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Posts Tagged ‘dev blog’

 

Dev BLog How Reports Work Banner

[ Link to Official Post ]

 

 

Lyte Final Portrait

Since launching the instant feedback system in the spring, we’ve spent all summer and fall powering it up. We updated reports in 5.21, so let’s talk about the why’s and how’s of reports, and how they fit into the broader ecosystem.

 



So What Changed Banner

We made two major changes to the report system. First, we cleaned house, analyzing report data and community feedback to dispatch redundant, useless, or simply out-of-date report categories. This effort winnowed the list down to seven types of behavior:

Second, the old system only allowed reports for one offense, but we’ve all been in games with players who show multiple unsportsmanlike behaviors in one game. The system now allows up to three categories to be selected when reporting an especially disruptive player.

Selecting multiple categories won’t increase the severity of a report because the system verifies the accuracy of every category of every report. Later on, we’ll discuss how we handle dishonest reports, but generally speaking, the more earnest and accurate the report, the better chance of appropriate action being taken.

 

Why Reports Matter Banner

We occasionally hear some players wondering whether reports matter in a world with automated systems like instant feedback. Short answer: Reports matter a lot. For the longer answer, let’s zoom out to the big picture.

We view aggregate report data as the collective voice of the playerbase and the main way the community defines and establishes standards of behavior. When reporting a player, you add your voice to that chorus. For example, report data shows the vast majority of players can’t stand racism, sexism and homophobia, and that’s why we tune systems to specifically target hate speech.

Importantly, each region owns their own community standards and we customize the system for every region to account for cultural differences. For example, in most regions, calling another player “bronze” is heavily reported, but we’ve learned that in Korea, even calling players “silver” is offensive. Youch. “Your mom” jokes vary by territory, too. In English speaking territories, “Your mom” can be silly or mean, but in Korea, “Your mom” is always deeply offensive. So keep that in mind on your next swing through Seoul.

Reports are significant on a per-game basis because no one is punished on game data alone. So if there are no reports in a given game, the system assumes no one had a bad time, and there’s no reason to consider punishing a player. This means that if you play with a negative player and don’t report them, they won’t receive a punishment and likely won’t reform.

 

How Reports Help Banner

When a player’s reported, the instant feedback system collects all reports from the game and compares them with in-game data (statistics, chat, item builds, metrics from past games, etc.) to make a call on a whether or not to punish. If a player ends up punished, they receive a reform card (an in-client message calling out the punishment and evidence of the behavior that caused it). Even if no one is punished, the system stores the report and game info to better inform future decisions when players are reported again.

Reports go beyond supporting instant feedback; player support specialists, designers, data scientists, researchers, and engineers use them to:

  • Hand review difficult or nuanced cases (a situation where hand-written comments really help out)
  • Analyze trends in report types and comments over time to inform the design of future social systems
  • Build and power our automated systems like instant feedback

Sometimes a player attempts to punish another player by reporting them as a form of retaliation. In a system that relies on honesty, that’s potentially a big problem. We can detect false reports, filter them out, and decrease the effectiveness of future reports from consistently dishonest players. As we continue to build more systems that rely on honest reports, the penalties for false reporting will become more strict.

Some cases require human intuition and judgment, and for those, we’re rebuilding the Tribunal voting system. In the future, the Tribunal will lean heavily on reports (and honors) to build cases for both positive and negative behavior. Accurate report selection and comments will be critical to letting Tribunal voters know what really happened. We’re looking forward to rebooting the Tribunal after we’re through pushing new champ select to all regions and queues.

Comments? Questions? We’ll stick around for a bit to talk player behavior.



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

 

Dev Blog Building a Better Bio Banner

Note that you can find the new, expanded lore entries for the Shadow Isles Champions at these links:

 

[ Hecarim ]

[ Karthus ]

[ Mordekaiser ]

[ Thresh ]

 

Ant in Oz Final PortraitDuring the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event, you may have noticed we took the opportunity to update the bios of key champs featured in the story: Twisted Fate, Graves, Miss Fortune and Gangplank. (And if you didn’t, go read ‘em now – we’ll wait for ya!)

This was a bit of an experiment with a new format for doing bios: half traditional bio, half short piece of fiction. We really wanted to dive a little deeper with those bios – getting into the champions’ heads, and adding extra depth.

We also wanted to see what you guys thought of them before we plowed blindly ahead. The overall impression has been really positive, so we are now looking to start working on new bios for all our existing champs – though this will take some time!

 

BIOS BACK IN THE DAY Banner

Some of our older bios are starting to show their age; they’re getting a little creaky around the edges, and some of the details are a little fuzzy. Back when they were first written, the world of Runeterra was a rather different place than it is now – the world and its civilizations were just starting to get fleshed out. Those were Runeterra’s formative years, when we were still getting our own heads around the world, its history, and the people who inhabit it.

The Foundations team (essentially, our world building team) has been doing lots of work over the last few years to really get a solid understanding of Runeterra (check out this Foundations blog on Bilgewater to get a little insight into what the team does).

Just as our splash images have evolved (read about that here!), it’s time for our biographies and character backgrounds to do likewise.

 

RIOT PLZ DONT DESTROY MY BELOVED CHAMP Banner

We know you guys love your champs. We love them too!

So, what’s our goal with these updated bios? We want to strengthen the core thematic of the champs, and further explore their motivations, personality and background. For most of our champs, that’s simply adding more depth to what’s already there, and really getting to dive into what drives them.

Bios are also a great opportunity to add a little color to our champs – to give examples of them doing the stuff that makes them who they are, rather than just saying it, as in the classic ‘show don’t tell’ mantra.

For example, we could say, “Gangplank is the meanest pirate of them all”, but it’s much more effective to actually see the dastardly things that helped forge his black reputation. So, in the Gangplank bio we fleshed this out with mentions of the temples he’s sacked in Ionia, the Demacian villages he’s razed to the ground, and the time he stole Swain’s personal flagship. These little snippets are also potential story hooks – something other Rioters (and players) can use as a spark to explore further (e.g. “You know, Gangplank sneaking into Noxus and stealing Swain’s ship would make a cool story. Hmmm…”).

As we work to expand out our bios, the most important thing is that we hold true to the core essence of why players love that particular champ.

 

WHICH CHAMPS NEXT Banner

Having landed on a style of bios that we were pretty happy with, the next question after Bilgewater was which champs to tackle next.

Long-term, we are planning to re-do the bios for all our existing champions, but that’s no small task – we have over 125 champs now, after all. Getting them all done to the level we want isn’t going happen overnight. So, we started having a think about which champions we wanted to do next.

