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YORICK

THE SHEPHERD OF LOST SOULS

Yorick has always been a practical man. He knew he’d need strength to destroy the Black Mist that corrupted the Blessed Isles, even if it meant fighting evil with evil. So he harnessed a whole world of evil in the cape that now clings to his shoulders; in the unknowable depths of the cloak swirls the essence of a thousand damned souls. When the Shepherd summons forth a being from that seething miasma of lost spirits, only he hears the wretched assembly’s great wailing and gnashing of teeth—this is his burden, and the source of his power. In his quest to free these souls, he’ll use them (and they’ll use him) to crush anything in their way.

 

ability-pPASSIVE: SHEPHERD OF SOULS

Yorick can have up to four Mist Walkers in his service at once. Mist Walkers decay if they move too far from either Yorick or the Maiden of the Mist. A grave is occasionally created when enemy minions or neutral monsters die near Yorick, and all enemy champions that die near him leave a grave.

 

 

ability-qQ: LAST RITES AND AWAKENING

Yorick’s next basic attack deals bonus damage and restores some health. If Last Rites kills a target, it creates a grave. If there are at least three graves nearby and Last Rites is on cooldown, Yorick can instead cast Awakening to raise Mist Walkers from the graves.

 

 

ability-wW: DARK PROCESSION

Yorick summons a destructible wall of corpses that encircles a target area for a few seconds.

 

 

ability-eE: MOURNING MIST

Yorick hurls a globule of Mist that deals magic damage, applies a slow, and marks a target. Yorick and Mist Walkers get a movement bonus when heading toward marked targets.

 

 

ability-rR: EULOGY OF THE ISLES

Yorick summons the Maiden of the Mist (at higher ranks, she’ll bring some Mist Walkers with her). The Maiden moves and attacks on her own. When Yorick attacks the Maiden’s target, he’ll deal bonus magic damage based on the enemy’s maximum health.

 

 

 

 

LANING AND MID-GAME

Yorick has lived longer than most men, and he’s built up a hell of a lot of patience over the years. The Shepherd of Lost Souls is never happier than when he’s able to quietly farm in lane, shovelling out a whole necropolis of graves as he prepares to lay siege to any structures or unlucky souls in his path.

Mist Walkers are great for sieges, but they’re just not that smart. Once yanked from the relative safety of the spirit-goop cape on Yorick’s back, they mostly want to hurl themselves (screaming and clawing all the way) straight down lanes. They’re fragile, so Yorick has a short window to enter a skirmish at full strength after he’s summoned a pile of Walkers. With his ghoulish army in tow, The Shepherd can encircle his lane opponent with a Dark Procession, then splatter them with some Mourning Mist as he closes the gap to deliver the trapped opponents their Last Rites.

Yorick’s true potential as a splitpushing demon emerges when he gains access to his ult, Eulogy of the Isles. Even without a decent-sized minion wave, Yorick and the Maiden can form a nigh-unstoppable army of Mist Walkers that’ll keep turrets occupied for ages while the Shepherd-Maiden duo pick apart the structure. Each Mist Walker can tank a tower shot, and the Maiden takes more than a few blasts of her own before giving up the ghost. Leave Yorick alone in lane for too long, and pretty soon you’ll have an army swarming your Nexus.

Yorick’s passive and ult give his team a unique way to press kill advantages in the midgame—with defeated opponents reborn as Mist Walkers, Yorick’s team will have a massive pile of friends to help quickly push down turrets.

 

TEAMFIGHTING AND LATE-GAME

The Shepherd of Lost Souls just isn’t very good at engaging fights due to his slow, shuffling movespeed and complete lack of gap-closing ability. And if he doesn’t last-hit a few minions to prep some graves before the fight, he won’t be at full strength when the souls and spells start colliding.

Once he’s in the fray, though, Yorick generally works like a juggernaut. He’ll want to build sustainability so he can survive teamfights long enough for his passive to kick in. With enemies falling all around him, he’ll have plenty of ghoul fuel to convert into more Mist Walkers.

Yorick’s pretty good at peeling and zoning thanks to his W, Dark Procession. The writhing band of corpses is great for keeping enemy juggernauts from making it to the backline, or for zoning the other team’s carry out of the fight entirely. But it feels best when you use it to trap an enemy mage or ADC. Unless the victim can quickly escape by destroying the wall with autos, your team gets to play a rousing game of ring-around-the-squishies.

 

The Maiden sticks around until her health is depleted, so if Yorick tanks for her, she’ll serve for long stretches as his own personal backline.

 

Throughout teamfights, Yorick has to pay close attention to the Maiden of the Mist. If she’s hitting a target alone, she won’t deal much damage, but there’s a multiplier effect when the Shepherd and the Maiden focus someone together. She’ll stick around until her health gets depleted, so if Yorick tanks for her, she’ll serve for long stretches as his own personal backline—his basic attacks are melee, but hers are ranged.

When both side lanes are unoccupied, the Shepherd has a chance to show off the most unusual ability in his kit: splitpushing two lanes at once. It works like this: the Maiden of the Mist is fairly intelligent by AI-companion standards, and she’ll continue to push a lane even if Yorick is no longer there. He can plop the Maiden into top lane, then TP down south to splitpush bot lane on his own. With adequate distance between the two, both are free to raise their own armies of Mist Walkers, up to four each, and push down two lanes at once (so long as the rest of your team can just hold mid for one minute). Of course, Yorick’s a lot weaker without his ghoulish sidekick, so split wisely.

 

CHAMPION INSIGHTS

Yorick is not a popular champion. We’ll admit it! Out of the 131 champions in League, the bedraggled green guy has almost always been the least-played, least-loved champ on the list. But why? Sure, he’s a not-quite-meta, hard-to-balance champ, but we think the biggest reason for Yorick’s unpopularity is simple: Nobody wants to be a gravedigger.

If you aren’t caught up on the latest Shadow Isles lore, here’s a quick summary: Long ago, the Ruined King travelled to a place then known as the Blessed Isles; He wanted to use the Isles’s eternal waters to bring his wife back to life. But the waters were never meant to reverse death, and when the King lowered her corpse into the magic waters, they became corrupted. The resulting Black Mist that emerged from the pool caused a magical cataclysm that morphed the Blessed Isles into the Shadow Isles—a place where the dead find no resting place. Yorick, a former monk on the Isles, is more-or-less a good guy, but he’s being slowly corrupted by the mist, which clings to his back in the form of a cape comprised of thousands of agonized souls.

Think about it. What image popped into your mind when you read the word “gravedigger?” Probably some hunched-over, half-dead lunatic who’s always shuffling around in the rain, only ever stopping long enough to wave a crooked finger and holler at trespassing children. And that’s pretty much who Yorick was. He was the modern stereotype of a cemetery attendant (a perfectly respectable job that, if we’re being honest, few kids actually aspire to have when they grow up).

But every culture, throughout time, has needed people to tend to the dead. And in some cultures, these custodians of the afterlife had to take great pride and go to extreme lengths to help lost souls get to the great beyond—or wherever it was they were supposed to go.

In ancient China, for example, travelling Buddhist monks would often bring along a Moon Tooth Spade: a double-sided weapon with a shovel-like scoop on one end and a crescent-shaped blade on the other. The tool had multiple uses: If the monk happened upon a corpse on the road, he could properly bury it and deliver all the necessary Buddhist rites. And, if he encountered bandits or wild animals, he could bust out the crescent blade to beat the holy hell out of his attackers.

It was here, in the story behind the Moon Tooth Spade, that we began to see our opportunity for Yorick. What if he was more like that older style of gravedigger—one who cares for the dead with one hand, but isn’t afraid to bring death with his other? Narrative writer John “JohnODyin” O’Bryan began to outline a new, way more heavy metal vision for Yorick’s backstory. “He isn’t just a gravedigger,” says JohnODyin. “He’s a custodian of life and death. Whenever someone is close to death, Yorick can decide to bring them back using a vial of holy water around his neck, or he can send them on their way to death.” He’s a twisted combination of Death himself and a guardian angel, bringing judgment from above.

 

With his new backstory, we’d turned the Gravedigger into the Shepherd of Lost Souls. But then came the tough part: translating that into the game.

 

SCOOP SOME GOOP FROM THE GHOUL JACUZZI

Despite longstanding issues with Yorick’s design, we felt we had a pretty clear idea of exactly how his kit and visual thematics needed to change. He needed to remain a necromancer, so we knew he’d be summoning some sort of wraiths or ghouls. The new story about the cape of souls on his back gave us the perfect explanation for his ability to bring forth Mist Walkers into the world—he just reaches into the mist and yanks out a handful of ghoulies.

The Mist Walkers, once raised, aren’t necessarily the soul of any particular dead person, because when Yorick adds a soul to the soupy miasma of his cape, it works sort of like pouring a cup of water into a swimming pool. When Yorick performs Awakening in-game, he’s actually just filling the corpses of his enemies with a cupful of the black mist, scooped fresh from the ghoul jacuzzi on his back. The mist animates the body, creating a Mist Walker.

