Posts Tagged ‘fearless’


QA 11 12 Banner

Game designers Fearless, Ghostcrawler and all held Q&As on the official forums. Here are all the questions they answered:



Recent News Banner

PBE Update 11 12 Banner

Poppy in Store Banner


INTRO Jo Fearless Graylock Lead Designer Gameplay Systems

Fearless New PortraitWHO AM I?

Hey everyone, I’m Jo Graylock. Before I came to Riot I was an RPG designer for most of a decade, as well as Jiu Jitsu instructor and metal radio show host. The vast majority of my developer experience comes from my time at Obsidian Entertainment. Lots of awesome people making awesome games there, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to work on my favorite game.

I try to play a ton of everything, but favorites are LoL, Fallout 1 and 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, Tactics Ogre, Dino Run, FTL, and Risk of Rain, with healthy amounts of D&D and Warmachine at the table. When not gaming, I’m usually doing lots of tabletop painting, playing volleyball, or spending time with family.

I currently own: 2 cats.


I started as an individual contributor at Riot, working on the Sona update before moving into systems work, first on the Jungle Update for 2015 before following up with Cinderhulk. After that, I moved to lead the Lead Design spot for Gameplay Systems. I’ve been lead for the Juggernaut items and the 2016 Season work so far. I’m really looking forward to keeping this season exciting throughout the entire year.


I’m going to be here to talk about all the systems stuff in LoL. This means items, the map, the jungle, and all the other rules level stuff in the game. A lot of our changes can be pretty easy to miss, but also a little mysterious or obscure. I’m really excited to bring this stuff into the light, as well as the reasons behind why we change the game. I’m also really happy to talk about how we work as designers, both in what our day to day looks like, and some stories about how we think about problems and overcome them. Riot designers were super inspiring to me before I got here, and I’d love to give back a bit of my time to pay that forward.


Let’s talk about stuff, for realzies. The openness and honesty of Riot was a big reason to work here, and I’d like to keep that tradition going. 🙂

EDIT: Going to meetings for a bit, will be back around dinner time.

EDIT2: Alright, heading out for some dinner. Thanks for talking everyone! Look forward to a lot more!

[ Link to Post ]



Are you guys going to rework Guinsoos Rageblade

Guinsoos Rageblade Final IconWe are looking to slowly reduce power, but the base goal is one we want to keep. Just need to pull levers to get it into balance.

[ Link to Post ]



Whatre your thoughts on the AP CDR gap with items like Essence Reaver

Essence Reaver IconCurrent thought is that max CDR shouldn’t be something that mages just get by accident, and should be something that actually has meaningful trade-offs. ADC builds are still very much in flux and we’re actively still looking into tweaks to make sure that going into Reaver is powerful, but has a few more trade-offs as well. 5.24 has a small change to delay the rate at which ADC’s get the full CDR, which should help with how free that stat is currently. Totally possible we’ll need to do more there still.

[ Link to Post ]



Whatre the plans for underwhelming Juggernaut items like Steraks Gage

Steraks Gage Final IconWe have some more communication on this coming next year. TLDR is that these items are all answering the question we wanted them to answer, but some could still get some small changes to adjust how well they answer those questions.

[ Link to Post ]



Are there plans to create a more defined subclass of AP Juggernauts

Fearless New PortraitWe’ve talked little bits about these guys, but the crowd is pretty small. Given that we have some pretty large blocks of champs that are in very difficult spots, my guess is that the work on this group might be a ways off. That or they might get some love from the projects targeted towards other groups. That tends to happen a lot when it comes to systems projects, just because everything is so interconnected.

[ Link to Post ]



Whats happening to Cull

Cull IconCull is on watch, and probably needs a small buff. Staring items are extremely sensitive to small changes, so have to tread carefully.

[ Link to Post ]




What kind of designers work at Riot, and what are their tasks

Fearless New PortraitAt Riot we don’t split up game designers much besides Designers and Tech Designers, with the main difference there just being the ability to check in code. In terms of things like systems design or mechanic design, these are competencies that each design has some ability to do, but will be stronger or weaker depending on who you talk to. At Obsidian, I moved between being a Cinematic Designer, a Combat Designer, a Systems Designer and even a Technical Designer for one project. Each company has their own ways of understanding their teams, and I think that’s smart for each company to set out who they want and how specialized they want them to be.

[ Link to Post ]


Follow Up Banner

Fearless New PortraitAnd for the last question, there is a place at almost every studio for designers that don’t have tech educations, definitely including Riot. I have a film background before I got into gaming, and I’ve worked with Designers with every sort of education, from Art, Philosophy, Architecture and Literature. I’ve also worked with plenty of incredibly talented designers who did not complete a degree. The most important thing for a game designer is that they are great at understanding and making fun games. Some people learn things that help them do this in school. Some people mod and some people figure this out along some very strange paths.

[ Link to Post ]



What was your journey to becoming a Systems Designer like

Fearless New PortraitWhen I think about the work that I did, really everything has been some form of system, apart from Sona. For example, even though I was the Cinematic Designer for Alpha Protocol, most of my work there was building out the game experience of the story. AP wanted the cinematic sequences to still very much be an interactive part of the game that gave players the space to express themselves, experiment, and feel like they could “win” the story by getting to be the character they wanted to be. A lot of the decisions we built into how players picked their dialogue options and how those payed off and showed progress all went back into making sure the cinematics could be that gameplay experience.

Basically, being a systems designer was simply a matter of taking on a big project, and then consistently thinking about the entire impact and interactions of the project. It also really helps if you’re comfortable working on the nuts and bolts level stuff, knowing that when you do your job well, players might not even notice a lot of what you’ve done. Great systems design is often like great film editing, in that many of the best examples are amazing because of the subtle things that they do that most people won’t (and shouldn’t need to) notice.

[ Link to Post ]



Whatre your thoughts on permanent modes like Dominion

Fearless New PortraitI’m really not an expert, or even particularly familiar with the other game modes. Before I started working at Riot, I was actually pretty into Dominion, and would play a few games every week, to test out champ match-ups and builds in the faster setting. Once I got to Riot and found myself on a team that is entirely focused around SR, I pretty much only play SR to make sure that I stay as current as possible and am testing and experimenting as much as possible in the space that lets me build awesome stuff for players.

Sorry I don’t have more deep thoughts to throw in here.

[ Link to Post ]


Follow Up Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll be completely honest: we have neglected them, especially Dominion and TT. We view the heart of League to be SR, and that’s where we spend most of our development effort. We aren’t happy with that answer however, and we have some ideas for how we can give Dominion and TT a little love. We’ll talk more about this soon. We are unlikely to add new permanent maps in the future. Often, they lack the depth of SR, which means they are popular at first and then slowly lose players over time. In some regions where we have fewer players, it can also cause long queue times by sub-dividing the bucket so much.

[ Link to Post ]



What RPGs have you worked on

Fearless New PortraitI worked on Neverwinter Nights II, Alpha Protocol, Dungeons Siege III, and South Park: The Stick of Truth, along with some projects that never quite saw the light of day.

[ Link to Post ]




Did you intentionally design the thin walls on SR that can be dashed over

Fearless New PortraitMap geometry is an element we generally keep fairly fixed, while letting champs determine how they want to interact with it, given that it’s going to very likely be stable. A lot of systems work is about making sure we have a solid rules base for champions to interact with and navigate, and the map is a very base layer set of “rules.”

