- Champion and Skin Sale 11/20 - 11/23
- Red Post Collection: November Bundles & Mystery Skins, Upcoming Figure Fest 2015 sale, and more!
- 5.23 PBE Cycle Megapost
Table of Contents
- Trial of the Kraken Priestess
- On the minion pushing changes in 5.23
- New AD Assassin Item in the Works & Note on Zeke's Herald
- Ghost Dog: Making Devourer's Wolf
- Preseason Q&A roundup!
- All-Star 2015 Vote Results
- Figure Fest Sale Coming Soon
Trial of the Kraken Priestess
With Illaoi's imminent release in the upcoming 5.23 patch, a new TRIAL OF THE KRAKEN PRIESTESS page has launched! Here you'll find a short shorty filled with quick time events as Illaoi teaches an unfortunate captain of Nagakabouros.
"Your cowardice brought me here captain, now I will teach you of Nagakabouros..."
For more on Illaoi, check out -
On the minion pushing changes in 5.23Riot Axes with context on the upcoming 5.23 changes to how minions work, a change first scheduled and documented in the 5.22 notes but pushed back until the next patch!
The weekend’s rolling in so I won’t be able to stick around to answer questions (sorry!), but I wanted give some context and talk about the minion pushing changes we’ve got planned for 5.23.
First, high-level goals: when you’re ahead, you should take action to win, and conversely, when you’re losing, successfully defending should help you catch back up. That’s very different from how the game has historically been played, where a team with a lead can count on building an even larger lead just by farming and controlling the map, while a team which is falling behind typically doesn’t really catch back up by defending their towers. This is definitely a philosophical shift in how advantages are pressed or a game of League is won (particularly at the competitive level), but we think it’s a goal worth pursuing for this season, and are hoping these changes are a push in the right direction.
For the actual changes: the short version is that the minions of a team with a level advantage become slightly more powerful against enemy minions, dealing more damage and taking less damage to enemy lane minions. These advantages are increased in lanes where the advantaged team has killed more turrets than the disadvantaged team.
By giving an advantage to the winning team’s minions, we change who has to take action to win – if you’re behind, more of the gold on the map comes to you, so you’ll tend to catch up rather than fall slowly further behind. If you’re ahead, however, you get more opportunities to siege towers. Out of control snowball games will potentially end faster through successful sieges, but teams that are behind should have a more realistic chance of coming back through successful defensive play.
We’re starting with this tuned pretty light - these gains are tuned primarily by level advantage (the team with the higher average level gains the minion buff), with an additional increase based on the number of turrets downed in the lane. Minion damage is quite low, so while talking about percentages might seem high, the numerical impact is fairly low. The formula’s currently tuned at (5% + (5% x number of turrets downed)) x average level advantage). That’s about a 15% damage bonus for minions against minions if your team is, on average, 1 full level above the opposition.
Damage reduction is a little more straightforward: 1 + (number of turrets downed x average level advantage). So, in total, if you’re 1 level ahead and 2 turrets up in a given lane, your minions deal 15% more damage to enemy minions and take 3 less damage from enemy minions.
In close games, we’ve seen the average level advantage go between 0.2 - 0.4 average levels. Minions which normally hit for about 30 will have their damage increased by less than 1 – the effect is rarely noticeable. If that still sounds like a lot, consider that we have powerful comeback mechanics in place for levels – if your team is 1 level behind on average, the game probably feels significantly snowballed; if you’re 2 levels behind, you’re probably being crushed. So far, we have seen very few games get to 3 levels behind because, by that point, you’re either getting mega-stomped (think 18 minute game end) or catch-up mechanics will quickly rubberband you with large amounts of bonus XP.
I did want to address a few concerns we’ve heard –
We agree that you should be able to know what’s going on with your minions and we’re actively working on ensuring that you can tell the state of your minions in game. It’s going to be pretty subtle, but it won’t be totally hidden. Not sure exactly when that will ship - as soon as we can have it finished.
We’ve heard the concerns that this devalues lane manipulation skills such as freezing and slow pushing. Real talk, it probably does reduce the value of those skills – but it does not eliminate them, and it does make other skills (like coordinated rotations) more valuable at the same time. In particular, in close games it’ll work about the same. Freezing a lane with these changes when you’re behind is easier; when you’re significantly ahead, it’s much harder. Slow pushing shouldn’t be that different except in extreme cases – it tends to create a situation where you have a 2-to-1 advantage in number of minions or more, which easily outweighs the amount of power from the new mechanics.
