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Posts Tagged ‘meddler’

State of the Season: Mid-season followup

Hi folks,

It’s been about a month since the Mid-Season changes went out, and we’d like to share some thoughts on how things are looking. We’d also like to talk a little about what we’ve got planned for the next little while, gameplay-wise. In other words, we’ll be talking about champions, items, jungle objectives, and so on, but not features like the new client, matchmaking, skins, etc.
The Game Right Now:

 

Dragons

  • imageWe’re happy with the elemental dragons so far, both the amount they’re fought over and the variety they create game to game.
  • We’ve seen some clarity issues with the runes in the dragon pit and the scoreboard icons, recent changes seem to have mainly addressed those issues though.
  • We have been getting a lot of feedback that the Cloud buff is weak. Looking at how each buff contributes to a team’s chance of winning the game, however, tells us the buffs are statistically pretty close to each other. We’re looking atappreciability of what each buff gives you at present as a result, rather than adding or removing raw power.
  • The Cloud buff is also the most execution-dependent buff, empowering coordinated teams in particular, so we also want to see how it performs in pro play before considering any possible changes. Power adjustments might be appropriate at some point, right now we don’t think they’re the right tool to be looking at though.

 

Rift Herald

  • rift-heraldSo far we’re seeing Rift Herald be impactful when it’s taken. It noticeably increases a team’s odds of winning, but not to the extent of one of the dragon buffs.
  • Shifting to a single spawn, extremely long buff duration approach also seems to have created more interesting decisions around when to take it and who to give it to, which was one of our primary goals behind the changes.
  • A lot of teams have been slow to pick up on the Rift Herald changes, and so aren’t yet taking it when they should though. That’s not unexpected, given it takes a while for playstyles to adjust.
  • We don’t have any changes planned for Rift Herald at present, keeping a close eye on it though.

 

 

 

Mages

  • We’re getting individual champion balance under control again post Mid-Season, which should put us in a position to get a better read on how the kit changes (from a non-power perspective) are playing out.
  • Some of the kit changes look pretty successful so far (e.g. Malz passive creating a healthier playstyle or Zyra capturing more of a plant queen feel).
  • Some are still under assessment (Brand, for example looks reasonable but we just haven’t seen enough play on him yet to judge success or not).
  • Vel’Koz at least doesn’t seem to have hit the mark, with his ability to pull of a successful ultimate too restricted by the changes. We’re making some follow up changes to him as a result, allowing his ult to again contribute some stacks towards his passive.

 

AP Items

  • Are performing as hoped so far. We are still seeing a lot of shifts in terms of which AP champions are popular though, and which items get built. We’re waiting for longer term patterns to emerge as a result, so far things seem reasonable though.
  • Protobelt looks weak, but we’d rather start low, and buff where needed, given the potential power a dash on an item involves.
  • Long term, we’d like to add another AP+20% CDR item that fills a clearly different niche than Morello’s. Goal there would be to offer more build flexibility (old Athene’s, by contrast, was too heavily overlapped with Morello’s, with one of the two items always dominating the other for most champions).

 

imageTaliyah

  • Early days for her yet, particularly given she’s got a noticeable learning curve.
  • She seems to be doing the desired sort of things, although it also looks like she’s a bit underpowered on average. Her performance when played by people with a lot of experience on her is pretty reasonable, however. We’re going with two sets of small buffs as a result, checking between each to make sure we’re not overdoing it.

 

Taric

image (1)Has settled into a reasonable spot. Main issue at present is that his ult’s still too hard to make out in busy fights, despite some visual improvements in 6.10. We’ve got further adjustments in 6.11 as a result that will hopefully address the problem.

We’ll also be investigating some form of universal ‘this champion is invulnerable and won’t take damage at present’ visual language at some point to make it easier to tell at a glance who’s currently immune to damage (Taric ult, Trynd ult, Kindred ult etc).

 

Death Timers

Seem to be around the right length post mid-season changes. We are seeing some games stretch out, with a few more back and forth stalemates. Some of those are slower games, some are pretty action filled, so that’s a reasonable-but-could-be-better outcome from our perspective (stringing a lot of words together there).

We’re not seeing as many ‘Clean up 5 turrets and the nexus from a single teamfight before super late game,’ however, which is a clearer win.

 

Towers

Look noticeably more lethal early game and a bit tankier overall. They haven’t changed dramatically, which is as intended. We didn’t want to kill early diving completely or substantially increase laning duration or overall game time.

image (2) image (1)

 

Jungle Camp Timers

grompWe’re still assessing these. Our primary goal with the addition of the timers was to encourage more conflict around the red and blue buff camps, and we are seeing that occur. We’re still determining whether the timers shut down some types of jungler too much, however. That’s a concern that was raised before the timers’ release that we’re still seeing some ongoing discussion about.

The other concern we’ve seen raised a fair bit is that these timers dumb down the game. Our feeling is that they shift mastery from one action to another. Without the timers, players were being tested on their ability to determine blue/red respawn times by noticing when enemy champions had red or blue buff then using the remaining buff duration to determine the next camp spawn time. With buff timers, that’s no longer a point of mastery. There is more focus and need to deal with invades, or the threat of invades, which tests a different set of skills. If we’re comfortable with the above point (do timers overprioritize certain junglers?), we’re okay with this skill tradeoff.

 

Future Gameplay Plans:

We’ll be making balance changes in the upcoming patches as usual. We’ve also got some points of focus for the next little while too. We’re currently in an unusual place where we’re able to talk with a fair bit of confidence about some of our upcoming gameplay plans, so we’re trying that out as an experiment. It won’t be something we can do all the time, however, as work is generally too fluid in terms of exactly what’s in a patch or sometimes even which piece of work will be ready for release first.

It’s also important to note that these are planned, not guaranteed. It’s still possible things might change.

 

6.12

Changes to a few champions, items and systems on ARAM.

Champion Mastery on both Howling Abyss and Twisted Treeline.

Adjustments to around half a dozen items, most of them regularly used by marksmen, with the goal of restoring some balance between Ghostblade/Black Cleaver and other builds on some champs.

 

6.13

A focused patch on the support position, looking at things like support XP, tweaks to a few items that aren’t hitting the mark (e.g. Ruby Sightstone or Forbidden Idol), small buffs to some champs that often go support, etc.

This is not a large class update like the one we recently did for mages, but instead a collection of small changes we can get out quickly.

Improvements to how Champion Mastery Grades are calculated for supports.

 

6.14 – 6.15

Balance, with some focus on Worlds Qualifiers. Qualifiers are expected to be mainly played on 6.15, so we’ll have a number of pro play focused changes in 6.14, with 6.15 a smaller patch (gameplay-wise) with time put aside to address any unintended effects from 6.14.

Potentially some ARAM followup work too, depending on whether we see any major emergent issues after the 6.12 changes.

 

6.16-6.18

Balance, with a focus on Worlds. Similar pattern to the qualifiers, with changes more pro play focused than the rest of the year in 6.16+6.17. 6.18 is set aside in large part for followup on any issues introduced in the previous two patches.

 

Somewhere in that run of patches

The Ryze update (full visual, audio overhaul, plus some kit changes that have a focus on balanceability, game health and distinctiveness)

At least one new champion.

And of course plenty of other things that are outside the topic of this post.

And that’s about it for this State of the Game – we’ll see you next time. Let me know on the Dev Corner what else you’d like to see from these, and we’ll be around to answer questions there.


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

 

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[ Link to Official Post ]

 

State of the Season Coming up on midseason

Meddler Final PortraitHey folks,

It’s time for another check-in from the dev team on the ‘State of the Season’ – an experimental dev blog where we run through some of our thoughts on different parts of the game. In the sections below we’ll cover how we feel recent work (pre-season changes, new champs, reworks etc) has gone and current issues we see.

We’ll also be talking about our plans for a mid-season patch. Mid-season’s going to be like a smaller version of a pre-season, with significant changes focused on both short term problems and longer term opportunities.

Note that things outside of the core SR experience, like Hextech Crafting, Dynamic Queue, Rotating Game modes, etc, won’t be covered here. This will be focused on the part of LoL where you’re playing on Summoner’s Rift.

Andrei “Meddler” van Roon, Lead Designer

 

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Right now:

image (1) imageShen’s our most recent update and so far seems to be both fairly balanced and has improved game health compared to his previous kit. Overall, however, we don’t think he’s completely hit the mark thematically, with the floating sword feeling a bit disconnected from his fantasy. It’s not something we have plans to change – there are other champions that would benefit significantly more from having update time spent on them – but a lesson for when we take on future projects.

Taric’s going to be our next significant update and is close to release. He’s a full update, with new abilities, models, spell effects, voiceover, etc. Our goals with Taric have been about adding more skill expression and distinctiveness to his kit, with an accompanying update to his aesthetics. We’ve worked to maintain Taric’s core gameplay contributions (he still stuns, protects, etc) and his fundamental personality. He should look and sound a lot better though, while feeling like a more cohesive part of Runeterra.

As far as the Marksman update from preseason goes, we’re pretty happy with how distinct the different marksmen have remained. They’re doing different things in different ways. That said, some of them – Corki, Graves and Quinn, specifically – are a little too strong, and that strength’s leading them to be successful regardless of position. We like the idea of classes being able to occupy a range of positions, and are happy seeing those champs played outside of a duo lane, but we hoped to see them there for specific reasons. Right now these three are just good universal choices, with strong laning and team fight contributions.

As a side note, we’d eventually like to get more non-Marksmen into the farming position in a duo lane. Doing it without the right systems and support in place (items, ways for other classes to take turrets, etc), however, is a lesson we learned with Mordekaiser and something we don’t want to feel so forced.

Future:

Updates to a number of mages will be the single biggest part of the mid-season patch. Those updates will be aimed at giving those mages more distinctive gameplay, better ‘playing against’ experiences and more cohesion with their themes. We’ll be making moderate sized changes to 6 mages (Vel’Koz, Zyra, Malzahar, Vladimir, Brand, Cassiopeia) and smaller changes to a number of others. Those smaller changes, by the way, will generally be about amplifying existing strengths and weaknesses using a champion’s current kit, rather than significantly changing abilities. We’re still locking down exactly which mages, but the likely candidates are: Veigar, Annie, Ziggs, Anivia, Xerath, Syndra, Fiddlesticks, with room for a few more.

image (2)

 

NEW ISH CHAMPIONS

 

imageIllaoi:

Illaoi’s been quiet for a while – in part since she came out during the preseason, and so was harder to assess than most new releases. We’ll be making some modifications to her E in particular, aimed at reducing frustration and lack of options when playing against the Vessel state. That might potentially give us room to buff her late game, given she performs pretty well in lane but feels like she falls off a bit too much later on.

 

image (1)Jhin:

Jhin’s looking a bit strong at present, but he seems to be in a pretty good position in terms of overall style of play. We’ll be trimming a little power off, then assessing whether we need to do further work. At present, Jhin’s Q’s doing a bit too much work and the correct play is to sometimes not use E much – or even put a point into it early.

 

image (2)Aurelion Sol:

Is finally out! Initial reaction so far is that he’s difficult to play, and we’re seeing a lot of young dragons struggling on the Rift. That said, once he gets a number of games under his belt, Aurelion Sol’s success ramps up past almost any champion release thus far. We’re shaving some power early and then we’ll assess again thereafter.

 

ITEMS Banner

Right now:

We’re happy with how Marksmen item variety’s stayed significantly higher than it was before the pre-season. Overall balance seems reasonable too. It’s been good to see Zz’Rot Portal getting some use (finally), though it’s probably still too strong. If a niche item is being used all the time, its stats are almost certainly too high.

We’ve also seen mixed defense/offense builds be too effective (Titanic, Maw, Sterak’s). There’s value in not requiring champions to be all offense or defense, like allowing for flexibility to game needs, less binary ways to shut down a fight (teams being able to choose between protecting a single glass cannon vs. fielding multiple offensive threats), and potentially more calculated risks in personal build paths (if I feel I’m tanky enough, can I build an offensive item? What if they pull ahead?). That said, having a ‘default’ offensive/defensive core build can lead to really flat experiences, pushing out the champions who don’t benefit from said items and nullifying those who rely on burst damage to take out high-priority targets. We’d like to see champions (like Graves) who opt into the mixed defense/offense build make some tradeoffs for the extra survivability.

Future:

We’ve got some changes to AP items coming in the mid-season, with a focus on better meeting CDR needs for mages and making mana components in items more functional by themselves. We’ll also be making changes to both Devourer and Rageblade, both of which have created some balance and game health issues with their current designs.

 

GAME PACING OBJECTIVES

image (3)Objectives:

We’ll be making adjustments to a number of objectives in the mid-season patch. At present, a number of objectives aren’t offering sufficiently powerful, or appropriately focused rewards. That leads to teams focusing primarily, or purely, on turrets. Objectives like Dragon, Rift Herald, Red, and Blue Buff should be valued and contested significantly in most games, and we’ll be making adjustments to their rewards and encounters as a result.

Death Timers:

We’ll be lowering death timers a little shortly, targeting the 30-45 minute period. In an ideal world, we’d like there to be some tension – losing a teamfight equating to real loss – but not losing an entire lane of objectives and potentially the game on one bad fight.

Turrets:

Turret diving’s a bit too safe for the aggressors, so we’re experimenting with having turret damage to champions ramp up harder on subsequent shots (if you didn’t know, turrets hit harder the more they hit champions). Early game pushing, in pro play especially, also looks a too strong so we’re considering making turrets a little more resistant to damage early on.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS Banner

Overall we’re happy with the diversity we’re seeing in team compositions and how players are adapting to the shifting landscape. Now that we’re getting comfortable with these ‘roster’ updates (juggernauts, marksmen, and mages), our hope is to continue on this path with larger, targeted updates aimed at making each champion more distinct and have a reason to be played. Where we’re hoping to improve is on the objective-level pacing of the game – providing more reasons to be fighting on the Rift and opportunities to counter your opponent’s strategies. You should see more in the mid-season, so we’ll talk then.

If you’ve got followup questions and/or comments, we’ll be discussing things in English for a bit in a Dev Corner thread that can be found here.

 


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

 

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Evolution of a Dragon Champion

Ao Shin Single Banner

Iniquitee Final PortraitHey folks,

Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon named Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. We’ve seen the question of “Ao Shin where?” pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China.

Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol.

We can’t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years.

First: Ao Shin’s kit just didn’t pass muster. This is a pretty common problem we run into in the initial stage of champion creation, and while sometimes we can adjust on the fly (a useable ‘paper kit’ might have two or three core abilities that make things click), other times we need to shelve the entire concept and take a step back. Internally, we call this ‘ice boxing’ a champion until we can revisit with a fresh perspective.

