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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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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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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

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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

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

Ought to bring more distinct things to a team:

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

Distinct, but have significant game health challenges:

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

Untapped potential/Confused identities:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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What exactly are your supposed problems with VelKoz

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Meddler Final Portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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VelKoz is fine Listen to the community and dont rework him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will AD Malzahar remain a viable option after Malzahars rework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why didnt Shen receive a new voiceover with his update

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

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

 

Winter Wonder Orianna by Alona:

0XRekvJ

 

Syndra by 커피55:

dt2qE8R (1)

 

Sona by Phikaak:

tSCaZLE

 


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

 

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MidYear Mage Update

Statikk New PortraitHey all,

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

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

Why Mages?

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

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

Who are we working on?

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

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

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

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

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

What can you expect? When?

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

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

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

How can you help?

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

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

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

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

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

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Dont ruin Malzahars jungle potential with his voidlings

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

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Why did you pick VelKoz for a rework and not Swain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What about Fiddlesticks Why isnt he schedule dfor a rework

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

To do a quick rundown on our perception:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keep the reworks simple We dont need more Skarnertype minigames

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

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

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

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

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Why isnt Ryze on your rework list

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

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Do you guys plan on doing anything with Syndra

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

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

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

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

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Whatre your thoughts on Irelias  E from a balance design standpoint

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.

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Is Singed scheduled for a rework

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

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

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Do youve any changes planned for the Dragon buff

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

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The 2016 ranked season is now live

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!

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Ready set play Earn Party Rewards all week long

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

Check out the details below!

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

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

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Dynamic Queue system disabled further details

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean for your placements and rating?

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

Why are other regions not affected?

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

What are the next steps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update on Dynamic Queues for all regions

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

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Follow Up Banner

Riot Eambo Final PortraitHi guys,

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

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

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

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Champion Mastery Level 6 7

Socrates New PortraitHey all,

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

Here’s our current, leading design:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Zed by Citemer:

C76v1p9 9B7oRhc

 

Swimsuit Lux by raichoo:

swimsuit_lux_by_raichiyo33-d9onwp6

 

A New Dawn by haonguyenly:

a_new_dawn_by_haonguyenly-d9ot6qn

 


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

 

News Update July 23 Banner

 

Summary

Lead Game Designer Ghostcrawler took some time on the forums to discuss the overall direction of Riot’s balancing, the feedback from both the community and the competitive scene and how Melee vs Melee interaction should be improved. On Twitter, Morello continued the topic and added some tidbits about Riot’s current balance priorities as well as acknowledging the need to work on unpopular Champions. Balance Designer Statikk hosted a Q&A on the new Community beta and addressed specific Champions like Akali, Kha’Zix, Yasuo, Lucian, Lee Sin and Ezreal, Taric, Alistar, Quinn, Zilean as well as much larger topics like Spell Vamp, new Champions easily reaching the enemy backline and balance favoritism, or lack thereof. Finally, GPL icons are in store and clarity from CertainlyT on why Zyra’s W grants her “free’ Cooldown Reduction.

 

Recent News

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A-New-Dawn-Cinematic-Banner

PBE Update July 22 Banner

 

 

GPL Icons in Store Banner


 

The Garena Premier League (GPL) hosts South East Asia’s greatest League teams including Season 2 World Champions the Taipei Assassins. This season, we’re adding permanent summoner icons featuring the GPL team logos for 250 RP. If you’re a hardcore GPL fan, you can pick up all 12 icons for 2400 RP (20% off the regular price).

As before, you’re not just showing off your team allegiance with these icons – 20% of each purchase goes straight to the team, while we use the other 80% to directly support esports through prizing, streaming, events and more!

Rep your favorite GPL teams as they compete for the top spot of the Summer Season!

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a (1) a (2) a (3) a (4)

image 90 image 89 image 88 image 87

image 85 image 83 image 82 image 79

 

 

Who does Riot balance for Banner


 

 

You seem to be terribly biased in balancing League

Ghostcrawler New PortraitHmm. I felt like Age of Empires 3 was pretty balanced. I did err on making skirmishers and dragoons cool. That was the last game I balanced myself, and it was over 10 years ago.

Now, I have hired a lot of designers whose job it was to balance other games, so I’m fine if you hold me accountable for the work they do, but it’s really not fair to the hundreds of developers who work on titles like WoW and LoL to attribute all the game design decisions to one guy, even if he does like to post on forums a lot.

If you have concerns about the high level direction of League, I’m happy to address those. If you want to talk about changes to individual champions, you’re better off addressing the developers who make those changes. I’ll point you to the recent Q&A with Statikk for instance.

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Is it true you want Champions with flashy plays to be LCS-viable

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe believe there are champions that are more fun to watch than others. That is absolutely not our sole balancing criterion or design direction though. I would say that over time we want to make more of the champions more exciting to play. The guys with fewer exciting moments and just several varieties of “hit that other dude,” are the kind we want to update.

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Do you not want Lee Sin changed before Worlds

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’m not sure if this was from me or Xelnath, but that wasn’t the message we intended to send. Rather we try to be careful as we approach the end of the competitive season not to make radical changes to the game. Preseason has been our traditional time to upset the apple cart. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to try to balance champions going into worlds, and that includes Lee Sin.

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How are your plans to turn all Champions into OP frost mages going along

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt’s no fun if they are all frost mages. You need someone for them to dominate.

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What is the high level direction of League as far as Riot is concerned

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a big question, and probably beyond the scope of a single forum post. But since I kind of asked for it, I will say that we want to improve champion diversity (both which champions get played and making sure they feel as different from each other as possible), we want you to play with friends (because that’s often a better experience), we want to explore strategic diversity, and we want to look at those areas of the game that are starting to feel a little stale (not just dated like SR, but stale mechanics as well).

I know that’s vague and arm wavy, but like I said above, preseason is a better time for larger changes, and we’d rather socialize these ideas to a lot of you guys in different regions to make sure we have plenty of feedback. It’s something we’ll start to talk about more. Stay tuned.

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TP’s short cooldown encouraged passive, melee-vs-melee top lanes

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYou touch on a couple of different issues that have a strong interaction. First, we agree that top melee vs. melee does get a little boring. Strategic movement (versus say just having short-term speed boosts) is a way to get those guys interacting a little more with the rest of the map, but we agree there are risks of passive play and having no consequences for bad play. Just increasing the cooldown might help with the second part but does nothing for the first part, and meanwhile means the summoner spell could just be dead. We don’t have any changes to announce but we recognize the problem.

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If you’re taking the flak for decisions, you should be getting the credit for them, too

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTotally, and I have no problem with that aspect of the internet. It’s the other half that bothers me. Imagine you’ve worked on say Braum for months, whether you were the designer or the writer or the artist making particle effects. Then the champion that has consumed so much of your life goes live… and some high level designer gets all the attention for it. That’s really unfair at almost any company and it’s particularly unfair at Riot. We really try to avoid the rock star thing.

I’m fine with you blaming me for anything (and most Rioters would feel the same way) because I also don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to pass the buck, but be aware there are a lot of people that work really hard on this or most games. Don’t boil down the company to just a few people whose names you might know.

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You shouldn’t balance the game around pro-players; they’ll adapt

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe don’t balance the game just for the pros. We do pay a lot of attention to how they are playing because A) they tend to influence what a lot of other players are playing, and B) their skill is such that they are very sensitive to small balance nuances that many other players might not notice.

 



As far as champion popularity, the issue isn’t that we are afraid of player wrath if we nerf popular champions. Sometimes the champion is popular just because they’re overpowered. But sometimes they are popular because they are fun or because others in the same role aren’t as much fun. We try to be very responsive to players, and that includes having a game that is balanced but also a game that is fun to play. If you keep slapping players across the wrists for playing fun champions it’s really easy to send the unintentional message that we don’t want them to have fun.

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Why does it seem like Riot is constantly understaffed

Ghostcrawler New PortraitRiot tends to have small teams, but it depends a lot on what that team is working on. The live team has more than 3-4 people, but that’s really not the whole story. A lot of Rioters contribute to balance, from playtesting, to live data analysis, to assimilating community feedback, to “Hey this experience happened to me last night, maybe we should look at it.”

 

There are also risks to having too many people working on a team — it’s hard to keep in tight communication and make sure two groups aren’t trying to solve the same problem in different ways. In any case, “design” is my team. I don’t tell the balance team what to do, except at a very high level. I talked a lot about WoW class balance, which led to this persistent myth that I did it all myself.

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Slower Champion release means less potential balance issues

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere are some solutions to having a huge champion roster. Yes, the game would probably be easier to balance at 100 champions or even 5, but that would be boring. One of the things that keeps League fresh (by which I mean it contributes but isn’t sufficient to solve the problem all by itself) is a constant stream of new champions (and some updated old ones as well).

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What purpose do you want Supports to serve on a team

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUtility is fun. We don’t want supports to just be warders, nor we want them to just be the dudes who don’t get any kills in order to funnel all the gold to their carries. We also don’t feel that we nailed the season 4 gold income, so it’s something we’re going to have to keep working on.

