[ Update ] Red Post Collection: Champion Update ... Update, Upcoming Nidalee Gameplay Update, Karthus VU Discussion, Braum Community Creations, and more!

Posted on at 9:05 PM by Moobeat
[ ~12:30 AM PST: Added in additional comments on the Nidalee Gameplay Update! ]

Tonight's red post collection is a big one! Check it out for RiotSeb with an update on various champion updates currently in the works, Riot Repertoir with a preview up the upcoming Nidalee gameplay update, additional discussion on the recently announced Karthus VU, Hippalus weighing in on the undocumented Pantheon changes in 4.7 and refunds for DS Pantheon, a manly set of Braum community creations, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Champion Update... Update

Continuing on our recent trend of open communication,  RiotSeb has posted up an update regarding several champions the team is currently working on - both soon and soon ( tm )
"Hey guys, 
RiotSeb here for the Champion Update team to give you a bit of insight into some of the projects our team is working on at the moment. 
In case you missed it, the Karthus Visual Update is headed to PBE! Read more here
Twitch / Skarner 
Our team’s mandate doesn’t end when updates hit Live – we aim to keep fine-tuning them until their foundational elements are sound. For example, we’re still working on a couple of Twitch’s oddities such as his ultimate rendering him unable to attack structures. 
Skarner is a major ongoing focus at the moment, as his initial Gameplay Update had some issues that we’re still committed to solving. Skarner’s adjusted kit didn’t fully live of up to the fantasy players had come to expect when playing him, so we’ve been looking at ways to get back a bit of that magic while preserving his healthier new gameplay. As we mentioned in this thread, we’re currently experimenting with some passive / Q functionality tweaks aimed at increasing his stickiness, and we’re excited to see all you scorpion lovers try the changes out once we’ve nailed them down. We know this has been a major pain point for you Skarner players out there, and we’re hoping to get this next iteration on PBE within the next patch or two. 
The huntress is a pretty polarizing figure, and we’ve slated her for an upcoming Gameplay Update focused on evening out her most abrasive elements while opening up a fresh gameplay pattern centered on a new ‘Hunt’ mechanic. 
Nidalee’s current ability to project the bulk of her damage (and potentially massive damage at that) from extreme range with hardly any threat of retaliation is something we want to significantly tone down. Doing so will allow us to add some more interesting power in the form of ‘Hunt,’ a mechanic that creates interesting decision points by increasing Nidalee's overall strength against Hunted targets, especially in Cougar form. Updates to some of Cougar form’s abilities that contextualize their effects based on target and facing will further help Cougar form mature into a more interesting and co-equal component of Nidalee’s engagements. 
Head over to this thread if you’d like to chat with Riot Repertoir and learn more about the upcoming Nidalee GU. 
Yeah yeah Seb, but what’s next? 
In the past we’ve haven’t usually talked much about our pipeline, mostly because the team was still spinning up and we didn’t want to create false expectations about how quickly updates would come out. When you’ve found out about things we’re working on it’s mostly been through early designer discussions and hints, or when we officially announced updates. And while we definitely like surprising you (and hopefully will continue to do so evil grin), we’d also like to start giving you some idea of what’s coming down the line. 
Keep in mind the following does not represent a comprehensive list of what’s on our radar or even being worked on. Champion Updates are a major part of League of Legends’ ongoing evolution, and we’re committed to the long-term maintenance of the entire League roster. 
A note on our upcoming aims – with Heimerdinger, Twitch, and Karthus we’re closing out a stretch of art-focused updates and moving into a period where we’re shifting the emphasis to gameplay. This does not mean we’re abandoning art; Gameplay Updates will still be supported with visual retouches where necessary, and for our more comprehensive projects we’re looking at champions with outdated / irrelevant gameplay in addition to lagging visuals (i.e. a certain undead behemoth).
Everything mentioned below is tentative, not tied to dates, subject to change, delay, cancellation, etc. When updating everyone’s beloved champions, our overriding goal is to do the job right; speed comes a distant second. Seriously, Soon™, if you try to hold me to what’s said below I’m taking a poro hostage. 
Sona’s planned Gameplay Update is currently a bit more surgical than most – she’s got several existing strengths and high points that players love. Specifically, we’re currently exploring ways to make the choices attached to Sona’s basic abilities more exciting and looking at more satisfying uses of the power currently held by her auras. Ultimately, we want to condense Sona’s power into actions that create skill expression for Sona players, greater clarity of interaction for allies, and have possible counterplay for opponents. Doing so will allow us to create more meaningful moments for players with a champion that is still Sona, but with bigger pay-offs and a lot more to care about from moment to moment. 
Fiora occupies a cool gameplay space, one we’d like to further by making her feel more like a fencer/duelist both mechanically (how her abilities function) and thematically (how her abilities look, sound, and relate to her identity). Currently, Fiora is mostly an Assassin, using all her abilities to jump on a squishy target and quickly deal tons of damage in the hope of killing it dead. While we'd like to elements of that play style, we also want to nudge her towards being more of a Light Fighter, dealing good long-term DPS, staying in or near the fight at almost all times, and satisfied to switch between targets as fights change/move. This means making her more mobile and elusive in fights, with bigger periodic damage spikes rather than one large burst at the start of a fight. We also want to make her more mechanically intense (using her abilities more frequently, with a better reward for using them properly). 
Inorite? Everyone’s favorite undead juggernaut is firmly in our sights and has grown into one of our biggest projects. There are a lot of challenges here - to be frank, Sion is OLD, pretty much across the board. At the same time, he occupies an awesome and iconic thematic space, so from gameplay to art to creative background we’re taking a ground-up approach to re-tooling Sion into the best possible expression of his role as Noxus’ undying champion. He’s definitely a ways out (as I said, we aim to get it right!), but we can’t wait for him to reemerge and strike terror into mere mortals everywhere. 
As I mentioned, we’d like to continue periodically doing updates of this sort when we send projects to PBE or Live. We’ll also be back with more specific discussions as the above projects (or others!) get closer to completion. Until then, happy rifting!"

