Tonight's red post collection includes a patch rundown for 5.24, a roundtable discussion on the new champion select experience, 2015 World Championship viewership information, 2016 EU & NA LCS Summer split changes, Poppy's new intro & background, a reminder on Riot surveys, and much more!
- Champion and Skin Sale 12/8 - 12/11
- Free Champion Rotation, Week of December 8th
- Champion Spotlight: Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer
- Braum Lionheart, Gragas Caskbreaker, Ryze Whitebeard, and Varus Swiftbolt now available!
Table of Contents
- Patch Rundown 5.24
- New champion select roundtable
- Ahri Statue Not Being Released
- More Tier 1 & 2 Keystone Masteries
- Challenger Nidalee Passive VFX
- NA and EU LCS format changes for Summer Split 2016
- Worlds 2015 Viewership
- Poppy Lore & Background
- Get inspired by Poppy motivational posters
- Reminder on Riot Surveys
- You cannot be punished for false reports.
- How to get fed in lane
- [INTRO] Jo “Fearless” Graylock - Lead Designer, Gameplay Systems
- [INTRO] Greg “Riot Ghostcrawler” Street - Game Design Director
- Champ Thresh restock on 12/10 for All-Star Event
Patch Rundown 5.24With 5.24 out on live, we have Scarizard, Zirene, Meddler, and CLG's Head Coach Zikzlol discussing the recent patch & preseason!
"Scarizard and Zirene host two special guests this rundown – Lead Designer Meddler and CLG Head Coach Zikzlol – to chat about how this preseason’s faring so far.
Patch 5.24 notes - [link]"
New champion select roundtableNext up is RiotExLibris with an roundtable discussion with Lyte, Socrates, and Boourns on the upcoming champion select changes!
"As you may have seen already, we’re introducing an all-new way to build a team and enter a game of League during the 2016 season. Join designers Jeffrey “Lyte” Lin, Eric “Socrates” Kenna, and Kam “Boourns” Fung for a roundtable discussion as they talk about the new design for champion select.
When did we start working on new champ select?
Jeff Lin: It all started about a year ago, while we were working on what we internally called Team Builder Classic. What we were trying to do was figure out the tradeoff between giving players more control over how they play versus the impact on queue times. In that first experiment, actually, we realized that we didn’t handle that tradeoff well at all. We gave players too much control, and queue times really suffered. We took a break, looked at all of the data and the lessons we could learn from it, and we said, “Hey, we learned a lot from Team Builder, it’s time for us to actually take that and work on a project to come up with a better way to do champ select.”
|Many designers moonlight as minimalist sketch artists.|
What were some of the problems we saw, not only with old champ select, but also Team Builder?
Eric Kenna: A ton of responsibility was front-loaded onto the first person at the top of the champ select screen. So with new champ select, we wanted to distribute the responsibility so that banning and planning became a team exercise. It’s much more of a conversation now than just one person making all the decisions.
Lin: We want champ select to be the beginning of your game experience, which is fundamentally different from how we were thinking about it before. We don’t want you to think, “Oh well, I’m last pick, I’m going to go to the bathroom and come back in five minutes, I don’t even care what my teammates are doing.” We want this new experience to emphasize that you’re all working together; each teammate has impactful choices to make that will affect the team comp you’re assembling.
|Early tests of distributed bans.|
Kenna: [The old system took] five random strangers and put them into a high pressure situation where they had to solve complex strategic problems, with presupposed notions about where they want to go--usually conflicting, by the way--and said, “Figure it out.” Oh, and sometimes, it’s ranked, so if you can’t sort this stuff out, you might be totally screwed. There’s just not a good way with that system for people to get along.
Lin: Also, we didn’t understand what “enforcing the meta” meant. So, in the old days, we thought that not enforcing the meta meant that players could always choose whatever position, whatever champion they wanted. But in the game design for League, there are only four sources of income. Three lanes and a jungle. That’s well-defined by the game itself, so the positions are not where diversity comes from. In the new champ select, it’s all about the champions you play in those positions.
Kenna: In this case, when players wanted to try something really off-meta, they were doing it in groups of five. It’s not as if players were going into to lobby with four dudes they don’t know and saying, “Hey, we’re doing this Heimerdinger ADC thing.”
Kam Fung: Or, maybe they do talk it out in the lobby, but it’s a conversation.
Lin: That’s important. One of the complaints about Team Builder was, “We can’t do a knock-up comp, or [insert-the-blank comp].” Now we just assign positions, so when you get in, you can suggest whatever comp you’re thinking of. We’ve worked that into the system.
|Rethinking champ select.|
Fung: The time you would have previously spent typing up your position and arguing with the other guy who wants mid, now we’ve just got rid of all that stuff.You might have less time technically, but you actually have more time to try and coordinate.
Lin: We’ve actually cut the time between decisions in a lot of the phases of new champ select, but because we’ve streamlined the whole process, you end up with more time to talk about what really matters.
So with everything you’ve mentioned, going back to even the fundamentals of champ select, what kind of background exploration went into the new design?
Kenna: Tons. But seriously, we did all kinds of surveys, we flew in pro players, we wanted to get even early iterations in the hands of as many people as possible to make sure we got it right.
Lin: This is an example of, even from the very beginning, a week into April, we had prototypes up, grey boxes up, and we got people in to give feedback. “We know what you’re seeing isn’t even close to final, but if this happened in champ select, what would you think?” To Eric’s point, we brought in as many players as possible, even new players who’d never played League before. Pros from Korea, Europe, NA. We wanted feedback from every angle.
|Starting with grey boxes.|
Fung: Player Behavior is a research-driven team; when we’re changing something so fundamental, we have a lot of questions we need to answer. In the beginning of new champ select, we did a bunch of stuff that just wasn’t that great, and we needed to work through that.
Lin: Champ select impacts every single player. When we make a change, the gut reaction is, “it’s not as good as before,” so every choice we make has to be intentional, has to provide players enough obvious value to get over the gut reaction. We want players to say, “Oh that’s super awesome, I totally get it, and it’s super obvious why.”
How much of the old Team Builder design influenced new champ select?
Kenna: So much of it is having the toolset to communicate with your team, instead of having to type in chat or try to resolve a conflict through text. We’ve procedurally solved for some of this so that you can have conversations about strategy and the game itself.
Lin: When we analyzed old champ select, it was obvious the biggest source of conflict was two people wanting to go mid, or two wanting to jungle, and it’s like, “Well, I only play jungle, you have to give it to me.” The solution of resolving that early will solve a lot of the tension.
|Sketching new visuals and animations.|
Kenna: You think about it, playing with your friends, you know what your friends want to play, where they’re best, and now with new champ select, the positions are decided and you see, “Oh, this guy plays Teemo.” You might think, “I’m not going to ban Teemo because I want to give this guy his strongest champion.” It’s a huge step to getting teams to come together.
Fung: Aspirationally, it would be amazing if we could make champ select feel like playing premade fives. When we watch pros talk through champ selects--how close can we get five random strangers to sounding like that?
