[UPDATE: The Preseason Q&A is starting up!]
Today's red post collection includes a champion insights article for our upcoming champion Illaoi, the December sales schedule announcement & a reminder on the upcoming sale on select skins released in the last four to six months, a heads up on the preseason Q&A, and more!
- Red Post Collection: ALL-STAR 2015 Details & Voting, 11/13 Patch Update, Continued Preseason / 5.22 discussion, and more!
- This Week in Esports [November 9th - November 16th]
- Champion and Skin Sale 11/17 - 11/20
- Free Champion Rotation, Week of November 17th
- 11/16 PBE Update: Rift Herald Spawn & Death, Spellblade VFX changes, & more tentative balance changes
Table of Contents
- Champion Insights - Illaoi
- December Sales Schedule
- Chat with Riot Afic on 11/18!
- Preseason Q&A on November 17th!
- Get Data-Informed on the Insights Blog
- Extreme LoL - Kitten Edition
Champion Insights - IllaoiFirst up we have a champion insights article on Illaoi, taking a look at the early ideas that shaped and inspired Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess!
"We met up with some of the folks behind Illaoi’s creation to find out how they turned some early ideas into the battle priestess preparing to test the Rift. Here’s their story.
Design notes by Beat Punchbeef
Art notes by Hdot
Narrative notes by WAAARGHbobo
Before Illaoi was a thing, we had this cool idea of having a character in our game literally punch the spirit out of their target. We had to shelve it as we were still finishing up Rek’Sai, but once we cycled back around into new champion ideation, we were super happy to find out that our pod had been tasked with creating League’s next brawler. Brawlers like punching, we could have ours punch spirits… things were starting out great.
We were a little way through ideation when the champion update guys spun up a new team tasked with identifying roles in the game and making sure all the champions in that role brought a unique playstyle to a game of League. They’re the guys who most recently updated the marksmen, but before that, they tackled a whole new class: the juggernauts. These were League’s League's lumbering, tanky, melee class. The champion update team rounded up all the champs who fit their juggernaut definition, and as they did, we realized that our new brawling champion would fit perfectly into that bunch. But they were all guys, even the dog-shaped ones, so we started thinking about a lady to mix things up a bit.
The Battle Cleric Juggerdame
Before we started on this new lady brawler’s look, we knew we wanted to do something different. This isn’t a commonly known fact, but a huge chunk of League’s female characters actually share an identical (or near identical) face and body, and are only differentiated by their hair and clothing. We wanted to try something different, and so set about creating someone significantly apart from the crowd for our brawler. She’s a bunch bigger, obviously, but alongside her larger frame we gave her a larger personality, too. We wanted her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants. We started tooling her up to be someone who was genuinely beautiful in her own unique way. The sketching began in earnest.
"We wanted Illaoi to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants."
Armor quickly became a pretty contentious point. Brawler was known as Battle Cleric at one point, a name which naturally led to us giving her buckets of armor. But straight away that didn’t feel right. Armor implied tankiness which implied Brawler was someone you hit, rather than someone who hit you. We pulled off the armor to emphasise her muscles, which in turn accentuated her confidence and power. Taking her armor away brought her tattoos into play, too, which played up her strong religious aspect and gave her a more immediate connection to her god. At one point, her tattoos actually came to life and formed her tentacles, although that overlapped with Braum and even Udyr a little too hard for our liking. Eventually we settled on Brawler carrying a symbol of her god around as she traveled, an idol which she could wield to conjure aspects of her deity.
And what about those tentacles? They first squirmed their way in with Brawler’s Q, which stayed pretty much constant throughout her development. But as we got further in, as we really started figuring out who Illaoi was - how central her god was to her - we started looking for ways we could make her tentacles more central to her kit. We tinkered around with a few ideas, the coolest of which involved Illaoi actually showing her ulted enemies the truth of the world around them. We had an overlay in place that changed the whole map, revealing tentacles snaking all over the walls and structures around them. It was awesome to look at, but ultimately the tentacles were just there - they didn’t actually do anything. Then we got to thinking: what if they did?
Day of the Tentacle
Adding independent tentacles to lllaoi’s kit was really the last piece of the burgeoning champion’s puzzle. By adding them in, we gave Illaoi a really unique space within the juggernauts: she’d be the set-up queen, a champion who grew in strength when she settled in an area and had enough time to grow a tentacle or two. The independent tentacles fit perfectly into her theme, too. By adding them in, Illaoi players would never feel alone in-game, while Illaoi’s enemies would always feel outnumbered against her, even 1v1. Everything worked together, and after months of iteration, we had a kit-locked brawling champion with a compelling and consistent playstyle, look and character. Illaoi.
