Red Post Collection: August 5th Patch Update, GP Champion Insights, Fiora Bundle, NA Server to Chicago, and more

Posted on at 4:13 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes at look at the August 5th hotfix, a champion insights article on Gangplank, Fiora's champion update coming to live in 5.15 & a limited time bundle, the announcement that the NA servers will be moving to Chicago as part of the centralized server move, and more!
Continue reading for more information!




August 5th Patch Update

The official 5.15 patch notes have been updated to reflect the hotfix that went out late August 5th.
"8/5/2015 
Fiora
TOOLTIP FIXES - Fixed a number of tooltip issues. The updated Fiora has been enabled! 
Updated HUD
BUGFIX - Rescaling the HUD can no longer misplace skill level-up buttons on top of the item inventory 
Ward Skin Selection
BUGFIX - Corrected a few text lines in champion select ward skin selection 
Bilgewater Rewards Tracker (Landing Page)
BUGFIX - The in-client Bilgewater rewards tracker should now always load correctly"

Champion Insights Roundtable: Gangplank 

Now that the post-event version of Gangplank is out on live with 5.15, Riot has published a champion insights article interviewing several Rioters from different disciplines on Gangplank's transformation!

[NOTE: An alternative, longer form version of this Q&A be found just below the article!]
"TLDR: As part of our ongoing commitment to keep League of Legends fresh, we often update champions both visually and in their gameplay. If you followed along with the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event, you know that with Gangplank’s champion update, we went even further. Catch up on the story here, or if you’re already a Bilgewater veteran, dive into a conversation between the devs behind the update below.

How did Gangplank become the biggest champion update since Sion? 
Michael “IronStylus” Maurino, senior concept artist: So, there’s this thing called scope creep. But seriously, we needed a lot of buy-in, for one. We were shopping around [Gangplank-related] ideas a lot, whether to teams involved in Bilgewater, stakeholders, all the way up to Marc and Brandon [co-founders of Riot Games]. 
Scott “Jaredan” Hawkes, narrative lead: Gangplank’s lore was actually quite different from Gangplank in game. In-game, he didn’t seem like the baddest bastard in Bilgewater. He wasn’t convincing, he wasn’t brutal enough to rule it. So, that meant finding that essence in the stories that had been told about Gangplank, because in a city full of people you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, he’s the guy they don’t want to meet in a dark alley. 


"Because in a city full of people you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, he’s the guy they don’t want to meet in a dark alley."


James “Statikk” Bach, champion designer: I think one of the bigger challenges was that the character, you just couldn’t take him seriously, he was too over-the-top. And if we wanted him to be a serious character, we had to show, “this guy is a badass,” we had to go to an extreme. 
George Krstic, senior writer: Multiple teams, multiple dependencies, and the nature of an international release. From the moment we started to what we landed on, things changed drastically. But all for the better. It’s one of the things I like most about Riot. We have flexibility here. If something isn’t working and needs to change, people will support you. So, everything changed, every day, all the time. So that was a challenge, but it kept us energized. 

What was behind the decision to basically make two champion updates for Gangplank? 

Michael Maurino: So we had all of these crazy ideas, but we couldn’t really execute on them. And then as we heard the story come along, and the event being potentially a couple of pieces including a before and after scenario, we went, “hmmm…” and then we learned that we were gonna scope up into a much bigger visual update. So we thought, instead of banging our heads trying to make one Gangplank that covers all of the things we want to cover, why not just make two Gangplanks? One for before the narrative and one for after? 
Scott Hawkes: The biggest narrative goal for the Bilgewater event was to show characters and a place changing. So everything that happens to him shows the same man experiencing the high and the low, and having that reflected visually by the art was huge, because it’s not just who he is, but also shows how he’s changed. 

"Instead of banging our heads trying to make one Gangplank that covers all of the things we want to cover, why not just make two Gangplanks? One for before the narrative and one for after?"


In the explosion of the Dead Pool, Gangplank ends up losing his arm. Why’d we do that? 
Scott: He’s going through his own trial by fire. He had to change physically. This is the most extreme trial by fire he’s been through, perhaps since he killed his own father. And so he can’t just walk away, there has to be a physical toll in addition to an emotional one. 
George: To speak to that, this is also partly a response to feedback from players that nothing ever changes. We wanted to meaningfully change champions and a faction. We wanted to set things up and pay them off in a single self-contained story. 

