Red Post Collection: 4.8 Live Gameplay Patch Forecast, Projectile Blocks, Pixel Poro, and more!

Posted on at 8:27 PM by Moobeat
[ Update: Added in additional Patch Forecast discussion! ]

Tonight's red post collection features Jag with the 4.8 Live Gameplay Patch Forecast, Meddler discussing projectile blocks and a grab bag of other topics, DontHassleDaHoff briefly mentioning the long awaited lifetime RP rewards, a look at the new Pixel Poro minigame, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

[ 4.8 ] Live Gameplay Patch Forecast

Riot Jag has posted the 4.8 live gameplay patch forecast! In addition to tentative plans for the next patch, this forecast also includes a look at several projects planned for future patches.
"Hey guys, Jag here again for the 4.8 Patch Forecast. We're trying to rotate the Live Gameplay designers that deliver this each patch so you get to know more of the Balance team, but RiotChun was hard at work on some Kha'Zix changes (more details on that below), so hopefully you'll hear from him or SmashGizmo for 4.9. 
As it stands, this may be a light patch because we're working on a few mid/long-term changes that you may not see until 4.9 or later, but we'll do our best to keep you on top of everything we have in flight. When we first started doing these forecasts (not too long ago), we thought we'd just talk about all the challenges we faced in the past and present, but didn't fully consider how long each would take in terms of getting 'right.' This might give a better idea of how we approach design and conception. 
1) Because we saw how light 4.8 was in terms of our shorter-term projects, we also took some time to 'modernize' a few champions in the game. There are a lot of challenges to doing this constantly (we can talk about that later), but the ones here were selected for their low impact, high value for players without skewing or being 'halfway' fixes that don't address core issues. 
The ones below we're in the process of concepting and ideation, and some are closer than others but they're all at least close enough to talk about: 
2) Soraka 
Solo lane Soraka is definitely a problem with her easy lane clear and almost infinite harass potential. As with Lulu, we have to ask the question of whether or not we think this is a character that has a play pattern that can provide healthy gameplay as both a support and a mid/top laner. We looked into solutions to just hit Soraka's wave clear, like reducing the Starcall damage done to minions, but overall it's hard to see her having such significant sustained damage through the base values of Starcall, even when she has tankier builds. To that end we may refocus some of the power value of Starcall into utility instead of damage. 
3) Feral Flare 
We've had a lot of pivots on this item in terms of its purpose and long-term direction. I think the live version more accurately reflects the concept we want it to facilitate - a mid/late game item that has strong scaling for carry/autoattacking champions. We still need to make sure that it fits in, in terms of jungler map interactivity, so we're looking to tweak the item's power level while refining the kill/assist mechanics to further incentivize Feral Flare junglers to at least occasionally leave their camps and pressure lanes. 
4) Skarner 
We're still working on some changes to help Skarner's stickiness and reduce the snowballiness of his current passive. He probably won't have changes for 4.8, but he's still a high priority we're actively working on. Promise! 
5) Kha'zix 
The team has been hard at work on finding ways to make Kha'zix's popular evolutions balanced. As a side goal we're trying to make all 4 feel like viable evolutions (at least situationally), but our greater concern is keeping him an interesting Assassin with options for counterplay without giving him too much Fighter-level utility (and the capability to brute force fights like Fighters while finishing the fight quickly like an Assassin). The damage reduction on his evolved Ultimate is one of the big culprits here, as there are no avenues of counterplay against him when he stealths (detect and kill him? run away? He has tools to avoid both!). 
6) LeBlanc 
Our team is continuing analysis on LeBlanc. Her problems remain the same: she's a high burst, high mobility assassin with low counterplay. However, we're reluctant to totally break down her high points without making sure has ways to meaningfully contribute to her team's success, whether that be through her Mage patterns (i.e. her CC) or her Assassin patterns. The problem right now is her 'core identity' is so tied in with her unbalanced play that extracting one from the other is a bigger challenge. 
7) Nidalee 
Nidalee has been problematic for some time now. We like seeing comps oriented around poking the enemy, but the onslaught of life-or-death projectiles that Nidalee can throw at enemy teams in the mid/late game, particularly when she's built some cooldown reduction, is not interesting gameplay. We have larger set of promising changes in progress for her that fixes her long range spear problems while trying to emphasize more of her "hunting" ideas (you'll hear about it when we get more confidence in the overall direction), but we may need to make a power adjustment on the interim if Nidalee remains so optimal for poke comps. 
8) AD Carries 
Twitch has made a big splash recently in the competitive scene. Some of our design team has wondered why it did not happen earlier, given his strong laning and fantastic end-game scaling. We're guessing his prettier (or uglier, depending on the thematic we're going for) model helps. We're not going to rush any changes on him yet since we'd like some time to see how a high pick rate on him will play out, but he's definitely on our radar. His end-game hypercarry role is something we like and are unlikely to remove from the game; if anything, his early Contaminate (formerly Expunge) damage may be a little too powerful.
Lucian has been a steady pick in competitive for some time now. His combination of very reliable and effective damage in lane (his Piercing Light ability has relatively low counterplay and Lightslinger is a strong scaling damage passive), as well as his very high levels of safety make him a carry with virtually no weaknesses. We are a little more confident that we're going to need to make adjustments to him soon to help give him more defined strengths and weaknesses instead of being such a generalist blind pick. 
9) Jungle 
We have been spending a lot of time examining what function the jungle plays in League of Legends and how to evaluate jungler interactions we like seeing in the game. We need more time to deliver a cohesive story here but I want to note that it is at the front and center of our team's focus right now. 
10) Braum 
Braum has just released and we are keeping a close eye on his power level!"
When asked about "bottom of the barrel" champions such as Urgot, Poppy, and Sion, Riot Jag commented:
"They're not forgotten"
Scruffy continued:
"Yep! We are actively working on a lot of "needs love" type champion updates. They are a much bigger undertaking because they usually need multiple new mechanics and often a complete visual overhaul. 
We hope to treat these projects with the same TLC as a new champion. They may take longer to complete, but they're hopefully worth the wait."

