Red Post Collection: Flash on D or F, MYMU - Vel'Koz direction, Reav3 on Yorick & Champion Updates, and more!

Posted on at 9:48 AM by Moobeat
This afternoon's red post collection includes an article on if D or F is the keybind is better for the summoner spell flash, Beluga Whale with a look at the direction of Vel'Koz upcoming mid year mage update direction, a grab bag of posts from Meddler on various topics and champions, SmashGizmo on the 6.4 Ahri E change, Reav3 on Yorick and Champion updates, the release of the League friends mobile app, and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Mid Year Mage Updates - Vel'koz Direction 

Beluga Whale has jumped on the boards to discuss the team's current thoughts on Vel'Koz  and the direction they'll be moving in for him in the upcoming Mid-Year mage update!
"Greetings from Champ Roster Land (not to be confused with Champ Rooster Land). 
We wanted to follow up on the last update from our team on Malzahar with a post outlining our current thoughts on Vel'koz, as he was the mage in the Group that had the most discussion and vocality. 
Currently, Vel'koz is a mage with a kick ass theme but lackluster execution and little strategic relevance to the game aside from non-farm dependent damage output, a crown support Vel'koz shares along with support Brand and Zyra. As an Artillery, he also suffers from the worse poke of the lot, poor relative target selection, and poor scaling. For Vel'koz, this reveals underlying flaws that essentially say: Unless I do insane amounts of base damage regardless of my farm, I am useless and there is no strategic reason to ever choose me. 
This is not to say that Vel'koz is horrible and needs to be completely overhauled. Actually, we share many of your own feelings on him and see the glimmers in his kit. Our goal with this update is to give him that final push that he needs to fully realize his own purpose in League of Legends. For clarity's sake, I'll follow Repertoirs bullet point summary: 
Things we especially like:
  • Geometry and poke/kite pattern (Q+W), with powerful combo casting/all in (+R)
  • Deconstruction through abilities and Research/Understanding you opponent thematic (Passive)
  • Poorer target selection compared to other Artillery - Vel'koz works harder than most to hit the back line, and when he does it should feel amazing
Things we are working on improving:
  • Research thematic is not explored very well
  • Mid lane laning pattern involves mindlessly wave-clearing with W
  • Generalist damage output without meaningful utility means he must be balanced around simply doing more damage than anyone else
What I hope comes out of the update:
  • Establish strategic identity and purpose separate from competing champions (Artillery Casters & Damage Heavy Supports)
  • Up play research and geometry thematics
  • Maintain or improve damage fantasy, tied in better with his thematics
  • Keep existing combat pattern of poking + kitting, as well as all-in combo
  • Disintegration. A lot of Disintegration. With Lasers.
That's all for now. I'll be watching this thread for the next couple of days to get all of you guys' thoughts and comments, so please if any of you have major concerns or bad feels on the matter, don't hesitate to voice them out! 
When asked why Galio and Swain are not part of the mid year mage update, Beluga Whale noted:
"Galio and Swain are both seen as out-of-scale for these kind of batch updates (Juggernaut, Marksman, Mages), and more reserved for individual VGU updates (like Poppy and Sion)"

The Keybind Wars: Which Key is Best for Flash? 

Next up we have an article that aims to answer the age old question... is D or F a better hotkey for Flash? 
It's a question older than time itself. The sages say that in the age of the gods, when the world was still full of magic, great battles were fought to determine which key is best for Flash: D or F? 
In this post, we'll settle the ancient debate for good. We've gathered some quick stats that tell us which spell slot players around the world prefer for Flash, whether it matters to your winrate, and how your skill level might impact your preference. Some of the data we've pulled raises questions that we need your help to answer, so be sure to read through to the end! 
D OR F? 
"On a global level, we see a small preference for Flash on the F key, with 51 percent of players binding Flash to F, and 45 percent binding it to D."