When asked about Sona and if it translates to "removing her auras", RiotSeb commented:
"I agree with you about our inconsistent record of maintaining a champion's identity through some of the updates in the past. One of the goals of adjusting our team's scope was to make sure that we have art and gameplay working together to make sure our updates are cohesive and true to the champion in every way. Before, when we had more piecemeal updates from various different teams, it was more difficult to coordinate and communicate about this. 
Sona is a project we're taking very seriously because she's well liked by players and picked quite often (in general play, not necessarily in LCS). There are major elements of Sona that players really like, so we're making sure to take that into account-- that's integral to our strategy when revisiting old champions."

As for the comment on "closing out a stretch of art-focused updates", he elaborated.
"Not necessarily-- visual updates are a really important and valuable thing our team works on! It's just that in between visual updates, the team will also be delivering gameplay-focused updates as well. Our goal is to bring champions up to the quality bar, whether they need cosmetic upgrades, gameplay changes, or whatever combination."

Upcoming Nidalee Gameplay Update

Building on the above, Riot Repertoir has pounced on to the forums to deliver an overview of the upcoming Nidalee gameplay update:
"Hey guys, 
As you may or may not be aware of to this point, we’ve been pretty hard at work trying to address some problems we’ve identified with Nidalee’s gameplay. 
Nidalee’s current pattern of nuking from very long range and being uncatchable is problematic for the game. It creates scenarios where there is no reasonable strategy that can be used to beat her, and it edges out most of the interactive gameplay we try to encourage. While working on her, we definitely want to make significant balance changes to Javelin Toss and her overall escapability, but we also want to make a more complete shapeshifting character that uses both forms in most of its success cases. That being said, Nidalee is a pretty cool character, and we don’t want to necessarily rebuild her from the ground up. In light of this, none of her abilities will be replaced by completely new ones, but playing as and against her will definitely be a different experience. 
Before we get too far into this, please understand that we are still making minor tweaks and balance changes and that some of this (particularly the numbers part of it) is still SUBJECT TO CHANGE!!! With that out of that way… 
Probably the two biggest changes to the character are her Cougar kit and her character passive. Aspect of the Cougar will now have 4 ranks and automatically be trained at level 1, and its Pounce and Swipe abilities will direct toward the player’s cursor. As for her passive, it reads close to the following: 
  • Moving through brush increases Nidalee’s Movement Speed by 10% for 2 seconds, increased to X% toward visible enemy champions in a large radius. 
  • Hitting enemy champions with Javelin Toss and Bushwhack causes her to Hunt these targets for 3 seconds, granting Prowl’s increased Movement Speed toward them and enhancing the first of each of her Cougar abilities against them.
This naturally leads to a few questions: 
  • How big is X%? 
  • This is a balance decision that will continue to be sorted out up to her release, but we want there to be a very meaningful difference between pursuing and fleeing as Nidalee. 
  • How large is “a large radius” actually going to be in game? 
  • Since this is another variable that is still open to balance tuning, we’re not settled on a final value, but we’d like it to give her interesting ways to approach fights. 

