This morning's red post collection includes a look at the October early sales and October bundles now in the shop for a limited time, a dev blog on Champion Prototypes, October 20th's hotfix for Ryze, context on the Kled PBE changes, a lengthy rundown of how the Plant spawn system works, and more!
- Red Post Collection: November Sales Schedule, LCU Alpha ending soon, Instagram PBE Preview for new skins, and more!
- 2017 Season Update
- 10/19 PBE Update: Replays, Jungle Changes, Plants, & more!
- Champion & Skin Sale 10/21 - 10/24
- The Teemoing - New skins, legacy content, icons, Doom Bots of Doom in RGMQ, and more now available!
Table of Contents
- October 20th Mid-Patch Updates
- October Early Sales
- It’s time for October bundles!
- /dev: On Champion Prototypes
- Ask Riot: Easter eggs and books
- Context on 6.22 PBE Kled Changes
- Plant Spawn Full System Design
- Quick Hits
October 20th Mid-Patch Updates
The official 6.21 patch notes have been updated to reflect a Ryze bugfix applied on October 20th!
- OVERLY OVERLOADED - Fixed a bug where, when Q - Overload hit a target marked with Flux, it bounced to all nearby targets even if they weren't also marked with Flux"
October Early Sales
October's early sales are in the shop through October 24th!
"The October Early Sale is officially here! To kick things off, the following non-Legacy skins from the past 4-6 months are going on sale from October 21 00:00 PT through October 24 23:59 PT!"
It’s time for October bundles!As we near the end of the month, a selection of October champion and skin bundles are also in the shop through the end of the day on October 27th!
"Grab these limited-time bundles now through 10/27 at 23:59 PT.
Hold On, Wait For Me Bundle - 50% off at 2357 RP (3906 RP if you need the champions)
- Surprise Party Amumu
- Goalkeeper Blitzcrank (Legacy)
- Obsidian Malphite (Legacy)
- Longhorn Alistar (Legacy)
The Delete Fleet Bundle - 50% off at 2999 RP (5340 RP if you need the champions)
- Soul Reaver Draven
- Program Lissandra
- Night Hunter Rengar
- Arclight Vayne
- PROJECT: Zed
The I've Got You Bruhndle Bundle - 50% off at 2511 RP (4612 RP if you need the champions)
- Dragonslayer Braum
- Armor of the Fifth Age Taric
- Surgeon Shen
- Master Chef Tahm Kench
- Tahm Kench
Prey to Play Bundle - 50% off at 2396 RP (4692 RP if you need the champions)
- Jade Fang Cassiopeia
- Blood Moon Elise
- Shadowfire Kindred
- Leopard Nidalee
- Woad Scout Quinn
/DEV: ON CHAMPION PROTOTYPESMeddler with a new Nexus article on Champion prototypes, work in progress champions, and the rough and often hilarious assets that are used during development.
"Before they’re ready to launch, in-progress champions take on strange forms.
When we start a new champion, we first create a core concept. This involves a team with at least an artist, writer, and gameplay designer working together to identify things like gameplay niche, unique visual appearance, personality, place in the world etc.
After that, we need to get the character in game as soon as we can to start testing out the ideas we have -- abilities, goals for strengths and weaknesses, solutions for expected technical problems, etc. Things don’t always work out as predicted though; testing, with a lot of trial and error, is really important. Occasionally, abilities from the original concept for a champion work exactly as hoped and stay on their kit throughout development. More often though, a champion will go through dozens of abilities (or at least variations on abilities) before we settle on their final kit.
Since we’re frequently testing and discarding ideas, we don’t want to make new art for every ability that seems promising. It would take a lot of artist time -- for experiments that are often tossed after just a few days. As a result we use what we call placeholder art, where we take character models, spell visual effects, sounds, etc. from other champions and then modify them to make new champion prototypes.
Good prototypes have a number of qualities. They’re distinct (e.g. you know it’s a new champion at a glance when you first see them come out of fog of war). They’re representative of the gameplay we’re building for the new champion (e.g. use of Alistar as a placeholder suggests a really tanky, dangerous-when-close-to-you champion, so he wouldn’t by default be a good choice for a squishy long ranged mage). Finally they should also be evocative, capturing at least some of the feeling of the champion we’re trying to make. Prototypes that evoke the appropriate vibe and personality result in better playtest feedback and help the team developing the champion get -- and stay -- on the same page. Ideally a Lulu prototype would still feel whimsical and cute, a Zed one intimidating and deadly, a Braum one helpful and friendly, etc.