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Where’s the Bruiser rework promised for Season 4

Ghostcrawler New PortraitPromising anything is dangerous, because it implies we should ship changes that we aren’t happy with just because we said we would. The game still needs a fighter / bruiser rework. Some of that is itemization changes. Some of it is just giving melee champions some interesting ways to interact with other champions beyond just smashing someone with an axe or be kited endlessly.

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Who does does Riot want to balance League of Legends for

Ghostcrawler New PortraitUltimately, we try to balance for the players who are playing the game, which means all of them. I know that’s a tall order, but we wouldn’t be happy with a model that was to only balance for the best players or to neglect them. We do want LCS to be fun to watch, but we also want League to be fun to play for the Bronze player who is still finding their way. Sometimes those directions are contradictory, say for a champion that is only good in organized team play but not solo queue, and in those cases, balance gets super tricky.

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Why are most Champions forced into a single role and lane

Ghostcrawler New PortraitAll things being equal, champions that can fill multiple roles are cool. There are two big footnotes to this. First, we haven’t always been great at supporting novel use of champions. In the past, if an AD Marksman started to get played as an AP, we’d sometimes stomp it out quickly because it was unintended without really establishing if the play pattern was healthy (e.g. did it have sufficient team play and counterplay) and if players would be able to come up with strategies to counter that play.

We are trying to be less reactionary to those opportunities. Second however, game health still is a thing we have for which we have to be mindful. Jungle Alistar tends to be pretty frustrating for the other team, so it’s not something we’re likely to support without some fundamental changes to his abilities. Support Annie, Mid Lulu, AP Ez are champion roles we have no fundamental issue with, as long as they don’t eclipse the champion’s performance in all other roles.

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Is your design goal to make sweeping changes to keep League fresh

Ghostcrawler New PortraitIt isn’t our philosophy to constantly reinvent the game. We think the core games is pretty compelling. There is a risk that League can get stale though. New champions and alternate game modes can help offset that, but you do see players who just get bored if they think the meta is too rigid or each game just feels too similar to the last. So in that sense, we do think it’s healthy for the game to evolve.

I think I am reacting most to the subtext of the accusation (which I realize isn’t yours per se) that the changes are sweeping, arbitrary or thoughtless. There is a happy medium between the extremes of ossification and the wild, wild west.

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Is there truly no room for melee DPS

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThere is room for melee DPS, but we’re not there yet. It’s harder to give melee skill shots. It’s harder to give melee a reason to go in, do damage, then break off the attack, since they are designed to do damage in a small window (when they are in melee) and spend the rest of the time gap closing / being kited. It’s harder to keep the distinction between fighters and tanks, since fighters have to be fairly survivable to even get to melee.

We think we can address all of those issues, but they will take time, and sadly longer than we originally thought. Some of these changes are champion updates to give them more to do than just whack at an opponent. Some of these changes are more systemic, such as making sure fighters and tanks build items differently.

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How are we to speak with developers when they rarely respond

Ghostcrawler New PortraitWe are trying to get back to that. There was a time when more Rioters were all over the boards and Reddit. For a variety of reasons, that has eroded somewhat, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I personally always loved that about Riot, and it’s something I am passionate about trying to get back to.

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It seems Riot underrates small tweaks made to Champions

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll be totally frank here. I think it’s playtesting. The logic the designers use to make every change is typically pretty sound and we have a culture of beating up ideas. By that I mean, nobody is changing anything without getting a lot of input. We also try to leave room to react to player feedback when you guys see the patch notes or even our initial thoughts on potential changes.

We also do have some very strong players who work here (i.e. Challenger tier) and we rely a lot on them and a whole bunch of other Rioters to put these changes through their paces. But even if we played 200 games with every balance tweak, that is far, far fewer than the bazillions of games that get played when a patch goes live. Yes, there are plenty of unintended consequences that we really should have caught, but there are others that we just never realistically could have predicted until some smart player tried out something wacky and a bunch of other players adopted it.

One idea is to try and leverage the PBE better. Most participants just mess around to get a feel for any patch changes, but aren’t really trying to exploit a change the way they will once it goes live. We have some other ideas as well.

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What exactly does the Design team do

Ghostcrawler New PortraitDesign is a discipline. The “big three” disciplines in game development are design, programming and art, though there are others as well (production, sound, QA, etc.) At Riot, teams are multidisciplinary, meaning that the champion team for instance has a lot of people on it that are not designers.

 

Not every team needs a designer on it. Some are focused on say engine refinements. Others have someone with enough design skill that they can fill in for not having a dedicated designer. Most teams that touch the game directly do have designers though. There are designers on the Live team who do balance the game. (It’s more accurate to say that they are accountable for short-term patch-to-patch changes that can’t wait for a larger update or rework, but that’s a Riot technicality, not something you need to understand to have an opinion on LoL.)

Fortunately, while your question sounds like you’re just curious, it isn’t necessary to understand how Riot (or any game developer) is structured in order to give feedback on the game. In fact, I often say that if your post is focusing a lot on the people making the game and not the game itself, that’s a good hint that your post probably isn’t super helpful in terms of providing us feedback. “I don’t think Jax is competitive in this situation,” is what we call actionable feedback. That’s the kind of feedback we can discuss. “Ghostcrawler nerfed Jax,” doesn’t provide us much actual information. Maybe it helps you feel better by venting, but as I pointed out, since you don’t really know how we structure our teams internally, your statement is likely to not even be correct.

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Why do Rioters respond to trolls but not to reasonable threads

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat’s a reasonable concern. My personal experience from a decade and a half of trying to communicate to players is that if you step into a good discussion, you risk derailing it. Devs can still read and appreciate the discussion, and we do, but if we try to “reward” the thread with our appearance, it ends up attracting a lot of folks who want to make “Rito where” posts or troll or whatever. Troll threads are in essence already ruined, so a dev jumping in can’t make it much worse. 

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Have you ever thought that some top laners liked Melee vs

Ghostcrawler New PortraitOf course. That’s why I asked the question. A lot of the answers are “Because then a ranged champ doesn’t shut him down,” which is a reasonable concern, but doesn’t really get at the issue of how to make melee banging away on another melee interesting. In team fights, we think there is more for melee to do, whether they’re trying to block the front lines or dive past them to hit the softer nukers in the back. But slow, top lane duels feel like they need some help.

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Riot doesn’t hate melee top laners, they just can’t balance them

Ghostcrawler New PortraitExactly. We are trying to formalize (for want of a better word) what strengths melee should have to help them offset the huge advantages that ranged champions have. The traditional solutions have been that melee are hard to kill, or they really mess you up if you fail to kite them. Both of those cause a lot of balance problems though. The first means melee slap fights are boring. The second means that melee vs. ranged encounters can be binary — either the melee zeroes the mage, or the latter escapes.

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Is it true you don’t know where the “Renekton” balance bar lies

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThe Renekton “bar” came about, IIRC, because we were just nerfing whoever the dominant melee was at the time and the next melee would come take his or her place. We realized this was because many melee were just ball of stats without interesting interactions (I exaggerate, which I often do, but you get the point). We decided that Renekton actually had some interesting gameplay going on, so rather than nerf him, we’d make him the bar for how melee should act. That doesn’t mean just giving his abilities to all the other melee and it doesn’t mean buffing the stats for Mundo or whoever else to help them pass Renekton.

It means trying to find unique ability and item hooks for those melee below the bar. (Also to be clear, the bar doesn’t mean we nerf all other melee to have worse win rates than Renekton. It’s just a target for power and kit.) Unfortunately, that does take some time and exploration which is why we haven’t delivered on it yet. I hate that we haven’t delivered on it yet, but that’s the story for how it happened.

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QA on Balance Design Banner


 

 

State of Kha’Zix and Hecarim and popular Champions not being nerfed

Statikk New PortraitYou have made a ton of comments, and I’ll try my best to address them all.

1) Kha’Zix

Firstly, I actually think Kha’zix isn’t far off from being balanced. In fact, we have seen him get spot-picked in Korean pro games even in his arguably currently “underpowered” state (I believe they are actually evolving E first).

The changes to Q and its evolution path were actually largely motivated by Game Health concerns with the Isolation mechanic. Essentially, Isolation is a mechanic that works super well later on in the game when you are more heavily grouping up since you have allies to play around, but early on in the game (especially pre-6) avoiding Isolation is not really an option for some roles (ex: the opposing jungler). We think it’s appropriate that Kha’Zix has to invest in his Q to apply this kind of pressure to the enemy team that Isolation brings, and it’s clear that at least some evolutions such as E are still competing with it.

I think Volty (Kha’Zix’s original designer) kind of nailed it on the head when we released Kha’Zix. He claimed that Kha’Zix is a champion we have to normally re-visit in order to re-balance his evolutions to be competitive with one another, and I honestly agree with that. The game and our understanding of the game changes so much even on a daily basis. I suspect we’ll have to revisit his evolutions in the future, but for now we want to monitor how the Q buffs in 4.12 have affected him.

2) Hecarim

Agreed 100% that we went overboard with the Q Mana cost tuning the last time we changed him. This is something we’re looking to change with the next upcoming patch. His Q Mana cost will now be in the middle ground between where it was before and where it is now.

