Red Post Collection : 4.11 Live Gameplay Patch Forecast - Bringin' Up Support / Tanky Junglers, IronStylus on Taric VU, Ardent Censor / Draven bug fix, and much more!

Posted on at 9:36 PM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: A hotfix is coming out soon to fix the Draven and Ardent Censer bugs. ]

Tonight's red post collection features Pwyff with a Live Gameplay Patch Forecast for patch 4.11, including mention of buffing up Utility / Tank junglers and taking a look at Jax, Kayle, Yasuo, and Ziggs. You'll also find IronStylus discussing the complexities of Taric's VU, Pwyff with an update on the 4.10 Draven bug, the notice the Ardent Censer is currently disabled on live, more discussion on the Summoner's Rift update, more from @WizardCrab, Gypsylord with wild ideas on Diana, and MORE!
Continue reading for more information!

[4.11] Live Gameplay Patch Forecast 

 Pwyff has posted up the Live Gameplay Patch Forecast for 4.11, which mentions itemization changes aimed to support / tanky junglers up to par and a few specific champions we can expect changes for!
"Hey all, 
Time for a forecast for 4.11! In our future forecasts we'll probably throw these under the banner of "Live Gameplay" or "Riot Live Gameplay" to reinforce that it's an entire team that works on shipping each patch, and not a single individual (except nerfs. That's Morello. Only Morello.). 
Regardless, while we set all of that up, we still need to make forecasts. SmashGizmo of the Live Gameplay & Balance team will hang around after the post to answer any questions you might have. Remember, feedback should be more focused on how you feel about a change rather than getting real prescriptive about the exact change you want to see. 
BRINGIN' UP THE SUPPORT / TANKY JUNGLERS - Our largest narrative for Patch 4.11 is centered on bringing up supportive / tanky junglers. In competitive play, we're seeing a common trend of early aggression junglers in the form of Lee Sin, Elise, Kha'Zix, and Evelynn. When we see early aggression as king, those junglers also have the averse affect of invading and beating the snot out of the slower clearing utility-focused tanky dudes (like Maokai). On that note, our approach here is less focused on reducing the power of the stronger champions, and more on bringing up the power of the less capable. 
Much of this shift will come in the form of itemization changes. Right now a lot of the items junglers are buying are more focused on amplifying damage (which tanky support junglers don't have a lot of) or giving raw tank stats (which tanky junglers want, but then slow down even more in the jungle). We think tank junglers are in need of a jungle item that better supports their play style across the board. 
To go along with our item-focused changes, we've also singled out a few junglers who we're pretty sure will fall under the bar even with item changes. We feel like there are a few tank junglers who just have no reason to be picked over fighters, so we're going to amp up some of their utility in order to solidify their identity as scrappy disruptive picks. 
Finally, outside of the above narrative we're looking at a few high-priority champions who've been rather dominant in the competitive scene (and in ban rates at all levels of ranked play). 
Those champs include: 
Kayle - this is one tough angel to crack. Like we've said before, Kayle's big problem is that she lacks a lot of meaningful weaknesses to capitalize on. Specifically, does anyone know why Kayle's this hybrid damage-support champion who also happens to be top tier at both? 
Jax - Even though Jax is intended to be a champ that scales well into the late game, he's currently so well-rounded that 'scaling well' ultimately turns him into an offensive brick wall with very few weaknesses. 
Ziggs - Right now we see Ziggs as having a unique strategic fit in the game (stalling out to let his teammates ramp up in strength), but he's a little too safe in lane and still has a lot of offensive power to push a victory when a ahead. Adding on these strengths, Ziggs is also a well-rounded, consistent champion who can do a lot of things at once, so we're looking for ways to add more risk or unreliability to his kit. 
Yasuo - Yasuo's a really strong late-game champion but his weaknesses in the early game are masked by his high offensive threat. Good Yasuos need to balance offense with defense, but Yasuo's just bullying out opponents before they have the chance to really retaliate or capitalize on his moments of weakness. 
And that's all for this forecast! Expect to see a bevy of changes hitting the PBE sometime soon. Once again,SmashGizmo of the Live Gameplay & Balance Team will hang out after to answer some questions in between his work."

