Red Post Collection: Taric Update Discussion & New Lore, Player Behavior Penalties & Hextech Crafting, and more!

Posted on at 1:13 AM by Moobeat
[NOTE: Be sure to check out Xypherous post on the upcoming PBE Mana, MP/5, AP. and MR item pass!]

Tonight's red post collection includes discussion on the upcoming Taric Champion update, an updated champion bio and new story for Taric,  Meddler with context on the 6.7 Kindred R changes,  Socrates on how player behavior penalties and Hextech Crafting interact, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Taric Champion Update Discussion

With Taric's champion update revealed and on the PBE for testingRiot Repertoir has been all around the boards and reddit answering questions on The Shield of Valoran!

As for his lowered damage with a removal on W vs his old kit, Riot Repertoir  noted the passive's damage is significantly increased!
"Knowing that I was removing damaging spells from the kit, the damage contribution from Taric's passive should now be much higher than you're used to. Those passive swings should feel pretty darn good now."
When asked about the charge system on Taric's Q, Riot Repertoir commented:
"Taric's Q charge system and bonus interaction with passive is intended to allow the Taric player to be conservative and efficient by storing up charges, or aggressive but really taxing on the Mana pool."
When asked if you can self cast W and if it can be used on minions, Meddler noted:
"Bastion is Champions only. Taric can self cast it though if he wants to get use out of the spell while alone. "
When asked about the range on W and it's ally tether, Riot Repertoir shared:
max rang of w about 1000? or more?
Cast range is around 1000. Leash range is around 1500."
 Riot Repertoir continued:
Do you what the range is on the W when it's casted on someone? Like how far does it go? Can I bond with my top laner as a support and then ult them when they get into some trouble if we are on opposite sides of the map?
There's a range of ~1500 where the link stays active. If you go farther than that from your ally, the link goes inactive, but walking back into range will reactivate it without having to recast it."

As for if Q's healing stacked when overlapping Taric's heal and a W'd ally, he noted:
Do the heals stack if you and your bastion are next to each other?
Nope, no stacking. The numbers would have to be really low in the base case if they could stack."
He continued, elaborating on why you can't "double dip":
Can you clarify if using Taric's Q while standing directly beside your W-buffed ally will double the heal to each of them, or do you only get affected by his heal once?
Double dipping any of his spells doesn't get you more effect. The cool opportunities Bastion provides is that you can exert influence on two areas of a fight. If double dipping gave you increased damage/healing, the optimal play would be to always stand next to the person your linked to, which would feel pretty lame to play."
Reav3 added:
Do the heals stack?
They do not. Its more about covering 2 areas, (back line and front line) rather then getting stacking effects."
As for self-casting W, Riot Repertoir explained:
Did you ever consider having him be able to cast W on himself, if just for the passive/shield in solo lanes? It could have the Blood Boil effect where he'd autotarget a nearby ally if he cast it on himself, too.
He can cast it on himself. Here's what happens when he self-casts W: If there is an ally nearby that already has W on them, it refreshes it on both the ally and Taric. If there is an ally nearby, but not an ally that has W on them already, it casts W on the nearest ally and Taric. If there are no nearby allies, it just refreshes it on Taric."

 Riot Repertoir also elaborated on how E and R  double casts with W interact with champions leaving the active W tether range:
If you use Taric's Ult in range of a Bastioned ally, but then travel too far (thus breaking the Bastion link) before the delayed invulnerability activates, does it still go off at the target who was Bastioned when Taric did cast his ult, or does it cancel?
Once the charge effect on E or R are started on an ally, they will go to their completion. So if I am attached to a Hecarim as Taric, and I E+R right before Hecarim ults out of the link range, he will carry the E+R effects with him."
When asked how Taric's E targeting works with his W double cast, Riot Repertoir explained:
How does the Ally with Bastion's Dazzle target? It seems like Taric's Dazzle is typical mouse 360 around him skill shot style. How do you target the Ally's version? This seems like a pretty important question not covered in the videos.
Like Lulu Q off Pix."
Riot Repertoir continued:
what direction does Dazzle go from the bastioned ally?
Wherever Taric's cursor is."
RiotRepertoir also noted Taric will get gold for anything E kills off a W/Ally double cast:
"Taric gets the gold for anything E kills. 
When asked why they didn't use a charm effect for Taric's E, Repertoir explained:
"A few main reasons. Happy to go into more detail if needed. 
  1. All other things equal, a charm is generally stronger than a stun given that it displaces and changes facing.
  2. It generally felt like the desire for Taric to have a charm was more about personality than gameplay, and the gameplay hooks we ended up choosing for his update felt more appropriate with a stun instead of a charm.
  3. It seemed like we could get most of the "charm" the character needed through emotes, VO, alternate skin fantasies, etc. 
For what it's worth, we did spend a fair amount of time testing a charm on his kit. Just decided it wasn't the best fit in the end."
He continued:
"The one we tested was actually very similar to his Live targeted Dazzle, but it charmed instead of stunned."
As for what you can do while under the effects of Taric's R invulnerability, Reav3  commented:
Can you use your own abilities while affected by Taric ultimate? In the video, there is a Panth and Leona. Could Leona use her ulti while invulnerable?
Yes, you can use all your abilities, it's like Kayle Ult. You can be CC'd though, just can't take damage"
He continued:
"Taric ult seems to be best used as Taric when he is linked to a strong initiator like Malphite or Vi. He puts the W on them, activates ult while they go in deep, and Taric personally can stand near his backline allies so that the ult has frontline and backline presence. 
As an opponent, the delay lasts 2.5 seconds. If a squishy target is in kill range by the time Taric casts R, most assassins will be able to blow the target up. A key differentiation between this R and, say Kindred R, is that this is absolutely not an on-demand lifesaving ability."