So, now that we’ve talked about the theory a bit let’s take a look at some champions during their prototype phases, both in terms of how we represented them originally and how some of their abilities changed.
FIRST UP: GNAR!
We spent quite a while concepting different possible Mega Gnar forms, trying out ones inspired by a range of creatures like dinosaurs, rhinos, lions etc. before eventually settling on the gorilla-esque one you see above. It’s pretty close to the final Gnar we shipped, too, changing little in development (which isn’t always the case).
For quite a few months, however, Gnar looked pretty different in our playtests as we figured out his kit. Here’s a look at his prototype mid development:
- Aboriginal Sivir’s boomerang
- Recolored Vayne’s Silver Bolts (clearest way to convey a 3 hit ability!)
- Ziggs’ Satchel Charge excited yell (get a bit of that hyperactive feeling on the E)
- Master Yi’s Highlander speed lines (trails make it easier to track fast moving champs and add some visual satisfaction)
And for Mega Gnar:
- The first half of Warwick’s death animation as a boulder throw animation (Warwick doesn’t throw anything so we had to get a bit inventive)
- Tristana’s rocket jump impact visual effects and audio (we wanted something really impactful for the Mega E landing given how large a champion’s slamming into the ground)
- Udyr’s bear stance roar (a really beastial, powerful sound that as players we’ve learned to associate with incoming danger)
Finally, let’s take a look at a few abilities that were on the kit at this point mid development that changed.
- Mega Gnar’s W was both a stun and an auto-attack chaining effect. We felt the kit was a bit overloaded, so simplifying the W helped address that and clarified how the ability worked.
- Mega Gnar’s E knocked up nearby enemies on landing. Felt great (displacements always do) and was really thematic (big thing slamming into the ground creates a shockwave). Gnar had too much CC though, and even as just a damaging leap the E was going to be useful and satisfying, so we cut the knockup.
- Gnar’s ult at this point was a skill we’d later put on Tahm Kench - Devour. We liked the ability, but it felt like something that should be really core to a champion’s kit rather than a secondary feature. Expectation with Gnar was that overall the back and forth on his semi-controlled transformation, and ability to harass or tank as a result, would be his prime focus. We concluded we’d be better off saving Devour for a different champ and doing something that fit well with the transformation pattern instead.
NEXT UP: REK’SAI
|Burrower - Rez’xel|
When we began working on Rek’Sai, we started with a feeling we wanted to capture: ‘landshark’, with the champion initially called ‘Burrower’ as a placeholder name. Basically a beastial predator that lurked beneath you, driven by cunning and instinct. We hadn’t figured out backstory, personality, gender, or other details at this point, but knew that feeling was really the core of what we wanted to make.
For playtesting we needed two really different models for the two forms. This was to ensure it was always extremely clear which state Burrower was in, given that how you’d play around each should be pretty different. We didn’t have any champion models available that were a particularly good match for shark, though. The solution? Borrow from a skin that was in development at the time.
Void Fizz’s shark hit on pretty much all the notes we were after. It looked dangerous, powerful, animalistic, and for an extra bonus even already had the void thing going on. So, we took a copy of it, rotated it so it was horizontal, resized it a bit, and gave it a few basic animations. We figured it’d look a bit rough, but would capture the powerful predator feeling we were after. For the unburrowed form, we used a purple Kha’Zix.
So yeah, the shark didn’t exactly work out as planned. It was super clear which form burrower was in, so we got that right. But the shark itself looked pretty goofy as it swam around at a much smaller size chewing on the dirt. It didn’t hit on the emotional notes we were after, though it did at least offer some amusement in playtests. I must admit we were a little sad to see it go when we finally got the proper model in.
Looking at Rek’Sai’s kit, a couple of things were on there right from the start: Tremor Sense and Tunnels. For the tunnels we used Thresh lanterns as a placeholder, since they had all the correct associations for how the ability worked (‘I click this thing and it moves me’).