As for specific junglers they will be looking at in 4.11, SmashGizmo noted:
"Right now we're focusing on Nautilus, Maokai and Zac in terms of changes beyond those to the itemization options. I think the itemization will really help out guys like Sejuani, Amumu, and Rammus, but we will of course be watching what happens with them all and try to adjust accordingly if we see someone struggling (or dominating). I actually also think the itemization changes will be pretty big for Malphite, Shen and Mundo too, but I think we're less concerned with making sure those guys are doing well in the jungle since they are all solid top laners too."
He continued:
Tanky junglers need a passive that rewards building tanky. Example: Every X hp/armor, you gain Y movement speed. Could be a lot of movement speed if out of combat (but out of combat that only stops when you dmg or cc an enemy champ (so you aren't slower in the jungle, and you aren't slower if they poke you while you try to engage). 
We are currently taking a similar approach by exploring a direction that gives % bonus HP. The biggest question we're running into with this exploration though is whether this actually benefits the tank class more than the fighter class, since fighters also frequently buy comparable amounts of HP to tanks. There's certainly some promise here, but it's tough due to the amount of overlap in desirable stats on Tanks and Fighters."

When asked about Alistar jungle, SmashGizmo noted:
Sorry but I don't think is intended to be a jungler...; Can't remember who from Riot, but they said he provides too much good CC. He should remain as a support where they should focus on fixing him. However, I do have high hopes for Nautilus, Maokai, and Zac.
This is pretty spot on re: Alistar. We like the guy as a support, but his jungle pattern has always been just about chain-ganking and undermining the other team's laning experience, so we're not really looking to put him back in the jungle."

Regarding the Jax nerfs and his lack of recent success in competitive play, SmashGizmo noted:
"The way professional League of Legends is played is very very different from the way that millions of other players play the game. When balancing the game, we try to strike a balance between balancing for pro play and balancing for our average player, which means that sometimes we have to take a swing at a character even when they're trending downward in the professional arena. Jax might be struggling a bit in competitive, but he's still causing a lot of frustration for a lot of players. 
Lulu and Ryze are on our radar, but we're still trying to work out some of the larger issues that are currently deleting the laning phase from competitive play, which, if successful, would potentially change the landscape of these picks."

4.10 Draven Bug May be hotfixed

Following up on yesterday's comments about the 4.10 Draven bug, Pwyff tweeted out:
"In other news, Draven will probably get hotfixed. Our release team is a bunch of all-stars and are trying to get it out!"

UPDATE: It's happening. Pwyff's latest tweet:
" Guess I can mention it now - we're currently in the process of hotfixing Draven / Ardent Censer. Rolling out to servers soon(tm)."

6/19 Ardent Censer Disabled

The new support item that allows it's owner to give champions they heal or shield attack speed has been disabled due to a bug where it was giving a GLOBAL 8% movement speed buff.

In addition to the in client warning, here's Riot Draggles with an official post on the matter:

Ardent Censer has been disabled due to a game impacting bug and will be re-enabled once a fix has been implemented."
When asked about an ETA on a fix, Pywff noted:
"That might potentially get hotfixed alongside the Draven fix."

UPDATE: It's happening. Pwyff's latest tweet:
" Guess I can mention it now - we're currently in the process of hotfixing Draven / Ardent Censer. Rolling out to servers soon(tm)."

High Value Targets for VU/GU

In a thread discussing which champions are a high value target for visual or gameplay updates, IronStylus swooped in to comment:

"I'd be interested in general to see the community's perception of potential high value targets for Visual Updates and Visual/Gameplay Updates to compare against our internal assumptions."
He continued, explaining :
"Player value and player experience first is our core tenant at Riot, above all else. There will always be a balance between what the player expectation is and we can realistically achieve, in how much time, at what quality bar, etc. Where the worlds intersect is where we're able to act most efficiently, I feel. Where we do our players the most service is very much served by how efficient we can be, or so my gut says. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to wrack our brain over something that might be, perceptually, highly desired, but maybe isn't achievable without a lot of time for development, limited resources, or other factors, and might not be seen for quite a while. That's why the balancing of high value in the short/medium term versus long term slow-burn on larger character reworks is essential in my view.