[ Link to Post ]



Whatre some of the funniest bugs youve encountered while balancing

Fearless New PortraitI didn’t understand where the decimal point for move speed values were supposed to go, so I had a Sona that pretty much just blinked where you clicked for as long as her E was up. Caught before it got into a playtest, but very fun for a few minutes.

[ Link to Post ]




Are there any Mastery or Item ideas for Preseason that got scrapped

Fearless New PortraitThe marksman items had a lot of revisions, some of which had some extreme power, and of course some of these lined up with champ iterations that were very strong. Combine that with the fact that we have some high skill marksman specialists in the main playtest group I’m in, and we had a few playtests that felt like an alternate game mode where the goal was just to run as fast as you could away from the marksman. Not good for the game, but very entertaining to see the roles flipped so hard.

[ Link to Post ]



Is there anything already live that you feel is unappreciated unnoticed

Fearless New PortraitI think our bounty changes, coupled with the game pacing changes to towers and minions are very exciting, personally. I care a lot about making sure the game is still fun, even when you’re losing, and these changes make it much more clear what you should be doing when a team is down, and cut down on some of the worst game states to experience as a losing team.

[ Link to Post ]



INTRO Greg Riot Ghostcrawler Street Game Design Director

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWHO AM I?

My name is Greg Street, Riot Ghostcrawler. Before working at Riot, I was a lead designer on World of Warcraft for 6 years. Before that I was a lead designer on Age of Empires for 10 years. Before that, I was an oceanographer, which is where the crustacean avatar came from. I was an army brat who lived lots of places, but I identify most as a Texan.

My favorite game of all time is Dungeons and Dragons. I have played for 30 years, in all 5 editions. For video games, I’ll just list broad families of games that I love and that have influenced me: XCOM, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Chrono Trigger, Diablo, Doom, Civilization, Legend of Zelda, Dark Souls, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Mass Effect, Metroid, Grand Theft Auto, and Okami. Outside of games, I enjoy travel, reading about history and science, and being outdoors. My last research project as a scientist involved collecting live, radioactive alligators. I have been attacked by animals as diverse as: Portuguese Man-o-war, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Stingray, Rock Rattlesnake, Coatimundi. My favorite animal is the Mantis Shrimp.

I currently own: 4 dogs and 2 cats.


I joined Riot in 2013 and I am now the game design director for League. I describe my job as a combination of three things: I’m ultimately accountable for the design quality of League, I work with the other leads to determine long-term strategy and our big bets for the next year, and I manage the design department. I work a lot on projects such as our Season 2016 plan. I help answer things such as what kinds of champions should we be making, what do we want the pace of the game to be, and what new features does League need.


The best kinds of questions to hit me with are about our design philosophy or core design values. The kinds of questions I can best answer are “Would Riot ever consider this Big New Feature?” “Where do you see League in 5 years?” “How does Riot balance for such a wide range of skills?” “How much counterplay is acceptable?” “What were Riot’s goals with preseason?” “Is League too snowbally?” “Does Riot make too much change to the game?” “How many champions can League support?” I don’t directly balance champions or design new items. I’m fine if you blame me for bad balance, but if you want to know our thoughts on a particular change or the state of a champion, you’re better off asking the Rioters who are working directly on them.


If you know anything about me, you hopefully know that I strive to be really transparent with players and that I have very thick skin. AMA.

[ Link to Post ]



Is the complexity and tacked on passives on new Champions a good thing

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe feel overall that the ramp up in complexity on champs (the extra passives and double passives and so on) isn’t a great trend to stay on. It’s a challenge when you’re in the trenches, because you want players to get excited about each new champ that’s released, so we keep trying to outdo ourselves. If we released [next champ] with Vlad’s Q, I think we’d all be disappointed. But that’s the short term view, and in the long term view, we don’t want to end up at a point where champs have 4 passives and 20 abilities and so on.

[ Link to Post ]




How many champions can League support

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think by around 300 we’d need some kind of seasonal roster or something. At the current rate we make champions, we won’t have to worry about that for some time. The game can handle a lot more than it has today IMO.

[ Link to Post ]




What do you think of Vladimir

Vladimir Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe agree with just about everything you said. “What is the problem with Vlad’s Q?” used to be a question on our design test for potential new hires, but we removed it because it was too easy. Thematically, he’s fine. He needs better abilities. We’ll get there, potentially with the mage roster update this year.

[ Link to Post ]



Wasnt Mordekaiser changed for the sake of evolving the game

Mordekaiser Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe strive for evolution, not change for the sake of change. That doesn’t mean we always nail it, and it’s an easy trap for developers to fall into, especially folks who haven’t been making games for very long (which is almost every Rioter). It’s a compass heading.

Morde was not change for the sake of change. Morde was not working as champion and we didn’t think it was possible to deliver on his current direction in a healthy way. He really needed a change the same way Poppy and Sion needed a change. Were there other changes we could have made that might have worked out better? That’s entirely possible. Was the community right and we should have listened to them? In 20/20 hindsight, that happens all the time. I’m trying to illustrate there is a difference between a bad change and change for the sake of change.

Change for the sake of change comes about when you see devs say things like this:

  • I’m bored. I think I’ll try something crazy.
  • I never envisioned this champ as X. I’m going to try Y because that fits my personal impression.
  • Z hasn’t gotten any changes for awhile. It’s his turn.
  • I don’t know what will work, so I’ll try this.

Change to add depth to the game come about when you see devs saying things like:

  • This pattern lacks counterplay so we need to add an opportunity for the enemy to do something.
  • We can’t increase this champion’s winrate without their pick rate skyrocketing and players seeing them every game. We are going to have to change some of their abilities.
  • This system is something solved that players don’t really think about anymore. We need to get interesting decisions back in.
  • Our values or goals are X, but this champion isn’t meeting those goals. We need to make changes to meet them.

In general, the changes we try to make are strategic, try to deliver on goals or values, try to open up options or decisions for players, and try to fix real problems.

[ Link to Post ]



How do you feel about the video game industrys development

Ghostcrawler New PortraitBig games are very expensive to make. This makes studios (and more importantly, their publishers who put their money up front) reluctant to take big risks. There have also been some spectacular failures of big games that were super high concept that just didn’t resonate with players and lost millions.

If you look at indie development, you will see a lot more risk-taking and even spot some of the next new trends. You’ll also spot some coming out of other regions, especially China. (I realize asking you to download a Chinese mobile game is a non-trivial ask.)

[ Link to Post ]



Do you agreedisagree with Zileas list of ten balance design antipatterns

Ghostcrawler New PortraitConflicted purpose. If you have an ability that is say both a shield and a heal, it can be an interesting decision about when to use the ability. You may need the shield now but you may need the heal even more a few seconds later. It is possible to screw this up, which was his point, but it’s possible to make it work out well as well.

He is my boss, by the way, so I’d love to tear down his arguments in a way that could publicly humiliate him, but I actually agree with his list for the most part.

[ Link to Post ]



What would you say are the biggest pros and cons of the PBE currently

Ghostcrawler New PortraitPros: Great for “feels” feedback. Good at catching bugs. Good as a point of reference for players to discuss on boards and Reddit.
Cons: NA only. Players don’t know how to participate. Bad for balance data (sample size is so small that matchmaking suffers, and players aren’t generally in tryhard mode anyway).

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think Hybrid champions will be supported in the future

Kayle Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe are fine with hybrid champions or rule-breakers, but we need to establish that is our intent and not let it just sort of happen accidentally because the kit is overloaded. We didn’t really have a good framework for this before say 12 months ago when we started considering rosters.