Which leads us to…

 

THE HARROWING Banner

One of the things that we all wanted to know after Burning Tides: The Reckoning was what happened next.

While that story focused on TF and Graves (and we are looking to explore their next adventure together soon…), one of the things we really wanted to see was what would happen if the Harrowing rolled into Bilgewater while the port-city was still tearing itself apart in the aftermath of Gangplank’s upheaval. One of the writers on Foundations, Graham “Dinopawz” McNeill, took up the challenge and started putting pen to paper (well, digits to keyboard) to tell that story – Shadow and Fortune – which you’ll be able to read very soon.

It was around this time, too, that Foundations was deep-diving into the history of the Shadow Isles, exploring the tragic events that led to its formation. Many of the key Shadow Isles champs featured in this history, and as some of them would also be making an appearance in Shadow and Fortune, it seemed like the obvious choice to tackle them next. We didn’t get to every Shadow Isles champ, unfortunately, but we’ll come back to the others as soon as we can.


A NEW WAY TO VIEW CHAMPION BIOS Banner

As well as working on writing new bios, we’ve also been exploring how to present them in a better way. We wanted a page that would do justice to the champions, and we think we have come up with a pretty cool step in the right direction (which you’ll see soon with the updated bios for Mordekaiser, Kalista, Hecarim, Thresh and Karthus!). Again, this is a bit of an experiment, and we’d love to hear what you guys think. If this is something that everyone really likes, then we’ll be looking to start rolling this out across our other champions as we write them.


SO WHEN WILL MY CHAMP BE DONE Banner

The next batches of champions we are looking at exploring are the Shuriman champions and those associated with Mount Targon. After that… we’ll have to see. Let us know if there are some that you really want to see updated.

We hope you guys enjoy the new bios for these Shadow Isles champions. Please let us know what you think of them – and which champs you want to see next!

Cheers!

 


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

 

Dev Blog Visual Effects Banner

 

Dev Blog Visual Effects in League of Legends

BY RIOTPHOENIX

Hi everyone! We’re the the visual effects team at Riot Games and, with a few of our mini “VFX updates” heading out into the world, we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what visual effects are in League of Legends.

When explaining visual effects – or VFX for short – it’s easy to say, “we design the look of champion abilities,” but what does that really mean?

When you think of your favorite champions in a game of League, you usually include their Q, W, E, and R abilities but, from the VFX perspective, there’s much more that makes up a character. Xerath, for instance, is a being of pure arcane power. Here is what we start with:

 

And then we add VFX!

 

Quite a lot of feeling is portrayed with visual effects!

 

One of the main goals of visual effects is to convey the fantasy. Imagine you’re a sexy gunner named Miss Fortune. When you press R, you want to be shooting waves of bullets, destroying your enemies while you laugh hysterically. You want those bullets to feel powerful! Now let’s add the Arcade Miss Fortune skin on top of that; the effect still has to read as Bullet Time while also conveying that simple, pixelated theme that classic arcade games are known for. We work closely with the amazing concept department to help us narrow down the shape and color of an effect.

 

You can see the in-game version is our own interpretation of the desired concept. That’s not to say we are limited as artists to the concept, but it’s a great starting point to have the framework of what shapes and colors you are working toward before you actually dive into production.

 

Spawning many minions then using an ability will show damage radius, making it easy to identify the range of the visual needed to accurately represent gameplay.

Along with conveying the fantasy, gameplay clarity plays a key role in VFX. League of Legends, after all, is a competitive game, and ideally no visual should take away from clarity. Clearly designing the visual to fit gameplay space is imperative for a fast paced, competitive game.

 

Ryze using his Q and R’d Q, side by side.

It’s important that the elements that make up an effect clearly tell the size and directionality of an ability without being distracting or too subtle. Sometimes maintaining a spell’s clarity can be a difficult task, especially when working with thematics that just don’t work with clear constraints. A Nami Bubble lends itself well as a round, targeted spot on the ground, but what about Mordekaiser’s Siphon of Destruction? There’s a generally accepted ‘cone of fire,’ but the challenge comes in clearly communicating that area of effect while also representing that in an artistically pleasing way.

 

It’s a Siphon of Destruction!

When it comes to executing against the above values, there are always opportunities for us to improve. We mentioned this earlier, but the main reason we kicked off this dev blog was because the VFX team, like other parts of the Champion Update team, realized we could add value in our own unique way. As such, several VFX artists have worked tirelessly on updating a few champions to better align them with League’s current art style, champion fantasy, and gameplay clarity. The first four of these champions are: Galio, Nautilus, Corki, and Brand. We’ll soon follow up with Shyvana, Nunu, Mordekaiser, and Rumble!




Obviously the League of Legends Champion Update team is continuing to work hard on full-scale updates but, like how we’ve done with texture updates, we’re always looking for opportunities to add value where we can. This round of VFX updates are the first in our experimental wave and, if we hear good feedback from everyone, maybe we can continue to do work in this space!

We will be doing a few more in-depth posts on how we actually go about creating visual effects, so stay tuned!

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Dev Blog The Riot API Banner

Want to know how Riot supports 3rd party devs? The latest dev blog covers that topic in-depth.



BY RIOT SARGONAS

Hey guys, J. “Riot Sargonas” Eckert of the Developer Relations Team, here to chat with you about the place of 3rd party websites and applications in the League of Legends ecosystem. This has been a frequent topic of discussion amongst the community in the past year, and hopefully I can provide some insight into our vision for supporting developers in providing added value to both League of Legends and players, while at the same time protecting the integrity of the game and most importantly the player experience. Whether it comes in the form of moving 3rd parties off of scraping live services over the API for stability reasons, talking directly with 3rd parties to change the functionality of the apps to be more player focused, working internally to limit the effectiveness of cheating tools, or countless other initiatives, those goals will always be the driving factor.


Developing for League

As League and its community grows, so do the programs and websites created by third parties looking to add to the player experience. Sometimes these ventures provide fresh, fun ways to enhance the League experience, while other times they cross the threshold into providing unfair advantages that upset the competitive balance and integrity of the game, and in some cases harm the overall player experience. Our constant challenge in Developer Relations is to encourage and support positive growth, while trying to mitigate and protect against applications that cause a negative player experience.

With the League experience, there are opportunities that Riot can and should deliver to players, and ones that players should explore and build themselves. When it comes to ways that other players can help build on, there are all sorts of awesome ideas for expanding the League of Legends experience that are worth supporting, so let’s talk a bit about how help do this.


