Red Post Collection: Music Team Q&A, Mystery Skins Return, 5.2 Bugs, Meddler on Mordekaiser, and more!

Posted on at 8:10 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes a heads up that Mystery Skins are back for the next few days, Meddler commenting on Mordekaiser and Syndra, notes and confirmation on several bugs that have popped up in 5.2, a Q&A from the Music team, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Unlock a Random Unowned Skin for a Limited Time

Here's DontHassleDaHoff with info on the limited time return of Mystery Skins!
"It’s back! For a limited time, surprise yourself with a Mystery Skin!

Purchasing a Mystery Skin will unlock an unowned skin worth 520 RP or more (that could get you a discount of 84% off a skin)! As with the previous rounds of Mystery Skins, you can only unlock skins for champions you own.

Mystery Skins will be available in the Skins tab of the store for 490 RP and are limited to five per day. Grab your Mystery Skins from now until 23:59 on February 2!"

Be sure to check your region's specific thread, as the dates vary slightly!

NA / EUW / EUNE / TR / RU / OCE / LAS / LAN / BR

Meddler on Mordekaiser 

With the recent removal of DFG and the 5.2 patch notes mentioning him by name, Meddler commented on the direction they are exploring for potential Mordekaiser changes:
"One of the options we're looking at at the moment is whether we should play up Morde's tankier side a bit more. Huge guy in a full suit of armor with a passive that generates a shield suggest tough front line dude. The removal of DFG already shifts him away from bursting down a target almost instantly, our thinking is that offering him a more sustained presence might be a good approach as a result. That's very much an idea being explored right now though, not yet a proven direction."

Syndra in 5.2

Meddler also commented on Syndra now that her stun width has been increased in 5.2:
"Her stun width's been increased in 5.2, so it should better match the visible size of the sphere. Feedback on how well that's matching up (whether it's about right, still too narrow, now too wide again) would be extremely useful - we'll continue tweaking in the next patch or two if that's still not right."

5.2 BUGS

Next up we have a series of posts regarding various bugs and strange behaviors that have crept up with patch 5.2.

1) First and foremost, dArtagnan has posted up a thread regarding mouse clicks not registering properly in game, noting:
"Hey everyone, 
There have been a lot of reports from everyone experiencing delays in clicking - either the click will not be recognized or occur 2-3 seconds later. Suffice to say, this is annoying as shit and makes the game incredibly difficult to play. We are actively investigating this issue and are working on getting a fix ASAP. 
I'll make sure to update this thread once we get some further information!"

Meddler also chimed in:
"We've got some people looking into it as we speak, can't offer any more than that at the moment (code issue, so not something I've got any expertise in)."

2) Riot Velocity noted that they are currently working on a fix for a bug that is not allowing AP champions to deal 40% of their AP to inhibitors as part of their auto attack damage.
"Hey all, this definitely isn't intended behavior. 
We already have people looking into it and are looking for a fix as soon as possible."

3) ZenonTheStoic confirmed that Tristana getting a Rocket Jump (W) reset on tower kills is unintended:
"Spoke to Vesh. This is not intended behavior. We'll fix it!"

4) phroxz0n also commented on the bug where QSS is not dropping Fizz's ultimate, confirming it is unintended:
"Hey guys, this is unintended and will be fixed for next patch :)"

Ghostcrawler on Balance Philosophy and Discussion

In a lengthy thread criticizing Riot''s recent balance decisions and accusing them of "playing favorites", Ghostcrawler stepped in to address several points including their balance philosophy, how "win rate" ties into balance perception, and more:
"Hey guys, 
I'll throw out a few responses here.

On balance philosophy - we realize that our strategy for who we balance for isn't well articulated. Do we balance for LCS or for Silver players? Or both? We're trying to make sure we agree on what our actual goal is, because I think "We balance for everyone!" is a little too precious and unrealistic. We'll communicate our strategy when we've made sure we're on the same page. Balance philosophy is a topic that greatly interests me. I don't make the individual tuning changes personally (and you wouldn't want me to) so I can't provide as much context on specific patch notes, though I do help set the philosophy and direction for what kinds of changes we try to make.