When we first started Rek’Sai’s development, we were pretty sure we also wanted to do some form of stealth (Evelynn-style perhaps) on the burrowed form, to really play up the contrast between the two different states. It became apparent really quickly, though, that with stealth on there the kit had way too much going on.
Most of the rest of Rek’Sai’s kit was still in flux at this point, as shown above. One of the more notable changes is that the burrowed Q was originally a passthrough dash like Fizz’s Q. However, once the tunnels were on the kit and functioning properly it became apparent those were all the in-combat mobility Rek’Sai would need. Another notable difference was that the unburrow was at this point just a form swap, not a knock-up, while the ult was a combination of knock-up and slow-moving stealth+untargetability. We concluded the knock-up was a good fit, but should be on a basic ability instead and that, even on an ult, it wasn’t appropriate to have stealth or untargetability on Rek’Sai.
A Mashup of Rough Kled art
Our starting point with Kled was ‘light cavalry’. We wanted someone on a mount who felt really quick and nimble, in contrast a bit with Sejuani (and to a lesser extent Hecarim). We used a miniature pink Hecarim as the initial placeholder -- it was really clear it wasn’t normal Hecarim, and we figured the recolor plus mini size should capture some of the desired feel (nimble, cute, not too serious).
Thought that prototype hit its clarity goals, it felt really flat in terms of personality. This was particularly noticeable when we solicited feedback from people outside of the team working on Kled. It wasn’t clear exactly what sort of vibe we were going for, or what the core of the concept was. We had this vision of Kled as a crazy, kinda goofy character riding a cute mount, but that wasn’t coming through at all.
We were already using Gnar as the placeholder model for the dismounted form though, so eventually the idea came up -- could we just bind two champion models together to simulate what we were planning to do? We hadn’t done so previously, but did have the ability to tie one unit to another (first in-game example of that: Syndra’s spheres that follow her but aren’t dependent on her facing for their own orientation).
Result was, yeah, we could bind two models together and, at least in this case, having both of them just play their animations looked surprisingly good. Gnar running above Hecarim running looks pretty close to a riding animation and the two of them attacking at the same time felt natural enough too. Some of the emotes got a bit disconnected, but the dance happened to sync up wonderfully. Feedback and excitement for Kled improved dramatically once we got that revised placeholder model in.
At this point Kled’s abilities were still going through a lot of change. His passive and E were the same as the final kit. His Q, on the other hand, was a pretty different ability, some of which ended up on his eventual W (flurry of melee hits). His W was a ranged immediate AOE hard CC, which testing showed wasn’t a good fit. Finally, for this version, his ult was an exact copy/paste of Riven’s ult ‘Blade of the Exile/Wind Slash’. That wasn’t because we thought we’d want to ship something just like Riven’s ult, but because we wanted to get some testing on the rest of his kit and therefore needed a temporary ultimate to ensure he functioned well enough in-game (rather than falling off a cliff in terms of effectiveness post level 6 trying to fight people with ults without having one himself).
WRAP UP (AND BARD OUT-TAKE)
So, that’s a look at both a bit of how we prototype champions and how a few of them had different abilities partway through their development. Hopefully, it’s been an interesting peek at how some of the development process goes. To end, let’s look at one more video that’s a little different. This is Bard during his development at a point where we were going for a pied piper/Pikmin inspired approach to Meeps, where a line of them would follow Bard around constantly, potentially getting to around eight meeps by the end of the game. Something the designer working on Bard realized, though, was that by changing a single line of code we could create a really cool effect as below. It’s not something we ever thought about shipping (way too much stuff on screen at the same time for a single champion), but it was cool to play around with and we figured you folks might enjoy a quick look at it as a result."
"It's actually kind of crazy how much VFX / sound / indicators contribute to assessing champion balance and threat potential. Meddler alludes to this, but designers are always trying to parse balance decisions around if the prototype isn't selling the idea well, if numbers are off, or both. Some internal playtests need a lot of imagination when things are going through rapid iteration."As for a few other goofy designs, groovylord shared:
so gnar was a little naut and a big ww,reksai was void fizz ult and a blind kha, and kled was a pink hecarim and a gnar lulVi was a green malphite and then a really weird blue-black iron scale shyvanna.