Statikk mentioned the great hat conspiracy of 2015? 
Michael Maurino: I didn’t even want to bring it up, but...it’s kinda interesting, because it basically divided the company. We started out: obviously he has to have a hat, right? But then we decided to do “Pre-plank” and “Post-plank,” and somebody drew “Post-plank” without a hat. I remember a meeting with the biggest stakeholders in the company, and the room was split. Some executive stakeholders were like, “Hat!” And the others were like, “No hat!” Then someone said, “Let’s be bold and not ship a hat,” which was immediately met by, “No, let’s be bold and keep the hat!” 
James Bach: I remember everyone in design was like, “He’s gotta keep the hat, he’s not Gangplank without the hat.” And then all the artists were like, “But look how cool he looks without a hat.” And we had to admit, he looked good without the hat. It just became this huge thing.

Michael Maurino: I remember meetings specifically about the hat. They’re still on my calendar somewhere. 
Scott Hawkes: From a narrative perspective, some of us said, “Well, he’s a changed person and he’s lost his ship, maybe he doesn’t give a shit about the hat right now.” 
George Krstic: At the core, it’s because everybody cares so damn much. That’s the reason we have these meetings that get so tense. Luckily, we work at a place where we’re not ever like, “Okay, good enough, ship it.” It’s instead, “No, let’s beat it up, let’s make the best thing possible.” So that’s why we have meetings about hats.


Was there anything we knew we weren’t going to change? 
Michael Maurino: Oranges. 
James Bach: Even on the gameplay side, everyone knew oranges were gonna stay. Even when we were like, let’s make him really, really, dark, he still had oranges. There were small things, at least on the design side, where we were like, we want to make sure that people understand that he’s still having fun up there in top lane--like keeping his laugh during his ultimate. 
Michael Maurino: B-arrr-els. 
James Bach: He still enjoys vitamin C and violence. 

Michael Maurino: It’s the darker shade of fun. It is absurd for the guy to do the juggling thing with the oranges, and then slice throats with a flaming sword, but it’s great contrast and it’s kinda neat.

"We’re nodding backwards but looking forwards."

George Krstic: When it comes to what we decided to keep the same, we were very mindful of what the important things were to players. Across the board. Every team. We were nodding backwards but looking forwards. We wanted something for new players to discover, and for old players to say, “Yeah, they got it.” So...that’s what we aimed for, we’ll see if we were successful.

[Can’t get enough of the Gangplank dev insights roundtable? [Check out a longer, unabridged version here.] Bilgewater: Burning Tides may be over, but the Saltwater Scourge lives on. Is one-hitting minions something you wish? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll see you on the battlefields."