Related, "win rate" gets used a lot as synonymous with balance, but that doesn't tell the whole story. We need to communicate better about what game balance means to us, because there's more to it than that. A lot of what you're discussing in this thread is sort of "pre-balancing." We're making a change (that we have wanted to make for some time!) by removing DFG, and we know that change would have big ramifications if we didn't adjust some champs to compensate. Those adjustments, while grounded in math, playtesting and player feedback, still often come down to educated guesses, because we don't have the data from thousands of live games yet. A more accurate but painfully slow way to balance is to make one change, see how the live game reacts, then make another change in response to that. We think this would feel worse overall.

On design accountability -- it totally exists. It's part of my job to make sure it exists. Now, it's not the kind of thing you're likely to see a lot. We're not going to publicly flog designers for making mistakes, though I can understand why that might be cathartic. On the other hand, designers (and anyone at Riot really) should be upfront and honest with you guys about when they think they've made a mistake.

On designers buffing champions that they like to play -- this would be a big accountability issue. As someone pointed out, while we are all gamers here, this is also a place of business with a product (LoL) and customers (you guys). It's royally unprofessional to try and tweak the game to benefit your own personal games. That's a serious breach of trust (Rioter and players) that would come with serious consequences. We may make changes you don't understand or don't agree with, but it's not because we're trying to boost our own ELO.

On Lee and Thresh -- they are champions we like, but more importantly, they also resonate with a lot of players. It's not a popularity contest, but on the other hand, we believe a lot of why people play them is because they are fun to play, not just because they win a lot. Both champs have a lot of cool abilities, and arguably they both have so many that a) neither has a lot of weaknesses, and b) they compliment almost any comp you try to build. We're trying to figure out ways to make them less awesome in every situation without stripping away what is fun about them. For example, last year or so we tried to tone down Lee's mobility and ward hopping, but it felt terrible, and largely due to player feedback (intelligent, meaningful feedback, not whining and pitchforks) we reverted it.

As always, we appreciate the feedback. The more targeted and actionable it is, the more useful it is for us. I can go tell the balance team "Boards say you suck" and they would kind of look at me and say "Okay, what changes in how we adjust champions should we make?" and I would say "You just suck." There's not really a lot of direction for improvement there.


Music Team Q&A

Following the release of Frequencies and the Music of the League of Legends Volume 1, the music team jumped on the boards for a Q&A!

Here's Wenceslaus with an introduction to the Q&A and the team members involved:
"EDIT - Hi friends! This was tons of fun, thanks for all of the great questions. We're heading back to making music (well...the rest of the team is going to make music, I'm going to listen to them make music), but we'll pop in throughout the day and try to answer a few more questions.
Hey guys,

You’ve probably noticed that it’s been a busy week for music in the League of Legends universe. With that, we thought it’d be a good idea to round up a few of the Rioters behind the documentary Frequencies, the music video “The Curse of the Sad Mummy,” and The Music of League of Legends album for a little Q&A.

If you’ve got any burning questions about our latest music releases, share them below and settle in for a behind-the-music chat with these Rioters:
• Christian “Praeco” Linke
• Alexander “Scherzophrenia” Temple
• Sebastien “Chemicalseb” Najand
• Dan “marignak” Negovan
• Eugene “kyugene” Kang
• Jason “ProtoShredanoid” Willey
• Lisa “Saiyaka” Thorn
• Tyler “Wenceslaus” Eltringham

You can check out all the new stuff here:

As usual, I've organized the Q&A responses into a few categories:


When asked how long it took them to create all of the sound tracks for The Music of League of Legends – Volume 1 , Scherzophrenia replied:
"A long time! If I remember correctly, we started working on the soundtrack back in November 2013. It's hard to say how long it would have taken if we weren't also working on other projects simultaneously (login screens, Summoner's Rift update, etc.), but I think we all agreed that it was best to take our time to get the pieces right - particularly making sure that the new takes on the older pieces sounded fresh, but still captured what was best about the original piece."
He continued, discussing how long various projects take:
"How long we spend on a music project varies a lot depending on how tied in it is to a larger Riot release. I'd say the most consistent type of project for us is login screens, where we typically spend one to two weeks depending on what else is going on. Things like Pentakill and the soundtrack tend to be a little more open-ended, since they aren't tied in the schedules of other departments in the same way. This often means that these type of projects end up taking as much time is available :) I can't speak for everyone here, but I find that even if I finish the bulk of a project fairly quickly, I have a tendency to get really nitpicky and obsessive over that last 10% of the details, to the point where the finishing touches end up taking the same amount of time as the rest of the project."

