[Updated] Red Post Collection: Finding your place on the Rift, Sona Update Q&A, Riot with Riot at Live Events, Match History Beta live on NA/EU, and more!

Posted on at 4:17 PM by Moobeat
[ Update ~11 PM PST: Added in posts regarding the Match History beta going live on NA and EU, as well as more discussion on the Sona update! ENJOY.

Tonight's red post collection features a new developer blog on "Finding your place on the Rift", Fearless with details on the Sona update that will soon be heading to the PBE, and info on several upcoming NA events Riot will be attending!
Continue reading for more information!



Match History Beta Now Live on NA, EUNE, and EUW


The new Match History Beta is now like on NA, EUNE, and EUW

Here's Riot Matt Enth with the details:
"Players, 
In a game that emphasizes strategy and competition as much as League of Legends, information can be incredibly powerful. We've been itching to provide more data on how you play the game, and we’re ready to introduce the evolution of your match history. The beta is now live! 
Our goal is to deliver robust, intricate details about your previous matches in an accessible, intuitive interface that allows you to share game histories with your friends. We’re making more of your games visible, not just your last 10. We’re expanding the end-of-game information, using graphs and heat maps to display dragon kills, gold-per-minute, death locations and more. And now you can share links to your match history across all of your favorite social channels. 
Related to sharing, there is one aspect of the new match history we want to dive into deeper. We believe ranked play is the highest sphere of competition. Players opt in to ranked play to measure their skill in an amped-up competitive environment, and the focus is much more on winning. In order to maintain that legitimacy, we believe that ranked game stats should be open knowledge, so unlike match histories for normal queue games, ranked games will be publically available. 
As we said before, the evolved match history is in an early state, so we’ll continue to refine the online experience. For now, if you have any additional questions, check out our FAQ. As always, we’re looking for your feedback as League continues to evolve, so join the discussion below!"

Dev Blog: Finding your place on the Rift

Our next developer blog on the Summoner's Rift update is from RiotForSciene and covers the new environmental themes and locational clarity in the updated map!
"Clarity’s been a key point since we started updating Summoner’s Rift. We wanted players to be able to glance at the stream, screen or screenshot and know instantly where the camera was based on the surrounding environment."
Brent "Riot ForScience" Critchfield
This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to make Summoner’s Rift visually differentiated, but whereas before we sought to create individual points of interest (random signs in the jungle! Blue’s boiling pot!), they were just that: individual and inconsistent, and because there’s no apparent reason for them to exist, they go unnoticed and fail to successfully orient players. With this update, we’re theming the entire map, using a specific focal point to scar and otherwise affect each of the Rift’s four quadrants. And what better focal point than the Baron pit?
On the new Rift, each quadrant is thematically unique thanks to Baron’s impact. And we mean impact: Baron didn’t just shatter the ground around his entry point - the entire Summoner’s Rift features cracks and torn earth that branch out from his river base. His presence is most apparent in the north and west jungle, while the south jungle in particular has been largely untainted by Baron and remains overgrown and lush.
We also knew we wanted to theme each jungle quadrant area around the largest monsters in them. In the north jungle, that’s the Red Brambleback, a fiery and woody monster. We created the ground plane largely using clay hues, and as you get closer to the Brambleback, you’ll start to notice crimson flowers growing within the ivy, and insects hovering around. Meanwhile the west jungle’s sentinel has caused blue glowing ferns and fungus to sprout. We changed the ground plane here, too: instead of clay, we used neutral colors and small blue flowers to give the area a distinctive look.
In the east jungle we also needed a blue motif, but wanted to separate it from its western counterpart. We did this my making the area much more overgrown and mossy, safe from Baron’s destruction. We painted the motif of the sentinel into the area by creating blue puddles throughout the region, while cairn stones reflect the spiralling magical runes on the sentinel. We also added a slight drizzle to the area to help its atmosphere feel distinct. Finally, as I mentioned, we wanted the south jungle to look the lushest of the quadrants, and filled the area with vegetation. Bramblebacks are enraged nature elementals, and the monster here has affected the area by filling the south jungle with giant roots and vines. We also used orange and red flowers and mushrooms to serve as a visual reminder of how close you are to the creature.
Finally, we wanted to differentiate the two bases! The blue side turrets are geometric and fortified with a stag motif, while the red side turrets are curvilinear, magical, and use an owl motif as their key emblem. We also used a gothic-arch stone inlay in the ground plane to point the player down the lane toward the enemy base.
That’s about it for now! By structuring the map around the Baron pit – and by theming each of the jungle’s quadrants around unique themes – we’re able to create layers of orientation with color, architecture and even disaster. These visual clues help ensure you’ll always know where you are when playing or spectating on Summoner’s Rift."