We’ve talked about the problems we’ve seen with old champ select, some of the solutions we’re trying out -- what are some outcomes you’re hoping for?
Kenna: If you go to play League of Legends, you don’t end up with an experience where you’re forced into a role you didn’t want to play. We want to eliminate those uncomfortable, stressful moments, and give teams the tools to work together to be more successful.
Lin: This is a rare opportunity in games -- the game has been around for six years now.We just had the League birthday, and to get this chance to go back in time, to ask ourselves how we would have designed champ select if we had a second chance. If we get this out the door and the vast majority of players feel like, “this is how League should be,” or “this is what I’ve always wanted the champ select experience to be like,” then I feel like we’ll have been successful."The new champion select experience is now on the PBE for testing.
Ahri Statue Not Being ReleasedSaturday's announcement of a new Ahri Statue slated heading to the merch shop soon, Riot Bradmore has posted that the release has been postponed following community feedback:
We’ve decided not to release the Ahri Statue as scheduled on 12/7. We heard players’ feedback on Ahri’s face and want to take this opportunity to revisit this element of her design. Our aim is to make each experience you have with Riot Games Merch an amazing one -- whether it’s buying a poro at an esports event, unlocking Urf Figure via the Figure Fest mini-game, or unboxing one of our larger statues. We missed the mark on Ahri and we apologize.
SO HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
We want our statues to be accessible to as many players as possible and are constantly evaluating techniques that will allow us to deliver awesome art at lower price points. For Ahri, the goal was to deliver an epic statue at a retail price significantly below our polyresin Twisted Fate piece -- despite Ahri being similar in size and featuring greater sculpt complexity. To do this, we elected to make her body and face out of another material called PVC, which we used for the Thresh statue.
This decision and its associated production processes yielded a loss of resolution in the finer details and structure of Ahri’s face. We also applied Ahri’s eye makeup too heavily in production. All of this resulted in a final product that failed to fully capture Ahri’s unique look.
WHAT WILL WE DO NOW?
We’re going to work with our manufacturing partners to find a solution that will delight Ahri fans while simultaneously meeting our goal of keeping statue prices contained. This will involve sending Ahri back to the factory and rethinking the design and construction of her face.
WILL THE AHRI STATUE RETURN?
We hope so! We love the original concept of this piece and think that if we get the face right, then players will love her as well. That said, we’ll only release this statue if we can get it to the quality that players deserve, and that’s going to take some time. Thank you in advance for your patience.
We launched our merch store beta one year ago and the merch team has appreciated the feedback and support you have provided us along this journey. We love this game and these champions as much as you do and want you to be thrilled with our products. We didn’t meet that bar with Ahri, so we’re going to try again.
Thank you for your understanding."
More Tier 1 & 2 Keystone MasteriesAs mentioned last week, Meddler commented on another Masteries thread noting that they plan to continue to add row 2 and row 4 masteries until there are three options for each!
"Current plan is to keep adding masteries over time until we've got 3 options for each of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones (the one point tiers). Key goals there are adding masteries for those that aren't currently well enough served and adding choice for those that have only a single sensible option at present."
Challenger Nidalee Passive VFXon the PBE, the upcoming Challenger Nidalee skin has unique VFX for her passive - something we saw added but then removed prior to release on the Warring Kingdoms Nidalee skin from earlier this year.
Here's KateyKhaos with context on the change:
For Warring Kingdoms we had a different passive marker but it was really different from her passive marker, which had some gameplay issues, which is why we took it out.She continued:
In the case of Challenger Nidalee, we revisited the idea of changing the passive marker, and decided it would be okay for gameplay as long as it still held the original shape of the base marker."
"At this time, we aren't planning to change WK Nidalee's passive marker. In WK Nidalee's case, the entire symbol was changed, which is why there was an issue with clarity. In this case, it's a color swap, which is something gameplay was cool with."
NA and EU LCS format changes for Summer Split 2016announced several format changes to the NA and EU LCS for the Summer Split 2016
"TL;DR: As we promised last time we talked about changes, we’re back with more news on bigger format shifts to the NA and EU LCS for Summer Split 2016.
We’ve weighed up a lot of factors closely over the last split and thought about what makes a good broadcast, tests the skills of players and teams and creates an entertaining experience for fans. As a result, we’ll be taking a big step in the summer split with NA LCS shifting to a double Best-of-3 format while EU LCS will transition to a double Best-of-2 format. The 2016 Spring Split will remain Best-of-1 as we staff up for the increased hours of the Summer Split. Read on for more details about how we reached this decision and how it’ll work.Check out the full article for more information,
Worlds 2015 Viewershipannounced the viewership totals for the 2015 World Championship, as well as mentioning they will be releasing their plans & location for 2016 Worlds in a few weeks!
"After an epic five-week tour through Europe in October for the 2015 World Championships, the numbers are in and we’re able to share details of how many viewers around the world joined us on the journey.
Fans’ response to this year’s 2015 World Championship blew our expectations away, broke records and topped off an amazing year for LoL esports across the globe. From Paris to Berlin and over all stages of the competition, we saw an all-time high of 360 million hours of live esports viewed - nearly doubling 2014’s total hours viewed of 194 million.
Total cumulative daily unique impressions (the amount of unique viewers that tuned in every day via online and television channels) reached 334 million over the four weeks (from 288 million in 2014). In fact, over the course of all 73 games, we saw an average concurrent viewership (ACU) of over 4.2 million, with the average fan watching for well over an hour per viewing session.
For the final between SKT and Koo Tigers in Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, peak concurrent viewership (PCU - the highest number of fans tuned in at any one point) was 14 million - up from 11 million in 2014. Overall, the unique viewer count for the Final was 36 million - a record-breaking high for any esports event and a climb from last year’s Samsung White-Royal Club matchup at Sangam Stadium which drew 27 million unique viewers.
It’s been an extraordinary, history-making year to be an esports fan and it’s an honor that the dedication and passion of LoL fans has such a significant place within that story. We can’t think of a better way to head into the 2016 season and to celebrate with so many of this year’s key playmakers at the All Star Event this week.
We’ll be announcing more details on our plans for the 2016 World Championship (including where we’ll be headed) within the next few weeks, so stay tuned to Lolesports for all the info."
Poppy Lore & BackgroundPoppy's champion update out on live with 5.24, her champion page on the League of Legends website has been updated with a longer form introduction and story!
"“I’m no hero. Just a yordle with a hammer.”
Runeterra has no shortage of valiant champions, but few are as tenacious as Poppy. Bearing a hammer twice the length of her body, this determined yordle has spent untold years searching for the “Hero of Demacia,” a fabled warrior said to be the rightful wielder of her weapon.
As legend describes it, this hero is the only person who can unlock the full power of the hammer and lead Demacia to true greatness. Though Poppy has searched the furthest corners of the kingdom for this legendary fighter, her quest has proven fruitless. Each time she has attempted to pass the hammer on to a potential hero, the results have been disastrous, often ending in the warrior’s death. Most people would have abandoned the task long ago, but most people do not possess the pluck and resolve of this indomitable heroine.