[ Link to Post ]



What do you think should be done to make Sona a viable Support pick

Sona Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe think her kit is fine. Not every champion needs to have a ton of mechanical complexity so long as they still have strategic complexity. For Sona, positioning (when to hug and when to not) are supposed to matter enormously.

[ Link to Post ]




If you were to redesign League would you still use the AD and AP stats

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI haven’t socialized this with the team, so they might disagree, but back in the day, League made the conscious choice not to go with the Strength, Agility, Intelligence model that Wacraft 3 originally used. The idea was that items were a bit more agnostic and any champion could use them. Was that the right call? I’m not sure. While there are still a lot of champ agnostic items, we also are jumping through hoops now to make sure e.g. Marksmen items are attractive to Marskmen but not necessarily to mages.

[ Link to Post ]



What are your thoughts on Preseason games being a lot more snowbally

Ghostcrawler New PortraitSo interestingly, our data suggests that games are no more snowbally than before the preseason changes or all of last year. We realize there is a common perception among players that it is more snowbally, so we are trying to unpack that and figure out why the discrepancy exists. Games are definitely shorter, but a shorter game that isn’t more of a shut out would actually be a pretty good place for the game to be.

[ Link to Post ]



Will you be aiming for strategic diversity in Season 6

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe also would like to see 10 different ADCs get played. Balance and strategic diversity play into that for sure. But it’s not the only factor. Players (of any game, not just League) really hate to be wrong, especially in front of strangers. That can lead to a situation where everyone wants to know “Who should I pick?” by which they mean “Which champ should I pick that is currently considered the best so that nobody will get mad or make fun of me?” In other words, the perception can sometimes drive the reality.

The perception that there is a best and second-best ADC can often cause players to choose those champs, even if their winrate would be better with a champ they’ve played a lot or really enjoy. Seeing what the pros pick can also have a huge trickle down effect on ranked queue champion choices. The difference between a “strong” and “weak” champion can often mean the difference between a 55% and 45% win rate. Think about that. That means you’d win approximately 10% more games if you picked the right champion. If you played 10 games, you might win 1 more because of your champion pick. Your individual experience with that champion can have a far bigger impact. Overall, League is a pretty well balanced game. That doesn’t mean we can’t do better, and we will strive to do so. But we’re not talking about champions who are twice as likely to win a game as another choice.

[ Link to Post ]



Why are you reworking Taric before Warwick Is it the gems

Taric Banner Single

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYeah, it’s pretty much just the gems.

Seriously though, a lot can go into the determination of which champion update we work on next, including whether we have potentially good ideas for how to fix the champion (thematically, visually and mechanically). We do have someone working on Warwick, because he desperately needs it, but it’s too soon to tell how or when that may pan out.

[ Link to Post ]



If Rioters hate ballofstats Champions why was Mundo given free stats

Mundo Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitGenerally speaking, we do two kinds of changes — things that have a chance of a long-term fix and things that are band-aids just to tide things over until we can get to a long-term fix. That said, Mundo is somewhat simple, but I don’t know that he needs a major update.

[ Link to Post ]



It seems that Yasuo is designed purely around free stats from his passive

Yasuo Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYasuo’s winrate generally isn’t all that high because his skill cap is insanely high, one of the top 2-3 in the game. That is the challenge for why he is tricky to balance moreso than the double passive, IMO. We’d have to ask the champion designer who worked on him the origin of the double passive though.

[ Link to Post ]



How When will you fix Champions who rely on free stats to be viable

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s less about free stats and more about whether a champion is nothing but a bag of stats. If your win rate is high because your stats are higher and not because you make good decisions, that’s the kind of thing we want to fix. We have fewer of those champions this year than we did last year.

[ Link to Post ]



How often do you play League and whats your favourite team role

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI tend to play in bursts like lots of players. I am playing fewer games now because I have been spending so much time on Fallout 4 and the Bloodborne DLC. Before I came to Riot, I’d say I played mostly Support (I played a priest in WoW) and ADC. I have tried to double down on improving my weaknesses rather than my strengths since I have been here. Jungle is by far my weakest role. I need to spend more time there.

[ Link to Post ]



What are your thoughts on the diversity of item recipes or lack thereof

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe want the early items to be a little safer because you aren’t locking yourself out of potential later items. You may not have enough information early in the game to know which items (or even in which order) you’ll want at the end. This means some amount of similarity among the builds themselves. There probably are some opportunities for those mid-tier items to branch out a little more.

[ Link to Post ]



Was it a conscious decision to move League toward mobility and flashy plays

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think there is a tendency to want to design a champion that gets a lot of YouTube videos made because of flashy plays. Similarly, in a game with 130 champions, you can’t just offer a kit of skill shot + shield + steroid. I’ve said before that I think the concern that too many of our champs lately have been on the more complicated end is very fair and something we want to combat. You can have champions that make strategically interesting decisions (or even big plays) without them having double passives and lot of gigantic tooltips.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you see League lasting another 10 years If so how will it change

Ghostcrawler New PortraitEasily ten years. It’s not going anywhere. I think the biggest gains we have to make are outside of the core game loop. We can’t ever take our eye off that ball, but it’s pretty fun already and we don’t want to bury it under tons of complex systems. On the other hand, some of our systems outside of the game are pretty weak. For example we have focused a lot on fixing player behavior problems but not as much on helping you play with your friends.

[ Link to Post ]



Does Riot consider the Juggernaut reworks a success

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt was a good proof of concept for the roster project. We’re happy with Garen and Darius, less so with Skarner and Morde. Overall, hitting 4 champs is probably not enough to feel like a roster was really updated. However, compared to Marksmen, Juggernauts barely even had a function in the game, so in that sense, we feel like it was successful.

[ Link to Post ]



Whats the reason for having 6 bans per game instead of 10

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t want to be in a perpetual arm’s race. We have some fear that if we did 10 today it would be 12 next year and so on. There is some evidence that giving each player one ban in solo queue might be a better experience. We have some changes with the new team builder (with still just 6 bans) and we will see how that plays out first and then evaluate.

[ Link to Post ]



Has there been a region where Riot have found it impossible to support League

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThis is a great question but I don’t have a great answer. Maybe another Rioter who has been here longer will share a good story with me that I can then relate to you guys. Going into a new region is a fairly expensive commitment in that we have to localize a whole lot of text and VO and then either set up servers and matchmaking ourselves or find a regional partner who can do so. We have to be convinced that we can develop a sizable player base in a new region for it to be worth it. That is usually the biggest barrier to going into a new region. There are some interesting quirks though — we can’t play on Korean servers because Korea requires you to have the Korean equivalent of a social security number to play. (We were able to play when we visited Korean PC bangs though).

[ Link to Post ]



I think League could use more miniobjectivesminigames like Skarners crystals

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI agree we could have more, and we’ll probably add more over time, but not toooo many more. Imagine a game with 10 “Skarners” and 10 “Skarner crystals” all over the map.

[ Link to Post ]




Are Champion mains taken into consideration when that Champion is reworked

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t make the changes just for those mains for a few reasons. Maybe they main that champion for reasons we don’t want to encourage. Maybe there are a bunch of potential mains out there who aren’t playing the champ but might with a good rework. Ideally we don’t alienate mains, and we do always target our survey questions towards both mains and non-mains.

[ Link to Post ]



Should there be more champions whose spells provide options to enemies

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s a cool space but it increases the amount of information you need to play the game by a lot. Consider the Poppy rework — you have to know to step on her shield. Maybe you’ll stumble upon that at some point but maybe you won’t.

