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Evolution of a Dragon Champion

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Iniquitee Final PortraitHey folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will Taric get a new skin to accompany his gameplay rework

Taric Banner Single

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

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Whats the purpose of the reworked Warlords Bloodlust on the PBE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will you revisit Swain now after the nerfs

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

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

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

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Reav3 Final PortraitI made no promises 🙂

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

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Places to contact me:

Email: nolchefo@gmail.com

Twitter: @NoL_Chefo

 

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FOLLOWUP Juggernaut Items

Riot Axes New PortraitHi folks,

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

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

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

What’s Working (as of 1/25/2015)

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

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

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

Known Tradeoffs

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

Next Steps

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

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

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

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

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Cassiopeia Twin Fang expectations

Cassiopeia Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitHi everyone,

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

 

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

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

Thanks,
Repertoir

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

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Why cant Braum jump to wards with W

Braum Single Banner

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Will the upcoming immobile mage updates include visual changes

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

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

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

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

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

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Can we have more champion specific dialogue

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

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Illaoi seems to not value life or basic human rights

Illaoi Single Banner

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

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

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

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

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Dev Blog Updates and Splash Art

splash_blog_header

BY HUGENFAST

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

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

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

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

Simple solution; huge problem

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

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

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

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

About those old updates

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

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

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

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As always, a few recent artworks by League fans:

 

Soraka by 雞飛龜走:

dQlKkvQ

 

 

Blade of the Exile by 放逐之刃:

6DzYsgu

 

 

Insane Jinx by skold:

dCO4Eit

 


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

 

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Why is Thunderlords getting nerfed in Patch 62

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

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

This is enacting that part of the 6.1 patch notes.

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

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

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

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Why did you reduce the window to proc Thunderlords damage

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

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

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

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You should be looking at nerfing Precision not Thunderlords

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

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

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Warlords Bloodlust needs to be reworked completely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Follow Up Banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dynamic Ranked New Champ Select Whats wrong and whats next

NaKyle New PortraitUPDATE 1/22 PST Evening:

Hey everyone,

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

ORIGINAL POST PST 1/21 EVENING:

Hey everyone,

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

What’s Wrong:

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

What’s Next:

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

FAQ:

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

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

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

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Follow Up Banner

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

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Why is Vladimir a part of the immobile mage update

Vladimir Single Banner

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

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

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Why Cass VelKoz Vlad Zyra Brand and Malzahar in particular

Brand Single Banner

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

Ought to bring more distinct things to a team:

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

Distinct, but have significant game health challenges:

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

Untapped potential/Confused identities:

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

Lux Single Banner

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

 

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

What exactly are your supposed problems with VelKoz

Velkoz Single Banner

Meddler Final Portrait

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

VelKoz is fine Listen to the community and dont rework him

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

Zyra Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Will AD Malzahar remain a viable option after Malzahars rework

Malzahar Single Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Follow Up Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

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

Heimerdinger Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Why didnt Shen receive a new voiceover with his update

Shen Banner Single

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

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

 

Winter Wonder Orianna by Alona:

0XRekvJ

 

Syndra by 커피55:

dt2qE8R (1)

 

Sona by Phikaak:

tSCaZLE

 


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

 

Red Posts 22 01 Banner

 

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Recent News Banner

Lunar Revel 2016 Banner

PBE Update 20 01 Banner

Red Posts 19 01 Banner

 

 

MidYear Mage Update

Statikk New PortraitHey all,

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

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

Why Mages?

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

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

Who are we working on?

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

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

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

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

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

What can you expect? When?

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

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

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

How can you help?

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

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

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Dont ruin Malzahars jungle potential with his voidlings

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Why did you pick VelKoz for a rework and not Swain

Swain Banner Single

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

Velkoz Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Follow Up Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

What about Fiddlesticks Why isnt he schedule dfor a rework

Fiddlesticks Single Banner

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

To do a quick rundown on our perception:

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

Zyra Single Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

Follow Up Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Keep the reworks simple We dont need more Skarnertype minigames

Skarner Update banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Why isnt Ryze on your rework list

Ryze Single Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

Do you guys plan on doing anything with Syndra

Syndra Single Banner

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

Xerath Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Whatre your thoughts on Irelias  E from a balance design standpoint

Irelia Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 


Is Singed scheduled for a rework

Single Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 


Do youve any changes planned for the Dragon buff

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

The 2016 ranked season is now live

Ranked Season 2016 Single Banner

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Ready set play Earn Party Rewards all week long

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

Check out the details below!

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Dynamic Queue system disabled further details

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean for your placements and rating?

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

Why are other regions not affected?

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

What are the next steps?

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Update on Dynamic Queues for all regions

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Follow Up Banner

Riot Eambo Final PortraitHi guys,

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Champion Mastery Level 6 7

Socrates New PortraitHey all,

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

Here’s our current, leading design:

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

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

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

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

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

[ Link to Post ]

 

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

 

Zed by Citemer:

C76v1p9 9B7oRhc

 

Swimsuit Lux by raichoo:

swimsuit_lux_by_raichiyo33-d9onwp6

 

A New Dawn by haonguyenly:

a_new_dawn_by_haonguyenly-d9ot6qn

 


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

 

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How far off are Shacos and Evelynns visual updates

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

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

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What happened to Galios update

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

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Why doesnt Galios shield heal the ally its cast on

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

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

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

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

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

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Rework Cassiopeia entirely but keep the debilitation theme in her kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why dont you nerf the Champions who see pro play constantly

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

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

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

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

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Have you considered making a champion that actually BREAKS terrain

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

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

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How about terrain passing Have you considered making a flying Champion

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

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When will the Team FIRE Diana skin be released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Whats the device on Jhins shoulder supposed to be

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

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

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How does Ekkos time rewind work in terms of his backstory

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FauxSchizzle Final Portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lastly, and as usual, fan art!

Acknowledgement (Nidalle and Rengar) by Arcanedist:

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Azir by Skence:

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Chosen Syndra by mickking:

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Jhin the Virtuoso by Aths-Art:

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

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

 

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

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

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Will Brand be nerfed in some way next patch

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

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What if you reduced the width of his Q

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lpl0Znm HluJkKu aqmLjZT zwepHwS

 


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

 

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

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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

Malzahar Single Banner

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.

 

QA 19 11 Banner

Riot’s Preseason Q&A on the forums has now concluded. Follow the links below for all the responses from the balance team:

 

 

Preseason QA

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re about wrapping up now, we’ll have a finalized rundown later this week, but thanks for participating! We’ll probably close up comments by end of tonight.

Preseason Q&A

Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we’ve had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we’ll have a more high-level overview.

In the meantime…


Preseason so far

It’ll take a while for things to shake down, but I’ll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there’s anything not mentioned you’d like to get our thoughts on, we’ll be answering questions between 1pm-3pm (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).


General Game Elements

  • Masteries

Overall, we’re pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord’s Bloodlust, and we’ll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery’s just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.

On the other hand there are also some champions that aren’t sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we’ll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn’t feel like it offers many champs a good choice.

  • Minion Blocking

We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We’ll be looking to adjust this to make it feel “right” again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking’s calculated in 5.23.

  • The Jungle

We’re seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We’ve got some buffs to Hunter’s Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We’re also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you’re currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.

As far as Rift Herald goes, we’re seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we’d hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it’s a bit too punishing, so we’re reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.

  • Turrets

We’re currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that’s assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it’s also going to be due to a bug that’s removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We’ll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.


Champions:

  • Marksmen

Graves is significantly too strong, Kog’maw definitely too weak. We’ll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today’s hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast’s getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we’ll need to make further adjustments as well. We’d rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.

Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we’re looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we’ll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe’s Q that should help her out a bit. We’re also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren’t sure yet whether we’ll have changes we’re happy with for 5.23 or not.

  • Assassins

Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we’re looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha’zix/Zed), longer term we’ll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).

  • Other Champion Changes

It’s not preseason specific, but we’ve also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn’t from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.

The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there’s to align champion size better with each champion’s role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more…squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian’s not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).


Other Stuff

  • Items

Statikk Shiv’s looking too generically strong. We’ll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.

Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we’ll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we’ll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.

  • Clean Up, Bug Fixes

We’ve got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.

  • Game Duration

Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we’ve spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it’s looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).

In terms of direction, two of the big things we’re looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We’re also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that’s something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we’ll need to make some follow up changes.

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Have surrenders become more common this Preseason

Meddler Final PortraitYes, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in surrendering around the 20 minute mark post 5.22. That’s pretty standard after a major patch like this, given some champions tend to be out of line and people are experimenting with new stuff, so games can feel decided pretty early on. It’s something we’d expect to drop off noticeably over the next couple of patches though as we address major issues and people figure out what works and what doesn’t post changes. If that doesn’t happen we’ll need to dig into what else is going on.

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What other Champion groups are on your radar

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve just started talking about which class (or sub class) to look at next. We’re currently trending towards immobile mages. Given the need for preseason followup though it’ll also be a little while before the team’s ready to start heavy work on whichever class we go with.

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Would you say Preseason buffed Armor stackers like Taric too much Taric Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, we’re also seeing Malphite and Rammus, other champions who are rewarded for stacking armor, do well right now given the number of AD damage dealers being played. I don’t think we’ll make any changes to those champs individually until we’ve got the bigger picture balanced, it seems reasonable to believe that they’re just reflecting a temporary meta state rather than themselves generally overpowered.

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Which Riot employees are responsible for the Preseason patch

Asyrite Final PortraitThere were 4 teams responsible for the in game changes:
Game Systems – things like Masteries, Items, minions etc
Live Gameplay – Rift Herald, ongoing balance tuning
Champion Update – Marksman
Playtest – Sanity checks on content before it goes Live

It’s really a bigger team effort though, and the collaboration between teams is pretty huge.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitAlso worth calling out that we had help from individuals on various other teams as well. Some of the champion team helped out with masteries, couple of folks from the team that worked on the Bilgewater event helped with Rift Herald’s model etc.

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What is the average game length that Riot aims for

Meddler Final PortraitOur goal with preseason was to keep games around the same average length as they currently were (around 33 minutes on average). Games in 5.22 look like they’re a couple of minutes shorter so far, at around 31 minutes, that’s likely to change though in 5.23 as we get in changes that either missed the cutoff for 5.22 or were bugged (minion changes, tower scaling defense respectively).

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How do you intend to fix the Champion kits and builds that Preseason broke

Asyrite Final PortraitHey man! We’re going to be watching, reading, listening, and playing a lot over the next few weeks to get a feel for where the new lay of the land is. Right now win rates are still being highly impacted by people learning new optimized item builds, masteries, abilities etc. Vayne as an example has an~8% delta in win rate between her most frequent build and her highest common win rate build (referencing champion.gg in this case since that’s available to everyone). If you look at the why, it’s because a subset players are still rushing BORK, which looks like it’s proving to no longer be the optimal build path. Just pulling that as one example. Over the next few weeks, as players discover those optimal builds, I’m expecting we’ll see the standard deviation for individual champ win rates get smaller, time will definitely tell though!

I know you referenced Kha’zix in particular, and he’s definitely taken a hit this preseason (to me it feels like it’s actually more about the removal of Trailblazer as opposed to Tiamat passive, but that’s just my $0.02). We’re investigating how we can give him a bit of love, but want to wait for things to settle before getting more aggressive with changes. Also note I used to play Kha’zix a fair bit so I feel your pain :).

Hope this at least touches on some of your concerns

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How about putting a short CD on Quinns ult and removing the cast time Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYes! I’ve given quite a bit of thought to this actually. One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don’t have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I’m keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches.

What I’m currently feeling is that it’s too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.

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Why was Quinn heavily reworked in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitI think on the Quinn update generally, we actually didn’t see her as “heavily reworked.” What we intended for her was primarily the changes to her ultimate, and then supporting changes to make that work well. Admittedly, we missed the mark on the proper supporting changes, hence our reaction to re-institute a utility-focused Q in 5.23, but we do think that the changes to her ultimate open up a lot of doors for her both strategically and tactically. That said, I know there are old Quinn mains that won’t agree with that.

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Do you think Quinns current ult may make her a problem in pro play

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s certainly a possibility that we’ll be looking out for. If she ever becomes popular, players will be quick to pick it up and let us know.

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Quinns current Vault E makes it impossible to proc W and chase targets

Repertoir New PortraitFollowing that conversation, I made some adjustments to where E places you when you cast from max range in hopes to address this issue a bit. I don’t currently think her chase is too bad at the moment, but that isn’t to say I couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

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Why is Caitlyn allowed to stack her passive on towers again

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CertainlyT New PortraitThis was done on purpose. Caitlyn is a (perhaps the) premiere siege marksman. She should feel good about attacking towers. We added this mechanic back in on Caitlyn because it made sense that she wouldn’t feel a tension between shooting towers and minions.

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Do you plan on buffing weaker ADCs to the level of the stronger ones

CertainlyT New PortraitI’ll go into some elements of our approach. As an individual contributor to the marksmen updates, it will only reflect my perspective, but hopefully it will be helpful:

1) Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors.
First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen.
Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren’t trying Essence Reaver on Sivir).
Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you’ll have to pick them in the right circumstances – If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you’ll probably be worse off than if you’d picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.

2) We aren’t sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players’ perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can’t just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn’t lead to a satisfying experience.

3) That is all very nebulous. So here are some specific answers.
We’re hotfixing Graves and Kog’Maw today (nerf and buff respectively). I’d look some obvious changes in 5.23 and a substantial amount of fine tuning in 5.24.
Caitlyn’s Q is indeed too weak. Even if we had to nerf other elements of her, it would be worth buffing the ability to let her actually reach towers and make skillfully avoiding it matter when playing against. I believe duo bot Twitch is very powerful and that players who are routinely failing with him are probably not good at the champion or are fixated on a strategy that is now less effective (teamfight AoE) as opposed to opportunistic assassination. Even the data supports this. His win rate is almost 50% when played in his best role. He’s not doing well in the jungle, and we’ll have to assess how much we can support him there.
* I don’t have a good sense for Sivir and Ashe’s balance right now, so perhaps someone else can reply to that. Anecdotally, they feel effective given their utility.

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Do you ve plans for Kha Zix Khazix Single Banner

Asyrite Final PortraitHaving played a decent bit of Kha’zix both in normals and ranked over the years, he’s definitely someone that was hurt more than we’d like due to the preseason changes (looking at you Trailblazer). While we want to avoid any heavy handedness right now due to the number of things that have changed, there’s definitely room to give him a bit of love, especially in regards to his early game.

I played him last night in order to get a better feel on Live, and after Twitch accidentally took my large Krug early which kinda boned me (hit lvl 2 at 3:55), I still managed to do alright. Like I said though, definitely want to show him some love in the near future, as well as potentially look at something more long term.

Hope that helps!