Sona Update Q&A

Fearless has returned with more info on Sona's upcoming update and it sounds like the Maven of the Strings' updated kit is headed to the PBE for an extended stay
"Hey everyone!

A few months ago, we talked with you all about what you loved about Sona, and what you thought could be better. We also had numerous internal discussion about the faults in her design along with the things about Sona that make her a great part of League of Legends. The product of those dialogues, along with many weeks of exploration and testing, is a updated Sona kit that will be hitting PBE very soon. 
However, we are going to be using PBE a bit differently this time. Sona is getting out to PBE much earlier in the development process, with much of her VFX still in progress, and the design still very much in iteration. The main reason for this is to get the maximum amount of feedback on Sona. We know how many people love Sona, and we want to ensure that we give as much of a window for people to check out what we’re doing with her and give us their thoughts. 
This also means that players will get a chance to see a much longer window of development. The good side of this is way more time to absorb and react to the feedback we get, the downside is that there will be more bugs and pre-final game balance, art and audio. 
As far as the actual kit changes, the gameplay update is focused almost entirely on updating what an aura can be in league of legends. The primary goal is to transform Sona’s auras from giant stat bubbles to high impact “Snuggle Zones.” (Thanks Feral Pony!) Sona’s old auras granted her allies a tremendous amount of power (100 AP/AD on Q for example), but they weren't well communicated, and didn’t create new gameplay. Sona’s allies didn’t play differently with Sona’s auras, they just did everything invisibly better. 
Sona now gets much smaller zones, and they now grant short duration buffs of condensed power to any ally Sona tags with the zone. This means that Sona players need to care when they give these buffs, and giving these buffs to the entire team requires skilled positioning and more team interaction. It also means that allies can make skillful use of the auras, rewarding teamplay and coordination. The goal was to increase the tactical and strategic choices Sona makes without increasing the mechanical complexity required to play Sona well.
  • Hymn of Valor: Zone grants bonus magic damage on the next auto for Sona and any ally tagged.
  • Aria of Perseverance: Zone grants a short duration shield.
  • Song of Celerity: Grants a short duration % move speed buff. 
We’ve also made some changes to Sona’s basic abilities to improve allied and enemy interaction. These changes aim to create some space for the new aura gameplay, and to ensure that Sona has windows of power and downtime, vs the previous patterns that allowed for the fire and forget, spammy spell patterns. 
The cooldown on all of Sona’s abilities have changed from 7 seconds to 10 seconds. There are two reasons for this change. The first is that Sona needs more time to use the new auras without having permanent uptime. The second is to give Sona’s opponents windows to interact with Sona. Increasing the impact of all of Sona’s aura gameplay also means that Sona needs to have more downsides to balance so that her choices have weight and meaning. 
Aria of Perseverance’s base heals have been lowered, but now scale with the target’s missing health. This mean’s that Sona’s ability to get ahead and then erase any damage her opponents do is much more costly for Sona, while Sona’s ability to save her opponents with reactive casts on W is much improved. 
Song of Celerity’s cast now grants Sona a big increase in MS that ramps down to the boost she gives her allies. This gives Sona the tools to position herself to get the most out of her Q and W. 
Along with the gameplay update, Riot Phoenix and BuyFilm have been working to update the readability of Sona’s VFX. The biggest change is making sure that Crescendo has particles that actually show what it does mechanically. So far, Sona players have been very happy to fully understand what their ult actually does, and be able to make better plays from that information. We’d love to hear from everyone on these particles as well. 
Normally, we’d give a full change list here, but a lot of numbers are still in flux. We’ll give out more info as we push to PBE and as we dial her it as we approach her release. 
We’ll be happy to try and answer any and all questions you all have, but there will be limited information on numbers and balance right now. Questions on Sona’s design goals or development are going to be a lot more easily answered, as we’ve been consistent on those as we’ve been prototyping these changes. Can’t wait to hear from everyone!"
He continued:
"All feedback is welcome. Balance is probably the weakest element right now, but getting lots of opinions on her is still quite useful. We'd much rather get tons of feedback and have to do some extra analysis work instead of pointing people towards one element and perhaps not getting great feedback on an element we don't initially think is a risk."
Fearless also reiterated that she'll have plenty of time to be tested on the PBE:
"That is the point of going to PBE a lot earlier than most of our projects. We'll have a lot more time to get the numbers right. Most of our time in development time has been focused on finding the right basic interactions, and then making sure that those models have enough ways for us to improve balance without making catastrophic sized changes."