3) Balance “Favoritism”

I think it’s a bit unfair to jump to conclusions about why we are hesitant to nerf X champion versus Y champion. Firstly, there’s always going to be variance in the power of champions after we change them. Getting them right 100% out of the game is honestly unrealistic, as it takes time for everyone to understand how to optimize champions after we change them.

Lucian was a case where we were more concerned with ensuring that he was still functional post Attack Range changes. Yes, we went overboard on our first shot, but this is something that can be and will be corrected in the upcoming patches (everybody deserves a second shot amirite?).

Lee Sin is a different beast altogether. Firstly, we didn’t go through with our first initial larger changelist months ago due to a legitimate concern that players brought to us which was that we were fundamentally altering his gameplay identity with our changes. This made us go rethink our approach to Lee Sin and instead of normalizing him into a champion we know fits the game, we are trying to fit his unique identity (early game gambit, late game falloff) into the game. This is something we will be pursuing fairly aggressively with Lee Sin.

In addition, we always have to assess what each champion brings to the game and how that can affect our analysis of the situation. Let’s be honest, Lee Sin is one of the most fun and exciting champions in our game, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone why he is so popular. We’ll continue to adjust his power as we always have (and if you don’t think we’ve changed him a ton…go look at his patch history), but Lee Sin is a champion that as a design team we feel brings a lot of positives to the game.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Melee Carries, Assassins, Access to Team Backline, Stealth & More

Statikk New PortraitHey Sayath, always a pleasure to read your posts. I’ll answer the questions in your Summary as best as I can:

1) State of Akali

Akali currently looks to be in a decent spot, and as I hear she is starting to gain more popularity recently especially in solo queue. I also think she will be benefiting from the changes we are making to the overall game to make it less anti-Assassin. As far as Game Health goes, I still believe she is a champion with a lot of flaws. When she gets ahead, there is usually very little individuals can do to overcome the situation due to her simplistic mechanics (tons of just “I click you and hope you die” abilities) and when she’s behind she has very little power to come back since she doesn’t have any strong “fallback” patterns and the her primary defensive ability (W) is still tied to our primitive and hard counter-y stealth system.

2) Squishy Melee

We are still exploring what it means to be a squishy melee in the game. Yasuo was obviously an experiment in this field. I see 2 possible positions for them:

1. Enemy backline (Assassin): I think everyone is familiar with this pattern. In my mind there are 2 inherent steps in this pattern – 1. The Infiltration to get to the right target and 2. The Execution when they arrive at the target to take them out. Assassins should be champions who rely on flanking and other creative ways of infiltrating towards the enemy’s high-priority targets. I think a large part missing in a lot of our Assassins is an interesting Execution phase, where they still need to make a play once they reach the target to finish them (maybe Zed after the more recent changes meets the bar now).

2. Ally backline (Melee Carry): This is a term we’ve thrown around a ton but have never truly delivered upon. A lot of the supposed Melee Carries we’ve put into the game are honestly very Assassin-like in their pattern since we often give them the tool to access the enemy backline. The idea behind this character would be similar to that of a Ranged Carry mindset – start with whatever targets present themselves, usually the enemy frontline and eventually make their way through the team to clean up the enemy’s backline.

Yasuo was a champion I believe had a lot of potential of fulfilling this role due to mechanics such as Wind Wall which keeps him safe from the enemy backline while he deals with the enemy frontline, but once again we ended up giving him a way to easily access the backling via his ult which I think really undermines this role’s purpose and essentially turned him into an Assassin. To me it feels like a somewhat lost opportunity.

3) Spell Vamp

Spell Vamp is honestly another old system that we probably need to revisit and re-set the goals around its purpose in the game. I would say in its current state, Spell Vamp being any more prominent would probably just lead to abuse cases. One of the largest problems with Spell Vamp is how much it favors resourceless champions vs. Mana champions. This is something we’d have have to take a hard look at if we wanted to adjust it, but I don’t think there are any immediate plans.

4) Stealth

I don’t just think it would be beneificial, I think it is integral to the health of all stealth champions that we figure out a better system for them to work under. The current binary / hard-counter system is one that provides little gameplay and disallows these champions to scale with player skill effectively. It’s something I’m very personally interested in investigating but have never found the time to.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Who do you think are the top 5 Champions in need of Rework

  1. Statikk New PortraitUrgot
  2. Poppy
  3. Mordekaiser
  4. Yorick
  5. ??? – can’t decide =/

Once again, my personal opinion. I think the above 4 have incomplete/confused identities/roles within the game and have flawed play patterns that offer very little counterplay.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Immobile Mid-lane Mages, Athene’s, Deathcap and Void Staff

Statikk New PortraitThis is definitely an issue that we have struggled with a lot internally. We call this class of characters the “Immobile Mid-Lane Mages” and I 100% agree with your identification and breakdown of the problem.

I’m definitely on the same page with you when you say Mobility Creep is one of the largest contributors to this. As we’ve added more and more mobility to the champions in our game (for good reasons – mobile champions are really fun to play, create a lot of “outplay” moments, etc.), the Immobile Mid Mages have fallen off especially in the competitive scene.

The bottom line is that we have done a poor job of valuing Mobility as it relates to the amount of power it gives to a champion’s kit. Champions with high mobility need to be paying a larger cost for having that strength, and this is obvious with examples like Kassadin, LeBlanc, or Lee Sin. Mobility is actually a tool that scales extremely well with player skill, pros are able to exploit both the strategic map mobility and tactical in-combat mobility to its fullest extent.

As far as itemization goes, I know the Systems team is looking into different the lesser used items such as Rylai’s. The lack of Mana Regen in the Rylai’s + Liandry’s combo is interesting (I believe most stack a few Doran’s Rings to try to get around this), but overall I think it might be pointing out a larger issue in our game which is our ever-growing pool of Resourceless champions and how we have maybe warped the game to allow Mana users to compete with the resourceless guys over time. A big example of this is how strong Athene’s is at the moment. When you look at the item objectively, Athene’s is pretty insane in terms of gold-efficiency, but this leads to a scenario where the only mages that are viable are the ones who can leverage Athene’s effectively. This is something I’ll definitely bring up to the other guys on the team to see if this is another avenue we can help attack the problem.

Overall, I don’t think there’s an easy fix to this problem. I think we’ll have to do a lot of systematic changes to the game in order to get Immobile Mid Lane Mages back into the game in a healthy way, but it’s something definitely on our radar (just not right at this moment since we are prepping for Worlds).

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

 Lucian feels like a better Ezreal right now

Statikk New PortraitFirstly, I’ll start with new Lucian. Flat out, he’s just currently overtuned and that will be corrected soon. This means that Lucian’s current state is not really a useful grounds of comparison when it comes to power level.

To address Ezreal, we honestly feel Ezreal is still fitting the vision we set for him. He’s a long-range, mobile, poke ADC and he fits that pretty well. In fact, Ezreal is still being valued in the Korean competitive scene.

I don’t think it can be easily assumed that Ezreal is “weak” at the moment. He has things that Lucian doesn’t have (long range) and Lucian has things that Ezreal doesn’t have (hyper mobility). That’s a great place to be in when they can be valued for different reasons. I think something to clarify is that Ezreal should probably not be the most mobile ADC in the game given that he has such high range. He can be mobile sure (and he is because of his E), but being the most mobile is probably not ideal given his other strengths. I think it’s easy to forget, once a champion has not been dominant for a while, the times they actually were dominant and how small of a change it takes for us to revert back to those times.

Purely using Win Rates averaged over all skill levels is a dangerous way to approach game balance. In fact, I think this kind of mentality has heavily contributed to the Mobility Creep that continues to grow in our game. Some things simply scale extremely well with player skill level – it turns out that Mobility is one of these things. The fact that a lot of our more mobile champions do have “lower” win rates is not an accident or mistake. It takes a ton of mastery and skill to leverage Mobility to its maximum potential.

[ Link to Post ]

 

What’s your opinion on underplayed Supports like Zilean, Alistar and Taric

Statikk New Portrait1) Taric

Similar to Garen, I think Taric is at a place where we have to weigh simplicity vs. mastery. If we were to change Taric, I doubt we would put more emphasis on Auras as they are biggest examples of “Power without Gameplay.” Stat-based Auras typically have to be fairly game-warping before they are noticeable and satisfying, which is why we usually avoid them.

Overall, I think we need to find a more interesting core gameplay pattern than “stand near an enemy and press all your buttons” for Taric. I don’t want to get your guys’ hopes up, but we actually do have some experimental Taric changes that are pretty different from his current kit. No guarantees on if it will ever release or when, but he is someone who the Reworks team is looking at potentially changing.

2) Zilean

Zilean’s kit unfortunately has very little counterplay, and it’s the large reason why it’s hard for us to find a place for him in the game. Currently when he’s powerful, he creates an extremely frustrating experience for the enemy laner. He is also one of the champions that is higher up on the Reworks priority list, but because we would have to change his kit so drastically to make him healthy for the game, it will definitely be a while until we can release changes.

3) Alistar

The W+Q combo is something that we never intended to exist, but it’s something that Alistar players have gotten used to and is honestly integral to his current balance and gameplay. If we were to revisit him in a Reworks style approach, I think there’s a high likelihood that we would remove the combo and instead give him more ways to create situations where he can W enemies into walls to setup a follow-up Q. This is probably a healthier version of his combo, but it’s not something we’d do unless we supplemented the kit with ways to function and succeed without the combo.