The monk spade gave us a starting point for Yorick’s visual update, but it wasn’t hard to find other areas to improve. For one, Yorick’s new role as the Shepherd of Lost Souls implies that he should probably be dressing in some sort of ceremonial garb, not just a gnarly pile of rags. “Most of his new getup is made out of stone, sort of like something a weight-training monk would use,” explains concept artist Gem “Lonewingy” Lim. “It’s decorative, but it’s also indicative of how disciplined this guy is.”

When viewed from the back, the Shepherd’s rocky costume also makes him look a bit like a tombstone shuffling around on the Rift. This was intentional, partly because it fits so well with his persistent, deliberate gameplay pattern. When he sets his eyes on a goal, he gets tunnel vision—he wants to just push down a lane with his army. Slowly. Certainly.

 

He’s ultimately a character that tests your ability to adapt to predictable AI actions,” says Solcrushed. “Mist Walkers are a pretty simple AI. It’s like you’re a shepherd leading sheep.

 

The slow-and-steady approach to his animations and design worked particularly well since we’d always wanted to capture the feeling that, as Yorick, you’re moving an army. This, says champion designer Sol “Solcrushed” Kim, means Yorick’s update had to retain his A.I. horde. “He’s ultimately a character that tests your ability to adapt to predictable AI actions,” says Solcrushed. “Mist Walkers are a pretty simple AI. It’s like you’re a shepherd leading sheep.”

The biggest game design challenge when building Yorick, says Solcrushed, was figuring out how the ghoul raising process works. At first, any minion who was given their Last Rites immediately turned into a Mist Walker. Yorick raised a walker, his enemy killed a walker, rinse, repeat. The system was pretty unsatisfying from everyone, because Yorick never gained a real army, and his enemy had a constant, obnoxious workload to deal with.

At another point in the design process, the Shepherd’s ult gave him global ghoul raising. He’d blanket the whole map in darkness, turning everything that died during the cold night into a ghoul. The ghoul army would push every lane at once, and the reanimated corpses of freshly farmed monsters would come streaming out of the jungle. “It was pretty cool, but it was also batshit insane and totally unpredictable, so we cut it,” says Solcrushed.

The ultimate goal for Yorick’s rework, Solcrushed says, was pretty simple: “I just want players to feel like they finally have a necromancer that’s actually cool.”

 


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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Two new teasers have been released on Riot’s social media. The first is a short gift featuring the reworked Yorick:

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Also, Pantheon’s dream to be a baker will soon come true:


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

 

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Evolution of a Dragon Champion

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Iniquitee Final PortraitHey folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will Taric get a new skin to accompany his gameplay rework

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

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Whats the purpose of the reworked Warlords Bloodlust on the PBE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will you revisit Swain now after the nerfs

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

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

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

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Reav3 Final PortraitI made no promises 🙂

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

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Places to contact me:

Email: nolchefo@gmail.com

Twitter: @NoL_Chefo

 

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

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

 

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

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

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Will Brand be nerfed in some way next patch

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

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What if you reduced the width of his Q

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lpl0Znm HluJkKu aqmLjZT zwepHwS

 


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

 
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FOLLOW UP Pathing aka Minion Blocking Update

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

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

Pathing What?

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

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

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

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

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

So we did.

Did anything work with this?

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

But there were things that didn’t work.

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

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

So what we’re doing

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

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

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

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What direction will the balance team take Shen with his rework

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

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When will Mages receive an update scope of Juggernauts Marksmen

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

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

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Yorick only has two skins
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KateyKhaos Final PortraitHey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What if you made a Chroma pack for Yorick instead

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

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

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

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

Sion Single Banner

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

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Security Reminder Beware of scams this Snowdown

Riot Cluvie Final PortraitHey y’all!

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

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

General Questions:

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

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

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

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


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

Happy Snowdown! May your aim ever be true!

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Janna Main Janna Mechanics

Janna Mechanics Banner

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

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

How did you get into League of Legends?

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

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

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

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

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

What got you hooked on Janna?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janna’s playstyle focuses on reaction-based gameplay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Janna’s main role in teamfights?

In team fights, Janna must identify three things:

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

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

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

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

Who is your favorite AD to lane with as Janna?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———–

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

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Incoming Some Introductions

Pwyff Final PortraitHi gang,

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon~

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Illaoi community creations

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


BeastQueen

Celiarts

chalii

crystalmew

Dand01

feh-rodrigues

joacoful

LagGuilliotine

Leen

Luunally

Mechanical Bunnies

MonoriRogue

Neo-TK

otoimai

Polkadotzombie

Raspbeary Art

RinRinDaishi

Rokusan Cosplay

Sosenka

YuzukiNyaaa


Jojo 한

Blondynki Też Grają

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

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

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

 

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Thoughts on the juggernaut reworks Where were up to after 4 weeks

Meddler Final PortraitHey folks,

Wanted to provide an update on our thinking about the recently reworked juggernauts. Initial post from a week post launch here:

http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-balance/GzunkiGw-initial-juggernaut-thoughts

Overall the juggernauts have definitely been too strong (our bad). Making comparatively immobile melee effective is something we’ve had trouble with in the past, which in retrospect’s lead to us putting too much power into this group. We have been seeing some distinctive play generated by each of the reworks though, which hits on one of our primary goals for this work of making different characters have distinctly different effects on the game. Fairly optimistic we’ll see that continue once we’ve got balance into the correct spot, though won’t count those chickens before they hatch of course. What we’re thinking for patch 5.18 below, with a few longer term thoughts mixed in.


Garen Final Portrait

Garen did turn out to be too strong as initially suspected. The mobility nerfs in 5.17 have helped with that, we still feel he’s a bit strong at present though. Next major change we’ll be doing in 5.18 is making it so that people no longer generate Villainy stacks by killing Garen himself. Biggest impact there is that you won’t get punished for killing Garen in lane, which in some match ups makes it really hard to get a real advantage in lane against him (or even turns what should be a winning action into a losing action).


Darius Final Portrait

Went from significantly weak to too strong with the hotfix and buff in 5.17. We’re nerfing him in 5.18 as a result, giving Q a scaling mana cost and reducing the amount he heals per target hit by Q (with an increase to the max possible healing). Goal there is to nerf his healing overall, in lane in particular, while allowing some big moments still if he can catch 3 enemy champions with the blade. Longer term we’ve also been talking about whether straight % missing health is the correct model or not for Darius’ heal, given how much a tanky Darius can heal for. It’s possible we’ll shift towards a flat + missing% model instead at some point, still discussing/waiting to see how the 5.18 nerfs impact him.


Skarner Final Portrait

We were pretty happy with how the hotfix hit Skarner, since it dropped his power substantially without going too far and leaving him too weak. He’s still too strong, so we’ll be following up on him as well in 5.18, with a nerf to his E slow, reducing the power of his ganks in particular.


Mordekaiser Final Portrait

Now that the dust’s settled somewhat it’s pretty clear Morde’s significantly overpowered as a farming duo laner, and very weak as a solo laner. We’ll be nerfing Morde’s base Armor, W healing and W damage (no longer deals double damage when overlapping, base damage increased somewhat). For solo Morde W’s going to be self castable for the healing effect (though not the damage). Expectation is that we’ll need to do more to Morde in follow up patches as well, though as usual we’ll see what effect those changes have first.

Bonus items section: So far Deadman’s Plate, Titanic Hydra and Sterak’s Gage are looking pretty reasonable. They’re doing the right sort of things on the right sort of champions. No current changes planned for them as a result, though we’re still keeping a clear eye on them of course as builds continue to get tested and refined.

Finally it’s also worth noting that since 5.18 is the patch World’s will be played on we’ve been putting a lot of focus into how the juggernauts are performing in professional play (since balance tends to be somewhat different between normal games and organized 5s, high skill level 5s especially). The recent LPL games have been played on 5.16 with the hotfix, which has been a useful data point for us in assessing juggernaut power. We’ve seen Darius and Skarner picked there (Skarner much more than Darius), both looking strong, though not overwhelming so. No sign of Garen isn’t surprising (the nature of his kit’s a better match for solo queue). No Morde picks or bans is a harder one to interpret. It’s possible his weaknesses are such that an organized team can just shut him down, or that he’s new enough teams haven’t had enough time to drill into his changes yet, so aren’t interested in picking him for now even if he’s theoretically strong (I’m personally in this camp, though definitely not 100% certain about it).

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When can we expect Miss Fortunes balance changes to hit live After Worlds


CertainlyT New PortraitThe present plan is for MF’s changes to come out with the pre-season (so after Worlds), as they require particle updates to her base and skins.

Not to get everyone too excited, but we are also having to do a lot of performance testing to ensure that the number of bullets her ult fires at level 16 doesn’t destroy min spec computers.