Supporting developers

When it comes to experiences that anyone can help craft for players, we want to do everything we can to empower passionate members of the community. To do that, we’ve created a suite of developer tools, including the Riot API. Over the course of the last year we’ve continually updated the API and Developer Portal with new features, with 50+ updates alone in the first 10 months, aimed at creating a robust toolset for great community contributions, and larger third party sites. So far more than 65,000 developers have created accounts that offer basic tool access suitable for testing, and we’ve approved around 1000 production keys that provide full-scale access. We’ve also put together policies and guidelines to help shape development using these tools in player-focused directions. The whole purpose of this is to see the community use these tools to create meaningful additions to the League experience, even in areas Riot hasn’t gotten to yet. But we also want to make sure they do so with the same player-focused approach Riot uses.


What works and what does’t

So what kind of experiences are we trying to foster? Every day we’re surprised with new and innovative things created by the community. And that’s really the point – we want players to be creative and cook up stuff we’ve never even imagined. The fact is, there are tens of thousands of players for every Rioter, so the math is simply in players’ favor when it comes to thinking up new ideas! Player creations like Ward Score and LSI provide some creative methods for players to engage with League in new ways or even level up their play. As a personal experience, I thought I had my warding bases covered until I looked myself up on Ward Score and found out I was actually in the bottom 5% of my peers. Now I’m in the top 98% and my ability to be an effective contributor on my teams has improved (well, in that area). These are the sorts of things we love seeing the community create, and we want to do whatever we can to help you make more of the same!

Offering an environment friendly to third-party development isn’t without its pitfalls. From time to time things pop up that we (often aided by the community) identify as not necessarily player focused, or harmful to game balance and fair play. When this happens, our first step is to engage the developer in question and attempt to guide them in productive directions where they can create value in line with our goals for League. Sometimes this works, sometimes not, and in the worst cases they may even ignore us and require us to take further steps to protect the player experience, such as revoking API keys or making use of such applications by players to be a TOS violation. At the end of the day though, our motives are always the same: player experience always comes before anything else, such as visibility for an up and coming developer, or the success (or failure) of a third party business trying to break into the industry. Our goal isn’t to police applications with a heavy hand, but rather to ensure applications are aligned with our vision for player experience. We want to see these groups providing these experiences succeed, but not at the cost of the players.

We are especially protective of League’s core gameplay experience. We believe the best possible player experience comes from a fully featured competitive toolkit available as soon as you download and install the game. You should never feel the need to first go to a third-party website and download a suite of mods that are required in order to keep up with everyone else. Hence our key policy – “Nothing external should interfere with players’ experience from the moment they press ‘Play’ to the end of match screen.” This usually comes into play with programs that provide gameplay information or functionality not obtainable through normal game interactions (e.g.., everything from specialized overlays, hacks, etc.), which we take a consistently firm stance against in order to preserve a level playing field for all players.


Protecting the landscape

Third-party development in an ecosystem as expansive as League’s is difficult to stay on top of, no doubt about it, and even harder to predict. We can’t see or anticipate every project in development, and sometimes can’t reach out to help developers better align their work with player interests until an app comes to our attention. When we do interact with developers, however, we always seek to respond in whatever way best serves the interests of the entire player base. We are actively trying to foster ALL positive growth in this area, from small independent developers to actual businesses, but we put the players first and are always going to hold player interests above companies simply out to make money. On the flip side, we appreciate your patience as we seek to address the new circumstances and challenges brought about about by the continuing evolution of the third-party scene.

Lastly, it’s important to point out that we never officially support any third-party work. While we may provide tools to empower outside development, the results aren’t an official part of the League of Legends experience and we can’t provide support in resolving issues stemming from them. We’re unable to vet the code of every third party, and can’t adequately test all variations of their applications with our game across the myriad of user setups out there. There is always a risk that external applications may cause game (or system) stability, contain malicious code, or a variety of other potential issues. We always advise you to take the proper steps to protect your account security and computer stability above all else (and to especially *never* share your account credentials with any Third Parties), and forego the use of any programs or applications that cause you concern.



TL;DR – We’ll always take the steps needed to protect players and the integrity of the core game experience. At the same time, we want to help foster growth within and around the League of Legends community by empowering players and outside developers to create experiences that enhance your experience in meaningful, positive ways. The key to this is maintaining a dialogue with players around new stuff in the scene, so we will continue to engage with the community to learn your thoughts on issues like these, and welcome feedback in the comments below. The rest of the team (StillRampant and Riot Tuxedo) and I will be hanging out to answer any questions you might have for the next few hours.



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


Champion Insights – Kalista

December 15th, 2014

 

Champion Insights Banner

The Champion development shares the story of Kalista, from concept to reality:

 


Baby Steps

Kalista began development just as the smoke cleared from Jinx’s launch. The champion team faced a new challenge. Years of female marks(wo)men featured similar shape language and gobs of guns, bows and even bow-guns. A consensus formed: the time had come for a different approach to a female marksman.

Most champions begin life as an amorphous idea blob. Someone’s inspired and does what inspired people do: bring their thoughts to life and share them like crazy. If that idea resonates, artists draw, designers noodle and storytellers write. When that happens, a new champion is on the way to becoming an identifiable embryo.

Concept artist Larry “TheBravoRay” tackled the post-Jinx conundrum. Inspired by Zeus and his lightning bolts, he imagined a tall, athletic woman throwing a spear over and over again. But given that marksmen attack repeatedly all game, every game, he needed a conceit that kept her spears supplied.

SPectral_Legionnaire_art_1_640_thumb

Larry spoke about his approach to the issue, “I wanted to do the archetype of the fallen warrior.” He sketched a few undead representations of martial females to explore the idea. “I wanted players to think, why is she in this state? Why does she look like a wraith and how’d those spears get in her back? What’s the major momentum for this character going forward? From there I think we kinda knew. Brad ‘CertainlyT’, the champion designer, started talking and throwing ideas in and that helped drive the concept as well.”

In early days, in-development champions earn codenames by what makes them stand out. Shortly after Larry’s concepts began making the rounds, Spectral Legionnaire entered active development.

 

Teams in teams

Champions spring from tight-knit teams of craft-experts, where two people rarely have the same skills and expertise. Within the broader champion team, there are multiple, fully-functional teams and each is focused on one particular new champion at a time.

Even if these teams carry the responsibility to understand exactly who, what and why the champion should be in the game, they share their work widely, soliciting opinions and expertise

 

Defining Kalista

Kalista was still taking her first steps when Anthony “Ant in Oz” joined Riot’s narrative team. She’d be his first project and he leapt right onto a charging train. “We sort of knew she was betrayed and that was like a quarter of who she was. So my first task was to try and write a few stories to flesh out some ideas and see which of those stories resonated with everybody working on the champ. You can see very quickly when people get excited about a story and that gets them re-enthused about the champ… That’s when you know you’ve hit a good mark.”

