Red Post Collection: Mid-Patch Updates, Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 3rd, & More

Posted on at 1:37 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes details on mid-patch updates that went out earlier this week, the return of Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts, Malphite changes testing on the PBE, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Mid-Patch 9.9 Updates

A few bugfix and hotfix changes went out this week, check out the list from the 9.9 Patch Notes:
"5/2/2019 Balance Update and Bugfixes 
Aatrox
  • BASE ARMOR 33 ⇒ 38
  • BASE HEALTH GROWTH 80 ⇒ 90
  • PASSIVE DAMAGE AND HEALING 5-10% (based on level) of the target's maximum health ⇒ 5-12% (based on level) of the target's maximum health
  • Q - The Darkin Blade
    • FIRST SWING AD RATIO 55/60/65/70/75% ⇒ 60/65/70/75/80%
Blitzcrank
  • BUGFIX Blitzcrank's R - Static Field's active damage is back to 250/375/500 
Rakan
  • BUGFIX Rakan's E - Battle Dance no longer costs double the mana when using it on an ally Xayah or when recasting
4/30/2019 Bugfix 
Yasuo
  • BUGFIX Fixed a bug where Yasuo's Q - Steel Tempest has no cooldown during its combo with E - Sweeping Blade when he switches his camera perspective"

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 3 

Meddler is back after a long break with his quick gameplay thoughts for May 3rd:
"Hi folks, 
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 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 
Getting back into posting 
I've been back at work for a little bit now so will be getting these posts going again. For now at least they'll be weekly, might sometimes go back to twice a week though when we've got a lot to cover and time permits. Also looking to have some of the other folks who've been posting some stuff while I've been out continue to do a bit more of that. 
Adjusting Matchmaking's Speed versus Accuracy at high MMR 
We've made some adjustments to high MMR matchmaking this week based off some problems we've been seeing this season with too wide an MMR discrepancy occurring in really high skill games. That will be primarily felt in Masters, Grandmasters and Challenger games, with player MMRs being closer together but queue times up from around 4 minutes to around 9 minutes. Changes that increase queue times are something we're always cautious of, in this case very high MMR player sentiment was pretty consistently in favor of the trade off and the MMR discrepancies were pretty noticeable. 
Likely this change is also felt a bit by high diamond players, who won't find themselves in a Grandmaster+ game as often or have their games joined by a surprise challenger.
We're not making this change in other skill ranges because when we look through matchmaking data we're not seeing the same pretty substantial MMR differences between players. Not to say there aren't ways to improve matchmaking there too, and we're always trying to figure out how to deliver on the best combination of speed of match and quality of match we can, along with other factors like auto fill rate etc too. 
Yuumi post release 
As I'm sure you've seen Yuumi's coming out real soon! Figured it was a good time to share some thoughts on a few things we'll be watching particularly closely post release (in addition to the usual stuff like power level).
  1. We're expecting Yuumi to be quite strong against a number of champs while also having clear weakness against many others (e.g. can dodge a lot of threat via frequent attachment to allies but isn't strong against champs who really need to be peeled off her team). Will be watching to see whether the ratio of strong against/weak against is appropriate and whether the difference in performance between the two cases is too extreme. Those are things we'd track for any champ, but of increased interest for Yuumi given how much her attachment gameplay departs from normal strengths and weaknesses of a champion.
  2. Yuumi's intended to be a pretty accessible champ who nonetheless has quite a bit to master. We'll want to make sure that's the case on both fronts, so will be tracking her learning curve closely.
  3. Where is her kit falling in terms of overall counterplay? Finding the sweet spot where she's sufficiently reliable to feel decent while still having enough potential to be outplayed is going to be very dependent on the tuning of some timings on the kit (e.g. Q missile speed and turn speed, W attach speed, R speed/range). Planning on monitoring some specifics like those a lot early as a result so we can fine tune as needed. 
Rageblade Context 
We've got some changes in testing for Rageblade at the moment that should be part of the next patch. The key change is shifting phantom hit from every second hit to every third hit, with a goal of decreasing just how much Rageblade performs better on champions with very strong on hit effects in their kit, then putting some power in more generally accessible stats.Our belief is that a fairly small subset of champions getting so much more value from Rageblade than others has contributed a lot to challenges keeping it balanced. While we do want items to synergize with some champs more than others it's certainly possible to go too far in that regard and we're pretty confident that's the case with Rageblade at present."

