Red Post Collection: 4.17 Live Gameplay Forecast, Mass Texture Rebalancing Coming Soon, and more!

Posted on at 1:04 AM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features the the patch 4.17 live gameplay forecast, Ququroon with news of an upcoming mass Texture rebalancing that will be hitting the PBE soon, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Patch 4.17 Live Gameplay Forecast

While we haven't had one for a while, the Live Gameplay team is back with a patch forecast for 4.17 -  a run down of tentative plans for the upcoming  4.17 patch and the future!
"Saludos Invocadores!

Spinning these Patch Forecasts back up as more changes come hurtling to the PBE. In the future we'll be experimenting with the forecast to see what's the best way to communicate pre-PBE changes, but for now we've got some neat things on the way that we wanted to talk about.

The overarching narrative for this patch is to reduce stagnation in the live environment by targeting highly banned champions and (finally) looking at those champs who make for a low-counterplay game (looking at you Talon). Speaking to the latter (low counter play dudes), it's worth mentioning they've always had low counterplay, but that we've traditionally let them be due to their low visibility and (occasionally) lack of current-meta strengths. More below!

There's also the GLORIOUS EVOLUTION of Viktor with his gameplay update (PBE friends, check that that feedback thread: ) and the still-glorious-but-not-named-glorious evolution of Soraka with a larger gameplay update of her own (PBE friends, once again: ).

So some forecasting:

There are a few oppressive champions out there who have been climbing the ladders in terms of ban rates, play rates, and win rates, and we've finally decided to get into the weeds to make them a bit healthier to play against. Between 4.17 and 4.18 you can expect some small changes to champs like Akali, Talon, Yasuo, and Fiora (oh man Fiora), with most focused on reducing some in their low-counterplay abilities (maybe not eliminating, but reducing at the very least).

Speaking of strong dudes, there's a few more on our radar that we wanted to address specifically:

Nidalee - Cat lady's doing pretty well in all levels of play, specifically when she's thrown into top lane as a low counterplay bruiser-bully. We're looking for ways to reduce some of Nidalee's high AD / auto-attack focused strengths while maybe giving some love back to her AP bruiser / AP burst builds.

Tristana - Don't really need to say much beyond this, but Trist's pretty good right now. Specifically her early / mid-game tradeoffs just aren't being made when she's got such a monster lategame potential. We're looking for ways to fix this, specifically by adding windows to actually beat her up throughout the game.

Kha'Zix: As an opportunistic assassin, Kha'Zix's gone back to his missile-bugging days of prioritizing W to poke away at people. Given W's got tons of utility already piled on top of it (slow, vision, aoe), we're a little concerned that as missile-bug picks up, Kha'Zix will go back to losing a lot of his counterplay, especially since he can poke for high damage on grouped up individuals. We'll be keeping a close eye on Kha'Zix as our changes develop, but if he needs help assassinating people, we're prepared to give him some love in those areas!

Rammus - Not really a nerf or a huge buff, but just in case anyone mining PBE files gets confused, we're making it so that Powerball and Defensive Ball Curl can now overlap by 1 second, so if you use one to cancel the other you get 1 second to consider your mistake before it actually happens.

LeBlanc - LeBlanc changes! Since we removed the silence from her sigil of... malice, LeBlanc hasn't been in the best of places. We're looking for ways to give LB a bit more power in a healthy way, so we're talking more deception and cleverness rather than more damage.

And that's it for this forecast! Remember that we've got champion update forecasts going on with their own separate contexts here:

Viktor: Soraka: 
As for followup discussions, today we'll be throwing Riot Jag into the mix to answer any followup questions you may have."
Pwyff popped in to comment on Akali, saying:
"While Jag is out, I think we're exploring lighter changes to give her more directionally-relevant strength while potentially giving her just a bit more opportunity for counterplay. That said, Akali's a tough gal to strike the right balance. Her effective all-in and reset mechanics are a very big part of her core identity, which gets really weird because that's pretty anti-counterplay."
When pressed for what exactly "directionally-relevant strength" means, he commented:
And agreed with your other point. 
Also we might not hit for 4.17."
Jag later stepped in to note:
"She collects their essences and becomes stronger. Isn't that what Ryu Hayabusa does? Ninja stuff. 
In all seriousness, I think the shroud/stealth aspects of her kit really do fit with what you'd expect of a ninja (aside from giving resistances, cough) and there may be changes we can make to it to play up that a little bit more. We're still looking at options."