Second: delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragon’s body – long and powerful – in a game where instantaneous turning is key presents some unique technical challenges. Given enough time, we were confident we could solve the turning problem, but because Ao Shin’s abilities weren’t coming together we were reluctant to commit to engineering work that might just end up scrapped.

Finally – and this was the big one – we committed too early to Ao Shin’s premise without really developing his thematic roots. Around the time we announced Ao Shin, we were in the process of slowing down our champion pipeline to figure out how to continue delivering resonant characters that feel unique to the League universe. We learned a lot during this time (still learning!) and when we examined Ao Shin with these new lessons – Why was he in Runeterra? What were his motivations? – we unearthed a fresh thematic that really set us off running.

So in the end, while we’re sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, we’re still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope you’ll love. Aurelion Sol’s got some big shoes (claws?) to fill, but we still like surprises so stay tuned – any of our next few champions could be him!

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

With Runic Echoes being nerfed next patch will you revert Elises MS nerfs

Elise Single Banner

Sotere New PortraitWe considered reverting the Elise MS nerf alongside the Runic Echoes nerf. We decided not to because we think she will be quite strong even with changes to RE. She was viable before the item, and will likely remain so after the reduction to its movement speed.

If it turns out we are wrong and she’s suffering, I don’t think we’d hesitate to put back her Movement Speed.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Will Taric get a new skin to accompany his gameplay rework

Taric Banner Single

Repertoir New PortraitI don’t think there are plans for any brand new skins when his update comes out, but I do think the plan is to re-imagine the existing ones. For example, Emerald Taric won’t just feel like “Green Taric,” and Fifth Age won’t just feel like “Pink Taric” (though it will still be outrageous).

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Whats the purpose of the reworked Warlords Bloodlust on the PBE

Meddler Final PortraitThe revised Warlord’s is intended to be attractive to champions that repeatedly auto attack who are seeking sustain rather than damage (contrast with Fervor) and in a way that scales with offensive stats like crit, AS and Armor Pen, rather than defense (contrast with Grasp). We expect marksmen to be one of the primary groups Warlord’s appeals to as a result, though probably not the only ones. Fervor should be particularly appealing if you’ve got a team offering a lot of peel or are intending to grab lifesteal elsewhere, Warlord’s if you want some build path flexibility and have other strong damage sources on your team.

The strong crit synergy unfortunately felt like it restricted our ability to balance Warlord’s for a range of champions more than it allowed cool interactions with specific kits.

We also feel that masteries can’t be too spikey in terms of early versus late game performance. Some masteries slanting towards strength in particular parts of the game is fine. Masteries that just don’t contribute anything early game by contrast would need to be ridiculously powerful late game, given how the early game feeds into mid/late game.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Wont it be a goto choice for Marksmen so they dont build Lifesteal items

Meddler Final PortraitI think it’s reasonable to believe that some marksmen might forgo a lifesteal item and take Warlord’s instead, though we might not see that initially (or might see it too often if the launch balance is overtuned).

The healing from Warlord’s is going to be regular lifesteal but only against champions and minions. That will function against player summoned minions, but won’t do anything against wards or jungle monsters.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Will you revisit Swain now after the nerfs

Swain Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitSwain’s one of the champions we’re looking at for smaller adjustments in the mid season mage patch, along the lines of those Lucian and Twitch got in the Marksmen update. No confirmed direction/details for those changes yet though.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Whats going on with Yoricks rework Is it still being worked on

Yorick Single Banner

Reav3 Final PortraitWe actually have 3 separate Pods on Champ Up now. So there is a group working on Taric, another group working on Yorick and a 3rd Group working on the Mage Roster Update. The new structure we have is much different the the old days so I wouldn’t expect such large gaps in between VGUs now. Taric and Yorick should almost certainly come out this year, in fact, those probably won’t be the only 2 large VGUs that come out this year.

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

Reav3 Final PortraitI made no promises 🙂

Just said most likely. Want to try to be as transparent as I can about this stuff, but if we hit some major road block things can still become iceboxed. Once a champion goes up on the support page it means that a rework is far enough along that we feel VERY strongly it will ship.

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Places to contact me:

Email: nolchefo@gmail.com

Twitter: @NoL_Chefo

 

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FOLLOWUP Juggernaut Items

Riot Axes New PortraitHi folks,

Following up on the Juggernaut itemization changes made in patch 5.16, particularly the additions of Dead Man’s Plate, Titanic Hydra, and Sterak’s Gage, I wanted to quickly go over our thoughts on the current state of these items.

Original Goals (for the 08/20/2015 Release)

  • Offer Juggernauts items that meet their specific needs and provide a foundation for future juggernaut item diversity
  • Use stat bindings to ensure those items can be balanced for juggernauts, rather than being superior on other classes.
    • Stat bindings refers to the statistics that a champion kit encourages its players to itemize for, e.g. Marksmen with Attack Speed and Critical Strike

What’s Working (as of 1/25/2015)

  • All the updated Juggernauts use some of these items in their builds to solve the problems they were meant to address
  • No metagolem – stacking all these items together doesn’t dominate all other builds
  • Clear item satisfaction created by thematic linkage (e.g. Black Cleaver on Darius) and visual effects/audio (e.g. Dead Man’s Plate’s trail)
  • Non-Juggernauts aren’t using these items excessively or unfairly (stat binding works)

Problems to Address (as of 1/25/2015)

  • Non reworked juggernauts have pretty hodgepodge itemization
  • Dead Man’s Plate remains too strong and is crowding out other choices
  • Unclear if Dead Man’s Plate and Black Cleaver correct an intended juggernaut weakness (immobility) too effectively
  • Titanic Hydra has very few users (lack of health-bound, Basic Attack-oriented champions)

Known Tradeoffs

  • Juggernauts are well-supported with core items, but have few choices to make other than order/build path.

Next Steps

  • Look to improve bindings on other Juggernauts (e.g. Nasus and Udyr)
  • Further reduce Dead Man’s Plate’s power and assess other similar items
  • Assess who should use Titanic Hydra and changes needed to make it attractive to them
  • Discuss frameworks for use of flat MS versus % MS and in what ways items should or shouldn’t offset class weaknesses.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Its not that Dead Mans Plate is awesome other options are underwhelming

Riot Axes New PortraitI’d like to look at Randuin’s Omen and Sunfire Cape as well. I do think Deadman’s is also overbearing, though.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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Riot Axes New PortraitBasically we’re seeing it in most games even on core Sunfire Cape users and core Frozen Heart users, even with Sunfire Cape having an identical stat-line – they just buy the Dead Man’s a bit later. It’s crowding out not just other armor options but other defensive options period, which points to it simply giving more for its price than items usually give.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Cassiopeia Twin Fang expectations

Cassiopeia Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitHi everyone,

As Cassiopeia is one of the mages we’re looking at for the mid season mages update and I’m the designer heading up her changes, I’m looking to get opinions/feedback from players on what some of their specific expectations for her are.

 

One thing I’m having a difficult time assessing is what players’ desires are as far as Twin Fang goes, and I do have some concern that opinion will be far from unanimous. I know a lot of players want Cass to be more “poison mage” than she currently is, and I think I have a good grasp on how that may be able to manifest, but I don’t really know what that means as far as what they want from Twin Fang. It may just be that you want Twin Fang to remain mostly as it is now, with kit changes elsewhere. It may be that you want there to be more times where casting Twin Fang isn’t the best thing to be doing.

Any opinions on the matter would be greatly appreciated. For what it’s worth, I’m probably not going to be able to invest time in hundreds of responses to this thread, but I will check in on it periodically to get your ideas.

Thanks,
Repertoir

Edit:
Thanks for all the input here. I’m not sure exactly what this means is going to come of Cass or Twin Fang, but I am going to try a some iterations based on what’s going on here. I don’t think this single thread can really provide a singular correct direction to take things, but it’s at least given me some perspective on how people feel about the ability. For what it’s worth, I’m probably going to test out some stuff where E has cool interactions on poisoned targets that aren’t simply a reset (and probably lower the cooldown baseline), and I’d also like to test out some different iterations that seek to put some more gameplay behind when it’s actually a good time to go in and E spam (unlike on Live, where the answer is basically always), and make those times really rewarding. Thanks again!

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why cant Braum jump to wards with W

Braum Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWhat Braum should and shouldn’t be able to jump to was something we looked at a lot during his development. We had some clear strengths and weaknesses in mind for Braum though, and those were really helpful in assessing what tools he should have. Gameplay wise we wanted to ensure Braum had a clear niche he was really good in, and that there were some games where he’d be an ok, but not great pick.

 

If what you wanted was a strong defensive front line, who worked well with frequent auto attacking allies, Braum would be a great choice, especially if the enemy was running a really missile heavy comp. If you needed really strong peel/disengage though, you’d want someone like Janna instead. Or if strong engage and reliable lockdown was what you were after someone like Leona was the better choice.

Those guidelines lead us to conclude that being able to ward jump wasn’t appropriate for Braum. In particular it gave him much more powerful initiation than was appropriate (disengage/wall hopping was a lesser concern). By gameplay goals, and by personality, Braum was intended to be a defensive, helpful champion first and foremost, so we wanted to put power into those aspects of him, rather than having to balance him around a reliable way of jumping straight onto the enemy. Early versions of Braum’s W went so far as to only allow him to jump to allied champions, not minions, that ended up feeling excessively constraining though. We also talked a fair bit about how much power Braum should be able to offer in a dive buddy situation (following another allied champion in, and then helping lock people down), ultimately concluding that was a reasonable strength and still fit well with his intended teamplay based approach.

As far as ward jumping on Lee Sin, Kat and Jax goes that’s something we ultimately decided to balance those champions around (it’s a significant strength, not a free bonus). It wasn’t originally an intended mechanic, and there have been some good arguments for taking it away at times, intuitiveness and the way it circumvents the intended weaknesses of unit targeted dashes/blinks in particular. The plays it allows though are good fits for the intended strengths of those champions, all of whom are strong on the offense and intended to be slippery. It’s also a strongly embedded part of their playstyle, which added a bit of extra weight to keeping it.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Was the concern that Braum is a Support and tends to buy Sightstone

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, there’s a good secondary argument there certainly. Even if Braum was a non support tank who didn’t buy Sightstone though we’d still feel not being able to jump to wards was definitely the right call.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Will the upcoming immobile mage updates include visual changes

Meddler Final PortraitCurrent expectation is that there’ll be visual updates to support kit changes, but not otherwise. Same approach as with the marksmen update for example.

A lot of the artists on the Champion Update team are focused primarily, or entirely, on the full scale relaunches like Poppy, Taric etc. For those we target a full visual overhaul, whereas the class updates are gameplay driven work with art updates focused on what needs to be changed to make small to medium sized adjustments to kits.

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Whatre the odds that skins on the live server will receive future changes

KateyKhaos Final PortraitIt isn’t too common. It’s generally done if it’s a project Champion Update takes on. Examples of that would include the mass texture rebalances that were done last year, or something similar to Shen’s update, where both gameplay and visuals were updated.

That said, changing content a player has already purchased is tricky because they’ve bought something they enjoy, and changing it could change how they feel about it, which isn’t fair to them.

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Can we have more champion specific dialogue

WAAARGHbobo Final PortraitWe are actually working on this. Both in terms of tech and artistry. So for instance. My first VO was dunk master Darius. –lots of taunts. But not as effective as he could be. We advanced the tech on Rek’sai. I then used that tech on Tahm. Then based on what we learn from that, Beefpunchbeef stayed up a bunch of late nites so I could give Illaoi a whole new style of interactions. Jhin then pushed that forward. An important gate to remember is this tech and techniques are developed on new champs and champ relaunches. We are gaining this stuff– and slowly it will make its way through the roster. It will very very probably happen and on a champ in 2016…. then begin to spread to other champs and relaunches.

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Illaoi seems to not value life or basic human rights

Illaoi Single Banner

WAAARGHbobo Final PortraitKeep in mind she believes in reincarnation, and unlike our world has empirical evidence that it exists and that there is life after death.

As for taking other people’s stuff, youre assuming that she would keep it. She doesnt want you to value stuff.. The common prayer for nagakabouros involves taking some of your money (or stuff) and giving it to the sea. Symbolically the gesture is saying, I wont hold onto things i dont need. I will find a way to get more if need more.

Her god is storms, the sea, and life. It assumes change will and must happen. Also life in the serpent isles is hard, you have to be strong and adaptable to survive.

Mini game was preharrowing, that man was stagnating and thus st risk of becoming a ghost if he died. (Endlessly repeating the same mistakes he made in life)

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Dev Blog Updates and Splash Art

splash_blog_header

BY HUGENFAST

Hey folks, HUGEnFAST here, art lead and splash artist from the Champion Update team.

For a long while, we’ve been thinking about old splash art, specifically splash art belonging to the skins of previously updated champions. As you are likely aware, most champion updates have not been accompanied by comprehensive splash art reworks, creating a problem where certain splashes are outdated or inaccurate representations of what you actually see in-game.

Luckily, we have a solution to this problem: Do. All. The. Splashes.

tl;dr: We are including complete splash refreshes with all future champion updates, and we’re working our way back through previously updated champions to bring their splashes up to par.

Simple solution; huge problem

When we originally started updating champions, we didn’t really have the bandwidth to include a full splash refresh with each update. League has a lot of art needs; we couldn’t take a full team of illustrators and sequester them for months to work exclusively on old splashes. If refreshing splashes with every update had been identified as a must-have at the time, the lack of illustration resources would have bottlenecked a lot of content.

That said, new skin splash art has always felt like a missing piece of the champion update process – especially when major reworks can completely change almost everything about a champion’s appearance. Now that we have the right resources in place, we’re ready to start filling in the gaps, one champ at a time.

Poppy was the first champion to receive a complete splash art refresh alongside her visual and gameplay update. Shen, whose update was revealed last week, is getting the same treatment, bringing new or updated splashes to the Rift along with his flying magic ninja sword and oh-so-fashionable Crocs. This is the new normal; every champion update from here on out will include splash art to go along with the changes.

One note: Not all splashes need dramatic, obvious overhauls. Some of Shen’s splashes have simply been updated and improved to more accurately reflect visual tweaks, while some have been rebuilt from scratch. The goal isn’t reinvention for the sake of reinvention, but bringing the old splashes closer to in-game accuracy and League’s current artistic sensibilities.