[ Link to Post ]




Is fun to play as or fun to play against a priority when making Champions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe look at “play as” first. If nobody wants to play the champ, it doesn’t matter if they are fun to play against. We definitely look at how frustrating they are to play against once we really get into development.

[ Link to Post ]




How do you feel about additional gamemodes maps

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’d love to see a more casual yet still competitive mode around some of those less-played maps.

[ Link to Post ]




Whats the best ways for individual players to impact Riots decisions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt depends on your target. If you’re looking to change our development culture or something, that’s pretty hard. If you want to give feedback on a champion change, there are a lot of ways to do that. Posting in the threads (often the PBE threads) where the developers are asking for feedback or discussing upcoming changes is a good way to focus your efforts. Just don’t assume that there is some kind of magical lever that you can pull to guarantee your suggestion will get incorporated. That’s just really hard to do when you have millions of players with their own suggestions. 🙁

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think every Champion should occupy a unique team role

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s fine if they are in the same space but have different play styles. It’s probably not possible for us to come up with 130+ different strategies.

[ Link to Post ]




Why arent bad changes reverted more often eg Cassiopeias rework

Cassiopeia Single Banner

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think I mentioned this earlier, or maybe it was Twitter or

I think it sucks when we do an update that is okay but not awesome. The reason is because it generally gets a champion into a healthier play space (so they are no longer at the top of the “on fire” list) but we haven’t made them awesome either (and because they are no longer at the top of the “on fire” list, they may not get touched for awhile).

We’d like to hit Cass again when we look at mages in 2016. I can’t promise because it’s impossible to predict how the projects will work out. I really wanted to update Volibear for the juggernaut update, but it just wasn’t coming together.

[ Link to Post ]



INTRO Mark RiotScruffy Yetter Lead Game Designer Champions

Scruffy Final PortraitWHO AM I?

Hey everyone,

I’m Mark, but you can call me RiotScruffy here. I’m a totally obsessed video gamer (in the best possible way), and games like DOTA, WoW, LoL, and pretty much anything with the Star Wars brand have occupied the best years of my life.

I’ve been a few places around the game industry before Riot, most notably I worked at Treyarch on Black Ops 2 right before I joined. They taught me some great stuff about how to make everything feel OP, and how to really sell a fantasy.

I currently own: 1 cats.


There’s kinda two sections here for me, the past and the future:

The past (and present): I’m the Lead Designer of the Champion Update team, which has worked on many of your favorites (and unfavorites I’m sure) like Sion, Poppy, Gangplank, Fiora, Juggernauts, Marksmen updates and many more. I have a TON of history with this team, having helped build it up from the ground when I started at Riot almost 3 years ago until now.

The future: I’m going to be moving over to be Lead Designer of the Champion team. A new set of challenges and a really talented new group of people there is really exciting. Building up the next generation of new champions and hopefully surprising you all with some great new innovations is my goal.


Champ-Up has grown and changed so so much over these past years, and I can talk about so many things. “Why did we start doing group updates like Juggernaut/Marksmen?” “How do we decide how much to preserve or redo on a champ-up like Poppy?”

Or even less specific stuff that is more related to our champion/game design philosophy like: “How have we evolved our strategy for making interactive gameplay without overusing skillshots?” “How do we build up a new champion from concept to completion?” “How did we go about categorizing our champions into archetypes so that we could better understand them (see juggernauts)?”

I’d also like to bridge the gap – when I can – of how our general game design practice can carry over into good character mechanic design and vice versa. It might be cool to do some topics that explore how to apply our champ design principle to other systems or even games altogether.


Anything about Champ design or Champion updates is definitely on the table for me. Get creative, I’m open to whatever cool topics you all would like to talk about.

[ Link to Post ]



What would you say are the top 5 Champions that need to be changed

Yorick Single Banner

  1. Scruffy Final PortraitYorick – Both super unhealthy for the game and incredibly unsatisfying/lame
  2. Taric – So much promise with so little delivery. He has a ton of upside in making him more interesting, cohesive and higher quality
  3. Urgot – incredibly unclear fantasy and unhealthy gameplay
  4. Talon/Akali/diana – the trio of assassins with the potential to be great, but lacking so much in gameplay depth and interaction that if they ever are strong its the most frustrating experience
  5. Xin Zhao/Aatrox/Pantheon/Irelia – The grouping of fighter types with overly one directional gameplay patterns. This results in a “stat check” where they press their buttons in the right order and the rest is up to numbers not skill. (fiora used to be in this camp)

[ Link to Post ]



Will there ever be more nonlinear skillshots like Dianas Q

Scruffy Final PortraitI don’t see why not. It’s a cool way to create new feel and gameplay – see Vel’koz geometry Q

[ Link to Post ]




Could you give us a few spoilers about Tarics rework

Taric Banner Single

Scruffy Final PortraitWe want to solidify his role as a tanky protector type support with armor affinity. The gameplay is pretty nearly 100% and we are working hard on the new visuals. There are some really great surprises in his new kit/visuals but I will not spoil those.

[ Link to Post ]




Do you have any thoughts on Ao Shin

Ao Shin Single Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitNo comment on Ao Shin sorry, this was just a way premature reveal and there are a lot things in the pipe on the new champion team right now.

[ Link to Post ]




For Season 6 are you focusing on making new Champions or reworking older ones

Scruffy Final PortraitA lot of the work I’ve started on the Update team will be finishing in 2016, so I will still have a loose hand in it, but my main focus will be running and creating awesome improvements and innovations for our new champion team.

[ Link to Post ]




Is there any fantasy or gameplay niche you feel is missing from League

Scruffy Final PortraitI think there are a bunch of new fantasies that I’d be excited to explore. I’m especially interested in pushing for really really innovative ideas that will completely break the mold of what we currently consider champs can be.

My pet project – The “branching future character:” A good warrior comes in contact with a corrupted weapon, his/her choices throughout the game will either keep them pure or cause the corruption to take over. By the end of the game you have transformed into one of multiple possible kits.

[ Link to Post ]



What are your plans for Mordekaiser

Mordekaiser Single Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitThis is a good question. Statikk and Feralpony have been posting about morde and he is in their team’s hands. They will be the better people to have the long term discussion with.

My personal opinions:
-Solo morde needs love, he may not be the “main” role but he has a lot of room to become more playable
-W in solo has had some improvements, but is still a pretty lackluster ability without an ally, this could be a good area for us to look into again

[ Link to Post ]



Why did you redesign Mordes W to only be usable with allies

Scruffy Final PortraitI think the original thinking was that morde was oriented towards a solo lane so clearly before, that it would take a lot to make him even remotely viable in the duo lane. In retrospect we clearly overestimated how much we would have needed to do there.

[ Link to Post ]



How much influence does the original Champion designer have on a rework

Scruffy Final PortraitWhenever possible we get the original champ designer to consult heavily on the rework project, but it’s usually a good idea to get someone fresh to actually own the project. (attachment too strong can be a problem)

[ Link to Post ]




Do you think theres a future for pointandclick spells

Annie Single Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitI think that point and click spells have a bright and consistent future in LoL, they provide a clear, satisfying, and reliable output. The key is making sure that the champ kit outside of the point and click offers enough places for interaction and counterplay. Take GP Q for example, which we kept point and click because the new E is so interactive.

[ Link to Post ]


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


News Update September 4 Banner



Ghostcrawler shared the balance team’s thoughts on Tristana and that she’s in need in nerfs that won’t be at Worlds, for fear of changing the game environment unnecessarily for training teams. He also addressed Soraka‘s healer-focused rework, ADC itemization and the age-old topic of Ranged vs Melee. Soraka was also within scope of today’s red posts on the community beta forums, along with Sona and her state post-rework. Lastly, Meddler confirmed Sion won’t be receiving band-aid changes before his rework and an announcement that the in-client store will soon be revamped.