Riot Repertoir  also commented that both Taric and his Ally can can move during R's charge time:
can you move while affected by taric ult?
Yep. Both Taric and the ally with the W on them can move during the charge-up time."
Riot Repertoir continued:
"The circle on his ultimate follows him around during the delay, and after 2.5 seconds, it pops. At the time of the pop, all allied champions within the radius become invulnerable for 2.5 seconds, regardless of if they stay nearby Taric from then on." 

When asked about Taric's synergy with armor and if that will translate into the update, Riot Repertoir commented:
"Good concern. 
Taric has offensive Armor ratios on both his Passive and his E. Additionally, he gains a percentage increase to Armor that he also gives to whoever he is linked to with W. He is intended to be a bit more effective to as an anti-AD option, all other things equal."

As for Taric's voice actor, Reav3  confirmed it is Yuri Lowenthal:
Yuri Lowenthal. That is my bet on his VA.
You would be correct!"

Be sure to check out our PBE coverage of Taric's update for more information, including skin update previews, ability scalings and ratios, and more!

Updated Taric Bio and Story

To go along with his champion update, the Mount Targon page has been updated to include an updated champion bio for Taric and an new story!
The best weapons are beautiful.”
"Taric is the Aspect of the Protector, wielding incredible power as Runeterra’s guardian of life, love, and beauty. Shamed by a dereliction of duty and exiled from his homeland Demacia, Taric ascended Mount Targon to find redemption, only to discover a higher calling among the stars. Imbued with the might of ancient Targon, the Shield of Valoran now stands ever vigilant against the insidious corruption of the Void. 
Expected to serve as a stalwart guardian of Demacia, Taric’s life was meant to be the model of focused, selfless dedication to the ideals of king and country. Though he always saw himself as a protector, he never felt the need to limit or define whom and what he protected—be it an ideal, a piece of art, or a stranger’s life. Each could be considered worthy. Each could be seen as beautiful. 
Most of Taric’s contemporaries were focused on the martial principles of battle (things that came naturally and effortlessly to him). The young warrior was drawn instead to the fragile wonders that give life meaning, not endless brutish contests for flag or crown. 
This was a potentially treasonous philosophy, especially for one of Taric’s standing and role within the Demacian military hierarchy, but he chose to dedicate himself to understanding the simple truths of love, beauty, and life, so he could become their champion. Admired by all, Taric used his disarming manner and innate warmth to charm his way past most obstacles, and on the rare occasion they failed, his skill with hammer and sword could be counted on to settle the matter. 
As his quest for understanding broadened, Taric would miss combat training to wander the forest in search of a glimpse of a rare animal, neglect parade drills to sit in a tavern and listen to a bard’s hauntingly simple ballad, and skip regimental meetings to take horseback rides to observe the silver cloak of night settle across the countryside. Taric knew that, in his own way, he was training in a manner just as dedicated and focused as his fellow Demacians, but it wasn’t seen that way by his superiors. 
Taric’s casual nature, disregard for orders, and disinterest in his patriotic calling finally put him at odds with nearly everyone in authority—his family, his king, and especially his long-time friend Garen. And while the commoners saw Taric as a charming rogue, Garen recognized him for what he truly was—a man with the potential to become one of Demacia’s greatest heroes. The fact that Taric seemed to be thumbing his nose at his destiny as well as his country enraged Garen. 
Eventually, even his former friend could no longer protect him, and Taric’s military career started to crumble. Demotion after demotion pushed Taric further from Demacia’s heart, until, at last, he found himself commanding a small squad of lowly recruits assigned to guard an inconsequential ruined fortress out in the borderland wilds. After weeks spent standing in the rain and mud as ordered, and with no threat evident, Taric decided to let his men sleep while he wandered to a nearby temple to take in its cyclopean architecture. 
As morning lit up the temple’s overgrown cloisters, Taric finally decided to head back and check on his men. He was greeted by a scene of carnage. His troops had been butchered in their sleep, their corpses bearing the jagged hallmarks of the Void’s monstrous predators. 
Taric had failed his men, his country, and most painfully, his self-avowed mission to protect life. 
Returning to Demacia in shame, Taric was stripped of his rank and sentenced by Garen to endure “the Crown of Stone,” a ceremony that demanded a dishonored soldier ascend Mount Targon, known to all as a death sentence, as few mortals had ever survived the climb. 