Finally, there’s a lot of concern about how stompy and snowbally the game is, and whether this will make that worse. We agree that there’s a problem with early game snowballing, and 5.23 has a number of changes (notably tower health increases and less experience gained for killing an enemy) that should help that problem a lot. If these changes make that experience worse, we will follow up, whether by pulling back on these changes or by working on other mechanics.
We’re definitely keeping an eye on all of this and we didn’t make these changes lightly, so I hope you’ll try them out and let us know how things go."For reference, here are the changes as mentioned as pushed back in the 5.22 notes:
Reinboom jumped into the discussion:
This change seems to be focused at stopping teams from getting a small advantage and snowballing it through means that aren't interactive for the losing team (a strategy most employed at high levels of play). If high level strategies aren't going to be changing, then what's even the point?
edit: I've think you've missed what I'm asking. You stated this wasn't going to have an affect on competitive play level strategies, so is this change just being made for solo q? Because if so that doesn't seem to line up with what's been stated before.
We want teams with a notable advantage to not utilize starvation tactics on the game, but instead to just get it over with. The minions push to the losing team's turrets. There's two important effects here: Either the losing team feeds off the minions (gaining XP and gold in the process, naturally causing the minion effect to "release" itself). Or the winning team actually makes a play with their advantage.
If the winning team succeeds, then the game should end. If the winning team doesn't, well that means the losing team made a large outplay in the face of an advantage and the game is "worth keeping around"."She continued:
"Most of the effect isn't hugely overt. Concentrated manipulation (e.g. Ezreal ult) will and does still tip a lane.
More so, your strategy changes depending on if you're even (or even-ish), ahead, or behind. The ramp up of the effect is slow as well. It's very difficult to get the average level of the entire team to be significantly different. Which means in a "within the margins of a balanced match", high level strategies will stay very much the same."When asked about some sort of in-game visualization for these effects, Reinboom noted:
"Yes, we are.When asked if the tower armor / mr "flicker" bug will be fixed in 5.23, Reinboom noted it would. She also commented there are significant fixes coming for minion/champion blocking.
Information on one system being presented somewhere does add clarity to that system, but it also actively detracts from the clarity of everything it's near. This is true with all pieces of information.
This isn't saying we shouldn't present this information. I believe we should. But we should be considerate of where and to what weight we present it. Being forced to ask questions such as "Is that minion baron promoted or does the enemy team have a huge level lead?" is a clarity loss and not a clarity gain.
That said, this system is still in evaluation. The effects we want out of it is hard to know with just our internal tests. Or the PBE. What about its effects on pro play? We CAN be wrong. We definitely don't know "what's best". What this means is that time we spent on adding clarity (and ensuring it doesn't damage clarity of things nearby too much) to the system might have pulled from something else. This is something that first needs for us to know for sure that it should stick around before we present it somewhere.
(Also, the minion size thing will probably actually work if a little confusing. Just needed to use an example. Baron buff and Banner of Command have huge particle effects they add which can separate them)"
New AD Assassin Item in the Works & Note on Zeke's HeraldMeddler noted they are planning to add a new AD assassin item in early 2016!
"Short term: A base armor increase and a reduction to Q's mana cost
Longer term: We're seeing a number of AD assassins, Kha'zix and Zed especially, struggle after the preseason changes. We believe that's due to the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. We'll be looking to add a new item to help them out as a result in one of the first patches next year.
As far as evolutionary choice goes that's an issue we haven't found a good solution to yet. I don't personally feel Kha'zix has ever had great evolutionary choice, instead mainly having periods there was a clearly better choice but not everyone had figured out which one it was."Jag also commented on Zeke's Harbinger's active now that crit chance is much easier to obtain, noting:
"It depends on how things shake out when we see ADC itemization get solved a bit, but my intuition is that 70%+ crit builds are going to continue to feel pretty common. There's a decent chance at that point that we may need to do some Zeke's tweaks.
I always wished that Zeke's felt better to put on other classes as well, besides just the ADC, so maybe changing the stat to % AD could be a good opportunity. On the other hand, instead of just giving +50 Crit Chance, it could also convert any excess Crit Chance over 100% to Crit Damage, which could be reallllyyy fun (and almost certainly too crazy)...."