We can start out by looking at the overall popularity of each key. On a global level, we see a small preference for Flash on the F key, with 51 percent of players binding Flash to F, and 45 percent binding it to D. The third category on this chart, "No Flash," indicates the percentage of the time that players choose some combination of spells which doesn't include Flash. 
That doesn't actually happen super often—y'all are taking flash 96 percent of the time. Most of the remaining four percent can be explained by the handful of champions who intentionally take some other spell aside from Flash. The five champs least likely to take Flash are Shaco (who plays without Flash in 72% of games), Singed (59%), Hecarim (57%), Olaf (33%), and Tryndamere (23%). 
So, in general, F is more popular than D for Flash. But wait—what happens when we separate out the data by region? 
"Despite the global trend favoring F for Flash, most regions display a small preference for Flash on D."  
Despite the global trend favoring F for Flash, most regions (EUW, EUNE, BR, RU, TR, LAN, and LAS) display a small preference for Flash on D. Turkish players are the least likely to bind Flash to F, with 61 percent of them binding it to D. 
Korea stands out from the rest with its heavy preference for Flash on F. A whopping 73 percent of Korean players keep it on F, compared to only 24 percent who bind it to D. Koreans are also far less likely than other regions' players to enter a game without Flash; they take Flash nearly 98 percent of the time (the highest of any region). 
Compare this to the Russian community, where players only take Flash 91 percent of the time. This likely has a significant impact on the Russian meta, since in that country there's a solid chance that one player in any given game won't have taken Flash. 
But now for the real question, the one you came here for. Does using D or F for Flash affect your chances of winning? And the answer... 
NOPE. We see effectively zero impact on win-rate whether players bind Flash to D or F. No matter what region of the world we look at, the difference in win-rate between the two types of players is less than 0.2 percent.
When we separate out players by rank, however, we do start to find some interesting data.
Just to pick one region as an example, when we look at NA we notice that, at the very highest levels of play, players gravitate more towards Flash on D. About 51 percent put Flash on D, compared to 47 percent of players using F. 
Although we already know that Flash's placement on D or F has no meaningful impact on winrate, the implication from this data is that players at the highest level of play are more likely to put Flash on D—perhaps because they think it's the superior choice.

We've answered a few questions here, but we've also raised new ones:
  1. Why do Korean players so heavily favor the F key for Flash?
  2. Why do Turkish players prefer to use D?
  3. Why do the highest-ranked players in NA prefer D for Flash?
To answer these questions, we have to turn this over the folks in our comments section. Tell us if you think you know the answers to these questions, and feel free to ask our analysts any questions of your own!"

Meddler Grab Bag

Next up we have a grab bag of posts from Meddler on various topics!

When asked about Ryze and if he will have any changes in the mid-year mage update, Meddler noted:
"No, we'll be working on Ryze, balance adjustments at the very least, sooner than that."

Meddler also shared a few thoughts on the summoner spell flash:
"Some thoughts on Flash:
  • We think overall the game's more interesting with a really long CD fast reposition available to all champions than it is without such a tool. Removing Flash doesn't make sense as a result.
  • For most champions not taking Flash isn't a reasonable option, so there's some missed opportunity in terms of offering meaningful choices there.
  • We don't believe that 3 summoner spells is an appropriate way to go, in terms of complexity increase and either power creep or power diffusion (having to remove power elsewhere to pay for the availability of the new spell if not just power creeping).
  • We could make Flash mandatory. Main thing that accomplishes is that it limits the small number of champions for whom Flash is optional. It also limits our ability to potentially expand that pool of champions a bit in the future (e.g. finding ways to make Ghost appealing on a few more champions via an item based upgrade or something similar). Cost of doing so seems higher than the benefits (helping new players primarily) as a result."
Meddler also noted that they will soon be doing a dev blog on champion sub classes and what they consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of each:
Could you perhaps list some of the people that you might call the "absolute stereotypical poster boy" of a class?
If I had to guess, Darius for juggernaut, Vi for diver, trist or cait for marksmen, Nami or Janna for enchanters?
We're planning a dev blog that'll run through strengths and weaknesses for each of the sub classes, with examples of poster child champs for each, other champions by class and champions that don't fit into those class definitions. Guessing we'll have that ready sometime in March. 
As far as your guesses go, you're right on the mark with the exception of Trist. Enchanter also isn't a term we're necessarily set on yet though (it's not bad, but wouldn't mind something that encompassed a wider thematic space if possible)."

In a thread asking if there are any plans for Karma changes in the near future, Meddler noted:
"We're not planning any major changes to Karma at present.
From our perspective original Karma had a number of problems that left her pretty non functional much of the time, unhealthy at other times and good fun at some points too. That prompted a rework which, overall, hasn't been particularly successful. It was done at a time when we didn't have a dedicated team for rewoks and frankly it shows in her kit. Revised Karma's a more functional, healthy champion, but also in many ways a pretty bland one, with a lot of tools on her kit that feel too familiar, even if there's some interesting nuance to their use. I wouldn't say she was weak, I'd certainly agree she wasn't sufficiently satisfying or distinct though.