I agree the heal is also something that doesn’t necessarily mesh well with his kit – both from a game health perspective and a thematic perspective. Functionally it is honestly just a bunch of sustain in lane (arguably not a “bunch” anymore now that we’ve tuned it down over time) and then falls off in usefulness once it gets to late game. It creates a fairly un-interactive lane pattern that is diametrically opposed to his all-in initiation combo style. It’s something I think we’d have no qualms of removing if we found something better to replace it with.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Are there any plans to rework Garen

Statikk New PortraitThe difficulty of a champion like Garen is that we see him as a great beginner champion. He’s easy to pick up and easy to understand, so he does bring a lot of positive to the game even when he isn’t necessarily a strong champion at the competitive level.

If we wanted to make him more healthy for competitive play we would have to start weighing the costs of adding complexity to his kit via new mechanics and probably adding more points of mastery in his gameplay which probably means making him overall more demanding to play.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned working on this game is that it is rare for any decision to be completely free of costs or tradeoffs. Almost every change we make that has a benefit also has a cost and we always have to weigh them against each other.

In Garen’s case we would have to understand the costs we would have to pay in his simplicity in order to make him a healthier competitive champion. I can say right now, that there are no immediate plans for work on Garen, but you’re definitely on the mark when you say that if we do go and change Garen we would need to try our best to preserve his low skill floor while still increasing skill ceiling (which is extremely difficult to do).

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

What's your view on Quinn

Statikk New PortraitIn terms of balance, we think Quinn is actually pretty strong.

In terms of design, I think we all feel Quinn is somewhat of a missed opportunity. Here’s a list of things I think we are not exactly content with:

  1. She’s a sub-par bot lane ADC
  2. She’s overly reliant on snowballing / doesn’t have a great fallback pattern
  3. Her ult specifically is great when she’s ahead (potentially makes her feel overbearing when ahead due to the amount of burst it adds) and feels almost useless when behind or even

Overall, I think Quinn is a fun champion with a lot of potential, but we’re simply not there yet.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Do you think Spell Vamp is in a good place right now

Statikk New PortraitUnfortunately, I actually don’t have a ton of insight into Spell Vamp and how it should function in our game (probably more appropriate for one of our Systems guys like Xypherous), but I will say that although a “Spell Vamp ratio” on each spell would make Spell Vamp healthier and more functional in our game, it would be an extremely inelegant solution. For example, how would players know whether they had good Spell Vamp ratios or not?

We would probably have to display it in the tooltips somewhere and that has its own complexity and costs as well. I think you are getting at the heart of the problem though, which is that Spell Vamp is a lot weaker on champions who have to expend resources (Mana) to get returns out of it. Personally not sure what the answer would be here still.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

The Direction of LoL Balance

Morello was up on Twitter yesterday, tackling balance questions one at a time. The first 5 are sequential, after which come a small set of replies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will you address unpopular Champions like, say Viktor

 

Will you address Diana’s currently poor state

 

Don’t you feel that you’ve overnerfed Kha’Zix

 

How long does it take to rework or update a Champion

 

Which takes more time - new Champions or new updates

 

Will we see a solution to the ball of stats fighters

 

 

Single Posts banner

 

 

Why does Zyra’s Passive on W give CDR and not, say, Magic Pen

CertainlyT New PortraitHi there. Zyra’s W gives CDR for two reasons:   First, Seeds have relatively little inherent value. We wanted to ensure that Zyra could cast more spells as she began to replenish her seeds faster, because as you put more points into W, you are expressing a desire to have more plants.   Second, because we wanted Zyra to be able to buy non-CDR items. We wanted players to be able to buy the items that made sense for them in their particular game from the entire line of mage oriented items, such as Zhonya’s or Abyssal Scepter, not be restricted to the (at the time) small pool of CDR items.

A bit of context: We struggled during her development to balance 0% CDR Zyra builds against 40% CDR Zyra builds. The latter could put so many seeds out that certain enemy team compositions felt completely stifled. When W’s cooldown was at a healthy level assuming 40% CDR builds, all other item paths felt terrible. Giving Zyra “free” CDR (20% on release) was accompanied by raising the cooldown of her W to compensate, meaning that Zyra’s effective CDR cap for Rampant Growth was 20%.   Today, it’s unlikely we would make the same decision, as CDR is a much more accessible stat. This is the reason that I lowered Zyra’s passive CDR on W from 20% at max rank to 10%. In a game now filled with CDR choices, the “free” 20% was actually stifling her ability to purchase items. Hopefully getting to 40% these days involves a good amount of choice and compromise without leaving the player feeling like they are struggling to get to cap if they so desire or going way over if they do opt for CDR items.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Can we have an update on Dunkmaster Darius

Baconhawk New PortraitThe answers to these and all your other questions will be answered in time, friend.

(He looks kind of amazing. Graceful, even).   [ Link to Post ]

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

PBE SKT T1 Skins

 

PBE 04/03

Red Post Collection

 

 

PBE SKT T1 Skins

 

SKT T1 Skins for Lee Sin, Jax, Vayne, Zyra and Wards!

 

SKT T1 Lee Sin

SKT T1 Lee Sin

SKT T1 Jax

SKT1 Jax

SKT T1 Vayne

SKT T1 Vayne

SKT T1 Zyra

SKT T1 Zyra

SKT T1 Ward

SKT T1 Ward

 

 

Champions

 

 

Kassadin New Portrait

  • Mana-per-level increased from 45 to 70
  • Movement speed increased from 340 to 350

 

Nether_BladeNether Blade [ W ]

  • Damage increased from 40/65/90/115/140 to 40/75/110/145/180

 

 

Vayne New Portrait

  • Base Armor reduced from 13.3 to 9.3 (note: April Fools was 2 days ago.)

 

 

Cho'Gath New Portrait

 

Vorpal_SpikesVorpal Spikes [ E ] 

  • Spikes now grow wider as Cho’Gath gains stacks of Feast, changed from when Cho’Gath levels.

 

 

Items

 

 

  Blackfire_Torch_itemBlackfire Torch

  • No longer grants 5% Movement speed

 

Hextech_Sweeper_itemHextech Sweeper

  • No longer grants 40 Ability Power
  • Health granted reduced from 250 to 225
  • Now grants 250 Mana and 25 Armor

 

Twin_Shadows_itemTwin Shadows

  • Ghosts from active now seek out enemy Champions for 6 seconds, increased from 5

 

 

Lulu Mid Statikk

Why is Riot intent on toning down Lulu mid? Will this harm support Lulu? Why can’t we turn our enemies into gummy bears?

 

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: Hey Mystic Blue Fox and other Lulu players here,

Firstly, unfortunately I am not Xelnath.

Secondly, I’d like to say that we really appreciate the calm and constructive way you made this thread. Awesome.

I want to take some time to clarify our perspectives on Lulu, why we’re doing what we’re doing now, and what we plan to do moving forward.

We are genuinely happy (and excited) that Lulu can be a mid lane Support champion who brings different strengths than other popular mid laners – especially in terms of potential team compositions.

When Lulu can be brought mid lane to help build a team composition around say protecting an allied Vayne, that’s super cool. In fact, this type of champion and team composition diversity is something we’d like to see a lot more of.

One of the most common criticisms is that due to the Support utility scaling we added in the new season, mid lane Lulu makes herself and her teammates super fast, and that that is a bad / annoying thing. We actually think it makes the game more interesting and gives players different reasons to pick and play different champions. Not every champion should need to bring a ton of damage and blow everything up. Some champions bring other strengths to the table.

We don’t just hate any and all Supports that are played in mid lane.

In Lulu’s case, we are not happy with the primary reason for her being picked in mid lane being that she is a safe, reliable laner who bullies a large majority of other mid lane champions. This is true of any champion in any role. When a champion’s job in the game is to make sure other champions don’t get a chance to participate in the game, there’s a problem.

Another common historical case people bring up is mid lane Janna, which is perfectly reasonable. The primary issue with Janna at the time was that she created a very un-interactive laning phase by continuously charging up her Q to just wave clear and force enemies under their turret which drastically reduced the potential viable picks in that lane.

At the end of the day, we’d prefer if Support mid laners were being brought for their unique Supportive strengths such as protecting /enhancing their allies. It’s really awesome when these type of picks increase champion diversity rather than stifle it.

These nerfs were directed at reigning in some of Lulu’s more abusive lane harass patterns – especially when she snowballs ahead.

Although her laning harass patterns have risk and interactivity in the duo lane, the same rules don’t always apply in solo lanes. In fact, against many other champion in the solo lane, Lulu can freely harass them with little to no repercussions at higher range while they have no way to interact with her.

Once again, it’s an unfortunate truth, but many gameplay patterns that work well in a certain lane can be toxic for game health when brought to other lanes. This is something we always actively design around.

We agree we failed to ensure that she was still equally as viable in her traditional role as a bottom lane Support for this patch.

Normally we would either A) understand we significantly affected her bot lane viability and make compensatory buffs or B) confirm that we did not hurt her viability in her traditional role.

We simply ran out of the normal amount of analysis time and data gathering we would need to accurately execute on this.