When asked if Power Chord ( Sona's passive )  remains the same, Fearless noted:
"That is correct. There maybe small number changes, and we're working on the clarity of Power Chord, but the base mechanics have not changed."

In response to concern about her heal, Fearless clarified:
"She hasn't lost her heal. The heal is still on the initial cast of W, while the W replaces the old MR and Armor aura. Instead of grating defensive stat, Sona can grant the allies she tags with her new zone the shield. Best uses of W get both the shield and heal on an ally."
Fearless also commented on the changes to Sona's R's visual effects, saying:
"In a way, yes. 
The fault here was that the effect really didn't show what was actually going on, either in the nature of the ability (did you know Crescendo is a line missile?) nor the area it hit (base particle was really huge compared to actually affected area in addition to looking like a lasting AOE). 
The new particle is much clearer, and the case of looking like it should have hit when it didn't was the main focus for the ult particle change (besides just making it look amazing)."

As for her mana costs, Sotere added:
"Her mana costs will likely be modified. Over the course of testing so far, she seems less hungry for mana. She absolutely still wants items to bolster her regeneration ( Mikael's Crucible please), but doesn't starve quite as hard in the early game."

and Fearless answered a question about her base stats:
"Base stat changes are on the table. We'd like to see if we can up Sona's durability, but we'll have to fully understand how much safer she is with her W and E changes. The shield on demand gives her a very good tool against burst damage, and the greater boost of speed on E cast is also helping her escape hard engages more quickly."

As for a summoner's complaint that she can't compete with many popular supports, Fearless noted:
"One issue here is that the idea that she can't complete with other supports is not factually accurate. Sona does very well still in all levels of play, and is still seen in competitive play. 
I do think that Sona currently has a number of problems with satisfaction, and the feeling that the risks she take don't have payoffs. This has been a huge focus of these changes, not reducing the risks that Sona takes, but making sure that when she plays well, she can make bigger plays and have more obvious and satisfying impacts. 
I really hope you'll actually check out these changes on PBE and try her out."
He continued:
"The competitive scene is much larger than just LCS. I also think people confuse the terms "viable" and "dominant"."
Fearless continued, explaining:
"So your post is actually super typical of the problems Sona presents currently and these problems formed the main motivation for making these changes. 
Sona doesn't feel good about her Q aura, despite giving her team 100 AD and AP. That's two BF swords and more than a Needlessly Large Rod The power that grants is tremendous, but it feels "meager." Sona's heal outputs so much health over time, and the aura at level 3 gives her team a Negatron Cloak and a Chain Vest , but once again, feels weak and unsatisfying. E is a similar spot, but is even more problematic due to the nature of move speed increases in the game. 
There is no intelligent argument that Sona's R is anything but incredibly powerful. A 1.5 second stun triggered by a nearly instant 1000 range missile is on the bleeding edge of too good to exist in the game. 
That being said, I totally understand the anger. Sona doesn't give players power they can appreciate, and we're trying to fix that. A core goal of these changes is to make Sona more defined in her identity, and more fun to play. I'd love your feedback when you get a chance to play her soon."

Fearless also replied to one summoner's long list of feedback regarding the new changes, saying:
"I'll try and go through your points here and address them as best I can.
I know that this is early in PBE iteration, but these changes sound like exactly the wrong direction. 
If these "snuggle zones" are so small, then I won't be able to effectively Q-poke and have my ADC benefit from the cast. What you have done is make it to that I have to choose between buffing my ally and doing damage on my own. That's no fun.
The snuggle zones are small enough that in some cases, you won't apply them. That's intended. That being said, Sona always gets the effects of her zones, so there is always the potential for at least one proc. However, the pay off for getting Sona and her ally to land the bonus damage is pretty dramatic, and I don't see that changing even if we move numbers up or down a bit.
You seem to be forgetting that Q is Sona's only damage-dealing spell outside of her ultimate. Having it on a 10-second CD just means that I get to fight much less. You're crippling my already meager ability to duel.

This is not something that was done by accident, or because we "forgot" something. When Sona has a low CD, low damage Q, she becomes incredibly binary. When ahead, she pushes out so much damage so often that opponents don't get to lane. When she's behind, the damage has very little impact and she ooms herself doing the only thing she had in lane.