Gangplank Dev Insights Roundtable Longform Version

As mentioned above, here's Jaredan with the longer version of the Gangplank discussion from the champion insights article!
"If you’ve wandered here unawares, this is the longer, mostly unedited version of the Gangplank developer insights roundtable. Walls of text aren’t for everyone, so click here to check out the abridged version if that’s more palatable. 
How did Gangplank become the biggest champion update since Sion? 
Michael "IronStylus" Maurino, senior concept artist: So, there’s this thing called scope creep. But seriously, we needed a lot of buy-in, for one. We were shopping around the ideas a lot, whether to teams involved in Bilgewater, stakeholders, all the way up to Marc and Brandon. Especially the idea of “Post-plank” and “Pre-plank.” 
Scott "Jaredan" Hawkes, narrative lead: So, the team behind events, awhile back, was like “Bilgewater!” Because everyone loves Bilgewater. So me, George [Krstic], Ant [Reynolds], Giancarlo [Volpe], and a few others all got together intent on making Bilgewater a little more fascinating and less piratey, generic pirate. Now, Gangplank’s lore was actually quite different from Gangplank in game. In-game, he didn’t seem like the baddest bastard in Bilgewater. He wasn’t convincing, he wasn’t brutal enough to rule it. So, that meant finding that essence in the stories that had been told about Gangplank, because in a city full of people you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, he’s the guy they don’t want to meet in a dark alley. 
James “Statikk” Bach, champion designer: I think one of the bigger challenges was that the character, you just couldn’t take him seriously, he was too over-the-top. And if we wanted him to be a serious character, we had to show, “this guy is a badass,” we had to go to an extreme. 
George Krstic, senior writer: Multiple teams, multiple dependencies, and the nature of an international release. It’s a constant moving target, especially when you’re trying to service all the different teams and their needs, while also trying to serve the characters in the story. But that was an awesome challenge, because it got us to these high moments. Things changed drastically. But all for the better. It’s one of the things I like most about Riot, compared my previous gig in TV: we have flexibility here. If something isn’t working and needs to change, people will support you, many people will support you. So, everything changed, every day, all the time. So that was a challenge, but it kept us energized. 
How did we make the decision that Miss Fortune would appear to kill him? 
James Bach: It was like a week or two into it and [the design team] started hearing that [narrative] wanted to kill him off, and I was like, “Oh shit.” 
George Krstic: It came about organically, but it did seem to gain traction amongst all of the teams, so you know, we decided to talk about it. But how do you show that? And then Seb Rhee, [product owner of ChampUp], said, “What if we turn him off?” And we were all like, “Are you fucking crazy? That’s beautiful!” But it wasn’t that easy, we basically scared everyone at Riot. 
Scott Hawkes: Having something, like seeing two Gangplanks, one from before and one after he’s been through the wringer, and also is in a very different social position, so reflecting that in his attitude, he’s realized, he’s been too nice on people. That’s what he thinks, “I’ve been complacent,” “I’ve been way too helpful,” because he’s lost most of his power. We mentioned the mob boss, and one of the questions we wanted to explore was what happens when the mob boss’ power is shaken, because he was so intent on keeping people in certain positions of authority beholden to him, but these are incredibly dangerous people in Bilgewater, so if you’re shown to be weak in any way, which is what TF and Graves do, just by getting in his warehouse. He has to respond big. And that all goes wrong for him, of course, because MF knew that he was going to do it. 
What was behind the decision to basically make two champion updates for Gangplank? 
Michael Maurino: So we had all of these crazy ideas, but we couldn’t really execute on them. And then as we heard the story come along, and the event being potentially a couple of pieces including a before and after scenario, we went, “hmmm…” and then we learned that we were gonna scope up into a much bigger visual update, we thought, instead of banging our heads trying to make one Gangplank that covers all of the things we want to cover, why not just make two Gangplanks? One for before the narrative and one for after? 
Scott Hawkes: The biggest goal for the Bilgewater event was to show characters and a place changing. So everything that happens to him shows the same man experiencing the high and the low, and having that reflected visually by the art was huge, because it’s not just who he is, but also shows how he’s changed. 
In the explosion of the Dead Pool, Gangplank ends up losing his arm. Why change the character like that? 
Scott Hawkes: He’s going through his own trial by fire. He had to change physically. This is the most extreme trial by fire he’s been through, perhaps since he killed his own father. And so he can’t just walk away, there has to be a physical toll in addition to an emotional one. 