Kyugene also added in:
"This isn't part of the soundtrack/documentary, but the song that definitely surprised me the most was Vi's song. Christian wrote the song and we recorded ourselves and Nicki Taylor all in a matter of 4 days o.0 To put that in perspective, Amumu was done in 4 months."

As for which track was the hardest or took the longest to make:

Scherzophrenia  noted:
"We all probably have different answers for this, but for me personally it was Tiny Masterpiece of Evil. There are a lot of different sections in that piece that were very challenging for me to fit together. Some of those sections are gone, and the piece is a better piece for it, but "killing your darlings" is often a tough decision to make at the time."
Chemicalseb noted:
"Working on the Season 4 World Finals was challenging from a logistical point of view. There were lots of different parts to that performance that took a lot of coordination."

When asked how they develop such an "emotional" sound for each song, Praeco commented:
"The champion inspires that usually. You kinda think about "What would his character look like if you were to articulate it with instruments?" And then you try to achieve a similar emotion. 
On Nami, for example, we tried to find instrumentation and melodies that feel natural, organic, flowing, under-water-y. Usually, there is some kind of inspiration for our start."
As for exploring more and different genre's, Praeco noted:
"Yeah, I think our champions and the different genres of our game should also find their way into our music. So we're definitely interested in going more into extremes."

With all the focus on new music, one summoner asked what about the classic League of Legends theme and it's place in the future. Praeco replied:
"We did use the old theme in the very recent World Championship ceremony 3 months ago, and weave it in other themes as well whenever it makes sense. 
Our game and its universe is big, and variety is important."

Individual Songs

When asked who did the vocals on "Curse of the Sad Mummy", Chemicalseb noted:
"That was Praeco (Christian Linke)"

When asked what lyrics the choir is singing at the end of "Demacia Rising", Scherzophrenia  noted:
"Scarlet vowOne pledge to king and realm
When shadows are found
Arise gilded crown
True justice abound"

As for the story and feel behind "Lulu and Shaco's Quirky Encounter", Praeco explained:
"The idea basically was to think of an encounter between the two in a forest, how they would playfully fight, jump around and try to dodge each other's abilities. Shaco would sometimes all of a sudden disappear, Lulu would look around and then Shaco would all of a sudden pop up out of nowhere... Yeah so you basically got idea. ;) 
When we had started thinking about it, a creative reference for us was La Ronde Des Lutins (Dance of the Gobelins) by Bazzini, a classical piece. Its quirkiness always reminded me of Lulu in some way, how she would prance and dance through the forest. Mike Barry then took the theme that I wrote for Lulu a while ago and came up with this wonderful composition, to kinda tell a musical story between the two characters."

When asked if they plan to release the sheet music for "Braum", Chemicalseb noted:
"Thank you so much for your kind words! :) 
Braum's sheet music status is undecided so far."

When asked who composed and sang "Daylight Ends", Saiyaka shared:
"Yay~~ I was excited to sing for Diana's theme, so I am glad I could chill your spine. Christian did all the amazing composer stuffs and RiotRunaan wrote the goooorrrrrgeous lyrics :) 
Violin: Mark Robertson, Maia Jasper
Viola: Luke Maurer
Cello: David Low
Vocals: Lisa Thorn

Lyrics: Devon Giehl"

As for the musical credits for "Freljord", Saiyaka shared:
Viol da gamba: Leif Woodward
Violin: Paul Cartwright
Cello: Cameron Stone
Nyckelharpa: Paul Allman
Ethnic woodwinds: Chris Bleth
Percussion: Devin Kelly
Vocals: Laura Conway, Lisa Thorn 


The team also commented on their favorite video game music soundtrack or composer:

Scherzophrenia  noted
"I love the Final Fantasy music as well, particularly FFVI. I don't know if I could decide between FFVI and Chrono Trigger though..."
Kyugene  noted:
"I'm a huge Yasunori Mitsuda, Jeremy Soule, Yoko Kanno, Yoko Shimomura, and Nobuo Uematsu fanboy. I also love all the Megaman music--especially X. Nintendo music is also, in my mind, really really consistent in quality--like even now their stuff is still godlike."
Chemicalseb shared:
[1] "Like Alex, I really like the Final Fantasy soundtracks. Another is the Halo soundtrack."
[2] "Actually, the soundtrack to Wipeout XL had a big impact on me. That's where I first heard of bands like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. Both huge influences on me during my teenage years."
Saiyaka noted:
"+1 FFVI has some incredibly memorable pieces! 
I'm a bit of a fangirl for everything Yuki Kajiura and her music for Xenosaga III especially."
Wenceslaus shared:
"I think I can trace my (at time unhealthy) obsession with electronic music back to David Wise and his work on the Donkey Kong Country series."
ProtoShredanoid noted:
"Early video game music had a huge impact on me as a child and definitely started me on my compositional adventures. I still love the music from Metroid, Contra, Zelda, Gradius, Castlevania and Megaman........I could go on, but now I am trying to get the Megaman 2 Dr. Wily stage music out of my head!"