About those old updates

In addition to shipping reworked and refreshed splash art with new champion updates, we’re going back through every previously reworked champion and making sure they receive the same attention where needed. It’s going to take a while to get it all done (there are a lot of updated champs and a lot of skins), but we’re hoping to ship a few of these side updates per year and already have a couple in the works.

We’ll keep you updated as we refine our timelines and work through League’s massive post-update-skin splash backlog.

In the meantime, we hope you’re enjoying Poppy’s and Shen’s new splash art, and we’re excited to finally be moving this process into full production.

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As always, a few recent artworks by League fans:

 

Soraka by 雞飛龜走:

dQlKkvQ

 

 

Blade of the Exile by 放逐之刃:

6DzYsgu

 

 

Insane Jinx by skold:

dCO4Eit

 


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

 

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Why is Thunderlords getting nerfed in Patch 62

[ Note ] You can find the changes to Thunderlord’s Decree HERE.

Reinboom Final Portrait“It’s still possible that Thunderlords is over-tuned after all this, but bringing the others more in line with the leader should help us gauge how big the discrepancy is”

This is enacting that part of the 6.1 patch notes.

Currently, though there has been a wave of experimentation shortly after patch 6.1, the trend isn’t towards significantly more diversity.

With Thunderlord’s we’re using it as a moving goal post, it’s the benchmark to hit. Move others towards it -> push Thunderlord’s back slightly -> move others towards it (and in that regard, there will not be a change to TLord’s in 6.3 but we will try to get more changes to other masteries in 6.3 or 6.4). There’s also a couple misses in the current setup we’d like to address. Deathfire has little to no sense of feedback to it and Warlord’s is realistically used by very little of the roster (notably because it has no value before your first significant item).

On this change in particular: I’m purposely avoiding hitting the damage at all because the burst effect is the reason you pick the mastery. Instead, these are in the line of tweaking the accessibility of the mastery. TLord’s right now has up to a 10 second window to get your full proc. This has made the mastery more of a “bonus damage rider” than it has a “intentioned burst effect” for pretty much every mastery. This can be a difficult thing to balance around.

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Why did you reduce the window to proc Thunderlords damage

Reinboom Final PortraitThe duration of Thunderlord’s stacks that are applied on enemies actually resets every time they’re applied.

At 5 seconds, this means I can reasonably accidentally get Thunderlord’s to proc by just back and forth light poking with a single attack or spell every 5 seconds. Discounting the last stack (because that obviously procs it), this means that Thunderlord’s had an uptime of up to 10 seconds.

So that nerf is aimed at hitting “incidental” power in favor of “committed” power. For most multi-hit burst characters (and characters that free-proc it, like MF), this is a nil change.

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You should be looking at nerfing Precision not Thunderlords

Reinboom Final PortraitI’d prefer not to look at any mastery instead of another mastery but instead evaluate all, otherwise you create blindspots.

I do agree that Precision is running pretty powerful, and it might be candidate to drop a bit more. However (and this is just looking at Plat+ data), 1/3rd of Thunderlord’s users actually go Intelligence instead after the last nerf we did to Precision. With Precision, we need to be extra careful since it’s not the only mastery of significant power in that slot.

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Warlords Bloodlust needs to be reworked completely

[ Note ] You can find the experimental Warlord’s Bloodlust rework HERE.

Reinboom Final PortraitWe’re currently experimenting with a Warlord’s rework (this showed up on the PBE during the 6.2 cycle).

The distinct lack of any power at the start of the game for most champions makes it difficult to make it an option for many while not silly for three specific champions. So that’s the primary focus of the rework.

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Would a visual update make the other Keystones as popular as Thunderlord

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, definitely. And I strongly believe the lack of any decent feedback is a major contributor to deathfire feeling weak.

This isn’t a slamdunk case of “well, we need to focus on satisfaction” for the other keystones though. We should and are looking at opportunities, but even looking at other tiers on this line Bone of Stone is actually used about 13% more than Grasp of the Undying. Especially noteworthy that Bond of Stone is distinctly lacking in strong feedback.

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Follow Up Banner

Reinboom Final PortraitFWIW, from what I’ve seen of “optimal” cases, Grasp is almost every melee top laner and Bond of Stone is almost every melee support except Alistar. And then Strength of Ages is every jungler not running Thunderlord’s.

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Can we have more tooltip information on the Assassin mastery like range

Reinboom Final PortraitI agree having more information available for not just Assassin mastery is ideal.

I’m resistant to having too much on the tooltip though. Long tooltips for a lot of players creates a “TL;DR, just give me what’s ‘best’ and let me get in game”. Short tooltips that are more scannable enables more players to make quick judgment calls instead of playing follow the leader.

However… for those willing to dive for information and optimize to it, that mindset is exactly wrong. To balance the two we’re actively trying to think of ways of having more “expandable” type of knowledge sources or ways of pushing that information to someplace that will help the information digging group without harming the scanning group. For example, the hover overs on item tips in the shop that was added with preseason is a clear example of this in action.

Mastery tips are a little more difficult, since they are already a hover over and thus we can’t use the same trick twice. So it might be a bit til we figure out where to put it.

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Its important that we know the numbers We shouldnt have to browse wikis

Phreak New PortraitI’d challenge how much that actually matters.

As a user, does it really affect you? If you’re hardcore enough, you’re already going to external websites for your build advice, rune/mastery pages, guides, etc. I find it ends up being a happy marriage between the official website giving you enough information to be able to play the game reasonably. And if you’re really looking for in-depth content, it’s totally fine to look elsewhere.

It does leave players feeling the distaste of it not being available to them first-party, but in terms of function over form, I feel the present-day system works.

Assassin tells you that you deal bonus damage with no champions nearby. So, not for a duo laner, and not useful in a teamfight. The specific number will really never change your gameplay. 1.5% damage is not enough to make you want to mis-position as Zed, or refuse to take your return flight on R after Death Mark.

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Dynamic Ranked New Champ Select Whats wrong and whats next

NaKyle New PortraitUPDATE 1/22 PST Evening:

Hey everyone,

Based on learnings from yesterday’s failed test in Vietnam, we’ve been improving our internal load test. This will allow us to better vet fixes before shipping them to live. We plan on internally testing the queue over the next two days, which unfortunately means you shouldn’t expect Dynamic Ranked or new champ select in Normal Draft this weekend. If tests perform well, we will look to roll out to one affected region (to be decided) on Monday. If that is stable and successful, we will roll out to all affected regions until service is fully restored.

ORIGINAL POST PST 1/21 EVENING:

Hey everyone,

We wanted to share an update on new champ select and Dynamic Ranked ahead of the weekend. We understand it’s been a frustrating week, and are committed to getting Dynamic Ranked and new champ select up and running again.

What’s Wrong:

New champ select and Dynamic Ranked runs on a brand new backend that performed well (after initial hiccups) during live tests in North America and Turkey. However, when we rolled it out live at the beginning of the 2016 Ranked Season, the high volume of games played knocked the new service down in some regions.

What’s Next:

We haven’t pinpointed a solution yet, but once we have a fix we’re confident in, we’ll be extremely deliberate in rolling new champ select and Dynamic Ranked back out to the game. The last thing we want is to return the feature to you, only for it to need to come down again. When we do have a fix, we’ll start in one region, and if successful, roll out to other affected regions.

FAQ:

Q: Do my ranked games count?
A: The placement games played in Dynamic Ranked and/or Solo/Duo queue do count and will transfer when Dynamic Ranked returns

Q: What about Party Rewards?
A: Party Rewards Weekends will be extended to compensate for Dynamic Ranked and new champ select’s downtime

We’ll continuously update this post as long as new champ select and Dynamic Queue remain down. Thank you for your patience.

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Follow Up Banner

NaKyle New PortraitAfter making improvements to how new champ select and Dyanmic Ranked handles high volumes of games, we attempted a fix last night in Vietnam (1/21 PST). The queue showed some improvement, but ended up failing again The team’s been digging into those test results since late last night, learning from them and applying them to our next test. That’s the absolute latest.

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Why is Vladimir a part of the immobile mage update

Vladimir Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitOur main problem with Vlad is his Q. It’s a low CD, targeted, resourceless spell that restores health. It doesn’t have much interesting decision making for Vlad, if it’s ever strong early he just shuts a lot of people out of lane and the main ways to deal with it are to either sustain even more or to punish Vlad really hard when he trades.

Vlad’s also got a bit of a ‘stat check’ issue, where he’ll just reliably outclick a lot of opponents 1v1 without sufficient avenues for being outplayed. That’s not ideal, it’s a lesser issue though since it doesn’t kick in until later in the game when 1 v 1 counterplay is less important than team v team counterplay.

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Why Cass VelKoz Vlad Zyra Brand and Malzahar in particular

Brand Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitStatikk and the other folks working on the mage update will be talking in detail about why these particular champs. At a high level our goal with these class updates is to increase distinction between characters. With the mage update especially we’re also looking at some champions that are distinct, but when functional aren’t healthy for the game or are in an ok spot already but have a fair bit of untapped potential for differentiation.

Ought to bring more distinct things to a team:

  • Vel’Koz – Really distinct to play as, cohesive, feels fair to play against. Doesn’t bring enough distinct to a team though, so lacks a clear strategic niche or specialized tool offered. Goal with him will be to offer clearer situations where he’s the right pick when you want AP poke.
  • Brand – Pretty similar to Vel’Koz overall, in that he lacks a clear enough niche, so primary gameplay argument for picking him is when he’s the most damaging AOE mage. Needs a somewhat more distinct toolkit basically.

Distinct, but have significant game health challenges:

  • Vlad – Does distinct things, but can be really unhealthy. Work on Vlad’s going to involve a lot of ‘how do we preserve the core of what he does while adding ways to play against him’.
  • Malz – More game health issues than anything else. Counterplay’s not great in particular, with Malz needing to just click on you and kill you given his squishiness, immobility, lack of reach, vulnerability to item system counters. Has a lot of distinctive stuff going on though.

Untapped potential/Confused identities:

  • Cass – Confused identity, unclear niche (sustained damage almost marksmen like pattern, versus poison spreading potential, versus stacking power, versus counter initiator etc). Work on Cass will need to start with constructing a clear picture of what her concept should be (suspect that’ll include stripping out the stacking gameplay, though that’s a guess).
  • Zyra – Does reasonably distinctive things, but has the potential for quite a bit more. Also ends up either a strong bully or struggling to function a bit too often.

Finally, as with the marksman update in preseason, we’ll also be making some small tweaks to a number of other mages at the same time as these bigger changes (things like the Q reset on Twitch for example).

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Why did you leave out long-range mages like Lux Xerath and Ziggs

Lux Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe decided we’d be best off focusing on a couple of sub types of mage here, which are basically sustained damage mages and pick mages. Artillery mages (Xerath, Ziggs etc with really long range) and supportive mages (Ori, Karma etc) are groups we might tackle later, though it wouldn’t surprise me if there was more value in tackling a different group instead (assassins or some types of tank instead).

 

As far as Lux/Xerath/Ziggs go I do think there’s a bit more overlap there than’s preferable, particularly between Lux/Xerath on pick/burst a dude and Xerath/Ziggs on clear waves/poke champs repeatedly. Lux does bring a more supportive kit than the others though, Ziggs gets more area control/mobility but gives up reliability against champions, and Xerath’s got phenomenal backline access. As a result there’s an ok current state distinctiveness wise. Potentially means they might just need smaller adjustments, rather than larger scale work, to pry them apart a bit.

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What exactly are your supposed problems with VelKoz

Velkoz Single Banner

Meddler Final Portrait

Some discussion from last month that covers Vel’Koz’s state:

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/5dJN5vf7-meddler-velkoz-thoughts

TLDR: Healthy, fun to play, distinct to play as, fair to play against, needs to have a more distinct reason to be brought to a team than he currently has .

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe understand there are a number of people that don’t want changes to Vel’Koz and as discussed think there’s a lot about Vel’Koz that’s already really good. Not disputing or ignoring that sentiment. We believe though that every champion needs to bring a distinct purpose to the their team and that Vel’Koz doesn’t deliver well in that regard. That makes him a great candidate for some work – good generally, but with a specific problem area that brings him down overall.

In terms of scope the changes to most of these changes are unlikely to be large, do expect them to be bigger than ‘hardly noticeable’ though.

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VelKoz is fine Listen to the community and dont rework him

BelugaWhale Final PortraitWe hear all of you on Vel’koz, and our opinions on him are actually very similar to yours. We love his combos, his geometry, death laser, and true damage. There is very little likelihood that his abilities will be changed in how they are used (with possible exception of his W), or his play significantly altered.

However we also want players in a draft to see their comp, their opponent’s comp, and pick Vel’koz thinking “this would be a great game specifically for Vel’koz” rather than simply “this would be a great game for any long range mage with a lot of AoE”. For scope context, currently the plan for Vel’koz is much more along the lines of Caitlyn, who also kept essentially her entire kit, but had it unified around headshots.

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Statikk New PortraitIt seems your guys’ expectations on how much we’ll warp some of these champions just because they’re in “the 6” is quite large and drastic. Guess it’s understandable given some of our track record. It’s important to consider that our changes have ranged from as small as Darius and Miss Fortune to as large as Mordekaiser and Graves.

Our current plans for Vel’Koz might literally be the smallest scope changes we’ve ever done in a class update. In fact, I could understand how some people may not even really perceive it as a significant update and more of a “patch note.”

Either way, your downvotes are loud and clear. You don’t really want Vel’Koz to change much. We don’t really plan on moving Vel’Koz’s core at all – just want to amplify what’s already there.

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Why not put up another immobile mage for a rework instead of VelKoz

Repertoir New PortraitThe answer to this is that small mechanical/gameplay tweaks may require much more substantial visual or audio effects to make work. As an example, imagine that we were to change Vel’Koz’s W and E so that they also had minor split-shot/geometry elements (this is just theoretical example; it isn’t the plan for him). Even if the gameplay effect of the change was small, we may still need some significant visual’s to have that not look super janky when it happens.

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Why pick Zyra over Azir as a counter engage mage in need of a rework

Zyra Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitThey occupy different spaces, in that Zyra is a different kind of mage than Azir.

For what it’s worth, Azir, frankly, tends to have too many strengths (this was especially true earlier in his life).

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What will the scope of these reworks be Same as Fioras update

Meddler Final PortraitNone of these updates will be close to Fiora sized (think roughly same scale on average as the marksmen changes).

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Will AD Malzahar remain a viable option after Malzahars rework

Malzahar Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitI’m looking to leave some enjoyable version of AD Malzahar intact after his update. It may be different, but I’m hoping that it retains the spirit of what’s going on with it.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitThe hope is that Voidlings can be a meaningful source of damage and gameplay for Malzahar regardless of build.

