Red Post Collection: PROJECT teaser, Mystery Champions in shop, Meddler on Fiora following hotfix buffs, & more

Posted on at 10:06 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Mystery Champions now available in the shop through August 24th!]

This morning's red post collection includes a look at the PROJECT teaser that aired following Sunday's LCS games, a heads up that Mystery Champions are now available in the shop for 490 RP, Meddler commenting that Fiora "might be a bit strong" after her recent hotfix buffs, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Pick up your very own Mystery Champion!

Mystery champions -  490 RP for a champion worth 585 RP or more - are now in the shop through August 24th!

"For the first time, Mystery Champions are available in the League of Legends store! Head over to the Champions tab of the store and pick up Mystery Champions for yourself before they ride off into the sunset (metaphorically).

Mystery Champion - 490 RP 
Mystery Champions cost 490 RP, and guarantee an unowned champion worth 585 RP or more. 
Mystery Champions will be available between now and 23:59 PDT on August 24th."


[EDIT: PROJECT promotional page is up!]

For those who tuned into Sunday's LCS playoffs stream, you may have noticed bits of strange orange interference pop up at several points during the day.

Following the broadcast, a short teaser showing an image and the word PROJECT aired on stream:
You can find a video of the end of broadcast teaser in this VOD at ~5 hours and 5 minutes in.

The visuals and the more obvious PROJECT is a reference to the PROJECT skin line, which started with last year's PROJECT: Yasuo skin.

 With a new PBE cycle will be starting up in a few days, who do you think this is teasing a skin for??

Meddler on Fiora - "might be abit strong after the buffs"

In a boards thread about Fiora, Meddler commented that they currently think she "might be a bit strong" after the hotfix buffs that went out on August 10th.
"Current theory is that she might be a bit strong after the buffs (as opposed to far too weak beforehand). She's performing quite well at present, and probably still has some significant learning curve left for people who've just started playing the rework, so will likely do better again over the next couple of weeks. No immediate plans to nerf her in 5.16 though, her being too strong's very much still a possibility rather than a conclusion."
He continued:
although i'm not necessarily an advocate of being trigger-happy with the nerf gun, fiora's potential will only get closer to being realized as more people get better at her
Agreed. There's not a current need to act on anything though, so we can afford to wait at least a patch to confirm whether or not there is a problem to address, understand what to target if so, figure out how a large a change is needed etc. Leaving stuff unaddressed too long's definitely a cost, so are knee jerk reactions though. Trying to find that sweet spot between the two's something we've been putting a lot of effort into."
When asked about Fiora's itemization, Meddler also explained:
This might be odd for me to ask, but what is fiora supposed to itemize for? Right now people are trying out all sorts of builds. What has been working best for me is Trinity Force, however from a designer standpoint, what is fiora supposed to itemize for?
Our main priorities with her itemization were to reward AD significantly and to ensure that tanky builds weren't the optimal way to go (we did see some tanky buids dominate during the reworks development at times, and full defense/CDR Fiora felt extremely wrong relative to the themes and playstyle we were trying to hit). 
Trinity Force is something we went back and forth on a bit. Main thing we wanted to avoid was builds that went Trinity into straight tank stats. The champion update team did spend a lot of time discussing what the costs and benefits of TF as a dominant, feasible and suboptimal choice were though. Far as I know their eventual conclusion was to aim for 'decent, particularly for some playstyles, but far from mandatory'."

Repertoir on Ryze

When asked about Ryze following his 5.14 nerfs, Repertoir commented:
What are you guys planning for him? hes sort of on the weak side and is pretty unfun to play atm.

One of the big issues that Ryze has currently that makes him feel weak is that for the "100 games played, master tier ryze player" he is actually very very strong, but for the average/majority of players that isn't the case. 
We're slowly working on some changes that will hopefully shorten the gap in success between an insanely top tier ryze player and everyone else. Probably still a few patches out though."

Meddler on an Old Lady champion

In a thread inquiring about having an "old lady" champion added to league, Meddler noted:
"I think there are cool characters, who as part of their identity are also old ladies, that could be a good fit in League of Legends. I don't think 'League doesn't have one' is a sufficient argument by itself though, for any concept. League doesn't have a harpy for example, a classic monster from myth and other fantasy settings. That doesn't mean we should necessarily make one though. Whether or not a harpy allows us to tell new stories, offer new gameplay, create a different personality, show a distinct visual silhouette etc better than other concepts is what we're interested in. We'll always have more concepts than we'll be able to make, so comparing what an idea lets us do is really important.