  • And most interestingly, how are her Cougar abilities enhanced? 
  • Takedown: using Takedown on a Hunted target causes it to deal increased damage to the target.
  • Pounce: can be used to jump to Hunted enemies at about double its normal range. 
  • Swipe: using Swipe on a Hunted target resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value. 
  • Aspect of the Cougar: as a Cougar, Nidalee gains vision of all Hunted enemies. 
In addition to these changes, there are numbers changes across the kit. Significant examples include, but may not be limited to: 
Javelin Toss:
  • Base damage and Ability Power ratio reduced
  • Cooldown scales down with rank in Aspect of the Cougar (R)
  • Applies the Hunt debuff to enemy champions
  • Cooldown and Mana Cost reduced dramatically
  • No longer shreds Armor and Magic Resist
  • Applies the Hunt debuff to enemy champions, and deals the trap’s damage over its duration
  • Now only affects 1 target per trap
Primal Surge:
  • Base healing and Ability Power ratio adjusted
Aspect of the Cougar:
  • Now has 4 ranks and is trained with a point at level 1
  • No longer passively grants 20 Movement Speed
  • Cooldown scales down with rank
  • Cougar ability base damages and scalings adjusted across the board
  • Now fully deals magic damage and has an Ability Power ratio also
  • Deals increased damage to Hunted targets
  • Now targets toward the player’s cursor
  • Can be used to Pounce to targets at increased range
  • Cooldown increased
  • Killing a unit resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value
  • Now targets toward the player’s cursor
  • Swiping a Hunted target resets Pounce’s cooldown to a set value if it is currently above that value"

About Ruining AD Nidalee... 
A lot of people seem to be concerned about AD or bruiser Nidalee no longer being possible. I think it's because of Takedown dealing magic damage and having an Ability Power ratio. I should mention that the Ability Power ratio is in addition to the current Base+TotalAD damage paradigm. If the concern is just about dealing full magic damage and that will ruin her in top lane, then that's something I'll want to give consideration to. 
About Pounce and Swipe targeting... 
Truthfully - and as a Nidalee player myself - I held off on changing her cougar targeting for a long time as we began to explore the character. However, when I finally did, it felt better not only to new Nidalee players, but to experienced ones as well. It took a game or two to adjust to, and ever since it's just much easier to control. I guess it's one of those things that you'll just need to take my word for until you get your hands on it, but I'm pretty sure you'll agree at that time, even if it takes a game or two to adjust to. Also, there's some scripting logic in there so that she still pounces straight forward when your cursor is far from her (for example, Pouncing back to lane).

In response to concern on Nidalee's damage after these changes, RiotRepertoir commented:
"Yeah, that's certainly a valid concern, but don't forget the
Cougar ability base damages and scalings adjusted across the board
All damage changes made to abilities are being done so with consideration to her full kit, not just Javelin Toss and Takedown."
He continued:
"I totally understand. I think one of the best parts about these changes to the character is that she now has to at least fight people up close. Once she's there, if she's doing too much damage or living too long, we can tune her numbers in a way that reflects that."