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Whats the balance teams stance on the Grievous Wounds debuff

Meddler Final PortraitWe see GW as a useful safety valve on healing/high sustain champions, and one that’s probably best accessed in game in response to an enemy getting out of control (e.g. a really fed Swain), rather than accessed via champ select before you know how needed it’ll be. GW on individual kits has the potential to lead to hard counter situations, and while we do want to reward good choices in champ select we’d like to avoid games that feel predecided before the loading screen.

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Only Teemo has Blind now do you think Blind is a good mechanic

Teemo Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to remove blind from Teemo and I’d imagine will at some point look to use it on at least one other champion. Would want to improve the visual/audio feedback for the blinded player to help them play around the effect before doing so though. The important thing would be putting it on a champion where it doesn’t leave the enemy without sufficient means to respond. Teemo’s really range limited, doesn’t burst people down generally and lacks other survivability tools when in the thick of the fight. Quinn by contrast had much longer range on her blind, has a powerful mid fight reposition and is adept at forcing fights with targets of her choice.

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Thoughts on Twitch

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Repertoir New Portrait I’m excited that the changes for 5.22 did not seem to make him too powerful, and given that, I’d like to keep pushing that direction in an upcoming patch if there’s an opportunity. An example of something we tested internally but didn’t end up shipping (for power concerns) was that the reset on Ambush had more Movement Speed and dropped into stealth instantly instead of with the 1.5 second fade time. This isn’t necessarily exactly what we’d do with him moving forward, but making that added mechanic feel right is probably the basic idea.

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AP CARRY BALANCE Balance Banner


Why do mages have such a hard time efficiently hitting 40

Pwyff Final PortraitI know Jag had a very specific reason as to why he kept Herald a one-person buff, so I’ll poke him to answer here.

For the CDR topic, I wonder if the ideal state of Mages is that they are guaranteed to hit CDR cap without much tradeoff or if they can be balanced in a way that investing into CDR is a meaningful decision (ie: giving up MR and maybe even Sorc Boots to double down on cooldowns for the additional utility). A world where a mage decides between high-damage, higher-cooldown abilities vs. lower-damage, utility-focused, lower-cooldown abilities seems like an interesting decision if done well.

In other words, right now there’s a large mentality shift of “I will always hit the CDR cap” to “I need to think try very hard to hit the CDR cap.” Additionally, since outside of the keystone masteries there hasn’t been anything more powerful injected into Mages, it might feel like a power decrease but we have a lot of noise and data we’ll need to parse through to see if this is actually true. Are mages weak? Are mages properly calibrated against their core stats (CDR, AP, mana regen)? Honestly speaking I want to see more before just saying “if you raise gold costs on AP and make it more difficult to hit the CDR cap, of course mages are going to be weak,” – it’s hard to assess that without seeing how the ecosystem of the game actually plays out, not to mention the strength of Deathfire Touch.

[edit]

Additional note on other champions getting more ‘free’ access to CDR than mages. These kind of comparisons are really weird to me, because CDR is one of those stats that’s very closely tied to the balance of the kit using it. CDR on marksmen tends to be very singular in purpose – damage – and often dependent on proper positioning to use well. Most Mage abilities tend to be fight-starters or fight-stoppers, meaning they have the ability to dramatically change the landscape or flow of a fight on a single ability cast. CDR to them is far more valuable and, in their natural item builds, needs to be ‘priced’ accordingly.

If stats were just generically priced without accounting for the stat affinities of the classes purchasing them, I think we’d get some really, really weird scenarios.

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ADCs can deal AA damage yet they reach the CDR cap easier than mages

Pwyff Final PortraitI edited in an answer regarding that, but I do feel like we’re in a bit of a vacuum comparison. A mage using abilities on cooldown can often stop or outright deny a champion threat. A marksman can do the same via a steady stream of damage but we’re basically talking variance in power. Mages have high variance – high highs, low lows (no abilities to cast), while Marksmen have less highs but more consistent output. In a balanced world, these two types of damage output would be well balanced against each other, but Mages also get the addition of utility, which needs to be considered as well.

I suppose this is a long way of saying damage isn’t the only thing to compare and Mages vs. Marksmen can’t really be boiled down to individual stat comparisons and who gets access to what. A reverse example (not totally comparable) might be if Marksmen were demanding total AD scaling on Trinity Force procs, similar to Lich Bane.

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Pwyff Final PortraitI think I’m saying that Mages have access to a lot more breadth of power than Marksmen and their itemization currently reflects that as well. If a Mage were to become a magic-focused Marksman I think it’d be easier to balance them, but then you’d be effectively choosing between the two. All a marksman has – all that they are identified by – is their pure damage with key positioning. A mage can be that, but they can also be the one who picks off fleeing champs, or controls the battlefield, or catches and blows up a stray squishy.

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Why can AD casters stack CDR so effectively and AP carries cant

Pwyff Final PortraitThe question is also what they do with those abilities. AD Casters get access to CDR very easy, but they can’t transform that CDR into an ability that starts and ends a teamfight on a single cast. An Ahri charm at late game can potentially mean a squishy target is dead without using any ability. An Ezreal Q cast on cooldown does not.

Really, really important distinction.

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Why did so many AP items get a cost increase in the Preseason patch

Meddler Final PortraitWe increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren’t however, so we’ll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong).

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Have you considered adding new items for AP carries

Meddler Final PortraitI expect we’ll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we’re thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.

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Are you considering nerfing Essence Reaver

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Meddler Final PortraitWe are. In particular it’s getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We’ll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.

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How would you make assassins  mages invest points in Cunning and not Ferocity

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be fleshing out the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones in Cunning, which should help somewhat there. For some champions though Ferocity’s probably always going to be more appealing (DoT mages especially will be really strongly drawn to DFT). Assassins by contrast are meant to be well served by the Cunning tree, so if they’re not getting decent performance from it we might need to make the Tier 3 keystones a bit stronger for them.

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Any thoughts on buffing Cull

Meddler Final PortraitIt’s looking like it’ll probably need some form of buff yeah.

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Why do Deathfire Touch and Thunderlords decree have such similar effects

Meddler Final PortraitWe’d like DFT to be the sustained damage option and Thunderlord’s the burst damage one. Both should have reasonable scaling though, hence the ratios – we’re not looking to make one of them a non item dependent option.

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Does Fervor of Battle work with Lifesteal

Meddler Final PortraitFervor of Battle’s proc damage, so doesn’t work with lifesteal, can’t crit etc.

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Can we get some Poppy teasers

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Meddler Final PortraitQuite soon (almost certainly next rework of any size to go out).

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Will there be Champion Mastery levels added to ARAM or other modes

CertainlyT New PortraitI’m not sure our designers who work on that are in this Q and A, so I’ll answer for them! I would be somewhat opposed to this on the grounds that ARAM doesn’t test a wide variety of skills and because the random mode is about encouraging you to branch out, not go deep on a small number of champions. However, I think it would be cool if there were ways to express your mastery of ARAM as such — for example, ones more related to the map or champion classes.

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Is Thresh considered Melee or Range Thresh Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThresh is meant to be a ranged champion. When we updated how we tag champions as melee or ranged he got missed for some reason (not sure why myself sorry). That’ll be fixed in the next patch.

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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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Here are the most recent news in each category:

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Answering concerns of allowing groups in Ranked Solo Queue

[ Note ] You can find the official post that lists all the Preseason Ranked improvements HERE.

