Red Post Collection: League at PAX East, Kai'Sa Evolves in Player Labs, & More

Posted on at 3:31 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes an update on the events Riot will be hosting during PAX East 2018, a clairvoyance blog on Kai'Sa's development through playtests, details on MSI 2018, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


League at PAX East 

Here's Cut And Shoot with an update on the events Riot is hosting at PAX East this year:
"We’re back at PAX East this year with a mix of old favorites and all new ways to meet up and share your passion for League! 
League of Legends Team Shop 
League’s at its best with a squad of your buddies, so we’re letting you and your team show off in style with team role shirts. Assemble your team of five (one of each role) and head to the LoL Team Shop (Room #102A) to claim your shirts. And if you’re headed to PAX solo or in a small group, just find some other League players on the show floor and form a team—look for attendees sporting one of our brand new LoL role lanyards, and pick one up yourself from Rioters walking the floor! 
#OwnYourRole 
From now through the end of PAX, use #OwnYourRole to tell us why you love playing your favorite role. We’ll spotlight the best stories on League’s Twitter & Instagram Stories, where you can also follow along with the action during PAX itself. We’ll share team photos and awesome League cosplay from the show floor, and each day a community creator will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the event. 
Community Creators 
PAX is one of the best places to see all your favorite community creators in one place, and some of League’s brightest stars are making their way to this year’s event. Creator Meet & Greets will take place each day of PAX at approximately 3 PM and 4:45 PM, inside Room #102B. Expect to see Pokimane, Angelskimi, Lilypichu, Fuslie, Scarra, Nicki Taylor, and Rivington Bisland III. Creators will be announcing specifics on their social channels, so make sure to follow along for exact times! 
Creator & Cospitality Lounge 
Our ever-popular Cospitality Lounge is back to provide a home base for all members of PAX’s incredible cosplay community. As always, the lounge is open to any and all cosplayers (and handlers), regardless of inspiration, so whether you’re in need of repairs or simple relaxation just stop by Room #102B. We’re also using the lounge as a base to chat with all kinds of creators — stop by from 12-12:45pm any day of PAX and say hello if you’re a content creator! 
League Panels 
Finally, we’re be hosting two panels in the Main Theater. On Friday, LCS pros, coaches, and managers will dive into all the work that goes into keeping their competitive edge week in and week out. On Saturday, Riot designers will share their behind-the-scenes perspective on the Irelia Update and the long-term task of updating beloved League champions. You can also watch the panels online at www.twitch.tv/pax
  • Mastering the Competitive Mindset in League of Legends
  • Better Buff Irelia: Modernizing League of Legends Champions
    • Saturday, 4/7 @ 4:30 PM in Main Theater
    • Gem Lim - Senior Concept Artist | John O'Bryan - Senior Narrative Writer | Sol Kim - Game Designer | Jason Hendrich - Animator | Mike Foster - Comms Dude 
PAX East kicks off on Thursday, April 5, and we can’t wait to see you there or share the hype online!"

Kai'Sa Evolves in Player Labs

Here's Riot Blaustoise, Riot Jag, and Nancymon with a new clairvoyance blog on Kai'Sa's evolution through player labs:
"Long before a champ hits PBE, players test them out and let us know what’s working and what’s not. This feedback shapes the champion’s development; here’s what that looked like for Kai’Sa, Daughter of the Void. 
BLAUSTOISE: Hey all, Riot Blaustoise here. I’m the lead of gameplay insights and one of the researchers embedded on the Champions Team. Insights recently published the more quantitative methodologies we use to help assess the state of our champion roster, identify rework opportunities, and measure the impact of balance changes on champion popularity. Today, however, we’re going to focus on how Insights helps in the design and development of a champion. Specifically, we’ll be looking at Kai’Sa: The Daughter of the Void. 
Insights and the Champions Team have a close partnership, and we couldn’t do this piece justice without bringing in a voice to represent their team. And who better to speak on the development of Kai’Sa than Riot Jag, the unquestionable King of Voidspotting himself. 
JAG: Hey, I’m Jeevun Sidhu, aka “Riot Jag,” aka the Slumdog Camillionaire, aka the lead gameplay designer on Kai’Sa. As with every champion we work on, we leaned on Insights to get some early player perspectives on Kai’Sa and to help us answer questions that were more difficult to resolve internally.