As for Takedown becoming magic damage, he explained:
"The goal with changing Takedown to magic damage was to unify her damage type, making her feel better about penetration for all of her abilities, and making it so that opponenents don't feel like there's no right answer for itemizing defensively against her. 
Bushwhack and Primal Surge are an important part of her kit, and I totally get that. It's definitely not my intention to put them in a place where she's going to struggle in human form. If anything, her two forms should now complement each other a bit better now regardless of build."
[ Update ]

The original post has been updated to include:
About Ruining AD Nidalee... 
A lot of people seem to be concerned about AD or bruiser Nidalee no longer being possible. I think it's because of Takedown dealing magic damage and having an Ability Power ratio. I should mention that the Ability Power ratio is in addition to the current Base+TotalAD damage paradigm. If the concern is just about dealing full magic damage and that will ruin her in top lane, then that's something I'll want to give consideration to. 
About Pounce and Swipe targeting... 
Truthfully - and as a Nidalee player myself - I held off on changing her cougar targeting for a long time as we began to explore the character. However, when I finally did, it felt better not only to new Nidalee players, but to experienced ones as well. It took a game or two to adjust to, and ever since it's just much easier to control. I guess it's one of those things that you'll just need to take my word for until you get your hands on it, but I'm pretty sure you'll agree at that time, even if it takes a game or two to adjust to. Also, there's some scripting logic in there so that she still pounces straight forward when your cursor is far from her (for example, Pouncing back to lane)."

Riot Repertoir hitting a few summoner ideas:
Assuming we adopt the "Hunt" system, do you think making Javelin Toss do more damage on Hunted targets could be a possibility ?
We explored this and didn't find it very satisfying. Basically, requiring a champion to be debuffed in order to deal meaningful damage to them with a skillshot just doesn't feel all that good.

Has the idea of a % Missing Health ratio on her Javelin Toss been explored ?
We've tried a variety of damage paradigms on Javelin Toss, and it seems that there's just an acceptable threshhold of damage an ability like this can deal, regardless of how conditional it is.

Does Javelin Toss keep its increasing damage/distance tossed ?
It's a core element of Nidalee that is actually reasonable and meaningful to play when tuned properly.

Why is the vision granted on a Hunted target given to Cougar Form when uses from it would mainly be in Human Form ?
The vision given to Cougar form allows Nidalee to chase through brush or around corners, as well as access her longer ranged Pounce while Hunting.

He continued, commenting on the numbers for numbers for the mark:
"Tuning the numbers properly here is really important. I'm looking to hit a ground where if an enemy runs from a max range spear when they're hit by it, they won't get caught, but if they don't make a play against her for the duration of the mark, she will be fast enough to get to them and execute her combo between a the Movement Speed on Hunt and the increased Pounce range. 
The relationship between Hunt duration, Hunt Movement Speed, Pounce range, and Javelin Toss cooldown has been very evident ever since we landed on this kit."

Repertoir also commented on Taken down NOT having it's AD ratio removed:
"I made an edit to my original post above to reflect this, but the AD ratio has not been removed from Takedown, and it's something I've never considered changing. I'm not interested in removing AD from playability or anything like that."

He continued, responding to ideas regarding her heal, traps, and overall cooldowns:
Heals are simply too strong. Doesn't really go along with a hunters mindset.
We're currently investigating how we want the heal to support her kit over the course of the game. It's an important part of her fallback pattern and pretty core to her laning, but it can definitely go crazy late game with its current scaling.

Traps. Just a restatement there needs to be a limitation on the number that can be out. No hunter has an infinite amount of traps/nor bullets.
In the version we're actively playtesting, trap duration has been significantly reduced along with its mana cost and cooldown. The idea here is that Nidalee can set up a zone of control a bit quicker and for less cost, but it doesn't last an eternity either.

Cooldowns. Same problem you had with gragas in terms of surviving. Could run in and out almost effortlessly when engaging.
I really like the low cooldown form swapping play that Nidalee is seeing in this rework, but one of the biggest challenges in balancing it is managing how fair the individual cooldowns are when she's ahead. For instance, Javelin Toss cooldown being too short means she has access to Hunting people too often. Pounce cooldown being too short means she can run away or chase forever. We're working on this at the moment.