When asked about Wukong and Tahm Kench, Meddler commented:
"Thank you. I'll be passing the Wukong work on to someone else so they can continue it shortly. Initial player labs have shown promise to it, though would like to do some more with a wider group. Also considering putting it on PBE for a cycle and then taking it off again (isn't currently shippable, and might take a while before it got there, but would give good discussion and potentially validation). 
TK - cautiously optimistic so far. Need to see how his solo lane health looks and whether we have managed to increase his power in regular games while lessening pro problems before being too confident though."

He added:
"Update here - going to try and get a rough, but representative set of changes onto PBE pretty soon (hopefully next week or week after). 
To manage expectations, that doesn't necessarily mean we're near ship (could be months still depending on other demands on artists time for example and what reception's like). 
Should help a lot with discussion of direction, feedback etc. Also, there'll be some bugs for the PBE test. Nothing crippling, but some known issues that shouldn't impede testing but will be a bit annoying that would be fixed before anything went live at some point."

Meddler provided an update on the Teemo changes that have been testing on the PBE for the last few cycles:
"Our next step on Teemo is a revised version of the changes we're going to run through player labs, hopefully sometime this month. Based off that we'll then make a call on whether to go ahead with changes or leave him as is. Update to follow at some point once we have a firm plan."

On Zac, Meddler noted:
"Zac changes should, all be according to plan, be in 9.11. Means they'll hit PBE in a week and a half or so."

He continued:
"Core of it is likely:
  • Old ult
  • Additional 1% target HP damage per 100 AP on W
Delay to 9.11 is in large part driven by needing that time to hook up all the old ult sounds."

On Yuumi being targetable during her Attach dash, Meddler commented:
"It's intended that she doesn't become instantly untargetable and immune to stuff as soon as she starts the attach dash yes. We tested versions where she did get to avoid stuff immediately and the power of full untargetability that frequently was enormous, with counterplay correspondingly way too low."

When asked about the champion changes currently testing on the PBE, Meddler replied:
"We're currently expecting to ship Riven, Vayne and Yi changes in 9.10, with Vayne and Yi also impacted by the Rageblade reshaping. Work's showing promise, though would expect what's on PBE at present to be iterated on a bit more in some cases at least."

When asked about Diana, Meddler revealed:
"We'll have some Diana changes on PBE soon, potentially next week . Not expecting we'll ship those in 9.10 or 9.11, but instead that we'll see how they test, what discussion is like etc. Based off that we'll then figure out what adjustments to make and whether to get some form of them into an upcoming patch in the moderate future or not. 
Context post with full changes and rationale to come the day they hit PBE."