George Krstic: To speak to that, this is also partly a response to feedback from players that nothing ever changes. We wanted to meaningfully change champions; we changed a faction. We set things up and pay them off in a single self-contained story. We showed the relationship between two guys who’ve spent years as enemies go back to being potentially partners again. We’ve given a character her pay-off. She’s spent her entire life chasing vengeance, and now she’s got it, and it tastes awful, and now she has to deal with it. 
Scott Hawkes: We wanted to make sure that every character in “The Reckoning” changed pretty comprehensively. Like George said, TF and Graves, the band is back together. For MF, she’s got a sense of power she never had, and the ramifications of that for her, and for Bilgewater, are huge. 
Michael Maurino: We wanted a change to a character that had to be noticed. 
James Bach: I remember there were a couple of crazy concepts, like a blade arm. 
Michael Maurino: Yeah, he basically had a robot sword arm at one point. 
James Bach: I remember seeing the face drawings, where he looked so depressed and angry. And then someone drew him with a smile, and it was like, oh okay, he can do that.
George Krstic: Yeah, well, we wanted to make a complex character--actually we wanted every character involved in the event to feel real, and not just like caricatures, but also still accessible to players. 
Scott Hawkes: [Bilgewater’s] a place people get messed up on the regular, you don’t need to be hunting sea monsters to end up missing some part you’d rather have back. Just going to a pub. 
Michael Maurino: Or looking at someone wrong. 
Scott Hawkes: Yeah, you’ll have something by the end of the night you’ll take home to remember. 
George Krstic: Or leave behind. 
James Bach: There’s also the great hat conspiracy of 2015. 
The great hat conspiracy of 2015? 
Michael Maurino: I didn’t even want to bring it up, but...it’s kinda interesting, because it basically divided a company. I remember every single point. We started out: obviously he has to have a hat, right? But then we decided to do “Pre-plank” and “Post-plank,” somebody drew him without a hat. And some people really liked that. But others were like, “Well, you can’t remove that hat or that’s not Gangplank.” It was epic. It went all the way up to the top, and I remember a meeting with the biggest stakeholders in the company, and the room was split. Some executives were like, “Hat!” And the others were like, “No hat!” Then someone said, “Let’s be bold and not ship a hat,” which was immediately met by, “No. Let’s be bold and keep the hat!” 
James Bach: I remember everyone in design was like, “He’s gotta keep the hat, players just aren’t going to see him as Gangplank without the hat.” And then all the artists were like, “But look how cool he looks without a hat.” And we had to admit, he looked good without the hat. It just became this huge thing. 
Michael Maurino: I remember meetings specifically about the hat. They’re still on my calendar somewhere. 
Scott Hawkes: From a narrative perspective, some of us said, “Well, he’s a changed person and he’s lost his ship, maybe he doesn’t give a shit about the hat right now.”
George Krstic: At the core, it’s because everybody cares so damn much. That’s the reason we have these meetings and that get so tense. It’s not because we...We’re very passionate that’s why we’re all here and the company supports that. We stay up at night, arguing about art and design. Luckily, we work at a place where we’re not ever like, “Okay, good enough, ship it.” It’s instead, “No, let’s beat it up, let’s make the best thing possible.” So that’s why we have meetings about hats. 
Was there anything we knew we weren’t going to change? 
Michael Maurino: Oranges. 
James Bach: Even on the gameplay side, everyone knew oranges were gonna stay. Even when we were like, let’s make him really, really, dark, he still had oranges. There were small things, at least on the design side, where we were like, we want to make sure that people understand that he’s still having fun up there in top lane. 
Michael Maurino: B-arrr-els. 
James Bach: He still enjoys vitamin C and violence. 
Michael Maurino: It’s the darker shade of fun. It’s almost a goofy, surreal thing, but he’s getting a lot of masochistic flavor or fun from it. It is absurd for the guy to do the juggling thing with the oranges, and then slice throats with a flaming sword, but it’s great contrast and it’s kinda neat. 
George Krstic: When it comes to what we decided to keep the same, we were very mindful of what the important things were to players. Like, we did not do a retcon. That word gets bandied about, but no, we’re honoring the core of Gangplank. Across the board. Every team. We were nodding backwards but looking forwards. We wanted something for new players to discover, and for old players to say, “Yeah, they got it.” So...that’s what we aimed for, we’ll see if we were successful. 
Let’s talk about the gameplay during his update--it didn’t change between the beginning of the event and the end, but there were a number of changes from old GP. How was the gameplay design influenced by the story? Was there anything in gameplay that circled back to impact the narrative? 