Jinx was off-color Ashe.
Jhin was an all black sheriff caitlyn with glowing green rifle and eyes.
Ekko could shapeshift into Lucian at some point (for ranged attacks >:) )"
Ask Riot: Easter eggs and booksA new ASK RIOT is up, this time answering player questions on easter eggs and LoL books:
"Welcome to Ask Riot!
This week, we’re talking easter eggs and lore books.
Are there any hidden easter eggs in League?
I can’t speak for the rest of the game, but as someone who worked on the Summoner’s Rift map update, a few things come to mind. Looking over the map, I remember Easter eggs were something we wanted to add in FOREVER, but because we had set such a high standard for our ourselves to finish the art, we kept pushing it out. After every sprint, we'd say “I'd love to put in this or that Easter egg.” At the end of development, we finally got a couple of weeks to jam on it and the team went nuts. My personal favourites are the immortalised old 'sock puppet baron head' and Helmet Bro's helmet sprinkled around the Rift. :D (video content discovered/created by users)
Though I can’t confirm or deny any specific finds, the community has done a great job of investigating the map and coming up with theories, like in this video.
RiotOtown, Senior Concept Artist
Will we ever get books about the characters of League? Or a book that tells the whole history of League?
It's certainly something we've talked about, and many of us (myself very much included) are keen to do at some point - though there are no solid, locked-in plans just yet. We definitely want to tell more stories. For now, we feel that shorter stories like Burning Tides: The Reckoning, Shadow and Fortune,Bird and the Branch and Bloodline are a little more accessible, able to be created quicker, and are a good way for us to see what players think of them, what resonates, etc. As long as you are reading them and enjoying them, we'll be looking to do more.
Ant in Oz, Product Lead/Narrative Lead of World Building (Foundations)
Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Dos and Don’ts, then ask away.
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."
Context on 6.22 PBE Kled ChangesRiot Scruffy explained:
"The full changelist below:
-Remount delay reduced from 1.25 -> .5s (this is insanely big)
-Damage down on 4th hit W (what you noted above)
-We're fiddling around with increasing the amount of courage he gets from minions/last hits (nothing set in stone yet)
Overall these changes shouldn't be a nerf and we hope to get him remounting significantly more often."Scruffy continued:
So basically changing the damage around ? Kinda confused so not a nerr but a changeTLDR - cutting some damage so we can make remounting a lot easier."
Plant Spawn Full System Design6.22 PBE cycle, Riot Gmang invaded the PBE boards to give a detailed rundown of how the new plants spawn:
"Before I begin: most players won't need to read this. I'm going to go into A LOT of detail. The target audience for this post is people who really want to understand the system design, like theorycrafters and Wiki editors. You shouldn't need to know most of these rules to play with plants well. We expect the vast majority of players to get familiar with plant spawning behavior just by playing a few games.
And that's not to mention that this system could change a lot in the next few weeks! This is a long PBE cycle, and we'll be listening closely to your feedback. We're particularly interested in how you feel about spawn rates, plant locations, and the experience of scouting them.
(Info here should be up-to-date as of the Oct 19 PBE build.)
Spawn System Goals
The spawn system has several goals:
- Enrich map and vision control by providing mini-objectives for teams to scout and plan around
- Provide interesting combat situations and reward players who adapt to them
- Make League more fun to play and master by challenging you in ways that avoid solvable routine
- Ensure individual plants appear at the location and time when they'll have the most positive impact on each phase of the game
- Make Summoner's Rift feel more alive
All the details and mechanics described in the rest of this post exist to deliver on these goals. We'll be listening closely to feedback and observing game results to make whatever changes are needed to ensure that they do.
Where Each Type of Plant Spawns
There are a handful of fixed locations where plants can spawn. At any of those locations, only one kind of plant is possible. Within a couple games, you should have a good sense of where each kind of plant can spawn.