For more on Illaoi, check out these links:
December Sales ScheduleAs expected, we also have a champion and skins sales schedule for December! Also included is a list of skins released in the last 4-6 months that will be going on sale in early December as a part of the recent changes to discounts!
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this December. Like previous sales schedules, we’re not posting the exact dates for each champ and skin, but they’ll all be on sale sometime next month, so keep an eye out.
In addition to the regularly scheduled sales, we’ll be putting some skins released in the last 4-6 months on sale from December 3 (00:00 PST) through December 7 (23:59 PST).
Just a heads up – since we’re publishing these in advance, we won’t offer partial refunds on champs and skins purchased before they go on sale.
Regularly Scheduled Sales
Additional Sales - December 3 00:00 PST - December 7 23:59 PST
Be sure to check out this post for more on the recent changes to discounts & sales.
Chat with Riot Afic on 11/18!On 11/18, Playtest Team Lead Riot Afic will be hitting the boards for a Between Two Turrets Q&A!
"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 Playtest Team Lead Adam “Riot Afic” Cohen - come chat with him on the Boards November 18 starting at 1 PM PST!
Preseason Q&A on November 17th!The team will be coming together to host a Preseason Q&A on November 17th at 12 PM PST!
"With the preseason well underway, we thought it would be a good time to check in with the devs.
Join us tomorrow, November 17, 2015 at 12 PM PST on the newly formed Developer Corner to chat about how the preseason is faring and what our plans are for the next few patches."
[UPDATE @ 12:00 PST: The preseason Q&A has started up and the initial post by Meddler includes a lot of thoughts on various subject and what the team is aiming for in 5.23! As usual, we'll have all this wrapped up in the next red post collection!]
Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we've had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we'll have a more high-level overview.
In the meantime...
Preseason so far
It'll take a while for things to shake down, but I'll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there's anything not mentioned you'd like to get our thoughts on, we'll be answering questions between 1pm-3pm (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).
General Game Elements
Overall, we're pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord's Bloodlust, and we'll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery's just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.
On the other hand there are also some champions that aren't sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we'll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn't feel like it offers many champs a good choice.
- Minion Blocking
We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We'll be looking to adjust this to make it feel "right" again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking's calculated in 5.23.
- The Jungle
We're seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We've got some buffs to Hunter's Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We're also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you're currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.
As far as Rift Herald goes, we're seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we'd hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it's a bit too punishing, so we're reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.
We're currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that's assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it's also going to be due to a bug that's removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We'll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.
Graves is significantly too strong, Kog'maw definitely too weak. We'll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today's hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast's getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we'll need to make further adjustments as well. We'd rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.
Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we're looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we'll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe's Q that should help her out a bit. We're also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren't sure yet whether we'll have changes we're happy with for 5.23 or not.
Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we're looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha'zix/Zed), longer term we'll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).
- Other Champion Changes
It's not preseason specific, but we've also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn't from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.
The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there's to align champion size better with each champion's role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more...squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian's not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).
Statikk Shiv's looking too generically strong. We'll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.
Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we'll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we'll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.
- Clean Up, Bug Fixes
We've got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.
- Game Duration
Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we've spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it's looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).
In terms of direction, two of the big things we're looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We're also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that's something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we'll need to make some follow up changes."
Get Data-Informed on the Insights BlogLast up, there is a new blog up on the Riot Games webpage that takes a look at how Riot obtain it's data to make changes to League of Legends - including surveys, analytics, and lab studies!
"At Riot, we're "data-informed." Basically, that means we use research tools to gather loads of info about League of Legends, even though we use lots of other tools aside from data when we figure out how we'll make changes to League. Data is just one decision-making tool among others like experience, education, or good-old gamer intuition. Being data-informed, says Davin Pavlas from the research team, is about "incorporating data into the decision-making process, rather than having data be the decision-making process."
To get truly data-informed, we have to go far beyond the basics like win rate and pick/ban rate. In this piece, we'll explain some ways we think about data, how we gather it, and what its uses are. Rioters on the Insights team—the peeps behind the brand new Clairvoyance blog—rely heavily on three research tools in particular: surveys, analytics, and lab studies.
DO YOU HAVE A BRIEF MOMENT TO ANSWER 6,000 QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SERVICE?
Surveys are useful for finding out what players want (skins? modes? someone to love?). Sometimes we'll use them to ask super obvious stuff, like "would you like more alternate game modes?" Surprising no one, players answer that question with "yes pls." The reason we ask obvious questions like these is to understand how players rank potential changes against other things that they might also want.
|We've asked players in North America and Korea|
to choose adjectives that apply to Yasuo.
As the data piles up, we're able to compare and contrast the idea on a scale that ranks it relative to others. Of course, people like new ways to play League. "But how much do they want it in comparison to other stuff?" asks Davin Pavlas. "How much do they want it compared to stuff we know they want really bad, but which we're not making right now?"