James Bach: One thing that we did come up with in gameplay based on the story was the fire sword. Me and [Mark] Yetter were talking about his old passive and how it was like a poisoned sword, and it wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing we could do, and I just remember narrative sharing stories about how Gangplank would be so bad that he’d torture people and just mess with them, and then Yetter asked, “what if he just burns people?” I was like, yeah, he just burns people. And it was different, the old Gangplank was much more happy-go-lucky, kinda silly, and this is that darker side.
When we were talking about the barrel mechanics, we went to narrative and we were like, “Are barrels a thing? Like are explosives stuff he would do?” And George was like, “Yeah, he’d roll a barrel of explosives into an orphanage if he had to.” 
Michael Maurino: Barrels verified. 
Scott Hawkes: Especially after everything that has happened, blowing shit up is not something he’s averse to. 
James Bach: We wanted to make a Gangplank who didn’t necessarily build like a tank but in one early concept he looked like a giant metallic juggernaut man. We had so many different ultimates. At one point, we were like, “he’ll call down cannons!” And not cannon-balls, but actual cannons that would march down the lanes and try to actively siege for him. And it got to the point where the cannon evolved into like, a pirate mech. We were asking narrative for explanations for how Gangplank could have a mech. How could this make sense? We obviously didn’t ship it. But, it was a big challenge, figuring out the ultimate. 
Sol "Solcrushed" Kim, champion designer: He’s a character that has kinda come in a full loop, actually. Like, he used to build very glass-cannon, extremely squishy, and he transitioned to the split-pushing, tankier role eventually, and now we were back to trying to make him a potentially squishier than expected skirmisher. 
James Bach: And that’s when we realized maybe he should build like, one tank item. It wouldn’t be bad if he had a Randuin’s or whatever. 
So, there were no gameplay changes between Captain Gangplank and the current version, but there were VO changes? 
George Krstic: We did an insane thing. We actually wrote two sets of full VO. I think someone told me, I’m not sure on this, but it was close to 900 lines that we shipped between the two versions. 
Michael Maurino: What?! You guys are crazy. 
George Krstic: We really committed to this. We wanted both aspects to have a clear motivation, clear personality. And again, we wanted players to be able to connect to the character, because he’s not a caricature anymore but he feels real. 
What were some of the bigger art challenges? 
Michael Maurino: Even more than usual, there was a ton of collaboration and feedback. Not that there isn’t always, but on this scale? It was pretty unprecedented. Additionally, one of the things we’re trying to do is make more sophisticated, and more clear what our style is for art in the game. We’re very focused on clarity, on what something is and how it reads in game. Cleanliness when it comes to how textures are applied or how proportions are communicated, and we did a lot of back and forth and there were a lot of artists involved to make sure he’d fit in stylistically. It wasn’t just one person’s designs, it was like five or six people’s ideas. We collaborated extensively, like in the beginning with sketch jams and pow-wowing ideas, even before we knew the scope of changes we could make, we probably did seventy concepts. 
What about some of the challenges working with a longer form story? 
Geroge Krstic: It’s all well and good to say, here’s the stats of this person, and that kind of thing, but I’m more interested in who they are and how they’ll react to things. This story gets at that, the new bios get at that. 
Scott Hawkes: We knew so many of the teams were relying on the story. So at a certain point, it was like, if we change too much, entire teams at Riot would be like, “Why are you doing this now?” We don’t want to break anything anyone was working on. 
George Krstic: The theme never changed. We clarified the themes early on and that stayed consistent throughout. Revenge and control; throughout the entire process. 
Scott Hawkes: The arcs for the characters were pretty consistent, too. It was just how we were gonna execute on them. Figuring out how to show things was important. Saying that Gangplank’s the bastard in charge is one thing, showing him slicing a design into someone’s flayed leg bone is a very different thing. 
George Krstic: It was a challenge not to use the word pirate. 
Scott Hawkes: We wanted to make sure that every character in “The Reckoning” changed pretty comprehensively. Like George said, TF and Graves, the band is back together. For MF, she’s got a sense of power she never had, and the ramifications of that for her, and for Bilgewater, are huge. The story tells a complete arc, that introduces a new status quo rife with new opportunities. The main characters, TF and Graves, their story is basically complete at this point, at least as far as Bilgewater is concerned. But for MF and Gangplank, for those two, and for the city, the battle for Bilgewater is hardly over. 
Burning Tides: The Reckoning may be over, but the Saltwater Scourge lives on. Is one-hitting minions something you wish? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll see you on the battlefields."