Poppy was once a very different yordle. For as long as she could remember, she had been in search of a purpose. Feeling alienated by the chaotic whimsy of other yordles, she preferred to soak up stability and structure where she could find it. This drive brought her to the human settlements of western Valoran, where she gazed in wonder at the caravans striping the countryside in an endless file. Many of the people there looked tattered and weary, but they stumbled on in pursuit of some ephemeral better life that might lie just beyond the horizon.
One day, however, a different sort of caravan passed through. Unlike the other travelers, these people seemed to move with purpose. They all awoke at the exact same time each morning, roused by the sound of a watchman’s horn. They took their meals together every day at the same hour, always finishing within a few minutes. They set up their camps and took them down with remarkable efficiency.
While yordles used their innate magic to fashion extraordinary things, these humans achieved equally astounding feats through coordination and discipline. They acted in concert like the cogs of a gear, becoming something much larger and stronger than any single person could ever be. To Poppy, that was more marvelous than all the magic in the world.
As Poppy watched the camp from the safety of her hiding place, her eyes caught the gleam of armor emerging from a tent. It was the group’s commanding officer, wearing a brigandine of gleaming steel plates, each piece overlapping, each an integral part of the whole. The man’s name was Orlon, and his presence seemed to stir the souls of everyone there. If someone became discouraged, he was there to remind them of why they pressed on. If someone collapsed from exhaustion, he inspired them to get up. It reminded Poppy of certain yordle charms, though again, without magic.
Poppy crept in for a closer look. She found herself following this shining commander, as if drawn to him by fate itself. She observed Orlon as he led his soldiers in training exercises. He was not a large fellow, yet he swung his massive battle hammer with surprising alacrity. At night, Poppy listened intently to his hushed discussions with the elders of the camp. She heard them making plans to pull up stakes and head west to build a permanent settlement.
Poppy’s mind was overwhelmed with questions. Where was Orlon going? Where did he come from? How did he assemble this meticulous band of travelers, and was there a place for a yordle in it? At that moment, she made the most important decision in her life: For the first time ever, she would reveal herself to a human, as this was the first time she’d ever felt a connection with one.
The introduction was a jarring one, with Orlon having just as many questions for Poppy as she had for him, but the two soon became inseparable. He became a mentor to her, and she a devotee to his cause. In the training grounds, Poppy was an invaluable sparring partner–the only member of Orlon’s battalion who was unafraid to strike him. She was never obsequious, questioning his decisions with an almost childlike innocence, as though she didn’t know she was supposed to meekly follow orders. She accompanied him to the site of the new settlement–an ambitious new nation called Demacia, where all were welcome, regardless of station or background, so long as they contributed to the good of the whole.
Orlon became a beloved figure throughout the kingdom. Though few had actually seen him wield his hammer, he always bore it on his back, and the weapon quickly became a revered icon for the fledgling nation. People whispered that it had the power to level mountains and tear the earth itself asunder.
Orlon passed the hammer to Poppy on his deathbed, and with it, his hope of an enduring kingdom. It was only then that Orlon told her the story of his weapon’s creation, and how it was never truly intended for his hands. He explained to Poppy that the hammer was meant to go to the Hero of Demacia–the only one who could keep Demacia whole. As her friend drew his last breath, Poppy swore to him that she would find this hero and place the weapon in his hands.
But what Poppy possesses in resolve, she lacks in ego, as it never even occurred to her that she might be the hero Orlon described.
Poppy had nothing against the briar wolf, aside from the fact that it was about to maul her. Its muzzle was stained crimson from a previous kill, and the yordle wouldn’t chance being its next. She was hot on the trail of a renowned monster slayer, and she didn’t intend to die before she found the man and judged his worth.
“You should step back. You won’t survive this,” Poppy told the wolf, holding her hammer aloft as a deterrent.
But the briar wolf was not discouraged. It padded toward her, propelled by some strange desperation that Poppy couldn’t identify. Then she saw the telltale foam at the corners of its mouth. This animal was not driven by hunger or territorial instincts. It was in pain, and it wanted release. The wolf leapt at her, as if it had made up its mind that its next act would be to kill or be killed.
Poppy swung the hammer, using every ounce of her strength to move the weapon’s considerable weight. The blow she delivered collapsed the animal’s skull in an instant, ending its torment. Poppy took no pleasure in the kill, but she supposed it was the best possible outcome, for her and the wolf.
The yordle looked around at the empty meadow, but sensed no trace of the monster slayer she’d come to find. She had roamed the countryside, following rumors of his activities, hoping this mysterious hunter might be the fabled hero she had sought for so many years. But thus far, all she’d found were wolves and wyverns and highwaymen, most of whom she’d been forced to kill in self-defense.
She had spent weeks traveling from hamlet to hamlet in the far-flung corners of Demacia. She walked as fast as her tiny gait would allow, but the monster slayer always seemed to be one step ahead of her, leaving naught but tales of heroic exploits in his wake. For a yordle, time is a curious thing whose passing is seldom felt, but even for Poppy, the search was beginning to grow long.
One day, just when she was beginning to doubt herself and her mission, she spied a notice nailed to a roadside post:
“All are invited to attend the Festival of the Slayer!”
It was a celebration to honor the very monster hunter Poppy had been seeking. If there was any hope of locating this elusive hero, she would certainly find it there. He might even make an appearance, and then she could size him up in person to determine if he was worthy to carry the hammer Orlon had bequeathed her. The prospect put a spring in her step, and she marched with renewed purpose toward the celebration.
Poppy was anxious when she arrived at the village, its banners and streamers gaudily proclaiming the day’s festivities. Ideally, she would have arrived early at such a public event and claimed a spot in the rear of the crowd, so as not to draw attention. But the main market was already packed with spectators, and Poppy found it hard to maneuver through the press of bodies. She squeezed through the legs of the townsfolk, most of whom were too inebriated to notice her.
“I’d buy ’im a pint if ’e were here,” slurred one voice above her. “Saved my goats by killing that monster.”
Poppy’s heart raced, as it always did when she heard tales of the hunter.
What if he turns out to be the one? she thought.
But deep inside, Poppy asked a different question. What would she do once she was rid of the weapon? Would she find an entirely new purpose? A yordle without one was a pathetic sight indeed. She stopped her mind from wandering and brought it back to the task at hand.
The tiny warrior finally managed to weave her way to the back of the market. She found a tall lamppost both easy to climb and behind the eyes of the crowd. She then shimmied up the post, just high enough to see over the throng.
Poppy was just in time. On the far side of the market, a speaker stood with several Demacian officials on a dais, and behind him, something tall was draped in a ceremonial veil.
Even with her keen yordle senses, Poppy could barely hear the man’s words. He was talking about the monster hunter, and how he had saved numerous farms and villages from wyverns, rabid wolves, and bandits. He said that although this revered warrior had chosen to remain anonymous, it shouldn’t stop them from celebrating his deeds. The slayer had been spotted several weeks ago near the town of Uwendale, leaving the first eyewitness accounts of his appearance. With that, the speaker pulled off the veil to reveal a stone statue.