And while the Crown of Stone was traditionally used by the dishonored to simply flee Demacia and make a new life in exile, Taric decided to actually atone for his mistake and set out for the towering spire of Mount Targon. 
The ascent nearly claimed him, body and soul, numerous times, but Taric pushed past the pain, past the memories of his mistake, the ghosts of his dead men, and other tests inflicted upon him by the mountain. 
As he approached the summit, Taric was challenged by a seemingly neverending myriad of conflicting realities, each warped existence offering a new, horrifying vision. Taric experienced the infinite fates that could befall those who had no one to protect them in their times of crisis. He saw the Alabaster Library engulfed in pitch and flame, and still he dashed into the roiling inferno to retrieve the poetry of Tung. He screamed in rage as the Frostguard ran the last dreamstag off a blind cliff, and then leapt into the abyss himself in a desperate attempt to save it. Before the ebon gates of Noxus, Taric slumped to his knees at the sight of Garen’s shattered body chained aloft as a warning. Between Taric and his friend stood the sum total of Noxus’s might. And yet still, without hesitation, Taric raised his shield and drove all before him. Claiming Garen from the gates, the young warrior marched toward Demacia, heavy with his burden, knowing full well that his return would ensure his execution. As he walked, Taric looked upward—and the blood-strewn fields of Noxus gave way to the star-filled expanse above Mount Targon. 
His trials complete, and freed from all illusion, Taric found himself at the pinnacle of the mountain, and he was not alone. 
Before him, cut from the sackcloth of night itself, stood something wearing the shape of a man. Its features composed from the pinpoints of stars, Taric was struck by the odd familiarity of its nature. 
Its voice spoke in a thousand whispers that cut through Taric like a mountain wind. 
Though he heard no recognizable words, he understood the figure’s intent with utter clarity. 
It called itself “the Protector.” 
Impressed by Taric’s steadfast resolve, the otherworldly being deemed the fallen Demacian hero a worthy avatar, imbuing him with its ethereal powers. The Protector spoke of the truths Taric had known his entire life, and of the mantle that he had unknowingly been preparing for with every decision that brought him to the top of the mountain. 
As the Protector’s whispers faded, Taric received a final warning: He would stand as the Shield of Valoran, but crashing against him would be a wave of howling madness, an ocean of gnashing teeth intent on consuming all, a squalid horror born of the Void. 
Reborn with power and purpose, Taric gladly accepted the seemingly impossible challenge and now dedicates himself to his sworn duty—as the steadfast guardian of an entire world. 
I look out across the once-verdant field, now scarred and ruined by the toil of battle. 
The loss of life will be immense, but I cannot save those who seek their own destruction. All those sons, all those fathers, all those futures lost. Demacians and Noxians, ever at each other’s throats, magnetically drawn to one another by something lesser than both. 
Plenty of defenders exist for their lofty ideals, and they all stand in my way, almost gleefully slaughtering themselves over a scrap of land, with no idea of its true importance. Two armies entwined, both committed to their ruinous dance. 
I could try to reason with them, ask them to move their brawl elsewhere, but my former countrymen now see me as something between a traitor and a wrathful god, and the Noxians… well, the Noxians have always been short on patience. 
My usual weapons—wit, charm, and warmth—are useless in this cauldron of desperation. So I push aside those who would slow me, and wade into those who would stop me. Every kind of horror one soul can inflict on another rages around me as I near my goal. 
And there, dead center of the roiling fury of battle, the blaze of color calls to me—a delicate life about to be snuffed out amid the mud- and gore-covered boots. Standing bravely, unbowed by the thudding dullness of the armored brutes around it, its beauty rings out like a single crystal bell. It is the last flower of its kind. If it dies, no more shall bloom. I can not allow it to perish. 
The two opposing commanders pause in their combat as I approach, an uninvited guest at their last moments. They turn to me, suddenly allied in their outrage at my intrusion. 
I stand at the very eye of the two armies, seemingly inviting the cold embrace of death from all sides. But unlike all those who are now taking wary steps toward me, their sword hands trembling, I know why I fight.
Check out the Mount Targon page for more on Aurelion Sol, Diana, Leona, Pantheon, and Taric!

When asked about Taric's new title, Reav3 explained:
"Sure! It's a metaphor. It means that Taric has become a metaphorical Shield for all life on Valoran. He is a lover and protector of all life."