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Can we get a visual indicator for Miss Fortunes Impure Shots W stacks

Repertoir New PortraitMF is getting some tweaks in the pretty near future, and I believe that part of this package is better visualization for Impure Shots.

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Do youve any plans for Poachers Knife Is there any use for the item

Meddler Final PortraitIt has, outside of the occasional really niche use. Odds are high we’ll remove it come preseason when we do an item pass (updating, adding, removing various items).

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Meddler Final PortraitWe wanted to try an item that really clearly telegraphed your intent to counter jungle a lot, with power loaded into the action of counter jungling specifically (as opposed to an item that’s good for counterjungling, but also has other uses, like boots). Conclusion at this point is that that’s too narrow a space for an item, given its tendency to lead to one jungler or the other failing really hard early. We want early actions to matter, but not to effectively decide games, and Poacher’s risks games snowballing too hard too fast for one team or the other.

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Can you say whats in store for next season as far as drastic changes go

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re focusing much less on the jungle specifically this time than past preseasons. There’ll be some tweaks to it, but nothing as large as the overhaul last year.

Details on what we are focusing on to follow closer to the time once they’re more certain (lot of early experimentation in progress at present).

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Are there other items thatll see drastic changes like this next season

Meddler Final PortraitNone as clear cut as Poacher’s. We’re experimenting with a lot of stuff at present, it’ll be a while though before most of that’s solid enough to talk about usefully though.

One thing I will mention, since I’ve seen it requested a lot, is that we’re looking at a reworked version of Executioner’s Calling (AD Grevious Wounds item). Way too early to make any promises it’ll necessarily be coming back, it is one of the things we’re looking into though.

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What are you thoughts on Grevious Wounds in general

Meddler Final PortraitCurrent thinking is that Grevious Wounds serves a useful function keeping healing/regen in check, but that we may not have been offering it in the right ways. For starters the % may not be right, – 50% is such a larger difference that characters with strong healing end up being really feast or famine depending on whether they’re facing GW or not. Shifting to a lower %, and reducing healing/regen amounts somewhat, might be more appropriate.

As far as GW on individual champions goes we’ve stripped it off a number of champions because of the amount if felt like some match ups were decided in champion select. We’re still talking though about whether there are some good spots for GW on champion kits (e.g. is the problem regular application of GW in lane, rather than GW on kits in general).

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Can we have some QoL buffs for Azir that would make him easier in Solo Queue

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, Azir’s learning curve’s extremely steep (hardest in the game last I checked). Having a long learning curve for a champion has a lot of value, it means there’s almost always something you can learn and improve at. In Azir’s case though his curve’s both very long and, during your initial games, really steep. That means there’s a really punishing period to get through before you can start playing him reasonably well, given we need to balance for players who know what they’re doing on him. Ways to make him a bit more accessible, without removing depth, would be really valuable as a result. We’ve been considering doing that at some point later this year already, thoughts extremely welcomed on things to look at.

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The health on Shacos boxes should scale with level spell ranks


Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll fix clones not getting the Villain marker in the next patch, it’s not intended that that gives Garen’s team a constant way to tell clones and champions apart.

The Devourer wolf does stealth when Shaco stealths. If there are certain circumstances that’s not happening in let us know and we’ll get them fixed.

Finally as far as Shaco boxes go I’d be really hesitant to mess with their health model without doing significant other work to Shaco, given that’s going to impact his jungle clearing in particular. Definitely a thought worth noting in case we do a Shaco rework at some point though (nothing currently planned, there is some stuff it would be good to improve however).

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Kalistas auto attack range should be nerfed from 550 to 525 or even 500

CertainlyT New PortraitKalista was 525 for a decent period during her development. Feedback was very negative to this at the time, though feedback tends to be negative toward mechanics that reduce the player’s margin for error during this phase, as most players are unfamiliar with the champion. Perhaps at some point we will revisit the issue. Certainly a few things about the champion would need to change to compensate for the range loss.

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Is Talon slated for a rework anytime soon

Meddler Final PortraitWe do think Talon could do with a bit of work at some point, aimed at making him more distinct from other assassins and improving counterplay available for some enemies. Overall though there are quite a lot of other characters that need the work more, so he’s not a rework priority.

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Whats the status of Yoricks rework

Meddler Final PortraitThe Yorick rework Xelnath was experimenting with did get ice boxed. We do plan to do a full rework (Sion/Poppy level) for Yorick still at some point, at the very least that won’t be happening this year though. Yorick’s got some major issues, Poppy, and likely Taric, are ahead of him in the full relaunch queue at a minimum though.

In terms of class we do think juggernaut would be a good fit. Given his minion summoning theme the direction we’re most likely to go is a juggernaut with strong pushing power (split push, counter push, tower sieger or some combination of the above).

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Is Leona crying in her PROJECT splash art

BIOLUMINESCENCE Final PortraitI don’t know for certain if she’s crying or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. PROJECT isn’t (despite Leona’s presence) all sunshine and smiles. It’d be nice to hear more about that world.

I think they’re still on for releasing them on 9/8, right? Not too long now.

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Why doesnt LoL have more in-game quests to promote its backstory

BIOLUMINESCENCE Final PortraitYou rang?

I think there’s been a few things that sort of touch on this, referred to as hidden passives:

http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Easter_eggs/Hidden_Passive

In that list you’ll find little treats for Vi/Caitlyn vs. Jinx, Leona vs. sunglasses, pirates vs. ninjas, etc. These are super subtle things that might add 1g or -1hp or something of that scale – nothing particularly game-breaking for the most part. I don’t know what the development cost is for making (and more importantly – maintaining) these things are, so I can’t speak to if they are easy to add, or more trouble than they’ve been worth. I see that they removed the item for Rengar (in the Kha’Zix/Rengar quest) and turned it into a passive stacking buff instead.

I agree with TurquoiseYoshi and ChromaticEagle that 200g is a hefty chunk of change that could change the course of a game, if it came at the right moment. The number of times I’ve been short even 50g to get my next item I can hardly count!

I think the kind of effort that’s going into these things is usually channeled into the taunt quotes (which have been pretty extensive, recently, I thought).

What I wouldn’t want to see is more reasons for players to fight for results that don’t align with the rest of their team. You sometimes see this in events – if you’ve got half your team wanting to kill more turrets, and another team wants to win fast, then you get players who are misaligned in their goals, and that can lead to intra-team conflict. Maybe you argue that 200g isn’t enough to create that sort of conflict – but I’ve seen how even in normal games, an upset player can begrudge a jungler some CS, or a player in a vs. bots game might be disappointed that they didn’t practice a baron kill before ending the game. I could only imagine the anger some players would display if they were playing Lucian and the jungler killed the enemy Thresh. Or how annoyed the rest of the team might get if Lucian, determined to get that gold, took a risk that they maybe shouldn’t have done. 🙁

I could see something like these things turn up as hidden passives in the future (if it’s not a maintenance nightmare – I don’t know) or as something that could turn up in a future event, or more likely be something we see a lot of in taunts between champs.

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I enjoy gamemodes thatre tied to lore like Black Market Brawlers

BIOLUMINESCENCE Final PortraitI like them too – especially as they’re opt in, and everyone has an understanding of the expectation for the mode.

There have been times (like when different people were on different stages of the recent Bilgewater event) when it could get a little confusing, but again – as long as it’s opt in, I think the positives outweigh the negatives. (Though if I can suggest ways to improve them even more, I’m not going to hold back 😉

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Is IronStylus still at Riot

IronStylus Final PortraitI’m quite here 🙂

Lots been going on recently. Lot’s of pretty crazy life stuff, honestly. Perhaps when it’s all over I’ll tell the tale.

Aside from that though, I’ve been working quite hard on Taric recently. Been a long ride, but we’re getting close to a concept which I think will work. Here’s hoping!

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

 

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We’re entering the PBE cycle for Patch 5.2 and the major change here is the removal of Deathfire Grasp; below you can find a discussion on what Riot plans to do for mages reliant on that item. Also, Lead Champion Designer Meddler jumped on the forums to address unpopular picks like Yorick, Urgot and Evelynn and where they are on the priority list for reworks. Lastly, the newly-overhauled Fantasy LCS is currently experiencing issues and Patch 5.1 has been delayed for at least a day.

 

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[ ! ] Deathfire Grasp has been removed from the store on the PBE.

 

 

52 Live Gameplay Patch Forecast

Riot Jag Final PortraitHey guys, Jag here from the Live Balance team. It’s a new year, a new(ish) season, and we’re back with the Patch 5.2 Forecast!