Socrates New PortraitI’ve seen a few concerns popping up around opening ranked queues to larger premades over the last 24 hours. I want to walk you through why we’re making the change in a little more detail. First, I want to say this is the subject of debate internally and it’s something we’re going to be watching closely to see how it plays out over the preseason. That in mind, the argument really comes down to the following:

First, when we looked at your feedback around the issues with ranked queues, we saw a pattern:

“I had a leaver in my game, resulting in me getting demoted”
“I ran into a rager who ruined my promotions”
“I’m bronze V because these noobs I’m getting matched with”

What’s the pattern? As a player, I didn’t have control of who I was playing with in a highly competitive environment resulting in misaligned competitive intentions. We’ve built systems to address many of these issues, but ultimately we realized we had hit diminishing returns without implementing more fundamental changes.

Next, ranked standing currently is a reflection of your ability as an individual to carry in a team game. We of course believe great play should be recognized and rewarded and it should be the foundation of ranked standing, along with team work. Right now ranked standing is far more representative of personal mastery than teamwork. This is why when you look at solo queue the games are so different from high level team games. When we looked at this pattern, we asked ourselves why it should be this way. Why should the most authoritative standing of your abilities in a team game be a rating that requires you explicitly not play as a team?

Finally, we just straight up asked players if they wanted the change via a large scale feedback tool. A small number of players were strongly opposed, the vast majority of players were in favor or strongly in favor. This doesn’t make it the right decision, but it was a data point we considered an important part of the picture.

We believe this change will reshape behavior around the ranked experience and we’re excited to see what happens during the preseason. Change is scary, and we realize this is a big change. As the stewards of ranked we are going to be analyzing the hell out of the data we get during the preseason to make sure this is a step forward for the game.

For the open minded and the skeptics alike: we look forward to seeing what happens in the preseason and to hearing your feedback.

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Follow Up Banner

Lyte Final Portrait Sorry I haven’t been able to hop on this thread until now–busy trying to bughunt with the team and it’s been a long few days.

We knew that Dynamic Ranked would be a highly controversial topic, and it even was widely debated internally. It came down to a few key points:

1) The vast majority of players preferred to play League with friends, but there was currently no end-game progression in League other than Ranked (we’re not going to count Ranked Teams because we agree there are many issues such as a high barrier of entry). Most players do want to try Ranked, so players were forced to enter a queue that artificially capped your party at 1 or 2 and made the game less social. This was bad.

2) We added a few matchmaking features to bias the system so that it would pair similar group combinations against each other. So, premade 5s would most likely play other premade 5s, and so on and so forth. In our testing, and when we modeled data from Normal Draft Queue to emulate what it would be like if we did Dynamic Ranked, over 95% of the time groups were paired with similar size groups. We’ll have to monitor the behavior of Dynamic Ranked to see if the pattern is the same, but we’re hopeful.

3) There’s actually a pretty big perception issue with premades in League. When I talk to players, they always remember the premade that bullied them or made the game more toxic; however, when I point out behind the scenes and show them the data that almost every single Ranked game has a Duo Queue in it… they are shocked. The perception problem is that you only remember the games where a premade did have an issue, but you never remember the games where they were quiet and just didn’t give away they were a premade. We’ve been measuring toxicity in premade combinations for awhile now and believe that most most combinations of premade 2s and 3s are fine, and premade 4s have a little bit more toxicity than we’d like. Premade 5s are obviously awesome experiences. So what are we doing about premade 4s?

4) As you may have noticed, we’ve beefed up the Report System, and added new features to the Instant Feedback System. More than ever before, Premade 4s won’t be able to “affect” your account if they simply gang up and try to bully you with reports. In fact, if they do this often and they file false reports, they can be banned for this behavior. Secondly, in a Premade 4 situation, your reports are just as powerful as the group, so if they are showing toxic behaviors at all, your single report can have a meaningful impact and trigger a punishment. We believe measures like this will help balance out this specific scenario to be less negative.

5) With the new Champ Select experience, we’re giving players more benefits than ever before to play with friends because we believe playing with friends is the right way to enjoy League–we don’t want the game to become an anti-social experience. For example, there will be a promo bonus for playing in parties during the launch of the Ranked 2016 Season, and playing in parties is the best way to guarantee exactly what positions you want to play in the new Dynamic Ranked Queue. We understand that we’re going to frustrate the purists that enjoy playing solo and seeing what they can do alone among a group of 4 strangers but, we want you to give this a try before slamming it. More players playing Ranked means more competition for you, and it means quicker queue times at low and high MMRs. We also have ideas to expand the Ranked system even more in the future to give multiple ways for you to challenge yourself and your friends.

6) Like any big change, we’re going to have to monitor this one carefully. We ask you guys to be patient and give it a chance. We’ll ultimately make the right decision, but a LOT of players have voiced their opinions that they do want a more social Ranked experience and want to play in a Dynamic Ranked queue. Give it a chance, and we’re listening if it doesn’t work.

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Why are you allowing 5man premades in Solo Queue when theres Team Queue

Lyte Final PortraitRanked Teams had too high of a barrier–a forced roster, a roster cap, and playing X games together before your MMR stabilized. Solo/Duo Queue was a pretty anti-social experience, and players kept saying over and over again in research they want something in-between Ranked Teams and Solo/Duo. Hop on, grab a few friends (no matter how many) and play for stakes. I think this is going to be far more competitive than players think, they just have to give it a shot.

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Dont you think a solo player matching against 4 premades is at a disadvantage

Lyte Final PortraitNo, a 4:1 team is not at a disadvantage compared to the other 4:1 team. These cases all output a 50/50 win rate over time.

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Wont inferior communication make solo players unable to compete with groups

Lyte Final PortraitThis is why groups will match against other groups more often before being matched against teams of solos.

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TL DR Will I get Ranked Rewards

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DARTAGNAN Final PortraitHey everyone,

Ranked Rewards are the culmination of everyone’s hard work throughout the season (or grinding those 10 ranked games at the last minute XD). We want to make sure everyone knows the exact requirements in order to unlock those rewards:

 


Ranked Season

  • Ranked Queues will be disabled on November 11th, 00:01 in each region. For NA, this is PST — Click here for EUW, EUNE, and OCE
    • You can queue at any time before this, and the game will still count. You can even queue at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, and the ranked game willstill count.
    • The Ranked Season will officially end once the final ranked game is completed in that region
    • Challenger/Master tiers will update one final time after the final games are completed (after the Ranked queue is disabled) which determine the end of season standings
  • To earn rewards, you must have played ALL 10 games
  • If you decay at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, you will get rewards based on where you land after the decay. Decay is turned is disabled on November 11th, 00:01 PST — the same time Ranked Queues are disabled
  • You can find a full list of rewards for each Tier in this Article
  • Rewards are displayed for specific queues. A full explanation can be found here

Ranked Solo-queue

  • Can be completed solo or with a duo-queue partner
  • Rewards are awarded depending on your ending rank at November 11th, 00:01 PST,NOT your highest achieved
  • You must be Silver Tier and above to receive a Loading Screen border
  • You must be Gold Tier and above to receive the Victorious Sivir Skin (If you don’t own Sivir, she will be added to your account.)
    • NOTE: If you purchased Sivir right before receiving Victorious Rewards, she willnot be refunded.