Poppy grew faint with excitement as she saw the hunter’s likeness for the first time. He was the paragon of a Demacian warrior—seven feet tall, armored in heavy plate mail, and rippling with sharply defined muscles. Beneath him lay the corpse of a wolf he had presumably slain.
Just as the image had begun to settle in Poppy’s mind, she heard the sound of a child’s voice a few yards away.
“Look, Da. It’s the slayer! The one from the statue!” declared the wide-eyed girl.
Poppy saw the girl was pointing in her direction. She whirled around to see if the slayer was standing behind her. But no one was there.
“No, lass,” said the girl’s father. “That one’s no monster slayer. Too small by half.”
The girl and her father quickly lost interest and strolled through the village to partake in the various amusements.
As the crowd in front of the statue dispersed, Poppy moved in for a closer inspection. Now she could see the fine details of the hunter’s marble depiction. His hair was long, fair, and bound in two separate side knots. His hands were gnarled from a hundred battles, and in them, he held a massive battle hammer not unlike the one Orlon had given her. If there was a truer hero in the kingdom, Poppy had never seen him.
“He has to be the one,” Poppy said. “Hope I’m not too late.”
She turned and left the festival as fast as her legs could carry her, taking the swiftest route to Uwendale."Her lore page also lists Galio as her ally and no enemies.
Get inspired by Poppy motivational postersSpeaking of Poppy's release, we also have Riot Cocopuff with a set of Poppy Motivational posters!
"When you’re short, it’s easy to be overlooked. Poppy should know. On a quest to find a hero worthy of wielding the fabled warhammer in her possession, it hardly occurs to her that she might be precisely the Yordle for the job.
In order to celebrate the recently announced update to this pint-sized powerhouse, we created several inspirational posters to help League players believe in their own potential for greatness. Check them out below!
What inspires you to play your best? Let us know in the comments!"
Reminder on Riot SurveysFrom time to time Riot sends out surveys to players to gauge interest and obtain feedback on various projects - some only in concept and others that we have eventually seen released. A survey was recently sent out asking players on their thoughts on "skin painters" and changing chromas to be available individually and/or for IP in addition to RP.
Riot Mulligan jumped in the reddit discussion thread on this survey to remind everyone that these are not exactly previews of promises of upcoming changes but something they are interested in hearing feedback about:
"I dropped this in on another comment but I'll repost here. We're not sure yet what we are going to do with chromas but we are actively looking into new ways for players to get their hands on them.
We survey players on a lot of potential changes, and most of them don't go into effect. In fact, there are several versions of this survey to help us learn. We really appreciate being able to ask players for feedback and do our best to incorporate it into what we make. For now, we haven't made any decisions on how chromas will be offered to players in the future. But I can say we want to make them easier for players to get."
You cannot be punished for false reports.Riot Tantram also popped on to the boards to remind players that false reports - i.e someone reporting you without a legit reason to do so - are not something players can be punished for.
"You cannot be punished for false reports. For some reason a lot of people seem to think this is the case. We have stated many times that each report is individually checked for validity. You may get a warning popup telling you that people are reporting you, but this is for your information only. You have nothing to worry about if the reports against you are not accurate."
How to get fed in laneNext up we have Riot Opti and community creator Phroxzon with a look at how to get fed in lane!
"Getting a solo kill in lane is all about awareness, anticipation, and execution. In this video, Phroxzon demonstrates how to punish your opponent’s bad habits, finding the perfect moment to all-in for the kill.
What’s the best 1v1 play you’ve ever made? Let us know in the comments below!
Phroxzon is a student at the University of New South Wales and member of the school’s LoL Society. Wanting to help his fellow students get better at League, he held LoL strategy talks in campus lecture halls and uploaded these lectures to YouTube. Thus the Leaguecraft 101 video series was born. The series has grown to over 34 videos, covering topics ranging from basic laning mechanics to 80+ minute deep dives into specific champion strategy.
Learn more about Phroxzon and UNSWLoLSoc via the links below!
[INTRO] Jo “Fearless” Graylock - Lead Designer, Gameplay SystemsNext up we have an introduction to Jo "Fearless" Graylock on the dev corner boards!
"WHO AM I?
Hey everyone, I’m Jo Graylock. Before I came to Riot I was an RPG designer for most of a decade, as well as Jiu Jitsu instructor and metal radio show host. The vast majority of my developer experience comes from my time at Obsidian Entertainment. Lots of awesome people making awesome games there, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to work on my favorite game.
I try to play a ton of everything, but favorites are LoL, Fallout 1 and 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, Tactics Ogre, Dino Run, FTL, and Risk of Rain, with healthy amounts of D&D and Warmachine at the table. When not gaming, I’m usually doing lots of tabletop painting, playing volleyball, or spending time with family.
I currently own: 2 cats.
WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT? WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?
I started as an individual contributor at Riot, working on the Sona update before moving into systems work, first on the Jungle Update for 2015 before following up with Cinderhulk. After that, I moved to lead the Lead Design spot for Gameplay Systems. I’ve been lead for the Juggernaut items and the 2016 Season work so far. I’m really looking forward to keeping this season exciting throughout the entire year.
WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?
I’m going to be here to talk about all the systems stuff in LoL. This means items, the map, the jungle, and all the other rules level stuff in the game. A lot of our changes can be pretty easy to miss, but also a little mysterious or obscure. I’m really excited to bring this stuff into the light, as well as the reasons behind why we change the game. I’m also really happy to talk about how we work as designers, both in what our day to day looks like, and some stories about how we think about problems and overcome them. Riot designers were super inspiring to me before I got here, and I’d love to give back a bit of my time to pay that forward.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?Following the introduction, Fearless hung around the boards to answer player questions!
Let’s talk about stuff, for realzies. The openness and honesty of Riot was a big reason to work here, and I’d like to keep that tradition going. :)"
When asked about any upcoming changes to Cull, he shared:
Hi just want to know what's happening to cull? I heard that it's a bit weak, and i really want to not be criticized for buying it. i really liked avarice balde and it's saddening to see it's predecessor suffer so. Wondering what if any plan you have for it?Cull is on watch, and probably needs a small buff. Staring items are extremely sensitive to small changes, so have to tread carefully."
When asked about the recent minion block problems, Fearless noted:
Can you talk to us about minion block? I know the changes made to the preseason are now being reverted, but I'm curious what you guys think you'll be doing moving forward.
For minion block, we discovered issues post release that were having some very problematic interactions that are going to take more fixing than we could do with confidence in our normal bug fixing windows. We still want to get the improvements in, but we're going to have to do some lower level fixes before the updated minion block rules are ready to go back on live."When asked about Guinsoo's Rageblade and any upcoming changes, Fearless noted:
Fearless group questions #1:Are you guys going to rework Guinsoo's Rageblade? The item seems pretty "out there" considering all the changes to other items this preseason that really focused their identity. Right now it's turned into a kind of "you can 1v1 anybody, splitpush forever" item and I think that's pretty boring for a stack-on-autos type of item. What are your plans for the item?We are looking to slowly reduce power, but the base goal is one we want to keep. Just need to pull levers to get it into balance."