As for her intended role and build paths, Riot Repertoir commented:
Could you describe what you see the core gameplay pattern for her as being?
This kit is all about using both forms to succeed. Skillful Javelin Tosses and well placed Bushwhack traps allow her combat advantages over certain opponents. Primal Surge continues to support her role in a poke heavy composition. As a human, Nidalee wants to fish Javelin Tosses toward valuable enemy targets, and when they hit, she has a decision to make; can I go in on this? Meanwhile, she wants to think about her traps for where she'll need them 10 or more seconds in the future. If she hasn't hit a valuable squishy with Javelin Toss, she can still trap up her team's backline and help her carry deal valuable damage to enemy tanks. As a Cougar, Nidalee wants to deal damage to her ideal target, and this is usually decided by who she was able to Hunt to do so. Outside of a specific engagement, however, Nidalee uses vision and map mobility to create numbers advantages for her team, rewarded by combat advantages in her Cougar form against targets she has successfully begun the Hunt on.

What do you see the role of Bruiser Nid being, or do you see that build disappearing?
The exact item build may not be the same - for instance, Void Staff or Liandry's Torment may appear due to her dealing magic damage on Takedown - but the playstyle should remain largely unchanged."

When asked about giving her some form of crowd control effect, he replied:
"Giving her CC was something that we gave consideration from time to time, but it never really felt like something she should have. It's actually pretty defining that she's one of the few characters in the game with now crowd control whatsoever. The way I see it, having no crowd control on the kit lets us really ramp up the Movement Speed on the Hunt."

As for any visual improvements, Riot Repertoir commented:
"She'll be getting some particle work to go along with some of the new mechanics, but she won't be receiving a full visual update."

Karthus VU Discussion

As you've likely seen, Karthus is up next for a visual update!
While the announcement mentions he'll be hitting the PBE soon, several Rioters have layed waste to the forums with more information!

Over on reddit, Ququroon commented:
"I hope you guys like this update to the Deathsinger! The Champion Update team worked hard to update his visual fidelity while providing a little more of that creepy feeling. 
He also finally makes good on his title!"

As for comments on all of Karthus's abilities looking to be the same color, Ququroon commented:
"Hey sufficiency! 
We wanted to make Karthus look more unified in direction, which is why the particles look the way that they do. We're very sensitive to if this impacting gameplay or not. 
When Karthus arrives on PBE, could you let me know if you have the same concerns?"

When asked about the skins looking different and some no longer being just recolors, IronStylus explained:
"On the scale of changes, we basically "Master Yi'd" him. Where there were just color changes or very mild geometry changes we pushed him a bit further. We try to make slight changes into more variety when it comes to the existing skins."

In response to someone concerned that Karthus's tome had been removed, Riot Whist commented:
"His book is not gone. ...? 
Watch the ability demo closer, he starts out with his book pulled out.

He has a different ult animation when he's not dead actually. It features 100% more book."
He continued:
"He holsters his book on his belt. It's hard to see at the angles shown in the image on the bottom of the page. However I'm pretty sure the pose on Statue of Karth is from his ultimate, and as you can see he has maximum bookage. 
In terms of his passive death, I had noted during production that his book and staff are not carried with him. Curiously, his clothes are though. I asked Relaunch team to also have his robes fall off for it and leave Karthus naked for realism, but they didn't seem to like that idea for some reason.

The decision to lose the book and staff was not actually something I was involved in and thus can't give you a real answer."

Upon mention of this flowing robes from the ability preview, ohmikegoodness stepped in to comment:
"XRayAlpha and I did most of his animations! We hope you enjoy all the cloth goodness!"

As for the removal of bones showing due to laws in other countries, ohmikegoodness commented:
"Yes, we have to take special considerations when doing things like that. We try to make sure everybody is happy! We wanted to make sure everything was okay from the onset so we wouldn't have to change anything later. Also, <3"

DS Pantheon Refunds Available until Friday

Following all the discussion over the weekend, Hippalus chimed in on the undocumented Pantheon changes in 4.7 and the opinion that Riot did it maliciously to increase sales.
"As a Pantheon main, I agree the changes suck. But even if I beg Morello in the elevator, our team has no say on balance changes, bug fixes, or anything else. And they don't tell us what's coming.

