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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

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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

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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.