Red Post Collection: Mordekaiser title change, Slayer & Zombie skins are legacy, Balance team Q&A, and more!

Posted on at 10:06 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes Ant in Oz confirming Mordekaiser's new title will be changed to the Iron Revenant, KateyKhaos confirming the upcoming Slayer & Zombie skins will be legacy skins, a lengthy Q&A with the balance team, a behind the scenes with the LoL Japan Voice actors, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Upcoming Slayer & Zombie skins to be legacy

First up we have confirmation that the upcoming Slayer Jinx, Zombie Nunu, and Slayer Pantheon skins will all be LEGACY! Here's what KateyKhaos  had to say on twitter:
[1] "Hey guys, we heard your feedback about the Zombie/Slayer skins not being legacy. We've decided to make these skins legacy."

[2] "Slayer Jinx, Slayer Pantheon and Zombie Nunu WILL BE LEGACY."

[3]  "As always, thanks for taking the time to leave feedback! :)"
On the boards, KateyKhaos added:
"Wanted to pop in again and thank you and everyone for your feedback about the legacy/non-legacy discussion. 
We discussed the feedback we were receiving about this decision for the zombie/slayer skins have decided that Slayer Jinx, Slayer Pantheon and Zombie Nunu will be legacy. 
As always, thanks for stopping on the boards and taking the time to talk about this stuff! :D"
Preview screen shots and videos of these skins can be found on our current PBE cycle summary page!

Ant in Oz on Morderkaiser Title Change - will now be "The Iron Revenant" 

Following news last week that Mordekaiser was up for a title change, Ant in Oz posted an update today saying his new title will be the fan suggested "The Iron Revenant" instead of "Lord of Death"
"Hey Veraska, 
We really love your suggested title: The Iron Revenant. It fits his thematic better, and just feels, well, right. 
Long and short of it - we're gonna go with your suggestion, and change Mordekaiser's title to "The Iron Revenant." You guys should see this change with the next patch (though it could slip to the next if things don't line up). 
Thanks for the suggestion (and everyone's feedback). 

Signups are open for a PBE playtest of a new feature on Nov 3rd!

Lyte has posted on the boards encouraging folks to sign up for the PBE to test a new feature that will go into testing on November 3rd! Here's his post:
"Hey everyone, 
We'd like to open PBE signups for 5000 players to test some upcoming features hitting PBE on November 3rd. Positive players in the community will get first dibs on PBE accounts, so sign-up today and come play a few games with Rioters, Pro Players and Streamers! 
The easiest way to sign up on the PBE for this playtest is to use this link, or look to the top right where you've logged in, hit the down arrow and select the "PBE" option. Hopefully we'll see some of you on the PBE on Nov 3rd!"
As for what they are aiming to test, Lyte noted:
"More details will come closer to Nov 3rd."

Meddler Quick Hits

Next up we have Meddler with a few recent comments on various balance questions!
When asked about the upcoming marksman changes, Meddler reiterated:
"Reasonable amount of both item and kit updates. We should be ready to start talking details in around a couple of weeks."

Meddler also replied to a question concerning the balance teams thoughts on Lux and Diana, noting:
"We're keeping an eye on both, with Lux especially looking like she might be too strong. No immediate plans that I know of for either of them though, in part because preseason's coming up soon and that'll shake up balance in general, so it's possible they may not need any changes after that."

As for specifics on any Ekko changes that may be coming our way, Meddler noted:
"We don't have any current plans for Ekko, so it's quite likely he'll be unchanged for at least a few patches."

When asked about the Ohmwreker item and if they have plans to change it in preseason, Meddler commented:
"When we were doing preseason planning a little while back we decided one of smaller projects we wanted to do was to take a look at a few items that either lacked a clear purpose or were simply outclassed by other options too often. Ohmwrecker was one of those items, along with a few others like Guinsoo's Rageblade and Essence Reaver. We ended up with improvements we felt worked for some of those items (the updated Essence Reaver for example should be a regularly appealing item on the more caster like marksmen). 
Ohmwrecker however we're not yet happy with the changes we've been testing, so we'll be taking another crack at it sometime post preseason (potentially early next year). Current thinking is to see if we can make Ohmwrecker a clearly appealing item when your team's looking for a bit of sieging power from a tank or tank support (as opposed to a diving item, given raw defense already fills that niche well). That's pretty experimental though of course, so might not be where we end up eventually."
He continued:
"Yeah, there's some risk of excessive overlap with Zz'Rot Portal. Goal would be to make Ohmwrecker the team siege option, with Zz'Rot aimed more at split pushing. It's possible that'll still be too narrow a space for two items for characters who want tankiness and sieging power though. 
As far as Zz'Rot itself goes that's an item we're pretty torn on. It's not used much at all, but its stats are already really high and its active's powerful even if used only to throw down the gate mid teamfight for the self speed boost."

League of Legends Japan translations & video 

Over the weekend, the League of Legends Japan facebook page posted the first screen shots of LoL's upcoming Japanese localization and server!
They've also posted a new behind the scenes video for the Japan voiceover translations!

He sure to follow the LoL Japan facebook page for the latest on the upcoming server!

/ALL Chat | Guide to Champion Pronunciation

A new /ALL CHAT episode also debuted over the weekend!

"Nay-sus? Needlely? Who the hell says Alkaline? ALL Chat asked some friends how to correctly pronounce champion names and get their reactions to some of the weirdest versions of them we’ve heard before.

Let us know which champion names you horribly mispronounce in the comments below!"

Chat with Riot Keyserito on 10/21! 

Hop on the boards on October 21st for a Q&A with Riot Keyserito!
"Join us tomorrow for the latest installment of Between Two Turrets, a Q&A series through which we connect you with various Rioters to chat about League, life, and anything in between. You can expect an installment every couple weeks or so, with Rioters from all over jumping in to spend some time with you on the Boards. 
This week, we’ve got Skins Team VFX Artist Jason “Riot Keyserito” Keyser - come chat with him on the Boards October 21 starting at 1 PM PDT!"
EDIT: Q&A is live!
"Welcome to the latest installment of Between Two Turrets, a Q&A series through which we connect you with various Rioters to chat about League, life, and anything in between. You can expect an installment every two weeks or so, with Rioters from all over jumping in to spend some time with you on the Boards.
This week, we've got Skins Team VFX Artist Jason “Riot Keyserito” Keyser!

Oh hey, guys! I'm Jason Keyser. I make stuff explode on the skins team. My job description is making shiny sparkly things: fireballs, water splashes, dust poofs, electric beams, magic blasts, and all the other elements. Since I started last year, I've worked on all kinds of different skins. Most recently, I was on PROJECT: Leona, then Spirit Fire Brand. You can see my work here:

Youtube channel (includes a bunch of quick tutorials for you aspiring artists)
Website Twitter
My favorite champion is Lulu, so making all the bubbles for her Pool Party skin was pretty much the best ever. For better or worse, I'm drawn to all things adorable, sparkly, and epic. This has led to many evenings watching kids' shows with my wife, including Gummy Bears, Phineas and Ferb, Powerpuff Girls, Star vs the Forces of Evil, Adventure Time, Avatar (Airbender and Korra), Slugterra, Ben 10, Transformers Prime, and many others, including MLP:FIM. Cutie Mark Crusaders OP!

The game I've been most obsessed with recently (aside from League) is Terraria. I'm still recovering from getting wrecked by the awesomeness of Patch 1.3.
Outside of shows and games, I'm into food, which is nice, because LA has some fantastic places to eat, which is bad, because I've been getting fat since moving here from Utah. Any questions you've got, feel free to fire away!" 

Balance Team Q+A: Ask Us Anything!