As to why we're not working on Karma at present the short version is that we felt other champions needed the work more or would benefit from it more. Concentrating the team's focus onto particular sub classes is also something we believe yields good results (multiple people exploring the same concepts at the same time results in better discussion, team support). As above pick mages and sustained damage mages are the classes that, overall, we felt would most benefit from some focused work, so we've chosen to work on those at this time."
When asked if there are any plans for a Shaco rework, Meddler commented:
"Nothing currently underway. I expect we'll take a look at Shaco to see what can be done if we end up picking assassins as the end of year class update. He's got a lot of game health and counterplay issues, he does some really cool and distincitve stuff too though that matches his thematic extremely well so I think he's potentially a really high value project. 
Even if we do look at assassins at the end of year though (far from guaranteed yet) there's some risk that he turns out to be too big a project to be done properly within the small to medium sized changes of a class update."
When asked for details on the direction of Zyra's changes in the mid year mage update, Meddler noted:
"The designer working directly on Zyra will be putting up a context post at some point soonish like the Vel'Koz and Malz ones, so I'll leave most of the details to him there. As a brief preview of that though will say that we're looking at alternative passives and ways to play up her plant creation a bit more if possible."

SmashGizmo on Ahri 6.4 E Change

With the upcoming 6.4 changes to Ahri's E to make it interact with dashes like other forms of CC, SmashGizmo tweeted out a series of responses on the change:
"I'll try to go through the major points in your post as best I can:
"Getting to the point, all you need to do to nerf Ahri and achieve the effect you want is make her Q's movement speed scale off of either the level of her Q or her ult. Every argument you have made towards changing charm in the way you have has made me more and more frustrated."
- This is missing the point. I'm not just trying to nerf Ahri, I'm trying to strip away a strength that feels out of place given her mobility, damage, and range profile and make her CC feel more consistent with the most analogous CC (Fear and Taunt).
"You claim charm is too punishing for the person dashing, saying that "anyone who uses their dash to close has no control over engagements with Ahri, it's on her to mess up for them to suceed". This is not how the game works. All the control is in the hands of the player using the dash."
- Guess we have to agree to disagree. If you're a character who needs to close on Ahri and your main way of closing on opponents is via a dash, I firmly believe that Charm gives Ahri almost all agency over engagements, especially if your dash is targeted.
"Ahri cannot FORCE SOMEONE to use their dash."
- Right and some characters don't function if they don't get to dash at opponents. So she doesn't force them to dash, she just holds charm and fucks them if they ever do, so just by existing, she has robbed them of any ability to play.
"You have stated that Ahri should not get rewarded more for hitting someone, but why not?"
- Because she's a mobile, ranged, assassin, kite-mage carry. The character is overloaded on strengths. Being a jack of all trades means you don't get to be better than everyone else at the things you're doing.
"After all, every champion has their unique reward for CC...."
- Morgana doesn't. Brand doesn't. Annie doesn't. I don't wanna get into splitting hairs here, but this argument doesn't really hold any water for me. Just because other characters have other mechanics attached to their CC doesn't mean that Ahri needs some too. See above, when you're strength are incredibly diverse, they can't be particularly strong individually.
"Furthermore, if this change goes through, based on this logic Thresh and Blitz hook need to change. Sure they are displacements, but why should they get rewarded more for hitting a dashing target? It is just as hard to do it with Ahri as it is Blitz, though I will admit doing it on Thresh is harder as he has a windup for his hook that is significantly longer than either champion."
- Don't want to keep beating a dead horse, but again, no it doesn't, this is about what tools Ahri has aside from Charm, so stuff like, "based on this logic Thresh and Blitz need to change" is kinda missing the point of the nerf. Also once again, displacements are different mechanically, they actually basically need to work the way they do to make any sense visually, and because of this, we budget power differently on a knockup/knockback than we do on other types of CC.
"If, as you have pointed out, "Ahri's core character is about being a nimble assassin/mage", why are we forced to play like Xerath or Lux for the first 6 minutes of the game? If the focus is parity, why are you making her pre-6 so massively bad in comparison to similar champions like Zed and Leblanc?"
- Because her range profile is much more similar to Xertah and Lux than it is to Zed/LB. Again, this is the price a character pays for having so many strengths, she ends up paying for it in terms of early damage and ability to aggress. I'm not in love with the character's laning pattern, but it being boring makes perfect sense to me given what she's good at and until we start better defining what strengths she's supposed to have and which she isn't, this is just the way it has to be.
"My argument is that charm is its own unique thing, as it is the only CC in the game that makes a champion walk towards the caster without attacking."
- Fear makes a champion walk away from the caster without attacking. It doesn't stop their dashes.
"If you remove all the unique parts of every CC you have a very boring game."
- You're strawmanning pretty freaking hard here. This change isn't an attack on mechanical differences between CC, it's about the status effect behaving the way players expect and aligning this effect with Ahri's kit's strengths and weaknesses.
"You have not changed these things because they are interesting and bring about diversity in the skill pool. Charm causing people to stop dashing is part of Ahri's identity. It has not been removed for years because it is not overpowered and not, as it is presented, a bug (this is one of few cases where, if it was a bug at first, it actually has developed into a feature). It has remained in the game because it is part of Ahri's identity. It is part of what makes playing against her, as her, and with her so exciting. Removing its ability to stop dashes is one more step towards Ahri and all of League a little less interesting, a little less diverse, a little less fun."
- I don't get how Charm stopping dashes is part of Ahri's identity. I get that it's a mechanic that players have played around for years, but I still haven't heard any Ahri players tell me what else they're willing to give up in order to keep best in class CC and stopping power. Like, basically what I keep hearing is, Ahri's strengths are that she's super fast, super safe, and is awesome at catching people, and her weakness is damage. Yet she does a ton of damage practically and when people are throwing out what changes they think I should make, none of them are about reducing the damage she deals. So I'd rather chip away at her catch and safety being top notch and instead make those only really freaking good (even after this change, she's still really damn good at this) and accept her as a jack of all trades mage for the time being."