Jaredan also jumped on the boards to clarify one point in the discussion of the new lore:
"of the mantle that he had unknowingly been preparing for with every decision that brought him to the top of the mountain." The wording implies that The Protector has been leading him to this point in his life, Also, I have read the other lores and my original post that I have linked on this page, The Aspects DO change the people they inhabit. Some like the Protect groom their champions, other just shove themselves up there asses into their very being, changing them so the aspect feels more at home or something, and With Pantheon, He'll just eject the soul from the body and take it for itself.
I prefer to let discussion run on its own (and it's great to see such interesting speculation in just this thread alone) but just for clarity on one point, 'every decision' speaks to those made by Taric, he made his own path that led to Targon, he wasn't being influenced by the Aspect of the Protector his whole life. The Aspect tested him once it sensed Taric's potential. Most people climbing Targon are killed outright by such mundane things as hypothermia, altitude sickness and exposure. Taric was worth testing, and, showing just how determined and honorable he is, passed that test. 
For example, being told to climb Targon by Demacia's main authority is an expression, something that means "leave Demacia and die outside its walls." It's a banishment. Virtually no-one actually goes there once they've been given the punishment, they go find somewhere they can live out their days under the ignominy of being an outcast. Demacia sees itself very highly, so the idea of no longer being able to live as a Demacian is a terrible punishment. However, Taric, so guilt-ridden for what happened, wants to prove his honor by keeping his word in a very literal way: he will climb Targon, though it will almost certainly kill him in doing so. He does this to prove he is worthy of his oath, and to honor those who fell because of him. In other words, his choice leads him physically and emotionally where he is when he meets the Protector, the Protector didn't make him do it."

Context on Kindred 6.7  R Changes

In a boards thread inquiring about patch 6.7's changes to Kindred's R making it self-cast, Meddler explained:

"We initially made Kindred's ult targetable on allies because we wanted to support a range of possible plays involving using it to save others at a distance. We're changing to self cast only for a few reasons though: 
The first is just to grant clearer options when playing against Kindred. Denying kills is an extremely powerful effect, range restriction's a good way to ensure sufficient kill opportunities still exist as a result. 
Secondly we've seen repeatedly that the cast on allies case isn't as intuitive as we'd hoped. We initially shipped with target ally cast believing there'd be some adjustment period as players got used to casting on others versus the natural 'push as an immediate emergency button' version similar skills tend to use. Assumption was though that cast on ally would feel pretty natural fairly quickly. That hasn't turned out to be the case, with a lot of people, high tier experienced kindred players included, still sometimes opting to Q or Flash onto allies and then self cast the ult, indicating we're not providing a sufficiently natural feeling cast type. 
Our third goal is to nerf Kindred's performance for really experienced players (those best able to use the ally targeted ult on average) more than for average players (who tend to self cast almost entirely). Kindred are still performing extremely well for experienced players, but aren't out of line for players with an average number of games on them. This change is a targeted removal of power as a result. "

Potential Turret Changes in next few patches

Over on reddit, Asyrite commented they have a few turret related changes they are working on:
Are they still not doing anything about towers? Holy crap.
We're actually playing around with some changes to turrets right now that we're looking at getting out in the next few patches. Nothing set in stone yet, but we're working on them."

How player behavior penalties affect Hextech Crafting 

With Hextech Crafting out on live for a few weeks now, Riot Socrates has posted an explanation of how the system interacts with player behavior penalties such as bans and restrictions:
"Hey everyone,

Now that Hextech Crafting is live in most parts of the world, let’s take a breather and talk about how our philosophy around rewarding sportsmanship influences the overall system. Outstanding performances, teamwork, and sportsmanship are what earns you chests and keys. Let’s clarify the sportsmanship part.

We want to focus on creating rewards and incentives for consistently sportsmanlike players. That’s why previously penalized players need to demonstrate commitment to positive play over time, even after wrapping up a chat restriction or ban. It’s also why we’ve decided against sharing the exact requirements for restoring access to earned loot. Doing so would encourage good sportsmanship for a defined period, and not much longer.

To add some clarity, more severe infractions incur longer ineligibility periods. If you’re currently ineligible for earned content, this is on you. Since Hextech launched, we’ve seen a meaningful number of players earn access to the system’s rewards. Stay focused on solids comms, teamwork, and sportsmanship in your games and you’ll be earning chests, keys, and loot sooner rather than later.

This approach reflects how we’ll build reward systems going forward, awarding the majority sweet loot, and temporarily excluding the minority while they prove they can stick to the community’s standards. There’s a ton of space to explore in recognizing and rewarding sportsmanship and we’re psyched about the possibilities for the future of League."
Riot Tantram added:
"I can tell you that it does not take 3 months to regain eligibility from a single chat restriction, as long as you are being sportsmanlike. You can look around the message boards and see lots of people regaining eligibility. For some it takes longer than others. It is not impossible, or even difficult. Simply play the game, have fun, display sportsmanship and you will begin earning loot shards before you know it. 
Not receiving loot is not a punishment. Earning loot is a reward."
When asked about the danger of this system and false reports, Riot Tantram  explained:
Yes. It does. You can say absolutely nothing, and still be reported and punished for it. Because the whole system works on a stance that because you are reported, you must have done something wrong to be reported in the first place.
Actually, Erdrik is correct here. 
A report flags a game for review. They do not establish guilt. The game is then reviewed for harassment, feeding, etc. This is why 'troll reporting' or 'gang reporting' do not work. False or inaccurate reports are thrown out.
You can say absolutely nothing, and still be reported and punished for it.
You cannot ever be punished for saying nothing .. unless of course it's for something gameplay related like feeding, afking or cheating. But, you can never be punished for offensive language, hate speech or verbal abuse if you said nothing."
For more on Hextech Crafting, check out this guide!