Jag also replied to the concerns of "nerfing the only two good ADC":
"Short answer: We know that Marksmen have problems right now. We're exploring solutions (we've mentioned we're examining ADC itemization on the systems team) to help the class out. The perception that they are weak has definitely entered into our decision process when considering nerfing specific carries. 
Long answer: I'm not trying to preview specific solutions or changes we may end up considering here, but let's explore the issue a little deeper. Consider which ADCs have the ability to most dramatically impact the outcome of a game. I'm talking about the big bad hyperscaling carries, like Vayne, Tristana, Kog'maw - the ones that can stop the enemy team dead in their tracks (I know Twitch fits here too, but his lane bully presence warps this comparison in his case). There are multiple reasons that these champions aren't in favor at the moment, but one of the big reasons is that when you pick a strong-late/weak-early scaling ADC, you'll see the enemy team lock in a Lucian, Caitlyn, Draven, etc., you'll get bullied out of lane, and you'll not have the game go long enough for you to catch up/outscale them. Some of these champions have the same impact Renekton does in the top lane, in that they skew what champions can actually survive lane and still stay relevant. 
Again, Marksman class's strength as a whole may need to be brought up a bit, but part of the problem is that the most early-game dominant Marksmen suppress a lot of the most powerful ADCs from playing the game. If we do change Lucian and Twitch, rest assured we're not going to leave Marksmen players without any viable choices for impacting the game."

Meddler on projectile blocks & More

When asked if there are plans for more projectile blocking walls as both Braum and Yasuo have them, Meddler replied:
"We've got no plans for any additional projectile blocking walls at the moment. They do add interesting gameplay but, as with any mechanic, use on multiple kits does weaken how distinctive an experience they allow the champions with them to offer. With some mechanics that's not an issue, since things like damage, mobility, sustain etc are basic building blocks. With effects this impactful, that contribute significantly to a champion's identity, however sparing use is much more appropriate. In this particular case we felt confident using projectile blocking a second time in quick succession was a good choice however, given the way you think about and use the abilities in question is very different as Braum than as Yasuo. The thematics/mechanics fit on a champion with a giant shield and a protective, helpful attitude also proved to be an extremely good match."

He continued, responding a question on Corki's Q being blocked by Braum's Wall:
"Intended. Spells with a travel time and direction (non Z axis, so not just straight up/down) will be blocked unless they've got enough height to go off the screen basically (off the top of the head Xerath's and Ziggs' ults are the only ones in that category)."

When asked if Anivia's wall could be buffed to stop projectiles, he declined by saying:
"If we buff Anivia at some point I'd much prefer we do so in a way that accentuates one of her points of distinctiveness, than homogenizing her, Braum's and Yasuo's kits a bit."

When asked if there are any plans to make more  "global teleport" champions such as Shen, TF, and Nocturne, Meddler replied:
"We've been kicking around a few different ideas for how to do them in ways that keep the cool moments they generate without creating as many game balance issues as some of them have in the past. No promises, and at the least we won't have any coming out in the short term, we're certainly not opposed to the idea though."