Ranked Teams

  • A ranked team must have completed 5 ranked games by November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • You must have WON 10 games in a single ranked team to qualify for team rewards
    • You must have 10 wins on the same team, not on multiple teams
    • If you won 10 ranked games on a team, and then are kicked from that team, you will not earn rewards. Player Support cannot override or change this.
    • If you were kicked from a team for whatever reason, you will need to win 10 NEWgames on that team (if re-invited) or on a different team.
      • For example, if you won 5 games, and then were kicked from the team (then re-invited), you would need to win 10 more games, not just 5
    • If your team goes into an in-active state before November 11th, 00:01 PST, your team will not earn rewards
  • The Ranked Team Ward Skin is unlocked for each individual (not team) based on how many points you individually earned during the Ranked Season:
    • You must WIN Ranked Team games to earn points — Points are individually earned, not tied to specific teams
      • Victory in Ranked Team 3v3 – 1 point
      • Victory in Ranked Team 5v5 – 3 points
      • Points are earned from ALL Ranked Teams combined. Points do not have to be earned within a single Ranked Team. Even if you leave the team, are kicked, or if the team disbands, your points remain.
    • Ward Skin tiers are unlocked at 20, 45 and 75 points respectively
      • You must earn 20 points to earn the base Ward Skin

Things that will get your ass disqualified from Ranked Rewards

  • Being banned or having active chat/ranked restrictions at November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • If you had any 7 day or more bans, they must have expired/ended at or before August 9th, 23:59 PST
    • For example, if you received a 7 day ban on August 2nd and it ended on or sometime before August 9th, 23:59 PDT, you are eligible for rewards
    • On the other hand, if you received a 7 day ban on August 3rd and it ended on or after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you are ineligible for rewards
  • Players banned for boosting during the 2015 season remain ineligible for rewards
    • Both those who boosted and those who did the boosting are ineligible
  • Players who received fraud-related (including Chargeback bans) and accidental/false bans will still be eligible
  • Players who had LeaverBuster suspensions are still eligible
  • Being ineligible for 2015 Ranked Rewards does not automatically disqualify you from getting other rewards in future seasons

Reward Distribution

  • All rewards (Borders, banners, icons, Skin Wards, Victorious Sivir/Champion) should be distributed by November 18th, 23:59 PST
    • Rewards are distributed in waves. If you see others with rewards, but you haven’t been rewarded yet, don’t panic! You will get your rewards in a subsequent wave
  • If you earned rewards, but did not receive them by November 18th, 23:59 PST, feel free to submit a ticket to Player Support so we can investigate further!

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Ive reached Gold only in Team Queue will I still get Victorious Sivir

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf your team is Gold AND you have won 10 games on that team, you get the Victorious Sivir Skin.

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If my last ban was on August 9th will I get the endseason rewards

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf the ban ends after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you will not be getting rewards.

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If I qualify for a Tier 3 Ward Skin do I still get the Tier 1 and 2 skins

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitYou get the skin at your tier. Think of it as a single ward skin that “evolves” depending on your tier.

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How is the Ranked decay time calculated

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitKeep in mind that decay is only for those in Plat and above. Other than that though, decay should start ticking the moment your game ended. So if you ended at 10am, it would decay exactly 28 days at 10am.

Just to be careful though, you may want to consider playing a game to make sure you don’t decay!

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DEV BLOG Marksman Itemization

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Reinboom Final PortraitHello all! Riot Reinboom here to bring you a look into the thoughts behind the Marksman itemization changes this preseason. 😀

To jump straight to the point, Marksmen have a number of pain points in the game right now. There’s a distinct lack of individuality between Marksmen. For most, their items are incredibly prescriptive and there’s not a lot of deviation. Generally, as a class, they suffer from high team demands without a lot of self expression to work within those demands.

The major thread woven between most of these issues is a distinct lack of meaningful choice.

  • Meaningful Choice

We’ve mentioned Meaningful Choice before.

What’s most important here however is the method to achieving meaningful choice (rather than just choice). For Marksman items, we tackled this with three different strategies: “Autonomy”, “Reaction”, and “Prediction”.

Autonomy. Autonomy as a choice is represented by the tradeoff of multiple fantasies (whether they be gameplay fantasies, thematics, or anything you can form a personal attachment to). Feeling attached to Statikk Shiv because you personally value wave clear and are willing to sacrifice your other options for it, is an aspect of autonomy shown in item form.

Reaction. Reaction as a choice is represented by your capability to solve a problem presented to you. There are multiple types of reaction. For these changes, we’ll be focusing on responses to your opponents in the items they build, the champions they pick, and the needs of your team.

Planning. Planning as a choice is represented by the tactical and strategic goals you create for individual games. This can be seen by decisions on how you or your team should address each fight (and then building to work within that understanding), or the order for which you build your components, such as getting a Pick Axe to prep for your Last Whisper as you wait for your opponent to inevitably build armor.

  • Supporting Variety

When it comes to supporting more options for Marksman, we often run into a difficult problem we call “The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem.” Marksmans item choices have classically been guided by a very simple and direct point of output: “How can I do the most damage with the options presented to me?”

We’re operating under the assumption that this problem is fundamental to Marksman and their role within League. There are a number of reasons for this.

In games (not just League) single points of optimization, when that point can empower itself, tend to be notably strong. In Marksman’s case, their single point of optimization is damage. This is primarily caused by their damage being reliable via ranged auto-attacks, meaning they can leverage positioning (which is free) as a primary defense.

However, we feel like this identity is clear for Marksman. This type of distinct identity allows League to work as a team game, where each individual has their contribution. So in order to support keeping what makes a Marksman a Marksman while still offering choice, we’ll be exploring a different route: While picking up the stats that give Marksman their damage, we should offer choices among those items along the way.

You can see this already in the game with the choice posed by Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv. Unfortunately, the nuance of this choice can be hard to appreciate (am I behind, or could be behind in gold?), and even then there’s not a lot of these types of selections.

  • The Changing Landscape

To wrap it altogether, choices that end up just being damage optimization tests aren’t great. But that’s the expectation of a Marksman. And they have core needs on top of core needs built out of natural consumption of “a lot of different stats.”

The direction we went with to introduce meaningful choice to these restrictions is the idea of “horizontal expansion.” Take the model presented by the current system, and diversify within those bounds. Your options for lifesteal need to be greater than a single item. The items that define a Marksman’s play pattern should expand beyond just “awesome auto attacks.” Your options available for who you can target should be greater than “always buy Last Whisper.”


Identity

Who am I? Do I autoattack quite a bit? Okay, Infinity Edge. Maybe I autoattack a lot? Infinity Edge. No, seriously, autoattacks are my jam and I will hear nothing less. Fine, Blade of the Ruined King.

Not a lot there.

There’s a few valid ways of addressing this: we could push more differences between the auto attacks (insert roster devblog link here), or we could push some Marksman to be empowered by their abilities.

Identity items highlight and specialize the choices you made at champion select. Once again, “Who am I?” We don’t feel like in the current landscape the more caster-like Marksman are well served by this idea. Enter: Essence Reaver.

Essence Reaver is being changed to offer caster marksman access to a stat they’ve desired, but could never really (or rarely) fully utilize: Cooldown Reduction.

Essence Reaver now has the capability to generate you up to 30% Cooldown Reduction by leveraging the Critical Strike Chance available from other Marksman items. We you to feel comfortable making the same damage offers, choices, and expectations from the rest of the Marksman items while being able to uniquely leverage what your champion pick offered.


Multiplier

Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer. Am I behind or am I ahead?

There’s a lot of possible room with these items, except that Phantom Dancer is the poster child for TMDOP (“The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem,” remember?).

So we’re changing that. And we’re widening what it means to be a multiplier item.

In addition to be the damage curve definers, the pointed tip at the end of your two item spike, multipliers are getting an additional identity: “How should I fight?” This is a choice grounded primarily within autonomy (“What works best for me?”) as well as reaction (“What works best for my team?”).

We divided this choice into four large branches:

Phantom Dancer: I should skirmish and duel.
Hurricane: I want to team fight and wombo.
Statikk Shiv: I must push.
Rapid Firecannon: I need to siege.