Higher Champion Mastery Levels & Skill

In a reddit thread discussing the idea of making future champion mastery levels require more skill (rather than dedication) to obtain, Socrates noted:
"This is a cool idea. We feel there is an opportunity with higher CM levels to gate more heavily based on skill. We are exploring something along these lines atm."

Gypsylord on Ekko

In a thread inquiring on any upcoming tank Ekko related nerfs, Gypsylord noted:
"The first thing we're looking at for this is actually going to be things like items and masteries. We're not sure about exact changes yet but it feels like Ekko isn't the only squishier dude up top building "The tank stuff" and being successful. 
If those changes don't bring him into line I'd agree with you that the bases are a bit too high and ratios too low for a char we want to build AP. My thoughts would be to hit the E base by a bit and give it more ratio. Goal wouldn't be to "kill" tank Ekko, but to make sure he's closer in power to the AP build. The E numbers were originally made in a time where Luden's Ekko was a lot stronger. Since E could proc Luden's AND Lich Bane it needed to have lower AP scaling to control burst. With Luden's no longer a must buy, E can probably afford to have a higher ratio."
He continued:
I wonder if they will look to nerf his speed when escaping someone. The items and grasp are going to get nerfed first if Gypsylord's comments are true, then the E base damage, but if they keep going i'd wonder if they'd force some of his speed to be geared offensively rather than free disengage after every trade.
It's possible that his speed is too high or lasts too long but he needs the "free disengage" to make the in-and-out pattern on his kit work. Would be sad to put his speed in a place where he couldn't literally run circles around things. 
Ekko is an assassin-like dude who's strengths are intended to be more about zipping around fights and less about one-shotting people in an instant (unless he hits the R :D)"

Global Splash Art Unification & GC Pipe Removal Discussion

As you may have noticed in the 4/5 PBE updateGentleman Cho'Gath's splash art was changed to no longer include the smoke, pipe, or alcohol in his wine glass.

In a reddit thread voicing concern over the removal of the pipe (particularly after the splash art was changed in 6.7 to go along with the global splash art unification), Iniquitee commented:
"Hey guys - I know it's annoying to have content changed in a way that feels unnatural. But the reality is that League of Legends is a game that's accessible to players across the world in some places as young as 11, and as such it's beholden to the rules of various ratings boards and legal systems. We like our players and want them to continue to be able to access to the game, and to do that we have to be mindful of material that might get us banned or our rating upgraded in one of the many regions we're published. These changes are not politically motivated, and we want to continue to make interesting content that appeals to all ages. As such we're sometimes flirting with that line, often accidentally, but tobacco is a pretty clear issue that is off-limits in several regions - particularly Turkey, Russia and Korea. In the end, we don't think losing these small elements breaks or ruins the characters who are affected and it's completely worth losing in order to ensure continued access to regions that are a bit more strict in their protections than others."
Iniquitee continued:
"In some regions, particularly those who heavily use PC Cafes, rating can affect which games are allowed to be installed on the public computers, which can severely restrict access to the game."

With the discussion turning to include the previous removal of Graves' cigar, Scarizard stepped in to comment on the situation and the global splash art unification changes:
For context, the removal of Graves' Cigar was never about him having it in his model or not (many of Nidalee's splashes show her with her cougar form like it's a pet when they're the same being). The issue was that due to global restrictions, some regions has Graves without a cigar and some had it with. We're pretty serious about global parity when it comes to our art, so we removed the cigar so all regions would have the same representation of Graves. 
These splashes being added are serving the same goal - globally unifying the existing art in League from around the world. From the 6.7 Patch Notes - 
"...while the long-term plan has always been for us to create brand new art for these older pieces, we’re doing some short term work over the next few patches to unify the global experience: some of our splashes will be switching to the Chinese version, and vice versa. We know that in some cases, the quality may still be low or the art style may still be off. Like last year’s Mass Texture Rebalances, this is not a replacement for full-scale splash updates down the road, just a short term solution to solve a specific problem." 
All of these splashes will be updated with time. Some of the ones that are already pretty great (Tencent's Silverfang Akali is honestly pretty amazing and in-line with our standards) will only get slight touches, while some of the ones that feel super-far off will get complete rehauls ala Chosen / Assassin Yi from a few patches ago, as well as the Shen, Poppy, and (now) Taric updates. 
With Cho'Gath, it's different. For every piece of content that's added into League of Legends, the game's rating becomes reevaluated. By porting the splash over to all regions, we become subject to that risk - especially concerning for regions like Korea where you need a SSN for login (thus tracking your age), potentially cutting a significant portion of global players out of the loop. 
'So why not take Riot's Gentleman Cho'Gath splash over Tencents if it's so controversial?' The answer here is that because the content is legacy (i.e. was already in the client/game before we launched in so many countries), it wasn't measured by the same standards or quality bar by which game ratings are changed. No matter which one we took here, we'd be reevaluated - in this case, the risk (some players can't play League in their country/region) wasn't deemed worth holding onto either splash so we made edits. 