WHAT’S IN A CHAMPION LAB?
BLAUSTOISE: Long before a champion sees the light of questionably balanced mirror matches PBE, it’s first experienced by a handful of players who are invited to the Riot Campus (or other global offices). These players examine concept art, spam abilities in the development environments, and play full 5v5 games with new champions. Afterwards they fill out surveys, have 1-on-1 chats with researchers and designers, and typically finish with a group discussion on their experiences with our potential new additions to League. 
JAG: Player labs are exciting because it’s the first time we get see a genuine reaction to a character. We have Rioters playtest champions hundreds of times before labs, and they have all sorts of biases that make it impossible for them to be blank slates. A new player generally has a purer perspective and provides much-needed honesty when the pod really needs it. On top of that, player labs allow us to prove out the riskiest elements of the champion we’re developing—labs let us see if we can make it work or if we should try a new direction. 
In Kai’Sa’s case, we wanted to see if people would have interest in a more human-looking Void character, and if a super-aggressive ADC playstyle would resonate with players.

ROUND ONE: SOFT MARKSMEN ON A HARD CARRY

BLAUSTOISE: We often use the analogy of creating a delicious ice cream sundae to represent the different stages of champion labs. For Round 1 labs, we’re validating that we have a delicious set of initial ice cream flavors. Those flavors include the primary gameplay hook (why would you play this character?), their uniqueness (what new thing does this character bring to League?), and overall thematic direction & cohesion (does this character have an appealing fantasy and does that fantasy match with the gameplay?). 
JAG: When we started out with Kai’Sa, the ultimate was always there, even from the first playtest. The fantasy of combining ADC-level DPS with the playmaking target access of an Assassin was super unique and exciting, so we wanted to prove out if people would instantly see the upside of a full damage carry able to position literally anywhere in a teamfight. 
BLAUSTOISE: On the note of “aggressive marksman,” we encountered a major issue in our first round of player labs for Kai’Sa. While we specifically invited Marksmen players, it quickly became evident during the group discussion that almost all of the players prefered the more traditional stay-safe-and-deal-damage-from-afar Marksmen. Ashe, Caitlyn, Miss Fortune. More… “soft” Marksmen. 
JAG: I tried to tell you this was an alpha test, not an open beta. 
“VOID ADC” FIRST IMPRESSIONS 
BLAUSTOISE: Still, we did get useful feedback for Kai’Sa’s thematic and visuals. Players were shown her early concept art before actually playing her, and we recorded their pre-game expectations for her gameplay as well as other aspects of her design. 
We asked, “What are your initial impressions of Void ADC? Where in the League universe do you think she is from? What do you expect from her gameplay? From her character?” 
Players said…
BLAUSTOISE: Not only did we invite players who were interested in the the more traditional, long-ranged Marksmen playstyle, but the “Void rifle” in Kai’Sa’s original concept was reading as a long-ranged sniper. We pivoted away from the sniper-esque weapon that formed from her suit to the energy-based “void guns” she has today. 
On the flipside, player impressions reassured our direction with Kai’Sa’s Void armor, and one player even hinted at Kai’Sa having evolutions before they were even in her kit. 
  • “I really liked the alien-ish, bug-like armor look. To me, that armor is the champion, and I couldn’t really care what she looks like otherwise. If the armor is badass, I will be buying the champ in every chroma available.”
–I definitely didn’t misinterpret this as a market researcher and then constantly pressure the team to make chromas for her… 🙂
  • “I think the visual art looks very good from the concept art. I like the idea of the look, and look forward to her maybe transforming slightly when using abilities? That’s what the concept art made me think of at least.”
BLAUSTOISE: Overall, the first round of labs was a miss in terms of understanding our primary goal for Kai’Sa: Creating an appealing and aggressive marksman that looks for opportunities to dive the backline and assassinate. 
JAG: You’re a Yasuo main, so you would feed first blood before level 2 anyways. 
BLAUSTOISE: Fair enough, but maybe you should have considered making Kai’Sa a little more ranged. I don’t know, something small like 25 extra could have helped. 
JAG: …cue Gru Plan meme?

ROUND TWO: EVOLVING KAI’SA 
“PASSIONATE” PLAYERS
BLAUSTOISE: Round 1 told us that Caitlyn mains don’t want to dive across a fight to burst down an enemy carry. Hard-hitting insights at its best. But working on Kai’Sa meant we had to adapt, improvise, and overcome. If Kai’Sa is an apex predator in the Void, we needed apex players. 
JAG: When making a champion, I often try to imagine exactly what type of player would be excited to play it, and what core features would motivate them to keep coming back to master the champion. In particular, if we can get a player that loves what’s already great about League, but has a fantasy or gameplay style that hasn’t been fulfilled, that’s the perfect candidate to have in mind. 
BLAUSTOISE: Thankfully, we eased up on our restriction on allowing toxic players to come in for playtests. We didn’t used to allow players with recent unsportsmanlike behavior into labs, and while certain egregious offenses (cheating, intentional feeding, hate speech, etc.) were still red flags, we loosened up some restrictions on… “passionate” player-to-player interaction. We knew exactly who to turn to for Kai’Sa’s Round 2 labs. 
Enter our next group: Vayne, Lucian, and Draven mains with an appetite for aggression. 
 