The biggest change we’re making in 5.2 is that we’re removing Deathfire Grasp from Summoner’s Rift. There are two major reasons we felt we had to do this, so I’ll run through both:

First, DFG tends to make burst patterns even more bursty. The item effectively adds another nuke spell on top of kits that are already designed to have strong up-front damage and aggravates the “whoa, I got one shot out of nowhere” frustration of playing against certain champions. A good example is LeBlanc; DFG adds reliability to her assassination patterns and ends up removing counterplay (she gets to rely on her Q, E, and DFG spells for damage, and can use dashes to reposition or escape instead of making more risky plays).

The second reason is strongly tied to the first; removing this item gives us room to buff champion kits that would otherwise be overpowered if they could use DFG. The most obvious example is Ahri; more ‘magey’ elements of the character, like her sustained damage or kiting, end up getting washed out because she has so much power to blow up charmed targets with a DFG burst. This ends up forcing us to balance Ahri around her assassin playstyle because there’s always the “I can buy DFG” route to consider; removing the item means we can buff her in more interesting ways while still keeping some of her burst because she can’t just pick up a DFG and double down on a single playstyle.

As far as champions that purchase DFG are concerned, some will get some love now that DFG is gone (I mentioned Ahri; expect Veigar to get attention either this patch or next); some are strong enough that losing DFG is a healthy nerf; some rely on alternate item builds sufficiently that they won’t be affected too much. When 5.2 goes live, if we feel there is an itemization gap for mages, then we’ll address that further.

One of the other character classes we’re looking at in 5.2 in Assassins. Some assassins have top tier burst potential that is loaded onto high reliability spells (think Akali or Fizz here) and don’t have enough real weaknesses to compensate. Others may simply be too strong along a variety of dimensions; Zed being one of the best 1v1 champions in the game and an extremely efficient tower diver helps make him a super split pusher. However, him having such strong tower killing statistics (e.g. AS, bonus AD from W passive) on top of that makes for an overwhelming combination.

Last point regarding jungle; we have seen the jungle receive a huge amount of changes since the start of the preseason, and Patch 5.1 was no exception with the addition of the Smite charging system. We want to keep a close eye on what happens when 5.1 hits live servers and we will continue to make changes to jungle as appropriate.

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What are your plans for Mordekaiser since youre removing his core item

Riot Jag Final PortraitMordekaiser is a guy we’re still looking at. He’s an interesting problem because admittedly it seems like DFG is core to his late game team fight objectives, but on the other hand it’s really hard to play up some of his basic play patterns (especially in lane) without aggravating the “this guy is miserable to play against” experience.

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How will mages deal with bruisers without DFG

Riot Jag Final PortraitThe interesting issue with DFG is that despite being a nuke scaling off of percentage health and therefore in theory being a tank shredder, it ends up being arguably more potent on squishies since it reduces the threshold required to one shot a carry’s low health pool by 20%.

Your point suggests to me that maybe there’s an itemization hole for mages that want to deal with health stacking (that Liandry’s is not currently serving). I think that’s a good issue for us to keep an eye on.

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Will Riot add more items with actives to the game

FeralPony Final PortraitSo I can comment on this a bit. We’re looking at some longer term changes to the itemization system this will probably result in some additional active items though I wouldn’t expect anything in 5.2. A lot of the work on the Active Item UI (making active items more prominently displayed on your cast bar) had the goal of allowing us the ability to make more active items. Any additional actives we add would most likely be targeted at classes or roles that currently have a lack of activated items (ie- probably not supports as they can often be overloaded with actives though we had some ideas there as well)

There are also a few active items we had experimented with during Preseason that we liked (like ZzRot Portal) but were delayed due to scope which we might be able to get ship ready sooner.

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Will you buff LeBlanc to compensate for the removal of DFG

Riot Jag Final PortraitOur opinion is that Leblanc and Syndra are not hurt too hard by DFG’s removal (or at least not so badly that they’d need compensation).

Annie is another story. We’re working through some changes that can make her still feel good about bursting people without so heavily relying on “drop Tibbers, cast spells, enemy explodes” pattern.

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Will there be any changes to Cassiopeia in Patch 52

Riot Jag Final PortraitCassio is an interesting topic that I’d like to dive deeper on later. But to start I’d ask what you perceive she needs fixed, as she is trending quite strong since 4.21 (she’s popping up as a real force top lane).

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Ahri without DFG Banner

Deathfire Grasp is a core item on Ahri and the team is looking for ways to compensate for its removal.

 

 

DFG is a core item on Ahri Will her changes be reverted now that its gone

Meddler Final PortraitWe are testing some changes to Ahri that support the kite mage pattern she used to use sometimes. Those changes (not guaranteed, but being experimented with at the moment) include things like removing the damage amp on charm, buffing her other damage sources and giving her a speed boost while her Q’s in the air to allow more reposition plays and kiting while casting.

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Any changes to her W other than numbers

Meddler Final PortraitLong term: We’d love to spice that up a bit, with you that it’s useful but could be more interesting.

Short term: Nothing major planned. We’re looking at small changes to her as DFG follow up and kite pattern support, not significant changes to core functionality of skills right now.

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Follow Up

Not every spell needs to be mechanically complex

Meddler Final PortraitI’m with you there, both on the value of non champion defining skills sometimes being fairly simple (e.g. Rek’Sai’s burrowed Q) and that Ahri’s W’s an example of such a skill. Even on a simple skill though I’d argue there’s a lot of value in adding a bit of distinctiveness/ways to optimize things a bit more. Putting something there basically to enable a person that’s played 200 games on Ahri to pull off the occasional cool play with Foxfire that a player with only 20 games might not be aware of or able to execute at the right time.

Using Vayne’s tumble directly into a piece of terrain to AA as soon as possible’s a good example of that to my mind. A lot of the time it’s not the right call, or not relevant, and new Vayne players won’t do it deliberately. It does add an extra option to the skill, making it a bit richer though, without making the skill’s core concept or tooltip more difficult to understand.

Similarly Ezreal’s Essence Flux being able to hit himself’s often irrelevant or a poor idea to utilize. Occasionally though it’s worth playing into and, pardon the now horribly cliched phrase, is one of the sort of things that separates good players from great.

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Why dont you change Ahris ultimate to an ammunition system

Meddler Final PortraitWe did actually test Ahri during her initial development with an ammo system on her ult, with separate use/recharge, rather than the current 3 casts in X seconds approach. Conclusion we came to’s the same point you’ve made – high mobility, within a limited period of time, results in both healthier and more interesting gameplay. Ammo system Ahri always had a dash charge up to escape with, so was much harder for opponents to deal with and was disincentivized from trying to make cool multi dash plays.

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How about lowering the internal cooldown between her dashes

Meddler Final PortraitI’d be more inclined to find ways to give her other mobility or access her ult a bit more often. Having those gaps results in a longer combat pattern, with more kiting and thought for both sides about where she’ll go and when. Reducing them incentivizes her to spam them to move quickly in a direction or get damage out as fast as possible.

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Whats your opinion on the state of Akali and Diana

Meddler Final PortraitMy current thoughts/couple of general comments:

Akali – Lot of fun and a good alignment between her kit and theme, Lacks sufficient counterplay, resulting in frustrating playing against experience especially when she’s ahead. Removal of the mitigation stats from her W’s reduced her dueling power against tankier champs which is a positive, squishy targets still struggle with a lack of options sometimes however. The live balance team’s currently experimenting with her ult range to see if reducing that’s an appropriate lever to put her into a better spot (her having high reliability’s less of an issue if it’s more practical to stay out of her zone of threat or at least force her to use another ult charge before getting to you).

Diana – Would benefit from being more clearly an assassin or a fighter, rather than a generalized mixture of the two (a good fit for her personality that unfortunately results in her being hard to give sufficiently clear strengths and weaknesses when strong enough to be picked). In an ok state, would probably require that work be done to get her to what you’d call a really good state/be a character we felt was good for the game if a really common pick. Not currently being worked on.

Both of them – Bit much overlap between the two, both utilizing a similar combat approach through their ults, Q’s and cleaves. Ensuring the two of them end up with a few more points of distinction would do both some good (which personally suggests Diana should be pushed towards being more of a fighter, though I can see the argument for assassin as well).

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When will you update unpopular Champions like Urgot Yorick etc

Meddler Final PortraitSome of the key questions we ask when deciding which champions to do updates on:

How badly does this champion need a visual/audio update?

The more out of place (or out of date) they currently look/sound the more reason we have to rework them. A champion that gets played a lot and really needs a visual upgrade is particularly significant – since they’re in games a lot they’ll be seen a lot and therefore contribute substantially to the overall average visual quality of the game. Tristana’s a good example of this – she’s a popular character, who’s also really easy to acquire (Facebook or 1350IP), with quite a few visual/audio upgrade needs.

How problematic is this champion’s gameplay?

Champions with a lack of counterplay, that result in degenerate lane picks, that suppress interesting play etc can be rework priorities because they make the game worse overall. Xerath and Soraka are good examples of this category.

How much untapped potential does this champion have?