Ghost Dog: Making Devourer's WolfNext up we have RumTumTummers , CertainlyT, and SmashGizmo discussing the origins and addition of ghostly wolf that follows players while they stack Enchantment: Devourer!
"Adding a spectral companion to League of Legends isn’t as simple as stopping by the local ghost shelter and picking the one with the biggest, cutest eyes. Every animation, effect, and art cue in League is purposefully designed to convey information about what’s happening in the game; introducing new visual elements always runs the risk of compromising gameplay clarity or distracting from core objectives. In other words, ideas that are simply “cool” might create confusion rather than excitement.
When we re-worked the Devourer enchant a few (okay… several) patches ago, we knew that, along with balance and functionality tweaks, we wanted to add a visual element to communicate the growth and evolution the item creates for its wielder. However, finding the right expression of that growth, figuring out how to implement it, and getting everything working right weren’t problems with obvious or easy solutions.
Game designers Bradford “CertainlyT” Wenban and Wesley “SmashGizmo” Ruttle led the charge on tackling the challenge of giving Devourer junglers the loyal, ferocious, and adorable companion we affectionately refer to as “Ghost Dog.”
The idea of adding a companion to Devourer had been floating around for a while. Designers wanted a way to communicate the jungler’s progress with Devourer beyond a buff bar and stack counts, and a companion that gets larger and more threatening as the jungler adds stacks seemed like a natural fit. But before such a companion could be implemented, a consensus needed to be reached on what exactly that companion would be.
Wenban and Ruttle toyed with several ideas. “We thought about maybe a carrion bird that picks up the things you kill, or a boar that’s really hungry,” explains Wenban. “But the pet should be reflective of your fantasy. A wolf gets really ferocious – when you bond with the wolf, you feel that ferocity in you.” And because wolves are so similar to dogs, he continues, “it makes sense that this is something that would bond with you or trust you. You don’t see that in a vulture or boar.”
|Using an existing model lowered the resource demands on the project and made Ghost Dog easier to implement for a small team|
The wolf concept came with other benefits. From a visual information perspective, a wolf is a perfect illustration of what Devourer does. Wolves start out as relatively non-threatening pups and mature into something powerful and dangerous – just like a Devourer jungler. A wolf was also the right choice from the perspective of available resources. With plenty of other changes on deck and lots of work to get done, a brand-new creature with a host of custom animations and textures would be outside of the realistic scope of an item update.
By re-skinning the existing Summoner’s Rift small wolf and doing some relatively light tweaking, Wenban and Ruttle could give Devourer its companion without running the risk of missing the patch or distracting from other design and art priorities.
The Devourer Story
Ghost Dog isn’t just tied to Devourer because he’s cute or because junglers sometimes feel lonely while they’re out farming their stacks. The wolf helps tell the story of what Devourer is doing, both to the jungler and to the enemies across the river. Wenban emphasises that, to the jungler, “the wolf is a sign that something powerful is coming. To the enemy, if they see the wolf is large, it’s a sign that they need to focus on shutting that person down.”
Ruttle sees the wolf as a mechanism for adding visual impact to the things teams do or fail to do in a given game, such as denying Devourer stacks to an enemy jungler. “I think you can get a large sense of satisfaction by being like, ‘Ha, it’s 20 minutes in and he’s still being followed by a puppy.’ There’s also a clear message about doing the wrong things, like ‘Oh, 15 minutes and that thing’s about to merge. Shit.’” The wolf is more dynamic than a buff icon, but conveys the same information.
|Work-in-progress screencaps show the evolution of Ghost Dog through development|
The four-legged phantasm also provides an opportunity to teach players about mechanics and objectives outside of a text tooltip. “The scuttle crab is worth extra stacks. The wolf chases around the scuttle crab, and that’s supposed to tell the player, ‘Oh, he wants this thing. Maybe I should help him get it and something special will happen,’” says Ruttle. Wenban adds, “It helps change the idea of what success looks like when playing jungle. How do we push Devourer junglers, who want to farm, into the middle of the map? Into taking Dragon and controlling the river, controlling vision?”