Fiora lunges onto live

The recent patch 5.15 also brings the Fiora champion update to live! Now through August 11th, you can snag up a limited time Fiora bundle that includes the champion and all three of her skins (including one legacy!) for a 20% discount off the normal price.
Her's fizznchips with more information:
"After dueling all challengers on PBE, Fiora’s ready to bring her updated moves and model over to live. The update’s a pretty hefty one, with gameplay changes designed to make her feel like more of a skilled fencer, and model tweaks that bring her up to today’s standards. Check out Fiora’s PBE article for the full gameplay changes or scroll on down for some - as she would say - pretty pictures!
To celebrate the Grand Duelist’s update, we’re bundling Fiora with her skins together and slashing the price. Her Duelist’s Dream bundle cuts in at 1796 RP (20% off) or 2500 RP if you need the champion, lasts through 23:59 August 11 and includes the following:
  • Fiora
  • Royal Guard Fiora
  • Nightraven Fiora
  • Headmistress Fiora
Ready to get your stab on with Fiora’s update? Let us know in the comments below!"

Refer-a-Friend retires in thirty days

Here's Riot Zulu with an announcement that the Refer-A-Friend program will be retired on September 5th.
"Refer-a-Friend, a system built to make it easy and rewarding to bring your friends into League originally launched in 2010. Over the years, we updated Refer-a-Friend a few times to make prize tiers more achievable and reduce botting. Since relaunching RAF earlier this year we’ve been tracking how both new and referring players play with the feature and the results show it’s not helping players find new people to game with. In fact, we experimented with turning RAF off in some regions, and there was no discernible change in social behaviors. League’s social systems should make it easier and more rewarding to hit the Rift with friends, but RAF just doesn’t meet that bar anymore. Because of that, we’re retiring the program in thirty days
Recent features like Party IP, friend discovery and Team Up and Pool Party helped players play with friends and unlock cool rewards while doing it. We plan on forging ahead, concepting, building, and supporting social systems and features that do all the above. 
In the meantime, RAF remains fully operational, so you can still earn up to 5000 IP, as well as Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch by referring five friends before September 5th. Once the program wraps, the two skins become limited edition, but may return as rewards for another social system somewhere down the line. High-volume referrers from legacy versions of RAF remain on our radar as well. We’re actively working with each individual to fulfill their rewards and won’t consider RAF genuinely wrapped until that work is complete. 
RAF closes down on September 5th. We’ll hang around the comments to clear anything up!"
When asked why the two reward skins will not simply be put on sale, Riot NaKyle noted:
"On putting these skins on sale:

The players who earned these skins did a cool thing with a social feature. Simply putting the skins on sale cheapens those players efforts and honestly would feel a little money grubby to me. 
On the skins coming back: 
There's no concrete plans yet, but it makes more sense to attach these skins to some other, future social feature because that matches the original spirit of how Grey and Medieval were earned."

NA Server Roadmap Update: Chicago, Here We Come

Next up we have Riot Ahab with the latest NA server Roadmap update, including an announcement that the NA servers will be transferring to a more centralized location in Chicago, Illinois!
"TL;DR: Soon™, the NA game servers will be transferring to a more centralized location in Chicago, Illinois. This move, along with other components of the NA Server Roadmap, should improve connection quality for the vast majority of NA players. West Coast players will see an uptick in raw ping numbers, but should also see that uptick mitigated by connection improvements in the form of better overall stability and reduced packet loss. We'll keep everyone updated on the specifics (including exact timing) as we get closer to the move. For more details, check out the full story below.