Last up we have lengthy Q&A with the balance team!
"EDIT: AMA'S DONE FOR TODAY! Thanks for coming out and asking questions - If you're reading this and missed this one (or if we missed yours D:), we'll be doing two more this month at the same time! We'll see y'all at 12:30pm pacific, on Friday 10/23!
If you have follow-up questions or want to stalk us on the internet, you can follow almost all of us on ze twitters at (@RiotJag) (@RiotFeralPony) (@RiotTimeWizard) (@G_mang) (@ManWolfAxeBoss) (@SmashGizmo) (@ricklessabandon) and (@RiotScarizard)
Hey folks, 
We've gathered together the team behind the balance and tuning of League to talk shop about the state of the game, balance, and whatever else you might have on your mind! 
On deck, we've got: 
RiotTimeWizard (amazing Morgana player, holds the record for the highest win streak in ranked of 19 games among teammates) 
ricklessabandon (obsessed with ffxiv, lowercases, and playing bloodthirsty supports) 
SmashGizmo (prolific melee player and toplane scumbag, known for his top Vi, Pantehon, Olaf, and even Nunu) 
ManWolfAxeBoss (actually a wolf) 
RiotGmang (slayer of playtests) 
RiotJag (top 10 on the vaynespotting leaderboard of busters and marksman enthusiast) 
FeralPony (bard lover and a literal pony) 
and yours truly! Got a burning question or top-of-mind curiosity? Fire away: Ask Us Anything! 
If you want some more behind-the-scenes insights on how League's balance goes, check out these devblogs by RiotJules and King Jag The King, RiotJag himself!"

Q&A Table of Contents


First up we have the general sorts of questions and answers from the team, including overviews, how changes are made, and a few broad projects they are working on.

When asked about the lack of balance changes in recent patches, Scarizard  reminded that the team is currently heads down in preseason work:
So I noticed that recently, ever since the worlds patch, there haven't been any drastic balance changes or even that many small balance changes. Do you guys think League is currently in a balanced state? Are you just waiting and preparing for Preseason? Is the more diverse Worlds meta affecting your decision making in any way?
Mostly prepping for Preseason. 5.19 and 5.20 were relatively small, and 5.21 will follow suit as we're putting the finishing touches on our preseason work. 
Then, we will open wide each of our 10 mouths and sing the song that consumes the earth."

When asked about the recent trend of utility ultimate abilities, SmashGizmo commented:
Hey Guys, I actually haven't played League for quite a while, and watching some recent videos, it seems like there are more and more of these "anti-playmaker" champions who can save teammates. 
Do you stand behind Champions actually only hindering the opponent from doing anything, rather then being proactive themselves? 
When I stopped playing, there was a huge discussion about soraka, because she was considered a "anti-fun" champion, but when I look at new champions like Thresh, Tahm Kench and Kalista, the collection of champions who just say "no" to every and all kind of engage seems to reach an amount, where picks amd fights loose a lot of depth and just become pure sustain brawls. 
would love to hear the balance teams opinion on this.
I think saving an Ally can be a really big high moment, so I don't think there's something inherently wrong with opening this up to more characters than just Thresh. There's a reasonable argument that we might be going too far with some of these abilities, but those are things that we can try to address through tuning, rather than just ceasing to make champions with high moments built around saving their friends. For instance, I think it's likely that Tahm Kench is too fast when booking it out of a fight after eating an ally and Soraka's raw healing numbers are probably just too high, but I don't think this is a case of these abilities being fundamentally flawed so much as just being a bit overtuned."
FeralPony also added:
"It's not a particular trend the Champion Team is aiming for but it's very natural for us as human beings to look for and find patterns and designs tend to flow into patterns naturally (Double projectile blocking in a row, a few revive passives in the Aatrox/Zac days). These are rarely intentional choices but often just align to make sense on the champions at the time. The next few champions should be more killy if I remember correctly."

As for if they've ever needed to do balance changes for a champion they personally felt didn't need them but the team did, Riot Time Wizard commented:
Have you ever felt at odds giving a champion a nerf/buff despite your personal feelings that they perhaps didn't/did need one?
Definitely yes, I'm actually feeling that right now. Cho'Gath is a pretty ancient champion, and so his kit design is of a simpler time, with straight-forward abilities and high bases damages. Our data indicates he's actually one of the weakest champions in the game, and also one that is not picked too often. Cho'Gath players tend to really enjoy the simplicity of his kit, and the visceral feeling of chain-cc-nomming someone, but other players despise playing against it (understandably). It's hard to measure the cost; does buffing him for the players that love him outweigh the pain that others may experience playing against him? I think that he does need some love, just a little bit, so I'm trying to give him something that makes more people happy than sad."

As for the idea of "entry level" champions being popular in higher level play, Riot Time Wizard commented:
Are you okay with having entry level champions being popular in high level play? 
When Warwick, the training wheels for the jungle got popular, you gutted him and he's been pretty bad since. I know he's getting a rework though but.... 
When Taric gets his rework, you said you would aim for him to still be the " beginners support " Would it be okay if he was picked in LCS still or would that indicate he is too strong and needs nerfed again? 
Just let him shine!
It makes sense that certain entry level champions would be in high level play, imo. Entry level implies that there is some sort of simplicity and/or reliability, which are both very strong things in all levels of play. Pros on voice comms will definitely be able to take advantage of something simple like Annie point+click stun. 
I don't think that Warwick is gutted per se, but I agree that he falls on the lower tier compared to other popular junglers. He may have room for love here. 
Characters being picked in LCS doesn't automatically mean that they are too strong! It means that there are scenarios that character can succeed in, which is awesome. If he got picked in LCS, reworked or no, I think we would all rejoice."

Scarizard  also commented in the idea of  a pass to update older champion passives:
Has the balance team considered doing a large pass on boring/forgotten passives on old old champs? No one really takes Alistar's AoE passive damage into much consideration, Singed has a conversion passive that can cause headaches, among other things. Even Zilean's rework left the passive alone until now, and just NOW he gets a new passive, separate from the rework. Seems like those old passives should be given more consideration when a champ is reworked or rebalanced.
Generally speaking, this is more a task for the Champion Update team to hit as they take on projects, but old passives remain as strong levers for us to tune if we want to add power to the champion. 
Consider though, that unless we take on the champion as a full-blown update like Fiora (where her passive health regen turned into the Vitals mechanic), some designers shy away from using these specific levers because the passive in question doesn't provide a ton of gameplay. It's a big win when we're able to turn it into something (shout-outs to 20thCenturyFaux for the pretty cool Zilean passive!), but if we've decided to buff Galio, we'll often err on the side of buffing something impactful that both sides can play around like Idol of Durand rather than say 'okay, he gets 20% more MR from AP' and call it a day."

When asked about the team's feelings on powercreep in League of Legends, FeralPony commented:
How do you feel about the state of power creep in the game? Do you feel it is more or less in check and if not what are you doing to combat these effects? Mobility creep?
As for Power creep, it'll happen to some extent but I think we've done a good job of heavily mitigating it's effect. I mean this across all the League Teams, not just the balance team, including Champions, Reworks, Systems etc. Careful planning and keeping it in the back of your mind goes a long way here. 
I don't think mobility creep is an pronounced as many people think it is. We've had a not insubstantial number of champions with Mobilty ffsince the game launched. The original set of Marksman 50% had long range dashes and one had 60 second stealth. Only Ashe didn't have a direct escape but could point blank stun you in the face and had perma slow. Nidalee was also the first champion released after the original 40 and has an insane amount of mobility we've actually reduced over the years. 
The more insidious version of mobility creep in my mind is in regards to cast times and dash / teleport speeds. It's very easy to fall into a trap of having dashes or spell casts be instantaneous because it "feels good". It generally does, which is why it hurts like hell going back on some of those calls which would be rather painless if they had been more telegraphed to begin with."

When asked about plans to normalize the interactions with dodge and blind, Riot Gmang  explained:
Hi there and thank you for doing this. 
Are there plans to normalize Jaxs Dodge and Teemos+Quinns blinds regarding on hit effects and also buff blinds timing to make it more consistent in blocking AAs or is there a concern that changing a mechanic (in contrast to just changing numbers) may interfere with balance too much?
We actually have been investigating this fairly recently, though by "we" I mean LoL Gameplay Design and not us Live Gameplay people specifically, so I don't have all the details off-hand. 
But yes, we are looking into what expected behavior should be for on-hits during dodges and blinds. There's a lot of debt in that system because a lot of champs were designed in a world with lots of dodges (used to have dodge runes, boots, etc.) and on-hit effects were made entirely case-by-case. 
I imagine that at some point in the future (probably at a season or midseason patch if I had to guess), we'll probably apply some consistent rules. I would also guess that such a change would probably be a generally pro-dodge change, where you actually avoid the attack instead of just the AD portion."

FeralPony  also commented they plan a few pathfinding changes in preseason:
Unit collision... thoughts?
We have a few changes to pathfinding that should make Unit Collision a little smoother in lane for Preseason."