Plant types by region (green river Honeyfruit, blue ramp Scryer's Bloom, red jungle Blast Cone)
Rules of thumb for plant types by location:
- Honeyfruit spawn in river
- Scryer's Blooms spawn at a few specific locations near river ramps
- Blast Cones spawn in the jungle quadrants
Map of plants that always appear shortly after game start (red Blast Cones, blue Scryer's Blooms)
During the very early game, like your first jungle clear, plants have reliable spawn locations and timings. We want to avoid jungle success and failure being determined by RNG. You should have a good sense of which plants spawn during your first clear after a couple jungler games. Over the course of the game, more spawn locations become available, and their spawns will be less predictable.
Plant Life Cycle
When a plant spawns, it first appears as a seedling that takes 30 seconds to grow into a usable plant. This gives nearby players a chance to notice it and plan around it before it becomes usable -- we don't want plants magically appearing underneath people's feet in the middle of encounters. Additionally, plants leave a corpse for 30 seconds after being destroyed, so you can tell if a plant was recently used even if you didn't see it happen.
Your team only knows about plants that one of you has seen, so you may want to scout them. If you get vision of a plant during its lifetime, it will be visible to you and your teammates in its "last known state" even after reentering fog of war, similar to a structure in a traditional RTS game, and appear on your minimap.
- While it's in fog of war, if an opponent destroys the plant, your view of that plant will not update until you get real vision of its position. Only then will you know it was destroyed.
There are two exceptions to this partial reveal rule:
- If you get real vision of a seedling, your view of the plant will get an update as it becomes fully grown, even if you don't have real vision of the plant at that moment. Likewise, if you get real vision of a plant corpse, it will clean up from your view at the accurate time.
- If a plant still appears in your view after it's been dead for 3 minutes, it will update and remove the plant from your view (we feel, at that point, the value isn't worth the clutter).
Fair Warning: This is the part that gets particularly gnarly and technical. It's also the part most likely to get changes during the PBE cycle.
The early spawns during your first clear are a reliable sequence, but after that, different locations have different respawn systems (called "Gank," "Ramp," "River," and "Deep", explained below). Because of the unique nature of these different map locations, each respawn system has its own logic and tracks its own respawn timers to ensure the desired amount of reliability, fairness, and unpredictability.
Under the hood, each quadrant has a separate "respawn time list" for each of these respawn systems (the lists get generated during the game). When it's time for a quadrant to spawn its next generation of plants for a given system, it looks up the expected spawn time for that new generation in the relevant respawn time list (or generates a new time if the list is exhausted).
- So when a Scryer's Bloom "Ramp" plant in the west quadrant says "Let's start the spawn sequence for generation 9," it will look up entry 9 in the respawn list for "west quadrant Ramp plants." If entry 9 doesn't exist yet, the system will generate it, add it to the list, and use it.
Plants have four different respawn systems: two for Blast Cones ("Gank" and "Deep"), one for Honeyfruit ("River"), and one for Scryer's Bloom ("Ramp").
"Gank" Blast Cones
Map of all "Gank" Blast Cones
- Gank Blast Cones let you jump into the epic monster pit and into the side lane river brush. Because of their strategic importance, we want these to be reliable and fair between teams and across games.
- These use the most reliable respawn method. The game rolls respawn times for north-south quadrants together and east-west quadrants together, so both blue and red teams have precisely the same respawn times.
- Each quadrant has exactly one possible spawn location (see map).
- Currently, the respawn time range is between 3 and 4 minutes.
- Respawn time begins after the plant corpse has been cleaned up.
"Ramp" Scryer's Blooms
Map of all Scryer's Blooms. Blooms labeled 'S' spawn shortly after game start. Limit one living Bloom per quadrant.
- Scryer's Blooms help you control map vision by revealing enemies and wards. While both teams should have equal access to this vision control in any given game, having a bit more or fewer blooms between games won't create unfair advantages.
- When a quadrant exhausts its respawn time list, it rolls three new respawn times. It then takes these same times, shuffles their order, and assigns them to the mirrored quadrant on the opposing side of the map.
- This means that if the west quadrant (home to the top side blue buff) is going to get two fast respawn times and one slow time for generations four through six, the east quadrant (bot side blue buff) will also get two fast times and one slow time for those same generations, though the order might be different.
- Each quadrant has exactly two possible spawn locations, which are mutually exclusive (if one is present, the other won't spawn).