Hey, everyone! Riot Ahab here with another update on the NA Server Roadmap. In our last post we updated you on our completion of Phase 2 - building a dedicated network for League traffic. ISP partnering and routing optimization will be an ongoing project as routes and ISPs change, but the hardware is now up and fully functional. 
Now it’s time to talk about Phase 3, in which we’ll move the game servers to a central location that, in conjunction with Phase 2, will even out the currently vast ping differences across NA. We don’t have the when to share just yet, but we can share the where: Chicago, Illinois
Why Chicago? 
Our selection of Chicago as the home for the new NA game servers likely comes as no big surprise to those of you who’ve followed previous Roadmap updates, and saw the Windy City figure prominently in many player theories. For those of you with a bit less background on the need for a new location, it largely comes down to geography, and more importantly, connectivity to the rest of North America. 
The most obvious issue with our current Portland game servers is their coastal location. While keeping the original servers near Riot’s west-coast offices made sense back when we were just starting out, both the exponential growth of the NA server and North America’s changing internet landscape mean that west-coast servers are now directly contributing to markedly inferior service for a huge number of east-coast players. 
But geography isn't the only reason for this switch, else we might have ended up in Wichita or Denver. The truth is that in the complicated world of internet architecture, Portland is less directly connected to the rest of North America than we’d like. Chicago, on the other hand, happens to be one of the best connected cities in the entire world, let alone in North America. With more bandwidth running through it, more fiber running through it, and more data center space than any other North American city, plus a central location and role as a major exchange between the US and Canada, Chicago is simply the premier place to provide the best overall service for the far-flung NA player base. 
Some of you may ask, “Why not just keep the Portland servers online and create separate servers?” Ultimately, our answer is simple – the community. Today’s NA community traces its roots all the way back to the beginning of League’s open beta in April 2009. Starting from a grand total of three hundred players, in less than six years the community has swelled tomillions of us. We’ve all been there together through League’s constant evolution, and continue to welcome new players from across North America every day. For us, the preservation of the NA community is worth any effort, and with that in mind we’ve focused all our energy on creating a stable, long-term, single-server solution.

What does this mean for me? 
At the highest level, this server move will allow us to bring the vast majority of NA players under 80 ms ping. Currently, more than 50% of NA players actually fall above that threshold, so Chicago game servers (along with continued work on peering agreements and direct networking) will allow us to create a far more balanced latency outlook for the NA player base. 
While this move will be an overall positive for the NA player base, the specific effects you experience will depend on which part of NA you call home. Compared to our current Portland servers, and speaking very broadly, moving to Chicago will result in: 
  • Moderate latency increases (up to ~45 ms) in the Pacific Northwest and outlying regions (Hawaii, other Pacific Islands, Japan, etc)
  • Minor latency increases (up to ~30 ms) across the rest of the west coast of North America.
  • Generally neutral effects across a broad strip of the Mountain States and Saskatchewan
  • Moderate to major latency reductions (up to ~50 ms for much of the East Coast) across the entire eastern half of North America
Keep in mind these are extremely rough generalizations that simply represent physical distance added, and don’t take potentially wonky ISP routing into account. We also want to emphasize again that ping is just a part of the picture and that no player will be left out in the cold with this move. Mitigating the localized downsides of the Chicago move is a major part of our latest Roadmap initiatives, and all NA players can expect positives (lower packet loss rates, improved stability, etc.) as part of the other work we’re doing.

What’s next? 
While we fine tune the infrastructure and finalize plans, we’ll also need to do some live testing of the new game servers in the next week or two to make sure everything’s working as expected. We’ll need to disable ranked play for a few hours during testing, so we'll give you guys a heads up the day before via the in-game ticker and the server status page
Other than that, we’ll be back several times in the coming weeks with more info on everything from server transfers to how exactly the switchover will work. And, of course, a date!

Beyond the switch 
While the Chicago move will complete our outlined milestones for the NA Server Roadmap, multiple teams here at Riot will remain dedicated to making sure players experience the best possible connection while playing League. For example, the dedicated network for League traffic will require constant tweaking and adjustments as we add new ISP partners and our current partners adjust how they route traffic across the US and Canada. On that note, we’ve got an updated list below of the partners we’ve added since the last update. 
Hopefully we’ve preemptively answered a lot of your questions, but we know you probably have many more. Two options for you: 
  1. We’ve put together a live support thread where Rioters are on hand to help you diagnose any funky latency issues you may be experiencing. Head on over if you’ve seen any consistent streaks of higher-than-usual ping over the last six months and would like to chat with some experts about it.
  2. If you have general questions about the Chicago move, we’ve got a bunch of Roadmap team members on hand - ask away!
Partnered ISPs: 
(talks in-progress) 
AT&T
Cox Communications
Verizon 
(new additions) 
Accelerated Connections
Bel Air Internet
Bell Aliant Regional Communications,
Cablevision Systems
Qwest Communications Company
RCN 
(already partnered) 
3Z Canada
Abovenet Communications
Alaska Communications
Altopia
Atlas Networks Corporation
CenturyLink
Charter Communications
Clear Wireless
CoastCom
Cogeco Cable
Cogent Communications
Comcast Cable Communications
CTS Communications Corp.
Electronic Box
Eltopia
Fibrenoire Internet
Frontier Communications
Google Fiber
Hurricane Electric, Inc.,
Interconnected Associates
Level 3 Communications
Lightspeed Communications
LS Networks
Molalla Communications Systems Inc.
NetRiver
Network for Education and Research in Oregon (NERO)
NTT America
Oricom Internet
Pavlov Media
Pocketinet Communications
Rogers Cable Communications
Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel)
Shaw Communications
Sonoma Interconnect
Start Communications
Syringa Networks
TDS Telecom
TekSavvy Solutions
TELUS Communications
TeraGo Networks
Threshold Communications
Time Warner Cable
Vanoppen.biz
Videotron Telecom Ltee
Vision Net
WindWave Communications
WiscNet
Worldlink
WOW! Internet"