TL;DR in featured comments.


Recent News






Tristana Nerfs Banner



Do you guys have any plans to nerf Tristana

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYeah, she needs nerfing. Realistically it is unlikely to happen before worlds. We like for those matches to take place on as stable a build as possible that has been thoroughly tested, so even very good changes can be ultimately risky. We also think it’s reasonable for the players to expect that numbers won’t go changing wildly right in the middle of worlds.

To clarify, she needs some sort of weakness. If we just lower her damage or something, players may just switch from her to Kog or someone which just substitutes one dominant ADC for another. Ideally we’d like to give her some trade-offs so that you can choose her for her strengths or avoid her because of her weaknesses.

[ Link to Post ]

Follow Up

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI said: To clarify, she needs some sort of weakness. If we just lower her damage or something, players may just switch from her to Kog or someone which just substitutes one dominant ADC for another. Ideally we’d like to give her some trade-offs so that you can choose her for her strengths or avoid her because of her weaknesses.

You said: Remember when you said the whack a mole strategy was something you were trying to steer away from? Yet you just keep doing it. 

I think we are saying the same thing.

[ Link to Post ]



So will every game at Worlds be decided by who gets Trist

Ghostcrawler New PortraitAs a few other players have pointed out, she isn’t as popular in Korea.

[ Link to Post ]





So you’d rather nerf Tristana than buff other ADs

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYou get the same outcome whether you add or subtract numbers. You’re just deciding if the number 20 or the number 25 is the target and adjusting all the others to reach it. The same risks apply because if you accidentally get Trist at 26 and Ashe at 23, then players still understandable choose Trist over Ashe. In fact, bringing all the others up is actually more risky — in other words, it’s easier to nerf than buff — because the more numbers you touch, the more the likelihood that you will change something in a way you didn’t anticipate.

A better solution, we believe, is making sure champions have niches — that they have strengths and weaknesses. To use the same example, rather than asking whether you’d play the champion at power level 20 or power level 25, you’re choosing among the number 20, the letter B or the color green. It’s easiest to see this in supports where choosing Thresh vs. Braum vs. Nami gives you different strengths for different trade-offs and also causes the rest of your team and the other team to approach things differently. We want to make sure fighters and marksmen (who typically have the least well-defined niches) feel the same way. Does that explanation make sense?

[ Link to Post ]



Can’t we get the Trist nerfs on Live, but keep Worlds on the old patch

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere is some value in players not having to remember two versions of the game (live vs. LCS) because it’s confusing, but overall we agree that there isn’t much point in holding back good changes from live. My point was that we are unlikely to see changes in worlds themselves. You might see them on live. (We do know that a lot of players do gravitate towards whatever the pros are using, even if the builds are different.)

[ Link to Post ]



The problem with ADCs is they have too much self-peel

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI agree. They already have the advantage of range. They don’t also need excellent movement, survivability and tons of CC. I feel like we often slapped those mechanics on abilities just to give the ability a little oomph, not because the ADCs really needed to be more slippery. Part of the intent is that in a team fight you need to cooperate as a team to keep them alive.

[ Link to Post ]



You’ll always assume the most popular Champion has no weaknesses

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWell to be fair, a lot of champions do lack weaknesses. But we’re pretty happy with Lucian, Vayne and Kog for example. Even if they start to feel over or underpowered we feel like we have dials we can turn there. If we nerf Trist’s damage right now, she probably just goes away as a viable pick. For example, she used to be weaker mid game where she needed a few more items to become really scary. Now she can get like 1-2 and be good to go. She also used to be weaker in lane, but we toned down Lucian’s lane bullying. Without explicitly intending to, we removed her downsides.

I don’t know what specific changes we would make to her. I leave that up to the live team. I’m just presenting the problem.

[ Link to Post ]



Some Supports are clearly better than others\

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTrue, but we did recently update Sona and Soraka is incoming. There have been some pitches for Taric. We’ve had difficulty nerfing Lulu mid a little without nerfing her support ability, but she doesn’t feel that far off either. (And to be clear, she’s fine in mid, so long as that doesn’t push out other mids or push Lulu out of support.) We see a lot of Leona. Janna can do things nobody else can do, so I bet we’re a tiny tweak away from her getting picked.

Caveat: I’m also talking a lot specifically about the NA finals here, because they just happened and I was fortunate enough to watch them live. The sample size is small and those guys, like everyone, have their own personal preferences. They tend to play conservatively (though it’s fun to watch when they don’t) because the price for failed experimentation is pretty high. I’m not sure it should be a goal that each game in a pro match has a different ADC and support from the previous one. (Which is not to say Nidalee getting banned or Trist getting pick/banned most games is the target either.)

[ Link to Post ]



GC Talks Balance Banner



ADC meta is going to stay like that as long as you’re in charge

Ghostcrawler New Portrait Is this because of the discussion a few weeks ago when I said melee need love? 

If we look at the NA finals (which certainly aren’t the only measure of balance but they’re fresh on my mind) we saw Corki, Jinx, Lucian, Kog and a whole lot of Trist. I may have forgotten one. Of those, Trist (and maybe Kog) are the ones we worry about being too dominant.

We think it’s safe to say that the ADC itemization tweaks from a few patches ago, while noble in their goal, ended up removing some of the weaknesses that Tristana had. I’m not sure what steps the live team will take to make sure Trist has some kind of weakness again, but when we last discussed it, we all agreed it was a problem. Interestingly, we see her used less in Korea so it will be fun to see how this all shakes out in worlds.

Again, LCS picks aren’t the only measure of champ power that we use, but we know they do heavily influence picks in normal ranked play.

Apologies for the derail, since the original topic wasn’t ADCs at all, but I wanted to share our thoughts on the issue. If you have feedback on the Cas or Soraka updates, we’ll make sure the respective designers see it.

[ Link to Post ]



Questions about GC’s past, Cassiopeia and Soraka’s reworks


Its Ghostcrawler. What did you expect, a rework that makes any sense?? Let me point you to the many ‘reworks’ we had in WoW… Oh ya, they all went just like this as well.


Ghostcrawler New PortraitI don’t do champ updates and I don’t tell that team what to do, other than offer some higher level design direction. What I am interested in is the long term health of the game. So questions like “How do we position melee so they have a chance against ranged champions without just pumping up their passive stats?” is something I am involved in. So is making sure you guys have some insight into why we make the changes we do. More on that below.


Just a question, how do you explain the fact that since you’ve joined Riot ranged champions have been dominant over melees for the most part of your time being here?


Also since I have been here, Riot has updated SR and announced Worlds in Korea. I also can take close to zero credit for either of those decisions. If I were to secretly or overtly tell the designers that our mission is to make ranged dominant but shhh don’t let any players know of our plan, I’m pretty sure I’d be fired. This is a business, not any one developer’s private toy box.


Would you at least care to comment on why cassiopeia is being changed from the poison dot queen to just a ryze 2.0?


You’d be better off talking to the designer working on that update. IIRC the direction was to give her more of a late carry feel at the cost of some of her lane bullying potential, but I’m pretty sure nobody here wants to see a hyperscaling, CDR crazy snake Ryze.


I’m pretty sure at this point the respective designers (it’s Morello really for Soraka) don’t care about the issues the community has with the reworks.