These are characters with cool themes that aren’t properly executed on, unsatisfying kits etc. Stuff that could be really cool, but isn’t, usually for a number of reasons (gameplay+aesthetics+personality for example). There’s a good seed of a champion in there, but it’s not done right. Sion’s the best example of this.

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Why are Eve Olaf Yorick Urgot Lee Sin and Xerath low priorities

Meddler Final PortraitYorick/Urgot – Both Sion levels of rework in terms of amount of work. We talked a lot about which champion was the best fit for that level of update next and conclusion we came to was Poppy was the best overall choice. Lot of good points in favor of Yorick, and especially Urgot, but Poppy felt like the best choice for the next slot.

Lee Sin – We feel his problem’s that he’s a generalist who crowds out other picks if you’ve got a player able to take proper advantage of him. That means the work he needs is a combination of accentuating (or creating) weaknesses (and potentially strengths) and possibly a bit more counterplay. Some of that work at least’s going to be an issue of balance, as much or more than rework.

Eve/Olaf – Could do with some work, agreed. I don’t personally feel Olaf’s too far off being playable, amount he leaves some champions without options when he’s strong though’s pretty problematic.

Xerath – I’ll have to disagree with you on Xerath, I feel his rework overall left him in a pretty good spot. Would be nice to improve the visual satisfaction on his ult at some point though, the current visual effect was designed for a somewhat different style of ult so doesn’t sync up well with the feel of the current gameplay.

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Alistars new update hasnt improved his gameplay

Meddler Final PortraitAlistar’s a champ we’d like to do some light gameplay work on at some point. He’s in a reasonably good spot overall though and there are a lot of other champions we felt needed gameplay reworks more. That left us in a spot where we had the option of shipping some visual improvements, and doing some further work at an undetermined date, or delaying the visual changes until everything else could be worked on (probably quite a long time).

Getting those model/texture changes out felt like a clear win, so that’s what we decided to go for, given we had a spot in our schedule where we had enough free artist time for a job of this size and type.

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Will you continue working on Alistars gameplay after his VU

Meddler Final PortraitFair question and no offense taken at all.

I’m quite confident we’ll do some work on Alistar at some point. To be quite open I’m not sure that that’ll be this year necessarily though (talking about skill functionality changes specifically, I would expect some balance changes sometime this year of course as needed). Alistar’s overall very impactful, fun to play, and reasonably well differentiated from other champs. Sure, his passive’s a bit uninspiring, as is his E in some circumstances (powerful though it be). When he’s significantly too strong he’s also basically must pick/ban (see last year’s World Champs).

Overall though he’s in a pretty good spot, and other champs need gameplay work done a lot more than he does.

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These updates are disappointing compared to real reworks

Meddler Final PortraitThese lower scope visual updates are almost always in addition to the other, larger upgrades, not instead of them. If we’re limited by how many champs we make can new character animations and spell effects for at one time, but have the capability to do some more texture/model work, doing those smaller upgrades seems like a good way to help out an extra set of champions that would otherwise not be getting visual upgrades at all at the moment.

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Patch 5 1 delayed at least 24 hours

[ Note ] You can check out everything that’ll be in Patch 5.1 here.

 



Will Warring Kingdoms Katarina receive more work on her model

[ Note ] Warring Kingdoms Kata is a new skin introduced in yesterday’s PBE update. You can check out a full preview here.

KateyKhaos Final PortraitThere’s been a bit of positive feedback, yes. I think one of the larger complaints I’ve seen is that her back is pretty flat, since her hair is dark, and her pants are, too. At this point, we’re still collecting feedback, and will be looking at analyzing them in the next meeting for her. It’s possible there will be changes, but I don’t have an answer for that one yet since she only went out to PBE several hours ago.

If you’ve got some specific feedback about what you don’t like about the skin, I’d be happy to take it!

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Fantasy LCS Known Issues

[ Note ] Fantasy LCS recently received an overhaul, you can read more about it here.

OMHALODIL Final PortraitUpdate | January 13, 11:05 PM PST | 14 January, 08:05 CET : We’re continuing to investigate the issue where players are getting stuck in draft. Unfortunately, we don’t have an updated ETA at the moment. Once we have a fix in place, we’ll be looking into ways to reset the leagues affected by this issue to the pre-draft state.

Update | January 13, 7:40 PM PST | 14 January, 04:40 CET : We’re still investigating the issue where players are getting stuck in draft. We don’t have an ETA at this time, but we’re hard at work at bringing things back to normal ASAP.

Update | January 13, 4:38 PM PST | 14 January, 01:38 CET : We’ve temporarily turned off drafting to resolve an issue where some players are getting stuck when the timer reaches 0 on their turn and multiple picks for a single player are made in a row. For those of you who ran into this issue, we’re looking into figuring out a way to roll back your leagues to the state it was in pre-draft.

We’re also aware of another issue where after creating a league, some players aren’t able to share the link to others to join the league.

We’ll keep this thread updated as we find out more information and resolve these issues.

Thanks.

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

 

 

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Red Posts 13/01

 

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Champion Updates Banner 3

 

 

QA on Champion Update Design

Scruffy Final PortraitHey everyone!

This is a totally unprompted thread where I thought I could answer whatever questions about new champion or champion update designs. I’ll come back to the thread and post answers to a bunch of questions up into this OP.

Because this is the first time I’m trying this, let’s do a broad and obvious topic – Champ Design (including reworks). The type of question that would be fitting here is like “how do you determine which skills to keep when you rework a character?” or “what makes a good character passive in your opinion?”

Stay on topic (sorry I don’t work on URF so DONT ASK LOL) and I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can.

Fire away!

EDIT 1:

I’ll answer a few now and come back later for more (and probably throughout the weekend)

  • If a champion is relatively fine in a purely BALANCE perspective, do they ever have an opportunity to get reworked to be more like what they’re supposed to be? Or be made so that they aren’t such a wasted concept?
  • Yes! We most definitely do and will continue to use thematic delivery, fun, and satisfaction as a reason to revisit a character. We always set out the goals of a project when we start, so we know if it is more mechanics focused (something like soraka) or thematic/satisfaction focus (something like gangplank) or a lot of both (sion).
  • How do you prioritize updates?

Currently we prioritize updates by which are the most “in need” of the improvements (gameplay or visual). Each group (art, design, sound) will use their own analysis and player feedback to rank which champs are really needing the update. This led us to champs like soraka, sion, nidalee, poppy, karthus, etc. While going through this list we have some spare people to work on smaller less urgent projects like viktor, gragas, tristana to keep things coming as often as we can.

  • How much more mobility can we expect to see added to League of Legends in the coming season?

This is a timely question, with so many more mobile champs in recent releases than in the early days of LoL. We actually met with a large group of new champ and champup designers to talk about how much mobility we are giving to characters and at what cost. The general consensus is that we are probably going to both be a bit more selective with where we give mobility and give the characters appropriate costs to having mobility. For example, we think that by default a marksman doesn’t have burst mobility, so the question that we are asking ourselves is “what cost is a character like lucian, tristana, or corki paying for the powerful mobility tools that they have?”

  • Can you describe the factors in/process between deciding whether a skill is a skillshot or targeted ability?

You could have a great ability on both sides of this coin (skillshot or targeted). The real question that we are asking is what parts of a character’s overall kit are reliable and which are unreliable. Having a healthy mix of both is typically a recipe for success because it gives the character some baseline tools that they can count on mixed in with some important moments where hitting a skillshot, blocking a spell with a spellshield, or dodging a big burst of damage with your Zed ult can determine the outcome of a fight.

EDIT 2:

A few more answers

  • What is Riot’s current opinions on hybrid champions, either current or possibly new?

Hybrid champions aren’t problematic as a concept, we just try to factor in how being a hybrid character affects the game. A hybrid champ has both a harder time itemizing for penetration and makes it harder for their opponents to itemize defenses against them.

  • Ever considered an energy-based Support?

We haven’t put any serious work into an energy based on manaless support recently, but it isn’t an impossible design space. The key factor here is that we would want to preserve the important “attrition” element of bottom lane, so this character should probably not have strong health sustain or healing in combination with no mana.

  • How does Riot determine what to keep and what to revise on champion kits in need of a rework for “thematic” reasons?

The first step of a rework is often more about finding the right overall direction for a character. Take Sion for example, we first determined that this guy is best delivered as a tanky “undead juggernaut” that moves slowly but is a major disruptive force in the middle of a fight. It is a very high priority for us to find the right core concept for a character that matches the coolest and most important elements of the character before the rework. With the high level direction figured out, we can see what abilities on the old kit would still work with the new direction for the character.

  • Does how often a champion get played factor in to the decision to rework them? Or are you fine with niche picks, like Urgot?

We do consider a champ’s play rate when we are selecting reworks but we don’t bias one way or the other. A good mix of popular and unpopular champions is what we are aiming for currently so that we can sometimes update popular champs to create positive impact to a wide group of players and sometimes update niche champs to keep them relevant or give them new life.