Graves wasn't changed because of his in-game model, he was changed for global parity.

Cho'Gath's skin risks changing the rating of LoL around the world, and has been changed to reflect that.

All of these skins (including Gentleman Cho'Gath) will be changed in the long-term to match our current standards of splash arts, including preserving the gentlemanly intent of the art in question."
As for why they are changing it now, Scarizard added:
Normally I agree with RED posts since you guys tend to know what you're talking about and are usually responding to some form of overreaction or another.
If Riot was so 'serious' with global parity of your art -- Wouldn't you have changed it, I dunno, maybe.. 4 years ago?Back when the Chinese splash art actually was better than 90% of the NA/EU splashes?
It was never about quality - as another user's commented in this thread, it's about maintaining multiple art pipelines. It was a mistake for us to not have done it in the past (and in some cases we've been limited by tech), so we're doing it now for a better unified experience moving forward. 
I don't begrudge this viewpoint, but it feels like saying 'If you're so serious that cigarettes are bad for you, why are you quitting today instead of four years ago?'"
Regarding accusations this was a change Tencent is forcing Riot to do, Scarizard continued:
"I've listed many, many other reasons. Tencent didn't ask us to do this - we're doing this so that we don't have to maintain multiple art pipelines and have a unified global experience. If you re-read what I said, taking either Gentleman Cho'Gath splash risks a rating change due to the fact that it's changing for some region no matter which we go with."
Riot JxE also added in:
" Nope, for instance Turkey and Russia are the countries that have issues with smoking and alcohol."
He continued:
"We have to be careful with anything with blood, ghosts that look too human, skulls, smoking, things that are too sexual and stuff like that. It's not very clear to me right now what the limits are so I'm going to be looking the specifics. I've seen a lot of confusion in this space so I'm hoping to make a post in the future about the different rules and why we make the decisions we do around with stuff like this."

Pwyff also noted:
"This fell on deaf ears last time, but I'm curious about trying it again so feel free to flame me. 
While this isn't true in NA, showing tobacco is off-limits in certain countries. While we've 'gotten by' in our initial depictions, that was a result of not being noticed (or skirting the edges), not because we were fully compliant. 
But when a legal team + ratings board comes snooping and they say, "Hey take that out or we'll up your game rating and make it inaccessible to X number of players under this age" we can fight hard for a social stance on something we're a little indifferent to (I get it, you love cigars and alcohol), or we can comply. Fighting with a ratings board on our freedom to display cigars - particularly in countries where talking back is less common - seems odd. 
Now as to why this is being cross-regionally applied, while I see the insane pain on the China splash art, we're trying really hard to unify all splashes because it's a technical headache to have multiple versions out in the wild, not to mention the bevy of potential slip-ups with international considerations. 
This discussion's a constant headache but I'm curious what about it doesn't resonate with everyone."
As for the  Gentleman Cho'Gath splash specifically, RiotJxE  noted they will try to add the actual pipe back in:
"I'm gonna try and add the pipe back in but it was a last minute change that had to go in for Turkey's laws. I had to go as safe as possible to avoid any legal issues. 
Let's just say I'm learning a lot about what kind of visuals a global game can have. Sorry for the pain this has caused, the smoke definitely has to go, but I'll do my best to get it to match the in-game model."
RiotJxE continued:
So basically this company Tencent can nope out a bunch of splash arts for any reason? I'm really sorry but if you could give a little bit more insight I'm sure I can understand it a bit better. Also thank you for the reply anyways!!
In this case we actually used the Tencent splash and it was Turkey that had issues with it. I'm only now learning about these things so I'll share what I know so far. 
Certain regions have bans on advertising smoking. Turkey is especially strict about this so the act of smoking is banned. I believe a character can be holding a smoking item, but they can't be smoking it. Hence the Graves cigar issue. 
So yeah, this had nothing to do with Tencent but it was an issue nonetheless and one we had to address."
As for the wine that was also removed from the Gentleman Cho'Gath splash, he noted:
"Looking into the wine change right now, trying to figure out what we can do here."