From ChampUp point of view, it might come in the form of where the most player value can come given a set of circumstances, such as the visual/thematic fidelity of a champion, how viable or visible they are in the current meta, if the opportunity is ripe in terms of investment versus payoff, and what the realistic time frame is. Bang for the buck, really.

Sion is a huge priority for example, maybe more pressing than Twitch, Heimer, Karthus, etc, in the grand scheme, but he's been slowly baking while these other champions have had a clearer path to solving. The Sion progress has been highly iterative, and meanwhile, we've been able to deliver quality stuff that resonates while we tackle something really big."

Taric VU is.. complex.

Speaking of visual updates, IronStylus also briefly touched on Taric and why he's been a hard gem to VU:
"Can't really speak to gameplay, I know RiotScruffy has some ideas. But I agree, he is one of our top targets at this point. I feel he'll need a lot of concept iteration however. He's.. complex.. to say the least."
He continued, elaborating on why Taric's VU is complex:
"Complex as in his theme and intended experience. 
There's one side of Taric which was probably the intended experience when he was first under development. One which probably more or less equates to League's version of a paladin. That was certainly flavored a lot. However, with the execution capability of the time, a lot of Taric is currently up for interpretation due to execution. That has lead us to what is currently perceived by players. A character that has very much taken on a life of it's own beyond (I'm assuming) the intended experience. 
One initial direction was more or less intended to be "serious", while the current state of Taric has taken on a very flavorful, sometimes comedic, level of over-the-topness, shown in how we create memes around him, the perception that he's flamboyant, etc. 
So, with the original intention in mind (which by the way, wouldn't be considered to be "serious) and the current experience, how should we balance the two? I'm interested in hearing ideas.

My gut is to move him towards someone who's powerful yet has a certain elegance. Is a lover of beautiful things, someone who cherishes life, and channels that into his abilities and personality. My feeling is that he really should embody a paladin experience but one which doesn't take itself too seriously. Tropes that come to mind Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers from GoT or Lancelot from the Arthurian tales. A certain amount of vanity from such characters like Vega from Street Fighter (but not a bad guy). All in all someone who's got a lot of flavor, but provides satisfaction that you as the character are being valiant, kind and heroic enough to save the day with your plays. 
I think it's key that he has an innate tanky feeling. He should feel like he can slam down his hammer and deal decisive blows, but also be the one sacrificing for his team, bringing his healing and magic to those he's supporting. 
I dunno if that makes sense, that's at least my gut. I'm very curious to hear any and all thoughts."
IronStylus also replied to a summoner asking if Riot would ever produce a homosexual champion, saying:

"I am actually curious if Riot is capable of producing a gay champion. 
By gay, I don't mean Jack from Will and Grace. I don't even mean flamboyant. Just a champion who is gay. 
Sexuality (not orientation) is already a theme in characters like Ahri, Nidalee, Misfortune, Eve and eh, I don't know, maybe Tryndamere? 
Would there ever be any incentive to create a character with a gay backstory or would this be one of those, leave it to the player's interpretation topics."
I am not advocating for or against but I'd be interested as to what people's thoughts are on a matter just like this, framed in this way."

[ Continued ] Future Morgana VU

Continuing on his discussion of a future ( read as: NOT SOON ) Morgana VU, IronStylus popped back in with an update:
"Checked in with the team quickly today. Basically, we're waiting for what we call "breaking meetings" which involve us getting together and creatively brainstorming what we feel are the essential pillars of the character, locking those down, and then building the character up to align with those pillars, or goals. As I said, Morgana has a concept hanging around, but it might end up just being one of many concepts.

To steal a line from RiotEntropy, there is no dearth of ideas in terms of where Morgana and Kayle are concerned. It'll just be about sitting down, putting those ideas on the table, picking a direction and moving forward on them. That'll take some creative alignment between the three disciplines of art, design and story.

That's where the most work for Morgana has to be done right now. Her creative hooks. I think everything will be derived from where we end up after creative brainstorming and breaking."
When asked if any VU would expand on the lore between Morgana and Kayle, he noted:
"I have no idea. I would suspect that her and Kayle's relationship would be what we would lean on to build out from. I'm not familiar enough with her story to have a strong stance. I'd default to our Creative discipline guys on the team for those specifics."
he continued:
"Our Creative dudes are a little slammed right now, but I'll check. RiotEntropy is our point man on ChampUp, though he has some other obligations across his department as well."