To be clear, this does not mean that she is not viable as a bot lane Support currently. It simply means that we failed to ensure that her bot lane power was still up to par with this release. It still might be, but either way it’s something we need to look into and work on if needed.

We will be following up by doing internal analysis on her status as a bot lane Support and take action in an upcoming patch if necessary.

This is something that is currently ongoing. Lulu’s current viability as a bot lane Support is something we’re taking a hard look at to make sure we didn’t mess anything up here. If she is no longer viable in her intended role, you can expect we’ll be making changes until she is.

Anyway, I know it was long, but I really wanted to address everything I’ve been reading / hearing. Once again, thanks a ton for the constructive posts.

 

 

Will you keep Support Lulu viable?

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: It depends on the result of the following analysis, but yes, we will make compensatory changes if we feel she’s now lacking as a duo lane Support.

 

 

 

 

Follow-up: Is compensating for the Support role a Season 4 philosophy?

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: It’s definitely something we’re adopting much more as we have continued to grow and learn while working on LoL.

Sometimes we will have to outright push a champion out of an off-role because of the game health problems they present and the costs / tradeoffs we would have to make to their primary role to make the off-role healhty. We’re definitely going to try much harder to find room for these off builds to work, but I can’t promise that we will always be able to deliver on that.

 

 

If Lulu’s early game Q damage is the problem, why is her E getting nerfed?

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: That’s a pretty good point. Our main thought process around nerfing E damage was that it was the most un-interactive part of her kit (click a dude, deal damage to dude) and that ultimately we would like to move power from there to other parts of her kit that have more interesting gameplay.

We also largely believed that nerfing her Q base damage would cripple her viability as a Support, but we may be wrong on that?

 

 

Why is Lulu mid being a reliable pick a balance issue?

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: When we say overly “reliable,” we really just mean we think the champion is too good against too many things. Mid lane Lulu wins the majority of her lane matchups and outright crushes many of them.

That is a lot different than being reliable as a protector or source of CC for her teammates, we’re fine with that. We just don’t like her being able to have such a huge advantage in lane against almost any champion.

I guess our take is that mid lane Lulu should be taken as a way to give a ton of Movement Speed to an ally and a way to protect a high priority target on her team (or synergize with an initiator for a wombo combo).

The problem isn’t that Lulu doesn’t die in the lane, it’s that she consistently harasses out her opponents and forces them to back or risk dying while maintaining her relatively high safety.

 

 

Off-topic: Do you think Renekton limits the pool of top laners?

 

StatikkButton Rioter Statikk: Yeah I figured this would be coming up, because it’s a legit argument. I don’t want to derail too much because this is a thread about Lulu, but Renekton is definitely an issue and as you can see in the latest patch notes we are trying to off load some of his early lane dominance elsewhere.

 

Don’t want to go too in-depth here, but we basically feel if we nerf Renetkon, a new bully will just rise up in his place that is potentially even more unhealthy for the game due to our generic fighter designs. Our current approach in one of the upcoming patches is to take a look at some of the top lane champions we think would make top lane more interesting and give them buffs so they can better compete with champions like Renekton.

A more holistic approach to fully solve the “Fighter” issue is to make our fighters have more defined strengths and weaknesses both in lane matchups and in overall team / game strategy, but that’s a project that would take a long time to finish.

 

 

Twitch Voice Over

We recently got the announcement that Twitch would be getting a visual update, but what about his voice? Good news, the stinky rat gets to keep his awesome accent!

 

 

Is Twitch’s voice actor the same one from before?

 

Riot EntropyButton Rioter Riot Entropy: It is indeed the same gentleman. We brought him back to expand Twitch’s script from the original nine lines to 80+ interactions. The actor has a lot of range, so we were able to capture more depth of character this time around. The lines you heard in the showcase are on the manic “high-strung” end of the spectrum you’d expect from him in the middle of a deadly game of cat-and-mouse… or rat-and-splat?

 

 

What can we expect from the VO?

 

Riot EntropyButton Rioter Riot Entropy: VO hookups. Attack lines, move lines, taunts, jokes, ability activations, and some other stuff I don’t want to spoil until you try him out.

 

 

 

 

Will he be like Rattigan?

 

Riot EntropyButton Rioter Riot Entropy: There are some subtle notes of Rattigan. He’s more trying to be refined and sophisticated by denying what he is though. Twitch loves who he is, it’s just that Twitch’s idea of what’s good is very different from ours.

 

 


Ghostcrawler Topic

Riot’s Lead Game Designer steps into the forums to answer some burning questions LoL and WoW fans.  No Lissandra buffs announced (yet).

 

 

How involved are you with the game’s balancing?

 

(Well, that isn’t at all what the Summoner was “asking”, but it’s the most civil interpretation I could come up with.)

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I’m not interested in dramatic change. The teams at Riot know what they’re doing, and they don’t need me mucking that up.

But maybe where I can contribute is helping make sure you guys understand our overall philosophy for why we make the changes we do (or those that we don’t!). I want to do what I can personally to get you all bought into our design direction and also make sure we understand your point of view when we disagree.

I love that Riot aspires to be so player focused. Any of you who have known me for a long time can understand why I’d want to be a part of that.

 

 

Follow-up: You have a history of making “dramatic changes”. Why shouldn’t we expect them in LoL?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I understand where you’re coming from, but again, this is an example of conflating the direction of a team with the influence of one person. The direction of League comes from Riot and it comes from you guys. The same was true of WoW during my tenure there, and I can’t imagine it could have changed that quickly since I left.

 

 

Were you blamed for the balance issues in WoW because you were the only one who communicated them with players?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I said this on Twitter recently, but I’m totally fine if any of you want to hold me accountable for anything in the games I’ve worked on, including this one. I can take it.

That said, when you attribute the work of so many to so few or even one guy, it’s really not fair to the literally hundreds of people who work together to make a game like WoW or LoL. It’s really not possible in a game of this size in an environment this collaborative for any one person to have that much of an in influence.

 

 

How is your job different from Morello’s?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: We’re not big on titles here, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Morello works closely with the champion and core teams and he has been a point of contact on that stuff for you guys forever so I would keep using him. We’re friends and we work closely together. Anything you say to either of us will get to the other dude.

 

 

Can we expect an AMA from you?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I thought about that, but I worry the message it sends is I AM VERY IMPORTANT which isn’t a message I actually want to send.

 

 

 

 

Aren’t you responsible for homogenizing WoW’s classes and making balance stale?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I think this is a fair criticism. At the time, we were trying to solve a problem where certain classes were stacked and others just didn’t get to participate at all. But homogenization is absolutely a design risk, especially in a game like League with so many champions.

For the record, I think homogenization stinks, and I invite you guys to absolutely call us on it when it happens.

 

 

How did you rise to Lead Game Designer without ever working for Riot previously?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: In many industries, including this one, experience counts for a lot. At the end of the day, you need to ship a product (as lame as that makes it sound), and there are things you learn about how to get that done. I’m not in charge of the direction of League — nobody is really. I do have sixteen years of experience in building teams, improving communication, building consensus, helping to level up junior designers, and hiring talented new ones. Those are all important components of leadership and ultimately that’s what Riot said they liked.

I’ve said this before as well, but one of the secrets of this business is that good ideas are cheap. Knowing how to ship a good game is what is really valuable.

 

 

Weren’t you a disrespectful blue on WoW’s forums?

 

ghostcrawler Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: Are you sure you aren’t confusing me with someone else? I take player opinions very seriously, even when I disagree with them. It’s harder on Twitter, where the limitations of the medium make it hard to say things like “You have a point, but…” or “Our goals are the same, and we just disagree on whether a proposed change will accomplish those goals.”

Now, some players might say “You didn’t make this change I wanted, so how can you really call yourself responsive to player concerns?” It’s not really possible to make everyone happy all the time, and when you try, you can end up with mistakes… like homogenization!

 

 

Sivir Kata Banner

 

PBE Update

Plans for vintage Limited Edition skins

Red Post Collection

Making of Warrior Princess Sivir

 

 

PBE Update


 

AatroxSquare

      Aatrox

Blades_of_TormentBlades of Torment ( E )

  • Damage lowered from 75/120/165/210/255 to 75/110/145/180/215

 

 

OlafSquare
        Olaf

UndertowUndertow ( Q )

  • Minimum slow increased from 1 seconds to 1.5
  • Maximum slow increased from 2 seconds to 2.5
  • Mana cost reduced from 55/60/65/70/75 to 60 at all ranks

 

Vicious_StrikesVicious Strikes ( W )

  • Attack speed increased from 20/35/50/65/80% to 40/50/60/70/80%

 

 

SivirSquare

       Sivir

  • Base Attack speed lowered from 0.658 to 0.625

 

Sivir_WRicochet ( W )

  • Now lasts for the next three auto attacks causing each to do ( 1 AD ) to the first target and ( ~.6 AD ) to each subsequent target. Only the first target is affected by on-hit effects Each target may only be hit once by each Ricochet
  • Cooldown increased from 7/6/5/4/3 seconds to 10/9/8/7/6

 

Sivir_ESpell Shield ( E )

  • Mana gain for blocking a spell decreased from 150 at all ranks to 60/70/80/90/100
  • Mana cost removed

 

Sivir_ROn the Hunt ( R )

    • Passive added: Sivir gains 40/60/80% Attack Speed while Ricochet is active
    • Active: Sivir rallies her allies for 6 seconds, granting all nearby allies an initial 60% Movement Speed bonus that decreased to 20% after 3 seconds

 

 

Lore

 

“When the people of Valoran speak of the ”Battle Mistress,” there is only one woman to whom they refer. Combining unflinching bravery with prowess in combat and endless ambition, Sivir’s reputation as a fortune hunter is only rivaled by her amassed wealth and acclaim. Faced with the revelation of her mysterious heritage, Sivir must now weigh her desire to follow her own path against the burden of a greater legacy. 

