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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.

Comments off

 

Dev Blog Design Values Banner

 

Another entry in Riot’s design values dev blogs, this time covering giving players meaningful choices to make in the game.

 

 

Hey all,

It’s time for another entry in our ongoing series on the Design Values of League of Legends! Today we’ve got Lead Champion Designer Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon, here to talk about meaningful choices in League of Legends. This is a topic that goes fairly deep, so let’s just let him get started!

 

 Chris ‘Pwyff’ Tom

 

 

Why does Meaningful choice matter

To us, meaningful choices are one of the key things that allow a PvP game to have depth. The ability to make decisions that directly impact that state of the game is of absolute importance in driving satisfaction and mastery, and we always want to reward those make the best decisions.

Multiple attractive choices also allow for variety in experience, with games following many different paths. Meaningful choices (rather than single best choices) allow players to shape the state of the game based off their own preferences and what they feel they’re best at.

 

What makes a choice meaningful

Meaningful choices require that the player have sufficient understanding of the consequences of their decisions. Without knowing (or at least being able to predict) what’s going to happen, a ‘choice’ of option basically becomes random. That’s not to say that the player needs to know every detail, or they need to see exactly how their decision will pan out – just enough to make an informed choice.

Significant difference between possible outcomes is also required. Clarity is nice, but if the choice is between a set of almost identical options – or if all choices result in the same, final outcome – there’s no significance to the choice in the first place.

It’s also important that the choices offered are actually accessible. If there are three possible choices of strategy but two can be executed by only the top 0.01% of players (reaction speed, required actions per second, etc) that effectively means there isn’t a choice either.

Finally, for a choice to be meaningful there need to be situations where multiple options are potentially valid. If there’s always one obvious correct answer, it’s not a choice but a puzzle to be solved. Sometimes it’s okay for there to be one right decision (see below), but games defined by questions that, once answered, stay answered forever (otherwise known as ‘solved games’) face the challenge of staying fresh (once again, if the focus is on meaningful PvP interactions).

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Why sometimes a lack of choice is OK

Meaningful choice adds a lot to a game, but it’s not an essential part of every element. Skillshots or challenging combos, for example, can be satisfying skill tests for many, even if the correct play is the same every time. Additionally – and this is particularly true in story driven genres – plot, setting or character development can often justify a lack of choice.

In League, a lack of meaningful choice is worth accepting either because of the benefits a single option brings to the rest of the game, or because the choice is meaningful to other players. For example, participating in the vision game is almost mandatory if you want to be a successful team, but vision control in League of Legends creates a lot of interesting play – particularly around contested objectives.

Sometimes it’s better to simply not offer a choice in the first place. For example, having a deep, unified competitive scene on Summoner’s Rift – rather than a fragmented one split over multiple maps/modes – better supports our goals of making League of Legends a long-lasting, competitive game with deep potential for skill development. That’s not to say other maps or game modes don’t have interesting things to offer, but there are many benefits (and tradeoffs) for choosing to focus on one.

 

Different ways to look at choice

There are many different ways to present a meaningful choice, and I’ll run through a few examples:

 

Single versus Constant

Single choices often have a large impact on strategy and they commonly influence how future decisions in the game will be presented. This isn’t to say that single choices have right or wrong answers, but five strategically mismatched choices against five strategically cohesive choices can be very tough.

  • Utility mid like Lulu or an assassin like Zed?

Constant choices, on the other hand, are ones that influence the game by inches – each time you make a conscious decision, it’s just one step toward (or away from) victory.

  • Stay in lane and farm, go gank bot, try to steal the enemy’s blue buff?

 

Always Available versus Windowed

Choices that are always available are mostly related to mastery of efficiency. Knowing when to use something rarely wins a game single-handedly, but juggling the optimal timing of when to use many things is often what’s needed to edge out a close victory.

  • Should I use my potion when I’m near full health so that I can optimize my jungle efficiency? Should I save it if I’m thinking about recalling soon?

Windowed choices are ones that are only available under certain circumstances and can therefore carry more weight than always available ones. It’s like a form of efficiency, but also knowing what a windowed choice will lead to in the future.

  • While at the shop, do I spend my gold while I can, or do I save up for something I can’t afford yet? If I’m spending my gold, do I grab a Vamp Scepter or Boots and a Long Sword?

 

Tactical versus Strategic

Tactical choices are typically the ones that relate to pure combat mechanics and in-the-moment decision-making.

  • Which angle is Morgana going to fire Dark Binding at? Which way should I try and dodge, if at all?

Strategic choices, on the other hand, are ones that are focused on long-term decisions that dictate the pace and future opportunities within the game.

  • Do we try and fight them at Baron or do we let them have it while we go for an inhibitor?

 


While some of the above are direct examples of how we approach meaningful choices in League of Legends, I’d like to also look to the future before this entry gets too long.

td

Looking forward where we can do better

While providing meaningful choices is a core value that we design around, it’s not something we’ve always delivered on well enough. As a result, there are a number of parts of the game we’re looking to make improvements to offer more interesting decision points. Have a few examples:

 

Strategy

We’d like League of Legends to have a broader range of possible options when it comes to how teams try to win a game. While this does rely heavily on champion diversity to influence strategy, we hope for there to be many ways to close out a game – through objective control, split pushing, straight teamfighting, getting strategic picks on solitary enemies, and beyond.

 

Champions

Some champions share too similar a niche with other champions, making the choice between them more a question of who’s more powerful than what particular skillset you want on your team. We try to emphasize this distinction where possible – for example, both Trundle and Jax are fighters, but they are picked for a team for very different reasons (initiation, disengage, and strength against tanky targets versus ramping damage with strong offensive scaling combined with a high effectiveness against auto attackers).

In contrast, Mundo and Shyvana do share a bit too similar a niche, with both being tanky fighters that deal AoE damage over an extended period of time as they try to wear down a target via movement speed. That’s not to say they’re bad champions or that there aren’t differences between them (one is better at long skirmishes, the other has superior initiation), but we can certainly be offering a more interesting choice between the two. Trying to find distinct gameplay spaces for champions is one of the core things we’re focusing on with both new champions and champion updates.

 

Items

Some roles have a range of interesting itemization choices throughout the game. AP casters, for example get to make choices like Tear of the Goddess or Fiendish Codex early, and Zhonya’s or Deathcap later on. Other roles, however, have fewer interesting options available to them. Marksmen have generally followed very similar build paths to each other with low variance. As a result, we’re trying to find ways to offer more distinct and appealing options, like the changes to Bloodthirster to better position it as a high end defensive AD item. In comparison, the old Bloodthirster – due to it having the highest AD in the game along with lifesteal – basically said, “Build this on every marksman that auto attacks or uses spells” (that is, all of them).

 

And onward

The above are just a few examples of where we think we can offer more meaningful choices for the future of League of Legends. Remember that this can go even more in-depth in systems like summoner spells, runes, masteries, or even lane positions on the map itself. Also, if you think there are unique opportunities where we can offer more depth or places where you think we’ve failed to offer sufficient choice, feel free to leave a comment below.


 Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon

 

[ Link to Post ]



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



News Update July 30 Banner

 
Summary

Short update today! On Reddit, Pwyff elaborates on the nerfs to DFG in Patch 4.13 and why wave-clear mages and Zhonya’s haven’t been nerfed. Champion designer Gypsylord addresses community concerns about Gnar being too strong and how his transformation and bounce mechanics work.

 


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Post-Patch 4 point 13 DFG Banner


 


Wave-clear mages are as non-interactive as DFG assassin mages


[ Context ] Deathfire Grasp was nerfed in Patch 4.13.


deathfire graspDeathfire Grasp

  • Cooldown on active increased from 60 seconds to 90


Pwyff New PortraitI hear this now and then – I get that choosing a wave-clearing mage means you may not be taking an assassin mage, but that’s more correlation than causation. The DFG change was specifically focused on assassins, their playstyle, and creating more healthier patterns. It’s a weird conclusion to draw that we’re doing it because we love wave-clearing mages.


As a side note, There’s a comment below about nerfing an underused item – when assassins become strong then DFG often becomes strong as well. When DFG becomes strong, then it comes down to the only assassins who benefit are the ones who can use DFG to its maximum effect.

Touching up on DFG allows us to see what sort of breadth of assassin play there is for AP dudes out there rather than pidgeon-holing us into the idea that all AP assassins must blow up their target with 1 second.

[edit] Some responses from below for visibility. Someone mentioned that I misconstrued the argument – that waveclearing was equally non interactive and we should have hit both:

Ah yes – on that note I agree but I would also argue that there are ancillary changes that tackle this. A wave-clearing stall mage has the general weakness of “IF I’M CAUGHT I’M DEAD,” so assassins being buffed (exhaust / heal / banshee’s veil / chalice) has an impact on them as well. This is a very delicate balance to strike and trying to maintain multiple forms of strategic diversity is tough. We’re already seeing some assassins in competitive play against heavy waveclearing teams and it’s easy to overshoot.

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Follow Up

1 2

Pwyff New PortraitImagine if it wasn’t! I get that assassination tends to be a very blunt definition, but imagine if there are assassins like LeBlanc who are super high-risk high-reward versus assassins like Fizz who are far better at repeated engagements and skirmishing.

It’s oddly nuanced, but when you add DFG to the mix it’s like “WELL THERE’S AN ITEM THAT GUARANTEED MAKES ME FASTER AT KILLING THINGS” so you buy it and it skews things. It’s hard to conceptualize around those kind of patterns when there’s an item that pushes so hard at emphasizing speed.

Not to mention it’s fairly low skill at that (no offence), as it’s like “push an extra button and kill faster.” APM aside, it’s tough to justify placing so much emphasis on that kind of capability.

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Why are you nerfing DFG when Zhonya’s has remained untouched

Pwyff New PortraitSo to be clear: we buffed assassins this patch. Exhaust’s damage reduction went down, Heal went down, Banshee’s Veil (which was broadly aimed at siege breaking but impacts assassins) got a timing reduction, Chalice lost 5 mr (okay not much but still). These are buffs.

I’m not saying that DFG pidgeonholes champions into building the item but a lot of the time if assassins are strong then the competitive meta can get focused on who manipulates DFG the best.

Syndra does build DFG more often than the others on your situational picks, and Annie / Veigar are unpicked for other reasons. LeBlanc / Ahri / Syndra (sometimes TF and lategame Fizz) do build it and those are the AP assassins we’d probably see come up if they do get strong. Even Lissandra there’s a very real danger when she gets played that she instead goes for a DFG and blows fools up (as someone put it).

I’m not saying it’s as black and white as pidgeonholing but I am saying that the danger of burst mages rushing DFG is a pretty unhealthy world. We’d instead prefer to have that power on the mage themselves.

[ Link to Post ]

 


Isn’t building a Deathcap a lot more non-interactive than a DFG burst

Pwyff New PortraitBecause then the focus can be made on the champion interactions themselves. I don’t think adding an additional input onto a champion’s skill rotation is really a great argument. Take that single input away and maybe we can balance around that.

[ Link to Post ]

 


(Off-topic) Are you nerfing Thresh because of his popularity

Pwyff New PortraitI agree that it’s not the best context and I probably should have done better. The argument is circular, but Thresh being a reliable, top tier support is partially due to his popularity but also because he’s just so damn strong across the board. He’s got insane teamfight presence but he also happens to be one of the best support skirmishers around. He’s just so well-rounded that it’s tough to really reduce power without hurting his identity.