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Were Heimerdinger or Anivia considered for a slot in the mage update

Heimerdinger Single Banner

Statikk New PortraitHeimer didn’t make it far. We feel he is really Distinct and Cohesive as the turret dude, and mainly lacks in terms of game Health (mastery and counterplay surrounding turrets in particular). Similar to Fiddle though, he has huge strategic weaknesses and strengths that opponents and allies can play around. He is still a prime candidate to get some tweaks and tuning with the sweep though.

Anivia was actually very close to being selected. Ultimately though, Anivia is already pretty Distinct (all her spells outside of E are pretty unique), Cohesive (frost phoenix), and fairly Healthy. We think Anivia can shine even with something as little as a ramping effect based on how long enemies remain in her R (this is all hypothetical off the top of my head…) and few other additional number tweaks.

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Will AP items also receive changes to go along with the mage updates

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll likely include some item changes with the mage update. Expect those will be smaller scope than the marksmen ones though.

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Why didnt Shen receive a new voiceover with his update

Shen Banner Single

WAAARGHbobo Final PortraitI’m not on champ up. But in general, its a very, very small team working around deadlines. Rewriting, recording, processing and then having all 17+ languages localized and recorded takes several months. And because they are always trying get the best work done they can, they have to prioritize. So if a champ’s VO is “acceptable” they might instead use that time to work on another champ whose VO is “awful.” Eventually, they will make their way through the whole lineup several times… but they can’t high polish every aspect of a champ– all the time.

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As usual, here’s a small collection of recent fan art:

 

Winter Wonder Orianna by Alona:

0XRekvJ

 

Syndra by 커피55:

dt2qE8R (1)

 

Sona by Phikaak:

tSCaZLE

 


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

 

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MidYear Mage Update

Statikk New PortraitHey all,

The next class update will be focused on “traditional” Mages and I’m here to give you guys and gals some of the initial details. Similar to the Juggernaut and Marksman releases, these updates aim to take look at an entire class of champions and accomplish 2 primary goals:

  1. Ensure the class as a whole is relevant and satisfying to play
  2. Differentiate each champion within the class

Why Mages?

Many Mages are intended to lack mobility but have not necessarily been given clear answers as to what they should do about it or why they work without it. For each sub-class of Mages (this is something we’ll dive into more in a different post) these answers will vary, but our intent is to make it clear that each of these champions is powerful in their own unique way.

On the flip side of the coin, many of them no longer meet our evolving gameplay standards of interactivity, depth, uniqueness, etc. This is also an opportunity to go back and adjust these champions (especially some of our older ones) making them more interesting to play as, with, and against.

Who are we working on?

Similar to the Marksman update, we’re aiming to release ~6 significant updates. The champions we are currently considering (but are still subject to change) are Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, and Zyra.

For each of these champions we aim for them to be 3 things:

  1. Distinct – offer a unique reason to be picked
  2. Cohesive – deliver on their core thematic and gameplay fantasy
  3. Healthy – balance-able and fun to play as and against at all skill levels

Note that given the scope of these projects, we won’t necessarily solve every issue on every champion – and fortunately we won’t have to since all of the champions already succeed in their own way at some of the above.

On top of the 6, we are again looking to do a sweep across the entire class (as we did with the Marksman) to find potential tweaks that will make them more unique, interactive, and exciting to play. The smaller-scale changes done to Twitch and Lucian are good examples of this.

What can you expect? When?

We’ve learned a lot from our previous projects and better understand the line between something unique and something unfamiliar. Our priority is to find ways to evolve and enhance the current direction of a champion while still accomplishing the above-stated goals.

In some ways, the feeling of change is unavoidable; we are updating these champions so things WILL be different. We’re confident that we can retain the things you guys love while adding new dimensions.

This is all still a far ways off, so don’t expect anything soon. As you can infer from the title, we’re aiming to release these changes around mid-year and we’ve only just begun to delve deeply into these projects.

How can you help?

We’d love to have your guys’ feedback and opinion on the Mages before and during their development process rather than only at the tail end – especially for the “big 6” (Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, Zyra).

We are most interested in the following about your favorite champion:

  1. What aspect is most core or sacred to their identity?
  2. What issue bothers you the most when playing them?

This doesn’t mean we’ll be magically giving everyone dashes or any other instant remedies to all their problems (weaknesses often exist for a good reason). Instead, this information will help us understand which direction to take each champion and where the opportunities lie.

We won’t be talking in the short-term about exact changelists since we’re still in such a state of flux, but we hope you guys are as excited as we are about the updates ahead!

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Dont ruin Malzahars jungle potential with his voidlings

Repertoir New PortraitI can’t guarantee voidlings will be exactly the same as they are now, but this perspective is something I’m trying to strongly consider when working on Malz.

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Why did you pick VelKoz for a rework and not Swain

Swain Banner Single

Statikk New PortraitSwain was definitely very high on our “want to do” list. What it really came down to is that we feel he really needs a full-on rework (gameplay, thematics, visuals) similar to Sion or Poppy in order to really deliver on an awesome version of Swain.

A large reason why we have chosen the current 6 is based off our confidence that we can deliver a solid update given the more limited scope they will get being as a part of a class update. We’re being a lot more careful about over-reaching since it’s definitely bitten us in the past.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitReally substantial change for Swain’s likely to be quite a way off yeah (highly unlikely this year, can’t predict so usefully beyond that). We do think he’d benefit a lot from a full overhaul, he’s certainly not in Taric, Yorick etc tier though, they’ve got significantly bigger problems than he does.

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Why are you changing VelKoz Isn’t he fine right now

Velkoz Single Banner

Statikk New PortraitVel’Koz is a great champion, but he honestly lacks Distinctness. He has some hints here and there of uniqueness (Q targeting, true damage from Deconstruct, etc.) but none of them are pushed to a point where it truly differentiates him.

Don’t worry, even within the 6, the amount of change each champion will see is pretty drastically different.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitI think you guys will be pleasantly surprised, we’re pretty aligned on where there is potential for Distinctness in Vel’Koz’s kit. We just don’t agree that he’s there just yet.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re not going to be ready to talk details of what will/won’t change for quite a while. It’s likely that Vel’Koz’s changes will be at the small end of the spectrum though, he’s fundamentally solid apart from his lack of distinct enough outputs (what he does isn’t distinct enough, how his does it is very distinct though).

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What about Fiddlesticks Why isnt he schedule dfor a rework

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Statikk New PortraitFiddle is also a champion we considered, but ultimately felt wasn’t the right fit.

To do a quick rundown on our perception:

  1. Distinct – Fiddle is extremely distinct on the roster. Playing as and against him offer unique experiences.
  2. Cohesive – Fiddle is decent in terms of cohesiveness. He has a somewhat niche thematic as a terrifying scarecrow, but it’s understandably cool. It could probably be pushed a bit further especially in terms of the satisfaction from all his base spell (Drain, Terrify, and Dark Wind).
  3. Healthy – This is debatable, but Fiddle is certainly not the largest health problem in the game. Tactically, his spells’ gameplay could probably be more robust in terms of interactivity (counterplay). Strategically though, there are many ways to deal with Fiddle whether through vision, knockbacks, stuns, etc.

Fiddle is certainly a bit dusty and old-feeling, but that means he may be more in need of a visual / polish pass more than anything. It’s not like he wouldn’t benefit with some more significant work, but he’s a champion that we feel can be a put in a decent spot even with just some minor number tweaks.

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Dont ruin the botlane strengths of Champs like Zyra Brand and VelKoz

Statikk New PortraitReally good point. We don’t intend to destroy Support playstyles, but truthfully many of these champions’ fantasies and gameplay manifest best in a role where they can get gold and be the primary threat for their team.

We’re very aware that Zyra, Vel’Koz, and even Brand to some extent all have identities in the Bot Lane.

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I hope Zyra gets a new passive and more ways to interact with her plants

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Repertoir New PortraitWe haven’t yet started work on Zyra other than ideation, but one of the things we tended to be excited about was more plant interactions, like she brings the forest alive around her. Not sure where that means we’re going to take her, but I am excited to see what the team comes up with.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitThe more we work on these group champion projects, the more I think we tend to find that if someone already has something going for them (like Zyra an “counterengage mage”), it’s usually a good idea to start ideation with how we might be able to crank that current strength up to 11.

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Keep the reworks simple We dont need more Skarnertype minigames

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Statikk New PortraitSimple is a great rule of thumb to lean on. We’re definitely keeping that in mind for these projects.

We agree with you on the “mini-games” thing. Mechanics start feeling like forced “mini-games” when they feel arbitrary, uninteresting, or simply don’t align with the expectations and desires of the champion. We understand this space a lot better after the past few projects.

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Why did you put minigames like Skarners crystal spires in the first place

Meddler Final PortraitWe think mini games, when well done, can feel like a really fun, natural part of a champion’s playstyle in a way that expresses their personality/theme. Draven axe catching for example taps into his show off nature, Bard’s chime collecting fits well on a weird dude that wanders and saves things etc. If the minigame doesn’t feel compelling, or doesn’t fit with the champion it’s on however then yeah, that can feel pretty jarring. I’d agree Skarner’s an example of that – if he had a reason to really want to defend the crystals in the jungle it might be another matter (e.g. if they contained others of his kind, frozen, that could eventually come out late game and join his fight).

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Why isnt Ryze on your rework list

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Meddler Final PortraitWe’re going to try and tackle Ryze before the mid year, we think he’s enough of a problem we need to act sooner . Unclear whether that’ll mean some degree of rework or just significant balance changes.

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Do you guys plan on doing anything with Syndra

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Repertoir New PortraitIf I recall correctly, Syndra made it pretty far through the selection process, but I believe we determined that she either needed a ton of work to really spice things up on her, or that we could give her a little love on the mechanics side closer to release and still get pretty good mileage. As these projects tend to fall in between these two amounts of work, we ultimately passed on her in favor of others.

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Xeraths in a weird spot right now Have you considered him for your list

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Repertoir New PortraitI’m interested to know why you think Xerath is in a weird spot. Is it because of the state of the meta-game? Or is it that there’s something he’s failing to deliver that he seems to be intended to be doing?

As far as what we thought, Xerath seems to be up to par in Distinction, Cohesiveness, and Health. I’ve seen some people argue his gameplay is too similar to Lux to be considered distinct, but we actually see Xerath as more of an extreme range DPS mage, whereas Lux is more of an extreme range burst caster that relies heavily on catching squishies out and killing them with quick full combos.

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Whatre your thoughts on Irelias  E from a balance design standpoint

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Meddler Final PortraitI don’t think it’s a great ability, in particular because it can be really unclear what result will happen before she uses it, leading to press the button and hope plays that can feel unfair (in a way you can’t influence) to one player or the other. It’s also an ability that, due to the way it can punish fighting back and its nature as a targeted spell, can leave opponents without apparent options.

Having said that though there are a lot of other champions/abilities I think we’d be much better off looking at first that need the work more. An Irelia rework someday’s a definite possibility, think it’s unlikely we’ll do one this year though.

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Is Singed scheduled for a rework

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to make significant changes to Singed (almost certainly balance adjustments at some point, but none currently planned). He’s got a distinct playstyle, a deep mastery curve, creates great high moments and certainly isn’t a jack of all trades. He is a bit weird thematically, but not in a ‘this guy’s failing to deliver on his core fantasy’ kind of way.

I’m not personally convinced the root from the Fling/Mega Adhesive combo’s sufficiently relevant to justify its existence on the kit, could imagine a world in which we took that out and replaced it with something a bit less niche. I don’t play Singed much myself though, so I might be just unaware of a bunch of value that interaction provides.

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Do youve any changes planned for the Dragon buff

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve been experimenting with some possibilities over the last couple of weeks, including changing the 4th buff to something a bit more felt than minion/monster damage. Currently waiting to get some insight into how dragon’s being valued in the start of the ranked season/first couple of weeks of professional play though to inform how big our changes should or shouldn’t be.

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The 2016 ranked season is now live

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Socrates New PortraitThe 2016 ranked season is now live! Gather your allies and gear up for all new challenges as you climb the ladder in 2016. We’ve introduced a swath of changes over the course of preseason, as well as new dynamic groups — now you can queue for ranked play with any number of friends. With new champ select, you’ll queue up for your two best positions — you’re guaranteed to always end up with one of the two positions you select — and join a team of players who’ve done the same.

To learn more about the 2016 Season, visit the season homepage here or check out the patch notesover yonder. It’s a new season of GGs, and we’ll see you on the battlefield!

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Ready set play Earn Party Rewards all week long

Celebrate the launch of new champ select and the 2016 ranked season with Party Rewards. How’s it work? Simple. The larger your premade group, the larger the IP bounty you rake in. The bonus is even bigger for new champ select-enabled queues like Normal and Ranked draft. The All-Star bonus from Team Fire’s win at All-Stars is active in Taiwan, NA, and Korea!

Check out the details below!

Premade size New champ select queues Other queues
1 0% 0%
2 125% 50%
3 175% 75%
4 225% 100%
5 450% 150%

Party Rewards are live starting today (10:00AM PST on January 20) until 11:59PM PST on January 24. We’ll see you on the Rift!

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Dynamic Queue system disabled further details

Ymir New PortraitTL;DR Dynamic queue was disabled because of a load issue, Solo/Duo Ranked is temporarily re-enabled, and all matches played in this mode still count towards your future Dynamic ranking.

Earlier today, we saw an issue on EUW that required us to disable the dynamic queue system. This was due to an issue with player load on the servers. This has also affected the KR server in a similar way.

As a result of this, all ranked modes based on the dynamic queuing system were disabled and remained down while we continued to investigate. When deciding on a course of action we had two options:

a) Leave ranked disabled until the issue was resolved
b) Re-enable the previous Ranked Solo/Duo queue

We chose option b) because we wanted to ensure that those of you who enjoy ranked could still play your placement matches. As we did not have a clear ETA on a fix, we proceeded to re-enable Ranked Solo/Duo until the issue is resolved.

What does this mean for your placements and rating?

Any games played on the currently available solo/duo queue system will count towards your placements and ranking when the new system is back up. For example, if you already played 2 games before the issues began in Dynamic Draft and 6 more in Solo Queue, you’d have 8 games played – and these all count towards your placements.

Why are other regions not affected?

Before we introduced this feature, we used a simulated environment to load test the entire system. Live implementation was first conducted on TR and NA with no major glitches. However, some subsystems of the dynamic queues didn’t scale up correctly when running on a larger live environment.

What are the next steps?