RiotJxE  also posted a reminder on the purpose of these global splash art unification changes:
"We know, the purpose of these changes isn't to give a visual upgrade, it's to remove a pipeline that allows Tencent to replace any of our splashes when they choose. This pipeline is a pain to support and means we spend less time working on the things that matter. We know this will be a short term pain while we update all these splashes, but the long term benefit will be worth it."
RiotJxE  continued:
I know it's difficult, but couldn't you adapt all splash arts to each country?
There's an opportunity cost to everything we do. Having multiple splashes for each country means we have to support those for every change we make. That means we spend less time making new awesome stuff and more time keeping the old stuff working. That's not where we want to spend our time because it means it takes longer to get improvements out to you guys."
When asked to elaborate on what "pipeline" means in the context of this situation, RiotJxE  noted:
Can you please explain what you mean by "pipeline" what is it, why is it there, and how does doing this remove it. every time i see this word it seems like your dodging telling us whats going on
A pipeline is a system that is used to get content into a game. Many different pipelines push content into our build which then goes out to players every patch. This happens to be a janky pipeline which causes issues and breaks the build often enough to make us want to do something. Every time it breaks we have to spend time to figure out why it broke, what caused it and how to fix it. It often involves long wait times while trying to reach Tencent in a different time zone which delays when the build can go out.
We're working on moving all game data to one pipeline so that it's faster to debug and fix issues when they come up. This is part of that process."
He continued, explaining why there were differences in the first place between the regions:
"Back in the day when our art quality sucked, Tencent wanted to replace our bad splashes with better ones that matched their audience. We threw together this pipeline and Tencent went ahead and made changes. 
Once our art quality got better they stopped overriding our stuff. I believe Ziggs was the last change they made. However this pipeline has stayed around for years just updating our old stuff with their old stuff. 
This pipeline breaks a lot which causes our builds to break and we have to go and figure out why and fix it. Unifying our splashes means we can get rid of this pipeline for good and get all data into our game through one pipeline that is much easier to fix."
He continued, reminding regions are "sharing" art with some going to each as part of the unification:
"Both regions are getting changes to splashes. Tencent will be changing to some of ours and we'll be changing to some of theirs."

When asked about the change to Uncle Ryze splash in 4/5 PBE updateRiotJxE  noted:
"Honestly, we just thought the Tencent splash looked better, but if you guys like the Declaration of Independence more than money we can change it."

As for the 4/6 PBE revert to the Stinger Akali splash, RiotJxE noted:
"Had some concerns from Korea about blood. Gonna paint some stuff out and put it back up."
He also noted Crimson Akali was reverted for a simialr reason:
"It was the blood coming out the head. Will be fixed and readded."

RiotJxE  also commented on the base Karthus art changes, explaining:
"Yeah completely forgot about that. I was pretty surprised they changed that and I'm gonna be looking into why and see if we can fix it once all all commotion dies down."
He continued:
"A lot of the decisions were tough ones and we tried to go with what was the best call for all of our players globally. We didn't always get it right, but I think we got close in most decisions. Change is always tough. I'm keeping an eye on all the feedback we're getting and we'll pivot if necessary."

[UPDATE: As of the 4/7 PBE update, the Gentleman Cho'Gath splash has a pipe again and Akali's arts have been tweaked to have less blood.]

Reav3 on Champion Updates & Splash Art

Next up we have Reav3 with a few small comments on champion updates and splash art updates:

With all this talk of the global splash art unification, Reav3 also reminded they are still working on completely new splash arts  for champions who previously received champion updates:
"We are currently working on New Nidalee, Trundle & Tristana Skin Splashes, as well as a bunch of other Base & Skin Splashes that we had 80-90% complete. Expect to see some of those popping up in the near(ish) future."

When asked about champion updates and new voiceovers particularly for Pantheon or other champions who have had significant lore changers, Reav3 commented:
Will it ever happen that champions not recieving updates in terms of visual/gameplay will recieve some more VO lines in order to interact with new/reworked character and fit better Lore updates?
"It's always possible, though we don't have anything planned right now. As for Pantheon, he's fairly high on our list to get a full VGU. Not the top of our list but pretty high. When he does get a full VGU he will of course get all new VO."
He continued:
I'd be interested to see who's on your list
Yorick Ryze warwick urgot swain morde pantheon anyone else?
Everyone forgets Galio ;)"

When asked if Eveylnn will ever get a champion update, Reav3 noted:
What about Evelynn ? The champion who was promised a VU back in July 2012?
She's also pretty high on the VGU list"

While the mid year mage updates are largely gameplay focused, Reav3 also commented Zyra will be receiving a texture update for her base skin and plants:
Will there be texture updates at least?
Zyra needs one imo, she kinda looks like plastic right now.
Zyra will have a texture update to her base only (and her base plants)"
He continued:
Why isnt Wildfire Zyra a candidate for a small TU? Her current orange colour is a bit distracting since the new Summoners Rift imo
A TU for Zyra takes quite a bit of time as she also has all those plant asset. We have pretty limited art resources for the roster projects and had to choose between only base Zyra or nothing at all. We chose to at least update base Zyra."