- Currently, the respawn time range is between 4 and 6 minutes.
- Respawn time begins after the plant corpse has been cleaned up.
"Deep" Blast Cones
Map of all "Deep" Blast Cones. Cones labeled 'S' spawn shortly after game start, those labeled 'L' are late-game-only. Connected spots won't spawn a second plant if one of them is already occupied.
- "Deep" Blast Cones make it faster to maneuver around the jungle. They let players optimize travel and make plays in late game jungle fights. Since their value is less strategic than other plant types, their spawn rules are designed to make them fair over the course of a game but allow moment to moment differences across the map.
- When a quadrant exhausts its respawn time list, it rolls six new respawn times. It then takes these same times, shuffles their order, and assigns them to the mirrored quadrant on the opposing side of the map.
- This means that if the west quadrant (home to the top side blue buff) is going to get two fast respawn times and four slow times for generations 13 through 18, the east quadrant (bot side blue buff) will also get two fast times and four slow times for those same generations, though the order might be different.
- Each quadrant can have at most two Deep Blast Clones at any given time, one per group (see map).
- Currently, the respawn time range is between four and six minutes.
- Respawn time begins immediately after a plant becomes fully grown, at which point a random group in the quadrant is selected to spawn a plant. If the group is occupied, no plant will grow for that generation. This means that a "Deep" Blast Cone is less likely to spawn in a quadrant if one already exists there. If your team gets unlucky in this way more often than your opponents, the spawn system will compensate by speeding up future spawn times.
Map of all Honeyfruit. Spots labeled 'L' are late-game-only. Limit one living Honeyfruit per grouping.
- Honeyfruit's combination of heal and slow provides sustain if you're willing to spend time in river, a contested area. Since it's accessible to both teams and most useful when it's most dangerous to take, Honeyfruit doesn't need complex respawn rules to ensure fairness.
- Each half of the river selects its own spawn times independently.
- Each half of the river can have at most two Honeyfruit at any given time, one per group (see map).
- Currently, the respawn time range is between 4.5 and 6.5 minutes.
- Respawn time begins immediately after a plant becomes fully grown, at which point a random group in that half of the river is selected to spawn a plant. If the group is occupied, no plant will grow for that generation.
- Note: The initial Honeyfruit first spawn happens much later than the other plants (in the 4:30 to 5:00 range).
Composite map of every single possible plant position (see previous maps)
As you can see, there are a lot of rules governing how plants spawn. The system is pretty complicated. In a sense, this is by design. We want the system's overall shape to be learnable: which plants spawn where and in what phase of the game. And we want the system to be fair: both teams have equivalent access to all plants. But to ensure that we're actually rewarding map control, scouting, and tactical skill, we have to use more than just timers that you can memorize or calculate.
You can get your hands on plants now on PBE. We're looking forward to your feedback on them. We're especially interested in how you feel about spawn rates, plant locations, and the experience of scouting them. And just in case you thought we couldn't make it a whole post without a plant pun: we'll leaf it here."
Quick Hits[Quick hits is our own mini news collection inside a red post collection - including shorter or easy to digest bits and repeat information you may have missed in other posts! Let us know what you think!]
- Meddler shared they are looking to exploring Shyvana changes:
"6.23 or 6.24 might be the patch for you then. We've got some exploration into Shyvana changes underway. Bit early to talk details, looks initially promising though, with a focus on dragon form primarily (at least so far)."
- With 6.21 out on live, Riot's playtest team has returned to the boards for another edition of PATCH CHAT!
- With increasing VO lengths on new champions, WAAARGHbobo recently commented that about 5 to 10% of the final champion VO is usually cut but Jhin was closer to around 30%!
"Depends on the champ. Most have a little cut out of the final record. Maybe 5% to 10% of the lines.
Jhin was sorta an epic-- because of production timeline issues we intentionally tried to cover all bases. So probably 30% of his recorded VO never saw the light of day-- including the extremely disturbing haikus (sob) which were recorded for his recalls."
To round out tonight's red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
- Championship Zed, Worlds 2016 summoner icons, legacy content, and more is available through November 6th! Don't forget to head to the shop to buy your championship jewels for IP to upgrade your 2016 WC summoner icons during broad cast days!