Our engineers are actively working to fix and re-enable dynamic queues in EUW. As of now we have no ETA but our tech teams will provide an update when we have more information to share. Thank you for your patience.

UPDATE: To answer a question some of you may have regarding Party Rewards, a several day event that offers bonus IP for playing with friends. We’re holding this event back for EUW until issues are resolved. Once Dynamic Queues are back we’ll look to enable Party Rewards and make sure that players on EUW have the same amount of time to earn IP with friends.

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If you have large updates why not test them on the biggest server EUW

Ymir New PortraitWe don’t consider Live environments as testing platforms. That would be dangerous and unfair to our players. Most of our features go through similar process after the development phase: functional testing -> load testing -> initial deployment to previously selected environments -> few days of player behavior testing (collecting players usage data) -> full deployment everywhere else. The NA & TR deployments week ago just helped us properly understand player reactions, gather important behavioral data and eventually tweak and adjust the service globally. You know, hundreds of dynamic variables here and there…

There were some minor issues in NA, but in general the service was and still is stable. Load testing of large services is always tricky though as one has to simulate the load in development labs. You can’t just get millions of players to test your service live — it must be done artificially as a set of ongoing software trials. We always go much higher than the expected traffic, and usually get highly expected results, like the one with the months-long EUW load tests before the new data center deployment in AMS. No matter how precise you are, live environments can be unpredictable and sometimes even tiny unexpected factor is enough to get one subsystem’s thread on hold. Obviously there are larger systems out there in the internet, but they are usually distributed and can handle the load separately. Our environments work differently — there is a distribution in given service’ cluster, but in general EUW, NA, KR, etc, are single entities handling the entire traffic all by itself.

Sorry for longer post. We’ll obviously do our best to get back to you with fixed Dynamic Queues asap 😉

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Update on Dynamic Queues for all regions

Draggles New Portrait Update: Dynamic normal queue is now disabled in all regions worldwide while we work on a fix (as an fyi, NA began to see similar issues despite the earlier launch on that server). Still no ETA to give but will be sure to have someone update this thread when that changes.

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Follow Up Banner

Riot Eambo Final PortraitHi guys,

The PB team are the experts on this one, and their updates mean a lot more than mine. However, Lyte has been posted HERE with information – while unfortunately there’s not much to be said at the minute, the team are hard at work trying to fix this issue, get it tested, and get it out to you guys. We are as excited for this feature as you are – I honestly couldn’t wait to get home yesterday to play it, and I plan on leaving my placements until it’s back up and running due to the less stressful nature of things in the new champ select.

I know you guys want updates, and it sucks when we can only post “we’re working on it” – but that’s the truth and update we’ve got at the moment. As per Lyte, there’s no ETA at the moment, but I advise keeping an eye on the boards and Lyte’s twitter for updates as they’re available.

Thanks for sticking with us on this – we know it’s far from a smooth experience, but personally I truly believe the new champion select and dynamic queues are great features, and cannot wait to see them (back) on live to get some games with you guys on the rift!

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Champion Mastery Level 6 7

Socrates New PortraitHey all,

When we first announced that Hextech Crafting and loot was heading to PBE, we saw a few questions about how champion shards would work for players who already had all champions unlocked. We weren’t ready to answer those questions then, we are now at the point where we want to reach out to the community for feedback.

Here’s our current, leading design:

  • All players (whether you have all champions unlocked or not) can use champion shards that are duplicates of champions you already own to increase the Champion Mastery level cap of specific champions up to level 7.
    • This will increase the level cap, but won’t increase your actual Champion Mastery experience or unlock any associated rewards (unless you already have enough mastery points on a champ to be level 6 or 7, in which case you’ll immediately unlock those rewards)
    • Example: You own Jax. Using a Jax shard, you can raise the Champion Mastery level cap to 6 for Jax.
  • Alternatively, you can combine 3 champion mastery shards to unlock another level on any champion you choose.
    • Example: You spend three random champion shards to increase Champion Mastery level and a pop up appears allowing you to select any champion. You select Renekton, raising his Champion Mastery level cap to 6.

We also plan to offer chests in the store that can be purchased with IP that would contain specific types of champion shards. For example, we might offer a Demacian Chest for a limited period of time which would contain champion shards for champions associated with Demacia. We might also offer chests like these via other means, like rewards for accomplishments in ranked.

Our goal with this is to ensure champion shards drops always feel like a step towards something players care about and to make to the highest tiers of champion mastery feel exclusive and valuable. Ultimately we think this will make it more meaningful when you drop your mastery badge emote after a clutch (or not so clutch) play. It’s possible that there could be some other reward types associated with higher champion mastery levels, but this is still TBD. We’re excited to get Hextech Crafting and loot out to you all and curious to hear your feedback.

Thanks everyone for all the testing you’ve done so far!

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Does that mean we need shards to drop to reach Mastery levels 6 and 7

Socrates New PortraitIt’s the level 6 and 7 cap that unlock not the experience required for the levels themselves. So you’ll still have to earn your way up. Since the chests require strong performances (S grades) on champs, it puts more weight on unlocking these levels.

Somebody else pointed out since these rewards are more exclusive they should probably be cooler. That’s a good point also.

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As always, here’s a short collection of recent fan-art:

 

Zed by Citemer:

C76v1p9 9B7oRhc

 

Swimsuit Lux by raichoo:

swimsuit_lux_by_raichiyo33-d9onwp6

 

A New Dawn by haonguyenly:

a_new_dawn_by_haonguyenly-d9ot6qn

 


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

 

Red Posts 19 01 Banner

 

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How far off are Shacos and Evelynns visual updates

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Meddler Final PortraitWe did do some exploration into a possible Shaco direction a year or two ago. That was a gameplay only update that didn’t hit the mark at the time however, so got put on hold (it was some opportunistic work to see what was possible in some free time, rather than a prioritized project). Evelynn we haven’t looked into a major gameplay update for since her rework years ago. I do think we’ll need to take a look at how stealth/stealth detection works again sometime in general though (possibly as part of an assassin class update at some point).

As far as VUs go I’d expect both to be pretty sizeable projects given the age of their current models/anims/VFX etc. Taric’s our current priority, and Yorick’s the likely full relaunch after that. After that it gets less certain. There’s some argument for Shaco or Eve certainly, some other champs we’d really like to tackle too though (Urgot and Warwick for example).

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What happened to Galios update

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Meddler Final PortraitWe pulled those changes because they weren’t hitting the mark, in terms of solving issues on Galio or making him more satisfying to play. For one thing there’s not really any available power budget for an alternative passive. Galio’s not popular at present, but he’s pretty effective in the average game, so we don’t have space to add power to him without pulling it elsewhere.

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Why doesnt Galios shield heal the ally its cast on

Meddler Final PortraitI’m not 100% certain as to the original intent, Galio was designed before my time at Riot. I’d be fairly sure the goal was to keep Galio further forward in fights by locking the healing to him, rather than having him potentially lower on health himself and therefore hanging back poking and buffing allies.

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Will Galio be a part of the immobile mage rework this year

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be looking at more standard mages for the mage update mid year, rather than hybrids like Galio (mage/tank).

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Would you consider Vladimir and Swain the Juggernauts of the Mage class

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Meddler Final PortraitVlad/Swain lack the range, and in some cases the mobility, of other mages certainly, and get extended damage patterns and health sustain in exchange. That’s fairly similar to the trade offs a lot of juggernauts make, so yes, if that’s what you mean I’d agree with you.

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Rework Cassiopeia entirely but keep the debilitation theme in her kit

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Repertoir New PortraitWhat does “debilitation” mean to you? I see suggestions like this come up from Cass players pretty often, but it’s usually not followed by much more than wanting DoTs to be emphasized on the kit, and Twin Fang to be de-emphasized. Do keep in mind I’m not saying this is incorrect. However, I do hope that if we were to do poisons or “debilitation” better, it would manifest in a way that wasn’t just stronger DoTs. Unique debuffs? Time delayed afflictions? More CC? Is it simply that you want your Q to be stronger in lane?

Please do keep it civil from this point forward. I’m interested in what’s going on here, minus a lot of the aggressive nature (though I understand it to a degree, to be fair).

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Were just asking for a few Cassiopeia tweaks before her next rework

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s not exactly what you’re asking for, but I put in some changes to Cass this last week that should make her no longer cancel her Movement or Attack orders when casting Twin Fang. It’s not something that could ever be data-mined, so it may not appear on PBE, but it should be there. Assuming it gets through QA bug-free, it should be there for 6.2. For those unfamiliar, this treatment was also given to Ryze a few patches after his release, and it seemed to make his play a bit smoother.

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Can we have the QoL lifebar change where the entire DoT is shown

Repertoir New PortraitThat sounds like something that new tech would need to be created for, so it doesn’t seem like a quick easy thing at the moment, unless there’s an internal workaround that could do it that I’m spacing on.

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Can we see some of Cassiopeias past mana cost and sustain nerfs reverted

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not really one to field buff requests, sorry. If there was something about her gameplay that mechanically wasn’t functioning, I may be in line to help in the immediate, but despite her low win rate in solo queue, the fact that Cass saw pro play as recently as this week does suggest she’s not incredibly far off from a pure power level perspective.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitBalance and health aren’t really the same thing. Champions can be balanced without being healthy, and they can be healthy without being balanced.

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Why dont you nerf the Champions who see pro play constantly

Repertoir New PortraitBecause we don’t take such a binary approach to the matter.

Regardless, it would be great if this conversation could move back toward directional changes for Cassiopeia, and away from game balance. I came into this thread with the objective of learning what kinds of directional changes players are interested in for Cass.

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Shouldnt the majority who dont compete on a pro level be your target audienc

Repertoir New PortraitHonestly, it feels like a bit of both to me, where the allowable power level of a champion is something like the maximum of their power level in Solo Queue and their power level in competitive play. When the discrepancy between those is too great, we run into issues, issues that are a frequently a reason for doing Champion Updates. Ryze has some of this going on at the moment, where hisallowable power is regulated by the fact that he’s a competitive power pick despite being sub par for most players.

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Have you considered making a champion that actually BREAKS terrain

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve talked about terrain destruction abilities a fair bit and do think there’s some pretty cool gameplay opportunities in them. Making such abilities look good enough’s the biggest challenge remaining at this point (still some technical and design issues to solve, but of a smaller scale). Given the way our maps are made there’d be a lot of work on the art side needed to support such abilities. I’m hopeful we’ll get there at some point, definitely won’t be in the short term though.

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’s not so much the programming side, as it is making the destroyed terrain look good (rubble of broken walls, destoyed trees, appropriate ragged edges for still standing terrain etc).

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How about terrain passing Have you considered making a flying Champion

Meddler Final PortraitSome form of ongoing flight on a champion at some point’s pretty likely, and mainly a question of finding the right gameplay fit, rather than technical limitations. Would be a really different ability though to terrain destruction of course (changing one characters options a lot versus changing both teams’ options a lot).

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When will the Team FIRE Diana skin be released

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Vonderhamz Final PortraitThere’s lots of work to do on her right now, since she just recently got picked from all stars, but I assure you she will be coming out – we’ve just got to make it super awesome first. I’ve always wanted to make sounds on a skin for her. Sorry on the lack of specific dates, but you’ll hear more as it’s getting developed!

Is there anything you think would be awesome for this aesthetic?

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With the addition of Dynamic Queue why is there still no voice chat in LoL

[ Note ] Today (Jan. 19th), Riot will issue a statement whether the new Champion Select will be used for Ranked queue this season. Stay tuned!

Lyte Final PortraitTo be clear, I think you’re making a few assumptions. It’s pretty universally agreed among industry experts that voice chat introduces some amount of toxicity into an ecosystem or game; however, that doesn’t mean we are opposed to it.

We definitely understand the importance of communication in a competitive team-based game, and every time we talk about voice chat, we mention that we’re open to it, we’d just want to change some of the basic designs of voice chat to mitigate some of the known issues.

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Whats the device on Jhins shoulder supposed to be

Jhin Single Banner

Kindlejack Final PortraitThe Bravo Ray designed the appearance of Jhin (concept artist =/= gameplay designer) and was excited about the idea of a ‘mystery box’. You see this creepy thin guy who is asymmetrical because of a huge shape on his shoulder, you have no idea what it is… until the final act.

What it is is four huge magically infused artillery shells racked up on a hextech accelerator built right into his mechanical shoulder (he’s sacrificed much for his art). When attached to Whisper (and the extended barrel for accuracy) it forms the final piece in the biggest, most powerful gun Runeterra may have ever seen! Kinda reminds me of Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2.

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How does Ekkos time rewind work in terms of his backstory

Ekko Single banner

FauxSchizzle Final Portrait

A big key thing to understand about Ekko is that his Z-Drive doesn’t always work the way he wants it to, mostly owing to the fact that it’s homemade hex-tech that runs on the exotic properties of a shattered crystal.

In terms of Parallel Convergence, (story wise) is what happens when you wrinkle time too much — sometimes it tears and your parallel self lends a hand to seal the breach. I mean, he’s the boy who shattered time. That can have some unintended consequences.

With Phase Dive, Ekko basically blinks out of the timeline, returning at opportune moments.

As you can tell, he’s probably made (and broken) a few Z-Drives.

The Timewinder feeds off his Z-Drive. However, he initially designed it to have an entirely different function — probably a smoke or flash bomb — but… it didn’t quite work as intended. In fact, Ekko’s sort of unsure about how it works, but it works reliably enough (and with no lingering effects) for him to be cool with chucking it around all willy-nilly.

Thanks for making me think about this stuff. One of my 2016 goals is to write Ekko a long bio, and you’re inspiring me to put it before my other work that has deadlines (because I am a triple-A rated procrastinator — heck I’m supposed to be making my wife bolognese for dinner at the moment).

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Can we have more information about the Hexatech villain from Ekkos trailer

resize resize

WAAARGHbobo: If i remmember correctly, he’s an enforcer for one of the piltover owned companies in Zaun. Never had a real name, was called hexa-thug or something in script.
I think a sion skin for him would be dope. Giant arm acts as (and maybe even transforms into) the axe. Prob couldnt be a champ though as he occupys a space already covered by urgot and sion.

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Lastly, and as usual, fan art!