Pwyff also replied to someone asking for details on what they have in mind for Talon, saying:
"I don't think we have anything concrete to commit to as of yet, more that we are considering both and hashing through proposed changes / playtesting them. Sorry :("

When asked about the comments on Kha'Zix, Riot Jag elaborated:
"The direction we've always wanted to take Kha'zix is that he has to be an opportunistic assassin. To exert his power on the field, he needs to find the correct windows of vulnerability on the enemy team instead of brute forcing his way. Much like DR on his earlier versions of evolved ultimate, or the damage profile on his old Q, this version of W gives him the ability to force action. 
I sympathize with you that continuous nerfs to a champion can be frustrating. That said, we've tried to reorient Kha'zix's power in ways that are healthy for the game while still giving him the opportunity to be picked. We don't plan on nerfing him to the point where he does not feel viable."
Jag also noted:
"Forgot to add this in but we're prepared give Kha'Zix some compensatory assassin-y buffs if he needs it. Q is important to note with regards to isolation (so Kha'Zix is more of a strategic counterplay than an in-the-moment tactical counterplay, I suppose), but yeah back to that first point."
He continued, talking more about Kha'Zix and answering a question about the 4.14 patch notes mentioning Corki:
"The Corki note was a "this is a world championships patch so it must be time to buff Corki" joke that somewhat missed the mark. Sorry. :( He doesn't have any immediate balance changes in store for him.

As for Kha'zix, the path we'd like to take him down is closer to team/situation-dependent strength; a path that isn't an all-in-one package of damage, cc, and mobility where he has the tools to solve any problem with just his own kit."

As for the status of Cassiopeia after her patch 4.16 rework, Jag noted:
"Definitely keeping a close eye on her. We get more playtests of a champion in the first hour they're out on live than we ever did internally, so RiotStashu will have plenty of data to look at and assess what state she's in. Keep giving him feedback."

Coming Soon: Mass Texture Rebalancing

Starting with tomorrow's (9/12) PBE update, Riot will be slowly updating a multitude of champions and skins to bring them inline with the current art style and Summoner's Rift update.

Here's Ququroon with details and some examples of what to expect:
"Hey everyone!

As the update to Summoner's Rift continues to percolate on the PBE, we're looking to address the fact that many of League's older champion and skins were created using the Rift's current look and color palette (or even older ones), which continues to evolve over time. At this point, many champion and skin textures need a bit of rebalancing to ensure they look nice regardless of where they're standing, or who they're standing next to.

We're talking just about every champion and skin released before 2013 (with a few outliers). This may seem scary, but I want to emphasize that these will generally be small tweaks; corrections rather than major changes. Due to the scale of the project, this won't all be coming at once, so don't despair if you don't see your favorite champion in the first batch! Here's an example of what you'll eventually see:
This then ties back to the update to SR, as one of our primary goals with the update is fleshing out LoL's visual hierarchy. Put simply, this means that particles should have the highest visibility, followed by characters, then finally the environment and map. Rebalancing characters' colors and textures gives us the chance to also better execute within that visual hierarchy.

We also aim for hierarchy on the characters themselves, drawing attention to key areas like heads and weapons through highlights, while dropping the values on less visible or important areas so it doesn't distract from characters' focal points. At the highest level, we want to ensure that everything looks consistent, and that the art always adds to, rather than detracts, from gameplay.