When asked about the pressures of balancing with a big event like worlds on the horizon, Riot Jag  noted:
Hey there, balancing team! Hope you are having a great aftershow party ;)
These are some things that were on my mind for some time:
How hard is it to make decisions regarding balancing of particular Champions after a big event like the World Championship? Is there any pressure from outside (fans, pro players) put onto you?
There was a game in pro play a few years ago. I don't remember the year but I remember the game where the purple side Udyr just 1v5'd the entire blue team and walked around their base without taking any damage. Do those kind of scenes let you think "Oops guys, I think we need to fix that one"? Did you ever have the feeling that you f*cked up balancing and had to turn back immediately?
How do you decide in which direction you need to go, when the performance of a champion in pro play differs greatly from amateur play?
Is there something you really wished the players would know about your work?
I think that's it. Thanks for the AMA. You're awesome! Keep being awesome!
Honestly, it's often easier after worlds, since there's really clear consensus on what's strong (no one is going to suggest that a Gangplank nerf is coming out of nowhere). The much harder part is before world's, where we have to make some very difficult predictions about what we think will be strong, even if it's fighting player perception. Sometimes we do the pre-emptive nerfs correctly in 5.18, and the champion is strong but not out of control (Fiora), and sometimes we undershoot (Mordekaiser, Elise). We do our best, but we'll own up to our mistakes.

Huni made me feel that way a few months ago...

Feels bad man. Refer to mistakes above. Sorry guys.

That's super open-ended, but in general we make efforts to narrow the gap if we can (i.e., hey guys here's an indicator to help you understand how to use this ability better).

We definitely care about the game, and feel the same pain our players do when the game is off. Also Scarizard is a surprisingly virile man for being such a young boy."

As for learning examples of balance, Scarizard shared:
I love hearing about how people think about problems and communicate organizational knowledge, so I'm curious. Can you talk about some of the balance moments or stories that the team uses to teach new people, or looks back upon as great examples of changes that made the champion better/more fun/more balanced in a way that was a win for both the team and the playerbase?
I think every member of the team will have different examples for this one, personally - for me, I think one of the clear wins was when we changed Death Mark to place Zed's shadow at his starting position rather than behind the target. At the time (end of Season 3, Worlds), Zed was a 100% pick/ban for the whole tournament and a sore spot for players on Live as well. 
This change not only made Zed easier to play against (the previous clone being behind them often made escape impossible), but also gave Zed players new avenues of outplaying opponents and making hype plays by actually finding cool ways to make use of both clones to escape or all in. 
That said, at the time of this change it was extremely controversial, with many people thinking we 'killed zed'. Often we'll need to take away something powerful (and thus reliable) to create the gameplay that we want and really drive deeper interactions between our champions overall. This sort of initial perception hit is something we always struggle with when we make major changes to champions - Ahri's Q gaining speed (but losing a ton of damage) earlier this year was seen as a huge nerf, as was Veigar's Event Horizon gaining a cast time, but I'd argue both changes are essential towards making them balanced long-term."

When asked about trying to balance a champion who is good at both AP and AD builds, Riot Time Wizard  commented:
How do you handle champions that can excel at being both AD and/or AP depending on the players' preferences? 
Balance wise how do you feel about Malzahar? Have you ever thought about increasing the life span of the Voidlings up from just 21 seconds?
Generally we like to preserve playstyles that are diverse. Take Ezreal, for example, whose main purpose is a marksman; he's been somewhat a poster boy for versatility. Removing that option would be a huge blow to dedicated AP Ez players. However, sometimes we think the playstyle is so degenerate or unintended that it feels like a gimmick, like old AP Master Yi. Playing against him felt so atrocious it was almost like the game was rigged against you. Yet, simply nerfing the numbers would just mean that AP Yi was no longer viable, and we didn't want players to make the wrong choice. In that sense, we knew that it would be sad for certain player, but we also believed that we were making the right choice for a better player experience overall. 
Malzahar actually has a respectably high experienced player win rate, and a slightly above-average overall win rate. Are the voidlings the most appealing part of his kit? ;)"

When asked about each role and how they balance out the power between them, Scarizard commented:
Another question (this one is more directed to champion design, but still): How do you decide which role in the game is allowed to have what power.
For example: We all know that giving an assassin a silence is a bad idea, which is why you removed it from every assassin. On the other hand supports are allowed to have an aoe zhonyas, ally untargetability, aoe silence, a 10 year root, etc.
I am not complaining about these design decisions. As a support player i like having this much power in my hands and i really like the current state of the game balance, i am just curious as to how you determine what champions are allowed to have what kind of power.
Perhaps not an exciting answer, but these are really case-by-case. For instance 'no hard-cc on an assassin' is thrown out the window by Ekko, but we specifically designed all of his damage output and abilities around that fact. I'd say it's generally less that there are 'hard rules' and more that there are some mechanics or abilities that are handled with extreme care. For instance, sustain and hard CC tend to be some of the ones that make people the most nervous - having the highest 'potential' to get out of control if not handled carefully."
Riot Gmang also added:
"Good question! Just wanted to add a bit to Scarizard's answer. 
During the pre-production phases of a champion, we pin down what class+subclass the champion fits into. Champ classes have baseline strength/weakness profiles that include things like damage profiles, CC profiles, mobility profiles, etc. These are definitely not set in stone (champs can be multi-class or even completely unique, champ class can change over time, our understanding of the classes get more refined over time, and the classes themselves can evolve over time), but they provide good baselines for roster-healthy champions 
Throughout development, we try to validate: 
  • Does this champion's strength/weakness profile actually align with the class? If not, we should be careful, because there won't be standard itemization/tactics/strategies to fall back on to make sure they fit well into our roster and are (counter)playable.
  • Does this champion have unique strength/weaknesses within the subclass? If not, the champion is probably not distinct enough and risks getting into arms races with other members of the class ("arms race" is when you're too directly comparable with others in yours subclass and you're only picked based on meta favor). This subclass uniqueness space is where you'll see characters splashing outside their subclass; Ekko having some CC, for example.
A lot of things don't really have class definition. Bard's AoE stasis wasn't a cornerstone of our support definitions or anything, but it fell within the utility, safety, and teamwork space that supports occupy. And that's good--we want to be adding new things to the game that don't fit old molds! 
The actual criteria we use to evaluate champions, the models we use to analyze them, and the processes we use to develop them are constantly being iterating on, so things will be fluid and not always perfectly aligned across time. Bard would have looked very different if we made him a few years ago, and my guess is he'd look very different if we made him a few years in the future!"

When asked about champions who were nerfed due to powerful items then not buffed back up after the specific item received nerfs, Riot Time Wizard  commented:
Can you comment on champions that were nerfed because of items and then left like that after the item itself was nerfed? Sejuani is a great example as she had 2 nerfs that took her w to about 50% of it's original damage and then was left like that even after the multiple nerfs to cinderhulk.
We tend to let champions like Sejuani (who thrived close to a 60% win rate for a while) level off after we nerf them in some way. We're not intending to leave them to die and be forgotten, but in the interest of keeping the live environment fresh, we don't want to rebound and throw more buffs at her, since she only just stopped being picked so much. She'll be back -- we're just trying to let other champions have some time in the spotlight!"
Riot Time Wizard continued:
Wait wait wait, I just read from FeralPony's post that you guys are trying NOT to make a rotational meta? Is this an inconsistency in the balance team's ideals, or just a misunderstanding?
I think I miscommunicated! We don't want to rotate the META, but we want to make sure that champions all have time to shine at one point or another. The meta shifts itself!"
FeralPony  added:
For clarity, a rotational meta to me has some pretty explicit goals where you aim to make a totally new set of characters the dominant choices, often with the subgoal of focusing on selling more content. This is NOT our goal. 
Our goal on the team is consistently bring up champions below the balance bar and bring down champions above the bar so we get progressively towards a better state (which will get shuffled around during preseason most likely). 
This can have a rotational style effect where the "top tier" of champions is often changes but it's a very different approach. Sejuani in this case is pretty middle of the pack right now by most metrics (data) and perception, which is a good spot to be for any champion but generally means we won't revisit her for a little while, as our primary targets are the outliers at the top and bottom."

Champion Specific

Moving on, we have comment on individual champions!