As for Thresh’s position in the LCS / OGN / competitive play, he’s in the top 3 supports of pick/ban. Consistently he has passed 75%+ across the board and while popularity is never a core statistic we use purely, it indicates a degree of reliability and a disregard for strategic use that we can’t ignore. If Thresh can just be picked whenever and wherever (hello Lucian) that’s not the best.

[ Link to Post ]



Gnar's Balance Banner


 

Mini Gnar’s W does 14% of Max HP as magic damage at max rank

Gypsylord New PortraitSo yes Gnar’s W does a decent chunk of damage. I won’t comment on whether or not it’s OP (numbers can change) but I will throw out 2 things to think about.

Gnar’s range is very low which requires him to put himself in some degree of danger when AA’ing enemies. It starts at 400 and reaches 502 at level 18.

The number of W procs Gnar can get is gated by the fact that every AA brings him closer to transforming at which point he loses access to his ranged AA’s and his W proc.

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Follow Up


Why does Gnar’s range scale up

Gypsylord New PortraitBasically 500 range Gnar was too oppressive in lane while 400 range Gnar was somewhat useless in teamfights. Scaling the range allowed us to realize the play patterns we wanted throughout the course of the entire game.

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Isn’t that Tristana’s signature mechanic

Gypsylord New PortraitWhile the base mechanic (gains range per lvl) is technically the same I feel they pan out very differently in feel and fantasy. To me this component of Gnar’s passive reads “your range goes from bad to less bad.” Tristana’s passive reads “your range will eventually become THE BEST IN THE GAME!”

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How does Gnar’s passive transformation work

Gypsylord New PortraitHere’s the nitty-gritty on Gnar’s transform. I’m avoiding listing numbers as they are subject to change.

  • Gnar gains X rage every second while he is in combat. In combat is defined as dealing or taking damage.
  • Gnar gains X rage whenever he AA’s a unit or hits them with a boomerang. Minions and monsters give 25% rage.
  • The amount of rage generated (X) starts low and increases with level, maxing at level 11.
  • Gnar’s rage will fall off slowly if he spends a very long time out of combat (much longer than Trynd or Renekton).
  • When Gnar reaches 100 rage his next spell will be cast as Mega Gnar and cause him to transform. If he casts no spells he will transform after 4 seconds.
  • Mega Gnar lasts for 15 seconds.
  • After transforming back to mini form Gnar will become tired and be unable to gain rage for Y seconds.

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Why does Gnar transform automatically at 100 Fury

Gypsylord New PortraitAt 100 rage he can transform using his next spell. If he doesn’t cast a spell for 4 seconds he’ll transform anyway.

Gnar is tuned so that it isn’t about “if” he’ll transform but “when.”

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Does Gnar’s passive heal him when he transforms

Gypsylord New PortraitGnar keeps the same health % when he shifts from big form to small form so that his passive doesn’t give him too much free healing over time.

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Does Gnar use his Ranged or Melee ability when he transforms

Gypsylord New PortraitMelee. Though if he uses his E it’s a combination of the two versions (bounces as mini Gnar, AOE landing as big Gnar).

[ Link to Post ]

 

 



Clarity on Gnar’s bouncing mechanics from Hop E

Gypsylord New PortraitGnar does need a targetable unit to bounce, so if you go untargetable as he’s about to land and there are no other units around he will indeed hit the ground and stop. It is possible to bounce over walls, you’ll need to line up a jump onto a unit pretty near the wall in question though and won’t be able to get through the thicker walls, since as with the initial leap the bounce range isn’t enormous.

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Can Gnar be played as a jungler

Gypsylord New PortraitIt’s possible, pretty challenging though because of the way his rage generation/form swap works, so getting access to the tools you want for specific camps/ganks is tough. Having said that while our best guess is that Gnar will be most effective in solo lanes could certainly believe there are some jungle options out there. Really interested to see what people discover.

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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.

 

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Devblog on Mastery Banner

Riot have released another awesome devblog, this time detailing what it takes to master League!

 

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Pwyff New PortraitIt’s the second entry in our ongoing League of Legends design values! Last time we had environment and clarity designer Richard “Nome” Liu go in-depth on why Clarity is important in League of Legends. Up this week is Riot Games’ Vice President of Game Design, Tom “Zileas” Cadwell, here to talk to one of League’s most central themes: the pursuit of mastery. 

Zileas has been a part of Riot Games for a long time and he’s actually the one who first introduced several of the terms used in our design values series – like Counterplay. Today, however, Zileas will be focusing more on mastery as it relates to every design decision we make in League and why it’s so important to the game as a whole. Onward!

 

 

Mastery Banner

 

Players are driven to play different game genres for different reasons. In MMOs, it might be a feeling of progression or social achievement. In single-player, story-focused games, it might be about immersion, or making your way through a deep narrative. In the MOBA genre, we believe the main thing that motivates players to stick around is the pursuit of mastery.

Whether you’re trying to be the best League player in the world or you’re just picking up on how to last hit, playing League of Legends is about continually growing and becoming a better player. We believe that players who play League are seeking mastery, and our design philosophy is deeply tied to this idea. For our part, we hope to make a player’s journey endlessly rich and fulfilling; someone who adapts quickly and instinctually should be rewarded as much as the one who spends days figuring out the most optimal path forward – both are pursuing mastery in their own unique ways.

We’ve identified three major areas of mastery: personal expertise, teamwork, and adaptability.


Yasuo_Shield_Screenshot

 

 

Personal Expertise

 

Personal expertise is the direct skill you bring in controlling your character to win a fight or earn gold. It’s your ability to last hit, execute a basic combo, dodge and land skill shots, or make an informed decision in a fight. Some of the ways we can support personal expertise include:

Creating optimization paths for champions is a design strategy we’ve spent more time on over the years. When we design or update champions, we ask if there are multiple levels of mastery possible – places where a player can fine-tune their skills to become even better over time. Yasuo and his passive, Way of the Wanderer, is a good example of growing mastery, where maximizing Flow through movement and ability use – and ensuring that large flow increases aren’t ‘wasted’ on a full bar – can separate the good Yasuos from the great Yasuos.

Rewarding consistent demonstrations of skill is an important philosophy for us, and this means smoothing out cases where this isn’t true. As an example, system overhauls are large projects that try to build more potential for mastery. We continue to look at League and ask ourselves: when and where are players unable to use their skill to shine? And where these problems exist, is there a way we can fix it?

Here are some examples from the 2014 pre-season changes where we made system overhauls to reward consistent skill:

  • Reducing team snowballing allowed players to win more often via their skill than their stats. When teams snowball out of control prematurely it becomes impossible for the opposing team, even with amazing play, to recover. On the other hand, a really ‘fed’ single player can still be focused and killed.
  • Stronger support scaling allows support players to continue to show their skill into the late game, rather than being overshadowed by the rest of their team in importance. When your power level is too different from other players in the game, even highly skilled players can feel like they’re not making a difference.

Counterplay, which will be further detailed by Morello in another blog, is the philosophy of designing champions to be challenging to master for both the player playing them and the opponent trying to beat them. When two champions fight, we want nuance, thought, and timing to matter in both directions, which means the best player should win. You’re only as good as the opponents you can beat, and a champion that lacks counterplay is one which, if executed perfectly, leaves their opponent with shallow or nonexistent response choices.


Thresh_Screenshot_01  Thresh_Screenshot_02

 

 

Teamwork

 

Teamwork is the ability to read a teammate’s intentions while also giving cues in turn, or the ability to stay positive when setbacks occur, or the ability to do what’s best for the team at all times.

We design for teamwork in two major areas: teamplay and team incentives.

Teamplay is a design philosophy similar to counterplay, and Statikk will be going more in-depth in his dev blog. In short, if a particular strategy or set of abilities become stronger with increasingly effective team coordination, teamplay is there. At a basic level, this means that we have to design in a way where your teammates need to care what you’re doing, and react to it. To do this, we try to make abilities, like Thresh’s Dark Passage, which greatly increase in power when the team collaborates effectively.

Team Incentives encourage players to play as a team. Basic systems like assist gold are an example of this, as are objectives like towers, dragon and baron. We’ve also positioned all of League of Legend’s out-of-game rewards and ranked play (wins/losses) entirely around team success in order to reward players for playing as a team. This has the final effect of helping players understand that the path to mastery must involve the mastery of teamwork.


KhaZix_evolve

 

 

Adaptability

 

Adaptability is both your ability to learn and respond to new ideas, new threats and new changes, along with your ability to play in a variety of styles. Different players are adaptable in different ways. Some choose to pick up a large number of champions, while others spend that time deeply mastering one along a variety of builds. We try to support both, but fundamentally believe that to pursue mastery in League is about being an adaptable player.

Our primary method of rewarding adaptability is through system and play balance changes. We aspire to keep as many champions as possible viable at a competitive level (to mixed success, admittedly), and also spend a lot of time trying to increase the amount of viable team-level strategies. The better balanced the game is, the more we can reward players who remain adaptable against a wide breadth of threats, and similarly reward them for investing time in learning to play less-popular champions and strategies.

 

 

Closing Thoughts

 

We’re committed to continuing to improve the potential for mastery in League of Legends, and look forward also helping you understand the ways we can achieve this goal (or give us feedback if you feel we’re not!). We fundamentally believe a game where you know you’re getting better with effort is also a game that’s rewarding to play. We also hope you’ll remain committed to your own mastery – and that this blog can serve as a reminder to challenge yourself to master new skills, champions and strategies!

 Tom “Zileas” Cadwell

 

 

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

 

Community Beta Changes Banner

The forums are getting a technical and visual makeover! Here‘s a preview of how the new forums will look like.



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Krylhos New PortraitThere’s some changes coming to the community beta next week; check out a live preview here: boards.na.leagueoflegends.com. It’s new and shiny, but it’s mirroring the content from the current design. Any discussions or comments you create will populate in both versions.



Change Log


Welcome to Boards beta!

It’s been a while since we introduced the Community Beta. Over the months since the CB debuted, we’ve been posting and commenting, lurking and reading feedback. Today, we’re rolling out what the team has been working on. We’re still in beta, and we’ll continue to respond to feedback and make changes. As a result, the Change Log works just like the Patch Notes, just with 100% less Pwyff. Whenever we make a change to the boards, you’ll find it neatly annotated here with an explanation of why we did it. Let’s saw into the first edition of the Boards Change Log.

-Boards Team


General

So generally speaking, we’ve integrated a new visual style that enhances clarity and addresses a ton of player feedback. We’ve added enhanced moderation tools including action notifications you’ll hear more about below. For those of you who prefer a “flat” or chronological viewing format, we’ve overhauled the way it works on the boards. With additional improvements to discussions and commenting, we’re attempting to solve the problems you identified and build a platform that fits what the community needs.
-Not Pwyff


Boards (formerly known as “Communities”)

It was kind’ve presumptuous for us to call these “communities” as if we were making them. With the new name and style, we took the opportunity to establish the boards as gathering places for content and discussions.

-Not Pwyff

We’ve changed, added, and removed some boards (listed below) from the Official Boards list. We’ve also updated all of the Guidelines for each board to help clarify general culture and etiquette.

  • “Site Feedback” has been renamed “Boards Feedback”
  • “Live Gameplay” has been changed to “Live Gameplay Balance”
  • “Summoner’s Rift” has been renamed “Maps & Modes”
  • “Riot Official” has been renamed “Announcements”
  • “Fan Creations” has been renamed “Community Creations”
  • “Pentakill” has been removed, but will return as part of a new board we’re planning in the future


Moderation

We heard loud and clear that accurate and fast moderation is really, really important to a ton of you. Equally important is knowing why an action has been taken, and knowing that your reports are reaching real people. We’ve added a number of tools to our moderation toolkit, and poros.