When asked about their thoughts on "video game music" in the mainstream, Kyugene noted:
"I think there's definitely space for video game music in the mainstream--I think it's already starting to happen actually. Like "Baba Yetu" from Civilization IV won a grammy for the "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)" category--so as far as I'm concerned, it's only a matter of time :)"

Kyugene also commented on the team's relationship with Danny Lohner and how they met:
"We were initially introduced to him through Wes Borland (guitarist from Limp Bizkit who played on stage at the Season 3 finals) and we've been together ever since"

When asked how important it is to have a good relationship with the people you work with, Praeco chimed in:
First, thank you so much for all the work you guys put into this music. They're all stunning but I especially like Diana's song. The feelings and inspiration I got from the album is something pretty special. 
In the documentary, it was mentioned a few times about how important it is to have a good relationship with the people you work with. What happens when it just doesn't "click?"

Then it comes down to being professionals. Sometimes, it doesn't click, and you just gotta make sure that you get something solid out of the session. In order to get the most out of it, you simply have to know the musicians' strengths. There are many cellists that we work with that are not like Cameron. In fact, most cellists are not so much into improvisation on the spot. In this case, we knew that his specific playing style would match the song and the feeling really well, so we didn't even want to write out too much for his part and just let him do his thing. On the second half of Daylight's End, for example, it was a completely written out part, because it mattered to the rest of the song to be exactly how we want it. 
The individual approach is important to achieve the "magic""

When asked about the mysterious man who flashes up in the beginning of Frequencies, ZenonTheStoic tagged in :
"That Jordan aka chiefwizardking"

Grab Bags

Kyugene #1
Do you think you could get more of these Cinematic Music Videos done, like CotSM (which is beautiful) and Get Jinxed, even more often? Cause they are just freaking awesome. 
I mean, just as a hint, can you say if you're working on anything cool like these right now? :D 
I'm a big a fan of the Pentakill album. Do you see a second album being made in the future? 
Do you think that there will ever be another famous band from Valoran? Perhaps a rival to Pentakill, or just any band, any genre? :D 
Also, the Frequencies film was very interesting. It was a great chance for me to learn more about your Music Department, which I didn't know much about before. 
Could be awesome if you do more of these in the future! ;D 
For music videos--I can't say much about aside from the fact that we're always looking for new ways to express ourselves. I know that's not much, but that's the most I can say with certainty. 
A second Pentakill album? I can actually speak about this one: yes. 
Hmmm, there's no other band that exists in our world right now--what do you think is a good group to have? Boy band with Ezreal, Taric, Draven, Jayce, and Varus? J-pop group with Yasuo, Shen, Zed, Akali, and Kennen? Bluegrass band with Graves, Twisted Fate, and Corki? Maybeh... 
The doc was fun for sure--glad you enjoyed it :D"

Chemicalseb #1 -
Hi, I would like to ask a couple of questions if i may. 
First of all amazing job to everyone involved on all the music of league, as an avid musician myself its a pleasure to listen to (and sometimes transcribe(badly!) the music you have written and clearly spent so much time and effort creating. 
On to the questions; 
-What software do you use for notation and composition? And does finding the general themes or ostinati begin on a certain instrument? 
-Are all recordings live instrumentation or do you often use VSTs or Virtual Instruments(classical instruments)? If so which software?
-How many different orchestras do you work with? And do you ever work with chamber or 12 pieces? 
-Do you write all the music for league, including log-in screen music?
Was wondering if we can expect an official release of the current season 5 log in music theme (its awesome! love the separating harmony at the beginning) 
Would love to hear some responses, but i imagine there are a lot of people asking questions. Again keep up the awesome stuff! 
Have a fabulous day! =D
Thanks so much for your questions!