Couple of things. Morello isn’t doing that update. He doesn’t do those either. He feels like he needs to comment because for so long he told players that we thought a true healer wasn’t healthy for League. We are trying it anyway with Soraka, so he wants to provide context for this apparent change of heart.

Second, we understand that champ updates aren’t likely to be greeted with universal acclaim. Some players like broken champs because they’re broken. Others want to see them fixed, but have a specific direction they’d like to see that is sometimes at odds with the direction we choose. We have been trying to articulate our thinking in patch notes, forecasts and rundowns to make that direction clear. Ultimately we do want players to feel like they have lots of options in who they play, and don’t want them to feel that a favorite champion is doomed to stay non-viable in competitive play. That’s a compass heading and not the kind of thing we can fix overnight. There are a lot of updates needed.

 [ Link to Post ]



Do you want Ranged champions to have more influence than Melee

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI think ranged champions are too dominant and I’d like to see melee bring more to the table than “I hit hard if I can ever close the gap.” I don’t think that’s a simple matter of just buffing melee stats, because then the seesaw just tips in the opposite way: ranged can never kill a melee until the latter is in their face, at which point the melee dumps out all their CDs and gets a kill. (It also makes melee vs melee duels pretty boring because they are both soaking a lot of damage.)

We want to rework fighters. It’s a big project and not the kind of thing you are going to see in a patch or two. I know that’s frustrating, but really our only options on large scope changes like this are to talk about them early (in which case it’s frustrating that you see no action for a long time) or we don’t talk about them (in which case it’s frustrating because you don’t know if we even acknowledge the problem or are formulating a solution). The option of “just fix everyone next patch” isn’t really an option.

 [ Link to Post ]



The ADC itemization changes harmed the game

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt was something the design team as a whole wanted to do. The problem we were trying to fix was having such static, pre-determined build orders for ADCs. In retrospect you can argue that the change caused more overall harm to the game than good, but at the same time, if we’re super paranoid about making any change with long-term ramifications, it just means we’ll make fewer changes overall.

If anything, the ADC itemization changes (in 4.11 IIRC) illustrate how hard it is to touch one part of the game without touching everything else, which further complicates really big projects like a melee rework. We can try to make larger changes in preseason where players tend to be more understanding of disruption, but there are probably inevitably going to be times when we make a change for a good reason, but have to follow it up with a lot of other changes in subsequent patches.

 [ Link to Post ]



We don’t like you because of what you did to WoW

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWhat I did on WoW is get out on forums and twitter and talk to players. That is the only reason most players even know my name and not many of the other leads. I plan on still communicating though, hopefully even more so.

 [ Link to Post ]




Soraka and Sona Banner



Current state of Sona and suggestions for buffs

Here’s a link to the whole post; it’s a good read if you’re interested in an analysis of post-rework Sona.

Fearless New PortraitHey all, just wanted to hop in here and say that I have read this post and have been thinking about what next steps Sona needs or can support. Initial thoughts are that while Sona is slightly less successful, she’s still very much on the winning side, so justification for straight buffs is pretty weak.

Usability changes are still something I’m very much interested in attempting, but finding ones that don’t increase her power dramatically may take some extra time. I can’t commit to anything, but I did want to let everyone know that we’ve still been talking about Sona, and we do want to make sure she’s satisfying, even if she’s not in need of straight buffs.

 [ Link to Post ]



Will other healers receive changes like Soraka in her rework
Scruffy New PortraitSoraka is an exception in this case: we want to give her healing that is so much stronger than any healer we have ever tried in League before that the health cost becomes a necessary tradeoff.

Healing like Sona’s or Nami’s is within a more ‘standard healing’ amount that wouldn’t need a health cost to stay balanceable.

[ Link to Post ]



What would make Soraka’s heal better than Sona’s

Scruffy New PortraitTo sort of simplify it a bit, Soraka has pretty much the same heal as Sona’s W but on a 2 second cooldown instead of a 10 second cd.

So both the overall sustain and the burst healing are more. This is where health cost comes in, we want her to have extreme healing power that she doesn’t just spam and has to think about when to use it and how.

[ Link to Post ]



Soraka’s new passive seems pretty bad

Vesh New PortraitOk so let me explain a bit about the reasoning here.

The goal is to let armor and MR purchases still make Soraka tanky, but in the correct ways. For each point of armor and MR you have, each individual health point becomes a higher effective amount. The ways we don’t want Soraka to be tanky are in the short window of burst, because we feel that Soraka needs to be vulnerable if she’s allowed to spam low CD heals on her whole team.

We -do- want Soraka to be survivable over the long run of the fight however. This means that the health return she gets for landing Q restores similar amount of -effective- HP in the long term because you still have 80% of the mitigation as raw stats and 20% of the value as AP that is effecting the value of the heal. Does that make sense? 

Defensive stats still make her scale defensively, but a lot of that defensive power comes from her health regen being stronger, and when she has resists each point of HP is “worth” more, causing the value of the health return to scale in two ways at once. This way we can adjust how much of her long term tankiness needs to be dependent on hitting Qs and how much should just be stats. If we find that the health return isn’t offsetting the lack of resists, we can simply increase how much AP she gets per point of resits. It’s already in her favor currently (each point of armor/MR is worth 20 gold and AP is worth 21.75 I believe).

[ Link to Post ]



Why not make Soraka’s W heal cost a % of Current HP, not Max HP

Vesh New PortraitThis gets asked a lot so let me explain. As you get close to the 50% mark, you create a pretty binary situation where if the enemy doesn’t have the tools to burst you, you basically get to sustain your carry infinitely as your costs get lower. Additionally, it creates weird incentives about how much health you ideally want to have to be the most efficient. With the % current model, it’s actually way more efficient to keep your health low, but we don’t really want to *encourage* people to tank their health down for efficiency. ideally, you want to stay as healthy as possible all of the time.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Will the Store be revamped

Saberprivateer New PortraitThanks for the question. We ARE working on revamping the store as well. The first target for the Unlock team will be the boost page. This is part of a larger effort where we’ve been getting feedback from players and diving into the overall design. In parallel with that the team has been working hard on improving the infrastructure. There is a lot we can do to improve the experience in the store!

[ Link to Post ]



Will Sion receive changes before his rework like Urgot

Meddler New PortraitFair question, in this case I’d argue what’s good for one champ doesn’t suit another though. That’s because Sion’s kit update is a lot closer than Urgot’s. Urgot’s is sometime next year, and not at the start, at the very earliest. Sion’s also in a better spot effectiveness wise than Urgot was. His kit’s pretty disjointed, but it’s more feasible to be an effective team member as Sion at present than it was on pre 4.15 Urgot. 

[ Link to Post ]



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



News Update July 29 Banner




Following Gnar’s teaser promo-site yesterday, Meddler addresses some spoiler-free questions like the Champion’s intended role, who’s worked on him and how to pronounce his name. Moving on, Lyte discusses the long-rejected Prisoner Island system, which pits toxic players, leavers and so on in a separate environment. Game designer Fearless apologizes for the lack of communication on Sona’s rework and explains why auras need to remain short-ranged. Lastly, a Skin recolor survey surfaced on Reddit.


Recent News






Discussion on Gnar Banner



Can we have some hints about Gnar’s kit



You stated Gnar will be a top laner

Meddler New Portrait We believe top lane’s where Gnar’s going to be played most due to the way his kit functions, though we’ve tested him in other roles too of course. As with any new release though that’s just an estimate of course – internal testing’s no substitute for the millions of games that’ll get played once a champion’s out that really dig into how they’re best played.