-Not Pwyff (note: there are no poros)

We’ve focused a majority of our time lately rebuilding our moderation team and approach. Our biggest addition to this version of the boards is Moderation Action Notifications. Now, whenever a moderation action is taken within the Boards you’ll be notified in your boards profile.

  • Moderation Action Notifications
    • You will receive Notifications for the following actions:
      • When discussions or comments are deleted
      • When you are suspended from the boards
  • Report button added on all comments and discussions
  • All reports go into a queue monitored by our moderation team 24/7


Discussions

Participating in discussions is literally the main function of the boards, so we’ve concentrated a number of our redesign efforts improving embedded media, attachments, share functionality, and thumbnails. Sprinkle in some additional improvements to creating discussions, and finish with clarity and a more defined visual hierarchy.

-Not Pwyff

Before our recent focus on moderation, the actual discussions that would happen on the boards were some of our highest priorities. We needed to expand the supported media types, and make it easier to add attachments. Taking into consideration feedback on the Community Beta, we simplified sharing to Twitter and Facebook. There’s a number of other discussion-related improvements, especially when creating a discussion whether from the homeboard or within a board.

  • Improved Embed media (a few supported examples below)
    • YouTube
    • Twitch
    • SoundCloud
    • Vimeo
    • Spotify
    • Vine
    • Instagram
  • Share to Twitter and Facebook from individual discussions
  • Thumbnail/image support on boards list
  • You can now create discussions from the boards home screen
  • You can now select the board you want to post to during discussion creation
  • Improved clarity and visual hierarchy
  • Cleaned up attachments


Commenting

Creating discussions is great and all, but being able to comment and join in is also kinda crucial. We’ve removed the reply limit and made it easier to see new comments when you’re in discussion view. For those of you who prefer to view all posts in chronological order (like for role-playing–that’s for you, Kaz) you can now switch to chronological view and the boards will remember your preference. This is only the first step towards the completion of Skynet, so we’re okay with it.

-Not Pwyff

We got a ton of feedback on how commenting worked on the Community Beta. Some of the biggest changes include the removal of the reply limit, and tweaking the way Rioter comments look for readability. Feedback regarding necessary features often centered on “flat” or “forum” view options, so we’ve added a suite of enhancements like a Quote button and the ability to select Chronological view as your preferred way to browse.

  • Removed reply limit
  • Flat View is now ‘Chronological View’ with the following changes:
    • Comments listed from oldest to most recent
    • Added Quote button
    • Replying is now included in this view
    • Reporting now available within Chronological view
  • When switching to Chronological view, this selection will be remembered as you browse the rest of the Boards
  • New comments are now easier to see in Discussion View


Bug Fixes

Bugs happen, we exterminate like Blitzcrank when we can. Not much more to add. We’ll update the Bug Fixes section pretty frequently. If you find any bugs or have additional feedback, please head to the feedback section here and create a new discussion.

-Not Pwyff

The following bugs have been squashed:

  • Attachment difficulties in IE
  • Speed issues on boards listing and when searching
  • Hover on player name sticking to the wrong place
  • Minor issues within Rioter Comment box
  • Chronological view info not updating as fast as Discussion view
  • Permalink acting weird in URL strings
  • Profiles were getting confused, basically dopplegangers in your profiles

[ Link to Post ]


Community Beta Preview

Preview of New Forums


 

Will you merge the forums of different realms into one

Bear Hat Alice New PortraitPlayers from NA, EUW, EUNE and OCE can all post to the NA Boards!

[ Link to Post ]

 

 



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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Intro Bots Banner

 

Learn the thought process behind designing bots and how to make new players feel at home with League’s mechanics!

 

 

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Pwyff New PortraitHey everyone,

Welcome to another developer blog entry! Today we’re talking about something different: our approach to teaching new League of Legends players. If you’ve ever tried to teach friends or family how to play, you might know what a challenge (or pain in the ass) it can be, and many of you have given us great feedback about improvements you’d like to see.

Today, we’ll dive into the principles we use to think about how to improve onboarding for new players, and give you a glimpse into an upcoming mode that aims to add a hand-hold onto the MOBA learning cliff.


Why Onboarding Banner

 

Iniquitee New PortraitLeague of Legends was built by and for core gamers, and the desire to learn and master the game coupled with the help of friends has gotten millions of players past its substantial learning curve. We’ve heard your feedback that sometimes that just isn’t enough: League is a game best played with your friends, and too many times we bring in friends from other games only to see them become frustrated and quit.

As a veteran player, it’s easy to forget all the things a brand-new player has to pick up. I’m sure we all remember some of the strange things we did when we first started playing – perhaps trying to smite champions or use abilities on turrets. We see new players of all sorts struggle with the same basics time and again, and even Beginner Co-Op vs AI matches often prove too much at once with too little direction for someone still learning how to move and cast.

We think we can do a much better job of exposing the intricacies that make up a game of League of Legends and letting new players more smoothly build up proficiency.

 

Our approach to onboarding

 

So how do we do that? We envisioned an onboarding experience that would be both learnable and fun, and created core principles to help get us there:

  1. Make learning fun
  2. Provide achievable and meaningful goals
  3. Offer well-paced information
  4. Reinforce through play
  5. Deliver appropriate challenge

I’ll use these principles to illustrate some of our current onboarding challenges and how we intend to address them, as well as provide examples from an upcoming mode specifically crafted for new players’ first few games - Intro Bots. Intro Bots is a new tier of Co-Op vs. AI, and features more than just new bot AI. The mode includes a number of systems that aim to let new players learn in a more guided and forgiving setting, so they can grow wings before jumping out of the nest.

 

Make learning fun

 

Making a game fun to learn, especially a game with as many things to learn as a MOBA, can be pretty challenging. The most obvious ways to teach someone can be very dry when you put them into a game. Onboarding new players is more than just teaching them to play: it’s showing them what makes the game engaging so they want to keep playing.

We start by defining what’s not fun – things like repeatedly having control taken away from you, being blasted with popups, or receiving a thorough beat-down in your first game with no understanding of how to improve. As it stands, Battle Training is undermined by jarring interruptions and nebulous goals, while Beginner bots often proves far too challenging for first-time Summoners.

We want Intro Bots to be a place where new players can experience the fun of League while they learn, so we’ve taken some liberties in order to reduce potential frustration. By tuning damage dealt and bot behavior we can give new players more time to react to new and dangerous situations, and by reducing death timers we can make mistakes less punishing while still allowing failure as a learning experience. The end result should be more learning through experimenting, and hopefully, more fun.

 

Provide achievable and meaningful goals banner

 

Once you know how to play League of Legends, your goals are invisible and often obvious. At any given moment you might know that the best thing to do is to farm, go back to base and upgrade an item, or rally around an objective with your team. Refining this goal-setting process is one of the key parts of getting better. But when you’ve just learned the basics, knowing what to do next can be difficult. In order to teach new players effectively, we have to provide appropriate goals that give specific direction and make improvements observable.

Battle Training features a great example of a poorly-tuned goal, with an early prompt that asks the player to destroy the outer tower right as the first wave of minions spawns. At that point, if players attempt to complete the quest they’ll walk face-first into the turret and die, and finishing the quest actually requires several minutes as well as waiting for additional waves of minions.

Instead of broad, imprecise goals, we want to provide incremental steps towards power and success, which led directly to the personal quests feature in Intro Bots. Personal quests seek to provide useful, immediately relevant goals that can help new players get a feel for the rhythm of a typical League game, which includes unintuitive things like leaving the battle to go back to base. Since these quests are contextually triggered based on what a player is doing (or not doing), they’re always relevant to his or her situation.

 

Offer well-paced information banner

 

Dumping too much information on a new player can turn out very poorly. With all the things to learn in your first game of League, the risk of cognitive overload – trying to learn too many things at once and instead failing to learn anything at all – is very real. This requires us to think about teaching as an exercise in prioritization: first you move, then you attack. Next, you cast some spells, and finally you’re ready to hit the lane and engage with some minions or a champion.

By being careful with information pacing, we can introduce concepts over time as players progressively absorb them. As an added bonus, well-paced information allows training to grow with players: if you already play MOBAs, you can fly through Intro Bots more quickly than a true novice.

Some of the things we specifically chose not to include in Intro Bots tie into our goal of giving players a manageable learning curve. Our new recommended items page for new players removes trinkets and support items, because as important as they are to long-term success in League of Legends, vision and map control shouldn’t be priority focuses for a novice. Last hitting was a tough call, yet it’s still something we believe should be taught after players master even more basic skills. Trying to teach a brand new player all the skills of a level 30 Summoner risks overload and neglects foundational learnings, so in this mode we’re focusing on the basics while we explore alternatives venues for teaching the advanced stuff.

 

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Doing something a single time doesn’t mean it will stick, so we want to make sure players repeat actions until they have them down. For example, the current tutorial asks players to right-click to attack once, and to cast a single spell. Mapping a control scheme to muscle memory doesn’t always happen that quickly, and we often see new players fail to use the mouse and hotkeys correctly in their first few games.

With Intro Bots we’ve picked several lessons we think are critical for new players, and give them many chances to practice. Personal quests will remind players to buy items, level up your abilities, and recall to base at appropriate times until they take such actions without prompting. For players struggling with controls, we’ve added cursor icons that indicate which mouse button is required for your current action. When new players move on from Intro Bots, they should have the strong foundation needed to continue learning and play any mode in League without feeling lost.

 

Deliver appropriate challenge banner

 

From veteran MOBA players to those completely new to PC games, new League players span a vast range of experience. Creating an introductory experience that’s neither boring nor frustrating for all those players was thus a key goal for Intro Bots.

Previously, we’ve erred on the side of a steep challenge. In fact, a non-trivial number of our new players end up losing Battle Training, which is intended to be a tutorial. We’ve observed some of those same players go on to become Gold-tier ranked players, so this isn’t a problem with the players – it’s a problem with how we teach them.

With Intro Bots, we’re aiming for a more approachable difficulty that gives all new players a manageable first experience. At the same time, we’ve designed many features to be dynamic based on a player’s performance so the mode isn’t a pushover – players quickly performing appropriate actions and behaving like an advanced player will see fewer helpful features and lightly amped-up difficulty. Novice players should be able to enjoy several games of Intro Bots and steadily learn the basics, while more advanced ones will quickly grasp the essentials and move on to greater challenges in other modes.

 

A big first step banner

 

Hopefully this was a good insight into our approach to a challenge the average player may not always think about but widely affects the player base. We know Intro Bots aren’t an answer to every problem that exists in the new player experience, and we have a lot of great ideas and community suggestions for addressing how to teach things like out-of-game systems or advanced in-game techniques. These are beyond the scope of Intro Bots, but we’re continuing to look at ways to further enhance the new player experience.

Intro Bots is headed to the PBE soon and is due for a Live launch shortly thereafter, so let us know what you think of the full feature set. Thanks for tuning in!


[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

 

 

LoL Design Values Banner

 

Another devblog has been posted by Riot, this time on the topic of in-game clarity, the controversy of jungle timers and lots more!

 

DevBlog: In-depth with Clarity

Jungle Timers Small Q&A

 

Recent News

 

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Welcome to the first deep-dive entry in our ongoing League of Legends design values! A few weeks ago we spoke about our core design pillars in League, and we promised additional entries that would go in-depth with each particular one.Up today we’ve got Richard ‘Nome’ Liu, an environment and clarity designer for League of Legends. In addition to talking at length about gameplay clarity, Nome’s also going to be talking about the decision-making that went into the development of jungle timers. So read on to hear Nome’s thoughts on clarity and why it’s so important to League of Legends as a whole!