Gypsylord's wild idea for Diana

IronStylus also Lunar Rushed into a thread about Diana, replying to questions about if she'll ever get gameplay changes:
"I know :/

Vesh was looking into it for a bit, but I don't think she's going to be hot on the priority list right now. As has been said, there's some other really serious champion mechanics that are being looked into.

She's considered a "high value target", but at the moment, there are just higher value targets above her. I think she's going to go through the same analysis that game designers have talked about in terms of where fighters stand in LoL in general.

She'll have her day.. er.. night, rest assured :)
He continued:
"Well, I'm unfortunately not the best person to ask. What I do know is that I do understand.. as much as an artist can understand.. the predicament designers are in when it comes to fighters.

This is the most anecdotal and non-professional opinion ever, but my amateur guess would be that once a broad analysis is done, more broad strokes can be made in terms of fighters, past and future. At least with some of the insight I've seen on the side of ChampUp, where a lot of those heavier balance and mechanics changes now happen, I feel it's going to take a broad initiative and some good analysis."
Gypsylord chimed in, giving out an IDEA for Diana:

I have some thoughts on Diana. Wondering what you guys think. Not saying any of this will actually happen. Just spitballing.

Hypothesis: Diana is NOT an Assassin. She is an "agile fighter" with a vacuum.

My opinion is that if we continue to sell Diana as "The tanky assassin with no outs." She's never going to be balanced. If she's ahead she just crushes you with no recourse and if she's behind she just dies every fight because she can't get out. On top of that she's always going to be fighting with Akali, Fizz, and the like for viability because we've had to nerf her "vacuum" out of the game to make her assassin pattern more manageable.

To me, the most unique thing about Diana is her vacuum (if we were to make it work like one). That's something that she can bring to the team that no one else in her class has. She could be this fighter who's focused, not on one-shotting squishies, but on diving into the enemy team and knocking them all together, setting up for things like Rumble and J4 ults.

Basically I'd want to shift power out of her burst pattern and put it into her Vacuum and sustained damage (passive)

Proposed change list:
Stats - Increase Base AS
P - Greatly increase base damage and AP ratio
Q - Decrease AP ratio
W - Unchanged
E - Turn into an actual vacuum (increase pull distance and radius)
R - Remove Damage (Lowers burst and incentivizes using for movement, no more double tapping a guy 2 feet from you to secure a kill)

Thoughts? Is something like this what you'd want as a Diana player? Is removing the assassination pattern a big no-no? Is putting another vacuum into League super unhealthy?"

[ Continued ] @Wizardcrab

WizardCrab scuttled back on to the forums to continue answering questions in his @WizardCrab thread.

When asked why there wasn't a listing of the June weekly champion and skin sales like there was for May, WizardCrab commented:
"We wanted to finish May and analyze the results. Like if our sales plummeted from it, then I'm not sure we'd continue. But we'll keep iterating until we find the best solution."

He also briefly touched on the lifetime RP rewards, saying:
"There is something, but exact implementation is a little different. I can't share much of anything on it though."

When asked if our crustaceous friend knows anything about a new Karma skin, WizardCrab commented:
"I do. But it could be years away. It could also be days away. Maybe tomorrow!

Also, maybe never. I'll never tell "

As for the advent of being able to gift bundles, he noted:
"It's not runaround. It's actually very complicated to do, especially considering the flexible tech. We actually have our Unlock guys (who would do this work) prioritized for even cooler stuff."
and the fate of custom bundles:
"Not off the table, but no plans for this right now."

When asked if Mystery Skin ( being able to give yourself a mystery gift ) will ever return, he commented:
"Mystery Skin will definitely come back, but I can't say when. Same with new game modes."