[ Link to Post ]



How do you pronounce “Gnar”

Meddler New PortraitSilent G.

[ Link to Post ]






Do you think Gnar can handle Ranged champions on top lane

Meddler New PortraitWe’ll get into kit discussion pretty soon, don’t want to give any details away before the rest of the reveal stuff comes out though .

[ Link to Post ]





Is Gnar the Champion Gypsylord and CertainlyT worked on

Meddler New PortraitBoth Gypsylord and I have done gameplay design work on Gnar. Gypsylord’s definitely done more of the work than I have though, particularly in the later parts of Gnar’s development (most of my hands on contributions were in the earlier stages). CertainlyT’s currently focused on another champion that’s earlier in the production process.

Important to point out here though that gameplay design’s just a piece of what goes into a champion however. A wide range of people are part of making a character like this (animators, visual effects artists, modellers, producers, QA, 2D artists, sound designers, writers, software engineers, playtesters from a wide range of disciplines etc) – gameplay design’s just one piece of the puzzle.

[ Link to Post ]



Has Gnar been in production for a long time

Meddler New PortraitYeah, initial concept work on him started early last year. We figured a bunch of stuff out, then put him on ice for a while until we were ready to get him into the full production process.

[ Link to Post ]




Is Gnar from the Freljord like Braum

Meddler New PortraitGnar does not currently reside in the Freljord (although that does not discount him possibly being “from” it). Honestly, I doubt he even has any understanding of what a “Freljord” is.

[ Link to Post ]




Prisoner Island Banner



Why haven’t you tried a “Prisoner Island” punishment system

[ Clarity ] The “Prisoner Island” system puts toxic players / AFK-ers in a separate queue from the rest of the player base.

Lyte New PortraitHey Arkon Tri,

The reason I haven’t dug into this is because we’ve discussed why these designs aren’t suitable for League (or many other games) in the past. Some other players have mentioned this, but you’re basically suggesting a concept called “Prisoner’s Island,” where you pair players with similar reputations together. 

There’s a lot of nuances to low priority queue or Prisoner’s Island systems; for example, you can use low priority queue systems for behaviors like Leaving/AFK. These behaviors are binary–players know they either left a game or not, and there’s no subjectivity to the behavior. However, when you’re dealing with behaviors like verbal abuse, intentional feeding or negative attitude, it’s far more subjective. Some players will get placed into low priority queue systems for these behaviors and vehemently disagree that they belong there–you’ll basically get a lot of, “What the? All these people in low priority queue are toxic, why am I here?

In these cases, a lot of players (mainly those without purchased content) will simply make new accounts to re-enter the ecosystem with a neutral reputation rating. If these players do that, you’ve basically banned a player but used a complicated, time-consuming system to do so.

Secondly, a common issue with these designs is how you score new players. Do you score them in neutral priority, and force them to have worse matches than the “positive” players? This isn’t ideal, because generally you want your new players to have the best game experience. You obviously can’t start new players with 0 or negative reputation, as that’d be a negative experience. If you start new players with a positive reputation, then it gives toxic smurfs an easy way to ruin games at low levels while also further encouraging them to just start new accounts if they ever end up with negative reputation.

We’ve talked about a lot more reasons in the past, but Prisoner’s Island has basically been a concept for over 5 years and we know that it only works well with binary behaviors that are not subjective.

[ Link to Post ]



If players in the “Prisoner Island” wish to reform, they’ll move up

Lyte New PortraitIronically, what we find is that when you actually put players together in Prisoner’s Island and all 10 players are actually consistently toxic players for subjective behaviors like verbal abuse… it’s nearly impossible to change.

Again, Prisoner’s Island type systems work OK for behaviors like Leaving/AFKs which are binary, but are very, very counter-productive for subjective behaviors.

[ Link to Post ]



How about just giving real rewards for positive behavior

Lyte New PortraitWe have to go back and finish the Honor Initiative, and that’ll explain a lot of the reasons why Honor was setup the way it is but seems incomplete.

For example, right now there’s an issue with the Honor Ribbons where it’s simply rewarded to the top 20% of positive players on every server. Most of these players tend to play modes like ARAM and Co-op vs Bots because these modes simply have really high Honor give rates; so, you won’t see ribbons as much in Normals or Ranked. One of the fixes is making sure that we reward ribbons per queue, and not just per server.

Secondly, we have some rewards for the Honor Initiative that are more consistent. Right now, Ribbons are the top 20%, but there’s nothing for the everyday player who wants to be recognized for being positive while working their way up.

[ Link to Post ]



Why not have the “Prisoner Island” be just for leavers

Lyte New PortraitWe’ve been working on a new system that addresses Leavers/AFKs more aggressively, and will talk about it in a post in the future. Without revealing too much, it’s a different take on low priority designs and will update LeaverBuster’s penalty and tuning systems.

[ Link to Post ]




Anonymity is what causes toxic behavior

Lyte New PortraitHere’s where you disagree with a lot of recent research by multiple university labs. A lot of recent research has shown that online toxicity is not about anonymity. If you look at news, social media and other games that force you to reveal your real ID and often personal profile to post comments, there’s still an insane amount of toxicity. What the research has shown is that the problem is a lack of consequences for actions, and this has very little to do with anonymity.

Secondly, the current systems don’t create more toxicity. Many players that are banned for racism, sexism or homophobia quit League of Legends and never play again, and that is exactly what we wanted. They’ll rage on the forums and complain, but that’s expected when you tell a group of players they don’t belong in this community. For the small number of players that do make new accounts, they’ll keep getting banned until they quit as well.

Third, there’s actually a system in place at low levels already that separates toxic smurfs away from other players and then bans them. We knew some of the toxic players would make new accounts when they got banned, and we did want to protect new players. However, we see that for many toxic players a few bans does get them to quit permanently. Prisoner’s Island systems don’t solve this issue by the way… many players just create new accounts when they enter Prisoner’s Island anyways.

I agree that for most players, making it ‘worth it’ to be nice is more effective, and we’ve been working on efforts to reward those players and give them more reasons to reflect on why being positive = awesome. However, we’re always going to need pretty aggressive systems for the small % of players that refuse to change. For these players, we just want to ban them repeatedly until they take their time elsewhere.

[ Link to Post ]



Will LeaveBuster remain the same, but with banning for leavers

Lyte New PortraitWrong, it has entirely new penalties and doesn’t use bans.

[ Link to Post ]






If a player is stuck with toxic elements, he she will try to change

Lyte New PortraitCould you explain why these two are different? 

If you’re banned, why isn’t it “damn I lost my account that I invested in, I’ll make a new one and not be an ass or I’ll lose that account too.”

If you’re in low reputation queue, why isn’t it “damn I am stuck in low priority/low reputation again, that’s ok! Time to make a new account and replace my old one in a week or two, no biggie.”

[ Link to Post ]



The issue with your system is it takes too long to ban players

Lyte New PortraitActually, with the current system it’ll take approximately 3 days maximum for them to lose their new account.

How is a system proactive if it requires player input, which is reactive because it’s after a game experience?

[ Link to Post ]



Bonus – apology from Arkon Tri and a focus on theorycrafting a proper punishment system


I added this in because it’s a great message: that you should always be arguing over suggestions, not over personas, if you want to reach a constructive conclusion.


Lyte New PortraitNo worries, we have heated discussions about designs much like this one internally all the time. One thing I think we both agree on is that we should always attack the ideas, and not the person. Emotions really just cloud decision-making when we’re trying to deep-dive into the intricacies of a design.