[NA] Upcoming Event Finder Tool Changes 

Here's Riot Uracan with info on upcoming changes to the NA Event Finder:
"TL;DR - We’re transitioning the event finder tool to focus on connecting players to live League events while winding down online tournament prize support through the tool. The tool’s new look and functionality will go live on May 4. We’re also looking to integrate collegiate and local sponsored events into the tool, though live dates for these features are still TBD.
Hey folks, 
Many of you are doubtless thinking “event finder...what the heck is that?” Well, that’s part of what we’re trying to address. We created the tool years ago with the goal of helping players meet up for live events as well as giving them a workable way to organize and obtain prize support for online tournaments. Unfortunately, the tool hasn’t scaled well over the years - it’s only very sparingly used for live events, and the online prizing support feature is almost equally unknown while being heavily and repeatedly used by an extremely small minority of players (less than 1% of the NA player base). 
We’re obviously to blame for a lot of these problems, as we haven’t very well promoted the tool or guided usage. We’re hoping to change that this year (in line with our wider 2016 live event efforts) by refocusing event finder around promotion, support, and prizing for live gatherings and events. Simultaneously, we’ll be transitioning the tool away from support and prizing for online-only tournaments. Although event finder will no longer support online-only tournament setup, mixed events that begin online and culminate in a live component will still be supported and eligible for prizing. 
Online tournament prize support is something we may want to re-explore in the future, but based on current use we don’t believe the event finder tool is the way to make it work. Instead, we’ll refocus those resources on supporting live events across North America that can hopefully offer awesome experiences to a greater variety and number of players. We know these changes will significantly impact the small number of players currently using the tool for online prizing support, so we’re giving advance notice in order to give affected players time to prep for the change. 
We’ll roll out these changes and the tool’s new look on May 4. Beyond that, we want to continue building up the tool as a way for local communities to get together and share their passion for League. To that end, we’re working to integrate collegiate events into the tool, and more tentatively exploring the potential for sponsored partner events. More details to come! 
Feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments for us to address, otherwise we’ll have more details to share once the changes take effect next month."
Riot Uracan also clarified this change is ONLY for the NA server:
"Correct! To clarify this change is only happening in NA at this moment. Other regions are at their own discretion for how they want to support these the tournaments."

Patch Chat 6.7 - Playtesting 101

With patch 6.7 out on live, the playtest team is back on the boards for another patch chat!
"Hey all, 
Welcome back to Patch Chat! We’re Riot’s Playtest Team, a group of high ranking League players whose job it is to play the hell out of things (lane tests, competitive testing, etc) and give actionable, objective feedback to designers. 
Every two weeks (concurrent with the release of patch notes), we’re going to be hosting a discussion here on the state of balance on the current patch. Take this opportunity to ask us any questions about the state of the game. 
Today, we’ll be talking about the Patch 6.7 Kindred changes, detailing the iterative process we use in playtesting, how patch notes evolve as they pass through our team, and what skills we use as playtesters. Prospective playtesters, listen in, and if you think you’re up to snuff,consider applying
First, we get a changelist with the context for the change. In this case, Kindred has been dominating the early game, but only in the hands of experienced players. 
The proposed solution? Lower base damage on Dance of Arrows, a decreased heal on Wolf’s Frenzy, and Lamb’s Respite can only be self-cast now. 
How quickly we understand the context and how it suits - or doesn’t suit - the changes is probably the most critical part of our job. The question isn’t always about power. We don’t just want to nerf Kindred, we want to do so in a way that won’t punish inexperienced Kindred players that much. 
From here, we try to make predictions about the changelist. 
We like the change to Wolf’s Frenzy; with lower sustain early on, Kindred players won’t be as able to use their massive sustain advantage early to invade and gank while other junglers are left chugging their potions. Moreover, since the heal is contingent on movement, higher level players who are kiting camps more will actually feel this nerf more strongly. Same goes for the Lamb’s Respite change: inexperienced players will benefit from the more intuitive use of their ult. 
Our main concern is that the Dance of Arrows nerf hits new Kindred players too hard, killing their early clear speed and dueling potential. In other words, the Q changes are skill agnostic - they hit experienced and inexperienced Kindred players about the same. Unlike the other proposed changes, this doesn’t line up with the goals of the changelist. 
When testing, we can’t just run a few random games and come away convinced. We’re limited to only a few tests per change on a given patch, and we can’t test everything. To compensate, we want to isolate as many variables as possible. Here, since we're concerned with Kindred’s early invade power, we set them up to succeed against immobile junglers like Cho’Gath and (spoilers) Taric, and set them up to fail against pressure fighters like Rek’Sai and Lee Sin. 
Four snowballed Kindreds later, we come away with one conclusion: Kindred is still capital-S Strong in the hands of experienced, high Elo players, despite these nerfs. 
However, we continue to have concerns about the Q nerfs. Our assessment is that Kindred probably would survive nerfs of this magnitude, but the hit to Dance of Arrows makes the champion quite hard if you’re new to the Eternal Hunters. 
Fast forward through a few days of discussion with designers and the Q changes get pulled: Patch 6.7 ships two Kindred changes, targeting their two zone abilities, but not Dance of Arrows. 
It’s not always that simple, of course. Sometimes we fail to convince designers. Sometimes a change ships that we are still concerned about. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong, and overall the Core Gameplay Discipline grows and learns when to trust our instincts and when to stick to their design. 
Have any questions about what it’s like to work as a Riot playtester? Maybe some questions about other, non-Kindred changes in 6.7? As usual, feel free to ask any questions about balance or what exactly our job is! We will be around for the next few hours and will try to answer as many questions as possible. 
Adam "Afic" Cohen
Ben “Cezium” Burkhardt
Shawn “I Am The IRS” Currie
Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard
Scott “Sickoscott” Hong
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman
Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith
Blake “Ex Shepherd” Soberanis
Trevor “ThEntropist” Thernes"
Join the crew over on the boards for more discussion!  

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