Sivir grew up among the desert nomads of Shurima, mastering the art of tomb robbing and enjoying a life without strong ties to any one place. She excelled at the mercenary life, accumulating riches, followers and reputation with ease. As her fame spread beyond the desert sands, she caught the attention of wealthy patrons across all of Valoran. The most influential of these benefactors was Noxus High Command. Sivir served the whims of the brutal nation with little concern for consequence. Their partnership proved to be a profitable one until the Ionian conflict broke out. She chose to take no part in the messy invasion and severed her ties. 

It was no surprise to Sivir when the Noxians next paid her a visit, but where she expected assassins, she instead received an offer. Cassiopeia, the daughter of one of Noxus’s most influential families, claimed to have unearthed the location of ancient Shurima’s greatest treasure. All that the noblewoman required was an experienced tomb robber as an escort. 

The expedition proved to be more than Sivir and Cassiopeia bargained for. The ancient tomb held neither the treasure Cassiopeia had promised, nor the weapon she coveted. Despite Sivir’s warnings, the Noxian flung open the door to the entombed vault, setting events in motion that would change not just Sivir’s life, but all of Shurima forever. 

What’s lost can be found… and sold.
— Sivir””

 

 

In-game Preview

 

 

 

New Audio

 

 

 

XerathSquare
       Xerath

 

ArcanopulseArcanopulse ( Q )

  • Mana cost increased to 80/90/100/110/120 from 70/80/90/100/110.
  • Cooldown increased to 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 from 7/6.5/6/5.5/5

 

Locus_of_PowerCosmic Strike ( W )

  • Mana cost decreased from 100/110/120/130/140 to 80/90/100/110/120
  • Slow duration increased from 2.5 seconds to 3
  • Slow for targets in middle of blast increased from 35/40/45/50% to 40/45/50/55/60%

 

Arcane_BarrageAscension ( R ) 

  • No longer reduces damage taken by 10%/20%/30%
  • Mana cost reduced from 100/150/200 to 100 at all ranks
  • After the ability ends, Xerath gains 30/40/50% Movement speed for 2 seconds
  • Xerath can now be moved by displacement effects while in Ascension

 

 

Plans for vintage Limited Edition skins


 

Kitty Cat Katarina Banner

 

 

Hey summoners,

For the past year, we’ve been exploring ways to solve a conundrum with Limited Edition skins. Here’s the crux of the issue:

  • During events from December 2009 through October 2011, we released 34 skins for a limited time and communicated they wouldn’t come back into the store.
  • Since then, our playerbase has grown so much that these skins are virtually never seen in game
    • The most common, Bewitching Nidalee, appears once every 971 games in NA
    • The least common, Ice Toboggan Corki, appears once every 116,586 games in NA
  • Every day we receive heartfelt emails with compelling stories from players asking for the chance to own or gift their favorite skin, either because they missed the brief store window due to travel, illness, deployment, etc., or because they hadn’t joined the LoL community yet.

We think it’s important to solve this, especially since we believe skins are primarily about self-expression and fun, not exclusivity. We’ve evaluated solutions such as a trading auction or achievement system, but each has significant negatives. We also feel that, while it’s important we solve this problem for the majority of players, it’s equally important that we preserve value for those who do own these skins.

 

Taking all that into account, we decided on the following solution:

  • The 34 Limited Edition skins will become available for purchase or gifting for a limited time during the following months:
    • Harrowing 2010 & 2011 skins during October 2013
    • Snowdown Showdown 2009 & 2010 skins during December 2013
    • Winter Games 2010 skins during February 2014
    • World Cup 2010 skins during June 2014
  • Given the reduction in exclusivity, we will be providing the following compensation to the original owners of these skins:
      • RP equal to the price they paid for the skin
      • Vintage treatment in the loading screen whenever they use the skin
    • + Exclusive summoner icon:
  • Going forward these 34 skins will be considered Legacy skins, and may on rare occasion also come back for future events without additional compensation

 

Please note these changes don’t have any effect on:

  • Limited Edition skins that were once in the store but are not part of these events (Rusty Blitzcrank, Urf Warwick, Championship Riven, Riot Singed). If these skins are ever brought back, they will be treated similarly.
  • Earned Limited Edition skins that were rewarded for events or achievements and never appeared in the store (PAX Twisted Fate, King Rammus, Victorious Jarvan, UFO Corki, etc.). We have no plans to make these skins available.
  • Other Legacy skins (Riot K9 Nasus, Zombie Brand, Nottingham Ezreal, etc.), which may still come back into the store from time to time without compensation

We believe this is the best solution for the overall playerbase, and look forward to hearing your feedback. To answer your questions on this and other eCommerce decisions, policies and features, we’re hosting an AMA on Reddit, Tuesday October 15, at 12pm Pacific Time. See you there!


Here is the list of affected skins and when they will temporarily become available in the store (at some point during the month):

October 2013 (Total Bundle Cost: 8840 RP)

  • Mundo Mundo – 975 RP
  • Pumpkinhead Fiddlesticks – 975 RP
  • Kitty Cat Katarina – 975 RP
  • Lollipoppy – 975 RP
  • Zombie Ryze – 975 RP
  • Nosferatu Vladimir – 975 RP
  • FrankenTibbers Annie – 975 RP
  • Definitely Not Blitzcrank – 520 RP
  • Bewitching Nidalee – 975 RP
  • Haunting Nocturne – 520 RP

December 2013 (Total Bundle Cost: 8515 RP)

  • Snow Bunny Nidalee – 520 RP
  • Workshop Nunu – 520 RP
  • Happy Elf Teemo – 520 RP
  • Earnest Elf Tristana – 520 RP
  • Old Saint Zilean – 520 RP
  • Re-Gifted Amumu – 520 RP
  • Santa Gragas – 975 RP
  • Reindeer Kog’Maw – 975 RP
  • Candy Cane Miss Fortune – 975 RP
  • Ragdoll Poppy – 975 RP
  • Nutcracko – 975 RP
  • Silent Night Sona – 520 RP

February 2014 (Total Bundle Cost: 5460 RP)

  • Vancouver Amumu – 520 RP
  • Team Spirit Anivia – 520 RP
  • Ice Toboggan Corki – 1820 RP
  • Union Jack Fiddlesticks – 520 RP
  • The Mighty Jax – 520 RP
  • Festival Kassadin – 520 RP
  • Whistler Village Twitch – 520 RP
  • Curling Veigar – 520 RP

June 2014 (Total Bundle Cost: 2535 RP)

  • All-Star Akali – 975 RP
  • Goalkeeper Blitzcrank – 520 RP
  • Striker Ezreal – 520 RP
  • Red Card Katarina – 520 RP

 

 

Red Post Collection

 

Riot logo decoration

 

 

Sivir’s relaunch on PBE


 

Sivir Decoration

What was the artistic focus behind Sivir’s rework?

 

 

Riot Pwyff Button Rioter Pwyff: We’ve already been talking about Sivir and our plans to relaunch her; now that she’s heading to PBE, we wanted to discuss some of the reasoning behind her changes.

 

Art and Visuals: As one of the earliest champions in the game, Sivir’s visuals and effects didn’t match the look and feel of newer champs. We’ve designed her silhouette around her weapon and improved fidelity and readability of Sivir in-game, giving her an aesthetic that matches the battle-hardened mercenary personality she’s always had. New effects on her abilities emphasize the boomerang-like nature of her weapon, and should make playing Sivir feel more like dashing around the fight tossing ricocheting blades and whittling enemies down from unexpected angles.

Creative: When we revisited Sivir’s lore in preparation for her relaunch, we identified a few mysteries we could explore. Our goals were to clearly identify her place in the world and deliver on the mercenary fantasy inherent in her story. Generic battle platitudes and lack of deep motivation previously made it difficult to become personally invested in her successes or failures. We’ve added new voice-over that ties in to her expanded lore and relationships. With more of her back story and a glimpse into her possible future revealed, players will have more opportunities to learn about Sivir.

Gameplay: Sivir has a unique feel among ranged marksmen. She’s a powerful counter to spell-reliant champs and offers different skills for teamfights than many marksmen with her ultimate and passive. It was extremely important to us to ensure that any changes to her kit preserved her ability to split-push, initiate and counter-initiate while opening up new options for Sivir players. With that in mind, Boomerang Blade and Spell Shield still operate the same way, with some slight tweaks as we continue to test her. Ricochet can bounce to more enemies, although it cannot hit the same target twice. On the Hunt was redesigned to deliver a massive move speed boost, no longer have a cast time and we’ve reduced the cooldown.