Situational Offense

Last Whisper highlights an interesting problem. The usage of total penetration meant that even against champions not buying armor, Last Whisper was actually at least a +10% physical damage amp. This was actually a “generally useful” item masquerading under the guise of a tank killer.

We want to break the above expectations to make selective offense a little less automatic while, at the same time, making it easier to pick up a response when it’s necessary. Selective offensive items are now guided by their components and what you’re giving up, while being significantly more targeted than the current Last Whisper.

The components:

Last Whisper: I need to get through their bonus armor.
Executioner’s Calling: I need to stuff their life steal or health gain.
Giant Slayer: I need to climb over their mountain of health.

These items can be combined up, with a final selection of which type of selection are you leaving out:

Lord Dominik’s Regards: A combination of Last Whisper and Giant Slayer
Mortal Reminder: A combination of Last Whisper and Executioner’s Calling

Do note the change from total to bonus armor penetration, as all of these are still armor pen items at heart. It bears repeating: we do not want these items to be generalist damage purchases. This is also why we split the use case of Mortal Reminder (taking out high sustain targets like enemy marksmen, Swain, Mundo, etc) and Lord Dominik’s Regards (tank busting). If you find you don’t need the situational offense these items bring (or nobody’s building any armor!), maybe you can look into picking up another multiplier, or some…


Situational Defense

The key defense favored by Marksman is lifesteal, but there’s not a lot available here so all Marksman default to the same purchase: The Bloodthirster. This stat is so core that it actively pushes aside all other defensive choices until it’s covered.

We’re running with that idea. For Marksman, lifesteal means defense. The result is all the items in this category provide enough lifesteal before letting you branch into the types of defenses you should otherwise situationally take.

The Bloodthirster: I need to sustain through everything
Death’s Dance: I need to get burst off me long enough to hit
Mercurial Scimitar: I need to be free (of CC)


Going Forward

  • There’s a lot of new abilities and interactions presented by the changed items, and we don’t believe we have every one of these ironed out.

League of Legends hasn’t been tuned to the idea that some Marksman will get 40% Cooldown Reduction, for example, and it’s impossible to know the full effects of this.

We’ll be watching diligently to identify what’s problematic and what’s not!

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Why do ADCs need to dedicate only a single item slot to deal with tanks

Reinboom Final PortraitMarksman are the damage class that’s in charge with killing tanks (eventually).
We don’t want that to be increased (or increased to a notable degree) above what’s on live however.

One of the more difficult balancing points for a carry class is these expectations. If, as a class, we need Marksman to deal less damage to squishier targets, that’s difficult to do because it will break their expectations on needing to kill tankier targets. If we need Marksman to deal more damage to tankier targets, that’s difficult to do because that will make them delete squishier targets.

Lord Dominik’s Regards compared to old Last Whisper is this redirected in a vacuum. Moving from total penetration to bonus penetration is actually a rather significant nerf in damage against all targets, squishy and tanky. Everyone has base armor and there’s a lot of it. Depending on who the target is, just that conversion is a loss from anywhere around 10% to upwards of around 20% damage.

Giant Slayer is doing two things in that Regards.
1: It’s covering up the damage nerf on the item to some of the classes. If it’s still too high, it can be individually adjusted without much pain either.
2: It retains and confirms Marksman’s weakness of not favoring health (so things like Trinity Force and The Black Cleaver are less favorable if you’re also getting this)

(note: The damage it gives is based on the difference between the Marksman’s health and its target, so it gets weaker the more health the Marksman has)

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What if ADCs start killing mages with an early Rod of Ages or Rylais too fast

Reinboom Final PortraitPlanned initial reaction if that showcases itself is to push it out to maxing at 800 health difference.

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Why do AD casters reach their CDR cap much easier than AP casters

Pwyff Final PortraitI think it’s incredibly dangerous to compare AD casters – most of whom rely on their spells for sustained, low-burst damage (maybe not Graves) with little to no CC, vs. AP Casters, many of whom have game-winning abilities should they get the right catch.

CDR is, like any stat – mana, health, armor, whatever – something that interacts with the kit in its own way. Trying to extrapolate some grand truth seems weird. Additionally, this is me calling you out for posing an opinion as a question. A real question might be “why do you think making CDR an easily accessible stat is valuable for marksmen? Especially when compared to mages?”

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Do you worry that ADCs will deal too much damage and receive too little

Reinboom Final PortraitMany worries.

There is always that tipping point in sight. Marksmen optimize for damage so directly which means creating a desirable enough defensive item is difficult without pushing on this risk.

We’ve intentionally starved the high end damage points because of this. Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer had a ways it could go while still being “high end damage items”. Their damage is going down specifically to make room for more interesting abilities.

I don’t believe we’ve hit the balance needed for this perfectly yet. It’s difficult to get a degree of imbalance with this many changes (and there will likely be something that slips out obscene, oh preseason). But it can be adjusted once out.

More importantly, there are actually a notable number of more tools that let us reach those adjustments now. e.g. If a tank becomes unseen due to these changes, raising their base armor per level is much more meaningful now.

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You said that Grievous Wounds is bad for the game Howd that change

Reinboom Final PortraitWe didn’t change our mind. Personally, I believe that GW as it exists on live can’t be supported systemically and is very oppressive.

However, with these changes GW was changed to 40% reduction (down from 50%) as well as only blocking self only healing. So as an example, it will stop Soraka’s self sustain, but not her support sustain. 40% may very well still be too high, but we’ll be able to respond to it if so (lowering it further perhaps).

Having an response for “there’s a LOT of X quality on the enemy team, our team should have answers” is important.

It’s also important to note that this change is global, and it will affect other sources of Grievous Wounds. If this impacts other sources of GW too negatively (like what may happen with Morellonomicon) then we can adjust it after we get a better handle of GW through the preseason.

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Follow Up Banner

If the heal debuff ends up too strong why not restrict it rather than nerf it

Reinboom Final PortraitThere is a low point (in testing, I found that to be around 30%) for which GW just doesn’t feel attractive anymore, even when it is.

If it drops too much further, then we will seek out other forms of gating on the items. Duration is a clear hit (from the 3 and 5 now to 2 and 4, or 1.5 and 3). If that still not enough, then we’ll seek more complex options.

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Follow Up Banner

Why is there no prerequisite for GW to proc on Executioners Calling

Riot Axes New PortraitWe think this model is correct for Executioner’s Calling, particularly given the changes to Grievous Wounds (e.g. it no longer applies to healing from allies, so Soraka’s W isn’t reduced). It’s possible that we need to re-evaluate Morellonomicon, though I’m much less sure about that one.

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Can you design a different component than Zeal or Dagger for items like PD

Riot Axes New PortraitWe could, but adding more components carries its own costs and the value just isn’t there. By having them share so much of their build path, we allow you to choose which one you really need later, which means more adaptation to the game state. For this particular set of items, we value that pretty highly.

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Why are the item recipes for Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon identical

Riot Axes New PortraitThis reinforces the shared properties of those two items. It’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t consider it a big problem either.

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Why does The Bloodthirster have a 1500 gold combine cost on the PBE

Riot Axes New PortraitI’m gonna fix this one.

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Do you think The Bloodthirster will be able to compete with Mercurial Scimitar

Riot Axes New PortraitYes, I do. You’re glossing over the value of 10% lifesteal and effectively 300+ health later in the game – that’s a huge amount of power. That said, I do think we’re going to see a lot of double lifesteal builds, so I suspect it’s more a question of “Pick 2 of Death’s Dance, Mercurial Scimitar, Bloodthirster, Blade of the Ruined King, or Maw of Malmortius” rather than a direct comparison between these two items, and I think Bloodthirster fits in as one of those 2 in many situations.