 Chris ‘Pwyff’ Tom

 

 

What is Clarity

 

Super Nomegeta This article is written by clarity and environment designer Richard “Nome” Liu

Can you spot exactly where you are in a teamfight?When you glance at the scoreboard, can you figure out whether you or your opponent has a higher minion score in less than three seconds?

On first use – without reading the tooltip – can you understand the full effects of an ability?

On a deeper level, how much information does a player need to make a meaningful choice, and how many more layers can be added before that choice turns into bookkeeping of obscure information?

 

 

Where information is presented is important. When Shyvana was updated, her melee attack effects were moved to their affected ability tooltips — since that’s where they’re most relevant!

These are the kind of challenges – and more – that the gameplay clarity team tackles on a daily basis, and they’re ones that we firmly believe can be improved in League of Legends. As mentioned in our design values dev blog, gameplay clarity is incredibly important for the evolution of League of Legends and our mission is to ensure that players are fighting their opponents, not the game.

But what is gameplay clarity? Clarity is pervasive. It’s in visuals, gameplay, design, art, and everything in-between. In League of Legends, gameplay clarity relates to the availability of information as well as the intentional obfuscation of it. We can make clear gains – like updating minion particles to be more accurate in their direction – but these aren’t what we’re here to discuss.

So what are we here for? Well, with the push of Jungle Timers to the PBE, we felt this would be a good time to discuss gameplay clarity in spaces yet to be explored as well as how we’re aiming to improve your gameplay experience.

 

 


Jungle Timers Putting The Focus on Mastery Banner


 

Boiling down what we talked about in our design values, League of Legends provides three basic paths to mastery: personal expertise, teamwork, and adaptability – our focus will be on the first. Personal expertise is a complex soup of skills but we can generally agree that elements like mechanical mastery, situational awareness, and game knowledge are vital ingredients.

Most of these are universal to the League of Legends experience and are agnostic to the map, mode, or champion you play – though a few of them can be overloaded based on your preferences. Regardless, we’ve also declared that a few things aren’t part of the experience, like hardcore multi-unit micromanagement, rote memorization of patterns, or bookkeeping.

 

 

The new jungle timers are nestled at the top of the screen. They won’t be presenting any new or hidden information. Rather, they present existing information in a visual display.

Jungle timers fall into that last case, and serve as an example of important information being presented in an impractical manner. Looking back, there was a lot of internal debate over whether this level of information should be exposed.

On one side, a case could be made that map-level objective awareness is a significant aspect of skill – and to that, we wholeheartedly agree. We would not, for example, alert you when an opponent entered your immediate radius from fog, nor would we ever track enemy cooldowns for you. Your interactions with your opponents are sacred and we will always leave those interactions alone.

On the other side – and here’s what finally changed our minds – the jungle is a constant environment; unlike champions, monsters will always be where you expect them to be; unlike cooldowns, there is no variability in respawn rates. With timestamps available in the team chat window, timing of jungle monsters often came down to whoever remembered to type it out. We also don’t want to beat around the bush here: the emergence of third party applications put fuel on the fire, but they only increased our confidence that such a feature was in line with our values.

Ultimately, the question we asked was whether bookkeeping of jungle timers (which, as I mentioned before, was often solved by doing quick math in the chat box) contributed satisfaction of the play experience and we realized it was just too much of a routine task to be of significant value.

 

 

Turrets How Clarity is Applied Banner

 

But this dev blog isn’t all about jungle timers (although they’re the most contextually relevant), and I’d like to highlight other uses of clarity. We’re not always about displaying all information – clarity is about intentionality: a game that makes every piece of knowledge available creates information paralysis, while a game that hides all information promotes mental archiving rather than rewarding moment-to-moment mastery. The job of design is to use informational clarity (or the lack thereof) to create interesting situations.

 

 

It’s extremely important for players to understand when they’re being targeted by a turret. At the same time, it’s important to leave space where players can be baited into taking turret shots as well.

To provide an example in which clarity is important in limited scope, we can look at turrets. It’s incredibly important to understand when you’re targeted by a turret, as their attacks are especially impactful and feature a unique set of rules: they ignore a portion of your armor and deal increased damage with each successive hit. To this end, turrets utilize exaggerated ceremony: there’s a persistent targeting laser, a distinct sound alerts you when you’re targeted, and it fires bright balls of energy. Now here’s something turrets don’t feature: a persistent range indicator (outside of Co-Op vs AI and beginner games).

Certainly a range indicator would improve clarity around the turret – no one denies this. A scenario where one player harasses another under the turret is rife for plays to be made, and this contributes heavily to our decision-making. When an indicator is present, the play is between the aggressor and the indicator rather than the aggressor and the defender. If we were to make turret range indicators permanent, then aggression would be boiled down to who can toe the line better, which ultimately decreases the potential for interesting plays to arise.

 

 


The Sanctity of Clarity Banner


 

For my final point, we’ve covered when information should be exposed and when it should be hidden. Now, I want to briefly touch on when information is available but inaccessible.

A good example here would be the visual update to Karthus’ Lay Waste. The previous particle grossly misrepresented the ability’s area of effect, while the new particle is far more functionally accurate. In approaching a change like this, the argument could be made that inaccurate particles create gameplaythrough deception, but this collides directly with clarity as a core value: the game should never deceive players. The player should deceive other players!

 

 

It was easy to hide the old particle, but the resulting gameplay was deceptive. The new particle communicates the gameplay clearly.

On this point, creating gameplay through intentional miscommunication doesn’t actually add depth or personal mastery. One Karthus may be strategically and tactically superior to the other, but if the better Karthus loses because he didn’t know the skittle extended beyond its indicated hitbox, that’s not a victory that can be chalked up to skill. The job of clarity is to refine knowledge such that both parties can make intelligent choices. If one player makes a fatal error (either due to a lack of knowledge or mechanical skill), they should lose due to their opponent’s superior skill, not the inconsistency of a game rule (that all particles accurately represent their hitboxes).

 

 


Onwards Banner


 

We’re passionate about pushing League of Legends to be more readable, understandable, and usable – all so that we can put the focus back on personal mastery. On that note, while clarity is a design value we’ve been pursuing for some time, it’s also one where we have great opportunities to grow. Our hope is that as we continue to add more clarity to League of Legends, we’ll also be pushing the envelope of player skill.

Either way, we absolutely welcome your feedback on all of these points – and call us out when we fall flat! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can improve the game from a clarity standpoint, be sure to leave them in the comments.

 


Jungle Timers Small QA Banner



 

[ Question ] If I don’t have vision on the enemy’s jungle camp will the timer go off?

 

RoboLions RoboLions: You only get the timer if you were there for the kill, just like the minimap icon on live.

 

 

 

 

[ Follow-up Example ] So if I see it without any monsters, i.e. the camp died 2 minutes prior to me seeing the camp, does the timer start at 3 minutes, or does it not start at all?

 

RoboLions RoboLions: You don’t get a timer in that case. You will only see that it is dead, until it is not dead, just like the minimap.

 

 

 

 

[ Follow-up ] What if I leave a ward at the enemy buff?

 

RoboLions RoboLions: Good question: Since you saw the death, thanks to your ward, you’ll have the timer.

 

 

 

 

[ Clarity ] 

 

RoboLions RoboLions: You will only see that the buff is not alive. Since you missed the actual time of death you don’t get a respawn timer, it’ll show -:– for the timer instead. When the camp respawns it’ll show up as alive, just like the minimap on live. 🙂

 

 

 

Riot opposed Curse Voice because it didn’t give the timers to everyone

 

Phreak Phreak: Yep, that’s the major distinction.

We do not want third-party mods directly affecting in individual player experience. We don’t want League to be a game where you say to your friend, “Hey come try out this game… But if you actually want to win, make sure you download these five additional programs.”

 

 

[ Opinion ] Jungle Timers are taking away from game knowledge players need to develop

 

PhreakPhreak: You still have to keep track of them yourself. But typing “12:20 tb” and pressing Z to check up on it is really no different from pressing Tab and looking at the top of the screen. In fact, inferring your opponents’ timers based on their buffs’ remaining duration even though you didn’t see them is still a skill you’re going to have to retain.

 

 

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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Note: I’m making / posting today’s articles from an Internet café (yes), so I won’t be able to answer questions until tomorrow.

 

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Single Posts

BonusFilmmaker Jinx

Second BonusConcepts of La Llorona Morgana

 

Recent News

 

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Patch 4 point 11 Forecast Banner


 

Here’s what you can expect from the next Patch – a healthy dose of nerfs! You like nerfs.

 

 

Riot Pwyff Button Rioter Pwyff: Hey all,

Time for a forecast for 4.11! In our future forecasts we’ll probably throw these under the banner of “Live Gameplay” or “Riot Live Gameplay” to reinforce that it’s an entire team that works on shipping each patch, and not a single individual (except nerfs. That’s Morello. Only Morello.).

Regardless, while we set all of that up, we still need to make forecasts.SmashGizmo of the Live Gameplay & Balance team will hang around after the post to answer any questions you might have. Remember, feedback should be more focused on how you feel about a change rather than getting real prescriptive about the exact change you want to see.

Onward!

BRINGIN’ UP THE SUPPORT / TANKY JUNGLERS - Our largest narrative for Patch 4.11 is centered on bringing up supportive / tanky junglers. In competitive play, we’re seeing a common trend of early aggression junglers in the form of Lee Sin, Elise, Kha’Zix, and Evelynn. When we see early aggression as king, those junglers also have the averse affect of invading and beating the snot out of the slower clearing utility-focused tanky dudes (like Maokai). On that note, our approach here is less focused on reducing the power of the stronger champions, and more on bringing up the power of the less capable.

Much of this shift will come in the form of itemization changes. Right now a lot of the items junglers are buying are more focused on amplifying damage (which tanky support junglers don’t have a lot of) or giving raw tank stats (which tanky junglers want, but then slow down even more in the jungle). We think tank junglers are in need of a jungle item that better supports their play style across the board.

To go along with our item-focused changes, we’ve also singled out a few junglers who we’re pretty sure will fall under the bar even with item changes. We feel like there are a few tank junglers who just have no reason to be picked over fighters, so we’re going to amp up some of their utility in order to solidify their identity as scrappy disruptive picks.

Finally, outside of the above narrative we’re looking at a few high-priority champions who’ve been rather dominant in the competitive scene (and in ban rates at all levels of ranked play). Those champs include:

 

Kayle New Portrait

This is one tough angel to crack. Like we’ve said before, Kayle’s big problem is that she lacks a lot of meaningful weaknesses to capitalize on. Specifically, does anyone know why Kayle’s this hybrid damage-support champion who also happens to be top tier at both?

 

Jax New Portrait

Even though Jax is intended to be a champ that scales well into the late game, he’s currently so well-rounded that ‘scaling well’ ultimately turns him into an offensive brick wall with very few weaknesses.

 

Ziggs New Portrait

Right now we see Ziggs as having a unique strategic fit in the game (stalling out to let his teammates ramp up in strength), but he’s a little too safe in lane and still has a lot of offensive power to push a victory when a ahead. Adding on these strengths, Ziggs is also a well-rounded, consistent champion who can do a lot of things at once, so we’re looking for ways to add more risk or unreliability to his kit.

 

Yasuo New Portrait

Yasuo’s a really strong late-game champion but his weaknesses in the early game are masked by his high offensive threat. Good Yasuos need to balance offense with defense, but Yasuo’s just bullying out opponents before they have the chance to really retaliate or capitalize on his moments of weakness.