Scarizard also commented on Darius, noting they are waiting to see how the 5.20 balance changes play out:
So before I buy the dunk master skin, what are the plans for Darius? He's a really strong pick right now but I was just wondering what kinds of things the team was playing around with balance wise.
Still waiting to see what effect the 5.20 balance changes had and evaluate from there, but verrrrrrrrrry early data points to them having had some effect. 
That said, I used to be a Woad King man, but switched to Dunkmaster post-update. When you get 5 stacks of bleed the buzzer sounds, which is super awesome and lets your opponents know it's time to slam jam."

As for thoughts on Jinx, Riot Jag commented:
Hi guys, thanks for doing the AMA. Just wanted to ask about Jinx - any balance changes on the horizon or possibly being thought about? She's become a real pain to deal with in solo queue, and I find my D5 games can often be lost because she gets one reset and spams aoe crit rockets.
Think Jinx is in a fairly reasonable spot right now. Champions like Darius anchoring the meta has helped her in certain ways as her rockets let her get a ton of AoE off in melee-heavy mosh fights. There's also a pretty decent amount of champions in the meta that are particularly good against her (Fiora for example). She is probably on the high end of ADC power though."

When asked about potentially giving Leona the ability to solo lane or jungle, Riot Jag noted:
Any plans on reworking Leona into solo-lane or jungle viability (REAL jungle viability)? 
I would LOVE to see Leona be able to proc her own passive on jungle monsters.
Don't see a way we could do that without compromising on her duo lane power. One of the reasons we make Leona so incredibly powerful and tanky without many items is because her base values are calibrated around her not having a gold source."

When asked about Mordekaiser changes in the works, Scarizard noted:
[1] "We've got some Mordekaiser changes coming in 5.21 to supplement the ones we put in for 5.18."

When asked about PantheonSmashGizmo commented:
Hey guys. So... what exactly is going on with Pantheon ? Anything? He's been a topic of contention for a while, and about a year ago, Morello (At least, I think it was Morello) said that they'd talk a bit about him and some ideas they have for our favorite Spartan after 2014 worlds, but he ended up becoming a decent jungler and nothing ever happened. Are there still any thoughts, plans, really, anything that can be shared with him? 
Thanks for doing the Q/A, lots of informative stuff already.
From our side of things, we think Pantheon's in a pretty decent spot right now. I'm currently on a huge Pantheon Top kick, and have been loving it (yes I'm a horrible person). 
Long term, I think there's some hope that we can make his laning pattern less obnoxious to play against so that we don't have to just balance him through stuff like harsh mana costs, but I have no idea what sort of an ETA we would have on a project like that."

When asked about QuinnRiot Jag  commented:
"I'm not sure how much I can get into with Quinn. All I can say is, we have been testing some changes to her that I am super excited for, as something of a Quinn enthusiast. You may be able to ask RiotRepertoir for more, he's been doing some really cool work there."

As for thoughts on Rengar's current state, Riot Time Wizard  commented:
What is riots current view on do you see him as a balanced champion or is he too strong?
Rengar, balanced?! IMPOSSIBLE. 
Joking aside, Rengar's win rate and pick rate for the average player are actually reasonable, but as with any other feast or famine type of champion, when he gets strong he feels awful to play against. He's been a tricky one to keep balanced, because there's a fine line between removing his cool stealthy burst combo and making him feel 'fair'. As an assassin, he also is strongly affected by meta shifts. We are still considering ways to make him less faceroll-one-shot feeling without alienating players that really love to play as him."

As for potential Riven nerfs, Riot Time Wizard noted:
Can we address the elephant in the room? Are there going to changes to riven to make her feel less oppressive? I mean she is the only champion i can think of that benefits from something that was not intentionally designed into her kit, and honestly i think it's overdue. que riven main tears
Yes, we are looking into nerfs for Riven, and fairly soon! We don't wanna 'gut' her, though. Riven players love their brokesword."

As for Syndraricklessabandon commented:
Hello, my name is Overlord Forte, I'm a Masters Syndra main for 1,200+ games (normals/ranked), and I'd like to know what's in the future for Syndra. 
Early lane dominance was a key power point for her progression and a cover up for serious faults in her kit. With it gone, she fell into decline as other competitive picks went ahead in the buff/nerf cycles. The resurgence of tanky champions also exposed more faults in her kit, further putting her behind as a meaningful pick. 
In short, she was built for an era of glass, where everything died to burst and 'true tanks' were a rare, non-viable handful. Now, ever the victim of meta-shifting and her competitive picks becoming better, she's sitting a quarter way to the bottom of the barrel. Workable, but not fantastic, even when she's fed. The stars have to align for her to achieve anything, rather than her moving the stars instead. 
To my eyes, she faces tough problems in her kit not having answers in a … healthy, way. At the moment, Syndra's only viable play style is a 'pick off' sniper approach, using her long range E+Q combo to make plays. Her ability to sustain DPS is only practical against other carry-champions, since devoting all of her resources to fighting the frontline (tanks, bruisers, etc) is detrimental at best. Having no mechanics other than her stun to by-pass the frontline, she's forced to deal with them, and she doesn't have the tools to effectively do so. 
Other issues arise, conceptually/mechanically, in that her kit doesn't fully convey 'unleashed power' (once overshadowed by her early dominance). As the game progresses and she 5 points her abilities, her passive is to make them significant power spikes, but doesn't. I'm aware this is being worked on, as of at least some months ago, so I'm not sure what's planned for there. 
This is a kind of broad overview of her problems, since I'm conserving space. The core principles of her kit, I feel, are good. I'd like to see them maintained or refined, since the ramping/tempo + control playstyle is what I fell in love with. The success of that style, however, has been in decline for quite some time now. I've mused on such ideas over here, which might shed light on where I'm seeing it from. 
Thank you for your time.
hi, hi~ 
reading over your post, it sounds like your analysis of syndra is pretty aligned with our current understanding of where she's at, how she functions, etc. to recap (and make sure we really are on the same page), here are some key notes about syndra: 
  • role/function - if we were to 'zoom out' and pick just one threat that syndra's opponents should be mindful of, it'd be her ability to make picks. opponents should need to be more mindful of the space around them when fighting syndra, and mistakes in positioning shouldn't be forgiven very often. we'd want syndra to be functional in this regard above most other threats she could provide. 
  • power timing - syndra's 'thing' is about her ascension to more powerful states, so we'd much rather have larger amounts of her power come from things like her upgraded abilities than her first few levels in lane. currently, this is an area where we have a lot of room to improve. changes to address her power/impact/satisfaction in the later phases of a game (e.g., levels 16-18) are likely the next project we'd want to take on for her. 
  • cadence - i personally feel like syndra is in a really good position to have one of the more satisfying and clearly represented 'ramping threat' profiles in league, especially since it directly ties in with her threat relating strongly to a need for spatial control and cashing in on good play there by making picks. i'm not sure if we'd have a strong reason to make further improvements here in the near future, but i can imagine a world in which we get to play this up even more and that makes me excited! practically speaking though, making refinements in this area would likely be a larger undertaking since it's tied so strongly to the feel of playing the character (which i personally find quite enjoyable) so prioritizing it over other projects can be a tricky proposition.
so, getting back to your original question, i think the future of syndra includes a lot of focus on getting her timings right regarding power curves. we'll most certainly look at her passive (a lot to be gained there, i feel) and anything else that lines up with a project in that vein. when making those adjustments, we'll be looking at preserving her baseline function as a control/pick mage and playing up the good feels around her cadence if possible. 
hopefully that covers your question!"