Reav3 on Yorick and Champion Updates

In a thread asking about Yorick's future champion update, Reav3 hoped in to comment that Taric and Yorick will "almost certainly" come out this year and we may see even more large scope updates this year!
"We actually have 3 separate Pods on Champ Up now. So there is a group working on Taric, another group working on Yorick and a 3rd Group working on the Mage Roster Update. The new structure we have is much different the the old days so I wouldn't expect such large gaps in between VGUs now. Taric and Yorick should almost certainly come out this year, in fact, those probably won't be the only 2 large VGUs that come out this year."
He continued:
"There will for sure be a 2nd roster project for the preseason patch. So there will be the "mid-year" Mage update and a 2nd class at the end of the year. 
Taric and Yorick are our big focus right now but we will hopefully do more then that this year. 
Last year as far as large reworks we had Tristana, Fiora, Gangplank & Poppy. While all 4 of those weren't changed as much as Sion/Poppy they were the same Art/animation resources to accomplish. We didn't have as much narrative support back then so we couldn't do full Sion/Poppy level reworks to Trist and Fiora. Also Tristana's lore was already solid. Gangplank and Poppy were towards the end of the year once we acquired some narrative writers. 
We now have 2 narrative writers on Champ Up so we can do more of the big Sion/Poppy level reworks this year to champs that need Thematic/Lore updates as well as Gameplay & Art. 
This is why I wouldn't consider Karma a Poppy/Sion level rework since we didn't significantly change her Lore/Theme. Karma would be closer to Fiora where most of there Gameplay changed but not her Lore/Theme as well."
He continued, sharing who is currently working on Yorick's rework:
"Sure. The same group that worked on Poppy is currently working on Yorick. 
Designer - SolCrushed
Narrative - JohnODyin
Art - Lonewingy 
CertainlyT is still here on ChampUp, working on something awesome...."
Reav3 continued:
"There are actually a lot more people then 3 that will work on Yorick, that is only the core group. The champ up character artists, fx artists, audio designers and animators generally get involved in all the champ up projects. There is usually 1 core designer, concept artist and narrative writer for each project though."

He also added that Yorick will indeed be the same level project as Sion, Poppy, and Taric:
"It will be Sion/Poppy/Taric level. Most of what we are going to do this year will be. Outside of the roster projects of course."

As for WHEN we can expect Yorick's update, Reav3 noted it would be after the mid year mage update:
"Yorick will be after the Mage update."

When asked who may be next after Taric and Yorick and if they have already started on them, he noted:
"Being as we have 2 VGU groups right now, we won't start on the next champ until after Taric."

As for if Mordekaiser or Skarner will be receiving a visual update in the future, he noted:
"We will most likely do full VGU's for Skarner and Morde sometime in the future. There are champions that need it a bit more at the moment though. 
Skarner and Morde needed more work then a roster project could solve. This is a lesson we learned from the juggernaut project, which is one of the main reasons we passed on Swain for the Mage Project."