[ Link to Post ]




Sona's Rework Second Banner



Why are you nerfing Sona on the PBE

Fearless New PortraitI wanted to post here to clear up the reasons we’ve been lowering Sona’s values, even while the community here is asking for buffs. Most of the balance changes are reflections of internal playtesting, as we can balance those scenarios pretty well (accounting for people playing their main roles and champs, having less of a learning curve due to their closeness to the changes, etc.) so they give us a reasonably strong environment for understanding a champ’s balance.

PBE doesn’t have all of this going for it. Matchmaking is much less precise on the PBE, and some players are just hopping into custom games.

Based off watching the internal playtests, Sona was strong, and not just a little strong. Sona really hadn’t lost a lane before these changes.

As a side note, for the people claiming that negative posts don’t get read, that’s not true. I’ve read every Sona post I can find on here, on community sites, reddit, everything. While also trying to get Sona as streamlined and bug free as I can, time to reply is pretty lown When I see 3 or 4 people spamming out really angry posts, I do take the feedback and try to understand the source of frustration.

I haven’t responded in this case because previous attempts to have discussions haven’t proven productive. I don’t expect to change the minds of people who’ve had poor experiences here based on talking about what happened in testing they can’t see and don’t believe in. Being called a monkey doesn’t really make me believe that folks are interested in a meaningful discussion. If I have to choose between making an attempt to appease people who haven’t displayed a tendency to actually interact with debate, or fixing up Sona for her release, I’m going to fix up Sona so that she’s a better addition to the entire game, for as many players as I possibly can.

[ Link to Post ]



Why haven’t you addressed the community’s concerns

Fearless New PortraitI think it’s a very fair criticism that I didn’t speak to you all as much as you’d hoped for. Saying that only 3 comments on one thread doesn’t suffice? That get’s a bit tricky. What is the correct ratio of posts? Do I only count posts that have actually tried to open or inform a conversation, or should I count troll posts and people raging without having even played the rework? At what point is my time posting and searching for ambient Sona threads better spent talking with our QA, live balance team, and experimenting with changes, tweaks and bug fixing? It’s very possible that I didn’t get that formula even close to right. It’s something for me to improve on.

That being said, when I look at posts that have lots of incorrect information, I started the time on PBE correcting them to make sure truthful information would be visible. Seeing those posts then get downvoted tells me that this community would rather punish someone they don’t agree with rather than provide its members with the most accurate info. That’s really depressing for me, both as a community member and a designer. It also doesn’t help when words get put into my mouth. For E, example, I don’t think the AP ratio “balances the ability.” I think a completely new ability that gives Sona, as well as her allies a very large block of MS makes sense on a kit that focuses on positioning. Sona can now position for huge ults without Flash due to E, as well as use her other basic abilities with quicker repositioning to save her team and power them up.

When we change a champion, some of the balance will be comparative, but plenty of it can’t be. Sona is Sona, and her balance as a whole is very different than any other champion. Sona has to be balanced of the collection as her base stats, abilities, growth, item paths, etc. I know it can be frustrating to see a value go down, and it can be easy to dwell on that change in isolation. When we’re adjusting Sona, we’re looking at the whole, and when she was showing up really strong, we tried to keep her power in the places that gave Sona her own set of strengths and weaknesses. That means she has to be worse at some things than other champions, but she gets to have strengths that are actually her own.

[ Link to Post ]



It seems like you’re ignoring player feedback and suggestions

Fearless New PortraitIt’s not that I don’t care. Some of the suggestions don’t fit the vision for the champion, some are just straight up OP, and some were tested and didn’t work as well as the current option. It’s been something I need to do better with to make sure that you and the rest of the community at least hears more in these situations. I’ll admit to getting overwhelmed with the actual implementation and analysis for Sona, and not spending enough time addressing the feedback.

[ Link to Post ]



Suggestion Make Sona’s auras chain off of allies to increase the aura range

Fearless New PortraitThe reason that we haven’t increased the effective range of the auras, either through a straight range increase or through something like this, is that it is intended that Sona continuously has to make a choice between playing safe and playing to maximize the effect of every cast. This is also why Sona has gotten even better AP ratios.


Sona players can build tanky/support tank and increase their safety, or they can opt into higher risk reward with AP builds. Larger effective aura sizes not only increase Sona’s effective support output, but decrease interaction with allies and leave opponents no real chance to respond if she’s strong, and no real room to buff her if she’s weak.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Skin Recolor still in theorycrafting stages, not in development


[ Context ] A Redditor shared a thread with screenshots of a survey Riot is currently conducting on the option of selling recolors of skins in the store for 390 RP.


BuboBubo New PortraitReally happy to see the excitement here and wanted to provide a little bit more background.

This survey is part of our efforts to understand what the most important underlying elements of “Recolors” are and how important they are relative to each other. Everything is super exploratory at this point (ie: far too early to commit to recolors at all, a specific feature set, price or release date). But this feedback will directly shape what gets built because ultimately we want to delight you and what better way to maximize the chances of achieving that than getting your input?

On another note, surveys are a regular and central part of our quest to understand player wants, needs and behaviors. Importantly, they allow us to get representative responses from the various types of players. While forums and Reddit give us a lot of feedback and we are constantly perusing it, relying on them exclusively would lead to us missing the perspectives of players in other regions and those that don’t participate in these venues. This is also a key reason for why surveys are sent to individual players rather than posted for public comment.

[ Link to Post ]



What are your thoughts on these surveys being made public on Reddit

BuboBubo New PortraitPlayers who didn’t get the survey enjoy the sneak peek, but it will inevitably set expectations for at least some players in ways that aren’t ideal. Meeting, falling short of, or exceeding player expectations keeps us up at night and public posts definitely make things a bit more volatile. From the player insights perspective (my discipline at Riot), it doesn’t help the validity of the surveys to have them posted up.

But at the end of the day, its part of the risk and done without malicious intent so we’ll roll with it.

[ Link to Post ]




Please no complainerino.

skin-splash Riot Survey Lucian Recolor End of Survey



Why isn't Vi top a thing

Gypsylord New PortraitSo as anyone who has watched the Vi champ spotlight may know, Vi was originally intended to be a top laner. 

She’s got a lot of cool gameplay in top lane with the Q charge up and E cleave but, honestly, she’s just too fair up there for too long compared to our current crop of top laners.

In the early game she has meaningful mana costs, telegraphed attacks, and massive cooldown windows for her passive and all of her spells (P – 18, Q – 18, E – 14 per charge, R- 150). I actually think top lane Vi could be a pretty awesome experience for both sides of the lane if we did stuff like lower her CD’s or buff E’s range and mana cost but then jungle Vi would go to crazy town. Could nerf jungle Vi to compensate but then are we screwing over the many Vi mains who prefer her out-of-lane experience? It’s a tough call.

All this said, SmashGizmo got diamond last season almost exclusively with top lane Vi. He’d typically play conservative until 6 focusing only on CS and rush an Iceborn Gauntlet for the extended dueling power and mana to offset her high costs. Turns out if a Vi manages to stay even until 6 there is not a single character up there (not even Irelia or Jax) who can beat her in a straight up 1v1. Her burst and sustained damage output is insane when she gets the chance to use it and her late game with top lane items is monstrous for the enemy teams’ squishies (or at least it was in season 3, a lot has changed since then).

[ Link to Post ]



Why haven’t we been compensated after the EUW servers were moved

Draggles New PortraitThe compensation that Pwyff mentions in his post was given in June 2013. Here‘s a post from Demorphic (sorry the formatting is a little broken!) where more is explained.

[ Link to Post ]



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