 

And that’s all for this forecast! Expect to see a bevy of changes hitting the PBE sometime soon. Once again, SmashGizmo of the Live Gameplay & Balance Team will hang out after to answer some questions in between his work.

 

 

[ Question ] Do you have any plans for tanky utility junglers like Sejuani?

 

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Right now we’re focusing on Nautilus, Maokai and Zac in terms of changes beyond those to the itemization options. I think the itemization will really help out guys like Sejuani, Amumu, and Rammus, but we will of course be watching what happens with them all and try to adjust accordingly if we see someone struggling (or dominating). I actually also think the itemization changes will be pretty big for Malphite, Shen and Mundo too, but I think we’re less concerned with making sure those guys are doing well in the jungle since they are all solid top laners too.

 

 

[ Suggestion ] Give tanky junglers a passive that rewards building tanky

 

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: We are currently taking a similar approach by exploring a direction that gives % bonus HP. The biggest question we’re running into with this exploration though is whether this actually benefits the tank class more than the fighter class, since fighters also frequently buy comparable amounts of HP to tanks. There’s certainly some promise here, but it’s tough due to the amount of overlap in desirable stats on Tanks and Fighters.

 

 

[ Off-topic ] Why is Alistar not intended to be a jungler?

 

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: We like the guy as a support, but his jungle pattern has always been just about chain-ganking and undermining the other team’s laning experience, so we’re not really looking to put him back in the jungle.

 

 

 

[ Question ] Won’t buffing utility support junglers prevent the split-push meta?

 

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Actually, tanks have historically been difficult to use effectively vs. split pushes, so I question whether this is actually how that meta shift would play out. Tanks tend to be a bit weaker than fighters in terms of mapwide mobility and skirmishes, so when tanks are in, we frequently see players trying to sidestep their powerful teamfighting capabilities by picking a dedicated split pusher to split the opposing team up.

 

 

[ Question ] Why aren’t you nerfing priority picks in tournaments, like Ryze and Lulu?

 

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: The way professional League of Legends is played is very very different from the way that millions of other players play the game. When balancing the game, we try to strike a balance between balancing for pro play and balancing for our average player, which means that sometimes we have to take a swing at a character even when they’re trending downward in the professional arena. Jax might be struggling a bit in competitive, but he’s still causing a lot of frustration for a lot of players.

Lulu and Ryze are on our radar, but we’re still trying to work out some of the larger issues that are currently deleting the laning phase from competitive play, which, if successful, would potentially change the landscape of these picks.

 

 

Visual Updates Priority Banner

IronStylus landed on a thread asking which old Champion would be updated next. How is the community affecting which visual update has priority?

 

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: I’d be interested in general to see the community’s perception of potential high value targets for Visual Updates and Visual/Gameplay Updates to compare against our internal assumptions.

 

 

 

[ Question ] Weren’t you already basing your priorities on what the community requests?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: IPlayer value and player experience first is our core tenant at Riot, above all else. There will always be a balance between what the player expectation is and we can realistically achieve, in how much time, at what quality bar, etc. Where the worlds intersect is where we’re able to act most efficiently, I feel. Where we do our players the most service is very much served by how efficient we can be, or so my gut says. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to wrack our brain over something that might be, perceptually, highly desired, but maybe isn’t achievable without a lot of time for development, limited resources, or other factors, and might not be seen for quite a while. That’s why the balancing of high value in the short/medium term versus long term slow-burn on larger character reworks is essential in my view. 

From ChampUp point of view, it might come in the form of where the most player value can come given a set of circumstances, such as the visual/thematic fidelity of a champion, how viable or visible they are in the current meta, if the opportunity is ripe in terms of investment versus payoff, and what the realistic time frame is. Bang for the buck, really. 

Sion is a huge priority for example, maybe more pressing than Twitch, Heimer, Karthus, etc, in the grand scheme, but he’s been slowly baking while these other champions have had a clearer path to solving. The Sion progress has been highly iterative, and meanwhile, we’ve been able to deliver quality stuff that resonates while we tackle something really big.

 

 

Update on Taric Banner

Taric’s been starkly non-fabulous for quite awhile, both in terms of gameplay and how he looks compared to newer Champions. Is he in the line for an update?

 

 

[ Question ] Is Taric being worked on, gameplay-wise or visually?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: I can’t really speak to gameplay, I know RiotScruffy has some ideas. But I agree, he is one of our top targets at this point. I feel he’ll need a lot of concept iteration however. He’s.. complex.. to say the least.

 

 

 

[ Follow-up ] Why is he complex to work on? Because he’s hard to balance?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Complex as in his theme and intended experience. 

There’s one side of Taric which was probably the intended experience when he was first under development. One which probably more or less equates to League’s version of a paladin. That was certainly flavored a lot. However, with the execution capability of the time, a lot of Taric is currently up for interpretation due to execution. That has lead us to what is currently perceived by players. A character that has very much taken on a life of it’s own beyond (I’m assuming) the intended experience.

One initial direction was more or less intended to be “serious”, while the current state of Taric has taken on a very flavorful, sometimes comedic, level of over-the-topness, shown in how we create memes around him, the perception that he’s flamboyant, etc.

So, with the original intention in mind (which by the way, wouldn’t be considered to be “serious) and the current experience, how should we balance the two? I’m interested in hearing ideas. 

My gut is to move him towards someone who’s powerful yet has a certain elegance. Is a lover of beautiful things, someone who cherishes life, and channels that into his abilities and personality. My feeling is that he really should embody a paladin experience but one which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tropes that come to mind Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers from GoT or Lancelot from the Arthurian tales. A certain amount of vanity from such characters like Vega from Street Fighter (but not a bad guy). All in all someone who’s got a lot of flavor, but provides satisfaction that you as the character are being valiant, kind and heroic enough to save the day with your plays. 

I think it’s key that he has an innate tanky feeling. He should feel like he can slam down his hammer and deal decisive blows, but also be the one sacrificing for his team, bringing his healing and magic to those he’s supporting.

I dunno if that makes sense, that’s at least my gut. I’m very curious to hear any and all thoughts.

 

 

[ Question ] Is Riot capable of producing and releasing a homosexual Champion?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: I am not advocating for or against but I’d be interested as to what people’s thoughts are on a matter just like this, framed in this way.

 

 

 

 

Update on Kayle and Morgana Banner

Don’t jump yet, but there is a chance Kayle and Morgana might both receive visual updates as part of their lore and sister relationship.

 

Relevant Collection

 

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[ Update ] Meeting to discuss Kayle and Morgana Concepts

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Checked in with the team quickly today. Basically, we’re waiting for what we call “breaking meetings” which involve us getting together and creatively brainstorming what we feel are the essential pillars of the character, locking those down, and then building the character up to align with those pillars, or goals. As I said, Morgana has a concept hanging around, but it might end up just being one of many concepts.

To steal a line from RiotEntropy, there is no dearth of ideas in terms of where Morgana and Kayle are concerned. It’ll just be about sitting down, putting those ideas on the table, picking a direction and moving forward on them. That’ll take some creative alignment between the three disciplines of art, design and story.

That’s where the most work for Morgana has to be done right now. Her creative hooks. I think everything will be derived from where we end up after creative brainstorming and breaking.

 

 

[ Question ] Will this end up in a retcon of Morgana (and possibly Kayle’s) lores?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: I have no idea. I would suspect that her and Kayle’s relationship would be what we would lean on to build out from. I’m not familiar enough with her story to have a strong stance. I’d default to our Creative discipline guys on the team for those specifics.

 

 

[ Question ] Can you poke people around the office for what they consider pivotal to Morgana and Kayle’s designs?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Our Creative dudes are a little slammed right now, but I’ll check. RiotEntropy is our point man on ChampUp, though he has some other obligations across his department as well.

 

 

 

Ideas for Diana Rework Banner

Diana’s been a wonky character in terms of gameplay for quite some time. Will she remain an assassin after her update or is the focus somewhere else?

 

 

[ Update ] Diana’s rework

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Vesh was looking into it for a bit, but I don’t think she’s going to be hot on the priority list right now. As has been said, there’s some other really serious champion mechanics that are being looked into.

She’s considered a “high value target”, but at the moment, there are just higher value targets above her. I think she’s going to go through the same analysis that game designers have talked about in terms of where fighters stand in LoL in general. 

She’ll have her day.. er.. night, rest assured 

 

 

[ Off-topic ] Will you ever do anything to Fighters beyond “we don’t like how they work today”?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Well, I’m unfortunately not the best person to ask. What I do know is that I do understand.. as much as an artist can understand.. the predicament designers are in when it comes to fighters. 

This is the most anecdotal and non-professional opinion ever, but my amateur guess would be that once a broad analysis is done, more broad strokes can be made in terms of fighters, past and future. At least with some of the insight I’ve seen on the side of ChampUp, where a lot of those heavier balance and mechanics changes now happen, I feel it’s going to take a broad initiative and some good analysis.

 

 

Idea for a Diana Rework

 

gypsylord Button Rioter Gypsylord: Hrrmmmm…

I have some thoughts on Diana. Wondering what you guys think. Not saying any of this will actually happen. Just spitballing.

Hypothesis: Diana is NOT an Assassin. She is an “agile fighter” with a vacuum.

My opinion is that if we continue to sell Diana as “The tanky assassin with no outs.” She’s never going to be balanced. If she’s ahead she just crushes you with no recourse and if she’s behind she just dies every fight because she can’t get out. On top of that she’s always going to be fighting with Akali, Fizz, and the like for viability because we’ve had to nerf her “vacuum” out of the game to make her assassin pattern more manageable.

To me, the most unique thing about Diana is her vacuum (if we were to make it work like one). That’s something that she can bring to the team that no one else in her class has. She could be this fighter who’s focused, not on one-shotting squishies, but on diving into the enemy team and knocking them all together, setting up for things like Rumble and J4 ults.

Basically I’d want to shift power out of her burst pattern and put it into her Vacuum and sustained damage (passive)

Proposed change list:
Stats – Increase Base AS
P – Greatly increase base damage and AP ratio
Q – Decrease AP ratio
W – Unchanged
E – Turn into an actual vacuum (increase pull distance and radius)
R – Remove Damage (Lowers burst and incentivizes using for movement, no more double tapping a guy 2 feet from you to secure a kill)


Thoughts? Is something like this what you’d want as a Diana player? Is removing the assassination pattern a big no-no? Is putting another vacuum into League super unhealthy?

 

 

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[ Bugfixes] Draven and Ardent Censer

 

 

 

[ Suggestion ] Add footstep movements when a Champion walks through the River

 

Button Rioter RiotDesertRose Hey guys, we totally hear your feedback. This is something we might add later on. Our main objective, is to keep the game play space subdued and clear. If water splashes/footstep movements is not distracting or busy, then yes, we might add it to the river. 🙂

 

 

[ Update ] Lighting on the New Summoner’s Rift

 

RiotForScience Button Rioter RiotForScience: We have not yet done the cohesive lighting pass across the map, and are adjusting the overall tone in order to preserve as much of the “SR-ness” of the map while not compromising on improving the clarity of the map. When that is in place hopefully it will resolve your concerns about the brightness without the need for an additional tool.

I doubt that our tech resources would prioritize that tool right now above the things that we really need in order to ship the map.

 

 

[ Question ] Are you expecting the VU to be on PBE for awhile?