Also, I believe Player Support has been giving refunds in situations where players no longer want the skin because of these changes (EDIT - confirmed but only through Friday). There haven't been any announcements because it only affects a few players, but I don't think there's still an open issue there. I'll make sure Bubo knows the latest so he can stop arguing about it :)"
He continued, replying to a summoner critical of his time at Riot:
"The vast majority of changes I've made to Riot's business practices have improved both player trust and player value (as measured by player surveys and other metrics). I understand it's tempting to cherry pick aspects of changes you don't like to make your point, but are you really that confident that my presence has been bad for players?"
He continued:
"You're missing the point - there's nothing to plan for. Balance changes don't affect pricing and content launches and vice versa. Why would we need special access to information? It would only create the temptation to do the kind of underhanded stuff that you like to accuse us of."

He continued, reiterating the lack of a hidden agenda between balance and content releases:
"There is no Rioter I know that would want to work for a company that made choices like that. Sacrificing team morale and player trust for a few pennies may be the norm at some companies but it's the furthest thing from reality here. Almost everyone at Riot (me included) was a player first and still has that mindset.

And because it's random, there are so many examples where we nerf champions before skin releases as well. Then we get threads talking about how we're stupid instead of devious."

Phreak also stepped in to add:
"I actually want to hop on something here: 
The Core Gameplay guys do work with new skins sometimes. But I want to raise two things to your attention to specify how: 
1. The team plans its changes in advance. They'll say, "Okay, let's take a look at X champion." "Alright I'm working on it. When the changes are ready, I'll submit them." Sometimes that happens to be the same patch as a skin, sometimes it's a change in isolation. Either way, the patch planning is done by the team itself, not by Hippalus saying, "Yo guys, buff this guy before his legendary comes out."

2. Core Gameplay does playtest the new skins, but they test it for feel, readability, etc. Numerous times, they send the skins BACK, make the skins artists take MORE time on them, DELAY the release, and ultimately suck up resources that "could" be used to make more skins or whatever. The playtests literally cost us money because their goal is releasing skins that work better for you guys in game."

For players looking to refund Dragonslayer Pantheon due to the undocumented changes, Hippalus has arranged for that:
"Just confirmed with Player Support that any Dragon Slayer Pantheon refund requests will be processed as long as they are submitted by Friday."

[ Update ]

Morello also added in:
"You're pretty spot-on. It's one of those things we noticed when doing the scripting "hook-ups" for the new skin (IE the scripting work that makes sure VFX and animations link up with the spell timings - something we have to do on every skin or champ) 
While fixing this issue, we figured it'd be minor enough that it wouldn't have a major effect, so (like many very minor bug fixes) we didn't document this - even internally. That mistake translated to the lack of documentation in the patch notes, and then had an impact both perception-wise and in effect nerfing a champion in an undocumented way. 
While the accusations around greed/intent are...well, pretty insane, I can understand the frustration due to the blindside. We've actually been instituting some new ways to make sure this gets caught in documentation so we don't make a little mistake like this that ends up having a big impact."

Braum Community Creations Round Up

Riot Preeti is back again, this time with a collection of  community created Braum fan art!
"The Freljord’s been a warmer place ever since Braum took up his shield, and you guys have flexed your creative muscles and crafted colossal artwork to show your adoration! Melt your heart as you size up some of the mightiest Braum community creations.
Encounter any other inspiring Braum artwork that raised your spirits?"

Braum Login Available on Soundcloud

League of Legends music enthusiasts rejoice! Praeco stopped by the forums today to share that Braum login music is now up on the official soundcloud!
Hello friends, 
Apologies for the absence; I just uploaded it to our soundcloud. :) 

If you've never check out the LoL soundcloud before, you should! Tons of champion login themes are available for listen and download.

[ Reminder ] Braum is now 6300 IP

It's been a week since Braum's release and his price has been lowered to 6300 IP. Enjoy!

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