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Why do both Last Whisper upgrades provide identical stats

Riot Axes New PortraitWhen we do that, it’s because we want to force a spotlight onto the one real point of difference – do you want to deal with tanky champs better or do you need grievous wounds? Stat differences tend to force you to optimize around your champion’s stat usage – you get a situation where Jinx always buys X, Lucian always buys Y, which means that neither gets much of a choice and Jinx just ends up with the property “Does more damage to health stackers” and Lucian just ends up with the property “Puts Grievous Wounds on targets”. There are situations where that’s a good thing, but that’s not what we’re going for here.

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Whyd you take 100 HP off Black Cleaver and made it cost 500 Gold more

Riot Axes New PortraitI answered this in more detail elsewhere in the thread, but Tl;dr: shifting power from defense to offense is intended to help Juggernaut build diversity a little bit by making it an even better choice in some situations but a wrong choice in others.

As for its efficiency going down specifically, it was one of our outlier overly efficient items.

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Why were FIGHTER items like Maw Triforce and Cleaver changed for ADCs

Riot Axes New PortraitI can explain the changes – tl;dr all of those changes were motivated by their Fighter use cases, NOT Marksmen.


Maw of Marmoltius is being changed with AD Assassins and light Fighters in mind, as a potential go-to MR item. The addition of flat armor penetration coupled with a pair of unique passives that reward you for taking risks helps Talon or Wukong a lot more than it helps any Marksman.

I do think there will be some Marksman usage of this item and that’s perfectly acceptable, but they aren’t intended core users and I don’t think they actually like this iteration better than the previous one, except that the previous one was weak.


The Black Cleaver is being changed with Juggernaut build diversity in mind. I realize that’s going to look strange since they’d prefer the previous iteration of the item – because it gave them everything they might want in a single package. On Live, if you’re a core Black Cleaver user, you’re going to rush it pretty much no matter what – it isn’t contextual at all. With the changes, if you really need defenses first, you won’t be able to rely on that item to solve it for you – but if you’re doing well and want more kill power so you can snowball, it’s even better.

I do anticipate more use by non-Juggernauts – it’s a better item for Wukong, for example, and that’s fine. I will be very surprised if Marksmen adopt it – maybe one (Graves?), but certainly not on any widespread basis. There’s no reason to build it with Essence Reaver and Essence Reaver is simply better for those champions.

This is the riskiest change of the three, and if it does break The Black Cleaver for Juggernauts, we will certainly be following up.


Trinity Force was actually changed in 3 different ways for different reasons:

(1) Power reduced across the board – it was one of the highest outliers for gold efficiency in the entire game, so our efficiency normalization pass hit it especially hard. Basically we want you purchasing items because the cool things they do fit your champion and goals in a game, not because it just gives more power than the rest.

(2) Sheen traded AP for CDR. This was a net buff for most (but not quite all) Sheen users – the item no longer forces you to spend gold on a stat you probably don’t care about. Even among the characters who do care about AP and bought Sheen, CDR should be approximately neutral in most cases. I’m sure there’s a champ or two who end up being sad about it, but they’re a small minority. Trinity Force inherits this change, which does make it better for Marksmen – but also better for most Fighters.

The main reason we’re excited about this change, however, is that it gives us a much better ability to make the items that build out of Sheen exciting in targeted ways. The immediate payoff there is the new Iceborn Gauntlet – Tanks can have a Sheen upgrade of their own now.

(3) Critical Strike increased, Attack Speed decreased. This is inherited from the Zeal changes – both values are exactly the same as Zeal. This one’s happening because of Marksmen but I wouldn’t say that it’s for Marksmen – it means that Marksmen can’t really use Tri Force as their single Attack Speed item anymore (for the few that did use it that way), but it does mean they can use it for their single crit item much more effectively.

I agree that this feels bad for Fighters, but we’ve been over our other options here and short of making Trinity Force a much different item (e.g. increasing its bonus AD by 40 or something) there’s not a better alternative available, unfortunately. Options like Recurve Bow tend to feel just as bad for Fighters (at least Zeal has % move speed!), so they aren’t actually improvements.

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I think we should get another ADC option for Armor Penetration

Reinboom Final PortraitWould you be willing to divulge your thoughts on this? 🙂

We actually had three in testing at one point (with a slightly different profile). The number of new items and item changes was overwhelming for quite a few people.

It’s much easier to add more when there’s a clear trade already established, so it’s open design space in the future. Before we decide to explore that space once more I would like to wait some time first for people to get used to all the current item changes.

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How do you plan on nerfing Essence Reaver if it becomes problematic

Reinboom Final PortraitWe’re not beholden to how ER is currently worded. One of the responses we’ve considered is dropping its bonus CDR from crit to cap when you have 30% crit from other items instead of just 20%. I feel like ER is strong but in the same way that IE is strong. If those two balance comparatively, then nerfing (or buffing) it will most likely entail changing both.

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Wont Thresh suffer too much with Last Whisper affecting Bonus Armor only

Reinboom Final PortraitIt potentially hurts him more than most other champions. There tends to be those types of hits with any type of systemic change. We can adjust after (such as tweaking Thresh) if it’s a problem.

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Doesnt Bloodthirsters shield conflict with the passive on Deaths Dance

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, they do compete. They’re also a bit antisynergistic in that way. Prevented damage (such as from shields) isn’t “caught” by Death’s Dance. Death’s Dance exists to favor fighters and caster marksmen over others (where natural lifesteal is less favorable).

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New Masteries Build Tips and Theory Crafting

Stashu Final PortraitHey all!

First, if you haven’t already, go check out this player-made mastery calculator! I’ll be using this tool to link pages. Special thanks to Hudzen, DPatti, and Pyro for their work on it over the seasons – you guys are all awesome.

 

Anyway, let’s get into it. I understand that the new mastery system can be hard to get a feel for, so I wanted to get a few template-esque pages out there to help get everyone started. So, check out the links and associated champions below, and let me know what you think about these recommendations! And of course, please share some pages of your own 😀

Note: These are only intended as guidelines and should be just enough to get you started — I’ll leave the real theory-crafting / optimizing to you guys! I DO NOT want to prescribe your build, and rarely will there be a single optimal build, but if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, feel free to lean on what’s here until you figure out your own way!


12-18-0 Aggressive Jungler

Elise, Kha’Zix and Lee Sin

  • These assassin types will love the pen and burst damage offered by the Cunning Tree [hello, Thunderlord’s Decree!], paired with the more general damage amps offered by the Ferocity Tree. Savagery and Runic Affinity from the Cunning tree also really help out in the jungle.
  • If the early clear proves to be too challenging (Evelynn), opting into a safer 0-18-12setup might be the way to go.

12-0-18 Brawler

Darius, Nasus and Olaf

  • These juggernauts really benefit from the Grasp of the Undying mastery in the Resolve Tree. It turns their already high-health builds into more damage and sustain, allowing them to slog through the fight, dishing out and soaking up tons of damage.

0-12-18 Peel Tank

Braum, Maokai and Nautilus

  • If soaking up damage for your allies is more your thing, check out Bond of Stone in the Resolve Tree, and pick up some self healing and mana regeneration so you can keep yourself topped off while you protect your carries!

0-18-12 Utility Support

Sona, Soraka and Janna

  • Windspeaker’s blessing in the Cunning Tree multiplies the power of these more buff/heal-centric supports. In addition, picking up Secret Stash and Meditation will give their lane some serious staying power.
  • That said, swapping those 12 points into Ferocity, and selecting Thunderlord’s Decree as your keystone will give you some potent trading potential in lane. I encourage you to choose based on your own playstyle and preference!