New Features & Chroma Discussion

 In a reddit thread asking the question "Why does Riot start so many features only to not expand on them?" about things such as chroma packs or the honor system, RiotJxE jumped in to comment:
" I'll give my thoughts on this. 
Whenever we experiment with a new feature or idea we're trying to solve a problem of some sort. When we let that feature die it's usually because it didn't do what we theorized it would do. We go back to the drawing board and take another stab at solving that problem. 
For instance, when creating Chromas we were trying to solve the problem that we didn't have any personalization content that was between 750 skins and ward skins/icons. We were hoping Chromas would be easy to make content that would fill that gap and give players who wanted cheaper skins some content that would make them happy. What we found was that they weren't that easy to make due to our outdated pipelines and players weren't satisfied with their quality level. With a little more effort we could make 750 skins that players liked more. So we made more 750 skins for now and back to the drawing board to solve the actual problem. Chromas may come back one day, but we need to solve the pipeline problems first.

We like to experiment and try things and sometimes it fails, which leads to dead projects laying around. We realized this isn't ideal and a waste of time so we've been working on creating smaller experiments to test our hypotheses and learn quickly without shipping features we have to support forever. An example of this is the surveys you guys see going out. We're trying to get better at learn as much as possible before committing to an idea."
JxE continued, elaborating a bit more on chroma challenges:
Could you elaborate on the pipeline problems? Because as was shown countless times on this subreddit, Chromas take all of 30 seconds to make. It's not even hard. What's the problem that Riot encounters that community members don't seem to find?
Sure, the actual painting of the texture doesn't take much time at all, as shown by the community. The pipeline issues revolve around what a Skin Object is in League. We don't have a material system, so we can't simply swap textures on the fly based on what you've selected. What that means is each Chroma needs to be it's own Skin Object. This means that there's a bunch of set up required for it. Audio has to be re-hooked up, store and client assets have to be set up and the settings related to that champion/skin need to be recreated. It's a lot of manual work and having to do that three times for every Chroma meant the opportunity cost was too high. With a little more art work we can create a skin set like our RPG skin setand give players way better content that Chromas, so we just chose to do that for now until we can fix the pipeline issues mentioned above."
On the topic of Chroma and the still missing Shockblade Zed chroma, KateyKhaos added:
"You've likely seen/received a survey regarding chromas, like this.
We want to make sure we're making the right call with chromas, and want to make sure it's awesome content that players like, rather than just pushing out random chroma packs just because. 
While I can't talk about the future holds for chromas, I can say we are talking about them, and asking for feedback, as noted above!" 

[NA/OCE] League Friends Mobile App on Google Play and iOS App Store

From the official announcement of the LEAGUE FRIENDS mobile app launch !
"We're launching some new social features throughout the 2016 season to make it easier to play with friends. Enter the League Friends app, which you can download (for free!) right now on Android and iOS. 
Why sacrifice your phone's valuable storage space by downloading our app? We've got a few reasons: 
With the League Friends app, you don't have to be tethered to a 150-pound, hydrogen-cooled gaming rig just to talk shop with your ranked squad. We polymorphed your buddies, and now they fit in your pants. 
Push notifications let your homies reach you when they're jonesing for a game. You can turn notifications off to ignore folks, like that one friend who won't stop playing Singed even though they feed hard as him. 
The app lets you see your friends list, add new pals, and chat one-on-one at launch, but expect it to add features over time, evolving as League of Legends does. 
The League Friends app is coming out in NA and OCE today, and we'll roll it out to other regions over the next few weeks. You can also send us feedback about your experience with it directly through the app by visiting the settings tab and selecting "Bugs and Feedback." 
Note: The app works with devices using iOS 8.3 or newer or Android 4.1.1 or newer (API 16)." 
Riot's new LEAGUE FRIENDS mobile app is now up in the Google play store and on iOS!

[NA Only] Ashe and Garen temporarily added to Free Champion Rotation

Here's Riot Loves  You with information on Ashe and Garen temporarily being added to the NA Free Champion Rotation:
"Hey all, 
We are adding Ashe and Garen temporarily to the free-to-play champion rotation for a period of approximately two weeks in North America only, beginning on February 23, 2016 at 4:30PM PDT. This is one of several tests to try to improve the onboarding experience for new players. Thank you for your support as we look to make learning League of Legends easier.

EDIT: Ashe & Garen will not be taking the place of any other champions in the rotating pool; they will be additive. :)"

EU and NA LCS Finals Tickets Details

Ticket details, including availability and pricing, for the upcoming EU and NA LCS finals are now available!

Master Yi's Ring Sword

The folks over at MAN AT ARMS have brought Master Yi's Ring Sword to life!

For those interested, they've also made Diana's Crescent Moon Blade, Katarina's Daggers, and Leona's Zenith blade in the past!

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