Acknowledgement (Nidalle and Rengar) by Arcanedist:

93KtBgV

 

Azir by Skence:

28_azir_by_skence-d9odrok (1)

 

Chosen Syndra by mickking:

chosen_syndra_by_mickking-d9oayvl (1)

 

Jhin the Virtuoso by Aths-Art:

jihn_the_virtuoso_by_aths_art-d9obpt6

 


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

 

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How long does it take to prepare and ship out Champion or Class updates

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Meddler Final PortraitLarger class updates like the Marksmen one take quite a bit of work, so we’re probably looking at a couple of those a year. Immobile mages is what we’ve decided to focus on for the next one, and we’ll have some early details on what that update will be focused on to share sometime this month. That’ll look at stuff like goals, which characters we’re planning to work on, rough timeframe etc, not specific kit changes.

 

We will also have some individual reworks done separately from those class based ones still. Those will generally either be champions that need a complete overhaul with new kits, visuals, VO etc (Taric and Yorick for example) or champions that have some fundamental gameplay problems we need to address (we believe Ryze for example needs more than just balance adjustments to be both healthy and fun at the same time). We’ll also occasionally do other small updates where a bit of extra bandwidth permits some opportunistic work, the Shen gameplay update for example which is getting pretty close.

As far as the number of subclasses go we’ve got about a dozen we’ve been using internally. Plan is to tidy the definitions of those up a bit and throw them into a devblog for anyone that’s interested.

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Will Brand be nerfed in some way next patch

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Meddler Final PortraitYeah, Brand’s definitely too strong at present. There’s a bug fix in 6.1 however that should take a noticeable amount of power away from him. At present his ult almost always prioritizes champions, rather than only priotizing champions if the target it’s bouncing from is already Ablaze. That makes it quite a bit easier for him to burst enemies down in most circumstances. The fix for that should go out in the patch next week, unless any delays crop up, after that we’ll then reassess and see if any further changes are needed.

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What if you reduced the width of his Q

Meddler Final PortraitBrand Q has a width of 60 (same as Mystic Shot as a point of reference). It’s elevated off the ground however, which means that at certain angles the hit location (on the ground) doesn’t match up well with the intuitive hit location (the missile itself). Almost all skillshots suffer from that problem to some degree, unless they’re at ground level. Due to Brand’s height however it’s more pronounced on him than most.

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What if Ohmwrecker had an active that also worked on allied turrets

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, Ohmwrecker’s still in a pretty sad spot. We did try out some stuff during the preseason development period to try and make it more interesting in its niche, with tower sieging still being its core. The most interesting approach, that alas didn’t end up working very well, was a version of it that replaced your auto attacks against towers with a ranged channel that dealt ramping damage over time. Gave melee champs a way to contribute siege damage without having to hard commit basically. Was fun to play around with, but hard to justify taking over other options, even on the characters it was theoretically designed for.

At some point we will take another look at Ohmwrecker, though I suspect if it doesn’t work out next time we’ll probably end up cutting it. Making it less situational, while keeping it tower focused still, could be a reasonable approach, and an allied tower interaction sounds worth a try as a result.

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Summoner Hylia has shared his concept work on Mafia LeBlanc, complete with varying color palletes and hairstyles:

resize (1) resize (3) resize (4)

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If you’re interested how the League’s Champions are affected by the recent Deadeye teasers, Jay The Human has made four wonderful sketches on dealing with the tragedy:

Lpl0Znm HluJkKu aqmLjZT zwepHwS

 


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

 

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Challenger Nidalee’s splash art was previewed at the All-Star event recently. You can see the skin in-game HERE.

Challenger Nidalee Splash

 

 

Whats the state of Morgana

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Meddler Final PortraitShe’s got a distinctive playstyle, clear weaknesses, does things other champions don’t, has gameplay that matches her theme reasonably well and has decent counterplay. There’s room for a bit of visual improvement, though her texture and visual effects updates improved her a lot there. Expanded voice sometime would be nice certainly. Overall I feel she’s in a really good spot and would rather see work put into an enormous number of other champions than into Morg, returns there feel like they’d be pretty low for the time.

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Would Akali be one such Champion thats a higher priority than Morgana

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Meddler Final PortraitYup, though pick a champion at random and odds are high they’ll be more in need of work than Morg.

We’ll certainly want to make changes to Akali whenever we tackle assassins though. We did do some initial exploration into possible kit changes, which showed some promise, we’ve put that on hold until we have a go at the class overall though.

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What kind of kit changes do you have planned for Akali

Meddler Final PortraitDistinction from other assassins (Diana especially, Kat to some degree), better fallback/recovery options, better counterplay, more unique tools for her.

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Why did you nerf Tahm Kenchs W when the problem is his damage

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Meddler Final PortraitPeople tend to complain about the most distinctive things a champion does. Nerfing based off what people complain about can eventually end up homogenizing characters a lot, with everyone having a similar feeling kit and unique effects reduced from character defining to secondary sources of novelty. To combat that we instead map out what we think are appropriate strengths and weaknesses for each champion and try and nerf/buff to preserve (or accentuate) those. In this case nerfing the MS with an ally devoured was we felt the best way to do that for Tahm in 5.24.

That’s not to say player frustration isn’t a really useful thing to monitor and understand, it’s really valuable for helping to build or modify those intended strengths/weaknesses in the first place. Being really informed of player feedback, frustations, needs, wants etc’s something we believe’s really important. That’s not the same though as believing that whatever a lot of people are saying is necessarily the right thing to do though.

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When designing Champions do you predict what the player reaction will be

Meddler Final PortraitSome of the time, yes. We expected Tahm Kench’s ally devour to create quite a bit of frustration when it saved allies for example. We felt during his development (and still do now too) though that that was an acceptable cost given the positive moments and gameplay Devour creates.

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Do you think Sona is in a good place right now

Meddler Final PortraitOverall basically still the same as per my post in this thread:

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/EkxbfyvO-so-lemme-get-this-straight

Preseason’s also increased her effectiveness a noticeable amount, so if we felt compelled to make balance adjustments to her I’d imagine they’d be nerfs not buffs. There are certainly some supports that are more dominant overall, we’ve either just nerfed, or are in the process of nerfing, those that are over the line though (some of whom will probably need further work too – looking at you Brand).

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Are there any plans to update Lissandra

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Meddler Final PortraitNo current plans on the gameplay side, alternative passive explorations didn’t work out so we opted for the heal on self cast ult instead.

Not sure on the Lore side, apologies, not my area of expertise. Would love to see advancement of that plot-line myself though, more revelations about the Watchers and the history there especially.

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Whatre your thoughts on VelKoz

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Meddler Final PortraitWe feel Vel’Koz is pretty balanced, generally feels fair to play against and has some solid points of mastery for the Vel’Koz player. Only real issue with him is that what he does isn’t sufficiently differentiated from other mages/poke champs, so we’d like to find him a unique strength or aspect at some point.

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What do you think of Poppy at the moment

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Meddler Final PortraitNothing too surprising so far, though it’s still really early days. We’re still seeing a lot of people playing the rework for the first time or two, so lot of initial mistakes being made and experimentation going on. No current plans for immediate changes, though we’ll reassess on Monday as well.

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What is the range of the new Assassin mastery

Meddler Final Portrait800 units, so it’s not a great choice in a duo lane, but should get some use in team fights if you’re diving at least a moderate distance in front of your team.

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Will the upcoming Diana skin be AllStar themed

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KateyKhaos Final PortraitIt won’t be an esports skin, just a cool fire-themed thematics for Diana. :]

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Is there a possibility well get a new Swain skin

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KateyKhaos Final PortraitTo the best of my knowledge, he’s eligible.

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INTRO Jeevun Jag Sidhu Game Designer Live Gameplay and Champions

Riot Jag Final PortraitWHO AM I?

Sup guys, I’m Jeevun Sidhu aka Riot Jag. I’ve been a competitive gamer my whole life, and before getting Diamond in League of Legends my video game mistress of choice was World of Warcraft, where I held onto a 9 consecutive season streak of getting Gladiator in Arena before I realized it may be time to do other things (will put away my horn now). I’ve also really enjoyed Starcraft, Super Smash Bros, the Batman: Arkham, XCom, and Metal Gear Solid series, and (might be dating myself a bit here) I have a soft spot for Goldeneye 007 and Mario Kart 64. I got into League through my WoW friends when the servers were down for maintenance. Someone in Vent said they just started playing LoL and it was really fun, and I replied that if I wanted to micro 1 unit for 45 minutes I’d just build a Ghost in SC2. I was a little ignorant at the time…

Aside from Video Games, I enjoy Sports Cars and Motorcycles. I’m currently running a Ducati Panigale 899 that I keep under armed guard, seeing as the last two bikes I got after moving to LA were both stolen in a matter of weeks. I’ve also always loved sports, particularly Football (Giants fan for life) and Basketball. I listen to a range of music, but am mostly into Hip-hop and House/Electro. My Spotify has been blasting a lot Run the Jewels and Disclosure lately, although my boy Kanye is never far off the playlist. Before I was a professional nerd for a living, I was something totally different – a software engineer at Microsoft.

WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT?

Some of the fun stuff I’ve done at Riot include the Lucian mini-rework, Runeglaive and Zeke’s Harbinger, and most recently I lead the charge on Rift Herald. I’ve spent the last 2 years on Live Gameplay (aka the Rito balance team) nerfing your favorite champ, but I am moving to new Champion team to find new ways to add more anti-fun into the game. Until that happens, I’ve had front row seats to every balance and game health struggle that we’ve had in League for the past two years, so feel free to hit me up with anything in that area.

WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?

I’d like to talk about interesting struggles with the live state of the game, ranging from the intricacies of preserving game health, to how to interpret win rate metrics, to how we handle eSports concerns. I might also get into what it’s like for a novice champion designer to start taking on the task of building a brand new iconic experience in LoL. Finally, ADCs are my peoples, so if that’s your passion, or if you just need help with that Vayne build, I’m down with the clickers.

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Why was Lee Sin allowed to be the most dominant jungler for so long

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Riot Jag Final PortraitI really want to talk to you here but you have to give me something way better than “why do you love toxic stuff and hate good stuff”. Maybe give me some specifics on what you felt was off.

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It seems the balance team favors flashy plays over healthy gameplay

Riot Jag Final PortraitThis one I don’t get at all. I think if you searched through most of the pro games this year, you would find Leblanc and Zed to not be nearly as dominant as say Viktor or Azir in terms of pick rate. That aside, it seems like you’re creating a false dichotomy here between choosing between “flashy plays” and “healthy gameplay”. I don’t think we’d say someone like Zed has an inherently unhealthy pattern (I’d say he’s fairly healthy for an assassin), but there’s no reason why something can’t be fair and flashy.

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Cinderhulk was OP on release and was later nerfed so much that its useless now

Riot Jag Final PortraitAgain, it’s really an issue of balance here. You can’t argue with the level of power that Cinderhulk was giving to characters at the time. There are many reasons to like the teamfight-pacing presence that tanks give, but these champions had no tradeoffs at the time – they were becoming damage dealers with extreme durability and CC.


On that topic though, no one was happier about the success of Cinderhulk than me – that project was the combined efforts of Fearless and I (mostly him!), and I was overjoyed at the spike in competitive diversity that the Cinderhulk patch brought to the game. But the theory that we chased away diversity by nerfing Cinderhulk is false. The diversity spike partially arose due to the uncertainty of solving the game at a pro level since we upended the meta (tanks in Jungle instead of top lane, so now carries in top lane, so now different types of supports/ADCs that have to deal with top lane carries, etc.). The pro diversity levels were already falling quickly in the weeks after Cinderhulk came out due to them solving the meta rapidly, before we even managed to get the nerfs out to the servers that pros played on. So while Cinderhulk as a disrupting force was positive in driving diversity, it couldn’t ever hold that permanently – we have to keep making changes to the game to do that.

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Why are champs like Anivia nerfed and Lee Sin is either untouched or buffed

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Riot Jag Final PortraitLee Sin did get a small buff in 5.16. The previous five patches that he received a balance adjustment before that were nerfs. I am a little puzzled that the assessment is that he is getting unfairly privileged to be at a high power level that is inappropriate. However, I get that he has been at at stable level of power for a long time, and my answer to that is that I think he is a fairly healthy champion. He has a high level of execution required to succeed on the part of the Lee Sin player, he has some major weaknesses (particularly towards the late game), and he has always felt like a somewhat risky pick, even when strong.

I don’t speak for Riot’s future balancing strategy here, but for my 2 cents, Lee is a cool champion that still gives his opponent options when succeeds, which to me is something we can maintain as someone who appears in a lot of games.

In regards to Anivia, I’d ask you a question first – if very few people complained about her, but she was still incredibly powerful, almost unfairly so, should we leave her alone? Would we leave balance decisions up to capturing the tone of broad player perception?

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Riot Jag Final PortraitFor Anivia, the timelines are sorely mismatched here though. We’re not responding to Worlds (that was 2 months ago), we’re responding to preseason.

For Elise, I get that she’s still strong, but by no means has she flown under the radar – she’s been nerfed more than once in the past few months.

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Can you explain the thought process behind changing Anivia Swain and Elise

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Riot Jag Final PortraitI think our data put Anivia going up nearly 4% in win rate with preseason – most likely due to the efficiency of RoA and the addition of Deathfire Touch. That’s a pretty huge change.

With Elise, our changes this year have been intended to balance her as more of a mage threat, not as a tank. The 5.18 and 5.16 changes both hit base damages, not ratios.

Swain is just a tough guy to balance. He’s kind of a drain tank, and he’s largely about dot damage and healing, so nerfing the E seemed like the wrong thing to do there. The effectiveness of his CC seemed out of line with that type of champion, which is why we went with the W. I feel your pain there though, you could make compelling arguments to hit other areas.

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Any thoughts on how the new gold flow affects earlypower Champions

Riot Jag Final PortraitHmm, that’s interesting. I understand that their maximum window of being ahead may be smaller (because gold eventually catches up), but we have put a lot of changes in place in preseason to push forward rewards for early aggression (towers falling faster, Rift Herald, vision changes etc). I think most of our evaluations say that a lot of early-game champions got a big boost since preseason (Shyvana went up in win rate, didn’t she?).

I think there are specific champions like Pantheon that may have some itemization problems. The crew on the Systems team is hard at work on that one.

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Whats your opinion on KhaZixs evolution diversity

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Riot Jag Final PortraitAgree that he’s never really been diverse. There’s almost always one correct path and then a few wrong ones.

We have played with that idea for E before, but it largely resulted in the same thing (one optimal path, this time never with E). I think for Kha’zix’s evolution pathing to be in a state that isn’t solved before game start requires each evolution to power him up along 4 distinct axes/contexts, each of which are likely to change in relative importance within the game. That’s very very hard. Maybe not impossible though.