On Brad’s (design) side of things, he’d been prototyping cooperative gameplay designs with the hope they’d find their home in Kalista’s kit. In co-op, the fun’s in accomplishing objectives together, not simply doing similar things while standing near each other. This rule of thumb meant the relationship between Kalista and another champion required shared purpose and an even footing. The idea thematically lined up with Kalista’s martial bearing. Soldiers train to fight as a unit with common objectives–similar to the peer relationship in duo lanes.

When Anthony saw the early designs, he jumped. “This was a good example of the background and the story getting inspired by the gameplay direction. I think that goes back and forth between gameplay, narrative and all the different artists. We all feed off each other. I think that’s a really healthy, natural way for things to work.”

What began with Brad’s exploration of how players could cooperate evolved into The Pledge that allows another champion to yield their soul to Kalista. With a thematic and narrative conceit in place for Kalista, Brad solidified how duo lane players could best work together to farm, score kills and save each other’s butts.

Oath_swore_art_2_640_thumb

 

Problem Child

One particular problem still hovered over Kalista’s gestation. There was consensus that she would be a wraith, but striking the balance between who Kalista once was, a proud warrior, and who she is, the Spear of Vengeance, proved difficult.

Larry talked about a particularly dark time, “There was a lot of feedback when people (internally) started seeing the character…they said, ‘She looks too much like a zombie.’ And that was the key word, ‘zombie, zombie, zombie.’ It was okay that she was undead, because that was the point, but the non-intelligent zombie was not what we wanted.” The artists on Kalista’s pod cooperated with illustrators on the splash team to rejigger her face, helping her become the purposeful, relentless hunter they imagined.

SPectral_Legionnaire_art_3_thumb

Anthony spoke about another breakthrough on the identity front. During VO (voiceover) development, “There was a realization that she wouldn’t say ‘I’ very much because she’s more than one entity, really. So it became, ‘We are the Spear of Vengeance.’” This shift allowed the team to make a clearer statement about who she is and explore the relationship between Kalista and the souls she bonds with. In seldom instances, when she remembers her past life, she still says “I”, providing a small glimpse into her harrowed past.

 

Fate’s Call

Brad emphasized trust as the key to navigating Kalista through difficult challenges and into the game. “We were constantly faced with problems. Solvable problems that we worked through together, but meetings were less jokey. There was more spit-balling, more discussion on how to solve things…If I list the things that I’m proud of this team for, it’d be a long list for this champion in particular.”

Larry continued the line of thought, “It’s all a bunch of professionals collaborating together… Every guy and gal is a pro at what they do and when we get tough feedback we trust. Like if it’s gameplay feedback, I trust Brad is gonna understand and act and do things properly. Same thing with stories, or art or animation…” Offering a final comment, Brad said, “It’s just something you have to be really excited about, you know? Not making a champion, but making this champion.”


Share your take on Champion Insights and give Kalista a shot during her debut on the free champion rotation.



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


Comments off

 

Dev Blog Exploring Player Behavior Design Values Banner

The latest dev blog explores player toxicity and how it can and can’t be resolved.


 

TLDR: There is no silver bullet that solves negative behavior in online games. Players are a diverse bunch, and each player has different motivations and responds differently to different consequences. We design diverse systems using three core philosophies based on reform, punishment, and reward.

In the early days of the internet, players might use racist or homophobic language and nothing would happen; as a result, deviant behaviors not only emerge, but become the norm. In these cases, a non-action such as silence is reinforcement of the behavior, so the behaviors grow in frequency and severity.

But the League community has shown that change is possible. When structure is introduced, players rally behind it and online societies are maturing in some of the bigger online games like League. For example, we know the community rejects homophobic, racist, and sexist language–we’re seeing this type of language in less than 3% of games globally and when it does appear, it’s immediately reported by players and acted upon. We’ve seen time and time again that the majority of players in League will stand up against verbal abuse, and that it doesn’t belong in our community. The problem is, some players have now been gamers for decades where these excessively negative behaviors were considered “OK,” so now we’re playing catch up and need to change our standards and expectations. In this series of dev blogs, we’ll dive deep into our approach to this problem and how we’ve worked with the community to create the tools to enact change and give a voice to the majority of players who reject negative behavior.

One of the first things we did was take a step back from some of the traditional assumptions around online gaming and human behavior. For example, there is no silver bullet to the problem. It isn’t just about banning negative players (punishment) and it isn’t just about rewarding positive players (positive reinforcement). There’s a diverse group of players online (and in real life) and each group of players have different motivations and respond differently to different consequences. We need a diverse spectrum of systems to address the overall player behavior problem in online communities.

As a result of everything we’ve learned, we design our systems, features and programs along three axes: Reform, Punishment, and Reward.

 

Reform

Reform is critical because less than 1% of players are so persistently negative that they trigger a permanent or 14-day ban, ranked restriction or even a single chat restriction. For about 95% of players, they’ll never see these harsh penalties and don’t drift close to negative behavior except on the rare bad day. But we still need to have systems aggressively try to reform or remove the persistently negative players because they could impact an abnormally large number of games. In our next blog post, we’ll focus on reform systems and why sometimes all players need is a harsh penalty that triggers introspection and shows them some behaviors are never okay in League.

 

Punishment

For some types of players and some types of behaviors, punishments are the best method of enacting change. Some of our punishment features include chat restrictions and ranked restrictions, and the new Leaverbuster which forces players into a low priority queue if they routinely AFK or leave games. In addition, the system gives players frequent and immediate feedback about their negative behaviors every time they try to get back onto the Rift. In the punishment-related blog, we’ll dive into the design rationale for some of these punishment systems, and why we believe ideas like Prisoner’s Island (where you match negative players with negative players) are poor design, and what we’ve done to improve on these concepts.

 

Reward

Finally, let’s talk about rewards. It’s not enough in a community to simply reform or punish negative behaviors; in a society where expectations and norms are no longer the standards we want for ourselves, we need to re-educate players on what it means to be sportsmanlike. To do this, we need to spotlight positive behaviors and celebrate positive behaviors more often. The obvious answer is always “just give a skin or RP!” However, if the goal is to actually encourage positive behaviors, research suggests that always using what we call “extrinsic” (tangible) rewards isn’t the best approach. We’ll take a deeper look in a later post at reward systems and how we’d like to spotlight positive behavior over the course of 2015, and why it’ll always be valuable for players to be good.

