Red Post Collection: Lulu and Supports in Mid Lane, Twitch's New VO by same voice Actor, and more!

Posted on at 12:35 AM by Moobeat
[ Updated: Added in more posts from Ghostcrawler! ]

Tonight's red post collection features Statikk with a discussion on Lulu and traditional Support champions appearing in the midlane, Riot Entropy commenting that the Twitch new voice over is by Twitch's original voice actor,  Ghostcrawler discussing his position at Riot, and WizardCrab with brief note about refunds.
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News


Lulu & Supports in the Mid Lane

In light of the upcoming patch 4.5 changes to Lulu, Statikk has whipped up a post discussing traditional support changes in the mid lane and Lulu's case in particular.
"Hey Mystic Blue Fox and other Lulu players here,` 
Firstly, unfortunately I am not Xelnath. 
Secondly, I'd like to say that we really appreciate the calm and constructive way you made this thread. Awesome. 
I want to take some time to clarify our perspectives on Lulu, why we're doing what we're doing now, and what we plan to do moving forward. 
We are genuinely happy (and excited) that Lulu can be a mid lane Support champion who brings different strengths than other popular mid laners - especially in terms of potential team compositions.
When Lulu can be brought mid lane to help build a team composition around say protecting an allied Vayne, that's super cool. In fact, this type of champion and team composition diversity is something we'd like to see a lot more of. 
One of the most common criticisms is that due to the Support utility scaling we added in the new season, mid lane Lulu makes herself and her teammates super fast, and that that is a bad / annoying thing. We actually think it makes the game more interesting and gives players different reasons to pick and play different champions. Not every champion should need to bring a ton of damage and blow everything up. Some champions bring other strengths to the table. 
We don't just hate any and all Supports that are played in mid lane.
In Lulu's case, we are not happy with the primary reason for her being picked in mid lane being that she is a safe, reliable laner who bullies a large majority of other mid lane champions. This is true of any champion in any role. When a champion's job in the game is to make sure other champions don't get a chance to participate in the game, there's a problem. 
Another common historical case people bring up is mid lane Janna, which is perfectly reasonable. The primary issue with Janna at the time was that she created a very un-interactive laning phase by continuously charging up her Q to just wave clear and force enemies under their turret which drastically reduced the potential viable picks in that lane. 
At the end of the day, we'd prefer if Support mid laners were being brought for their unique Supportive strengths such as protecting /enhancing their allies. It's really awesome when these type of picks increase champion diversity rather than stifle it. 
These nerfs were directed at reigning in some of Lulu's more abusive lane harass patterns - especially when she snowballs ahead.
Although her laning harass patterns have risk and interactivity in the duo lane, the same rules don't always apply in solo lanes. In fact, against many other champion in the solo lane, Lulu can freely harass them with little to no repercussions at higher range while they have no way to interact with her. 
Once again, it's an unfortunate truth, but many gameplay patterns that work well in a certain lane can be toxic for game health when brought to other lanes. This is something we always actively design around. 
We agree we failed to ensure that she was still equally as viable in her traditional role as a bottom lane Support for this patch.
Normally we would either A) understand we significantly affected her bot lane viability and make compensatory buffs or B) confirm that we did not hurt her viability in her traditional role.

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

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

We will be following up by doing internal analysis on her status as a bot lane Support and take action in an upcoming patch if necessary.
This is something that is currently ongoing. Lulu's current viability as a bot lane Support is something we're taking a hard look at to make sure we didn't mess anything up here. If she is no longer viable in her intended role, you can expect we'll be making changes until she is. 
Anyway, I know it was long, but I really wanted to address everything I've been reading / hearing. Once again, thanks a ton for the constructive posts."

When questioned about her remaining healthy as a support, Statikk reiterated:
"It depends on the result of the following analysis, but yes, we will make compensatory changes if we feel she's now lacking as a duo lane Support."

When asked why they decided to nerf her E damage instead of her Q damage, he noted:
"That's a pretty good point. Our main thought process around nerfing E damage was that it was the most un-interactive part of her kit (click a dude, deal damage to dude) and that ultimately we would like to move power from there to other parts of her kit that have more interesting gameplay.

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

When asked about his comment that Lulu is a "safe and reliable laner", Statikk elaborated:
"When we say overly "reliable," we really just mean we think the champion is too good against too many things. Mid lane Lulu wins the majority of her lane matchups and outright crushes many of them. 
That is a lot different than being reliable as a protector or source of CC for her teammates, we're fine with that. We just don't like her being able to have such a huge advantage in lane against almost any champion. 
I guess our take is that mid lane Lulu should be taken as a way to give a ton of Movement Speed to an ally and a way to protect a high priority target on her team (or synergize with an initiator for a wombo combo).

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

Statikk also commented on this balance approach, which does not echo some of the similar situation's they've responded to in the past - such as Nunu top and Alistar jungle:
"It's definitely something we're adopting much more as we have continued to grow and learn while working on LoL.