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What are your thoughts on the current Support ADC relationship

Riot Jag Final PortraitThis is a really interesting one. I think the solo Q Support/ADC relationship and the organized 5v5 Support/ADC relationship are so incredibly far apart they may as well be different games.

What’s really cool about a good duo is that they both have to constantly take “trust falls” in lane to be effective – you have to make a move KNOWING that if you eat a CC your partner will use a summoner at the right time to make sure the play works. The problem is that in solo q the communication is so sparse that this goes wrong fairly often, unless you’re just on the same page because your game knowledge is deep enough (this is one major reason why playing ADC is so painful at lower MMR ranges). There’s nothing worse than having a trust fall where your partner doesn’t catch you, and it can reshape your approach to laning in a very negative way. On the other hand, when two of you are on comms together and perfectly on point, it’s incredibly rewarding and one of the best experiences in League of Legends.

So, to bring it back to the designer’s perspective, where do we want to strengthen the experience? Do we want to create solutions that make a better play experience for the low communication solo queue game? That would lead us to creating mechanics and items that have low coordination requirements, low failure rates, and correspondingly low rewards for success. Do we want to reward the mastery of a competent duo playing properly? Well, then this is a mechanic that has a very limited reach, as the vast majority of players will not be able to enjoy it as consistently. When CertainlyT had to figure out how to balance Kalista’s W passive, or I had to figure out how to reward Zeke’s Harbinger properly, these are some of the things we had to struggle with.

Personally, I’d really love if we made another Conduit-style item like Zeke’s, but opened the space up a bit for different types of duos (maybe a double melee dive buddy item, for instance).

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What are some less commonly cited statistics you guys use to judge balance

Riot Jag Final PortraitA few metrics here that I really like are “win rate by game time” and “average experience level”. The game time graphs will occasionally give us a very sharp idea of where to address a part of the character that is really out of control. For example, pre-5.18 Veigar tended to win a fairly small portion of games that ended at 20 minutes, and a fairly large portion of games that ended at 45+ minutes. After the buffs to his W cast time, we saw a fairly small change at the 45+ minute win rate, but a huge one at 20+ minutes, which was a large indicator to us that we had changed Veigar’s power curve in a way that we were not comfortable maintaining.

That directed us to looking at base damages instead of hitting the cool thing about Veigar that players really loved (the infinite scaling fantasy), and gave us a pretty solid foundation for doing so. The “average experience level” one is one that’s really hard to convey to most players, but it basically indicates that if the vast majority of players on a champion have a huge amount of games under their belt, then we shouldn’t look at a champion’s win rate and be surprised if it’s high. For example (these numbers aren’t accurate, just using them to illustrate), if the average Riven player in your game has 70 games played on the champion, while the average Brand player has 15 games, it wouldn’t be a unfair statement to say that Riven could have a higher average win rate than Brand and still be equally powerful.

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Where do you draw the line between extreme changes and no changes at all

Riot Jag Final PortraitThat’s a tough one. I think for preseason in particular we’re aware that the game is very volatile and unsolved. Optimal item builds can shift (or be nerfed…), certain exploitative strategies may be removed, and most of all, preseason is a time to just have fun and play – so I think we’re reluctant to instantly smack a champion in the face unless they’re fairly far out of line. Which leads me into…

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Why did you nerf hidden OP champions like Malzahar

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Riot Jag Final PortraitA lot of the decisions to nerf the “hidden OP” champs came from being fairly confident that these guys were WAY far out of line. We have a fairly significant amount of data demonstrating that these guys had pretty obscenely high levels of power in this patch.

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Which patch drove the most players away from LoL even temporarily

Riot Jag Final PortraitI don’t know the answer to that question. I can tell you that I felt a lot of the same way as players did in 5.16, that the game felt pretty far off in terms of balance compared to what we’ve done historically. Everyone has taken a hard long at what went right and what went wrong there so we can improve on that in the future, which to me is something that’s cool about how Riot – we definitely have failures, but we do our best to make them mean something positive.

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Whats the state of Bard

Riot Jag Final PortraitOh man, Bard. Rarely do I see data tell me one thing that so heavily disagrees from my personal experience. I honestly feel like a Bard main is absolutely terrifying, but he can so easily cause catastrophic failures for his own team that his effectiveness can vary incredibly hard.

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How do you think the Mandrake Ward will affect Champs like Evelynn

Mandrake Ward 3

[ Note ] The Mandrake ward is an experimental ward on the PBE that gives no vision and only pings you when it detects Champion movement.

Riot Jag Final PortraitI think it would be a fairly good thing for Eve to be honest. I’m not so sure her current form of favored counterplay (Pink ward + ward her jungle camps) is sufficient that we can leave in her tuning in a satisfying place. That’s heavily speculative though.

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INTRO Chris Pwyff Tom Communications dude

Pwyff Final PortraitHi fronds,

Quick introduction here – I’m Pwyff. In previous lives I’ve played video games competitively, ghost-wrote college essays for tuition, wrote terrible movie scripts for free dinners, and did the whole video game journalism / editor-in-chief bit before arriving at Riot Games.

I come from a mixed competitive gaming background of: FPSes (CS 1.6, Natural Selection, TFC), MOBAs (DotA, HoN, Bloodline Champions), and MMORPGs (Ragnarok Online, FFXI, vanilla + TBC WoW), so my favorites tend to fall along those. In between games of League, DotA 2, and Duelyst, I was trying to speedrun Fallout 4 before dropping everything for the new Bloodborne DLC, but did not get very far. I think I rerolled twice, explored fifty million supermarkets, recruited Nick Valentine, decided to forcibly set my carry weight limit to 20,000 so I could hoard more things, realized I opened Pandora’s Box of cheat codes and shortcuts, set my melee stats to five billion, punched a few Deathclaws, and then couldn’t go back to a normal life.

Outside of those things, I read, write, walk, and talk a lot (often at the same time).

I currently own: 0 cats.

WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT?

A tl;dr would be that I’m a communications lead, working on all things to do with… communicating. One of my first big projects was to improve the way we talk about change in League (particularly in design), and you may have noticed the experiments we’ve run over the years, especially with the patch notes.

These days, I’m focused more broadly on how we talk about what we do and why we do it. With the preseason just shipping and the 2016 season update on the horizon, I’m in the process of helping with our next Riot Pls update, getting this Dev Corner to a functional place, and thinking about what people actually want to hear about.

WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?

I’ll probably use my monthly slot as an open forum to talk about what new things you’d like to hear from other teams. If there’s a pressing topic you’d like to see discussed, feel free to chuck them in and I can understand what we should be thinking – or talking – about. Or if it’s just a miscommunication, I can talk about that as well.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?

Honestly? Let me know. I can tell you stories about life at Riot, or how teams work together, or about the cat I don’t own.

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The Patch Rundowns feel like fluff pieces

Pwyff Final PortraitNah, you’re talking to the right guy. So I’ve got Scarizard directly trying to tackle this issue next year to get the Patch Rundown to a more authentic place.

The question I’d ask is this: what should the patch rundown be for?

Right now I think the larger issue is we have one piece of video content trying to serve multiple purposes, and ultimately failing at all. If I could flip back the curtain, our goals are:

  • Humanize the League design team
  • Discuss contentious changes, show our thought process
  • Engage in a meaningful discussion on changes

For others, however, the patch rundown is seen as a vehicle to communicate what’s changing. Should that be our goal? Are players happier if we just tell them “this is changing and here’s why” a la patch note format, or do they want to see discussion on the topic with people they trust?

This is basically the space we’re grappling with. In an ideal world, I’d love to have two streams of content – one high level TL;DR of the patch notes for quick, easy consumption, and another focused on deeper context.

So what are your thoughts?

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Have Riot considered making a realtime strategy engine for LoLtype games

Pwyff Final PortraitThis is an interesting question.

Up front: I don’t think there are any plans to scope out pets into something deep and expressive. I believe the current view of pet controls is “tolerable,” if not very exciting.

You mention that adding pets / pet controls would add a lot more depth to the game while also offering more avenues of kit ideation (and skill expression), I wonder about that.

You can add any sort of mechanic to a game to make it more ‘complex,’ but good game design is about the right combination of complex mechanics. If CS:GO suddenly added bunny-hopping into the game, it certainly becomes more complex from a movement-shooter based perspective, but it loses out on the type of game it wants to be.

I’m assuming that adding a second unit to control beyond basic movement (aka the current system) will raise the mechanical complexity of the game, but if this assumption is true, should that be where League’s design focus is on? Most designers would say there’s a lot of really cool space to explore with single-champion kits. Perhaps there could be a champion designed with the ‘illusion’ of pet play – maybe a multi-unit champion with pre-defined positioning based abilities (hello, Orianna) – but the better question is what a complex pet system offers over other new systems.

Now that I’ve laid out the conceptual space, I can offer my own opinion.

I think there’s room for some cool pet mechanics in a game like League, but probably not the likes of Chen or Meepo. There’s this concept of transferable skills where if you learn, say, auto-spacing (heh) with Caitlyn, that’s a transferable skill to Jinx. At the very least this allows you to build macro-mastery of League (positioning, map movement, etc) while also investing in the micro-optimizations of a champion.

Looking at other games with pet champions, most characters with engaging multi-unit complexity reward the player for:

  • Cross-map macro play (Meepo teleports and movement)
  • Multi-unit micro-play (SC2 micro)
  • A really annoying radiance bear (Druid)

I do wonder if the skill investment for any of these is so different for League that a champion who rewards players on these axis just makes them a novelty. The issue with novelty champions who reward players on very unique mastery paths is is you end up with massive disparities between the haves and the have nots, and balance becomes a nightmare. Riven is a great example of this. Do we now balance Riven with the expectation that all players have learned to animation cancel? Or do we just allow this one champion who, when fully mastered, has access to more tools and more power than anyone else? I’m not saying Riven is objectively overpowered, but the more unintentional power a champion can access through clever mechanical manipulation, the higher chance a designer just didn’t account for it.

This paints a real black and white picture though. Could the pet system be improved even for the current pet-based champions? Absolutely. Is it an absolute priority for engineering to restructure how unit control occurs within League? I’m not sure.

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Here’s some awesome fan art from this week:

 

Sinful Succulence Morgana by Delectableredz:

sinful_succulence_morgana_by_delectableredz-d9jng70

 

Firecracker & Slayer Jinx by Citemer:

v2PNeoN

 

Demon Vi by muju:

8wwVCWR

 

 


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

 
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FOLLOW UP Pathing aka Minion Blocking Update

Reinboom Final PortraitHeads up: since we’re going to be heading out for the night, just wanted to give some context up front.

Riot Reinboom here to bring a quick update on the state of pathing and upcoming changes (read: revert) to it. 🙂

Pathing What?

In 5.22 we did a hefty rebuild of one of the systems that guides pathing (particularly through minions), with some tweaks in 5.23.

Our goal was to make pathing through minions more predictable, with a specific focus on champions that could get ‘stuck’ while passing through. We also wanted to ensure we had full transparency on both sides of the ‘code’ fence – a player knows why they got stuck on the minions and we, as developers, could peek under the hood to see what’s going on.

So why did these changes go out?
If you think of the League of Legends game (note: not things like the client) as large ‘layers’ of functionality, you will get three major layers.

  • Engine: The thing that comprises the fundamental building blocks to build everything else. This has been cleaned up pretty extensively (and we’ll continue doing work here!) over the last couple years. You can think of the Engine layer as the foundation that we’re building everything on top of.
  • Game: The ‘house’ we’ve built on the foundation of the Engine. You can think of each Game system in League like an individual room in the house, with one for, say, pathing, or another one for minion AI, etc. Since most systems are self-enclosed (to a degree), we’ve basically been going from room to room to clean up where possible.
  • Content: Maybe the… interior decoration and furniture in the house? These are the individual things you interact with. Champions. Items. Maps. This isn’t much actual code, but more scripts. Stuff built with the tools provided on the layers before it. This is still messy, but we’re not really talking about content today.

Pathing sits in its own very isolated system within the ‘Game’ layer, and that system is a bit of a mess inside itself. Pathing also has some of the largest implications for how you play the game. When doing cleanups to the system, due to the risk of disruption and unknowability, we targeted preseason to keep it all (somewhat) contained.

So we did.

Did anything work with this?

From an implementation standpoint, yes! In natural pathing situations, the new system appropriately identifies whether or not a unit should be stuck or not, or could get stuck if it goes a certain direction. In other words, it’s knowable and predictable. A minion wall will act like a minion wall. If you jump to an area with lots of units around, you will be held there more surely.

But there were things that didn’t work.

Knowable doesn’t necessarily mean better, and more-so it doesn’t necessarily mean understandable when it interacts with other systems like pathfinding. Sure, minions make walls appropriately now, and stuck detection works. That said, behavior like that sucks when the shortest route the pathfinding system gives you is the longer way around. Additionally, from a direction standpoint, knowing that you’re definitely going to be trapped is annoying when your expectation is simply not to be trapped at all. Blegh.

In other words, we have a predictable system that isn’t playing nicely with other systems, and when it does work it’s a little more frustrating than we’d like.

So what we’re doing

We presumed things could go bad. We haven’t done fundamental (and I mean, very fundamental beyond light tweaks) work on pathing in… 5 years?

The new system was built with the assumption that it might cause issues with the old. As such… we’ll be switching it back to the old behavior in all of its unknowable glory while we work on and dig more into the pathing system.

This will be in 5.24 for everyone, but we’ll test it first on EUW to make sure nothing goes crazy.

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What direction will the balance team take Shen with his rework

Shen Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitThe plan is to keep Shen as a tank, though we’ll be trying to find ways to have that make at least a little more sense thematically (so potentially a bit more evasion instead of just soaking/shielding damage).

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When will Mages receive an update scope of Juggernauts Marksmen

Meddler Final PortraitMages, immobile ones especially, are probably the class we’ll look at next. That’ll be a while off though, preseason’s currently our biggest priority and then there’s also some disruption during the holiday period in December. I’d imagine a PBE date 2-3 months into 2016’s the sort of timeframe we might be looking at, that’s very much a guess though and depends on how many champions we end up tackling at once (small batch could come slightly earlier, broader changes like with Marksmen would be much later).

In terms of AP items that’s not something we’ve talked about much yet. I’d imagine we’d look at itemization if doing mages of course, almost certainly a much smaller set of changes than those to marksmen/general AD itemization though (AP’s in a better starting point, especially after the 5.13 changes).

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Yorick only has two skins
Yorick Single Banner

KateyKhaos Final PortraitHey!

Wanted to pop in here and explain what’s going on with Yorick!