The previous Devourer design didn’t impact a jungler’s decision tree very much. “There was a general sense of inevitability,” Ruttle explains. “There was never really a story about, ‘How did this guy manage to do this so fast?’” Rebalancing the item around big objectives helps establish that there are consequences for giving a Devourer jungler uncontested access to the map. “Now you see that Shyvana with a Sated Devourer at 15 minutes and you know exactly what happened. She bought it, she got Dragon, she got scuttle crabs for control, and that control gave her a second Dragon. Both teams have to care about it.”
Ghost Dog’s propensity for chasing scuttle crabs helps players to learn these lessons in a more meaningful and active way than a tutorial or text explanation.
Call of the Wild
Though working with existing assets made implementing Ghost Dog slightly easier, the designers still faced a number of major hurdles. First, Ruttle and Wenban had to make sure the new pup played nicely with every existing champion and mechanic in League, which proved extremely difficult (even with extensive testing, Devourer went live with a few bugs). Additionally, they had to convince critics, both internal and external, that the wolf wouldn’t create visual issues within the game.
Wenban highlights League’s existing pet mechanics as one of the major tech problems, explaining, “You’re only allowed to have one pet in League of Legends, and pet is sometimes defined quite broadly. This created some interesting issues.” Wukong’s W, for example, would kill the wolf. With Lulu, the game would issue Pix’s commands to the wolf and then crash to desktop when it couldn’t figure out what went wrong. “It’s not often that you have a follower in League that can follow anyone,” he adds. Wrangling Ghost Dog’s tech problems required a great deal of QA work and trial and error.
On the subject of potential visual issues, Ruttle notes that “most of our internal negative feedback was, ‘Oh, I’m worried about the potential for visual noise.’” The team was able to minimise the impact of that noise by keeping the wolf close to the jungler and emphasising that most of the time players spend with the item is spent in the jungle, alone. “The wolf goes away after 20 minutes or so,” Ruttle says. “It’s not conflicting with players very much, relative to everything else in the game.” With a few adjustments, even initially hesitant testers grew to like having the wispy pup around.
In fact, love for the wolf was a big factor in keeping the project moving forward despite its challenges. Wenban explains, “The pet excited a lot of people. We had this clear lens of, ‘This will make players smile,’ and we made it very clear how this enhances the gameplay experience.” People put in extra hours and committed their spare time to get Ghost Dog ready for his debut (a particle artist, for example, spent his weekend shining up the wolf’s textures), even while handling all of the other necessary patch changes and balance tests.
Ruttle frames it as an obvious win: “It felt like such a nice little thing we could put in that would excite people. If someone ever asked me, ‘Why would you even put a wolf in the game,’ it would feel like a weird question. It’s cool. As players, we think it’s cool and enhances the Devourer item in a strong, clear way. Seeing that feeling reflected back from the community, like in videos where people are embracing the wolf – it’s just awesome to see that players click with something you really cared about and worked hard on.”
Embellishing League with more visual cues that clearly communicate important in-game stats and processes is something the design team continues to consider. Finding new ways to innovate and iterate on the game experience without distracting from League’s core gameplay is an ongoing challenge. But Wenban and Ruttle are confident Ghost Dog showcases the potential for ideas that tell an informational and mechanical story with visual cues.
“Designs are arguments,” according to Wenban. “I think Devourer paints a strong case for a lot of thinking about how items manifest in our game, and about the possibility for keystone items that have really distinct points of play.” Ruttle agrees, “There’s a lot to think about. It’s certainly something I would love to spend more time exploring.” That’s not to say every item in the game will end up with a follower or minion, just that the design space around items in League is very open for new ideas.
Wenban concludes, “We want the experience of playing League of Legends to be memorable. The game is stressful and demanding, and we will never relent on that, but there should always be moments of joy and discovery. Hopefully we hit our goals on that with Devourer, and hopefully players will hold us to continuing to do that for them.”"
Preseason Q&A roundup!Following the preseason Q&A from earlier this week, Pwyff has posted up an article looking at a handful of the top questions and answers and mentioning a larger "State of the Preseason" post coming soon!
"Early this week we ran our big preseason Q&A on the Dev Corner, where we gave a ‘first impressions’ from the team while also answering any questions you may have banked over the weekend.
For those of you just hearing about this, fear not! We’ve compiled some of the top questions and answers to share. As an aside, we’ll have a larger, more holistic “State of the Preseason” coming in a few weeks so I won’t be pasting the entirety of his first reactions (many of which you’ll see discussed in the 5.23 patch notes), but some things to highlight.