WizardCrab also replied to a question on how the Battle Boosts, one game IP boosts and skin unlocks during the One for All: Mirror Mode event, panned out.
"Well, as far as how well it was used, the battle boost usage far exceeded our expectations. We don't have data yet back on the approval ratings and stuff, but we really won't be able to publish that information for a number of reasons that I'm not going to get into. Sorry :("

When asked if he could reveal the next champion, WizardCrab commented:
"Yeah! The next champion's name is...

...hey wait a minute. I'm not falling for this one. We probably get less and less subtle with our hints as we approach the release of the champion. Usually the further out a champion is, the more subtle the tease is. You might find small clues about future champs if you look back far enough."

[ Continued ] Summoner's Rift Update Discussion

We also have a few comments on the Summoner's Rift update, which is currently on the PBE for testing!
When asked about the addition of ripples in the river's water when walked through by a champion, RiotDesertRose commented:
"Hey guys, we totally hear your feedback. This is something we might add later on. Our main objective, is to keep the game play space subdued and clear. If water splashes/footstep movements is not distracting or busy, then yes, we might add it to the river. :)"

When asked about the overall brightness of the new Summoner's Rift and if there could be an extra option to manual adjust the brightness, RiotForScience commented:
We have not yet done the cohesive lighting pass across the map, and are adjusting the overall tone in order to preserve as much of the "SR-ness" of the map while not compromising on improving the clarity of the map. When that is in place hopefully it will resolve your concerns about the brightness without the need for an additional tool.

I doubt that our tech resources would prioritize that tool right now above the things that we really need in order to ship the map.

As for the most important question of "WHEN WILL IT BE ON LIVE", RiotForScience reiterated:
"I am not in a position to discuss specific timeframes, but I would expect the VU to be on PBE much longer than we normally have things on PBE. We are actually using PBE as a testing environment for the map rather than an early preview. We have a lot of bugs to fix, tonal adjustments to make. These things are very fluid, but I do not expect the map to be leaving PBE soon."

New Match History up on LAN/LAS/OCE

The upcoming new Match History beta is slowly rolling out to different servers! LAN, LAS, and OCE have all had the beta enabled recently. No details yet on an NA/EU launch.

Ghost Bride Morgana from Concept to 3D

The Latin American LoL site has published an article showing the creation of Ghost Bride Morgana, a skin created to celebrate the LA server launch. While the article is in Spanish ( or google translate if you are itching for an adventure ), I urge you to check it out for a look at how this ghoulish skin came to life!

[ Riot Games ] Announcing Queue Dodge for Employees

In a bit of Riot Games related news, they company announced a new "queue dodge" program for recent company hires.

Here's the full scoop, straight from the Riot Games website:
"This week we rolled out a new program we’re calling Queue Dodge. Basically, we’re offering new hires cash to quit: 
  • Any new hire (North America only for now) can elect to Queue Dodge at any time during their first 60 days
  • Those who elect to Queue Dodge will be paid 10% of their annual salary, up to $25,000 
Now, we don’t want to actively push people out or dare them to leave, but we do want to provide a well-lit, safe exit path. Additionally, we want to: 
Reinforce Riot’s culture. From the beginning, we’ve focused on culture. We operate on a foundation of shared mission, values, passion, trust, and mutual respect. If someone gags on the unique flavor of our culture, they’d be doing themselves and the company a disservice to hang on just for the paycheck. Culturally aligned people and teams are more effective, and alignment around mission and values allows us to better serve players. We’ve designed Queue Dodge to help self-identified mismatches move on in an open, positive, and constructive way.

Backstop the hiring process. We carefully vet every new hire through a rigorous interview process, but that’s not enough to ensure a great fit every single time. Rather than allow mismatches to fester, we want to resolve them quickly. This is good for the company, and good for the professional. We don't know yet how many people might choose to Queue Dodge, but we’ll learn from this and make better hiring decisions as a result. 
Sound familiar? If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because we’re not first. We watched Zappos, that insanely customer-focused company, with wonder and amazement when they announced back in 2009 that they were paying people $2,000 to quit. At the time, this seemed a bit nutty, but Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explained
“We want to make sure that [people] are here for more than just a paycheck. We want people that believe in our long term vision and want to be a part of our culture.” 
Credit and fist bumps to Zappos and Tony for their insight and inspiration."
The company announcement also came with a historically accurate video on the origins of the fist bump:

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