18-12-0 Sustained Damage Caster

Ziggs, Cassiopeia and Azir

  • When you’re not just trying to one-shot someone, Deathfire Touch and co. from the Feroicty Tree will really amp up your damage over long periods of time, and the mana regeneration from the Cunning Tree will give you the resources to make it work.
  • When you ARE looking to one-shot someone (I’m looking at you guys: Veigar, Zed and Lux) , I’d recommend 12-18-0 instead!

18-0-12 Marksman

  • Ferocity suits the playstyle of most marksmen — Lifesteal and %armor pen? Sign ’em up!
  • Certain champions will inevitably make better use of certain keystones, but Marksmen should be able to viably run any of these keystones, depending on their preferred playstyles.
    • Do you like to poke with spells? Check out Deathfire Touch on Varus.
    • Is harassing with basic attacks more your thing? You’ll enjoy Fervor of Battle on Caitlyn.
    • More into heavy Crit/AD builds? Warlord’s Bloodlust can shore up your lifesteal and attack speed so you can focus on your core stats on Draven.
    • Some marksmen might opt into something like 18-12-0 for maximum damage, but I find passing up the laning defenses in the Resolve Tree too costly, personally 😉

Alright! That’s all from me. I left out a number of archtypes, like the light-fighting skirmishers (Fiora and Vi) , bulky divers (Vi and Xin Zhao) , and many more. Plus, many champions will have particularly unique set-ups, based on their kit, so I encourage you to break out of the molds I outlined above!

 

Today’s fan art collection is a tad longer, enjoy!

 

Captain Fortune by Mariana Ennes:

tumblr_nxbgmrLTAI1th7sueo1_1280

 

 

Pool Party Leona by TiNyThanhTruc:

leona_pool_party_by_tinythanhtruc-d9f9smy

 

 

Sona by Knarf97:

sona___league_of_legends_by_knarf97-d9f8crz

 


Ahri by j-witless:

morning_ahri_by_j_witless-d9f9o87

 

 

Riven by Tu Tu:

otLDlrw

 


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

 

Red Posts 03 11 Banner

 

Topics Banner

 

Here are the most recent news in each category:

Red Post Collection Thumbnail Official Site Post Thumbnail PBE Update Post Thumbnail

Current Sale Thumbnail Current Rotation Thumbnail

 

Also, check out Soulless Fire’s player cards for this year’s Worlds!

^9B9124C40317571144421D48E3A2FCA3E51789751B83A5BBD0^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

 

 

About the Harrowing
Slayer Jinx Single banner

Calisker Final PortraitHey everyone!

Some of you have questions around the Harrowing this year, and we wanted to give you a quick update:

In October, we shared that the Harrowing (and other seasonal events) are changing. You can check out the PBE Boards post here (sorry we didn’t post it to the main Boards as well, our bad).

In short: We’re releasing Legacy skins from past Harrowing events later this week. Zombie / Slayer skins are also rolling out soon, so get those chainsaws ready. We wanted to get you in the mood with a dark and terrifying tale of the unliving, “Shadow and Fortune: A Harrowing Story,” as well as updated biographies for some of our Shadow Isles champions.

And if you’re wondering about Snowdown, we have some great stuff in our bag of goodies that’ll look a little different from what you’ve previously seen. So hold on for info on that, we’ll share more once we have all the details sorted out.

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How will melee Champions be able to lane against Ranged during Preseason

Reinboom Final PortraitFirst up, Base AD:

The base AD changes are a slight power curve shift (note: there’s an eventual base AD loss).
These were mostly done because last hitting felt bad due to the change in masteries (loss of flat AD). This was felt most by ranged AD characters.
5 AD is potentially too much but it’s a starting point. Marksman AD can be dropped further from there.

Second up, and much more applicable:

Isolating some changes without calling out the other systemic changes on big patches such as these is very misleading.
For example, this topic does not mention that we changed “call for help” at all in favor of melee in lanes. There’s now a second response ring wrapped centered on the attacker that causes your minions to actually respond (notably to ranged attackers) when they’ve shoved you off minions hard.

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Can you elaborate on what Call for Help means

Reinboom Final PortraitSure.

What is Call for Help:

If a champion auto attacks another champion, then find all allied minions and turrets in a “large” ring centered on the champion being attacked. Those minions and turrets found in that ring then check if the attacking champion is within their auto attack range (+ a rather significant search area increase of 400 units if the responder is a minion).

Here’s an example of the ring:

That part isn’t changing.

What’s changing is that there is now a second ring.

In addition to searching for allied minions and turrets around the champion being attacked, there’s a second search around the champions that’s attacking. This search is the same size, but only affects minions (not turrets). Minions responding to the second ring don’t search beyond their attack radius though. They respond only if they could naturally attack the attacker.

This looks like:

(red is the current ring, blue is the new secondary ring)

Also in the prior image, you’ll notice the ranged minions have aggro’d on Caitlyn. This would not have happened in the current game because those minions are outside the red ring.

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Why is Vayne getting compensatory buffs for the BotRK nerfs on the PBE

Vayne Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s changes on the PBE are not compensation for BotRK nerfs. They’re a push in the direction of making the character a bit more about using Silver Bolts effectively to win and less about out statting her opponents through raw Base AD.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s AD/lvl is getting reduced by more than other marksmen in the upcoming preseason changes, alongside the changes to Silver Bolts. Maybe this was less clear, but when I said Base AD, I meant AD at level 1 plus AD/lvl.

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What if Vaynes ult buffed her Silver Bolts instead of giving her bonus AD

Repertoir New PortraitWe thought about a few things that Final Hour could do rather than just give AD, but we decided to take it slow and not force a big change when we didn’t feel like we had a great idea as to what to do.

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Why not take risks and rework Vayne in some way so shes balanced

Repertoir New PortraitPersonally, I’m pretty willing to take what players would perceive as risks on most champions if I think the changes make sense. In Vayne’s case for the preseason, her change wasn’t really intended to be a major highlight of the preseason, but more that every marksman got at least a nudge in the right direction. If I thought I had a good direction for a cool, new ultimate (or a positive change to Final Hour) for Vayne, I’d probably try to make it happen. That kind of focus was not put into Vayne specifically for the preseason, however.

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Why didnt Trundle Talon Aatrox or Pantheon receive compensatory buffs

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not necessarily saying the other 4 mentioned here won’t need some love in the new season, but Vayne’s changes were made to her not because we wanted to give compensation buffs of some sort. They, along with the numerous other changes made for marksmen in the preseason (all marksmen currently have changes planned for 5.22) were made to push her more toward a particular playstyle. I do understand that Silver Bolts isn’t the most loved ability out there by non-Vaynes, but it is what Vayne is all about, and there’s much more gameplay in making her get those Silver Bolts hits off than there is in her AD/lvl.

Anyway, I’ll try to make sure we keep an eye out for the other AD users that maybe aren’t feeling so loved in this preseason. Thanks for the post.

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2015 Worlds skins icons and wards hit the road

worldsshopannounce_articlecard_092215_0

BY RIOT SHANTZILLA

As the 2015 World Championship wraps up, we’re getting ready to send off the skins icons, and wards that helped celebrate the big event. Championship Kalista and the rest of the legacy esports skins won’t be back until next year, so pick them up before they sail away on a flowing river of tears cried by those who ran out of time. Icons, wards, and bundles will also be joining Champ Kalista and crew when they depart at 23:59 PT on November 5!

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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.