Ever going to explore dropping the turrets HP back down, now that the armor/MR scaling is back?The resistance scaling is much lighter. We're looking at the Effective Health with these changes, but we are still looking at these changes closely.
Not sure if this is the right place, but your thoughts on MF being able to 100-0 3 ally members before someone can disrupt her?Don't feel that's the case.
Are "Artillery Mages" the next batch to be looked at? If so, which champs are in that sub-class?Can't really talk to much about other team's priorities, as next projects are still very early.
Theres multiple tool tip confusions for the new masteries. Are they being looked at?Yup. Turns out these are still pretty awful to work on, and we didn't appreciate how error prone they'd be.
Are there going to be more Sona changes coming to make her "feel" more impactful?I don't know of any currently, but I'm not as involved with champ adjustments as I am with most other parts of the game.
Are there going to be more major / minor Marksmen changes? If so, what is being looked at? Or are you going to move onto the next sub-class already?We still have tweaks to make, but I wouldn't expect any large sweeps of major changes in the near future."
Fearless group questions #2:
1) I'm curious about your thoughts on champions that have skills that buff certain stats but then have lower base stats to compensate.For example, Lissandra has her mana recovery passive, but lower mp5 than most of her mage colleagues. Is the idea behind the passive/skill to give Lissandra (and other examples) a different play pattern, or to give her a strength?2) Thoughts on the AP "CDR gap" relative to the new Essence Reaver? Is the expectation of 40% CDR on a max mage build more-or-less something Riot is not designing around?3) Juggernaut items have been hit-or-miss. Dead Man's Plate is great . . . Sterak's Gage kind of underwhelming. What are your evaluations on them?4) Are there plans to create a more defined subclass of AP Juggernauts? Right now if you do mostly magic damage and don't really scale with AP, you just build tank. AP bruiser seems like an unexplored design space to me, but what do you think?
Fearless group questions #3:
- The desire would be to be both. If a player executes the constraints well, the passive should manifest as a comparative strength. Admittedly, these champs cam get hit pretty hard when the systems around them change, as they are doubly sensitive.
- Current thought is that max CDR shouldn't be something that mages just get by accident, and should be something that actually has meaningful trade-offs. ADC builds are still very much in flux and we're actively still looking into tweaks to make sure that going into Reaver is powerful, but has a few more trade-offs as well. 5.24 has a small change to delay the rate at which ADC's get the full CDR, which should help with how free that stat is currently. Totally possible we'll need to do more there still.
- We have some more communication on this coming next year. TLDR is that these items are all answering the question we wanted them to answer, but some could still get some small changes to adjust how well they answer those questions.
- We've talked little bits about these guys, but the crowd is pretty small. Given that we have some pretty large blocks of champs that are in very difficult spots, my guess is that the work on this group might be a ways off. That or they might get some love from the projects targeted towards other groups. That tends to happen a lot when it comes to systems projects, just because everything is so interconnected."
Kinda mean to tease in all caps before not hinting/spoiling the slightest juicy bit. So... what can we expect next year? :PEarly projects are likely to be more mastery options, and some items to help the Assassins feel better. We're also going to keep working on the vision updates that we started in Pre-season. Bigger stuff in the works, but way too early to talk about.
With "rework blocks" like the Juggernaut update, and the Marksman update as well as the previous Support update and the upcoming immobile sieging mages, we've seen time and again that such drastic changes often not only skew the balance in that role's favor (since the shiny new objects invariably pump a bit more power in their kit, at the very least in the form of adaptability), but also make the affected champions much more played than normally.How much does that temporary "collateral imbalance" matter in your eyes while working on a system, and did it ever happen that you decided to break down a massive batch of changes into smaller ones just to let it trickle in and not overwhelm players with it (like junglers, maybe)?This was something that I personally under-appreciated last year when we did the jungle updates. The constant small rules changes were actually measurably painful for many players. This was worsened by the fact that I needed to make fairly impactful changes well into 5.02 and 5.03. While the scale of the season this year has been massive (and caused it's own problems) I'm personally very excited about the idea of having a lot of the imbalances in a better spot by the time 6.01 actually hits.
Let's go for some candy questions : Who are your favorite ex-Rioter and current Rioters (not necessarily designers)?I can happily say the Rioters that were inspirational to me not only are all still at RIot, but I've already gotten a chance to work with all of them. Morello was my first boss when I got here, Zileas was pretty key to getting me comfortable and happy as a new Rioter, and Xypherous and I are on the same team now.
Otherwise, let's go for some more generic questions :What is in your opinion the best/worst niche in LoL right now in term of design (split push, mobile mages, tank supports, poke supports, all in mid laners, AP junglers, etc.)?This is incredibly hard for me, as there are examples of good and bad in every category. I feel like Assassins in general have a lot of design debt that we'd like to clear up, but also because the class in general has had a lot of experimentation with a lot of mixed results. They're also really frail when it comes to balance and support, as fairly minor changes can shift Assassins into fighters, or just floor them when it comes to raw power. Confident we'll get these dudes into a better spot, but know that it's going to take plenty of blood, sweat, and playtests.
What would you say is the biggest pros and cons of the current way PBE functions?I'm not too happy about the PBE right now. Currently it can really only be used to find bugs, and we're still not getting enough coverage to find stuff before builds get locked.
What design from another game would you like to see in LoL (even if unrealistic) and why?While I would never want to actually put it in the game directly, I do love the concept of Prestige Classes that a lot of RPGs have. As a pay off for dedication to a build or ideal, having a big transformative moment that lets you be even more of your favorite thing is awesome. I think League has already done some really cool explorations into what transformations make sense for the game. PS. I <3 Gnar."
[INTRO] Greg “Riot Ghostcrawler” Street - Game Design DirectorLikewise, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street also popped on the dev corner boards to introduce himself:
"WHO AM I?
My name is Greg Street, Riot Ghostcrawler. Before working at Riot, I was a lead designer on World of Warcraft for 6 years. Before that I was a lead designer on Age of Empires for 10 years. Before that, I was an oceanographer, which is where the crustacean avatar came from. I was an army brat who lived lots of places, but I identify most as a Texan.
My favorite game of all time is Dungeons and Dragons. I have played for 30 years, in all 5 editions. For video games, I’ll just list broad families of games that I love and that have influenced me: XCOM, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Chrono Trigger, Diablo, Doom, Civilization, Legend of Zelda, Dark Souls, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Mass Effect, Metroid, Grand Theft Auto, and Okami. Outside of games, I enjoy travel, reading about history and science, and being outdoors. My last research project as a scientist involved collecting live, radioactive alligators. I have been attacked by animals as diverse as: Portuguese Man-o-war, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Stingray, Rock Rattlesnake, Coatimundi. My favorite animal is the Mantis Shrimp.
I currently own: 4 dogs and 2 cats.
WHAT AM I DOING AT RIOT? WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?