Our designs around rewards need to be diverse and include extrinsic and intrinsic options (different types of rewards for different people). For example, our current thinking is that, over the course of a year, we’ll introduce light rewards every few months such as the recent IP boost for positive play. One or two times a year, you might earn a more substantial reward such as the Santa Baron summoner icon. In the end, our goal is spotlighting positivity and how awesome the community actually is, not bribing or buying out negatively behaved players.

Before we sign off, we wanted to thank you again for showing us what the community wants to see in itself by using the reports and honoring your positive teammates. We’ve only introduced the philosophy behind our Player Behavior designs in this blog, and we’ll be going into greater detail about specific implementations in future posts.

We’ll continue to iterate and refine, creating new systems with our three design pillars in mind, and we’ll see you on the battlefield.

-The Player Behavior Team

If you still want to know more about how science can help us understand player behavior online, learn more from Lyte’s talk at GDC in 2013: http://gdcvault.com/play/1017940/The-Science-Behind-Shaping-Player.



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


Dev Blog: Optimizing the Rift

November 11th, 2014

 

Dev Blog Optimizing The Rift Banner

 

Learn how the new Summoner’s Rift will improve performance in the latest dev blog.

 

When we first sat down to plan out our priorities for updating the Rift, we knew performance would necessarily be one of our primary challenges. After all, what good is a spiffy update if your toaster explodes during loading? With that in mind, we set a goal of ensuring that the update to Summoner’s Rift performs at least as well as current SR on every player’s machine. We’ve continued to work on optimization since announcing the update, and want to take some time now to discuss the latest details with you.

 

Engineering Art

Usually, when players think about how a game performs on their rig, they mostly look at the game’s tech. In reality, performance involves tight collaboration between artists and engineers, aimed at finding ways to implement art in an efficient fashion. When it comes to the update to Summoner’s Rift, our engineers have worked to provide the artists with the tools and information they need to create a landscape that can be both visually appealing and high-performing.

The art team’s goal of increasing visual fidelity while maintaining performance parity with pre-update SR meant they needed a minimal set of highly-optimized features that would then allow them to create a hand-painted map. Essentially, this meant the engineering team needed to build a new, high performance renderer from scratch.

Broadly, a renderer is responsible for placing game geometry onto your screen, and the new renderer for SR simplifies the process in ways that lead to higher performance, especially on older video cards. Additionally, it allows us to more finely tune the specifics of how a particular machine’s video card renders the environment, and tuning = speed = performance. Finally, the renderer gives us greater control over the map’s texture formats, allowing us to reduce video memory usage.

 

Less is More

Beyond engineering optimization, our artists also sought creative ways to save on performance. One of the early things we looked at was “polygon count,” especially that of of jungle creatures. We know most of you know this, but as a reminder, a polygon is a series of points in space that join together to create a surface.

In particular, we look at triangles, the simplest polygons. Multiple triangles are often used to create complex surfaces in games, and the number of them on screen is a good indicator of how much work your video card has to do. In particular, lower-spec machines are heavily impacted as triangle counts rise. We’ve made a conscious effort to cut down on triangles (and polygons in general) while designing the update, which has provided substantial savings on performance.

TriCount1_thumb
TriCount3_thumb TriCount2_thumb

Bone1_thumb We also looked at “bone count.” Think of “bones” like joints in a skeleton, in that they influence things around them when they move or rotate. In the case of computer graphics, a bone allows for articulation (or animation) of geometry around it, so a jungle monster might have bones placed at various points in order to help animate its movement or attacks. As you’d expect, fewer bones = better performance, so we built the update with an eye towards minimizing bones in the environment’s moving elements.


Bone2_thumbThese two improvements actually contributed to yet another opportunity for performance optimization. We noticed that map elements like towers and minions were pretty inefficient when “deforming” (i.e. moving their polygons in response to bone movement), with far more bone-polygon connections than would be necessary using the update’s new architecture. The bone and polygon trimming we mentioned earlier led naturally into slashing the number of bones connected to individual polygons, allowing for significant performance savings on what tends to be a performance-intensive process.

 

 

 

 

Smaller than the Sum of its Parts

Another major step we took to address performance involved implementing a process called “Atlassing.” This process combines “texturing” (painting a model’s skin) with “UV mapping” (projecting the texture on to the 3D model) in a way that optimizes a bit better for performance.

A model’s UV space determines how it reads the texture and what parts of the texture will show up on what surface. Normally there’s excess space between the UVs, and a model and its texture will look something like this:

TriCount1_thumb

Atlassing combines multiple textures into one larger texture that we can then compress or expand depending on the level of detail we want, which is invaluable when it comes to conserving precious memory usage on textures. For instance, instead of loading five 1024×1024 textures, we can use just one 2048×2048 texture and save a bit on performance.

 

All the Little Things Too

Hopefully we’ve been able to provide some insight into some of the stuff that’ll be going on under the hood once the Rift’s new look hits live. What we’ve covered above definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of our performance-related efforts – from character inking changes, fog of war improvements, nav-mesh streamlining to general bug fixing – we’ve been vigilant for any opportunity to optimize. From the outset, toaster compatibility has been one of our top goals with the update, and it’s something we’ll continue to keep an eye on and fine tune as we move towards open beta and beyond.



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


 

Dev Blog Visual Hierarchy Banner

The latest dev blog draws a neat comparison between the old Summoner’s Rift and the new and how the updated art assists gameplay.

 

Working on the reimagined art style of Summoner’s Rift has been a rewarding, but not small, undertaking – we want to deliver a unique, timeless art style that remains relatable years after its creation. Our goal is to create a style independent of a particular time or place that retains the “inviting, magic-infused forest” vibe of Summoner’s Rift. This means improving the style, cohesion & fidelity of the art while not being held back by technological constraints. Finally, the various aspects of this art style must all be aimed at clarifying gameplay in order to truly give players a more meaningful and immersive experience while playing League.


Timeless Style

Timeless art has to have a uniquely recognizable style all its own, but must also be anchored in reality to be relatable. With that challenge in mind, we drew inspiration from our favorite games, works of art, and animated films in order to come up with the hand-painted, yet graphic style we developed while working on Summoner’s Rift.

image

We applied these inspirations to Summoner’s Rift in a variety of ways. Whimsical trees juxtaposed with more aggressive and stylized rocks; high contrast with soft, welcoming foliage and flowers abutted by sharp and cracked geological shapes. This pairing is key to the map’s shape language and extends similarly to the creatures living on the Rift, with a carefully balanced proportion of elements inspired from both reality and imagination. These dichotomies, along with the proportions, shape conventions, hues and values of the updated Rift all come together to create the “uniquely LoL” aesthetic we’ve been shooting for.