With these goals in mind, we've locked several character artists in a room (no, they’re really in there - they've got classic rock playing on a loop, and we're occasionally throwing them some food or something), and they're cranking away in order to finish things up by the time the update to SR hits Live. We'll be rolling these out over time, and you'll see the first batch of ~10 tomorrow on the PBE (barring any hitches!).

Please let us know any feedback and questions that you have on this. IronStylus and I will be hanging out and chatting about this.

Could you explain a little more of the technical details of this?
While making these changes, we're reassessing the finer details and making calls to emphasize certain areas of characters with the goal of increasing overall visual fidelity. Because we have a very zoomed out isometric camera angle, we want to communicate the important parts of a character without detracting from them as a whole. In other mediums (minigames, Udyr comic, cinematics like 'A New Dawn,' etc.) characters will also show a level of detail suitable for the angle in question.

This is something we've already been doing with new champions and skins to increase readability and clarity, while minimizing pixel flicker and excess noise. Our goal is never to take something away from our characters. We continue to develop and iterate on all our characters so they look like they fit inside of the same world, and in this case so they'll have visual consistency on the Rift.

Are you updating skins as well?
Absolutely. We always consider skins when working on champions, although in this case most recent skins already reach the quality standard that we're shooting for on this project.

However, there will be a few instances where we’ll deliver some changes to a character that will only affect their default appearance. An example of this is a metal shader that we’re adding to Orianna's base texture, which will not be applied to the skins at this time. This is being done opportunely where we see a chance to do justice to the character's core identity.

Will this affect the releases of Champion Updates?
Nope! This isn’t a project done by ChampUp, so it won’t affect any of the upcoming projects in the slightest."
He continued, thanking the artists that have been working on these:
"Massive shoutouts to the folks in the locked room:
  • SpaceStallion
  • GrumpyMonkey
  • RiotPio
  • RiotDanky"

When asked if all the champion and skins will be updated by the time the Summoner's Rift update comes to live, Ququroon noted:
"For the most part, yes. We might miss a couple by a patch or two, but it should be at least very close."
As for how many of the over 100 pre-2013 champion and skins will be adjusted, he teased:
"Most of them? :D
And Legacy skins are included in this."

When asked if these updates would include any model or particle changes, Ququroon noted:
"Not at this time. This is just texture rebalancing, not particles and not really any model work. Sorry!"
and when asked if there will be any new splash arts to accompany:
"That is apart from this, but the Splash team is working super hard."

When asked for an elaboration on "with a few outliers", Ququroon explained:
"Some already visually affected characters, and some are already in a fine state."
As for if Malzahar will be on this list some where, Ququroon commented:
"We're planning to! I think he could use a little love. 
Edit: I mean in the rebalancing sense. Again, this isn't a ChampUp project. <3"
Ququroon also commented on the difference between what we traditionally think of as a texture update and these new texture rebalancing:
"This isn't the best example, but this might help. 
A TU would be repainting your car. You might even add a spoiler during the process. Man, what a cool car! 
A Rebalance would be more like... repairing any sun damage, or filling in any chips in the paint. 
Does that make sense?"

As mentioned in the post, TEN champions and their skins will receive these updates in the 9/12 PBE update. Hope you are ready!

Hammertime for Poppy?

If you watched today's LCS promotion tournament games, you may have noticed a certain hammer wielding yordle doing quiet a bit of work.

Morello popped into a reddit thread regarding his comments early last year about Poppy, saying:
"I'm not sure if we'll club her or not - I'd prefer to stop abusing her if we can manage or if there's some team strategy that makes this interesting as opposed to dominant. I need to speak to the Live Gameplay dudes as this develops"

Talisman of Ascension and Azir

In a thread discussing the relationship between the S4's Talisman of Ascension item, Azir, and the Ascension game mode, Meddler commented:
"Yeah, we had plans for the Shurima event in mind last year when we were retheming some items, Talisman of Ascension included. We didn't have the game mode in mind at that point, but did know that ascension as a concept was something we'd want to do more with, both in regards to Azir and other Shuriman champs."

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