FeralPony also chimed in on Soraka, saying:
So I'd like to pose a design question: Soraka is one of the few if only High Priority Target supports (HPT for short I guess) in that as long as she lives, she makes it very difficult to win fights so you want to pick her off sometimes before the ADC. This is warranted because of her heals. What I'm wondering is will we see other HPT supports that demand focus because of their kit - or is this phenomena directly tied to Soraka and her heals?
It's an interesting question. So my 2 cents are as follows. 
Cent 1 - She has a very interesting twist on the traditional teamfight by bringing the focus off of the traditional carries. The fight doesn't revolve around the Marksman or other Carry. The highest priority target if you can't 100-0 the carry becomes Soraka. This causes an interesting swift in how teamfights play out and places addition emphasis on positioning for both teams which is cool. 
She also causes some interesting adjustments vs poke teams being very susceptible herself to harass/poke damage but making her team borderline immune to harass. She causes a lot of changes to how her team plays, which is really interesting as you mention. 
Cent 2 - She is probably too strong currently. #healers2stronk
Riot Time Wizard  added:
Cent 3 -- she can't heal herself outside of her ultimate and the minor health gain she gets from her starcall. As a result, you KNOW her entire focus is on her allies. Most other supports have some way to keep themselves safe even while supporting their allies. She's extremely vulnerable as a result."

ricklessabandon also chimed in on Tahm Kench and Yasuo, saying:
P.S Alot of times my friends during gameplay joke about how someone on the balance team needs to get banned since alot of time some changes feel too rushed and in the end they bite you in your behind and reddit cries. 
Yasuo is too much of a bully early game against almost everyone considering his late game strong powerspike. 
Tahm Kench R passive damage seems way too strong if he goes the full tank route. 
I am looking forward to the new champion select and hopefully an increase in champion bans since now there are way too many must bans than just situational bans
yasuo has an easier time in mid lane right now than we'd historically be content with given the current balance state of the game overall (items, balance of other champions, etc). this in some part points us into looking at other champions (like zed, for example) and doing a deeper dive on them. tahm kench is someone we'll almost certainly need to look at again next season, but there's still quite a bit to assess here in terms of which strengths are the healthiest/best to keep strong and which ones could potentially cause problems—same goes for his weaknesses. we're not currently in a rush to jump on tahmmy boy though, so we have a bit of time to digest all the data we have coming in for him and that should lead to a more complete analysis soon."

When asked about VeigarSmashGizmo  commented:
Thoughts on Veigar's balance?
Definitely a bit on the strong side. I still believe that the changes made in 5.18 were important to make his W feel like a reasonable skill on it's own (not just a slave to his E), and take away the weirdness around missing champion last hits on his Q, but it does appear to have put the character a bit overboard. We're currently investigating some nerfs to the guy and I think are leaning towards easing back on his base damages a bit to soften up his lane and play up his role as a hyper-scaling evil mastermind."


When asked about the teams thoughts on the black market brawler item Mirage Blade and if something like that could ever make it to live, Riot Jag   shared:
Jag baby, how do you and the team feel about Mirage Blade's teleport mechanic (and as an item in general)? Obviously it's been a while since brawlers, but I think it was neat to have that aspect (which is obviously present in other games). Are we looking to increase mobility for marksmen in that way (or at all) in the upcoming pre-season?
There are elements of it that I think were cool, but there were a few major problems with it if we wanted to put it into SR. For one, it was just way more effective on champions that already had a dash (try to catch Lucian with Mirage Blade, I dare you) than ones without one, which seems like the opposite of where we want that item to go. 
More importantly, I think the world where that item becomes particularly strong actually leads to some scary things for ADC players. Do we have to balance the baseline of the class's power around all of them having dashes? Imagine what we'd have to give to certain Assassins or Fighters to make them still functional. Do we force you to make more significant damage tradeoffs to compensate? That seems like a no-win situation for marksmen since they're constantly racing to get their damage multipliers going. 
All that being said, I personally would really enjoy for marksmen itemization to involve more active defenses or low cooldown self-peel moves, even if that does mean they don't totally decimate an opponent the second they hit them. This space has proven to be incredibly hard to work in though."

Summoner Spells

When asked about the top lane and dominance of teleportRiotJag   commented:
"We've put a lot of mechanics in place to make top lane more interactive with the rest of the map. We may have gone too far here, to the point where the impact of top laners can often be about who had the best pre-level-9 TP to the bot side of the map. We're looking hard at how effective TP is, and whether or not there needs to be more reasons to focus on both sides of the map (not just the Dragon side)."
On teleport,  Riot Time Wizard also added:
So there have been a lot of discussions about the teleport summoner spell.Do you think the right way to approach the situation is making every champion move freely around the map (Dota 2 tp scroll as a reference) or is it to limit the usage of TP as a whole?
We've actually done a lot of thinking in this space, especially in the context for the upcoming pre-season! Right now, Teleport can feel like a necessity to a top laner, and has been increasing in popularity for mid laners. We are extremely interested in exploring ways to make it (among other summoner spells) a more interesting choice, and less of a mandatory or "automatic" one."

Group Questions

Last up we have an assortment of players with multiple questions and multiple Rioter answers!

Riot Jag   Group Questions 1:

I have a couple questions about the upcoming Marksmen update and pre-season that I'd appreciate being answered.
  1. In the up-coming Marksman Update, how much will the current meta ADCs of Jinx, Vayne, Kog, and Kalista be effected? Will they be receiving minor adjustments/nerfs, or is the plan to bring less relevant ADCs like Fortune and Quinn a bit more up to their power level? Will the other "marksmen" like Teemo and Urgot technically be part of the update?
  2. I know you don't plan on revealing too much information on the new items designed for ADCs, but I'm curious as to how they'll be implemented. Will they be offering more general utility for the role like the Juggernaut items did for tanks or are the new items mainly just helping ADCs have a more convenient/dynamic build path to their same general items?
  1. Changes are more focused on making each Marksman feel unique and different, highlighting what they're really good at, and making sure they're supported by our current itemization. The changes are less about changing relative power levels and altering the meta.
  2. I think some of the changes might make Teemo/Urgot feel a bit better about being Marksmen, but we don't have a true "Urgot ADC dream item" in the works. The changes aren't huge, but personally speaking, when testing them I think people do feel like they had a bit more choices and build flexibility than on Live."

FeralPony   Group Questions 1 (Veigar & Mordekaiser)
Can i pick your Brian brain about the changes in PBE where Veigar W got such a huge nerf? I can understand that he is on the powerful side, but having such a concentrated nerf on W seems to hit more his overall usability rather the issues he brings in a game. For example, why reduce so much the base damage, since it is instrumental not only for lane pushing ( Rk 2 almost kills casters and readies them for last hit, Rk 3 same for melee ) but also for his own survival since it' s also a tool to threath the enemy, mostly while in solo? Also, do you consider that this move makes even more mandatory maxing W last? 
Bonus points if Feralpony answers this, since i asked it on his and probably he won' t reply if not after this Q&A. Cmon man, i save you the time to answer two different things in one! ( i love answers from the others too obviously! <3 ) 
Also, about Mordekaiser. Last time you touched him you nerfed the damage of overlapping W and increased the damage of just being in the overall area. I can see the reasoning behind it very well because it was very strong, very situational and improved the usability overall while nerfing his botlane power. 
on the other hand, you left untouched the W passive. This left the power of W in occasional ganks severly reduced, thing that would have benefitted a lot solo lane morde, while preserving a great deal of his duo power ( since the passive sinergizes better with the costant presence of an ally). Can you shred more clarification on this?
We're shifting the Veigar nerfs to be about bases on Q and W rather than ratios. If you can land it, we want the W to stay a heavy hitter. 
For Morde, one of the current topics under discussion is the W passive. Not sure if we'll move on that or not, but it's something we're considering."