 

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: I am not in a position to discuss specific timeframes, but I would expect the VU to be on PBE much longer than we normally have things on PBE. We are actually using PBE as a testing environment for the map rather than an early preview. We have a lot of bugs to fix, tonal adjustments to make. These things are very fluid, but I do not expect the map to be leaving PBE soon.

 

 

[ Announcement ] Quit working for Riot, receive 10% of annual salary (up to $25,000)

 

This week we rolled out a new program we’re calling Queue Dodge. Basically, we’re offering new hires cash to quit:

  • Any new hire (North America only for now) can elect to Queue Dodge at any time during their first 60 days
  • Those who elect to Queue Dodge will be paid 10% of their annual salary, up to $25,000

Now, we don’t want to actively push people out or dare them to leave, but we do want to provide a well-lit, safe exit path. Additionally, we want to:

Reinforce Riot’s culture. From the beginning, we’ve focused on culture. We operate on a foundation of shared mission, values, passion, trust, and mutual respect. If someone gags on the unique flavor of our culture, they’d be doing themselves and the company a disservice to hang on just for the paycheck. Culturally aligned people and teams are more effective, and alignment around mission and values allows us to better serve players. We’ve designed Queue Dodge to help self-identified mismatches move on in an open, positive, and constructive way.

Backstop the hiring process.  We carefully vet every new hire through a rigorous interview process, but that’s not enough to ensure a great fit every single time. Rather than allow mismatches to fester, we want to resolve them quickly. This is good for the company, and good for the professional. We don’t know yet how many people might choose to Queue Dodge, but we’ll learn from this and make better hiring decisions as a result.

Sound familiar? If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because we’re not first. We watched Zappos, that insanely customer-focused company, with wonder and amazement when they announced back in 2009 that they were paying people $2,000 to quit. At the time, this seemed a bit nutty, but Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explained:

“We want to make sure that [people] are here for more than just a paycheck. We want people that believe in our long term vision and want to be a part of our culture.”

Credit and fist bumps to Zappos and Tony for their insight and inspiration.

 

 

Bonus! Filmmaker Jinx by artist AndreaLeon


 

filmmaker_jinx_by_andrealeon-d7931p8

Filmmaker Jinx Concept

filmmaker_jinx___or___film_student_jinx_by_andrealeon-d7l607c

Filmmaker Jinx Splash Art

 

 

Another Bonus! Concepts of La Llorona Morgana (I refuse to call her Ghost Bride)


 

escultura

lowpoly

UV

slallorona.modelofinal

 

 

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

 


Patch 4 point 10 Notes Banner

 

Patch 4.10 Notes

 


pwyff Button Rioter Pwyff: Hey Summoners,

It’s patch day! There are a lot of things to be covered, but our two major themes are: gameplay updates and help for the marksmen. Focusing on the gameplay updates first, we’re finally ready to roll out Nidalee and Skarner, two of the highest priority projects for the champion update team. For Nidalee, she’s always been one of the best at forcing low counterplay games through her long-range spears and high evasiveness. You’ll be hearing more of the same in her individual context, but Nidalee’s been a big challenge for us as we try to maintain her satisfying gameplay without coming at the cost of 9 other players forced to play her way as well. Skarner’s a bit of a different story, as our last gameplay update for him in 4.2 might have made him a more balanced champion but didn’t leave enough to be an exciting pick for you scorpion fans out there. These changes make Skarner a stickier, more disruptive arachnid, so we hope this’ll give you a good reason to pick him back up.

As for the help for the marksmen, we’ve got a whole pile of attack damage, lifesteal, and attack speed itemization changes that should open up early to mid game item builds as well as bridging the gap between burst-focused AD marksmen (looking at you, Lucian) and the more traditional auto-attack focused marksmen (Vayne / Tristana / etc). You can get the full rundown of the changes below, but the overarching goal is to give more strength back to the marksman role while also leveling the playing field in terms of champion viability. There are a lot of changes to digest here (we’ve removed the passive movement speed debuff on Randuin’s Omen!), so make sure you get informed before hopping into your next ranked game.

Oh, and did I mention Bloodthirster got a different passive and we’re adding two new items? Well, I just did! Read on for the 4.10 patch notes!



Champions


Nidalee

Skarner

Galio

Gragas
Karthus
LeBlanc
Lucian
Pantheon
Sivir
Thresh
Tristana
Tryndamere
Twitch
Zed



Offensive Physical Itemization (1)


Offensive Physical Itemization

Lifesteal Items
Attack Damage Items
Attack Speed Items
Warden Mail



Support & Ability Power Itemization


Support Items Text



Summoner Spells


Teleport
Heal
Exhaust



Masteries


Reinforced Armor



Summoner's Rift


Dragon



Bots


Bots Text



Ranked Duo Queue


Ranked Duo Queue Text



Team Builder


Team Builder Text



Bugfixes


Bugfixes Text



Upcoming Skins


Upcoming Skins



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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Official Announcements

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Single Posts

Too Long, Didn’t Read

 

Recent News

 

Pantheon Stealth Fix Banner

 

 


Karthus VU Banner


 

Link to official announcement.

 

 

SERMON OF THE DEAD

 

Karthus Visual Update

Come closer, my children, let me look upon you. So many new faces, searching and uncertain. Many find their way to this consecrated land without knowing it to be their destination. But this pilgrimage was no accident; you have suffered, and you seek a convalescence of the spirit. Look around. You are not alone.

We are gathered here this day to mourn those lost to us. To weep, to wail, and cry out for those souls whom we hold so dear, yet who remain out of reach. Speak now and let them hear us. Let them hear our pain! Let them hear our anguish! Let them know in their hearts that they are not forgotten!

These pitiable creatures are pale reflections of ourselves, shrouded in a haze of false light, groping blindly for some scrap of meaning. Shackled to a hollow existence, they languish, unaware of what they are or what they could be. Every second, secretly begging for release.

My children, we are their shepherds. Only when they hear our voices do they stir. So call to them! Raise them up from their aimless stupor. Sing with all your longing, your hatred, your hunger! Fill their empty lives with dread; remind them of their inevitable mortality.

Go forth, you faithful, and offer these wretches freedom from life’s prison. Deliver unto them the word of death, and bring their wayward spirits home.

Death frees us all.

While others are bound by the shackles of death, one man embraced the yearning darkness stretching on beyond life’s boundaries. And though he chose to forgo mortality on the lost lands of the Shadow Isles, Karthus has yet been born anew, and drifts now towards the PBE bearing new-found morbid resplendence.

 

Ability Demo

 

 

Champion Insights

 

Next in our sights for a champion update is the Deathsinger himself! Part of League’s launch back in 2009, Karthus has seen almost 80 champion releases since he first graced the Fields of Justice. Over the last five years, we’ve brought in a whole host of tech updates, design improvements, narrative world-building and art upgrades to champions and maps. It’s time to bring Karthus up to date, too.

But how? Well, just as with our previous updates, we had to first identify what the goals of Karthus’ update were. Here’s what we came up with:

IMG-Karthus-Concept

Karthus Concept

A True Shadow Isles Champion

 

On his release, Karthus was a champion from the Shadow Isles, or at least created there. Awesome! What did that mean at the time? Very little, honestly. But since then, we’ve taken pretty extensive steps to really define the Shadow Isles. Twisted Treeline’s set there, for example, and we’ve created Shadow Isles champions like Elise, Hecarim and Thresh who each share the same thematic ties and cool blue-green color palettes. Updating Karthus means we can add his own spin on the place while aligning him to the world that we’ve since established.

 

A Unique Lich

 

We’ve also taken the chance to really cement who Karthus is with his update. In 2009, we had just 40 champions, and Karthus had the whole “evil and malicious undead baddie” archetype to himself. He had a whole nine lines of voice over to convey character, too. Now we have close to 120 champions, and old Karthus has had to cozy up with all the half-dead, dead, extra dead and spectral characters we’ve since created. Updating Karthus gives us a chance to expand his breadth of character so he again fills a unique niche. New Karthus has significantly expanded voice over (over 200 script lines, all voiced by a new actor!) and characterful animations that really nail his personality.

 

A 2014 Champion

 

Updating Karthus means we can apply all the tech and knowhow that we’ve picked up since launching the game. For example, we’re actually going to animate his robes so he doesn’t look like a jellyfish in his idle state, and we’re building a whole range of Lay Waste animations so he Qs with variety. On top of that, we’re greatly increasing the fidelity of his model. Karthus looks a little different – we’ve made him less bare-bones – because we now have the tech and expertise needed to display the level of detail that a withered necromancer visually demands. In addition, the change means players around the world can enjoy the same awesome Karthus without us having to switch things up for various cultural sensibilities.

 

Karthus Update with Skins

Karthus VU + Skins

 

Karthus will be on PBE soon. Before he brings death to the live servers, give him a spin and let us know your thoughts below!

 

 

Night Hunter Rengar Now In Store Banner

 

Link to official announcement.

 

This prey was smarter than the rest. Good. It had been too long since he’d had worthy game. Night Hunter Rengar cloaks his lithe frame with the shadows themselves, fading into invisibility as he begins his hunt. He approaches from downwind, drawn by his quarry’s pounding heart. This is what he lives for. This is why he embraced the darkness. Eyes glittering in the moonlight, Rengar readies his dusk-touched bola before hurling it at his target. The chains catch. Shadows dance as they start twisting around the hapless mark’s legs, dragging them squealing to the ground. Rengar is ready. The forest shakes as he leaps from the brush, dispelling the shadows wrapped around him. Black flames emanate from his sinister blades as he lines them up. With a sharp thrust, his quarry gasps one last, painful, breath. Night Hunter Rengar lives for the hunt.

Nighthunter Rengar

Embrace the darkness with Night Hunter Rengar, available now in the League of Legends store for 975 RP.

 

 

RiotSeb Upcoming Champion Updates Banner

Here’s a list of Champions that will be getting major updates in the near future.

 

 

RiotSeb Button Rioter RiotSeb: Hey guys,

RiotSeb here for the Champion Update team to give you a bit of insight into some of the projects our team is working on at the moment.

 

 

Karthus New Portrait

 

In case you missed it, the Karthus Visual Update is headed to PBE! Read more here.

 

Twitch New Portrait

 

Our team’s mandate doesn’t end when updates hit Live – we aim to keep fine-tuning them until their foundational elements are sound. For example, we’re still working on a couple of Twitch’s oddities such as his ultimate rendering him unable to attack structures.

 

Skarner New Portrait

 

Skarner is a major ongoing focus at the moment, as his initial Gameplay Update had some issues that we’re still committed to solving. Skarner’s adjusted kit didn’t fully live of up to the fantasy players had come to expect when playing him, so we’ve been looking at ways to get back a bit of that magic while preserving his healthier new gameplay. As we mentioned in this thread, we’re currently experimenting with some passive / Q functionality tweaks aimed at increasing his stickiness, and we’re excited to see all you scorpion lovers try the changes out once we’ve nailed them down. We know this has been a major pain point for you Skarner players out there, and we’re hoping to get this next iteration on PBE within the next patch or two.

 

Nidalee New Portrait

 

The huntress is a pretty polarizing figure, and we’ve slated her for an upcoming Gameplay Update focused on evening out her most abrasive elements while opening up a fresh gameplay pattern centered on a new ‘Hunt’ mechanic.

Nidalee’s current ability to project the bulk of her damage (and potentially massive damage at that) from extreme range with hardly any threat of retaliation is something we want to significantly tone down. Doing so will allow us to add some more interesting power in the form of ‘Hunt,’ a mechanic that creates interesting decision points by increasing Nidalee’s overall strength against Hunted targets, especially in Cougar form. Updates to some of Cougar form’s abilities that contextualize their effects based on target and facing will further help Cougar form mature into a more interesting and co-equal component of Nidalee’s engagements.