UPGRADES & EVOLUTIONS 
BLAUSTOISE: While the first round of labs didn’t even validate our selection of ice cream, the second round not only confirmed that we had the right flavors, but also helped inspire some additional toppings. The more aggressive marksmen players were all about diving and repositioning mid-fight with Kai’Sa’s ultimate, and they provided us with other ideas for how she could evolve even further. 
JAG: At this stage of Kai’Sa’s life, only her E spell had a distinct evolution state. Players absolutely loved the idea though, and wanted to see more of that mechanic on the rest of the kit. I felt like I had just enough power budget to add another upgrade to her AD build, so the Q evolve was easy to create. For the W, I couldn’t add another particularly game-changing evolution without too heavily adding complexity and warping her super-spiky power curve even harder. I still wanted to add interest to Kai’Sa’s builds, so the first idea was to give the W evolve some power along a different axis from her core ADC build, which naturally suggested to develop an alternate playstyle. 
 
VOID ADC OR VOID MAGE? 
BLAUSTOISE: Another major takeaway from the second round of player labs was that Kai’Sa’s visuals weren’t reading as a Marksman: 9 out of the 10 players thought she was a midlaner (specifically a Mage or Assassin) when we showed them concept art stripped of the “Void ADC” title. 
JAG: A lot of the feedback indicated some confusion around her energy weapons feeling mage-y and not having the physical/concussive impact that most ADCs had. We ended up solving this with other disciplines (VFX artists and animators added better feedback for the auto attacks, like more impactful recoil on each shot), but at the same time, I decided to run with the feedback. Given the space available for the W evolve, we pushed towards hybridizing Kai’Sa so she could lean harder into being a Mage. 
Some other feedback that influenced Kai’Sa’s development from Round 2 labs included… 
ROUND THREE: VOID CHERRIES & SPRINKLES
BLAUSTOISE: Feedback from our passionate Vayne, Lucian, and Draven players led to two additional evolutions, as well as the ADC, hybrid, and mage playstyles. Going into our Round 3 player labs, we had all the makings of a delicious champion sundae—we just needed the sprinkles and cherry on top. For Kai’Sa, these final labs showed us another opportunity for her evolutions. 
JAG: Initially, Kai’Sa’s abilities just silently upgraded when you reached enough stats to evolve them. Players really wanted to enjoy that moment, so we added the ceremony you see today. There’s a button to push, a cool animation, some visual and sound effects, and even some small post-evolution effect changes, depending on the slot. 
BLAUSTOISE: The final contribution of player lab feedback to Kai’Sa directly impacted her splash art. All three rounds of labs hinted at the need to clearly identify Kai’Sa’s power source, or what it is she uses to hunt Void monsters. We’d also heard from players that they wanted more emphasis on her “Void guns.” With that player sentiment in the minds of the team, we created a composition that shows off one of her Void guns front-and-center(ish), while the other gun is firing a projectile behind her, ripping through a Void creature. 
PRO PERSPECTIVE & THE FIRST KAI’SA PENTAKILL 
WHY WE DO PRO PLAYER LABS 
BLAUSTOISE: We recently introduced one final step of player feedback to the Champion Insights partnership, which are pro player labs. Continuing with our sundae metaphor, this is when Gordan Ramsey comes in to taste test and tells you whether or not it’s shit. Goals for the pro player labs typically focus around how champions (and other substantial gameplay changes) might impact professional play, plus what levers for tuning and optimizing we might have overlooked. 
JAG: Getting professional players in really helped us get an understanding of the high-level reaction to Kai’Sa. They gave us some solid feedback on how to optimize her, but for me personally, it was just really cool to see a super-skilled player go to work with Kai’Sa in a playtest. Plus, we wanted to see a little more Voidspotting, especially in a competitive setting—which is why we made sure to invite NA ADCs for this effort. Just kidding. But we did keep some footage of Doublelift giving our playtest team the business.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR CHAMPION PLAYER LABS 
BLAUSTOISE: Just as we evolved Kai’Sa and our other champions, we’re constantly evolving our research methodology and how we test content with players. Our next iteration of player labs still includes playtesting champions at multiple stages (Round 1, 2, 3, etc.), but instead of testing one champion, we’ll show players almost all the champions we’re currently working on, as well as other in-progress features for League. We refer to these as Mega Labs (“Blaustoise’s Feedback Bonanza” was too long). We bring in 30-40 players for a weekend of League games and content. Players get exposed to multiple new and updated champs, and while games one and two might involve some cognitive overload, by games nine and ten, players start to have a deeper understanding of what these champions offer to League from playing with, as, and against them. 
JAG: These labs heavily resemble a lot of our internal playtests, which can have many champions in development simultaneously, with wildly differing levels of tuning and balance. I’ve already put the big boy himself—Aatrox, my next project—into these Mega Labs, and we’re getting more players than ever testing out our new content and making sure you all are going to love what we deliver. 
Thanks to all of you for reading this blog. I’m looking forward to the next time Nathan and I run one of these, where he’ll still be a hardstuck Yasuo one-trick and I’ll be reworking Camille."

2018 Mid-Season Invitational Tickets 


Ready for MSI 2018? Check out this article for full details on how to get tickets for the event:
"MSI is just around the corner! Below is everything you need to know about purchasing tickets to the event.

TICKETS:

When and where is MSI 2018 taking place? 
Play-In and Group Stages:
  • May 3-6, May 8-9, and May 11-15 at the EU LCS Studio in Berlin, Germany
Knockout Stage (Semifinals & Finals):
  • May 18-20 at the Zenith Paris - La Villette in Paris, France.

How do I purchase tickets?
Play-in and Group stage tickets will be on sale via Eventbrite, and Knockout stage tickets will be on sale via Ticketmaster. Tickets will be available to be purchased by anyone internationally. 
Eventbrite is available in English and German, and Ticketmaster will be available in English and French. 
When do tickets go on sale? 
For Play-In and Group Stages:
  • Thursday, April 5 @ 17:00 CEST
For Knockout Stage (Semifinals & Finals):
  • Wave I = Friday, April 6 @ 17:00 CEST
  • Wave II = Friday, April 13 @ 17:00 CEST 
How much will tickets be? 
Play-in stage at EU LCS Studio in Berlin
  • 20 Euros
Group stage at EU LCS Studio in Berlin
  • 25 Euros
Knockout stage at Zenith Arena in Paris:

Semis on Friday and Saturday
  • Floor Seats (Tier 1): 40 Euros
  • Tier 2: 30 Euros
  • Tier 3: 20 Euros
Finals on Sunday
  • Floor Seats (Tier 1): 45 Euros
  • Tier 2: 35 Euros
  • Tier 3: 25 Euros 
Are there any other taxes and fees associated with tickets? 
Ticket prices above include taxes and fees. Shipping may apply if you choose to have your tickets mailed to you.

How many tickets can I buy? 
There is a maximum limit of 4 tickets per transaction, regardless of the days you purchase for. 
For groups who want to attend multiple days together: try to purchase your tickets in single-day batches so you can at least guarantee you stay together for a specific day, rather than each individual buying a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ticket. 
What information is required to buy tickets? 
You’ll be asked your name, address, payment method, and account information. 
Do I need an account to buy tickets? 
Yes, you will need an account with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster to purchase tickets. To save time, we recommend that you sign-up and create an account before ticket sales go live. 
ON-SITE EVENT DETAILS 
What language will the games be shoutcasted in at the venue? 
For Play-in & Group stages in Berlin, the games will be shoutcasted in English.

For Knockout stage in Paris, the games will be shoutcasted in French.

There will not be translation radios available, unfortunately. 
Any age restrictions for attending MSI 2018? 
Children under the age of 13 are required to come with an adult.

When do doors open? 
For Play-in and Group stages in Berlin, doors open 1 hour before the show each day.
  • Play-in stage May 3, 4: 12:00 CEST for 13:00 show
  • Play-in stage May 5, 6: 10:00 CEST for 11:00 show
  • Play-in Knockout May 8,9: 12:00 CEST for 13:00 show
  • Group stage in Berlin: 10:00 CEST for 11:00 show
  • For Knockout stage in Paris: 10:00 CEST for 12:00 shows
What else do I need to know? 
We will be releasing an in-depth guide for ticket holders and attendees, as well a full event overview closer to the event.

EVENT MATCH SCHEDULE:
The final schedule for MSI 2018 will be published shortly after the MSI Group Draw Show on April 24.

EVENT FORMAT:
For more information on the event format for MSI 2018, head here."
Want more Esports? Check out these articles and video content from LoLeSports:

Quick Hits

  • With her update releasing in 8.7, artist Victor Maury has shared the "lost" Irelia splash art that was seen briefly in 2014 Esports events:
"Posting my 3+ year old art test (yikes) from the intership days, for the memes and because someone asked for it for their birthday"
  • Reav3 noted the schedule for upcoming champions and reworks:
"New Champ > Aatrox > Akali > VGU"
He also noted
"There should be more hints and information in my next champions roadmap blog in April"

Reminders 

To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
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