 

Thematic Cohesion

ThematicCohesion

Creating a cohesive theme on the Rift requires all its art to refer back to a singular vision built through story, concept art, and real world reference. This creates consistency among the different elements within the environment and ensures that the things you see in game while playing actually belong together, establishing a more believable and immersive world. Even the scale of buildings and foliage has been addressed. We’re working to create a world where the various elements of the landscape all feel right at home next to champions’ style, scale and overall look.

One of the main things we have to consider is that Summoner’s Rift is the canvas on which all of our champions must sit. The champion pool holds a broad spectrum of styles – from the whimsical nature of Teemo or Lulu, to the darker aggression of Nocturne or Zed. In order to ensure champions fit into the world, we have to blend the painterly baseline of the environment and monsters with more graphic elements that relate to the art of even the grittiest champions. This spectrum (from painted to graphic) is something we’ll continue to refine as we iterate on SR and League’s overall art style.

 

Increasing Clarity

Increasing gameplay clarity is a primary focus when it comes to updating Summoner’s Rift. Clarity, for art, means creating art that minimizes visual clutter.

PanthOldSR PanthSRU

Quite simply, in every second of a game of League, we’re communicating a ton of information. So when we talk about working to improve clarity, we’re talking about improving the accuracy and usefulness of all of this information and enabling players to more easily digest what’s going on during gameplay.

This means simplifying shapes and values to make for easy visual reads no matter where you are on the map or what you’re looking at. The map should always relate to the champions, but it also needs to sit behind and frame them clearly as players run around shooting off abilities in groups of up to 10 at a time.

ClarityFlow

Another concept we keep in mind when pursuing clarity is “flow” – essentially, the art should be a soft visual indicator that subtlety suggests the path. It should clarify game space, not clutter it. Applying visual design elements to make for readable paths should help players in understanding exactly where they are and where they’re going while navigating the Rift.

 

Visual Hierarchy

We also try to bring more clarity to players by looking at the overall map in layers, as a hierarchy of visual elements, which ties together a lot of the things we’ve discussed above. The images below take a look at this hierarchy, with the accompanying graphs displaying value saturation constraints for each layer.

VisualHierarchy1-wt

First is the background which sits behind everything else and serves as a canvas for other elements.

VisualHierarchy2-wt

On top of that are the characters, which are second in contrast and visibility so that they stand out from the background. Players need to always be able to clearly understand exactly where their champion (and others) are on the map.

VisualHierarchy3-wt

Visual Effects come third, so that in the middle of a busy team fight you can clearly see when a Kog-Maw’s lobbing artillery at you or the Sion train is barreling your way.

VisualHierarchy4-wt

Finally, the User Interface sits atop everything and is the easiest element to see. Although it sits on the top layer, it’s slim and small as possible to avoid obscuring gameplay.

 

Invisible Technology

Last but not least among our goals is creating an art style without visible technology – things like hard polygon edges or crunchy, overly realistic textures. Thinking back to our favorite games from 5 or 10 years ago, most were using various forms of art technology that look almost archaic to us now. While we loved the vibe of these games, it’s clear when looking back at the art that technology was often a limitation. Few games and movies successfully break this boundary, but it’s something we really aspire to with the Rift’s updated art style.

Some big wins we get from building this way include a fully cohesive look and a unified, painted style across the entire map. We’ve limited ourselves to polygon budgets that would typically create very low-end looking, hard edges; however, the new art uses a technique in which painted elements define edges and hide the tech. Take a look at the evidence in the screenshot of the Golem pit comparison below:

InvisTech1 InvisTech2

The old map uses visible tech – polygon edges stick out and date the visuals. The new version shows how we’re choosing what edges we like and using alpha-blending and hand-painted geometry to achieve the desired look. This technique can also be done on much “cheaper” geometry for video cards to render, allowing us to improve other map elements like visual effects or animated parts of the environment.

 

Looking Ahead

That’s it on the art for now! Looking ahead to open beta and beyond, we intend to continue adding polish to the updated map and eventually bring the artistic style of League of Legends to other parts of the game. Thanks, and we’ll see you on the Rift!



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


 

 Dev Blog Champion Updates

From the Champion rework team comes a dev blog, detailing upcoming updates for Maokai, Tristana and Poppy.



BY FEARLESS

Hey guys, Seb “Fruity Sebbles” Rhee here – Product Manager on the Champion Update team but really just one of a number of Rioters dedicated to showing love to League’s oldest but still beloved champions. 2014 has been a busy year for the team (though we’re not quite done yet!), and in the wake of our most ambitious project yet, the Sion update, I’d like to chat with you about what we’ve learned this past year as well as where we’re heading with future updates.

 

What Weve Learned

We started off 2014 with a key adjustment to the team’s approach to champion updates.  Previously, we’d often pursued the gameplay, story, and art segments of updates in isolation from each other, which sometimes limited our adaptability (VUs were exclusively cosmetic, while GUs were exclusively focused on gameplay). Heimerdinger is an example of this older approach – development of the gameplay and art elements of his update were so disconnected that their releases were more than four months apart.

We decided we needed to do a better job of treating champions as cohesive packages. By updating characters like Heimerdinger in piecemeal fashion we were certainly delivering new high-quality assets into the game, but we could have potentially even better served Heimer players by delivering a single, unified update. Ultimately we want champions to be distinct, cohesive, and well-executed realizations of their various elements – which requires that art, story, and gameplay all feed into and support each other. With this new philosophy in mind, we did some experimentation in the course of this year’s projects, focused on finding new ways to both maintain a high release cadence and deliver the best possible updates.

SorakaNid_thumb

The first step was better integration of gameplay as a fully-fledged part of the team’s repertoire. Earlier gameplay updates were often limited to addressing how champions negatively affected the game, such as with pre-update Xerath, Kassadin, and Rengar. Since then, our approach has evolved from fixing gameplay problems generated by champions to taking a broad look at their overall thematic in order to guide us in implementing the best version of that character’s gameplay. Nidalee, Sona, and Soraka are examples of updates seeking to better fulfill the gameplay promises suggested by champion identities – Nidalee’s shapeshifting is now a core part of her gameplay loop, and Soraka is dishing out heals every two seconds! And we’ve found that tackling gameplay updates in this fashion still lets us solve the deep-rooted gameplay issues of previous implementations, while maintaining the feel of the original character.

AnivSkarSona_thumb

Another key development was realizing the potential for greater variety in visual updates. Back near the end of 2013, we took some texture-only passes at Rammus and Anivia while investigating new ways to quickly deliver updates to players. As non-humans with rather…polygonal looks, they were obvious candidates for some safe experimentation. To our surprise these minor updates received really high levels of positive feedback, and in 2014 we decided to try out further low-scope art updates. After Skarner’s new visuals received a similar response, we decided to next take a crack at a non-creature texture in the form of Sona, even experimenting a bit further by packaging a quick model update along with her new textures. Once again, players reported satisfaction comparable to that of previous full-scope VUs – yet more evidence of the potential for low-scope but more frequent art updates to become an important part of the update pipeline.