Increasing the CD gives Sona the ability to have more damage loaded into each Q cast, currently with much of the increased damage loaded onto the follow up damage from the aura. That being said, Sona isn't designed to win a straight up duel.
Longer CDs mean lower Power Chord uptime. This is a massive direct nerf to her fighting ability, unless you're planning on substantially increasing the effect of Power Chord.
Powerchord number changes are on the table, but the fact that she gets an auto attack bonus after every Q helps her combat ability a great deal. 
Giving "Sona’s opponents windows to interact with Sona" sounds an awful lot like "stand around doing nothing because otherwise your opponents will jump on you when your spells are down." You have to remember that Sona's CDs are so low because they don't individually have the impact of those of other supports.

They might not have had much impact, but that is something this update is addressing. Each ability cast has actually weight and impact now, when used with good positing and timing. In testing, we have repeatedly been able to see where a fight turned based on a particular cast of her base abilities. 
Sona lacks an engage, a low-CD CC and an escape, all of which can be found on more popular supports. Her opponents already have wide windows of opportunity to interact with her - mostly in the form of beating you to death if you make a positional error. What I'm really hearing is that you don't like auras and you want to make her decide when and where to have them up.
The fact that her E is now shorter duration but higher power really helps here. Obviously she only gets the CC on power chord, but E is significantly better in the other cases you mention here. 
Running out of text, so will respond more in part II.
He continued:
"Quote:
I don't like "Zone of Perseverance grants a short-term shield" at all. I already have a new item to grant shields and, if I were so inclined, I already own Morgana, Karma, Lulu and Janna. This design space is already thoroughly occupied and I feel that you're killing Sona's identity. You're also forcing me to make the "why would I bring Sona when X does a better job" determination.
Shields are a fairly fundamental building block in league. Just because supports can grant shields already doesn't mean that we shouldn't ever have a character give a shield. 
On the identity issue, I think Sona is still the Aura support, and the fact that one of her auras grants a shield doesn't weaken that. I would argue that the aura granting something visible and clearly understood makes Sona more defined in her auras. Old auras where these ill defined blobs of color that were pretty much just there, even though they had huge power implications. Having auras that Sona can actually feel good about only make her more of Aura champ.
Sona was never designed as a "get in there and fight" support, but that's what she'll become if her new meta-game is to cover as many people as possible in "snuggle zones".

She's still not a "get in there and fight" champ like Leona or Thresh, but she is no longer a champ that sits in the brush a screen away from the fight and still wins the fight for her team, due to huge stat buff and a timely Flash + Ult. If Sona wants maximum application of her auras, she has to take risks now. That means sometimes Sona will make the choice that it's not worth getting a five man aura tag, and that's a good thing.
My favorite part of playing Sona is the early-game dance with Q-poke. I have to make many risk vs. reward decisions on the fly. There is a lot of interaction there. I don't feel that these proposed changes preserve my play style.
I hope you'll check out the PBE version, because I actually think this is still very much a part of Sona's experience. I don't expect long term Sona players to see a change list and expect anything without getting their hands on the kit. Having had many of our internal Sona mains play this kit, I am confident that the changes move Sona in a rewarding direction, as well as being better for the game."

Riot with Riot at Live (NA) Events

Here's Riot Preeti with a list of upcoming NA events Riot will be attending in the second half of 2014!
"The North American League community spans both coasts and everywhere in between, which means we don’t get many chances to connect with you guys in real life. Queuing up together is fun, but we want to meet up, geek out over League, and see the talent behind each cosplay!
Events are also a unique way for us to give you a closer look at how League is developed, feature live art demos, host game design panels, and honor our favorite cosplay, video, and artistic creations.  
Because the League community’s super important to us, we love getting content creators involved in our events. At our PAX East booth earlier this year, Instalok and blakinola debuted their newest music videos, and The Yordles performed live on stage. We even convinced Sky to shoutcast Riot versus community games and perform standup!  
To make it easier for you guys to attend one of our live events, we’re planning even more of them. We’ve already hit up Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta, but we’re not done! Here’s where we’re headed for the rest of the year: 
  • Anime Expo (Los Angeles, CA) July 3-6
  • GaymerX (San Francisco, CA) July 11-13
  • Fan Expo Canada (Toronto, Canada) August 28-31
  • PAX Prime (Seattle, WA) August 28-Septemer 2
  • Dragoncon (Atlanta, GA) August 29-September 1
  • Comikaze Expo (Los Angeles, CA) November 1
  • BENT-CON (Los Angeles, CA) November 7-9 
Don’t think you can join us for an event? Follow our live coverage on Tumblr and Twitter. Also, if there’s a convention you think we should attend next year, drop us a comment below!"

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