FeralPony  group questions 2:
I'll start off by saying I've been playing this game since S1 and at a high level since S2. I consider myself un-bias when it comes to balance issues and have mostly agreed with the changes made throughout all the seasons. I can say firmly the game as a whole is in one of its best states right now. Good job guys keep up the good work. Wall of opinions, questions, suggestions, and insight inc. 
% Maximum HP dmg has been a very volatile damage source since the start of the game. From DFG to post rework eve ult to cinderhulk junglers we saw % max hp damage smashing people all the same. That being said, are you going to stray away from % health dmg (atleast to champions) in the future? 
On a related note, are you looking into Tahm Kench devour damage? 32% max health is a little nuts, although i get the reasoning (non damage ultimate support champion.) I just don't feel like a support should nuke me for 800 damage late game with their primary CC ability. 
Has the team given up on Gragas as an AP caster? The last nerf to his damage (the nerf was NEEDED as the % health dmg was bonkers) kind of put the nail in the coffin for AP Graggy. You guys have anything in the works? Perhaps removal of % health dmg all together to leave room for AP ratio increases? 
Some players say the balance team has adopted the idea of a rotational meta rather than absolute balance. I'll elaborate. WoW was notorious for its "rotational meta" (intentional or not) where each season different classes would get large buffs or nerfs thus dethroning the stronger classes and making the previously weaker classes top notch. It seems like Riot is taking the same approach (not coincidentally with Ghostcrawler in the picture.) Garen, Fiora, Skarner, Mordekaiser, Darius, and Gangplank were all champions that weren't even fringe pickable in competitive play. Post rework they were all incredibly powerful. So I guess my question would be does the team employ a strategy with reworks/new champs to make them intentionally powerful and then put them back in line from there? Or do you guys just get carried away a little with new concepts? (I would completely understand, making a new champ/kit would be fun and difficult to leverage :)). 
Is a Lulu Rework in the picture? I can't imagine you guys haven't at least tried to tinker with her. Maybe making polymorph break on a certain amount of damage and reducing the movespeed% on Whimsy. I just think between her W and Ult she provides too much utility and safety in a competitive environment. I like they she's a versatile 3 role champion, but that is really just a testament to how strong her kit is, particularly those two abilities. 
I love how bold you guys are being with new item releases. It really changes up the game in a fun way. Item balancing has been spectacular (and even when an item is "imbalanced" it's not nearly as frustrating as a champion because every champion has access to an item.) I would love to see more items and less champions in the future. Not much of a question but more of a GOOD JOB M8's! 
We recently saw an adjustment in AP items to make build paths more accessible (which was great.) Are we going to see a similar fluctuation to ADC items? This isn't a rant about ADC balance, I actually think ADC is in a good spot right now. However, build paths have very little variance IE->PD/Shiv->LW is the fundamental build path on almost every marksman, almost every game. My question is are you guys working on this? I know it is an extremely volatile task, which is why you guys are being careful about it. I just miss the days of BT/IE/Botrk first being a serious decision no matter what champ you're playing. 
Summoner Spells 
Let us talk about Teleport. I'm talking mostly about competitive here. I can only assume you guys have been working on adjusting this summoner spell. As exciting as teleport ganks are, the summoner spell creates much more passive play than it does aggression. Seeing as most of us are bloodthirsty this doesn't make for an entertaining game to watch. 
What solution (if any) are you leaning towards? Are you willing to test a teleport consumable item (lets say 200~ gold and only works on friendly structures)? This would at least create a gold investment. It could have an internal CD as well and would open up summoner diversity in the top/mid lane. 
The second thing i want to talk about is the lesser used/removed summoners. Is fortify a realistic option to bring back to the game? With the addition of laser turrets I think something cool could be done with it. Currently top laners can get shafted by 3 man dives causing them to walk off of tower, lose xp, or die (poor Dyrus). This could prevent those dives, and also encourages players to buy Ohmwrecker to completely nullify an enemy summoner :). 
Are you guys done with mastery points that enhance the effects of summoner spells? They were taken out in the last tree rework. Currently most supports just take ignite so I was thinking an exhaust buff deeper in the support tree could make it a good option without overloading its power in another lane. 
Is Dangerous game going to be removed? Currently there's nothing dangerous about it, it is almost a must have for any 21 offense build. 
Well these are just a few of my hundreds of questions/suggestions. I'm sorry for the wall of text rofl. I'll sum up though saying you guys have done a great job. Despite all the hate people give this balance team is one of the best of any game I've played. There's so much stuff to keep track of you guys do an amazing job. Excited to see what is coming in the future.
Lots of stuff here. I'll try to be helpful but succinct so I can answer as many questions as possible. 
%HP Damage - This is really more of a call of the individual team creating the piece of content (rework, champion, item etc) on if it makes sense for them to use or not. It is one of the most useful mechanics to ensure that an abilities damage stays relevant especially for non-scaling champions. That said, it's also a double-edged sword that when overused can cause a lot of balance issues or even meta-shifts for worse or better. Having access to these mechanics like this in some form is a really useful way though to ensure a particular metagame or picks don't become too dominant and have natural built in counters in game, but going to far and it feels futile to be a tanky man or feel like your item purchases are worthless. 
Tahm Kench - The number looks beyond insane, and that was my first comment to Zenon when he showed it to me, but it's been more reasonable than I would have expected. The devour ability is really heavily gated behind landing 3 procs on a really slow man, as well as the Ally Nom case is so much more dominant that if we want a decision point to be present on how to use the ability for ally vs enemy, the enemy nom case needs to be really impactful. 
Gragas - The goal of the rework a while ago was to shift him into a Bruiser Role and not an AP Carry. 
Rotational Meta - This is not an explicit goal of the team. I know some games do use this approach but it isn't ours. The goal though is to make sure that we're instilling enough change and positive improvements that we're moving towards a better gamestate. Systemic changes like Preseasons also typically throw a lot of chaos into the gamestate, but are targeted at a better game foundation or Systems than trying to shift what champions get played around. 
Items - Yes, you'll see some similar adjustments to AD items in Preseason, along with new fun toys. 
Teleport - We'll be making some adjustments, but I think the hard stance of Teleport promotes passivity isn't that cut and dry. This debate occurs when any type of mechanics change occurs. As an example when we increased the kill bounty of early kills the initial response was "If you're worth more to the enemy you'll play more passively", but this change was in response to feedback of "Kills aren't worth enough to be aggressive". You'll often opposite behaviors for the identical mechanics and usually the initial response to change is to be risk adverse, over time this often shifts into more of an aggression but we'll see how it plays out. 
Fortify - No 
Surge - Please no. 
Masteries - Generally when I do systems design, the more you can isolate systems from one another the less brittle they are overall and you can avoid a lot of problems. If you feel the urge to have Systems interface ensure they only do so in one direction. Example - Masteries could enhance Summoner Spells, but if you make that call Summoner's should never empower Masteries. 
Dangerous Game - Personal opinion, I think it's really weak and that it's perceptionally much stronger than it is mechanically. It's just way more noticeable than most masteries. My team generally disagrees with me on this one though. 
Good questions, and I hope this was helpful. Feel free to drop another Essay and I'll see if I can answer XD"

FeralPony  Group Questions 3:
So I'm an avid Shaco player and whenever I'm playing him I always notice a couple odd interactions with his clone, and I was wondering if you could explain their purpose to me. 
  1. Whenever I die and my clone is out, he follows the most recently targeted champion around but never attacks them. He doesn't blow up. He doesn't even follow them into bushes like a Maokai Sapling. This has caused me to lose several potential kills since he becomes useless once I die. Is this intended? If so, why? Often times I feel cheated since he won't even die when I do. 
  2. This is the same for many champions with similar mechanics, like Annie, but why does controlling Shaco's clone with the "R" key acts differently than controlling it with "Alt+Right Click"? Whenever I use R, it feels very clunky and delayed, to the point where I'm forced into using A+RC, which is fine usually, but when my clone dies and I still use A+RC, it'll instantly change to controlling me, causing me to turn around and either give up chase or get killed for free once every couple games I play Shaco. 
  3. This is more of a request, but would it be possible for Shaco's clone to have a range indicator on it similar to the one Orianna has with her ball? It'd be very useful seeing the max range and judging how far my bait can go. 
Thanks for reading and hopefully responding! Shaco means a lot to me, and I find all of these interactions odd, confusing, and limiting.
So to be frank, our control over clone behavior isn't great and I'm not a great Shaco player but I'll answer as best I can. 
  1. Yeah the clone is super derpy after you die. I imagine this was intended in the original design but I'd interested in improving this somepoint in the future. The illusion of deception is gone at that point anyways but it'd be a nice QoL feature. 
  2. Unsure. 
  3. Yes, I believe we are adding this come Preseason (soon-TM) to Shaco and one or two other champions. #Clarity"