I joined Riot in 2013 and I am now the game design director for League. I describe my job as a combination of three things: I'm ultimately accountable for the design quality of League, I work with the other leads to determine long-term strategy and our big bets for the next year, and I manage the design department. I work a lot on projects such as our Season 2016 plan. I help answer things such as what kinds of champions should we be making, what do we want the pace of the game to be, and what new features does League need.
WHAT AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT?
The best kinds of questions to hit me with are about our design philosophy or core design values. The kinds of questions I can best answer are "Would Riot ever consider this Big New Feature?" “Where do you see League in 5 years?” "How does Riot balance for such a wide range of skills?" "How much counterplay is acceptable?" "What were Riot’s goals with preseason?" "Is League too snowbally?" "Does Riot make too much change to the game?" "How many champions can League support?" I don't directly balance champions or design new items. I'm fine if you blame me for bad balance, but if you want to know our thoughts on a particular change or the state of a champion, you're better off asking the Rioters who are working directly on them.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR FROM ME?
If you know anything about me, you hopefully know that I strive to be really transparent with players and that I have very thick skin. AMA."Following the introduction, Ghostcrawler hung around the boards to answer various player questions!
As for his thoughts on non-SR game modes, Ghostcrawler shared:
Okay,care to comment on the other permanent game modes like Dominion,ARAM or Twisted Treeline?(Yeah,yeah "What's Dominion?" blah bla)
Just general thoughts & opinions are all I need."Are these modes good to have in the game?","Any way we can make them better?","Would we add new maps/permanent game modes in the future?" etc.I'll be completely honest: we have neglected them, especially Dominion and TT. We view the heart of League to be SR, and that's where we spend most of our development effort. We aren't happy with that answer however, and we have some ideas for how we can give Dominion and TT a little love. We'll talk more about this soon. We are unlikely to add new permanent maps in the future. Often, they lack the depth of SR, which means they are popular at first and then slowly lose players over time. In some regions where we have fewer players, it can also cause long queue times by sub-dividing the bucket so much."
When asked about his thoughts on LoL's always expanding roster of champions, he noted:
"Quote:As for thoughts on Cassopeia and her various reworks, Ghostcrawler commented:
"How many champions can League support?"I think by around 300 we'd need some kind of seasonal roster or something. At the current rate we make champions, we won't have to worry about that for some time. The game can handle a lot more than it has today IMO."
Admirably your company has at least SOME record of reverting maligned changes made to the game which is more than you can say about almost anyone else, but why doesn't it happen more often?
In particular I am talking about changes that don't effect the game in a major way but are reviled by players. Just as an example why didn't the Cassiopeia rework get reverted? It was absolutely hated and you can't tell me it was good for the game especially considering how low her play rate still is.I think I mentioned this earlier, or maybe it was Twitter or ask.fm.
I think it sucks when we do an update that is okay but not awesome. The reason is because it generally gets a champion into a healthier play space (so they are no longer at the top of the "on fire" list) but we haven't made them awesome either (and because they are no longer at the top of the "on fire" list, they may not get touched for awhile).
We'd like to hit Cass again when we look at mages in 2016. I can't promise because it's impossible to predict how the projects will work out. I really wanted to update Volibear for the juggernaut update, but it just wasn't coming together."As for a champion who can manipulate elements of the map, he noted:
"Quote:When asked about the fate of Chroma packs, Ghostcrawler commented:
Has there ever been a champ that was prototyped to be able to modify the physical elements of the map, such as Bushes?We'd love to this. I'm pretty confident at some point we will."
Has Riot rethought the idea behind Chroma Packs? I haven't seen any in a good long while.We should have some news on this soon. We wanted to see how players used the initial offering before deciding on a strategy."
When asked about the abundance of multiple passives and more complex kits, he noted:
Warning here this will be a bit of a rant so sorry in advance. I've been playing since S2 and back then the champs were pretty simple. Someone like Malphite was really simple and most people could play him no problem whatsoever. Now with the champions coming out of recent we are seeing kits that are more complex than I could have anticipated. Not to mention every ability having a passive. Holy Batman. Now I'm not saying that complex to play champs are bad, but it does hamper the expirence of new to MOBA players (like I was when I started League).
Ghostcrawler continued, answering questions on changes and the recent Mordekaiser update:About the passives, it seems that almost every champ that has been released since S5 has had an ability with a passive on it (exeption off the top of my head being baum). If we look at someone like Tahm who has a passive on his e and r as well as his aquired taste passive, is really strong and its another thing to keep in mind when in lane. Whereas someone like WW has no passives on his abilities, suffers because of it, not to mention if you are keeping track of CD's in your head you only have to worry about 3 instead of Tahm when you have to worry about 5-6.We feel overall that the ramp up in complexity on champs (the extra passives and double passives and so on) isn't a great trend to stay on. It's a challenge when you're in the trenches, because you want players to get excited about each new champ that's released, so we keep trying to outdo ourselves. If we released [next champ] with Vlad's Q, I think we'd all be disappointed. But that's the short term view, and in the long term view, we don't want to end up at a point where champs have 4 passives and 20 abilities and so on."
If that's too far out of the range of answerable questions, how about this: during one of the podcasts, you said quote "We strive not to just make change for the sake of change" which legitimately made me laugh in real life. Over the last few years, League has seen random, unnecessary, unwarranted, and unwanted changes go through despite how hard the community pushed back.
Consider one the (many) unwanted changes that happened recently with the Morde rework. Even people outside of his fanbase were pushing back trying to derail this project before he would break the game and following Worlds, become useless. How are changes like this not change for the sake of change, and why do the devs continue to stonewall us before, and even after said changes go through? And please don't fall back on the juggernaut catastrophe, that was one instance where Riot actually listened and it backfired (for the most part.)We strive for evolution, not change for the sake of change. That doesn't mean we always nail it, and it's an easy trap for developers to fall into, especially folks who haven't been making games for very long (which is almost every Rioter). It's a compass heading.
Morde was not change for the sake of change. Morde was not working as champion and we didn't think it was possible to deliver on his current direction in a healthy way. He really needed a change the same way Poppy and Sion needed a change. Were there other changes we could have made that might have worked out better? That's entirely possible. Was the community right and we should have listened to them? In 20/20 hindsight, that happens all the time. I'm trying to illustrate there is a difference between a bad change and change for the sake of change.
Change for the sake of change comes about when you see devs say things like this:
Change to add depth to the game come about when you see devs saying things like:
- I'm bored. I think I'll try something crazy.
- I never envisioned this champ as X. I'm going to try Y because that fits my personal impression.
- Z hasn't gotten any changes for awhile. It's his turn.
- I don't know what will work, so I'll try this.
In general, the changes we try to make are strategic, try to deliver on goals or values, try to open up options or decisions for players, and try to fix real problems."
- This pattern lacks counterplay so we need to add an opportunity for the enemy to do something.
- We can't increase this champion's winrate without their pick rate skyrocketing and players seeing them every game. We are going to have to change some of their abilities.
- This system is something solved that players don't really think about anymore. We need to get interesting decisions back in.
- Our values or goals are X, but this champion isn't meeting those goals. We need to make changes to meet them.