We’ll go into more detail about all of the ability changes once she’s closer to going live, but we’re excited to see how players on the PBE use her new kit. As always, we’re looking for your feedback along with the testing that’ll help us squash any pesky bugs.

 

 

[CynicalGiant] Why is the AS boost for Ricochet tied to her ultimate?

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: This decision was made for several reasons – balance, power curve, and use case incentives. As a note, the AS boost was originally on Ricochet itself. I will admit it’s a bit awkward that it exists on her R, but if you think of it more like artificial bonus Attack Speed per level, it starts to make sense.

We wanted to retain some kind of offensive incentive on her ultimate without forcing Sivir players to make un-optimal decisions about how they wanted to use the mobility part of it. So we ended up separating them into a passive and active.

This also helps us curve out her power better to reflect that of a carry. She still gains a lot of power once she hits the end game at level 16+ instead of power spiking crazily at mid-game level 9 or 13. This allows us to put a lot of power in the Attack Speed bonus while not making her OP.

 

 

[CynicalGiant] Why does her Q still have an insanely high mana cost?

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: I wouldn’t agree that it is insanely high, but it’s certainly a significant amount. Her Q needs to have a significant cost if it is to remain a potential high burst-damage poke spell as well as a powerful wave clear tool.

We have reduced the Mana cost pressure across the kit by removing the costs off of Spell Shield and On The Hunt. So that should help in this department.

 

 

[CynicalGiant] Suggestion: Lower the damage loss % on Q

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: We actually tested several different iterations of the spell. We ended up sticking with the Live iteration since with the new Ricochet, Sivir really doesn’t have issues clearing creeps, and we want to make sure hitting clean-cut Boomerang Blades can remain difficult to execute but still meaningful and satisfying when it happens.

 

 

[CynicalGiant] Why does Sivir only have 500 AA range?

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: Sivir has access to several tools that other marksmen don’t. Top-of-the-line wave clearing, a Spell Shield, and team-wide mobility utility. We chose to emphasize those strengths rather than homogenizing and making her more similar to other marksmen.

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: Going to answer a bunch of questions / concerns being raised here. Sorry that I’m not exactly quoting:

 

 

1) Her low Attack Range is why she is not widely played

Although I can agree with this statement, I don’t think it should automatically lead us to the conclusion that we MUST increase her Attack Range. Sivir I believe will always fill a niche role in the game, but that’s okay as long as players who learn and master Sivir are actually powerful contributors to their team and that she is an enjoyable experience to play.

2) Removal of team-wide Attack Speed boost

From a design perspective, we decided that a 15-30% Attack Speed boost was one of the most unsatisfying ways we could deliver power through Sivir’s kit. Although it did provide a somewhat strategic niche, we felt that the mobility part of her ult was always what was more closely associated with Sivir’s identity, so we amped that up instead.

At the end of the day, we believe it provides more room to buff cool things about her kit. I do have a fear that she might be currently undertuned due to us having a couple of really good Sivir players internally that have done really well on a consistent basis. That’s okay though guys, that’s the reason for PBE, we can tune what we need to before she hits the Live servers.

3) Her ult is just a glorified Shurelia’s

In a way, yes you can say that, but it’s also important to take into context what she brings to the table relative to her competition. As far as I know, other marksmen don’t have access to Shurelia’s especially at level 6. Her ult may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think that’s okay. It’s more important that the entire package is something Sivir players can identify with and enjoy.

4) Reduction of her base Attack Speed / Attack Speed per level

This was done for 2 reasons.

1. As a balancing factor due to how much power I wanted to put into the Passive Attack Speed bonus on Ricochet from On The Hunt. If Sivir isn’t able to compete with other marksmen, then I would like to investigate buffing the Ricochet Attack Speed bonus (say 50/75/100% rather than the current 40/60/80%) instead of giving her Attack Speed the old boring way.

2. By making the Ricochet Attack Speed bonus important to her power, this increases the viability of Cooldown Reduction as a good stat on Sivir. CDR Sivir is a super fun build that I would love to see as an effective alternative to the generic marksmen builds that we traditionally see.

Once again, there’s still tons of tuning we can do here, so feel free to try her out and give feedback. Thanks guys and gals!

 

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: Hey guys,

After reading your feedback and talking to the team, we’ve put in the following changes (not sure when you guys will get the new PBE build though):

 

 

Sivir_WRicochet ( W )

  • Damage % dealt to subsequent targets increased from 60% at all ranks to 60/65/70/75/80%

 

Sivir_ROn The Hunt ( R )

  • Total duration increased from 6 seconds back to 10
  • Initial Movement Speed boost duration increased  from 3 seconds to 4
  • Cooldown increased from 80/70/60 seconds to 100/80/60

 

The goals here were:

1) Make sure Sivir brings top-of-the-line wave clear / AoE damage to the table
2) Make sure Sivir’s ultimate feels impactful in its intended use case

 

 

[common source] Does Ricochet still reset Sivir’s auto attack?

 

Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: Yes, activating W still resets her basic attack.

 

 

 

 

Visual Updates – the ins and outs


 

Sivir Banner

Why are Visual updates such a rare novelty? And why are they so awesome? Find out below!

 

 

[Luscious Lenny] Why was Sivir’s dance downgraded?

 

IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: In certain cases, we’ve de-prioritized dances in trade for more comprehensive animations elsewhere. Smoother quality in more often seen animation sets, recall animations, and other places where polish can really go a long way. It’s a very simple cost/benefit.

 

Relaunch recently has been critically evaluating dances. Dances are places we’ve used a lot of resources in the past. Remember, we hand animate everything. No mo-cap, no cutting corners. Every animation is made at a cost of another animation. It’s just how you assign the cost and the benefit in relation to each other.

Currently, as the pipeline stands, we feel animation muscle could be used more impactfully where you see animation most frequently. Runs, spells, etc.

In the end, simplified dances, especially for VU’d champions, means we can spend resources differently, and we feel, more appropriately.

 

 

[Burger Betty] Follow-up: You’re saying Riot doesn’t have the money to include detailed dance animations in reworks?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: You’re assuming we all work under one monolithic department.

We’re on content. Completely different animal with cinematics.

 

 

 

[Serkaidemor] Follow-up: Can’t you hire more staff to do character animation?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: You’d be surprised how few people there are in the world who can hand animate characters to the level that we require.

 

 

 

 

[Serkaidemor] Follow-up: Isn’t Riot too strict in its requirements for animators?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: We want this.

They are extremely hard to come by. So, despite you being skeptical, it is indeed the case.

 

And no, we’re not being too strict. Just like any craftsman, or specialized skilled worker, we need extremely specific skill sets, personalities, and experience levels to fill the roles we need. We interview and bring in people from around the world and yet we only have so many people to do the work. Our guys in all disciplines, crafts, whatever are amazing, but we need more. The people we have, they’re the best at what they do, they are awesome people, and they are rockstars in their field. That’s why they work here. They’re the rarest of the rare.

 

 

[Serkaidemor] Follow-up: Did all the animators move to mo-cap?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

[Serkaidemor] Follow-up: When is it preferable to use handmade animation?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: A lot of companies, games, films use hand animation. It’d be pretty difficult to mo-cap a creature from Monsters Inc, or a raid boss in WoW. Again, it’s about the medium. One is not necessarily better than the other, it’s about what’s right for the product.

 

 

 

[NihilisticGlee] Sivir’s massive boomerang cuts into her animations in Model Viewer

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: That’s why we don’t design for model viewers 

 

 

 

 

 

[Xyrne] Why hasn’t your team moved to mo-cap?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Mo-cap gets you exactly what you “pay for” in that it’s just that, capturing motion. Works great for games like GTA, or many 3rd/1st person games. It doesn’t do much for an RTS, Moba, or even most MMO’s. Basically, the more fantastical your game, the less you can rely on mo-cap. The more realistic, or movie-ish your game, the more mo-cap works for the given situation.

We’ve got a lot of guys who used to do a ton of mo-cap, Ohmikegoodness being one of them. He not only worked with the motion captured rigs, but he actually used to DO THE STUNTS. It’s pretty crazy.

In our game though, mo-cap doesn’t deliver the exaggeration, impossible moves, and a whole lot of craft execution that hand animated assets do. Mo-cap is fine for a lot of games, just not League.

 

 

[hashinshi] Why does it take Riot so long to release visual updates for Champions?

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Short list of reasons:

Decision making, planning, concepting, production, tracking, balancing, promotion, testing, QA..

Additionally, it’s not one model. It’s, in essence, an entire, be it small, game. Think of a champion as essentially it’s own game. It’s packed full of art, design, story, and a ton of other features that affects everything around it. That’s the whole picture. Art is one section of that package.

I’d really like people to stop looking at content development in a dismissive way of being just making a widget. We’re making encapsulated systems that have a lot more layers on them than what you have at face value, from many different angles. Those systems take a lot of effort from many different people working together on many different levels. It’s not as simple as it might appear.

 

IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Development has changed a lot. A whole lot. More goes into champions in terms of mechanics, art, story, everything. More craftsmanship goes into a VU or a rework. It’s a global rise in quality/involvement/standards/etc and therefore timelines are pushed.