As far as old lady goes I think there's a lot that piece of background goes well with. If a character's physically old, but still able to compete with other champions, there's got to be something else impressive about them. That could be a wealth of knowledge and training, or massive willpower and resilience built up over a lifetime. They might move differently to many other champions, much more controlled, precise motions for example, rather than the more flashy speed/strength based combat of others. They'll almost certainly have a pretty different outlook on things from characters who are still pretty early on in their lives, who are still mastering their powers or figuring out their place in the world.

Age by itself though isn't a justification for making a character. It's a means to an end, not the end in and of itself, just like any other character trait."
He continued:
"Replace 'Harpy' with 'tall person' then for sake of argument. Being tall isn't in and of itself enough of an identity to make a character. You could certainly use it as a springboard to get to something interesting. Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones taps into that, she's got a lot more going on than just 'tall' though. It's part of her character, and has been influential on her life, but her presence in the story's not just so there's a tall woman there. Tall is a useful tool, not the entire picture.

Old female champion who's a warlord? Cool, that's got the potential to be more than just a stereotype and instead lead to an individual with a distinct identity and a story it'd be great to learn more about. 'Old lady' by contrast's just a starting point, not a complete package by itself."
As for the comparison of the male champion line up to the female champion line up in terms of age, Meddler noted:
"Not sure where you're getting the impression I'm arguing for swimsuit models as the way to make female champions. Over the last couple of years we've deliberately targeted a wider range of champions in many regards, which has included, but isn't limited to, body type and gender. Our female champions don't have as much variety as our male champions, and I personally feel that's been a missed opportunity in the past because it means we missed out on cool types of character, story, theme and gameplay opportunities. 
'Old lady' though's not a fleshed out character, but a small part of an individual, in the same way that Swain isn't just 'old man'. Start talking about old female characters that are actual characters and we get somewhere really interesting. Examples of that I think are well done are M as portrayed by Judi Dench in various Bond films say, or the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey as played by Maggie Smith. Flemeth from Dragon age as someone mentioned below's a great example to me from another fantasy setting, as are Granny Weatherwax/Nanny Ogg (Discworld)"
He continued:
Hey Meddler real curious have you ever considered a champ like a traditional hag? Sort of a Baba yaga or fairytale witch type character? because honestly that sound fairly appealing. maybe refrence some other old women of myth and give her a single removable eye?
It's a concept we've talked about a number of times. Lot of cool folklore to draw on there, and the chance for a really unnerving champion with an uncommon (in LoL at least) style of magic. We haven't hit on a version that's worked for us yet, I'm sure it'll keep coming up though."

Scruffy Immobile Mages

 When asked about immobile mages - such as Syndra, Zyra, Vel'Koz, etc - and if they could use a similar sort of identity pass as Juggernauts, Scruffy commented:
"Immobile mages definitely need the same treatment as what we're doing for the juggernauts. Not because "buffs" (those can happen at any time), but because they really need true uniqueness from champ to champ. 
If you asked the question "I'm a champ that brings a bunch of aoe spell damage and some CC, who am I?" you could answer Velkoz, Zyra, Syndra, Brand, Cass, Malzahar, and ziggs. Ideally we could find what makes these champs unique and sharpen it enough so that the reason you would bring those champs to your team isn't just whoever has the highest numbers. 
As for the buffs that you're asking for, I'll have to run it by the live balance team and they can better speak to if any of them are in an underpowered state."
When asked specifically about Swain, Scruffy noted:
"He might need a bit more than some uniqueness sharpening."

Garen's new W Passive on non-SR maps

With Garen's 5.16 champion update including a new W passive that builds armor/mr as he kills minions, Repertoir replied to a thread concerned about how it will function on non SR maps
Never posted here before, and don't really browse so hopefully this hasn't already been previously addressed. My apologies if it has but, MOVING ON 
With Garen's rework coming up in the next patch it got me wondering how his W would scale in other game modes that don't have heavy emphasis on CS-ing like on Summoner's Rift. 
Using ARAM as an example, CSing there tends to just be a happy accident from pushing the wave back at the enemy, and practically impossible for a melee champion [Garen included]. this makes his scaling W practically useless. 
Same goes for Dominion but, lol Dominion 
Would he get similar treatment like Gangplank does with generating Silver Serpents over time? Where Garen just poops out armor every minute or so?
Or will he just get thrown under the bus for these game modes?
To be straightforward, I dropped the ball on this one and it didn't really cross my mind or get suggested to me until after the branch cut. I plan to do something about it in 5.17."