Ghostcrawler Group Questions 1:
What I'm wondering about is how the game will deal with the burden of releasing new content. I'm not especially worried about new champion releases — at the current rate, the roster will be proportionally increasing less and less, and there's plenty of design space left. But all the rest seems like a bigger issue. You all hit 100 skins released this year, and had fairly major balance changes every two weeks. There's more items now than there were at the start of the year. How much is this churn necessary to keeping the game alive?I referenced our design values earlier. One of them is evolution. When Ryze and Tryn founded Riot, they did it partially because they were frustrated with the games they were playing where the community would solve the meta and the developers would never fix it. Our goal with League is to curate the experience so that we fix up the shit that feels old and we add depth to the shit that feels solved. We don't want it to feel like change for the sake of change.
With skins (and I'm not sure if you're the person to ask here, but this does tie in to the long-term sustainability of League), it seems like there might be diminishing returns. True, your craft is continuing to grow, but it feels like the 200-300th skins released will fare better than the 1200-1300th. Is there concern that as people find the skins they want, that may make it harder for new content to appeal to them?Will we hit some point where players tell us "You know, I'm pretty good on skins"? Probably. We haven't hit that yet though. We would like to offer something besides skins (ward skins and summoner icons aren't really in the same ballpark).
You say that you think League will still be around in ten years. I think there's a decent chance you're right, and a very good chance you're right for five years. How important is it that the players playing now are still playing then? Is there effort to extend the lifespan of the average player? League seems targeted at teens and people in their early twenties. If the game wants to be still going strong in ten years, will this be entirely through acquiring new players to replace ones who leave, or also through finding ways to make the game more appealing to people in their late 20s and early 30s, who will likely be starting families?We describe League as a game players keep coming back to. We aren't trying to tell you that you need to play League every night and only League. That would be a good way to drive players away. As I answered earlier, when I go home tonight, I'm playing Fallout, not League. But after I'm done with Fallout in a couple of weeks, the League icon will still be there on my PC waiting for me. I won't need to reactive it or buy an expansion or anything. Just patch up and go.
We do realize that playing ranked is a big commitment and not every player is going to have that time or dedication. We'd like to offer some other ways to play on a shorter cadence, without sacrificing the competitive part of ranked that makes it compelling."Ghostcrawler Group Questions 2:
"Quote:Ghostcrawler Group Questions 3
2) When a champion change or rework happens, how oriented is Riot towards previous mains of the champion? If X% of previous mains end up dropping the champion, or Y% end up enjoying the champion specifically less, how much would it be to be a win or a loss in your eyes? Could an amount of new mains to the champion change it to a win? (My personal bias here is Quinn, although she now has a solid role and I understand why Riot made the choice, I don't enjoy her at all anymore and have been forced to drop her, and I feel her identity has changed significantly. I'd have classified her as Assassin then Marksman before, and Assassin was completely removed.)We don't make the changes just for those mains for a few reasons. Maybe they main that champion for reasons we don't want to encourage. Maybe there are a bunch of potential mains out there who aren't playing the champ but might with a good rework. Ideally we don't alienate mains, and we do always target our survey questions towards both mains and non-mains.
3) Nearly all abilities in league exist to limit the options that an opponent has in some way. Do you think there should be more champions that provide more options to enemies with their abilities? A champion that I feel does so already is Bard with his E, and he's often named as one of the most fun or least frustrating champions to play against.It's a cool space but it increases the amount of information you need to play the game by a lot. Consider the Poppy rework -- you have to know to step on her shield. Maybe you'll stumble upon that at some point but maybe you won't.
4) When designing a new champion, do you feel that looking for fun to play as, or fun to play against first is most important?We look at "play as" first. If nobody wants to play the champ, it doesn't matter if they are fun to play against. We definitely look at how frustrating they are to play against once we really get into development.
5) How do you feel about additional gamemodes & maps? Do you feel Riot should balance more around other gamemodes as well? Do you think having a ranked queue, or an e-sports league or tournament around other gamemodes (ex. a TT LCS tourney) could boost their popularity?I'd love to see a more casual yet still competitive mode around some of those less-played maps.
6) What is the best way for us as players to have a significant individual impact on changes or change directions made at Riot?It depends on your target. If you're looking to change our development culture or something, that's pretty hard. If you want to give feedback on a champion change, there are a lot of ways to do that. Posting in the threads (often the PBE threads) where the developers are asking for feedback or discussing upcoming changes is a good way to focus your efforts. Just don't assume that there is some kind of magical lever that you can pull to guarantee your suggestion will get incorporated. That's just really hard to do when you have millions of players with their own suggestions. :(
7) Do you feel that it is really important or even possible for each and every champion in LoL to occupy a unique space? Or do you think it would be enough for two champions to have similar roles and similar power, but have significantly different playstyles? (Graves vs Lucian is a bad example because they shared playstyles)It's fine if they are in the same space but have different play styles. It's probably not possible for us to come up with 130+ different strategies."
Ghostcrawler Group Questions 4
Does Riot consider the Juggernaut work a success?It was a good proof of concept for the roster project. We're happy with Garen and Darius, less so with Skarner and Morde. Overall, hitting 4 champs is probably not enough to feel like a roster was really updated. However, compared to Marksmen, Juggernauts barely even had a function in the game, so in that sense, we feel like it was successful.
What is the reason for Riot's reluctance to use 10 total bans per game, instead of 6?We don't want to be in a perpetual arm's race. We have some fear that if we did 10 today it would be 12 next year and so on. There is some evidence that giving each player one ban in solo queue might be a better experience. We have some changes with the new team builder (with still just 6 bans) and we will see how that plays out first and then evaluate.
Have there been any regions where getting League into been so problematic that Riot pivoted and left the area? (ie India/Arab world/Africa/ect..)This is a great question but I don't have a great answer. Maybe another Rioter who has been here longer will share a good story with me that I can then relate to you guys. Going into a new region is a fairly expensive commitment in that we have to localize a whole lot of text and VO and then either set up servers and matchmaking ourselves or find a regional partner who can do so. We have to be convinced that we can develop a sizable player base in a new region for it to be worth it. That is usually the biggest barrier to going into a new region. There are some interesting quirks though -- we can't play on Korean servers because Korea requires you to have the Korean equivalent of a social security number to play. (We were able to play when we visited Korean PC bangs though)."
Ghostcrawler Group Questions 5:Additionally it seemed like if your bot lane lost the laning phase you lost most of those games all through season 5, but at least there was a chance to come back in the game. Right now the snowbally nature of the game just seems to make the losing bot lane snowball out of control to the degree that you often lose 90% of the games that you have a losing bot lane, unless you group super early and make up for it with towers in both of the other lanes, in addition to making certain it's a complete stomp in those lanes. Even at that, the ADCs are so strong with the new items that the damage from a losing bot lane is almost irreversible once the ADC that won lane groups with their team.So interestingly, our data suggests that games are no more snowbally than before the preseason changes or all of last year. We realize there is a common perception among players that it is more snowbally, so we are trying to unpack that and figure out why the discrepancy exists. Games are definitely shorter, but a shorter game that isn't more of a shut out would actually be a pretty good place for the game to be.
