements.
Why are other regions not affected?
Before we introduced this feature, we used a simulated environment to load test the entire system. Live implementation was first conducted on TR and NA with no major glitches. However, some subsystems of the dynamic queues didnâ€™t scale up correctly when running on a larger live environment.
What are the next steps?
Our engineers are actively working to fix and re-enable dynamic queues in EUW. As of now we have no ETA but our tech teams will provide an update when we have more information to share. Thank you for your patience.
UPDATE: To answer a question some of you may have regarding Party Rewards, a several day event that offers bonus IP for playing with friends. We’re holding this event back for EUW until issues are resolved. Once Dynamic Queues are back we’ll look to enable Party Rewards and make sure that players on EUW have the same amount of time to earn IP with friends.
We don’t consider Live environments as testing platforms. That would be dangerous and unfair to our players. Most of our features go through similar process after the development phase: functional testing -> load testing -> initial deployment to previously selected environments -> few days of player behavior testing (collecting players usage data) -> full deployment everywhere else. The NA & TR deployments week ago just helped us properly understand player reactions, gather important behavioral data and eventually tweak and adjust the service globally. You know, hundreds of dynamic variables here and there…
There were some minor issues in NA, but in general the service was and still is stable. Load testing of large services is always tricky though as one has to simulate the load in development labs. You can’t just get millions of players to test your service live — it must be done artificially as a set of ongoing software trials. We always go much higher than the expected traffic, and usually get highly expected results, like the one with the months-long EUW load tests before the new data center deployment in AMS. No matter how precise you are, live environments can be unpredictable and sometimes even tiny unexpected factor is enough to get one subsystem’s thread on hold. Obviously there are larger systems out there in the internet, but they are usually distributed and can handle the load separately. Our environments work differently — there is a distribution in given service’ cluster, but in general EUW, NA, KR, etc, are single entities handling the entire traffic all by itself.
Sorry for longer post. We’ll obviously do our best to get back to you with fixed Dynamic Queues asap 😉
Update: Dynamic normal queue is now disabled in all regions worldwide while we work on a fix (as an fyi, NA began to see similar issues despite the earlier launch on that server). Still no ETA to give but will be sure to have someone update this thread when that changes.
The PB team are the experts on this one, and their updates mean a lot more than mine. However, Lyte has been posted HERE with information – while unfortunately there’s not much to be said at the minute, the team are hard at work trying to fix this issue, get it tested, and get it out to you guys. We are as excited for this feature as you are – I honestly couldn’t wait to get home yesterday to play it, and I plan on leaving my placements until it’s back up and running due to the less stressful nature of things in the new champ select.
I know you guys want updates, and it sucks when we can only post “we’re working on it” – but that’s the truth and update we’ve got at the moment. As per Lyte, there’s no ETA at the moment, but I advise keeping an eye on the boards and Lyte’s twitter for updates as they’re available.
Thanks for sticking with us on this – we know it’s far from a smooth experience, but personally I truly believe the new champion select and dynamic queues are great features, and cannot wait to see them (back) on live to get some games with you guys on the rift!
When we first announced that Hextech Crafting and loot was heading to PBE, we saw a few questions about how champion shards would work for players who already had all champions unlocked. We werenâ€™t ready to answer those questions then, we are now at the point where we want to reach out to the community for feedback.
Hereâ€™s our current, leading design:
- All players (whether you have all champions unlocked or not) can use champion shards that are duplicates of champions you already own to increase the Champion Mastery level cap of specific champions up to level 7.
- This will increase the level cap, but wonâ€™t increase your actual Champion Mastery experience or unlock any associated rewards (unless you already have enough mastery points on a champ to be level 6 or 7, in which case youâ€™ll immediately unlock those rewards)
- Example: You own Jax. Using a Jax shard, you can raise the Champion Mastery level cap to 6 for Jax.
- Alternatively, you can combine 3 champion mastery shards to unlock another level on any champion you choose.
- Example: You spend three random champion shards to increase Champion Mastery level and a pop up appears allowing you to select any champion. You select Renekton, raising his Champion Mastery level cap to 6.
We also plan to offer chests in the store that can be purchased with IP that would contain specific types of champion shards. For example, we might offer a Demacian Chest for a limited period of time which would contain champion shards for champions associated with Demacia. We might also offer chests like these via other means, like rewards for accomplishments in ranked.
Our goal with this is to ensure champion shards drops always feel like a step towards something players care about and to make to the highest tiers of champion mastery feel exclusive and valuable. Ultimately we think this will make it more meaningful when you drop your mastery badge emote after a clutch (or not so clutch) play. It’s possible that there could be some other reward types associated with higher champion mastery levels, but this is still TBD. Weâ€™re excited to get Hextech Crafting and loot out to you all and curious to hear your feedback.
Thanks everyone for all the testing youâ€™ve done so far!
It’s the level 6 and 7 cap that unlock not the experience required for the levels themselves. So you’ll still have to earn your way up. Since the chests require strong performances (S grades) on champs, it puts more weight on unlocking these levels.
Somebody else pointed out since these rewards are more exclusive they should probably be cooler. That’s a good point also.
Zed by Citemer:
Swimsuit Lux by raichoo:
A New Dawn by haonguyenly:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me atÂ @NoL_ChefoÂ or e-mail me at email@example.com.