There are benefits for reducing the cadence of release, and costs. No one is going to deny that. But throwing more “resources” at the problem isn’t always going to make things more efficient. Still takes 9 months to make a baby no matter how many mothers you have.

 

 

QA on Heimerdinger – Part 2


 

heimerdinger banner

Catch up on Part 1 here!

 

 

[Aerophobia] Is Heimerdinger’s grenade still as slow?

 

20thCenturyFaux Button Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: The grenade gets to be a hell of a lot faster precisely because it shed the blind 

 

 

 

[Aerophobia] How does the new turret AI work?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Heimerdinger’s autoattacks and grenades direct his turrets to immediately use their beams, and while they do use the beam on their own, they are reluctant to do so without Heimerdinger’s intervention. The only exception to this is if someone attacks Heimerdinger directly–the turrets are very proactive about defending the Dinger.

When the turrets use the beams should be pretty clear to the Heimerdinger player after a game or two. I share the worry about “iffy on when it uses” for non-Heimerdinger players, it’s tough to expect people to learn AI patterns. Since the beam is dodgable, though, I hope it will still work.

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Turrets autoattacks operate by checking the area around themselves every quarter second or so (slower for less important stuff). If they find a champ Heimer has attacked or hit with a grenade, they focus that first. Then they look for champs that have attacked Heimer recently. Then they try to last hit nearby stuff. Then they just shoot whatever’s closest. They remember their priority target until it leaves, but do not attach priority to stuff without Heimerdinger’s direct intervention.

Turret beams work a little differently. The turret will use its beam on priority targets immediately if available, out to max distance. Turrets acting independently will beam enemy champions who approach to about 2/3 of max beam distance, and will beam creeps that are close enough to seriously threaten the turret itself. Hitting a grenade on a champion will cause all turrets to beam the target if within range.

The beam targeting AI is where most of the sophistication lies. They don’t just shoot directly at the target, they look at target speed, heading, and whether the target is approaching/fleeing the turret directly or at a tangential angle. It all plugs into a formula to determine how much the turret leads the target, which I basically arrived at by hand-tuning it a ton of times until it felt good.

It’s not superduper complex, but it’s very tricky to get right. AI tuning is one of the hidden levers we have on Heimerdinger, and can be used to great effect if we don’t like the way his turrets are behaving.

 

 

[crzymdscntst] Heimerdinger’s passive feels underwhelming

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Yeah, I feel like the passive doesn’t feel awesome. I know intellectually why I ended up with it the way it is: I can’t see a way to put a different passive on Heimer that leaves him feeling more awesome instead of less awesome because a bigger passive usually requires power or mindshare cuts elsewhere on the kit.

PBE to the rescue! If we can come up with an awesome + low power + low attention required passive that won’t step on the toes of other Heimer abilities, I’ll implement the **** out of that passive  . That said, I’d be happy if this passive went live, because it does two things I really like.

First, it lets Heimer recover from mistakes. All of Heimer’s power involves a lot of planning and setup, and the best laid plans of mice and men tend to run into an angry clown who turns invisible and shoves knives into your big brain-hair. Second, it’s super simple. The kit has a ton of complexity fear and is very overwhelming for new players, so I definitely want a passive that just does what you want and doesn’t demand you think about it.

 

 

[crzymdscntst] Is the turret shutdown necessary?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: I’d agree it’s not if turrets were worth 12g, but they’re down to 5g now. Clearing a full nest is worth only slightly more than the destruction of a single old turret. For me, that’s what made me happy with it. I also enjoy that if Heimer leaves his toys behind, clever enemies get to use them as a lil piece of candy–not too much power, but a nice feel of 5g in your pocket. It goes towards reducing the sheer hate people have for Heimer turrets without sacrificing any of their power.

 

 

[crzymdscntst] Is there something added that makes turrets more tanky?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Good eye–the turrets do have one more durability mechanic. It’s not spelled out in the tooltip, but they gain resists based on Heimer’s champion level non-linearly. So they receive some during lane, but as you progress through midgame they get a big chunk.

 

 

[Like a BALLZ] Does using R+Q cost a turret kit?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: The main cost on the Q isn’t the mana, it’s the turret kit–RQ doesn’t cost a kit and can be placed if Heimer gets caught with no turrets ready ^^

 

 

 

[liHDlGinzo] Suggestion: Label Heimerdinger’s turrets so players know which turret they’re moving

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Ooo, I like this idea. It’s not something I’d want up all the time, but if I can rig something up where, say, mousing over Q shows what turret is what? That owns. I’ll look into it for sure.

 

 

 

Why do the turrets not disappear when Heimerdinger dies?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: I get feedback frequently that Heim turrets should die when he does, but imo it’s actually pretty important to being what he is that his turrets persist. They don’t last the full 8 seconds, but they last long enough to make diving Heimerdinger something you think about rather than do from habit.

 

 

[Pandavenger] Is the bigger turret (R+Q) immune to control effects?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Big turret is immune to CC, excepting Syndra W. If it’s being tossed around, I’d call that a bug–please let me know!

 

 

 

 

[Lionhrted199] Those upgraded rocket turrets are too strong! Riot pls

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Hahaha yeah, RW is definitely something to watch balance-wise.

 

 

 

 

[Lillemanden] Could the turrets get some health scaling based off Heimer?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: We actually thought the same thing, and playtested it extensively. What’s more, we tried turret health scaling off AP, too. Both were a whole lot more mischief than we originally thought.

The first bugbear was turret tankiness varying based on Heimerdinger’s performance. When Heimer was ahead, his turrets got stupidly tanky; when he was behind, supports could kill them and he felt sad.

The second was the way it warped his build. Heimer is so much about turrets, and turrets that don’t die feel so good for Heimer, that we found Heimer virtually always stacked turret HP to the moon. Super tanky turrets are actually unhealthy for Heimerdinger himself, not just his opponents! It’s strange, but what ends up happening is this:

In Tanky Turret World, heimer drops a couple and then chills out. He stops making interesting decisions with his Q cause he’s happy with the ones he has, he doesn’t feel pressured, he saves his kits to replace them as soon as they die (making the problem worse D: ). The speed of engagement is slowed if scaling with HP, because he bought less AP. If scaling with AP, it was so powerful that it hogged a bunch of power budget.

The last problem was in it being basically impossible to figure out how tanky they were. You just see the little green line; you don’t know if they’re normal or half size or 3x as big or whatever unless you understand Heimerdinger’s Q scaling, which is kind of hard to do for people who doesn’t play him.

If the game were PvE and you could keep buying more items forever, I’d do it in a heartbeat. With 6 slots and other players to consider, I’d need some new twist to make it work. Still though, very good idea! We liked it enough to spend a bunch of time on it, hehehe xD

 

 

[Lillemanden] Could the turrets get a short period of invulnerability when dropped so they can reliably fire their beam?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: They start with 70% of a beam charge, if that’s the type of thing you were looking for :3

 

 

 

 

[Corvo Cuervo] The particles look kind of unpolished

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: They absolutely are unpolished. I made ’em myself, and I am in no way a particle artist. Apologies!

Any particle feedback is very welcome. The upside of them being all designer art is that I get to change them whenever I want.

 

 

[SonicTheHedgedawg] How viable will Heimy’s new turrets be?

 

20thCenturyFauxButton Rioter 20thCenturyFaux: Our testing made me think they went from “destroy melee champions” to “cripple melee champions”, hehehe. It’s mainly the bros who go top lane that can push Heimerdinger around, XZ and the like. Heimer tends to punish zed / fizz / et al with great prejudice. If that turns out to be wrong from PBE testing, though, I’ll be sure to fix.

Nunu/cho eat ’em, to be sure, but Heimer has 3 on his Q and Nunu just has 1 bite. If Cho wants to spend an ult to kill a normal turret, he’s welcome to it. Cho eating RQ feels fair to me, an ult for an ult; if Nunu tries to eat RQ, RQ just survives–it even lives through Smite, though Smite + some other damage will bring it down.

It’s interesting that you mention reduced damage from ranged attacks. For a long time, they had 40% damage reduction against champion ranged autoattacks. I even made a little “feel no pain” particle variant for ’em. At the end of the day, I felt it was no longer necessary for a few reasons.

First, Heimer is a lot more comfortable replacing turrets now. He’s got an extra one, a big one, and they only cost 20 mana. Second, I used non-linear resistance scaling based on champion level for the turrets. It’s a little mathy, but basically they get wrecked by ADC for the first few levels but do well against mage autoattacks. Later on, when ADC do a billion damage a shot, it’s actually a pretty good deal for everyone involved: ADC only waste a shot on turrets if they are forced to by Heimerdinger, ADC kills a turret in one shot that didn’t go to one of Heimer’s teammates, the ADC clears the turret from an area he wants to control, and Heimer replaces it in a new area that he wants to claim. The big win there is the last thing–it lets Heimer keep setting down turrets in a teamfight without having to feel like he’s sacrificing anything to do so.

I have all the code for the damage reduction still handy, and can turn it on if PBE testing shows the need for it. That being said, I’m actually quite happy that the turrets don’t oppress ADC in bot lane. I like Heimer support builds, but damage reduction against ADC made Heimer support into this weird thing that puts turrets down that then fight his own ADC for cs, te

 

 

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