We also use them in more off-the-wall ways: for example, we might ask about a change to League we consider extremely controversial even if we'd never make that change. Sometimes we just need to calibrate our "bad idea" detector.
Surveys are most useful in aggregate. When we can look at tens of thousands of responses over a long period of time, we can make better-informed statements about how players value things. Surveys give us a chance to figure out exactly how much players would love or hate our ideas. Obviously, we'd rather make changes that everybody loves, but even things that the community overwhelmingly loves will still upset some folks.
READY YOUR SPREADSHEETS
Surveys are about what people feel—or, at least, what they say they feel—but analytics lets us gather loads and loads of data about what players are actually doing in-game. A lot of our analytics tools are embedded straight into the game. There's all the broad stuff you'd expect (How many games are people playing per day? What percentage of games include at least one AFK?) but we get pretty insanely specific too: We track how many times per second players in every single region are using Annie's Q ability. Like a high-elo Santa Claus, we see you when you're B-ing, and we know when you've bought a Phage.
|Yasuo has one of the steepest learning curves of any champion|
we've ever released. The above chart shows his average win
rate by number of games played, compared to a couple of
other beloved champs.
As Rudi Bonaparte, who focuses on analytics, puts it, "analysts convert billions of hours of gameplay into information Rioters can use to find ways to make League more awesome." Take, for example, Yasuo. When we released him alongside patch 3.15 back in December 2013, Yas limped onto Summoner's Rift with a 36 percent win rate. In previous times, we might have really over-corrected on Yasuo with significant buffs, but the data told us to only go light with the changes, and to trust several functional bugfixes to carry him towards balance.
Sure enough, the data soon revealed that Yasuo had a steep learning curve, but his win rate does actually climb past the 50% point once players have put something like 35 games in with him. In the weeks after Yasuo's release, players began to figure him out, and by patch 4.2 we had to tune the Unforgiven back with minor nerfs.
If we want to understand balance at all, we've got to use analytics. Everyone looks at champ win rates, and while they're important, you have to go deeper to achieve stronger balancing. If nobody is bothering to use a certain skill, we'll revisit the champion to see whether they need a rebalance that makes all of their abilities useful.
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE RIOTERS BEHIND THE MIRROR
If surveys tell us about how players think about League, and analytics tells us how players play League, then lab studies, where we bring players to Riot's office to observe them playing the game, are a chance for us to put everything we know into context.
|The research lab is where players test unreleased champs or|
features.We also use it to prutally interrogate the champion
balance team about changes we don't like.
Labs may bring up visions of lab coats and bubbling test tubes, but they're pretty simple: we bring a player in, they sign a VERY serious NDA, and then we get them to play with a new champ or a work-in-progress feature while we watch on from behind a two-way mirror in an adjacent room.
Labs let us catch things that are impossible to measure with numbers. One of the first things we realized when we started doing labs is that many new players (even core gamers) had no idea what to do with their hands the first time they play the game. They rest their hands on WASD, or they ignore the keyboard altogether.
"My wife plays with her fingers on ASDF," says Pavlas. "We didn't notice that for two years, and she can't change it now." Nobody says "hey, I don't know where to put my hands" in a survey. It's just not one of those obvious things, but it is easy to solve. We put a picture of where your hands are supposed to go in the tutorial. Problem solved.
The best use of labs is when we present players with new ideas and get immediate feedback on them. Players often react to new champions and features in ways that are surprising to us, so being in the room with them when they first get their hands on it puts us one step ahead.
BEING DATA-INFORMED MEANS THAT WE TRY TO LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Ultimately, research at Riot is about collaborating with players. There's a lot of y'all hitting the Rift, and we need tons of ways to listen to you. We're passionate about data, and we we work hard to find that balance around data and gut reactions so we can be data-informed.
Our research efforts teach us all sorts of weird things about League of Legends and the people who play it. To keep up with some of the coolest stuff our research teams are learning, check out the new insights blog."
Extreme LoL - Kitten Edition
"Ever wanted to play League of Legends while riding a roller coaster? What about while on top of a mountain? For one Turkish Rioter, this is his calling: To conquer League in the wildest situations possible.
Riot Xtreme has blazed through burning hot peppers, survived moving vehicles, and even (almost) triumphed in a bumper car battle royale. Now he takes on his most adorable distraction yet: A pile of kittens!
Extreme League of Legends is in Turkish, but has full English subtitles. Be sure to enable them on YouTube if you don't see them appearing!
If you want to see more Extreme League of Legends, check out the show’s playlist!
Has your League of Legends game been disrupted by a cat? Tell us the story in the comments below!"