Riot Jag  Group Questions [1/2]  - Hyper carries
I would like to ask about hyper carries. 
Currently, Vayne and Jinx have an incredibly high pick rate right now as well as, (especially in Jinx's case) a particularly high winrate. And my question is this: Why are hyper carries not more vulnerable during the early stages of the game? I realize that if they are TOO weak, it makes it difficult for them to take off to the later stages of the game. The problem inherent in this is that you give many of them safety options on top of the fact that they are 100% always partnered up with a support who exists to make sure no one gets to their partner marksman. 
As a result, it's hard for even early game marksmen (except maybe Caitlyn) to REALLY pressure their lane opponent. But I realize you can't just gimp the late game carry, because then they truly can't get to late. But it feels like they scale hard from a relative average position, while early game carries tend to fall hard HARD in the late game, often standing VERY little chance to have much of an impact relative to their late game counterparts. 
How do you guys deal with these balance issues, because recently it seems like you've been having trouble. 
And one last question, I hope I don't sound malicious with this, I am honestly curious. You nerfed Vayne by 3 AD this patch and your reasoning was that you didn't want to touch her too much what with the upcoming marksmen changes. I honestly want to know why this is the case, when you could just re-buff her during the preseason? Or is there some issue that I am not seeing that would make this a problem?
There are a few major problems here with hypercarries being the preferred choice.
  1. We did nerf a lot of lane bullies in the past year or so, not just in bot lane but across the map. As a result, certain champions controlled by their lane opponents stomping them (Vayne is the best example here) don't have as many checks and now are pretty powerful.
  2. Top having TP every game has done a lot to discourage aggression bot lane since you can get punished incredibly hard for taking risks. As a result, picking lane dominant champs seems like something of a trap. We're doing preseason work on top lane and TP dynamics to help relieve this pressure a bit.
  3. Unlike, say, Top laners who are racing each other in effectiveness, ADCs are racing the entire map. A solo laner may want to be strong enough to beat their opponent one on one, but an ADC needs to keep up in gold growth since so much of their power is item-reliant and interacts with the opposing team so frequently. To that end, if you're bot lane and fight a lot, and both end up losing about 30 cs as a result but one of you get 1 or 2 kills, the victor hasn't really done himself any favors since relatively speaking the rest of the map is increasing their item/level lead regardless of how bot lane is going.
I think we need to do some work to embrace bot lane bullies being effective, and create situations for them to actually get personally ahead from winning lane instead of just suppressing their opponent. We're doing some work in preseason along a lot of these areas. 
The Vayne nerfs were meant to be appropriate instead of going too far on the light side, but we did want to address her play/win rate (refer to the dev blogs linked above) without letting it linger for too many patches on live leading up to preseason."
It's true, but I think it's important to note that now there are simply more things to consider if you want to go aggressive, not just that you can't go aggressive at all.
Before going in you have to check to plane, does your top laner have tp? is he loosing the match up? which top laner is more healthy? I think it's good in that sense to add depth to decision making. Previously you would only be concerned about the jungler and as soon as he shows on the map the lane with an advantage has immense pressure.
Not saying TP isn't a bit too strong but I love that it creates more factors to consider when thinking what you want to do in lane.
And no I'm not a Top main, Support actually ;)
I think you've done a great job of describing how the top TP threat adds a lot of interesting decision making into the game. I think it's awesome you think of these things as a Support too. Wanna duo? I'm D5 but will Vaynespot like a Bronze.
That being said, if the windows to properly be aggressive are so few because knowledge of the jungler's position is very limited, then the top lane TP availability closing the windows even further may lead to no real time afforded for being aggressive without being unpunished bot lane. Maybe we just need to open these windows a bit (i.e. upping TP's CD instead of killing the spell entirely)."

ManWolfAxeBoss Group Questions 1:
  1. Given that balance is such a fickle thing i.e. nerfing one champion or a certain set of champions leading to others climbing to the top spot when they've been kept in check over how many permutations does the balance team go internally before pushing for a certain set of changes? And were there ever any set of changes which weren't pushed precisely because the impact on the state of the game as a whole, not just for the champion who you intended to nerf, would have been undesireable?
  2. How exactly do you approach balancing items, especially given that mana of them have certain unique passives whose power isn't as easily quantifiable as raw stats? And what do you make of items which currently I would consider in limbo as they are close to never bought but buffing could make them entirely too strong, such as Ohmwrecker.
  3. What do you think of items like Ardent's Censer and Zeke's Harbinger. Can we expect more such items in the future? I admit those two items are some of my favorites because they favor a style of support I can very much get into. The whole idea of being this enchanter/echantress who piles on tons of bonuses on their carry if certain conditions are met appeals to me a lot.
I dig your name.
  1. Balance iterations are interesting. There are times when we nail it first try, and times when we playtest 10 different changes and nothing works out. We always have to keep in mind how any change will affect the rest of the game, especially when we have something like Sivir almost single-handedly defining a meta. We went slow and steady with that one. We pull changes pretty regularly, both before and after they've hit PBE. Reasons can be multitude and yes, unhealthy game state changes is one of them. (Though I can't seem to think of a good example at the moment)
  2. Another team, Game Systems, handles the vast majority of items, but it's not terribly different from how you approach a champion. Ask yourself what the item does, how, why, etc. Then validate whether it's doing those things in a healthy way. As for "limbo" items, we're hoping to address most, if not all, of them in the 2016 season.
  3. I'm with you. I love these items. (I will always play a bard in MMOs if it's available - buff everything always) Ardent Censor can probably use some love, but we're happy with how Zeke's has turned out. I don't know what Game Systems has planned for the future, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more support items pushed in similar directions."
ManWolfAxeBoss  group questions 2:
Hey, thanks for doing this Q and A! I have a few questions I’d like to ask:
  1. What stats do you use to decide which champs to re-balance? How do you weigh each of these stats (e.g. winrate could be 3x more important than playrate)? Do you have a quantitative criterion to warn you if a champ is somehow becoming more unbalanced, or is it usually just a feeling from you and/or the community?
  2. How are assignments spread across the balance team? Does a small team handle champ x and another small team handle champ y?
  3. What are the backgrounds of the people working in the balance team? Bachelors in Math/Physics/Engineering, perhaps even a Ph.D? How do the individuals with these different backgrounds tend to contribute to the process?
  4. What other teams do the balance team collaborate with in order to gain additional insights into a champion design? For example, do you work with Lyte and Co. to understand how changes affect the toxicity of those who main a champ?
Thanks for taking the time to read my questions! There are just so many interesting statistics in League at your disposal that I can’t help but wonder about these things.
Hey dude,

  1. We have a ton of different metrics that feed into our balance decisions. For example, we look at base win rate across all elo, Plat+ win rates, pro win rates, and experienced player (more than 30 games on a given champion) win rates. Aside from win rate, we look at picks and bans, popularity, player perception, etc. We monitor this stuff from patch to patch, so it's pretty easy to pick up on trends as well as predict them.
  2. We get together for each sprint (basically our tasks per patch) to both pick tasks and assign them. We use a healthy mix of data and intuition to select our projects and then assign them pretty organically (whoever wants it, takes it - though we tend to have people who "own" various champions because they have more experience with them than anyone else)
  3. Like most of Riot, and really game development in general, we're pretty diverse. We have people with no college education up through PhD's. It creates a really unique design atmosphere because everyone sees things in a different way. Some people are very good about thinking in systems, others better in numbers or thematics. It's a lot of fun.
  4. We work with pretty much everyone in "core" LoL, Champion, Champion Update, Game Systems, and so forth. It's super important to understand not only what everyone is working on, but also why. Cross-team alignment can be tricky, but it's a must for game health and balance."

ManWolfAxeBoss  group questions 3:
This post is a bit different than the others being posted, and is going to be a bit long. My questions will be about the Balance Team itself, rather than the champions you balance. Being a part of the Balance Team sounds interesting to me, so I will be providing some background about myself to not only show that I am truly interested, but also to assist in answering some of my questions.
In 2014, I graduated from college with a degree in Physics (and a minor in Math). I had decided on that specialization because I had always loved astronomy, and figuring out how the universe works is exhilarating. At the time, it was my goal to continue on to grad school and become an astrophysicist. However, I’m now in my second year of grad school and I no longer feel as though I’m playing with numbers, but working with numbers (a very important distinction), and solving problems is now a relief instead of a joy. As a result, I had to give some thought into exactly why I wanted to become an astrophysicist. I discovered that it wasn’t that I wanted to figure out how everything worked, but that I absolutely love playing with numbers, finding simple ways to solve problems, and sifting through data tables looking for the patterns and information they hide. This led to me searching for potential careers that I could enjoy. I have also been a gamer for as long as I can remember (not an exaggeration), and have played League of Legends for a few years now. One day I was reading some patch notes and realized that figuring who needs to be balanced, as well as what to change in order to balance them, sounded right up my alley. I would be able to play with numbers in a meaningful way that would contribute to a game I enjoy.
Do you think someone with my background would be helpful to your team, or am I missing something important?
Along the lines of my first question, how much experience with coding should I have? My coding knowledge is mainly about basic coding logic, rather than knowledge of specific languages. This was learned through one semester of Java, and writing countless (short) Mathematica Notebooks to solve problems. This is definitely something I would be willing to learn more of if needed.
How big is the Balance Team?
What problems do you tackle? (Both short-term, and long-term)
Is there a specific person I should contact about this instead?
Is there other information you would like to provide, that I didn’t think to ask?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, as well as answering my questions.
Hey man, 
I dropped out of grad school to come work at Riot, so it's not too crazy. I wouldn't advise jumping ship without some serious soul searching, but if you're really unhappy and want to pursue game development as a career then go for it.
  1. This team, like most here, has a pretty diverse set of backgrounds ranging from no degree to PhD. Lots of different skill sets means we get to approach tasks a variety of ways and ultimately see more well-rounded results.
  2. Lots of people, myself included, come in with no coding/scripting knowledge and learn as they go.
  3. It changes, but currently we have 9 including production.
  4. Short term, we do lots of reactive work patch to patch. We try to get a mix of both too strong and too weak champs. But all that works goes into long term goals like game health and diversity. Long term work is more scarce on this team, but we sometimes create items or do light reworks and such. We have quite a few long term projects in the works right now for season 2016.
  6. Just a small piece of advice. If you want to design, do design. :)"