Finally, and possibly the question I most want answered, are there plans for real strategic diversity through season 6? I feel like it's something that term just gets thrown around all willy nilly, with no real strives towards any sort of diversity. It seems to me that there's all of 5 strong champions in any given role, and those are typically the only champions that get played there. I for one would love to see 10 different ADC champions across 5 games, or a lack of champions that are must ban champions to prevent your team from losing in champion select. This patch being very fresh I'm yet to see how the mundo changes came through, but last patch, you banned mundo or you lost most of the time because you couldn't deal with him once he got to a certain item threshold, and let's face it the team coordination to shut him down early is severely lacking in solo queue.We also would like to see 10 different ADCs get played. Balance and strategic diversity play into that for sure. But it's not the only factor. Players (of any game, not just League) really hate to be wrong, especially in front of strangers. That can lead to a situation where everyone wants to know "Who should I pick?" by which they mean "Which champ should I pick that is currently considered the best so that nobody will get mad or make fun of me?" In other words, the perception can sometimes drive the reality. The perception that there is a best and second-best ADC can often cause players to choose those champs, even if their winrate would be better with a champ they've played a lot or really enjoy. Seeing what the pros pick can also have a huge trickle down effect on ranked queue champion choices. The difference between a "strong" and "weak" champion can often mean the difference between a 55% and 45% win rate. Think about that. That means you'd win approximately 10% more games if you picked the right champion. If you played 10 games, you might win 1 more because of your champion pick. Your individual experience with that champion can have a far bigger impact. Overall, League is a pretty well balanced game. That doesn't mean we can't do better, and we will strive to do so. But we're not talking about champions who are twice as likely to win a game as another choice."
What are your thoughts on the diversity of item recipes, or lack thereof? Does it bear any value to you?
We want the early items to be a little safer because you aren't locking yourself out of potential later items. You may not have enough information early in the game to know which items (or even in which order) you'll want at the end. This means some amount of similarity among the builds themselves. There probably are some opportunities for those mid-tier items to branch out a little more.
In the last few years, it feels like LoL has gone in a direction of super-mobility, flashy plays, and super-powerful kits (just compare the most recent 8 champions or so to the ones released two years ago); has this been a conscious decision? Or a result of the direction the 'cool ideas' have gone? (sorry if this isn't your niche)
I think there is a tendency to want to design a champion that gets a lot of YouTube videos made because of flashy plays. Similarly, in a game with 130 champions, you can't just offer a kit of skill shot + shield + steroid. I've said before that I think the concern that too many of our champs lately have been on the more complicated end is very fair and something we want to combat. You can have champions that make strategically interesting decisions (or even big plays) without them having double passives and lot of gigantic tooltips.
Do you see League lasting another 10 years? How will it be different, in your opinion?
Easily ten years. It's not going anywhere. I think the biggest gains we have to make are outside of the core game loop. We can't ever take our eye off that ball, but it's pretty fun already and we don't want to bury it under tons of complex systems. On the other hand, some of our systems outside of the game are pretty weak. For example we have focused a lot on fixing player behavior problems but not as much on helping you play with your friends."Ghostcrawler Group Questions 6:
1) With mobility being so important - you've made homeguard an innate ability so players don't have to worry about that gold sink, as it was clearly the best buy out of the enchants, especially if your base is being destroyed. Why homeguard over making a spell like Flash innate? It's used in almost 100% of games.
The Homeguard change was really about getting players back into the action again. We've thought before about making Flash innate, but I think if we did that, we'd just reduce spell slots to 1, rather than have Flash and Teleport and Smite or whatever.
2) League's big focus on counterplay and skillshots makes a lot of matchups fairer than they once were and allows you to buff abilities - rewarding a player for landing the move. It feels great landing skillshots between minions and monsters. Do you think league will ever get to a point where every ranged ability is a skillshot? (I'm looking at you annie Q)
No, and we probably go to the skillshot well too often. Skillshots are a great way to add mastery and counterplay to the game, but they aren't the only way. There should be room for skillshot-less champions too, so long as they don't just have higher winrates by virtue of being less mechanically complex."Ghostcrawler Group Questions 7:
Many champions get a lot of attention from Riot without a lot of reason I can tell. Biggest example of this is Taric. He gets reworked so often for awhile reworks were referred to as 'taric style.' Now he is in line for a major update. Why are you doing him before you do someone like Warwick? A champion who only gets nerfed and has one of the most outdated binary kits in the game? Is this actually part of a 'class' type update that you are hiding? Or do you just love gems?
Yeah, it's pretty much just the gems.
Seriously though, a lot can go into the determination of which champion update we work on next, including whether we have potentially good ideas for how to fix the champion (thematically, visually and mechanically). We do have someone working on Warwick, because he desperately needs it, but it's too soon to tell how or when that may pan out.
In the past a lot of rioters have made comments to the affect of 'we dont like champions that are nothing but a bundle of stats with no counterplay.' This is why I HATED when you touched Mundo a few months ago. I saw his modifications as nothing but MORE 'free stats with no counterplay' and I really wanted him on the medium term radar for something more meaningful.Generally speaking, we do two kinds of changes -- things that have a chance of a long-term fix and things that are band-aids just to tide things over until we can get to a long-term fix. That said, Mundo is somewhat simple, but I don't know that he needs a major update.
Then of course you release Yasuo, who has 2 passives that are the definition of free stats with no counter play (double crit and free pen from ult). When I read his abilities I thought to myself 'this is ridiculous and counter to riots game play design' and I was not referring to his E- Why on earth would you do a champion who is only balanced through free stats? Especially 2 stats that counter the group of champions that are supposed to 'counter' him (tanks/fighters).Yasuo's winrate generally isn't all that high because his skill cap is insanely high, one of the top 2-3 in the game. That is the challenge for why he is tricky to balance moreso than the double passive, IMO. We'd have to ask the champion designer who worked on him the origin of the double passive though.
The message seems inconsistent to me. So I guess the question is : How/when are you going to handle the champions who have too many 'free stats' and give them more actionable stats?It's less about free stats and more about whether a champion is nothing but a bag of stats. If your win rate is high because your stats are higher and not because you make good decisions, that's the kind of thing we want to fix. We have fewer of those champions this year than we did last year.
Also- how many games do you play/week of league, and what are your favorite roles?I tend to play in bursts like lots of players. I am playing fewer games now because I have been spending so much time on Fallout 4 and the Bloodborne DLC. Before I came to Riot, I'd say I played mostly Support (I played a priest in WoW) and ADC. I have tried to double down on improving my weaknesses rather than my strengths since I have been here. Jungle is by far my weakest role. I need to spend more time there.
Champ Thresh restock on 12/10 for All-Star EventJust in time for the upcoming ALL-STAR 2015 event, Riot is doing a final restock of the 2015 WC Track Jacket and the Championship Thresh figure!
"To celebrate the All-Star Event, we're bringing back limited quantities of our Champ Thresh figure and the 2015 Worlds Track Jacket! This restocking is your final chance for the season to hook them startingDecember 10th at 5PM PST."