Head over to this thread if you’d like to chat with Riot Repertoir and learn more about the upcoming Nidalee GU.

Yeah yeah Seb, but what’s next?

In the past we’ve haven’t usually talked much about our pipeline, mostly because the team was still spinning up and we didn’t want to create false expectations about how quickly updates would come out. When you’ve found out about things we’re working on it’s mostly been through early designer discussions and hints, or when we officially announced updates. And while we definitely like surprising you (and hopefully will continue to do so evil grin), we’d also like to start giving you some idea of what’s coming down the line.

Keep in mind the following does not represent a comprehensive list of what’s on our radar or even being worked on. Champion Updates are a major part of League of Legends’ ongoing evolution, and we’re committed to the long-term maintenance of the entire League roster.

A note on our upcoming aims – with Heimerdinger, Twitch, and Karthus we’re closing out a stretch of art-focused updates and moving into a period where we’re shifting the emphasis to gameplay. This does not mean we’re abandoning art; Gameplay Updates will still be supported with visual retouches where necessary, and for our more comprehensive projects we’re looking at champions with outdated / irrelevant gameplay in addition to lagging visuals (i.e. a certain undead behemoth).

Everything mentioned below is tentative, not tied to dates, subject to change, delay, cancellation, etc. When updating everyone’s beloved champions, our overriding goal is to do the job right; speed comes a distant second. Seriously, Soon™, if you try to hold me to what’s said below I’m taking a poro hostage.

 

Sona New Portrait

 

Sona’s planned Gameplay Update is currently a bit more surgical than most – she’s got several existing strengths and high points that players love. Specifically, we’re currently exploring ways to make the choices attached to Sona’s basic abilities more exciting and looking at more satisfying uses of the power currently held by her auras. Ultimately, we want to condense Sona’s power into actions that create skill expression for Sona players, greater clarity of interaction for allies, and have possible counterplay for opponents. Doing so will allow us to create more meaningful moments for players with a champion that is still Sona, but with bigger pay-offs and a lot more to care about from moment to moment.

 

Fiora New Portrait

 

Fiora occupies a cool gameplay space, one we’d like to further by making her feel more like a fencer/duelist both mechanically (how her abilities function) and thematically (how her abilities look, sound, and relate to her identity). Currently, Fiora is mostly an Assassin, using all her abilities to jump on a squishy target and quickly deal tons of damage in the hope of killing it dead. While we’d like to elements of that play style, we also want to nudge her towards being more of a Light Fighter, dealing good long-term DPS, staying in or near the fight at almost all times, and satisfied to switch between targets as fights change/move. This means making her more mobile and elusive in fights, with bigger periodic damage spikes rather than one large burst at the start of a fight. We also want to make her more mechanically intense (using her abilities more frequently, with a better reward for using them properly).

 

Sion New Portrait

 

Inorite? Everyone’s favorite undead juggernaut is firmly in our sights and has grown into one of our biggest projects. There are a lot of challenges here – to be frank, Sion is OLD, pretty much across the board. At the same time, he occupies an awesome and iconic thematic space, so from gameplay to art to creative background we’re taking a ground-up approach to re-tooling Sion into the best possible expression of his role as Noxus’ undying champion. He’s definitely a ways out (as I said, we aim to get it right!), but we can’t wait for him to reemerge and strike terror into mere mortals everywhere.

As I mentioned, we’d like to continue periodically doing updates of this sort when we send projects to PBE or Live. We’ll also be back with more specific discussions as the above projects (or others!) get closer to completion. Until then, happy rifting!

 

 

Q: Will Sona’s rework scrap what’s unique about her? (eg. Skarner, Karma)

 

RiotSeb Button Rioter RiotSeb: I agree with you about our inconsistent record of maintaining a champion’s identity through some of the updates in the past. One of the goals of adjusting our team’s scope was to make sure that we have art and gameplay working together to make sure our updates are cohesive and true to the champion in every way. Before, when we had more piecemeal updates from various different teams, it was more difficult to coordinate and communicate about this.

Sona is a project we’re taking very seriously because she’s well liked by players and picked quite often (in general play, not necessarily in LCS). There are major elements of Sona that players really like, so we’re making sure to take that into account– that’s integral to our strategy when revisiting old champions.

 

 

Q: Are you slowing down on Visual Updates?

 

RiotSeb Button Rioter RiotSeb: Not necessarily– visual updates are a really important and valuable thing our team works on! It’s just that in between visual updates, the team will also be delivering gameplay-focused updates as well. Our goal is to bring champions up to the quality bar, whether they need cosmetic upgrades, gameplay changes, or whatever combination.

 

 

RiotRepertoir Upcoming Nidalee Rework Banner

Nidalee’s long history of being a problematic gameplay element in League is coming to an end. Here are the notes for her upcoming rework.

 

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: Hey guys,

As you may or may not be aware of to this point, we’ve been pretty hard at work trying to address some problems we’ve identified with Nidalee’s gameplay.

Nidalee’s current pattern of nuking from very long range and being uncatchable is problematic for the game. It creates scenarios where there is no reasonable strategy that can be used to beat her, and it edges out most of the interactive gameplay we try to encourage. While working on her, we definitely want to make significant balance changes to Javelin Toss and her overall escapability, but we also want to make a more complete shapeshifting character that uses both forms in most of its success cases. That being said, Nidalee is a pretty cool character, and we don’t want to necessarily rebuild her from the ground up. In light of this, none of her abilities will be replaced by completely new ones, but playing as and against her will definitely be a different experience.

Before we get too far into this, please understand that we are still making minor tweaks and balance changes and that some of this (particularly the numbers part of it) is still SUBJECT TO CHANGE!!! With that out of that way…

Probably the two biggest changes to the character are her Cougar kit and her character passive. Aspect of the Cougar will now have 4 ranks and automatically be trained at level 1, and its Pounce and Swipe abilities will direct toward the player’s cursor. As for her passive, it reads close to the following:

Moving through brush increases Nidalee’s Movement Speed by 10% for 2 seconds, increased to X% toward visible enemy champions in a large radius. Hitting enemy champions with Javelin Toss and Bushwhack causes her to Hunt these targets for 3 seconds, granting Prowl’s increased Movement Speed toward them and enhancing the first of each of her Cougar abilities against them.

This naturally leads to a few questions:

  • How big is X%?
    • This is a balance decision that will continue to be sorted out up to her release, but we want there to be a very meaningful difference between pursuing and fleeing as Nidalee.
  • How large is “a large radius” actually going to be in game?
    • Since this is another variable that is still open to balance tuning, we’re not settled on a final value, but we’d like it to give her interesting ways to approach fights.
  • And most interestingly, how are her Cougar abilities enhanced?
    • Takedown: using Takedown on a Hunted target causes it to deal increased damage to the target.
    • Pounce: can be used to jump to Hunted enemies at about double its normal range.
    • Swipe: using Swipe on a Hunted target resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value.
    • Aspect of the Cougar: as a Cougar, Nidalee gains vision of all Hunted enemies.

In addition to these changes, there are numbers changes across the kit. Significant examples include, but may not be limited to:

 

Javelin_TossJavelin Toss [ Q ]

  • Base damage and Ability Power ratio reduced
  • Cooldown scales down with rank in Aspect of the Cougar (R)
  • Applies the Hunt debuff to enemy champions

 

BushwhackBushwhack [ W ]

  • Cooldown and Mana Cost reduced dramatically
  • No longer shreds Armor and Magic Resist
  • Applies the Hunt debuff to enemy champions (still deals DoT, Hunt limited to 1 target)

 

Primal_SurgePrimal Surge [ E ]

  • Base healing and Ability Power ratio adjusted

 

Aspect_of_the_CougarAspect of the Cougar [ R ]

  • Now has 4 ranks with a point in level 1, CD scales down with rank
  • No longer passively grants 20 Movement Speed
  • Cougar ability base damages and scalings adjusted across the board

 

TakedownTakedown [ Cougar Q ]

  • Now fully deals magic damage and has an Ability Power ratio in addition to its Attack Damage ratio and missing Health scaling
  • Deals increased damage to Hunted targets

 

PouncePounce [ Cougar W ]

  • Now targets toward the player’s cursor; Cooldown increased
  • Can be used to Pounce to targets at increased range
  • Killing a unit resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value

 

SwipeSwipe [ Cougar E ]

  • Now targets toward the player’s cursor
  • Swiping a Hunted target resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value

 

 

Follow-up:

 

About Ruining AD/Bruiser Nidalee…

A lot of people seem to be concerned about AD or bruiser Nidalee no longer being possible. I think it’s because of Takedown dealing magic damage and having an Ability Power ratio. I should mention that the Ability Power ratio is in addition to the current Base+TotalAD damage paradigm. If the concern is just about dealing full magic damage and that will ruin her in top lane, then that’s something I’ll want to give consideration to. The original post above has been edited to reflect that this ability, outside of switching damage types, is only seeing gains.

About Pounce and Swipe targeting…

Truthfully – and as a Nidalee player myself – I held off on changing her cougar targeting for a long time as we began to explore the character. However, when I finally did, it felt better not only to new Nidalee players, but to experienced ones as well. It took a game or two to adjust to, and ever since it’s just much easier to control. I guess it’s one of those things that you’ll just need to take my word for until you get your hands on it, but I’m pretty sure you’ll agree at that time, even if it takes a game or two to adjust to. Also, there’s some scripting logic in there so that she still pounces straight forward when your cursor is far from her (for example, Pouncing back to lane).

About Nidalee being too squishy to ever go into melee…

If it ultimately proves true that she just dies too much, this is a problem that we can solve. We could give her resists in Cougar, or while Hunting, or just higher base stats. We could give her high base damages so that she can afford to build a bit tankier. Being too squishy to be a melee character is solvable.

For Nidalee players worried about me gutting Nidalee…

I hear you on this concern. I mained Nidalee all of last season as well, and she’s still one of my favorite champions. I know we haven’t hit the balance mark on our last few champion updates on release, but I think we’ve learned enough from them to not make that mistake again. One of the great things about making these changes is that we can tune things to where they can feel satisfying and powerful in ways that are reasonable, with her engaging in proper risks and having incredible success cases. I’m really open to feedback that is well thought out and explained, because it’s important to me that she’s a blast to play following any changes made, so keep it coming! 🙂

 

 

Q: Why is Takedown’s damage type changed to magic?

 

RiotRepertoirButton Rioter RiotRepertoir: The goal with changing Takedown to magic damage was to unify her damage type, making her feel better about penetration for all of her abilities, and making it so that opponenents don’t feel like there’s no right answer for itemizing defensively against her.

 

 

Q: Won’t these changes make Nidalee weak in Human form?

 

RiotRepertoirButton Rioter RiotRepertoir: Bushwhack and Primal Surge are an important part of her kit, and I totally get that. It’s definitely not my intention to put them in a place where she’s going to struggle in human form. If anything, her two forms should now complement each other a bit better now regardless of build.

 

 

Q: Can you elaborate on how Cougar form abilities are enchanted against enemies marked by Hunt?

 

RiotRepertoirButton Rioter RiotRepertoir: To clarify on this, it enhances the first Takedown, the first Pounce, and the first Swipe for each Hunt window.

 

 

 

 

Q: Will Nidalee be getting a Visual Update as well?

 

RiotRepertoirButton Rioter RiotRepertoir: She’ll be getting some particle work to go along with some of the new mechanics, but she won’t be receiving a full visual update.