EDIT 3:

  • How often do reworks get canned, and how far do they usually make it before they get canned?

Rework projects rarely get canned. Though in the past, maybe 1 in 5 that goes into early exploration is put on hold and picked up later. A project like Warwick that Zenon was working on but had to be put on hold for him to work on other projects will be picked up where he left off and finished. Even if entire kits are scrapped and restarted, the work is not a waste because we likely learned a lot about what didn’t work for that iteration and that leads us to things that usually work much better.

  • When it comes to new champion design and such, is the factor of said champion completely overshadowing another, older champ taken into account?

We very heavily consider this when working on new champions. We want a new champ to bring something new to the game rather than replace and overshadow something that champs already do. Sometimes if a champion is released in a too powerful state, it can give them strengths that they aren’t designed to have.

For example, Braum is intended to be a unique defensive support in how he can block projectiles for his team while staying mobile. When he released he was doing that just fine, but he was also a very strong aggressive pick support with Q slows, damage and follow up stuns. When we saw that he was overshadowing a lot of other supports in this way, Wreckz and the live balance team responded by lowering his aggressive play potential to focus his power in the ways that he is meant to have it.

  • How would you go about reworking Teemo?

Hehe, I can’t resist answering this one because TEEMO. So first off don’t take any of this as gospel because I’m just spitballing here.

First off is to try and understand the core of what Teemo is about and what his current problems are. The really unique and fun thing about teemo (IMO) is the way he can control an area of the map like top lane or baron pit with his mine field of shrooms. He also has a clear poke pattern in lane and high sustained damage in the late game. Some of the most obvious problems that he has are that there is no meaningful counterplay to his mushrooms and his poke pattern is also not interactive and just involves trading targeted damage against an often melee opponent.

So when it comes to solutions I would try a variety of mushroom version with possible counterplay and to compensate the teemo player, add or emphasize the awesome rewards he gets for catching his opponents in his traps. A crazy example would be that if he was stealthed (by standing still) and someone triggered a mushroom trap, he could keep his stealth and run quickly towards the triggered trap for an ambush. The other solutions around his poke lane would also need to be creative but would definitely move in the direction of his opponent having opportunities to avoid or counter his poke, and we could give teemo some new tools to compensate for the loss of reliability.

EDIT 4

  • Where does the buck stop when it comes to big decisions on a champion rework?

There is no single individual that has the 100% say over any particular champion update, but many people get to have strong input. From a game design perspective the primary “owner” as we like to call it is the main designer that is spending most of their time working on the project. They receive a lot of input from the other designers on the Champion Update and Champion team and get really detailed and thorough feedback from the Lead Designers on their team and other teams (Scruffy, Meddler, Morello, Ezreal, etc). In the end, by the time any character goes out, many different people have reviewed the kit and, if something is good enough to ship, often most people on the team are very happy with it.

  • You gonna give talon some form of cc (a real cc, not a shitty quarter second slow) on his cut-throat (e) or maybe a decent form of utility so he can keep up with all the incredibly good kits other assassins have?

I think in the future we will shy away from hard CC on Talon because as we have seen in the past, the combination of hard CC and his burst damage led to very frustrating and non interactive situations where he can 100-0 an enemy while they are unable to react.

On the topic of how we would want to improve talon (no immediate plans yet just talking about direction), his current pattern of burst an enemy or be useless is pretty binary and honestly a bit boring. I would want to buff up some of his utility tools like his stealth or even give him new utility tools that are not hard CC (like dodge, spell shield or something like that) to allow him to not feel useless when he can’t immediately burst kill his enemies.

  • What are some themes you want to check out that haven’t been touched on yet?

These are just my personal – Mind Controller, Earth Mage, Group character (multiple yordles or something cool), Mountain Climber, Blacksmith, A bunch of animal type creature characters, Flying characters that interact differently with the map, and these are just off the top of my head.

EDIT 5:

  • Using Rek’Sai as an example, what makes you decide to use a non-mana resource on a champion? Is it a thematic decision, gameplay, or a mix of both? How do you feel about the state of mana in LoL?

I’ll answer your last question first, I feel like mana is still a very important element of LoL, especially for some types of characters. Mana as a resource creates a second strategic layer of attrition for a lot of characters that adds a “long game” strategy to champ vs champ combat. Mana allows more outcomes to fights or trades than just “I killed you” or “I took more health away.”

When it comes to when we give mana to champs (or not in Reksai’s case) it is more often a mechanical decision than a thematic one. With Reksai we were exploring some different resourse mechanics with the health return passive, where health is the resource she has to manage more than mana. By comparison a mana based jungler like Warwick or Elise should stay healthier than Reksai when they are usuing mana on their sustain tools but they will eventually run OOM and have to go back to the fountain.

  • I’m seeing a lot of questions about Yorick and Mordekaiser so lets talk about them

First thing, we’re not actively working on either of those two champs but in terms of what is next for us when we finish current projects, they are very very high up on the priority list.

So Yorick we actually have a decent starting point with Xelnath’s earlier work and it is pretty clear what this guy is about – Ghoul Minions and Melee fighting.

Morde is a bit trickier because he is really straddling the line between what is a mage and what is a fighter. I bet when we start working on him and are trying to discover his core, we will find that both elements are very important to why Morde is Morde. The tough question will be answering what unique stuff a fighter mage can bring to the game (maybe play up his “ghost enemy” stuff).

EDIT 6:

  • What is Riot’s opinion on champions with more then one way to be built?

Personally I love it when champions have multiple build paths. The things that we have to watch out for are when one of the builds creates toxic or low interest gameplay. As an example if AD Varus played like he does now but the off build AP Varus (I know this isn’t really a thing) could one shot enemies with his Q and do not much else we probably would want to change the way AP varus worked so that it had a more healthy play pattern.

  • What is the maximum amount of crowd control you think you could and would load onto a kit without going overboard? How long would the target be disabled in some way?

The way that we think about this is more about the ratio of damage a character can deal vs the amount of CC they have. A character can have crazy amounts of CC (see nautilus) if they do low sustained damage, but another character could be problematic with even 1 second of CC if they deal high burst damage. The goal here is that the enemy receiving the CC will always have some window of time where they are not CCed and not dead so that they can react.

Have you ever considered having non-ultimate global abilities that deal no damage, but instead support champions in other lanes? Something on the line of care packages.

Yes, we have considered a bunch of stuff like this. Nothing has made it into a champion but I think there is room for some pretty cool mechanics in this vein. For example, a “scouting” focused character could do all kinds of global vision plays or even give allies an oracle buff from across the map. Another example is a “global push pressure” champ that could make minion waves on the opposite side of the map much stronger to create global push pressure for their team.

I think this is all of the questions for this week. I’ll try to rope in some other designers next week and maybe we can pick another topic. Was this useful/fun for you all?

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Mystery Skins for Good Behavior are still coming

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitHey everyone,

Many of you have seen your friends receive their Mystery Skins with you left wondering where your Mystery Skin is, or whether you even qualified for one. Never fear!

Mystery Skins are still being sent out!

We are sending them out in waves every single day, and it may take the next couple of weeks (until the end of January) before they are all distributed. We’ll update this thread once the last wave has been sent!

As a reminder, here are the qualifications:

  • All Riot Regions qualify – NA, EUW, EUNE, LAS, LAN, BR, OCE, RU, TR, and Korea
  • You need to be level 5 (reached level 5 in 2014)
  • You need to have played and completed at least one game of any mode (including Custom Games) in 2014.
  • You did not receive a 14-day suspension
  • You did not receive a ranked restriction (a single game ranked restriction will disqualify you)
  • You did not receive a chat restriction (a single game of chat restriction will disqualify you)
  • If you received a Leaver Buster Penalty, you still qualify for the Mystery Skin
  • If your account was compromised and suspended by Riot until it was recovered, we will double-check our list to make sure you receive one
  • If you have under the 10 skin minimum for Mystery Skins, we will check the list again and make sure anyone who did not receive one, but met all other qualifications, gets one!
  • If you recently transferred to another Riot Region, you will still get a Mystery Skin, as long as you meet the previous qualifications

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I think Irelia as a whole needs a VU

IronStylus Final Portrait^ this. In fact she will most likely be a comprehensive gameplay and visual update (VGU). She’s listed as a high-value target but currently there is no prioritization for her for 2015, but that could change. We’re trying to get ahead on a number of front’s so we’ll see. I have a concept for her but it’s definitely not final. She’ll need a probably semi-large scope effort because of thematic issues. What is she exactly? Ionian metal-manipulating general? That’s cool, but could she be more? We shall see!

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Why did Evelynn get a skin Safecracker before her visual update

Nurse Flan Final PortraitFor Eve, we saw an opportunity to create a skin for her before an update that wouldn’t interfere too much with any then-current plans with her. This does not mean every potential champion update is in the same state and can be treated in the same way. The team felt it would be a win to create a skin at the chance we got, so we took it instead of passing it up. It may not have coincided with what was said in the past about skin plans, but I think it’s much better to try and take things on a case-by-case basis rather than let a statement be the end all be all for the rest of eternity 🙂

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Why hasnt Zac received a skin yet

Nurse Flan Final Portrait*disclaimer – Zac skins are a hot topic and we are not able to answer any questions about -when- a skin is coming out or is in the works (or any other skins). I’m here to perhaps shed a little light and let you guys know Zac is not forgotten!*

Definitely don’t think you’re being rude! What I can tell you is that Zac’s champ and stretchy tech is very difficult to work with, and that alone increases work time on him a lot. So using a popular community skin suggestion for him, Gentleman Zac – his clothes especially around his arms would have some crazy weighting and stretching issues. And it would also be really weird to see cloth stretching and turning into globs of goo haha I’d love to hear any suggestions on workarounds you may have to mitigate this!

I know “easy” recolored skins have been suggested for Mr. Blob, but then it would seem unfair if say we released a 750RP Bubblegum Zac and have him wait a while for another skin instead of taking the time to make sure we make a super awesome blow-your-mind quality skin for him.

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Follow Up

 What about a swimsuit Zac skin

[ Note ] Here’s an example of how that skin could look like.

Nurse Flan Final PortraitThat’s a good example! Besides the addition of the swim trunks, it’s technically just about a fancy blue recolor though. 😡

The fanart done of pool party Zac include some cute arm floaties – which I like, but that would again cause problems with his stretchy arms! > n <

Summer is coming up for the Northern Hemisphere kinda sorta soonish (brr, that 50 degree California winter weather!). I can definitely make an extra poke about a skin like this!
^This is not a promise that this skin is going to be made! ; u ;

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Welcome to Fantasy LCS

OMHALODIL Final PortraitWelcome to Fantasy LCS, where you build your dream team of LCS pros and compete against your friends for bragging rights and season glory! Beginning this week, we’ll be opening up the 2015 Spring Split Fantasy draft window.

Fantasy LCS is getting a face-lift for 2015, thanks to the feedback you gave us in the 2014 Beta. Here’s what’s new:

  • NA and EU are now on separate roster locks that correspond to the first day of matches for each league.
  • Each league now features a message board where you can coordinate draft times and discuss strategy.
  • We added chat functionality during draft
  • Scoring has been slightly tweaked: we added a fast win bonus of 2 points for teams that win in less than 30 minutes. Stay tuned for an article that dives into the rationale behind this scoring addition.

We added a few administrative tools:

  • If you are a league creator, you can delete your league if you haven’t drafted yet.
  • You can also leave a league if you haven’t drafted yet.
  • You can now rename your team.

Your league home page, roster page, and match-ups page are now shareable publicly. Show off your dream team, those close wins, and your standings to your friends!

Never played fantasy? Don’t worry — it’s easy! Join together with up to seven friends or fellow League players, then build your dream team, one draft pick at a time. Every player from the NA and EU LCS is up for grabs, and what they do on the Rift each week matters. You’re awarded points based on their performance, so when your pros do well, you do too! Fantasy LCS also adds a new layer of fun to watching matches each week, as fantasy stats updates will be piped in at real-time.

We’ve got a bunch of resources to help get you ready for your draft. Learn how to play and about draft strategy at fantasy.lolesports.com.

Stay tuned for more details on when you can get drafting! In the meantime, feel free to discuss strategy below. Who are your top picks?

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Update El Tigre Braum price updated to 1350 RP

Galetta Final PortraitEDIT: Just wanted to update the El Tigre Braum thread about his price. He was always intended to be 1350 RP but we mistakenly listed him at 975 RP (sorry!). It’s his custom respawn animation specifically that pushes him into the 1350 price tier. Like all 1350s though, he’ll be on sale for the first week after his release so you can get him for 975 RP during that time. Sorry for the mistake and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again!

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

 

 

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All PBE Updates for Patch 4 22 Cycle

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New Tribunal Banner

 

 

If the Tribunal is down, how are reports stored

Lyte Final PortraitReports are still being used by a variety of systems that aren’t tied to the Tribunal.

Some examples include:

  • Chat Restrictions, which are given to players who show moderate verbal toxicity.
  • Intentional Feeder Bans, which are given to players who currently show intentional feeding patterns in their games.
  • Ranked Restrictions, which are given to players who show toxicity in Ranked Modes and restricts them from playing Ranked until they improve their behaviors.
  • Escalated Bans, which are 14-day bans given to players who show extreme verbal toxicity.

There’s a team at Riot working hard on the Tribunal, and we realize it’s been down for 6 months now. One of the biggest problems of the system was the speed of its feedback loops, as it would often take longer than a week for a player to receive their punishment. As we’ve mentioned before, the faster the feedback, the better the results. A second problem was that many territories in the world never got a Tribunal at all due to hardware/infrastructure issues.

We intend to have more news about the Tribunal in 2015, and are planning some initial tests of the new system. For example, we’re seeing how current reports affect the new system, and we’ll be looking for some players to help us test the system on the PBE in 2015.

Some of the new features in the system include:

  • the ability to review positive players in the Tribunal and grant them some rewards
  • new ways for players to see their contributions to the community in the Justice Reviews
  • a visual update to the entire system, including the Case Review and Reform Cards
  • a new tier system for punishments so that players only get 1 warning and 2 chances before they completely lose their account
  • optimized algorithms that hopefully allow us to ensure that players get punished or rewarded within a few days of their Tribunal case (we still need to tune this)
  • the ability for awesome contributors in the Tribunal to earn some in-game rewards each year

There’s some other additions to the Tribunal, but these are some of the cooler things I’m looking forward to as a League player myself. Anyways, we’ll talk more about some of our plans on how we’ll re-introduce the Tribunal back into League in 2015. We apologize for the delay; unfortunately, scaling the Tribunal globally to millions of players proved to be more difficult than we initially expected… but when you’re making something that millions of people will use, nothing is ever easy.

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Wookieecookie Final PortraitGood question!

We still store reports on our servers and they are helpful for a number of different things.

You might have noticed but while the Tribunal is down we have a few features to monitor behavior. These include Chat Restriction, new Leaverbuster, PBJ Ban Audits, intentional feeding audits, and hack/scripting bans.

Reports are not the core of these features but they help us a lot. They especially help me or someone else on my team when we’re investigating a player.

We’re not looking at one or two reports and drawing conclusions, we know that such a small sample size is not really indicative of how a person may act in game. We’re always looking for trends and patterns.

That’s why I really REALLY encourage you to leave a report on any player you feel deserves it. But, most importantly; leave a comment explaining why!

A report with a comment is much more helpful and valuable to us than a blank report.

One rule of thumb I have when I report players is that if I can’t be bothered to leave an explanation why, then they probably were not worth reporting in the first place. 😀

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Do you assume that all blank reports are pointless

Wookieecookie Final PortraitOh, don’t get me wrong! We still do use reports without comments. It’s just more helpful for us when there is a note explaining why.

Don’t feel like you have to write an essay either! Being brief and descriptive is all you’ll need. (Although if you have more to say, that’s fine too!)

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Does that mean that the Honor ribbons are going away

Lyte Final PortraitWe actually have a follow-up design to Honor that will make it compatible with the new Tribunal.

It won’t come out at the same time, but Honor is something we’re working on in 2015.

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Will the new Tribunal accept reports from Custom Games

Lyte Final PortraitAt this time, the launch of the new Tribunal does not include support for Custom Games; however, what queues are “active” or not are a simple toggle in the new system.

As with any new system we want to manage the launch very carefully and not simply open the floodgates of every queue on the system. If all matchmade queues are doing well after the Tribunal launch and we want to expand into Custom Games, we can.

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How will positive players be rewarded by the Tribunal

Lyte Final PortraitWhen players log into the new Tribunal they will be presented with a random case that could be Negative, Neutral or Positive. Because there’s 3 options and random “test” cases, it’s very difficult for players to simply spam “Punish” in the new system because they’ll quickly get flagged for being highly inaccurate, and also this new setup encourages players to dive deeper into cases and read the details instead of potentially seeing something like 90% of cases be punishable.

If you get presented a Positive case, and you vote Positive, the player in the case will get a small in-game prize that is still TBD but should be a nice little pat on the back for the player. Players that are rated positive in the Tribunal often will also be eligible for more frequent rewards like the double IP Boost we tested a few weeks ago.

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Why did you shut down the old Tribunal while working on the new one

Lyte Final PortraitUnfortunately, maintaining a “live” system is a decent amount of work for a team so if we kept the old system up and running it would have potentially taken much longer to get the new system up. It is also much harder to run some analytics and research tests when 2 systems are concurrently “live.” For example, it was much easier to run Escalated Ban and Ranked Restriction tests without an old Tribunal also reviewing cases and judging the same behaviors these other systems were monitoring and punishing for. Now that we understand how Escalated Bans and Ranked Restrictions work without any other systems interfering, we can incorporate them much easier into the new Tribunal.