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

To round things out, Statikk also briefly discussed Renekton and his affect on reducing viable champion pools:
"Yeah I figured this would be coming up, because it's a legit argument. I don't want to derail too much because this is a thread about Lulu, but Renekton is definitely an issue and as you can see in the latest patch notes we are trying to off load some of his early lane dominance elsewhere. 
Don't want to go too in-depth here, but we basically feel if we nerf Renetkon, a new bully will just rise up in his place that is potentially even more unhealthy for the game due to our generic fighter designs. Our current approach in one of the upcoming patches is to take a look at some of the top lane champions we think would make top lane more interesting and give them buffs so they can better compete with champions like Renekton.

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

Twitch VU using same Voice Actor

Click here for more info on the Twitch VU!
After today's exciting reveal of the upcoming Twitch visual updateRiot Entropy snuck on to the forums to confirm that the original Twitch voice actor returned for his VU:
"Thanks! A lot of hard work by a lot of folks went into bringing Twitch up to date.

As for the question about the actor, it is indeed the same gentleman. We brought him back to expand Twitch's script from the original nine lines to 80+ interactions. The actor has a lot of range, so we were able to capture more depth of character this time around. The lines you heard in the showcase are on the manic "high-strung" end of the spectrum you'd expect from him in the middle of a deadly game of cat-and-mouse... or rat-and-splat?"
He continued, elaborating on his quote of  80 + interactions:
"VO hookups. Attack lines, move lines, taunts, jokes, ability activations, and some other stuff I don't want to spoil until you try him out."

When asked if he sounds like Rattigan, Riot Entropy noted:
"There are some subtle notes of Rattigan. He's more trying to be refined and sophisticated by denying what he is though. Twitch loves who he is, it's just that Twitch's idea of what's good is very different from ours."

Ghostcrawler Surfaces

Ghostcralwer, formerly of Blizzard's World of Warcraft, hopped on the forum's today to talk about his position as Lead Game Designer.

In response to some hostility about his new role at Riot, Ghostcrawler commented:
"Quote:
Please go find another job GC, I actually like this game how it is. 
Me too, actually. I'm not interested in dramatic change. The teams at Riot know what they're doing, and they don't need me mucking that up.

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

I love that Riot aspires to be so player focused. Any of you who have known me for a long time can understand why I'd want to be a part of that."
He continued, responding to several other comments on his position and LoL in general:
"Quote:
I think you're blaming him because he was essentially the only "face" of what ever team he was apart of. 
I said this on Twitter recently, but I'm totally fine if any of you want to hold me accountable for anything in the games I've worked on, including this one. I can take it.

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

Quote:
So with that in mind, what is the difference between Morello's role on the team and your role on the team? Morello has the title "Lead Designer" while you have the title "Lead Game Designer". What's the distinction between those two titles? 
We're not big on titles here, so I wouldn't worry about it. Morello works closely with the champion and core teams and he has been a point of contact on that stuff for you guys forever so I would keep using him. We're friends and we work closely together. Anything you say to either of us will get to the other dude.

Quote:
So the secret plot to buff all mages
Conspiracy or fact? 
Conspiracy. My WoW mage is like level 47. I think it's just tough to balance a character whose kit is supposed to be excellent control, excellent escapes, and big crits. :(

Quote:
when can we expect the AMA? 
I thought about that, but I worry the message it sends is I AM VERY IMPORTANT which isn't a message I actually want to send.

Quote:
It's pretty odd to hire some1 with a history of 'dramatic changes' to come here and say that they wont make 'dramatic changes.' 
I understand where you're coming from, but again, this is an example of conflating the direction of a team with the influence of one person. The direction of League comes from Riot and it comes from you guys. The same was true of WoW during my tenure there, and I can't imagine it could have changed that quickly since I left.

Quote:
Your thing is homogenization, moving everything in the game to a mediocre, stale level. 
I think this is a fair criticism. At the time, we were trying to solve a problem where certain classes were stacked and others just didn't get to participate at all. But homogenization is absolutely a design risk, especially in a game like League with so many champions.

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

Quote:
yea, not sure how some one can just jump companies and become "Lead Game Designer" without having been with the company/game at all beforehand. 
In many industries, including this one, experience counts for a lot. At the end of the day, you need to ship a product (as lame as that makes it sound), and there are things you learn about how to get that done. I'm not in charge of the direction of League -- nobody is really. I do have sixteen years of experience in building teams, improving communication, building consensus, helping to level up junior designers, and hiring talented new ones. Those are all important components of leadership and ultimately that's what Riot said they liked.

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

Quote:
Do you still talk to Tseric? 
Never met him. He was before my time.