Finally, Sion represented a whole new level of comprehensive update. In a lot of ways Sion is the culmination of all of the changes we’ve made to the team and its approaches. Instead of over-focusing on the issues with his previous implementation, we took a hard look at what Sion should be and worked toward that goal from the ground up, across all aspects of the champion. Sion is the biggest project we’ve taken on as a team, and we hope it sets a new standard in terms of what to expect from the largest-scale updates.

Sion

Taken together, these various projects confirmed the potential for pursuing updates of varying scope. In addition to mammoth projects like Sion, we were able to fill the gaps with more focused updates and constantly deliver value. Viktor is a great example of the latter – he received efficient, relatively low-scope art and gameplay updates specifically targeted at bringing him up to current standards.

Of course, this means we don’t always get to finish the lower-scope updates with a shout of ‘IT’S PERFECT!’ and tears of joy. The animators may hate some of the old animations, or the sound designers may desperately want to incorporate expanded VO or new tech. But delivering high-quality, incremental updates on a regular basis can help make sure we’re able to take a look at more players’ favorite outdated champions and move consistently through our backlog. This approach will be especially important as we look to finish off 2014 in strong fashion and move right on in to 2015.

 

The Plan Moving Forward

The challenge remains vast – dozens of champions could use some level of love right now, and others might have taken their place once we’re done with them. So, how best to meet the task? Essentially, our latest thinking boils down to two overarching principles:

  1. The scope of updates will vary immensely, from Sion-level projects to minor texture and gameplay polish efforts, all based on each champion’s specific needs and place in the overall roster.
  2. Following from the first, we’ll simultaneously pursue multiple updates of varying scope. Several pipelines will exist so that no champion is left behind because its unique needs don’t fit the current mold.

CUComic_thumb

These principles are actually already in play – Sion, Viktor and Soraka emerged nearly simultaneously and with varying degrees of change. Moving into 2015, we plan to do updates in the Renekton to Sona range much more often than in the past, but in addition to Sion-level updates (not in lieu of them).

In line with this thinking, we’re moving away from our past attempts to strictly define update categories (older terms like relaunch and rework as well as the newer TU, MTU, VU, GU, etc). Visually-focused updates will often include gameplay tweaks or quality-of-life changes, while gameplay-driven updates will frequently include opportunistic or even necessary visual adjustments like new ability effects. Updates don’t all need to fit a predetermined template, and each will be different in scope based on the champion’s needs – our goal is simply to get every champion up to the quality bar that players can expect of a modern League champion.

But how will this play out in practice? Let’s take a look at these concepts through the lens of several current projects that demonstrate the breadth of scope we’re pursuing with updates.

 

Maokai
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Maokai is the next update in the Singed / Renekton vein, as he’s mostly in good shape and just needs some targeted work to bring him up to date. His gameplay’s looking good after a kit rebalance earlier this season, so we’re focusing on some low-scope visual buffs aimed at making him even more exciting to play. He’ll sport a whole new model and texture across his base and skins, and we’re also taking a pass at his visual effects. Look for him to hit PBE soon!

 

Tristana

Tristana’s a consistently popular champion and might not seem an obvious update candidate, but she’s got a couple areas where a bit of work could bring her right up-to-date with current standards. As one of the game’s “intro” characters (you can unlock her for free on our Facebook page), we think it’s about time Tristana received a buff to her visuals, especially given that Yordle style has evolved a bit over the years. While we’re at it, we’re taking a light pass at her gameplay focused on adding a bit of new spice to her E, increasing her ability interactions, and fleshing out her strategic niche among the roster of marksmen (errr….markswomen…marksladyyordles). She’s a moderately-sized project with significant investment and time commitments, but still focused on the specific areas in need of an update rather than more sweeping changes.

 

Poppy

PoppyHammers_thumbEveryone’s favorite hammer girl has been on our scopes for a while, as she’s one of those older champions in need of across-the-board work to bring her up to current standards. To be clear, we LOVE her core identity – who doesn’t want to play the fearless Yordle striking hammer-induced terror into enemies across the map? In fact, the gap between her awesome premise and lackluster execution is exactly why we’re working on her.

Artistically, Poppy will still look like a heavily armed and armored ball of golden death. We’re looking to preserve her thematic and color scheme while bringing her art up-to-date both technically and stylistically. Similarly, there’s a lot to love in her story, we just plan to bring it up-to-date and cement her more firmly in the world and among her fellow Yordles. On the gameplay front the challenge is a bit bigger, as Poppy’s kit is pretty archaic at this point. Nevertheless, we’re looking to keep her current fearless style of gameplay and core dash-and-smash mechanics – we still want her to have that same diver mentality.

Poppy is definitely a hefty undertaking – not quite a Sion-level project but pretty close to it. She’s still a ways out and is going to take a lot of work, but will hopefully offer an awesome experience for players once we’re done with the job.


As I’ve mentioned, these and other updates will vary tremendously in scope as we tailor them to each champion’s unique needs and opportunities. Keep in mind that this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of our current projects, and if your favorite older champion isn’t included, fear not! He/she/it is somewhere on our radar, and we hope for an even better cadence in 2015 as we continue to incorporate our latest learnings.

We’re incredibly excited about the future of Champion Updates, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this exploration. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

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

 

 

Forging a Diverse Armory Banner

The fourth entry in the preseason dev blog series is all about items and builds.



Missed any previous devblogs on Preseason? Here are all previous entries:

Dev-Blog-Preseason-A-New-Jungle-banner

Preseason-2015-Increasing-Strategic-Diversity-Banner

Preseason-2015-Diversifying-Objectives-Banner



BY RIOT YPHERION

It’s preseason, and that means changes to items! When we looked at all of the high-level strategic opportunities in League, some questions arose. Through items, could we follow the same path as objectives in allowing teams to opt into different strategies? Where would the meaningful choices be found? What would they be? Could there be a method to protect yourself against opposing strategies?

Ultimately, the philosophy we’re pursuing with preseason items feeds into the same goal: strategic diversity – increasing the paths to victory your team can take. As such, we want to create and retune items with a specific focus on macro-level value (meaning pre-fight, or out of combat value) over micro-level contributions. If more teams can pick up the items they need to change course in a game (by which we mean switching to split-pushing or sieging through item purchases rather than relying purely on champion composition) we hope to provide the right tools for strategic innovation to prosper in League of Legends.