Not to get into the nitty gritty, but for example if we’re upgrading tech stacks or hardware throughout League of Legends, this team would have to keep up with these changes on the old system while also building a new one for the future so it’s also a lot of redundant work.

Although it was a painful choice, and one that we can debate for the ages, we made the choice to shut the old Tribunal down to focus all team resources on the new one.

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Reports stored arent read by real people

Lyte Final PortraitThis is false for several reasons.

One, the Report System takes into account every player’s report accuracy. If your reports are accurate, your reports will mean more and the systems will actually take your votes into account.

If your reports are inaccurate, if you spam reports, or if you simply do silly things like get a premade group of 4 to report someone for no reason, your reports will lose value over time.

If reports just resulted in punishment no matter what, trust me, you’d hear about millions of false positives on the forums, not just a few players complaining about their bans every so often.

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Why is Lee Sin being ignored as an issue

Scruffy Final PortraitNothing to see here folks… move along…

Only Kidding! I don’t think we have anything against talking about Lee Sin, we just don’t comment on every thread that pops up on the boards.

On subject, there is a lot to talk about with Lee Sin as a champion. Just to name a few things:

  • He’s fun as hell with a high skill cap and lots of depth to his play (love this)
  • He is pretty unfocused, and this is more of a symptom of the older champ development style that he was created in (see irelia etc). The question of “what makes lee sin special as a champ?” isn’t easy to answer – is it mobility, tankiness, damage, who knows. He definitely needs a bit more focus, and that probably involves both toning down some of his unnecessary strengths and pumping up the things that are what make him really unique.
  • At any given time he may be a little strong or a little weak like any other champion. Number tuning happens a lot and our Live Balance team works full time to do this kind of work. If we aren’t addressing champs that are out of balance as quickly as we should, it’s fair to call us out.
  • Last thing, and this is more about just our resources and time – we can definitely make him a better champ, but there are 122 other champions in the game and IMO some need updating more than he does. (fully stacked urgot tear).

EDIT: A lot of you think that he is a very high priority problem right now holding back a lot of other junglers. We will take a serious look at where he is at currently in terms of pushing out other jungler’s viability.

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Every dominant Champion safe for Lee has been nerfed

Scruffy Final PortraitLee Sin has been nerfed many times in the past and if he continues to dominate he will be again. Sorry if that wasn’t clear above.

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So youll keep Lee Sin strong because hes popular

Scruffy Final PortraitI was more talking about a rework being lower priority. Buffs and nerfs are always things that should happen to keep the game balanced. We don’t want Lee or any other champion to be the clearly best jungler. There are 123 champs in the game for a reason, the diversity is a big reason why playing LoL is interesting.

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Lee Sin should be a top priority not after Sion or Soraka

Scruffy Final PortraitYou have a good point, we shouldn’t only focus on the bottom of the barrel champs as you say. Sometimes fixing an overly dominant pick can open up doors for a lot of other champs. I’ll do some more analysis and talk to the balance team about his current state to make sure we are doing all that we should for the character. I have a feeling that he was not the top of their priority list in the most recent patch (cough warwick).

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[ Note ] You can find the full changelist on Renekton here.

 

 

SmashGizmo Final PortraitHey guys, SmashGizmo here to give some context on the Renekton changes that just hit PBE today. Essentially, we’re looking to do two things here:

Give Renekton a lot more Fury when he’s fighting champions and a little less Fury when he’s not interacting with champions.

 

Reign of Anger [ Passive ]

  • FURY DECAY RATE:: 2/second >>> 4/second

Cull the Meek [ Q ]

  • FURY GENERATION ON NON-CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 2.5/target
  • FURY GENERATION ON CHAMPION HIT:: 5/target >>> 10/target

Ruthless Predator [ W ]

NEW – FURY GENERATION BONUS VS CHAMPIONS:: 10 Fury

Dice [ Second Part of E ]

  • NEW – FURY GENERATION ON NON-CHAMPION HIT:: 2.5/target
  • NEW – FURY GENERATION ON CHAMPION HIT:: 10/target

We really wanted to give Renekton some new ways to spike his Fury generation in teamfights without making his laning power go crazy, so we’ve put conditional Fury generation on all of his non-empowered abilities that is stronger vs. Champions than vs. minions. We also increased the decay rate on Fury so that Renekton doesn’t sit on full Fury without staying in combat.

Also, a small note here, Renekton has never generated Fury when using empowered abilities, so while the tooltips are being more explicit about this interaction, the mechanics haven’t been changed with regards to empowered abilities.

Smooth out Renekton’s healing from Cull the Meek so that it is still relevant later in the game.

Cull the Meek [ Q ]

  • HEALING VS MINIONS (Non Fury Enhanced):: 5% damage >>> 3/4.5/6/7.5/9 (+0.04 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS MINIONS (Fury Enhanced):: 10% damage >>> 9/13.5/18/22.5/27 (+0.12 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Non Fury Enhanced):: 20% damage >>> 9/13.5/18/22.5/27 (+0.12 Bonus AD)
  • HEALING VS CHAMPIONS (Fury Enhanced):: 40% damage >>> 27/40.5/54/67.5/81 (+0.36 Bonus AD)

I apologize for how mathy this ends up being, but the tl;dr here is that healing vs. minions is unchanged and the healing vs. champions is better vs. targets with higher armor. Basically, we wanted Renekton to still have the choice to heal himself with Empowered Q after opponents built armor, since the ability’s main function breaks down in the middle of teamfights on live right now. The current tuning on this healing is that he’s going from 20%/40% post-mitigation healing to 15%/30% pre-mitigation healing, which is almost always a buff for him (except at very very low armor values).

All in all, we’re just hoping to get Renekton into a better spot where his late game is not so impotent, while still leaving him with the strong early power curve we’ve come to know him for.

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Will Pulsefire Ezreal receive a visual update

IronStylus Final PortraitChances are we wouldn’t touch him unless we were doing an update across the board, not limited to just a TU. We do have concepts for his other skins but PFE is a major hurdle in the way of such an update. Not so much in the texture repaint, but everything from ability hookups to file structures to a lot of other technical stuff.

The character is 4 models with a pile of other assets. Though we’re itching to get at Ez also, we are indeed weary about affecting PFE. It’s a difficult call and if we were going to update him, we’d want to go pretty all in.

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What happened to the Yorick Rework

Scruffy Final PortraitYorick is a champ that really does need work, I agree.

To answer your question, unfortunately Xelnath is working on other things so the Yorick project is on hold. I know that we will come back to it some day and the work Xelnath did gives us a good head start. But he is currently not in the pipe.

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Meddler Final PortraitAs we’ve discussed in the past, and as Scruffy mentions in that thread you’ve linked, we agree Yorick’s got some problems that need fixing. We’ve never said we didn’t have any plans to do so however. He’s not currently scheduled in our update lineup, that’s because we can’t work on everything at once, not a lack of desire to make him better.


On the gameplay side at least (I can’t speak for certain about art or creative design) Yorick’s going to be a really large project. Maybe not quite as big as Sion, but at a guess pretty close and right now Poppy’s our biggest focus on the gameplay update front (few details athttp://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/champions-skins/champion-update/dev-blog-champion-updates). I get that it’s frustrating to see other champions prioritized above those you feel have a greater need, I do want to stress though that ‘not currently being worked on’ is not the same as ‘no plans to fix’.

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Is the Urgot rework next, or Poppys

Meddler Final PortraitLast I heard we hadn’t committed to a timeframe on Urgot (he’s another high value, but really large, job). Unless something goes wrong Poppy’s going to be the next really large gameplay rework. You’ll almost certainly see small and medium sized gameplay updates before her though.

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The community should make a wishlist for the store

SaberPrivateer Final PortraitWe’ve heard this quite a bit from players. It would make gifting a lot more meaningful if you can surprise a friend with exactly what they want. As opposed to having to message, “hey…umm…lets assume you were gonna get a gift, what would you want?” This is something we want to build but to set expectations, we won’t be getting to it anytime soon.

As for the shopping cart, a big trade-off is all the extra steps and clutter to account for the interface. We’ve made a decision to focus on efficient one-off purchases. A typical use case for this is hitting 4800 IP and running to the store to get that champ you’ve been saving up for!

I’d like to know more about what is going through your mind when you feel the need for a shopping cart? What is the thought process and other benefits?

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

 

 

Champion Skin Sale November 11 Banner

The following Champions and Skins will be 50% off until November 11th:


Champions


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Bladecraft Orianna – 487 RP


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Blood Moon Shen – 375 RP


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Nightblade Irelia – 260 RP

 

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