 

 

 

 

Q: How would you describe Nidalee’s core gameplay pattern?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: This kit is all about using both forms to succeed. Skillful Javelin Tosses and well placed Bushwhack traps allow her combat advantages over certain opponents. Primal Surge continues to support her role in a poke heavy composition. As a human, Nidalee wants to fish Javelin Tosses toward valuable enemy targets, and when they hit, she has a decision to make; can I go in on this? Meanwhile, she wants to think about her traps for where she’ll need them 10 or more seconds in the future.

If she hasn’t hit a valuable squishy with Javelin Toss, she can still trap up her team’s backline and help her carry deal valuable damage to enemy tanks. As a Cougar, Nidalee wants to deal damage to her ideal target, and this is usually decided by who she was able to Hunt to do so. Outside of a specific engagement, however, Nidalee uses vision and map mobility to create numbers advantages for her team, rewarded by combat advantages in her Cougar form against targets she has successfully begun the Hunt on.

 

 

Q: Will Bruiser Nidalee remain viable?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: The exact item build may not be the same – for instance, Void Staff or Liandry’s Torment may appear due to her dealing magic damage on Takedown – but the playstyle should remain largely unchanged.

 

 

 

Q: Won’t increasing Nidalee’s already high Cougar form damage become a problem?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: Yeah, that’s certainly a valid concern, but don’t forget that Cougar ability base damages and scalings have been adjusted across the board. All damage changes made to abilities are being done so with consideration to her full kit, not just Javelin Toss and Takedown.

 

 

Q: What do you see as healthy changes for Nidalee with this rework?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: I think one of the best parts about these changes to the character is that she now has to at least fight people up close. Once she’s there, if she’s doing too much damage or living too long, we can tune her numbers in a way that reflects that.

 

 

 

Q: Is the AD Ratio from Takedown now removed?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: I made an edit to my original post above to reflect this, but the AD ratio has not been removed from Takedown, and it’s something I’ve never considered changing. I’m not interested in removing AD from playability or anything like that.

 

 

 

Q: Why is Nidalee lacking Crowd Control?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: Giving her CC was something that we gave consideration from time to time, but it never really felt like something she should have. It’s actually pretty defining that she’s one of the few characters in the game with now crowd control whatsoever. The way I see it, having no crowd control on the kit lets us really ramp up the Movement Speed on the Hunt.

 

 

How will this new “Hunt” mechanic play out?

 

RiotRepertoir Button Rioter RiotRepertoir: Tuning the numbers properly here is really important. I’m looking to hit a ground where if an enemy runs from a max range spear when they’re hit by it, they won’t get caught, but if they don’t make a play against her for the duration of the mark, she will be fast enough to get to them and execute her combo between a the Movement Speed on Hunt and the increased Pounce range.

The relationship between Hunt duration, Hunt Movement Speed, Pounce range, and Javelin Toss cooldown has been very evident ever since we landed on this kit.

 

 

Dragonslayer Pantheon Refunds Banner
Following the recent controversy with Pantheon’s stealth-changes and the sale of his new skin, Hippalus from eCommerce came up to the forums to announce that refunds are available.

 

 

Hippalus Button Rioter Hippalus: As a Pantheon main, I agree the changes suck. But even if I beg Morello in the elevator, our team has no say on balance changes, bug fixes, or anything else. And they don’t tell us what’s coming.

Also, I believe Player Support has been giving refunds in situations where players no longer want the skin because of these changes (EDIT – confirmed but only through Friday). There haven’t been any announcements because it only affects a few players, but I don’t think there’s still an open issue there. I’ll make sure Bubo knows the latest so he can stop arguing about it 

 

 

Q: Isn’t it a problem that the balance team doesn’t communicate with the rest of the company?

 

Hippalus Button Rioter Hippalus: You’re missing the point – there’s nothing to plan for. Balance changes don’t affect pricing and content launches and vice versa. Why would we need special access to information? It would only create the temptation to do the kind of underhanded stuff that you like to accuse us of.

 

 

Q: Didn’t the company choose profit over player trust in the case of Pantheon?

 

Hippalus Button Rioter Hippalus: There is no Rioter I know that would want to work for a company that made choices like that. Sacrificing team morale and player trust for a few pennies may be the norm at some companies but it’s the furthest thing from reality here. Almost everyone at Riot (me included) was a player first and still has that mindset.

And because it’s random, there are so many examples where we nerf champions before skin releases as well. Then we get threads talking about how we’re stupid instead of devious.

 

 

Follow-up:

 

Phreak Button Rioter Phreak: I actually want to hop on something here:

The Core Gameplay guys do work with new skins sometimes. But I want to raise two things to your attention to specify how:

1. The team plans its changes in advance. They’ll say, “Okay, let’s take a look at X champion.” “Alright I’m working on it. When the changes are ready, I’ll submit them.” Sometimes that happens to be the same patch as a skin, sometimes it’s a change in isolation. Either way, the patch planning is done by the team itself, not by Hippalus saying, “Yo guys, buff this guy before his legendary comes out.”

2. Core Gameplay does playtest the new skins, but they test it for feel, readability, etc. Numerous times, they send the skins BACK, make the skins artists take MORE time on them, DELAY the release, and ultimately suck up resources that “could” be used to make more skins or whatever. The playtests literally cost us money because their goal is releasing skins that work better for you guys in game.

 

 

Regarding Refunds

 

Hippalus Button Rioter Hippalus: Just confirmed with Player Support that any Dragon Slayer Pantheon refund requests will be processed as long as they are submitted by Friday.

 

 

 

 

QA Karthus Visual Update Banner

Rioters are all over the forums & Reddit to answer questions regarding the announced Karthus VU.

 

 

Ququroon Button Rioter Ququroon: I hope you guys like this update to the Deathsinger! The Champion Update team worked hard to update his visual fidelity while providing a little more of that creepy feeling.

He also finally makes good on his title!

 

 

Q: Why did you remove his book?

 

Riot Whist Button Rioter Riot Whist: His book is not gone. …?

Watch the ability demo closer, he starts out with his book pulled out.

He has a different ult animation when he’s not dead. It features 100% more book.

 

 

Q: Does he hide the book when in combat?

 

Riot Whist Button Rioter Riot Whist: He holsters his book on his belt. It’s hard to see at the angles shown in the image on the bottom of the page. However I’m pretty sure the pose on Statue of Karth is from his ultimate, and as you can see he has maximum bookage.

In terms of his passive death, I had noted during production that his book and staff are not carried with him. Curiously, his clothes are though. I asked Relaunch team to also have his robes fall off for it and leave Karthus naked for realism, but they didn’t seem to like that idea for some reason.

The decision to lose the book and staff was not actually something I was involved in and thus can’t give you a real answer.

 

 

Q: How hard was it to update Karthus?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: On the scale of changes, we basically “Master Yi’d” him. Where there were just color changes or very mild geometry changes we pushed him a bit further. We try to make slight changes into more variety when it comes to the existing skins.

 

 

 

Q: Why are his spells so similar-looking?

 

Ququroon Button Rioter Ququroon: We wanted to make Karthus look more unified in direction, which is why the particles look the way that they do. We’re very sensitive to if this impacting gameplay or not.

When Karthus arrives on PBE, could you let me know if you have the same concerns?

 

 

Braum Community Creations Roundup

Riot Preeti has posted a fan art showcase for the League’s latest addition – Braum. Poros not excluded!

 

Ariss18

Ariss18

Chavez

Chavez

last

last

Sollyz

Sollyz

Sueyen

Sueyen

wacalac

wacalac

yy6242

yy6242

 

 

Single Posts banner

 

 

Q: Is Skinsforlol.com a safe website?

 

BuboBubo Button Rioter BuboBubo: I would advise against all such sites. It’s really common to get scammed – a quick google/forum/reddit search will show a ton of such examples.

 

 

 

 

Q: What keeps you coming back to GD?

 

BuboBubo Button Rioter BuboBubo: It’s where a very passionate subset of players let us know what’s on their mind. 

Some regular contributors make great posts and seem like cool people in general. The art sub forum also has some great stuff.

 

 

Q: What’s the one thing Riot does better than Valve?

 

BuboBubo Button Rioter BuboBubo: We are the number one company at allowing you to kill teemo. No other company even comes close. And based on how much time we all spend engaging in this activity, I can guarantee that this is the most important part of any game, sport or spiritual undertaking.

 

 

Update: Who made the splash arts for Night Hunter Rengar, Dragonslayer Pantheon and Nocturne?

 

Riot jXe Button Rioter Riot JxE: So I lied about it being different artists, my memory was way off. The artist that made all of those was Alex Flores:http://alexflores.deviantart.com/

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Splash Arts

 

Riot jXe Button Rioter Riot JxE: Also just so people stop asking if their favorite champ is going to get a new splash, we will be updating everyone’s base splashes eventually, quality work takes time, but it will happen.

 

 

 

Braum Price Reduction – 6300 IP

 

It’s been a week since Braum’s release and his price has gone down from 7800 IP to 6300 IP.

Braum Price Reduction

 

 

May 21 News Summary

 

1. Karthus is getting a full visual update.

  • The VU includes several Lay Waste [ Q ] animations, more than 200 script lines and a completely new model rig to make Karthus look less bare-bones when idle.
  • Karthus now holsters his book while casting spells.
  • The spell animations follow a visual pattern and so look somewhat similar, but this is subject to change once the Karthus VU hits PBE for testing.

2. Night Hunter Rengar is now available in store for 975 RP.

3. A number of Champions are in line for changes soon.

  • Twitch will be getting minor adjustments, including a bug-fix to his inability to hit structures while using his ultimate.
  • Skarner will have an easier time sticking to targets with buffs to how his Passive and Q work.
  • Sona currently isn’t conveying her power to allies well and her kit has almost no choice involved. Future changes will add moment-to-moment decisions to her kit, but her aura play will be preserved.
  • Fiora will have her damage spread over longer periods of time, with added mobility and easier target-switching. Her rework will reclassify her from Assassin to Light Fighter.
  • Sion will be completely reworked. His theme is valuable to Riot and so the team have chosen to take their time and do the Champion justice.

4. Nidalee is being completely reworked.

  • She’s getting a new mechanic – Hunt. Human form abilities apply Hunt, while Cougar form abilities consume it. While in Cougar form, Nidalee has true sight of Hunted enemies.
  • Prowl [ Passive ] now additionally grants Nidalee % bonus movement speed when moving towards Hunted targets.
  • Her Cougar Form [ R ] will be available at level 1.
  • Javelin Toss [ Q ] will deal lower damage and it’s cooldown will scale with ranks in Nidalee’s ultimate. Applies Hunt.
  • Bushwhack [ W ] no longer shreds resists, its cooldown and mana cost are going way down, and it also applies Hunt.
  • Takedown [ Cougar Q ] now deals magic damage that’s still an execute and scales with both AD and AP. Damage is further increased if the target is Hunted.
  • Pounce [ Cougar W ] is now cast towards the direction of the cursor, its cooldown is going up, but killing a target partially resets the CD. Can consume Hunted debuff to leap to a target from double the ability’s normal range.
  • Swipe [ Cougar E ] is also cast towards the direction of the cursor. Swiping a Hunted target partially resets the cooldown of Pounce.
  • Bruiser Nidalee may need to pick up a Magic penetration item, but the build will still be viable.

5. Following yesterday’s controversy with the stealth-changes to Pantheon, Riot is offering refunds of Dragonslayer Pantheon until Friday.

6. Braum now costs 6300 IP, down from 7800 IP.

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo.