Red Post Collection: Meddler Gameplay thoughts for May 9, /Dev on Dark Star: Singularity, and more!

Posted on at 8:59 PM by Aznbeat
Tonight's red post collection includes Meddler's gameplay thoughts for May 9th, a /Dev on the new game mode Dark Star: Singularity, Reav3 noting a new champion is likely before Urgot's update, and more!
Continue reading for more information!



Table of Contents


Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 9 

Meddler is back with his quick gameplay thoughts for May 9th including discussion on 7.10 Yorick changes, a few things to keep an eye on post mid-season, Malzahar changes moving back to 7.11, and more!
"Morning all, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped. 
If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler 
Yorick subtle improvements 
Mentioning these since they're harder to datamine. We've got some useability/subtle feel good stuff going for Yorick in 7.10, with Mist Walkers no longer perishing if they're too far from Yorick, Yorick's Q spawning a grave even if there are 4 out already and replacing the last one (instead of just not spawning) and the Maiden benefiting from R rank ups even if she's already summoned. Balance wise we don't really have any room to buff Yorick significantly, we do want to give him a bit of love though, hence the focus on things that are more feel improvements than power. 
More things we're particularly keeping an eye on post mid-season 
In addition to the updated tanks, Rift Herald etc as previously mentioned there are some additional things we're now specifically tracking for possible work in 7.11 including:
  • Thresh - Mid season's been kind to the chain warden. Belief is that that's the impact of the revised Ancient Coin in part, which gives him needed mana, reduces chances he costs his ally in lane CS with Targon's and gives him more E procs to harass with than Targon's does. Old coin offered most of those benefits too, but suspicion here is that new Coin's a better choice on him overall than the old.
  • Sunfire Rushing Tanks - We're seeing a number of tanks who'd previously been in reasonable spots balance wise struggle a bit more after the Sunfire changes. That's not unexpected, indicating they had problems laning that Sunfire was covering up. Likely direction there is to adjust individual kits so they function more appropriately, rather than using Sunfire as a generic solve.
  • Other items on watch - Death's Dance, BotRK, Banshee's and GA are all getting a lot of observation too. They're not necessarily in bad spots, but they're certainly worth tracking more than average at the least (high usage rates + high impact moments). 
Delaying Malz changes to 7.11 
We've got a few larger adjustments underway at the moment to Rammus, Malz and Heimer. The Rammus and Heimer ones should be good to go in 7.10, we'll be holding the Malz ones till 7.11 (probably) however to take a bit more time to work on those. One likely change is adjusting the R so its damage is split between pool and beam, which amongst other things gives better counterplay when there are multiple enemies around (ability to interrupt) and therefore hopefully allows us to put a bit more power into its ratio. 
Elemental Dragons 
At some point (next year seems most likely) we'd like to try adding another elemental dragon to the rotation if we can find one that's distinct from the other in terms of the gameplay it rewards, has at least an ok thematic fit, and doesn't excessively favor particular team comps. Curious to hear if anyone's got any strong suggestions? We've got some ideas kicking around of course, but also really interested in hearing other viewpoints."
When asked his thoughts on post midseason Rift Herald, Meddler responded:
"Quote:
What are your feelings so far on the things you're watching? I'm particularly curious to know Riot's take on whether new Herald seems to be in a good place.
At the very least Rift Herald doesn't look to be too weak to bother with anymore. Not sure yet if too strong or not, that assessment's also hindered a bit by some bugs that are causing the notifications when the enemy takes it to not play consistently, which effectively makes it stronger (harder to respond quickly to). We'll be fixing those in 7.10.
My personal suspicion is that it probably is a bit strong, that's just my view off some personal games since the patch went out though, not a comprehensive, well informed opinion from Riot as a whole."
When asked if more elemental dragons would lower the chance of getting duplicate dragons, Meddler replied:
"Quote:
While I like the idea of more meaningful elemental dragons i'm afraid that due to the addition of one the chances of getting 2 or 3 of the same kind will be lower by a large margin.
To ensure 2 or 3 stacks of a buff happen an appropriate amount at present we make it so only 3 of the possible 4 dragons ever spawn in a given game. If we did add extra types we'd still limit it to 3 possible types (e.g. 3 of 5, or 3 of 6 possibilities)"
Meddler continued on the topic of dragons:
"Quote: 
Make a Elemental Dragon that when is slain it gives you tower hp regen or tower shield when 3 or more enemies are around
One thing to watch for there is that we want dragons to be objectives that are always at least moderately desirable to either team, whether they're winning or losing. A buff that defensive's not very appealing to the team winning and quite appealing (though sometimes inaccessible) to the team losing. In situations where both teams are even there's a good chance it just won't be worth the risk/cost of taking it and those are situations where we really want objectives to drive conflict/interaction."
He went on:
"Quote:
A golden dragon that gives gold, or increases the gold income rate.
We've talked a bit about gold dragons as options, concern though is that it's just really general power. There's something cool about it as an occasional thing which keeps us coming back to the idea every so often (rare spawn?). It doesn't go well with the goal of having dragons shape your strategy and how you approach a game at least a bit as a team though." 
When asked about recently having more larger scope changes, and less smaller changes, Meddler replied:
"Quote:
Meddler can I ask why Riot has been pumping out larger scope of balance changes like the Rammus and Heimer changes lately, not complaining just curious
A little while back we decided we wanted to put more time into larger changes like Rammus/Heimer's, and less into a larger number of smaller adjustments. Thinking there was that small adjustments don't solve fundamental issues, so you in up in a perpetual cycle of whack a mole balance on problematic champions. Larger changes by contrast are more likely to lead to long term improvements in a champion's game health, making it easier to keep them balanced in the same way some champions seldom need balance work.
On when we might see changes for LeBlanc, Meddler revealed:
"Quote:
Hey meddler,
Last week u mentioned LeBlanc changes in play testing, no word on that yet, has it been delayed, or have u just not had a chance to play it? 
If u do have a test, can you update us asap pls, can't wait for my champion to be fixed
Work on the Le Blanc changes is paused at the moment since the designer working on her is the same one working on Heimer right now. Once this patch is out he'll probably swap back to LB again."
On Thresh, Meddler stated:
"Quote:

Hey Meddler 
i saw that thresh's win rate increased from 48% to 53% with the new patch
i would understand you if you nerfed him
 
but can you please do it carefully? thresh is a champion that should excel at peeling and relocating allies with lantern making him a great pick against AREAS like j4 ult 
if you should nerf him, try to reduce his secondary strengths like his engage?
base movement speed nerf to 325 from 335
 
and maybe a projectile speed nerf or a range nerf to his Q 
Sincerly
A concerned Support/thresh main
Good notes, thanks for the feedback. Right now we're at the 'we need to watch Thresh, and understand exactly what's affecting him' stage, not 'time to nerf'. Coin's a solid theory for some of the increase, possible there's other stuff going on too though (other itemization changes, people getting much better at using his kit after playing the new game mode, etc)."
On potential Ryze work, Meddler commented:
"Quote:
How are you feeling about Ryze? His win rate (even for top ryze players) has fallen a good chunk in 7.9.
Besides that, his win rate as a whole has been drastically low in solo queue even while he was dominating the professional scene ( Azir anyone?)
Any changes planned for the future?
Ryze needs work. Right now though we're focusing first on other champs who've had much less time put into them than he has and could do with some love."

/Dev on Dark Star: Singularity 

The newest /Dev focuses on what went into creating the latest game mode Dark Star - Singularity:
"Over the years there’s been things we would and wouldn’t do in game modes for League of Legends. In 2017, we’re interested in breaking some of those expectations and seeing how far we can push gameplay while still retaining the fun essence of regular League. 
Our most recent game mode Dark Star: Singularity is the furthest departure from standard League gameplay we’ve ever tried. We’re super excited about the space (see what I did there), but being this far from home brings with it some new problems to solve. 
We’re going to dive a little deeper into some of the challenges faced by both Design and Art when crafting the latest mode, and why we chose to solve them in the ways we did. 
———————————————– 
DESIGN – LUKE “RABIDLLAMA” RINARD 
League of Legends is sort of like a great big toybox. Each character is an awesome action figure, and everybody has their favorites. In previous years, we didn’t want to take away any of those toys. Every mode had to let players play their favorite champion, and we focused on trying to change the play experience while dealing with this constraint. This limited us to only being able to provide certain kinds of experiences: Ones where ranged attackers, support casters, and tanky bruisers all had a place. 
This year, we decided to drop that requirement and see where it led us. The first experiment was Hunt of the Blood Moon, where we limited the champion pool to a subset of agile, bursty, “assassin-y” champions, and built a gameplay experience that was really suited to their strengths. 
This time, with Dark Star: Singularity, we decided to take one toy out of the toybox and build a playset for him. We ended up picking Thresh, an iconic champion with an iconic kit, as our first subject. Largely, this was because his abilities have a lot of what I’d call kinetic fun – it just feels so good to throw that hook and watch the impact as it lands. The objective was to make a mode that showcased what was most exciting about playing Thresh, and to provide a map and a set of rules well-suited to his abilities. 
The objective was to have fast, “arcadey” gameplay, which means getting straight into the action. In this case, we decided to remove gold, levels, and items entirely, and to just focus on Thresh’s three core abilities, which we powered up and tweaked. We kept health, but changed its meaning – instead of dying when your health hits zero, you are instead more vulnerable to being flung into the Dark Star. This meant skillful play could win any encounter, even if you were at 1 HP. 
Having removed as much as we could, we started adding things back. We work under a complexity budget for new elements, since our modes are ideally very pick-up-and-play and we don’t want players to feel overwhelmed. To this point, and to make the mode feel as “Thresh-y” as possible, we didn’t change or add any inputs – meaning, your attacks and abilities all do the same things, just moreso. Instead, we added new elements and rules to change the outputs of those abilities. 
Ideally, each new element should serve multiple gameplay purposes, to get the biggest return on the added complexity of including something new. Abyss Scuttlers act as dynamic cover, as free points if the enemy is just hiding, and as a catch-up opportunity for a struggling team. Gravity Anchors serve as reliable movement around the map, as “terrain” that blocks hooks, and as a way to rescue yourself from certain death. Health Crystals are something strategic to fight over, provide a new objective for low-health Threshes (Thresh-i?), and open up more teamplay opportunities. 
In creating the mode, Design and Art had to work closely together. The core gameplay of the mode emerged from an idea sparked by a visual thematic pitch – one of our team’s artists suggested using Dark Star Thresh, and I immediately had a vision of how awesome it would be to toss an unwilling enemy into a black hole and watch them disintegrate. It wasn’t long before we had a working prototype of the mode, and a hand-drawn skeleton of a map in-game. 
Isn’t it beautiful? I like the walls the best.
As a designer, as soon as I’d shown that the gameplay could be fun, my next focus was to lock down the map layout as soon as possible. This was because the environment artists were going to have to take my weird gray pancake and turn it into a believable hunk of space rock, and that was going to take time. Through a lot of iteration and playtest (I’d never done map design before!), we arrived at this final layout based on the north base of Summoner’s Rift. 
I think it looks like a surprised, balding, bearded swami
———————————————– 
ART – BRENDON “RIOTVITZKRIEG” VITZ 
Early on in the gameplay prototype process we realized this mode would work best in some sort of close-quarters arena. Our only existing map that had the general shapes we were looking for was Dominion, but it didn’t fit the theme at all. Jeremy “Redondo” Page and I were the only two artists on this project and we had a target timeline of two months; skinning all of Dominion felt like an overly ambitious plan. If were were essentially going to build a map from the ground up anyways, the scale of Singularity made it the perfect excuse to try making a brand new map! 
At this point Luke was still iterating on the map layout from a gameplay perspective, so we focused on building the overall feel we wanted. The core idea we locked onto was that you’d be floating in space on some sort of shattered rocky platform. We loved the parallax a viewer would see when they peered at the stars through cracks in the playspace, the desolate space vibe perfectly fit Dark Star, and we were hoping the rocky terrain would let us get away without having to build too many custom assets! 
Though our team was tiny, we reached out for help from Rioters around us who were equally pumped for Dark Star! We even got ahold of Grace Liu, an ex-rioter from the Summoner’s Rift update team, to help us with concepts for the map! 
First concept: Can you spot the easter egg we ended up using?
We were certainly on the right track with this line of thinking, but the battleground felt pretty forgettable. Why should someone care about this random amalgamation of rock? What was the story behind it? I was chatting with some other folks on the team about this problem when it hit me; why smash some random rocks together when we have the fantastic rocks of Summoner’s Rift instead? Skin lines represent alternate fantasies for the world, and the idea of a stripped-down base ripped into deep space fit the thematic perfectly. In my mind the energy of the Nexus had collapsed into a small Dark Star, and barely held this small plot of ruined land together. I spent a few minutes in Photoshop whipping up the beauty below. 
Concept paintover: The ‘artist’ in Tech Artist can sometimes be misleading
Luckily for us Grace could translate that idea into something that didn’t hurt everyone’s eyes. It still felt like ruined space rocks, but now it had that extra layer of personality and storytelling that got the team pumped! Just having a visually compelling map was no good though, so we tossed this over to Luke to get his thoughts. He liked the idea, and took the extra time to update his prototype’s play area to roughly match the base’s size and layout. (see his section above) 
Grace-fully combining the SR north base with the Dark Star ruins
Jeremy’s refined version focusing on directly reusing assets from other maps (SR/TT/HA)
Now began a delicate balancing act between Jeremy and Luke. We didn’t have much time, so Jeremy dove right into production of the actual 3D assets for the map, but we still didn’t know exactly where everything was going to go in the final version. So art started with smaller reusable/flexible pieces that we could use as building blocks and jammed on those until we ran out of stuff to do. 
Exploring what rock and dirt might look like on torn away pieces of SR
We wanted to throw away as little work as possible (shocking), so art and design took some time to agree on which areas were least likely to change. We then focused on assembling the previous bits we’d built into these larger set pieces. Even so, we ended up having to do a lot of mid flight changes as playtests revealed that large brushes sucked, that the position of Gravity Anchor in the top right made it too defensible, and the like. 
Playtest footage on the blocked out map including space noodle cracks and hook posts!
Now I said our team only had two artists on it including me, but we got an immense amount of help from other people around Riot who wanted to help us deliver something awesome. Folks from around the company took time out of their normal work and chipped in days or weeks to help whip up things our team wasn’t able to do ourselves. This included scuttle crab skins, custom sucked into a star death animations, destroyed ground textures and the Dark Star itself! It’s fantastic being surrounded by such passion at Riot. Everyone wants to make the best thing possible for players! 
Fancy nebula brush that had serious readability problems
Now it’s starting to look like a Cosmic Ruin
———————————————– 
We’re super excited to explore more brave new frontiers like Dark Star: Singularity in the future. Sometimes they’ll be much lower scope, and sometime they’ll be on the scale of Dark Star, but we’ll be challenging our own preconceptions on ‘how to have fun in League’. Our goal still remains to have as much cool new stuff for everyone to play in League as often as possible. Keep an eye out for more experimental stuff from us."

Next New Champion Likely Before Urgot Update

When asked whether we'll see a new champion or the large scope Urgot update first, Reav3 commented:
"Should be sometime after the next new champion. Could always change of course."
Reav3 continued:
"Quote:
When you guys release the updated champ subclass list will you show Urgot's new subclass if it changed at all
We will. Not sure if it will be immediately though. We plan on updating that list every 6 months or so."

Quick Hits - Taliyah in F2P, Rek'Sai in 7.11, and more

[Quick Hits is our own collection within a red post collection, often including easy to digest stories, specialized information, and/or repeat info you may have missed in other posts!]

1) LeadSndwchArtist responded to a comment about being able to once again created a custom game while a mode is up in the rotating game mode queue:
"I'ma make a respond right now: this is being built. We've got a backlog of changes in flight, lots of teams focusing down deprecating the legacy client."

2) ZenontheStoic posted on the Taliyah Mains subreddit about her absence from the free champion rotation and noted the issue has been fixed.
"Fellow Stoneweavers! 
We investigated what was going on with Taliyah and the free champ rotation and there was a slip-up on our side that led to her never being in it for the last year or so. We'll fix that, and our favourite Shuriman sparrow should soon be playable for free every now and then. 
This'll probably also tank her win rate during free week :P"

3) When asked how to turn off the new Thresh announcer pack on SR, Rabid Llama commented:
"Quote:
Is there a way to still use the default announcer pack in ranked? I'm not sure why it bothers me so much but I really don't like the replacement
Yeah, although it only shows up in-game (not in the client/front-end), and only in a match with the custom announcer on. Will make sure to get it into the client next time.
Anyway, it's called "[ ] Disable Custom Announcer" near the bottom of the Sound part of the menu. We made sure to add that option, but then forgot to put a patch note for it..."

4) The newest episode of Sjokzin' Around is here, this time featuring Mithy:
"Welcome to the second episode of Sjokzin' Around, a new series where Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere will meet up with surprise guests to explore the hometown of the EU LCS: Berlin! In this episode, we are joined by G2 Esports' support, Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez. "
5) Eyes on MSI: North America Ep. 2

6) The Penta - 2017 MSI Play-In

7) After being removed from the LCU, the Dark star login theme has been redone to not include the flashing elements that could have possibly caused a seizure in a reddit user:

8) Repertoir noting Rek'Sai changes are aiming for 7.11:
"Currently aiming for a 7.11 release. 7.10 is the patch on PBE at the moment. 
That said, I'm not the owner of the changes, so I can't speak to the changes beyond that. As always, things can sometimes get delayed, but 7.11 is the current target. "

Reminders

Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!

  • MSI 2017 in-game content is now available, including new icons, the legacy Conqueror Karma and more!  Conqueror Karma, returning legacy skins, and more available through May 24th. MSI 2017 continues off with Group Stage on May 10th. MSI Capsules are also in the shop for 600 RP on broadcast days!
  • As mentioned in the 7.9 notesDark Star: Singularity heads to the RGMQ from 5/4 through 5/15. You can earn two unique icons just by playing with friends and landing kills in the mode!

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