I'll try to answer in order ;)

For composition most of us use Cubase, while Dan uses Digital Performer and Michael Barry uses Logic. For notation we all use Sibelius. We're free to use whatever works best in our respective workflows.

There isn't really a set instrumentation that we use when coming up with general themes. It usually comes down to what is appropriate for the particular champion or concept that we're working for. Sometimes a theme or ostinato might come from trying different instruments and see what inspires us.

I'd say that 90% of what we compose is done entirely in the sequencer first. There are so many great sample libraries that it's easy to come up with a good mockup quickly without the need for live musicians. However, we do use live musicians as much as possible. We'll often record a live orchestra or a few solo musicians and add it to our midi mockup to add that "human" touch. There are times when it's beneficial to start with live musicians, especially if we're exploring ethnic instruments or different playing techniques that we are not able to achieve with samples. Another advantage of working with musicians is the collaborative aspect. As you saw in Frequencies, what Cameron Stone played at the end was absolutely breathtaking and not something we could have easily come up with. We'll also play instruments ourselves whenever we can, such as guitars, some percussion, etc.

We use a lot of different sample libraries, such as Cinebrass, Cinestrings, Cineperc, Hollywood Brass, Hollywood Strings, VSL, Adagio, Spitfire, and lots more.

We usually work with a pool of musicians based in LA for orchestral, chamber, and solo works.

Regarding the music for league, we write most of it. In the event that we're not able to write a particular piece due to time constraints, we'll collaborate with a trusted group of contractors.

I'd say that the Season 5 login music will end up on soundcloud at some point :). I'm not sure when though.

Hopefully I've answered all your questions... :)"

Next up is a series of questions both Kyugene and Praeco replied to:
-How much of the process is actually writing and recording the music and how much is just fiddling around and trying to find something that sounds good? 
-How do you start? Like does someone higher up tell you, "Make something Freljord-y" or do you say "Hey I've got this awesome concept, what can we use it for?" 
-Can we expect to see more albums like the one that was recently released? 
-I'm a prospective composition student (Currently a junior in high school). What kind of background and education do you need to land jobs like this? 
Thanks for the Q&A opportunity, Riot!
Kyugene :
"At least for Pentakill, it was mostly fiddling around. It was more of a "fail fast" kind of environment where we just spitballed as many ideas as we possibly could. To help us organize all of these ideas, we named riffs and stuff after wrestling moves--it just made sense at the time :p

It depends, some music comes out of necessity, like log-in screen music and map music--which doesn't necessarily involve a higher up demanding anything--the music guys just know that it's something that needs to be done. Other times, like Pentakill and Amumu, those projects start as passion projects or even jokes--it's just a matter of a few of us talking it out and going "yeah, let's do this".

Well...this soundtrack is Volume 1, right? ;)

A lot of us have pretty varying backgrounds--I would say the thing that matters the most is having projects--real, physical things you can show--that feature your work. I actually have an undergraduate degree in English, but it was all the side projects that got me here."
Praeco :
"The initial phase of coming up with the concept and core idea is usually pretty quick, and we then flesh out the song's structure together which can take some time. Tiny Masterpiece of Evil took Alex quite a while and brought him close to mental insanity, so some pieces demand more than others. Recording is usually the last of the creative phase, which we then weave into the rest of our song.

Sometimes, we start based on a musical demand that another project has or would like to see, like a certain scoring to a trailer or something. Other times, we are just inspired by something (like Amumu or Jinx). Usually, there is some sort of inspiration though before we start hitting keyboard keys, no matter where it comes from.

Yeah, our plan is to keep releasing these album volumes, consisting of previous music and some new material, kinda a healthy mix of both. Obviously, it takes some time to produce these, but our goal is to keep these coming, so eventually, our players have a bunch of volumes that include all of the important musical work of our game. We are currently starting on the second one, which will obviously also take some time to produce, but as we say in German, "Gut Ding braucht Weile" (good things need time).

In terms of how to land a job as a composer, it's honestly hard for me to say, since we all came from very random directions to our positions at Riot. In general, I think it's about having a certain style or artistic creative mind that adds something to our musical world. Musical education of course is important, in order to be able to produce and prepare your music, but it's harder to find composers these days that don't just follow formulaic big epic patterns. We ARE actually going to look for another composer within the next few months to add to our team of vagabonds, which we will add to the job offerings on, so to those interested, keep an eye on that."

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