Some early discussion surfaced on the topic of game pacing, and Lead Designer Meddler had some initial thoughts:
“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.”Lead Systems Designer Fearless also mentioned in a different answer regarding turrets and faster games:
“Also to clarify, we have not targeted faster game times with these changes. These changes are about ensuring that successful actions promote further aggression to maintain and increase leads. These changes do appear to be shortening game times, but I do want to be clear that this was an acceptable (and possibly beneficial) side effect, rather than the goal.”Finally, Systems Designer Axes shared some of his lessons from the turret changes:
“The hard thing here is that towers are perceived very differently than their actual effects on the game. Players often want them to be powerful protectors, but when they are, the game grinds to a halt. When you're losing a lane a little bit, your tower should be able to help stave off tower dives, but when you're losing a lane by a lot, your tower's death is often the event that lets you off the hook. If we made towers impossible to kill until 15 minutes - even impossible to kill AND impossible to dive - the game would slow down a lot, and you'd be locked into lanes where you're getting stomped for 5+ extra minutes.”For champions in the jungle, Meddler acknowledged some weakness:
“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.”On the topic of Keystone Masteries, Meddler had this to say:
“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 [ed. note: this was recently hotfixed]. . . 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.”Regarding some of the individual champion changes (particularly to marksmen), Designer CertainlyT waded in. First, on the topic of assessing champion strength in the early preseason:
“Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors. First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen. Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren't trying Essence Reaver on Sivir). Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you'll have to pick them in the right circumstances - If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you'll probably be worse off than if you'd picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.”He also had some thoughts on how we balance in collaboration with player trends:
“We aren't sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players' perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can't just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn't lead to a satisfying experience.”Regarding assassins, Meddler mentioned:
“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).”
Fearless also had some thoughts regarding AD-heavy champions in general:
“We do have our eyes on AD heavy champions in general, as we've seen a number of them take a hit this patch. Also looking at Manamune, as it might have been impacted more than we expected.”Getting to some individual champions, Champion Update Designer Riot Repertoir had this to say about Quinn:
“One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don't have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I'm keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches. What I'm currently feeling is that it's too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.”Later in the thread, Repertoir also weighed in on the state of Kog’Maw:
“I'll say outright that we over-corrected on Kog'Maw's release. Both internally and on PBE, everything I had to go off suggested that he would actually be one of the strongest champions in the patch, and so as he approached release, I consistently made efforts to strip out base damages so that he wouldn't be an outright god with just a BotRK or something. That may be difficult to understand, given how he released, but our fear was actually that he was overly base damage driven, and I way over-corrected on that. That's totally my bad, and I am to address this. The good news is, I've seen versions of this W and R that are very powerful and effective, so I do feel it's a matter of tuning, and not that Kog'Maw is doomed to be weak or something like that. . .”Finally, Meddler had some last thoughts on our itemization changes in the preseason. For AP items:
“We increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren't however, so we'll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong). I expect we'll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we're thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.”And if we’re planning on taking action on Essence Reaver…
“We are. In particular it's getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We'll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.”
… And that’s the Q&A rundown! I’m realizing now that these are going to get very large, so you may see us modify the format of these as we go."Looking for more? Check out the Preseason Q&A over on the boards or our earlier red post collection!
All-Star 2015 Vote Resultshave been decided!
TEAM FIRE or TEAM ICE during the event!
From the LoL esports announcement article:
TEAM FIRENA LCS
- Top: Dyrus
- Jungle: Hai
- Mid: Bjergsen
- ADC: Doublelift*
- Support: Aphromoo
- Top: MaRin
- Jungle: Score*
- Mid: Faker
- ADC: PraY
- Support: Madlife
- Top: Ziv
- Jungle: Karsa
- Mid: Toyz
- ADC: Bebe
- Support: Olleh
TEAM ICEEU LCS
- Top: Huni
- Jungle: Amazing
- Mid: xPeke
- ADC: Rekkles
- Support: KaSing*
- Top: Koro1
- Jungle: Clearlove
- Mid: Rookie
- ADC: Uzi
- Support: PYL
- To be Decided at the IWC All-Star Event on November 26-29
ALL-STAR 2015 runs December 10-13th from Los Angeles, CA!
More information on the upcoming event can be found here:
Tune back in on November 30th for the PLAY VOTE and the ALL-STAR 2015 skin vote!