When asked about the central move and the effects it will have on players already close to the current NA servers, Riot Ahab noted:
"The servers moving from the west coast to the midwest indeed will bring west coast ping numbers up. The goals of the entire Roadmap (new architecture, new dedicated infrastructure, etc) should, however, yield net positives regardless of which direction your raw latency might be shifting. 
And as a general note - this server move is designed to bring all players to as common of a ping as possible, and make sure everyone on NA can still play with one another. Definitely not meant to make one coast worse than the other (because, otherwise we're in the same spot we're in currently). 
For everybody - let's try to keep in mind everyone here is a fellow player. There are likely going to be strong reactions on both sides of the fence in knee-jerk reaction to the announcement, but I encourage all of us to do our best to remain civil and supportive. We're here to answer questions!"
He continued:
"That's a fair point, and I'll attribute it to a poor choice of words on my part. 
While the work outlined in the NA Server Roadmap won't offset the distance added to west coast player connections (which can't be completely mitigated), the distance we add by moving servers from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest results in more players under the threshold of 80ms. Currently less than 50% of NA players are there - post-move, we're estimating almost everyone in NA will be under that threshold. 
And you're right - there are advantages and disadvantages to this move, and it's disingenuous to say that everything is going to be great for everyone all the time. But the goal isn't to leave anyone out in the cold, and we're planning to continue working with west coast connections to make sure they're the best they can be (optimizing routing between routers and local PoPs, coordinating with regional ISPs, etc)."
When asked about a specific time frame for this, dArtagnan noted they are still being decided but they plan to do a test soon that should lead to a better answer:
"Still working on getting some specific dates. Currently, we are looking to perform a game server test on August 11th. After running these tests, we should have a better idea when we can give a timeframe."
Riot Ahab did add the move will likely be before the end of the season:
"The centralization move will likely happen before the current season draws to a close."
When asked if there will be downtime when the switch eventually happens, he continued:
"Nope! We're not planning downtime, but we will have to deactivate ranked while we redirect traffic from Portland to Chicago."

Riot Ahab also noted east coast players who transferred to LAN in an attempt to alleviate their ping issues will be able to get a free transfer back to NA.
"Yes! Players who transferred to LAN should receive free transfers back to NA. There are certain factors to consider while transferring, which you can read more about here:[link]"


When asked if the PBE will also be moving to Chicago, Narcmage noted:
"PBE is staying in the same place. This is just NA game servers."

Dominion Draft Pick Queue Retiring Soon on EUW/EUNE

Here's Dromaius with the sad news that draft pick queues for Dominion will soon be retiring on the EUW and EUNE servers :
"Hello all, 
On August 13th at approximately 13:00 CEST, we will be indefinitely disabling the Draft Pick queue for Dominion on EUW and EUNE. Don’t fret, Blind Pick will still be available as always; a tiny fraction of all Dominion games in EUW start off in a Draft lobby (even fewer on EUNE). 
We strive to provide a seamless matchmaking experience, and the narrow pool of players queuing in Draft lobbies would too often result in hair-greying wait times. We ultimately want players to be fighting on the Crystal Scar, rather than staring at a queue timer. 
If you have any questions, feel free to ask below."

Community Collab | This is Bilgewater

Last up we have a new community collaboration music video titled THIS IS BILGEWATER!
"Community musicians Falconshield recap the events of Bilgewater: Burning Tides in song form."

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