ManWolfAxeBoss group questions 4:
Heya ! 
So I have a question. As a Sion Player, I really feel that the champ is really slow, he can tank, but don't you think the nerf on the reactivation on the W was an overnerf ? I really loved to play Sion Jungler or top, now 3 seconds is really, really long. It's really hard to survive in the jungle and the ult is really hard to hit, people just have to sidestep, you can't correct your position, your gank is mostly a fail if your teammates didn't already engaged, which is hard, because you're the one supposed to engage. 
Also, Renekton. I really think he's the one supposed to make a comeback with the Juggernaut Update. He's strong as a Juggernaut, tanky as a Juggernaut but he have some free sustain with his Q, a really powerfull stun and a very good mobility in the teamfight. Somehow he's definitely stronger than the toplaner Juggernaut. What do you feel about him ? 
And one last : Why do you keep nerfing Darius and let Garen being insanely strong ? The nerf are only "Placebo" for lowering the banrate ? Dirty Demacian ! 
And a bonus one. How the banrate/winrate impact your decision in the balance ? There's no way you don't look at those stats when you ask yourself "Is the champ good for the game ?" 
And a Bonus-Bonus : What do you think about Azir ? :D
I love Sion. 
Sion is actually in a pretty good place. His skills, ult especially, take some time to master, but he's far from weak. Jungle probably isn't his strongest role as he excels with farm and xp, but he can manage there. 
Renekton is the "You must be this tall to ride the ride" champion of top lane. We don't really classify him as juggernaut, more of a fighter. And if World's is any indication, you're right about him being stronger than juggernauts. Watching him stomp Darius has been fun. All that being said, we are similarly happy with Renekton right now. May change in the future, but he's in a good place. 
Well, when a champion has a pick/ban rate in the 90th percentile, something is probably wrong heh. Garen can be frustrating to play against with his silence and sky sword, but just like Renekton and Sion, we don't feel like he's too strong or too weak right now. 
Copying from a question I answered earlier: We have a ton of different metrics that feed into our balance decisions. For example, we look at base win rate across all elo, Plat+ win rates, pro win rates, and experienced player (more than 30 games on a given champion) win rates. Aside from win rate, we look at picks and bans, popularity, player perception, etc. We monitor this stuff from patch to patch, so it's pretty easy to pick up on trends as well as predict them. 
He is a very handsome pigeon."

Scarizard  Group Questions 1:
Site isnt loading properly, so these may have been asked 
  1. I kinda understand where you get your numbers for most roles, but I was wondering if there are any other numbers you look at to judge Support brokenness.
  2. How much do you consider champion counter-matchups when balancing?
  3. which champs need buffs atm?
  1. Leo buffs pls?
  2. Best support in the format?
  3. Why is Rengar so broken?
I'll do my best to respond, not sure how many of these I saw answered elsewhere!
  1. Numbers actually don't discriminate when it comes to things like pick rate, win-rate etc for supports like you might imagine - though they're often banned far less than other champions unless they're wayyyy out of line (A little while ago, Janna sported a higher win-rate than maybe all but ~6 champions in our game, but was banned in less than 1% of games). TL;DR - We evaluate supports on similar metrics to the rest of our champions, though we've seen large swings from small changes in this category specifically due to the smaller pool of supports (so even a small nudge could make someone played a ton or played a little, because the next one replaces it).
  2. Heavily, actually. Our changes to all of the Juggernauts in 5.18 (where all 4 + GP/Fiora were nerfed) were actually done with champions like Gnar in mind, who we consider to be a popular and effective counterpick to these champions. Worlds has proven this to be mostly true, though obviously GP and Mordekaiser need further work.
Often times if some champion or strategy is domineering, we'll think a lot about why that is - and in some cases, endeavor to buff a champion or item that's part of that champion's counter-matchup (such as making Spectre's Cowl more efficient/better when mages are everywhere top, etc). 
1a - Leo's pretty strong, definitely in the top 5 of star-signs for the moment. Unsure if we'd buff, will have to check my horoscope. 
2a - Best support in the format is definitely Evolving Wilds. Battle For Zendikar's proven to be a more diverse limited format than Rise of the Eldrazi in terms of color identity and strategy, so the windows you open yourself for a 3 color deck (4 if green) by early-picking Evolving Wilds outweighs some of the power you lose in the process. 
3a - Rengar spends most of his time hunting monsters much larger than him, which I imagine translates into a large amount of fractures. Pretty good shape considering. 

SmashGizmo  Group Questions 1:
Hey there guys! Two questions: 
  1. How difficult is it to balance for each of the standard roles (top/jungle/mid/adc/support)? I'd imagine it's harder to balance for top/mid because those are the lanes where just about anything can be played, but I'd like to know your opinions on it.
  2. What are some champions right now that are really, really difficult to balance? Anything from the old-timers like Warwick to the new kids on the block like Tahm Kench (who Zenon has said can become a stat-check situation).
Thanks for doing this. And SCARIZARD, YOU STILL OWE ME GAMES <3
  1. Actually Jungle is hands down the hardest to balance in my experience. It's much easier to think about champions and how they interact with other champions in even fights over the course of the game than it is to think about how a character ganks other characters and how to make that feel fair.
  2. Azir, Kallista, Azir, Mordekaiser, and last, but not least, Azir."

SmashGizmo  Group Questions 2: (Zyra)
[snip because it is very very long]
Thanks for sharing such in depth thoughts here, really appreciate the effort you put into your post. I'll try to go through and touch on some of the important parts where we seem to see things differently and hopefully give you some insight as to what we think of Zyra: 
  • "she is still considered in your point of view as an OP Champion with no rooms to buff": This just isn't true. We buffed her plant AI in 5.20 and have been considering additional buffs from there. It is true that we feel pretty limited in what we can actually do because her winrate is actually quite high, which suggests that she's probably not as weak as people think, but it's just not true that we don't consider that we have room to buff her.
  • You talk a lot about how we view Zyra as a long ranged mage, but I'd say that we view her as a 'zone-controller', more akin to Anivia and Heimerdinger than say Lux and Ziggs. A large part of what defines a zone control mage is their slow movement and set-up time, but extreme power once they have established a position, which is a large part of why they tend to have low defenses and movement and slow casts. What this means for us is that many of the weaknesses you point out on the character are actually intended weaknesses. Her E is supposed to represent a window where she spends set up time to CC opponents and establish plant control and I at least feel it's important for it to have a longer than usual cast time.
  • You also talk a lot about Zyra's matchups as a Mid laner in the context of professional play. While I think we do want to support Zyra as a Mid Laner for Solo Queue play, it's felt out of reach to get her into Pro Play as a midlaner (similar to Annie). I don't want to say that this is completely off the table long term, but as our team mostly works in 2 week spurts, making Zyra a desirable Professional Mid Lane pick without straight breaking her for the overall game is just out of scope.
  • With all that being said though, I will say that Zyra probably isn't getting enough payoff from her kit at the moment. Personally, I have my eye on the Ult knockup duration and Plant scaling throughout the game as potential areas that we could buff on the character in the near future."

Don't forget the team will be hosting another Q&A the next two Fridays!
 [2] "We do! And we're hosting two more AMA's, 10/23 and 10/30 at the same times if you'd like to join us."

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