Diversifying Item Strategies

Many items in League just add champion power with passive stats. This is important because it’s one of the key ways teams have to leverage gold advantages. However, in addition to these kinds of items, we think there is room for more strategic items that allow you to support a particular strategy or counter an enemy strategy. By their very nature, these items won’t be must-buys every game, but in certain situations they should be very useful.

As we mentioned in the first Preseason Dev Blog, we want to make sure that most team comps can react to specialized strategies brought by the enemy team. In that blog we mentioned an item that would help you engage on a slippery opposing team: enter Righteous Glory. In addition to giving a pile of health / mana / health regeneration, Righteous Glory’s active gives a large movement speed bonus to both its user and nearby allies when moving toward enemies (or enemy turrets!) before emitting a large, high-impact shockwave that slows all nearby enemy champions.

By granting high toward-enemy movement speed (think Vayne’s Night Hunter passive) to your team at the right time, you can quickly position for a fight. Add to that a powerful area-of-effect slow and your ability to force fights becomes formidable against all but the most evasive teams.

We’re also looking at existing items and seeing what we can improve. For example, Ohmwrecker is an interesting item that occupies a unique strategic space but seems a little undertuned relative to its cost. We think Ohmwrecker has the potential to be a powerful tool to fight against teams that are able to endlessly leverage the power of the new inhibitor turrets to stall out games, so we’re re-doing this item (yes, again…) as a pure tank initiation purchase. In addition to granting bonus health, health regen, cooldown reduction, and its active turret disable ability (we’ve upped the duration by 0.5 seconds), Ohmwrecker now builds up to +30% bonus movement speed over 2 seconds when near enemy or ally turrets. This movement speed bonus isn’t cancelled by combat, so whoever owns an Ohmwrecker will be a significant tower diving threat at all times.

It’s worth calling out it’s not only active items getting a pass with strategy in mind. We tuned Warmog’s Armor so it’s a bit less about being an unburstable meat-wall and more of an anti-poke buy. We’ve kept that +1% maximum health per 5 second regeneration, but it’ll triple to regenerating 3% of the holder’s maximum health if they haven’t taken damage within 8 seconds. The intense out-of-combat regen allows for powerful sustain in long standoffs, helping teams adapt against strategies that rely on endless posturing and poking.

These aren’t the only changes incoming, but are solid examples of the design philosophy we’re following. We’re looking forward to seeing their effect on games as players develop strategies and counter-strategies, and we’ll use the early results to inform future changes and new items.


Drink Up Me Hearties

Because consumables are relatively cheap and last a short duration, we thought they were naturally suited to support dynamic strategies. As your team changes strategies, you can also change which consumables you’re buying.

Elixir of Fortitude and Elixir of Brilliance have been replaced by a set of mid/late game consumables:

  • Elixir of Ruin
    • Grants bonus health, bonus damage to towers, and the “Siege Commander” buff
    • Siege Commander: Nearby minions gain bonus damage to towers. Minions also gain movement speed based on your own movement speed.
  • Elixir of Sorcery
    • Grants bonus ability power, mana regeneration, and the “Sorcery” buff
    • Sorcery: Damaging a champion or tower deals bonus true damage. This effect has a cooldown against champions but no cooldown against towers.
  • Elixir of Iron
    • Grants increased size, slow resistances, tenacity, and the “Path of Iron” buff
    • Path of Iron: Moving leaves behind a path that boosts allied champion movement speed
  • Elixir of Wrath
    • Grants bonus attack damage and the “Bloodlust” buff
    • Dealing physical damage to champions heals for a % of the damage dealt. Scoring a kill or assist extends the duration of this Elixir by 30 seconds.

These are more expensive than the Elixirs they’re replacing and you can only have one active at a time. These new Elixirs are primarily a choice of what is most valuable to your team’s strategy. We’ll be watching these carefully to gauge their effect on the game and will react accordingly. The power level and/or effects of these will almost certainly change over time while we all learn what strategic consumables do for League.


Streamlining Reactive Builds

When you’ve just been evaporated by LeBlanc or cut down by Riven you tend to want to adjust your build appropriately by buying Armor or Magic Resist as soon as possible. However, with the current state of items there’s often needless complexity in deciding what to pick up. Depending on the final item you’re going for, you should be building Cloth Armor instead of Chain Vest (Glacial Shroud vs. Warden’s Mail) or Negatron Cloak instead of Null Magic Mantle (Banshee’s Veil vs. Hexdrinker). Depending on how much gold you have on hand, this can force strange decisions around what is ultimately a reactive purchase.

To smooth this out, we’re changing Chain Vest to build out of Cloth Armor and removed Negatron Cloak from the game (replacing it with Null Magic Mantles earlier in item build paths). This makes the “I need Armor NOW” case much cleaner, no matter what final item you’re aiming for with minimal loss of depth in the decision making.

A number of recipes have been tweaked accordingly but overall the power level of these items is largely the same.


Health and Mana Regeneration

Making regen a more regulated stat is important for us to be able to properly support and control poke / siege comps (and any other fight / flight comps that players may create) as well as defenses against them. However, it has been historically challenging to create and maintain compelling health / mana regen items in League for two reasons:

First, flat values that are relevant late are super-oppressive when rushed early, and values that are fair early aren’t that interesting in the late game. 50HP/5 if rushed on a first big item would be absurdly powerful but would be interesting later; 10HP/5 is reasonably strong in lane but once you’re a tank with 3500 health, it just doesn’t mean much. Second, flat regen affects all characters equally, making it hard to target on champions where it can be strong and healthy (as opposed to strong and silly-overpowered).

To address the above problems, we’re changing regen items from flat values to percentages of a champion’s stats. The benefits of a design like this are twofold. By having regen scale throughout the game we can create items providing meaningful benefits early while still remaining relevant late. We also get the benefit of being able to tune regen more effectively champion-by-champion, meaning we can focus strong regen items onto champions where they can be powerful and healthy. This’ll be a new balance and tuning point for us, and will almost certainly be a bit wonky at first. We believe that percentage-based regen will ultimately address the problems we’ve had with regen items, but we’ll need to iterate on these significantly with your help.


Iterating Toward a New Season

We’ll be looking to keep exploring this space in the future, so expect more items along these lines and changes to existing items in this vein.

We’ve mentioned this in the previous Dev Blogs, but it probably can’t be said enough: all of these changes are subject to a lot of tweaking which’ll be heavily informed by player feedback and what players are able to do with these new tools. It may happen between now and when they hit live servers and it’ll happen over time as we all learn how to best use items (as well as the jungle, objectives and other areas) to enhance strategic diversity in League of Legends.

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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.