Quote:
I remember you being very disrespectful on the wow forums 
Are you sure you aren't confusing me with someone else? I take player opinions very seriously, even when I disagree with them. It's harder on Twitter, where the limitations of the medium make it hard to say things like "You have a point, but..." or "Our goals are the same, and we just disagree on whether a proposed change will accomplish those goals." 
Now, some players might say "You didn't make this change I wanted, so how can you really call yourself responsive to player concerns?" It's not really possible to make everyone happy all the time, and when you try, you can end up with mistakes... like homogenization!

Quote:
LoL with its pure PvP focus and without the need to play a char to 90 and equip him before even being able to do some serious PvP should induce much less complaints from the community.
Heh, well I'm sure there will always be plenty of complaints. :) I agree that the purity of focus of LoL is nice though."

[ UPDATE: More posts! ]

Ghostcrawler continued, answering more questions being thrown his way:
"Quote:
Does this mean less projects that are announced as being almost done, then completely scrapped or forgotten a few months later? 
That's a huge challenge of talking to players. If you want to be really honest, which we generally try to do, then that means talking about plans (even pretty solid plans) that have a chance of not working out. The alternative is not to talk about anything that isn't 100% ready to ship. I prefer the former, but I understand it can be frustrating.

Quote:
You sound so much like Morello. I love Morello. I've seen some Rioters get pretty upset about the things that are said to them here on the forums, but Morello just takes it all head on. He is a man. 
I love Morello too. We should hang out. The thing you have to remember as a developer when you're talking to players is that some of them are going to be angry or even nasty, but you can't let it get you down. At the end of the day, they are usually speaking out of passion just trying to improve a game they love (unless they are true trolls who just want to sow discord, but in my experience those dudes are pretty rare). Having passionate players is awesome. Every game developer very much wants passionate players!

Quote:
You worked on Age of Empires?!
That's how I got my big break. Some players like the "That's what happens when you let a marine biologist balance your game" narrative, but I worked on Age of Empires for 10 years before I ever went to Blizzard. I started on Rise of Rome and worked on every title up until Halo Wars, which is around when I left. Ensemble Studios (who made AoE) was a great place to work and I still keep in touch with a lot of friends-for-life that I made there. It's interesting to me that RTS games have kind of died off lately, save for Starcraft."
He continued:
"Quote:
But Riot employees are more communicative (as are Blizzard employees nowadays I think, although I don't play WoW any more), so you hopefully won't be the only one taking all the flak for unpopular decisions. 
I love this about Riot, and I love that a bunch of the Rioters posting are from disciplines other than design. It helps reinforce that these are real people (who love their job!) and not just PR bots spouting some approved company line. I think it also helps reinforce that it takes so many people from different disciplines collaborating to create a game.

Quote:
This has lead some people to speculate that you've been brought on board to help with a new title Riot is planning. Possibly an MMO? Anything you care to share on that subject? 
I'm working on League. Sorry to disappoint you. :(

Quote:
Did you play League at all prior to joining Riot? 
I did. And then I played a lot while I was interviewing, but I had to do it in secret. BRO, WHY YOU PLAYING SO MUCH LEAGUE RIGHT NOW, BRO?

Quote:
What do you think about the competitive esport aspect of League? Will you be involved in that end on any level? Could we perhaps see you at some LCS events? 
It's infectious! I'm not on the esports team, but I started paying a lot of attention to LCS once I started seriously considering moving out here.

Quote:
I know Morello is an old school WoW player. Do you guys sit around the office sometimes and laugh at Paladins? 
We do. He still plays. As you might imagine, designers love to sit around and dissect design decisions in other games. I think a bunch of the guys have enjoyed asking how I really felt about various aspects of WoW.

Quote:
I believe Riot does try to be honest and player-focused. It's just in the past year...
Quote:
The only problem i've ever experienced here is when you guys don't notify when a plan doesn't work out... 
Okay, here is an example where I'm going to attempt to prove that I don't mind leveling with you guys. But you have to not beat us up about it. We've talked about this a lot, and we agree that Riot used to do a better job of providing context, debating design changes, and following up on things we said we'd follow up on. When I was on the outside looking in, I was super impressed with how well Rioters communicated with you guys, and I think it's fair that it has fallen off some this season or so. It's a priority to get back there. We probably burned a little bit of trust with you guys and it's time to try to get it back. Please hold us to that, and let us know when we go astray.

Quote:
He's actually responded to negative criticism in this very thread.I try to. 
Obviously I can't address every concern personally and I didn't want to get into detailed discussions on various reworks and patch notes all in this very thread and I don't feel like it's fair to spend too much time second-guessing WoW designers. But that doesn't mean I don't read all that feedback and take it to heart.

Refunds

WizardCrab scuttled on to the forums to drop off a small comment in a thread asking him for a conversation about content refunds:
"I'd be happy to have a dialogue with you guys. I suppose my question for you is: what is your use case for refunds? What makes a player want to use one? I think locking down the reasons players refund items is really important for figuring out the best strategy for both players and Riot. 
Thoughts?'"

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