As for a Zilean rework or kit ideas, he noted:
"We've got some exploratory stuff going on with Zilean at the moment, when that'll actually translate into concrete changes is hard to say though, number of other champion updates (visual and/or gameplay) ahead of him for now. Replacing his passive with something more engaging's highly likely though. I also agree he's currently too dependent on double bombing a target, particularly in lane, which leads to him falling off significantly in impact as the game progresses since he's got all of his base damage by level 9, another thing we'll probably change."

Meddler also briefly commented on the Ao Shin concept, reiterating that there is nothing new to report:

TLDR: Still working on him, long way off though. Initial approach we were exploring didn't hit the mark and we'd much rather be good, but slow, than produce something quickly that doesn't do the concept justice."

Lifetime RP Rewards

DontHassleDaHoff, a member on the eCommerce team, was summoned to reddit to provide his best impression of a genie and offer up a few comments on the Lifetime RP rewards - a long awaited loyalty program rewarding summoners based on how much RP they've purchased in total:
::wisps of air spiral out from Thresh’s lantern and an apparition appears resembling DontHassleDaHoff:: 
“You summoned me, your grace” – ‘daHoff says. 
“Where are our Lifetime purchase RP rewards?” The Player asks. 
::The apparition twists unto itself, contorts into Baron Nashor, then shifts into Draaaaaaven, then morphs into Braum. Unable to find a stable shape, the apparition, concedes to the form of ambiguity, taking the shape that The Player wants, before shifting to the next form.:: 
“The Player has spoken, it has many voices. We’ve asked many of you and the feelings around this program causes much contention. One issue that we’re concerned with is the treatment of players that spend money differently than those that don't. Another is that the rewards are achievable without spending too much money. Another is that the rewards are valuable enough to feel good to those that receive them, without feeling too bad to those that don't. Most of the ideas we've come up with solve one or more of these concerns but not the rest. 
“I'm promised Hippalus that these problems will all be solved by the end of 2014 and the Player will be happy. We value all of our Players, and we’re keeping that in mind in our design of the program. Hopefully The Player likes it as well.” 
::With his last words, DontHassleDaHoff, stares at the player with a look of hope, seeking approval, but expecting the worst.::

No official list of upcoming VUs : Karthus & Sion on the table

When asked if there is an official list of upcoming champion visual updates, ZenonTheStoic replied:
"We don't maintain an official list because we really dislike setting expectations for things that are so far out in the future that a million things could change between now and then. We do confirm we're working on stuff that should be out in the medium term. So yes, we are currently working on a visual update for Karthus and a full relaunch (visual update + new kit) for Sion."

Interested in the WIP Karthus VU preview shown at PAX East? Check out this post for more info! 

On the topic of future VUs, ZenonTheStoic also noted that the future Warwick rework will include a special interaction with Vayne's Silver Bolts!
"Not sure how many people would get that. I did add an interaction with silver bolts tho ;)"

Team Builder "Bug"

When asked about the recent Team Builder "bug" where the queue time is extremely long and you aren't able to leave queue without a client restart, Lyte commented:
"This isn't technically a bug with Team Builder. Right now, specifically when servers have connectivity issues, you may experience Invalid_Context or be unable to find a game because you've "timed out." 
We're trying to update the Team Builder client to better reflect when you've timed out, much like the "Reconnecting to Chat Servers" status."
As for the new features that allows solo players to see which roles are most in demand when queuing for Team Builder, Lyte noted:
"Oh, it's still in the patch. We typically turn on features a few days after the patch has gone out to ensure stability. You'll probably see the feature sometime next week."

5/13 EUW Problems

Here's Riot tmx with an update on the brief EUW problems earlier today ( May 13th ):
"Quick info on what happened today: Because of some firewall problems our EUW game servers went offline. The issue was fixed instantly on our end, but it took us 14 minutes to bring all servers back online. During that time no new games were allocated and players were disconnected from their existing games. Right now Ranked Queues are re-enabled and all of the games were flagged up for Loss Forgiven."

Pixel Poro Minigame

Here's Rocket Baby Doll with more info on a new Pixel Poro, a pong insipired mini game featuring Braum!
"Braum’s epic shield may look strong enough to stop an avalanche crashing down the side of one of Freljord’s peaks, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for a much more whimsical past-time. 
Pixel Poro, a new browser minigame (available on IOS and Android), finds the upcoming addition to the League of Legends champion roster battling Leona for support supremacy. Volley an adorable poro back and forth between snowy cliffs, trying to knock him past your opponent to score points. You can either play by yourself or locally with a friend. First champion to score 10 points wins the match - and the poro’s undying love. 
We hope you enjoy Braum and Leona’s pixel makeovers. Keep that shield up!
Click here to play!"

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