Experimental Mandrake Ward still shelved

When asked if the experimental Mandrake Ward is still being worked, Meddler reiterated that they are still not doing anything with it:
Did something happen to mandrake ward? I haven't heard too much about it for a while, has it been abandoned or is it just in hiatus for now?
Nothing's been done with it at the moment. It was an experiment into different ways of offering vision/map awareness with the assumption going in being that we probably wouldn't ship it. We do a fair bit of experimental testing like that, though most of it doesn't end up on the PBE, since development time's often more of a limitation than lack of feedback."
This follows Reinboom and Xypherous both commenting on Mandrake Ward not currently being iterated or actively being worked on.

If you are still curious about the now shelved Mandrake ward, check out XypherousPBE thread.

Ghostcrawler round up

Here's a look at some of the more interesting responses from Ghostcrawler's ASK.FM over the past day:
[1] Do you think that the best Way to implement nerfs to current situations i.ecinderhulk,devourer where in each some champs dominated should be balancing the champs and leaving the item or the other way around?‎  
It just depends on which element is the problem. If the item is causing a lot of problems then it's probably the item that needs to be targeted. If the item is generally fine but breaks a few champions, then they make more sense to target. 
In general, we tend to make the fewest changes possible. That's not because we're lazy but because the more separate changes you make, the greater the chances of introducing a bug or some other unintentional change. If changing an item meant having to also touch 20 champions, that might not be the best answer (though we'll do so when strategically that produces the exact result we are going for).
[2] You recently said (regarding Quinn) "It's [a bad thing if] Quinn's weaknesses are so poorly defined that her position is irrelevant." Are a champion's weaknesses your primary tool for defining the roles that they can play in a team?
When we think about champion design, the ideal champion has four things: unique inputs, unique outputs, strategic depth and non-class weaknesses. Not every champion needs all 4 but it is nice when they do. I am also avoiding things like thematic resonance and a good back story and elements like that. 
Unique inputs we define as the little things you have to do as a player to get better at that champion such as Draven axe catching or most skill shots. Other players in the game may not know or care about those things you are doing to master the game. For a long time we focused on this element too much at the expense of others. 
Unique outputs are the things other players, both your team and the other team, have to pay attention to. These are he things that keep champions from feeling interchangeable. Imagine these are the things a player would tell you if you had never seen a particular champion before and needed to know the two second version of what to look out for. "Tahm Kench can eat you. Ecko can rewind time." 
Strategic depth is what new strategies that champion lets your team explore, such as split-pushing or wombo combos or even protect the Kog. These are the things you are thinking about when you're in champ select and deciding how you'll complement the other champ selections on your team or maybe counter picks for the other team strategies. 
Finally we talk about real weaknesses. Every class has weaknesses such as juggernauts being slow or ADCs being squishy. Ideally a champion has weaknesses beyond those generic ones because those then provide interesting counterplay, require knowledge to play against, and make it harder to just replace one champ with another in a team. Ideally we try to enhance weaknesses when we need to nerf a champion rather than weakening the signature strengths they are supposed to be good at.
[3] How do you decide a champion is OP and needs fixed. Surely this goes beyond just win rates? 
Totally and even the win rates we look at include multiple skill levels and across all regions. We also look at win rates for players who are newer to that champion and those who have played 100s of games. In addition to win rates we look at pick, ban and play rates, champion diversity overall, our recent patch notes for that champion, other changes going on that might affect balance (e.g. a bug fix or new item) and a bunch of stuff I am forgetting. 
Even then, the data don't tell us when to buff or nerf. The data indicate potential problems that we discuss and decide based on experience, intuition and analysis if we should make a change. 
Ideally we also have plenty of time to playtest the changes, but it takes a lot of a game to notice subtle shifts in trends and sometimes we want to react quickly.
[4] Do you think there will ever be a time where people who are already level 30 can buy a smurf account that already level 30 so people who have already done the miserable process of 1 to 30 can just skip it? 
Usually when players want to smurf it's for one of two reasons (according to what they tell us): They want to play with friends, or they are bored and want something else to do. 
We feel like there are better ways to solve both of those problems, and we kind of owe you to solve them. If we feel like we've tackled both of those problems and there is still a huge demand for smurf accounts, then we'd consider it. I'm a little nervous that if we sold accounts or otherwise made them easier to acquire, we would have less motivation to solve the inherent design problems. 
We also agree that leveling 1-30 is a little miserable, even the first time around. We are exploring the right way to fix that.

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