You’re right that he hasn’t received a skin since launch and his skin catalog only has two skins. We aren’t ignoring Yorick, although from the looks of the amount of skins he has, it may appear that way.

For a bit of context here, Yorick needs a rework/update before the Skins team takes him under our wing and gives him more skins.

But why can’t you make a skin and give him the rework after? That’s the most common question I see when I explain the rework/update situation, and it’s a totally valid question.

When a champion is updated (let’s use Sion as an example for this), there are a ton of changes made, both in model, as well as the kit. If we were to create a skin for him now, the Champion Update team would need to rip apart the work we did to make it work for the update they create. This could mean making a new set of particles, a new model, etc. It’s basically like doing the work twice. So, rather than doing that, the Skins team creates other skins for other champions while we await the go-ahead to work on a new skin. This rule also applied to Poppy (she’s eligible for a skin now)! and currently Taric.

The other big reason for doing this is because we don’t want players to become attached to a skin and then have it completely re-imagined. So, let’s say we put out a Crazy Cat Lady Yorick skin (Rito pls), but with the rework, he didn’t have a spell that used your favorite cat model. That may ruin how cool the skin is to you, which is a pretty crappy situation. So, rather than taking away things you love, we hold off on creating them until we’ve got a solid, shiny, new base to work from, which means the skins you purchase won’t be changing any time in the near future.

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What if you made a Chroma pack for Yorick instead

KateyKhaos Final PortraitUnfortunately not – similar rules apply. It’d be twice the work in terms of creating the chroma packs.

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What if you released a new Yorick skin together with his rework

KateyKhaos Final PortraitIt’s not impossible – we did something similar with Fiora’s update by releasing PROJECT: Fiora shortly after.

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What about Sion Will he receive a new skin in the near future

Sion Single Banner

KateyKhaos Final PortraitHe did have a huge rework, and it’s eligible for a skin. Unfortunately, I’m not able to drop details as to if he has something in the works or not. :c

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Security Reminder Beware of scams this Snowdown

Riot Cluvie Final PortraitHey y’all!

It’s that time of year again — scams, scams everywhere!

Any promotions or events ran will be announced and confirmed by Riot — www.riotgames.com, www.leagueoflegends.com, or www.lolesports.com.

General Questions:

Q: I was sent a suspicious link from a friend I trust but I don’t recognize it, what should I do?
A: USE CAUTION! If it’s not hosted on one of the websites above, we cannot ensure your computer’s security if you visit them. Remember, facechecking the web is dangerous, so use your best judgement. Be sure to have your antivirus programs up-to-date.

Q: But I entered my username and password into this website! Should I change my password?
A: YES! Please change your password immediately. You can change your password by logging into your account management and clicking on change password.

Q: Is there any harm going to these free skin/RP generator websites but not doing anything?
A: YES! You never know what scripts are running in the background. If you’ve visited any suspicious websites, I would strongly suggest you go ahead and scan your computer with your preferred antivirus program.

If you cannot log into your account at all, you can recover your password by using the password recovery here. Still having issues? Please contact player support.


We also have an extensive Knowledge Base article available with additional tips and tricks on what you can do to ensure your account is secure: https://support.riotgames.com/hc/en-us/articles/201751664-Protecting-Your-Account – Please give this a thorough read if you have a chance!

Happy Snowdown! May your aim ever be true!

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Janna Main Janna Mechanics

Janna Mechanics Banner

Riot Jaws Final PortraitThere’s nothing like your first main. That connection with a champion and the excitement of locking them in game after game can be difficult to put into words.

Janna Mechanics, a Master-tier Janna main with over 5000 games on the Storm’s Fury stopped by to share his origin story as well as talk about how he keeps up with his competition while juggling schoolwork and managing a collegiate LoL community. He also broke down a TL;DR for Janna players looking to peel, bounce, and shield their way to victory.

How did you get into League of Legends?

I was introduced to League of Legends by an internet friend of mine who also introduced my best friend to the game. They had both been playing for a week, and encouraged me to give it a try and play with them. I quickly fell in love with the game, and LeBlanc, who was my first main champion. I started playing League of Legends at the same time Yorick was first released in the summer of 2011.

You are currently a full-time student at McMaster University, a Master-level player AND a co-founder and Co-President of McMaster’s League of Legends Association! What are you studying and how do you maintain your high level of play while juggling all of these responsibilities?

I am studying Computer Science. The main goals I have with this degree is a future in game development. I hope to work at Riot Games someday; a degree in Computer Science is extremely valuable in helping me achieve that dream.

Keeping up with everything is definitely a juggling act! Because I’ve had time to hone my skill at League of Legends, hovering in Master tier is actually pretty easy. Once you learn to identify the weaknesses of high diamond players, climbing through that tier does not require too much time commitment. However, if I wanted to approach Challenger in solo queue, I would need to take time away from my studies and running my club. Because Challenger requires weekly commitment and consistency, I’m happy just chilling in Master tier while I’m in school. During the Holidays and summer, I definitely push hard and strive for Challenger.

With respect to running my club, I am not alone. I have two co-presidents — two people I met the year I founded the club (my co-founders) that help me organize and sustain the club. We each bring different skills to the table. Through struggles and hardship we have learned to work together effectively and efficiently. Sophia and Dennis are the reason I can run the club, keep up with my studies, and squeeze in some solo queue games. I am definitely guilty of sacrificing my studies to play one more game of solo queue at 2 am though.

What got you hooked on Janna?

As I mentioned above, my first main was LeBlanc. I had consistently picked her (she was one of the free week champions at the time) throughout my quest to level 30. At some point before level 30, I realized the only champion I ever really struggled to play against was Morgana, so naturally I started playing her. I began playing strictly Morgana until level 30, and played her for my first few ranked games in season 1. After hitting level 30 and playing some ranked games, I realized that getting to play mid lane was a frustrating experience, so I turned to the least-sought after role at the time: support.

Janna happened to be a free champion that week, and I had recently come across my firstfunny league-related video on YouTube which happened to be about Janna. While the video was funny, it intrigued me enough to give her a try after seeing her kit in action. Janna’s Monsoon is an ultimate that has an impossible to reach skill ceiling. After over five thousand Janna games, I still mess up my monsoons. There is always room to improve on how I use my ultimates, and that leads me to locking her in champion select game after game.

What do you do if Janna gets picked away or banned?

During last season’s North American Collegiate Championship (NACC), I expected Janna to be banned/taken away from me every single game. Now I’ve adapted and prepared other champions, so I get excited when the enemy team picks up Janna, because I know how exactly to ruin her day. In response, I tend to pick Soraka, Morgana, or Nami.

Morgana especially gives Janna a frustrating game, as a binding is a death sentence to Janna, and black shield nullifies her peel. Soraka will win laning phase against Janna and keep up with her roams through the use of Wish, as well as being able to silence that game-changing monsoon or shield. Nami is able to out-trade and out-lane Janna, and easily engage on her through tidal wave — which is also great for stopping that monsoon heal.

If you could describe Janna’s playstyle in a sentence, what would it be?

Janna’s playstyle focuses on reaction-based gameplay.

Knowing what your opponent is capable of, and responding to it correctly defines a good Janna player.

  • Howling Gale (Q) is most powerful when used to disrupt your opponent’s channels, dashes, jumps, and cut off their pathways.
  • Zephyr (W) must be used cautiously, as it slows Janna as well.
  • Eye of the Storm (E) requires the Janna player to constantly re-calculate their opponent’s damage output and potential, and determine the best target to shield.
  • Monsoon (R) has immense utility which generally is most effective when used after the team fight has begun already – it’s a reaction.

That’s not to say Janna is incapable of making plays. A well placed Howling Gale can catch people in clumps and set up a wombo, and Monsoon can definitely be used aggressively (Flash ult to isolate someone!). Janna generally shines when reacting to her opponents in skirmishes and teamfights.

If someone is playing Janna for the first time, what is the most important thing to bear in mind?

The best advice I can give to any Janna player is to never use your ultimate without a specific purpose in mind. Are you trying to push a specific enemy away? Are you trying to isolate an opponent? Are you cancelling a channel? Are you simply healing your team mate?

Knowing exactly what you want to do with Monsoon reduces the number of messed up/useless ones. There are team fights where an opportunity to use Monsoon doesn’t come up. Generally players recommend just dropping ultimates in a teamfight. I agree with that on most champions, but certain champions (Janna, Bard) have ultimates which are pure utility and can benefit your opponents if used incorrectly. To ensure you aren’t saving your opponents accidentally, know what you want to achieve with a Monsoon before using it.

Janna’s laning looks pretty passive on the surface. How do you exert pressure in a Janna lane?

Auto attacks are free to use, and whittle down your opponents slowly. When it is safe to do so (did your opponents just use their main engage tools? Are they going in for CS and can’t attack you?), get some auto attacks in! Janna’s auto attack range is fairly low however, so don’t spend too much time trading with someone who has a higher attack range.

Outside of auto attacks, Eye of the Storm can be used when your ADC wants to aggress. Janna generally doesn’t aggress on her own, it’s a team effort. If your ADC wants to exert some pressure, back them up – that’s how Janna exerts pressure. Alternatively, if you really want to make awesome plays pre-6, charging up a howling gale can be a death sentence to your opponents. Place it from the side, be unpredictable about it. If you master the technique of landing charged howling gales, you’ll set up ganks and exert pressure you wouldn’t normally anticipate from a Janna. Just make sure you don’t spam it – Howling Gale is expensive to use!

What is Janna’s main role in teamfights?

In team fights, Janna must identify three things:

  • The teammate that needs immediate saving,
  • The teammate that is important to keep alive
  • The opponents that need to be peeled.

If a teammate is close to death and interception from Janna will keep them alive long enough to win the fight, they are worth saving. Otherwise, Janna should focus on keeping her most valuable teammate alive. She must also consider her opponent’s threats: do they have dashes that need cancelling (Jarvan, LeBlanc, Kha’Zix, Gragas, Diana etc.)? Do they have champions who channel abilities that need to be disrupted (Vel’Koz, Miss Fortune, Galio etc.)? Do they have a hard-diving champion that can’t re-enter a fight once they burn their main engage (Irelia, Nocturne etc.)?

Generally, I’ll recommend Janna players to determine where they can place a charging Howling Gale that will benefit them in three seconds, and if they really need it (or it will miss because they mis-predicted), launch it instantly. Slow the opponents who burned their dash cooldowns and are trying to re-engage, and constantly shield the appropriate target.

Monsoon is her back-up. When your howling gale wasn’t enough to keep your opponents away, or your entire team is in a position where healing them will win you the fight — use your ultimate! It can achieve all that howling gale achieves, but more effectively and with a neat heal attached.

Who is your favorite AD to lane with as Janna?

Nothing compares to a good Vayne player. If I am laning with a good Vayne, we will win laning phase very easily through outplaying our opponents with slippery mechanics and chaining Condemn and Howling Gale. Monsoon works amazingly with Condemn, and Vayne loves that eye of the storm AD. If we get rolling early-game, nothing can stop Vayne with a Janna. This does however require the Vayne player to understand our potential, and know how to play the champion. Flash tumbling into the enemy Riven probably isn’t going to work out for us.

If someone is looking to climb the ladder as a support main, what should they focus on improving?

With respect to support specifically, the greatest advice I could ever give to a support player is DO NOT DIE WHILE TRYING TO GET VISION! This gets more important as the game goes late. You will lose objectives, pressure, and the entire game for getting caught while warding. Understand when it is safe to ward, and when you should wait until you have more team mates ready to back you up. If there are enemies missing, and you are unsure of their last position, do not go out to ward. When you have a good understanding of your opponent’s positions, go ahead and ward the safe spots. Getting caught less means you’ll be around to make those game-winning team fight plays.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! If readers want to reach out, where can they find you?

I appreciate your interest in my experiences! I had a ton of fun answering the questions, so thank you for taking the time to create this article!

Readers who are interested in reaching out to me can contact me here on Twitch at twitch.tv/JannaMechanics

I tend to have a full friends list so I can’t add everybody who sends me a friend request, but if you really want to contact me, twitch is great! I stream more often when I am off school, so keep an eye out for when I go online. I answer every question I see in twitch chat, so that’s the best option!

———–

Janna Mechanics is going to hang out in the comments to answer your questions for a couple of hours, so ask away!

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Incoming Some Introductions

Pwyff Final PortraitHi gang,

As we’re getting to figure out dev corner content for 2016, we thought it would also be good to get some of our more prominent designers and design leads introduced so you can get a feel for what we’re working on and who’s focused on what. We’re doing this to set the foundation for a series of personal dev blogs on evergreen topics like our balance philosophy, champion design, systems interactions, and so on.

Over the course of the next few weeks, you’ll hear from some of the team with a rundown of their interests, past work, and what they’ll want to write about next year. They’ll also stick around for a bit during the day to field questions or source any topic inspiration from you!

So if you really want to hear more about designing Cinderhulk from our lead systems designer, or what went into the recent batch of marksmen updates, hang out!

I’ll try to keep you updated every Monday on the upcoming schedule of designer introductions. All in all, before the holidays kick in, you should at least hear from:

  • Greg ‘Riot Ghostcrawler’ Street – Design Director, League of Legends
  • Andrei ‘Meddler’ Van Roon – Lead Designer, League of Legends
  • Mark ‘RiotScruffy Yetter – Lead Designer, Champions & Champion Update
  • Joseph ‘Fearless’ Graylock – Lead Designer, Gameplay Systems
  • Brian ‘FeralPony’ Feeney – Lead Designer, Live Gameplay
  • James ‘Statikk’ Bach – Lead Designer, Champion Update
  • Jeevun ‘RiotJag’ Sidhu – Designer, Live Gameplay & Champions
  • August ‘gypsylord’ Browning – Designer, Champions & Gameplay Systems
  • … and me.

See you soon~

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Illaoi community creations

Jynx Final PortraitThe community has spawned an impressive collection of creations to welcome Illaoi to the rift. So get kraken and check out some of the awesome pieces, and don’t forget to click the artists’ names to see even more of their work!


BeastQueen

Celiarts

chalii

crystalmew

Dand01

feh-rodrigues

joacoful

LagGuilliotine

Leen

Luunally

Mechanical Bunnies

MonoriRogue

Neo-TK

otoimai

Polkadotzombie

Raspbeary Art

RinRinDaishi

Rokusan Cosplay

Sosenka

YuzukiNyaaa


Jojo 한

Blondynki Też Grają

Still looking for more? Take a look at the awesome entries from the Illaoi chibi contest held on the League of Legends Philippines site!

We know there’s still more creations out there though, so please share your art and favorites in the comments below.

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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.