Malphite changes coming to PBE 

Here's Riot Lutzburg with details on Malphite changes coming to test on the PBE soon:
"Hi everyone! My name is Lutzburg, and I recently joined Riot as a Champion Designer. We're doing a quality-of-life pass for one of League’s oldest champions, Malphite, for the near future. While we're largely considering these changes as quality-of-life updates, we're also making a few mechanical changes to modernize Malphite’s kit without taking away that rock-solid reliability he’s known for. We'd appreciate feedback on the changes! For more context, we had two high level goals
  1. Improve the visceral satisfaction of Malphite’s abilities (i.e. make it more fun to push buttons!) W in particular was unsatisfying to use, as it lacked an immediate impact and its long duration made it hard to appreciate its power
  2. Retain Malphite’s broadly appealing accessibility and reliable team-fighting prowess 
Full Changelist 
Passive - Granite Shield
  • Malphite now glows when his Shield regenerates. This should make it more clear when Malphite has access to his Shield as a combat resource
  • Malphite’s size now scales with his Armor! Become a literal mountain like you always dreamed of 
Q - Seismic Shard
  • Range increased from 625 >>> 700
  • Missile speed increased from 1200 >>> 1400 (and spawns closer to its target on cast)
  • Cast time increased from 0.25 seconds >>> 0.5 seconds
  • AP Scaling reduced from 0.6 >>> 0.4
  • Malphite no longer “steals” his target’s movement speed. Instead Malphite now slows his target by 20/25/30/35/40% and increases his own movement speed by 20/25/30/35/40%
  • Speed duration reduced from 4 seconds >>> 3 seconds
  • Malphite no longer summons his earthen saw blade from behind himself, and instead casts it from his right arm. This also increases how fast the missile reaches its target
  • Targets affected by Q are covered in a molten rock effect for the duration of the slow
  • Other miscellaneous values adjusted. Too many to mention in detail here, but overall this Ability should have more weight to it and ‘feel’ like a rock monster hurling a chunk of Summoner’s Rift at his opponents 
Q saw a ton of micro tweaks that should amount to a more satisfying and useful button press. Malphite should now have an easier time reaching (or fleeing) targets affected by his cheese wheel o’ death. 
W - Thunderclap (formerly Brutal Strikes)
  • On cast, Malphite resets his auto attack and deals 40/55/70/85/100 bonus Physical damage, scaling with 0.2 armor and 0.4 AP
  • In addition, Malphite’s auto attacks create ‘aftershocks’ for the next 6 seconds. These are frontal cleaves (think Titanic Hydra) that deal 10/20/30/40/50 physical damage to all enemies in range of the cone, scaling with 0.1 armor and 0.2 AP
  • REMOVED - Malphite no longer gains 3x his bonus armor while his shield holds
Brutal Strikes wasn’t fun to use, and its power was hard to appreciate. The AA reset creates some room for optimization without requiring too much mind share, and the cleave gives Malphite something to do after unloading his wombo. Conveniently, it also helps Malphite farm under tower in bad lane matchups (which are most of them.) 
To balance out all this new power, we had to remove Malphite’s 3x armor multiplier. While it was fun to see huge armor numbers, this passive component wasn’t practical enough to justify keeping. Since a lot of Malphite’s damage scales with armor, it was also inadvertently increasing his burst potential when building full tank. However, these changes are designed to be burst-NEUTRAL, as Thunderclap’s initial hit will make up for the highly situational damage that was lost. 
R - Unstoppable Force 
  • Malphite’s Base Skin now features an impact crater. IT CAN’T BE STOPPED! 
We’re currently exploring the possibility of upgrading Malphite’s abilities' VFX to coincide with this gameplay update. So as always, keep in mind that everything in the above list is tentative, including any new VFX you see on PBE. Let us know your thoughts! 
-Lutz"

He added:
"Thanks so much for all the feedback so far, everyone! As this is my first public project at Riot, the sudden exposure has hit me like a Malphite ult, so I apologize for not being able to answer everyone individually. Lots of great comments being made here, so I wanted to add more context to some of the biggest talking points I've seen so far: 
Power and Build Paths- these changes aren't meant to nerf Malphite. He actually has one of the healthiest and most balanced win rates and play rates in the game, if you look at it holistically. If the values are off, we will definitely adjust. As a goal of the project, AP and jungle builds are meant to be power neutral, too. 
Triple Armor Buff- For clarity, Malphite's W would still permanently increase his Armor by 10/15/20/25/30%. It was only the 3x multiplier when he had his shield that was on the chopping block. Seeing "900 Armor" is a fun aspect of his fantasy, though, and it's clear that people really loved socking it to those AD-heavy teams. Finding a way to bring this back in some form is my #1 takeaway from the feedback so far, so stay tuned on this one. 
VGU versus Small Scale Updates- For context, I was given a unique opportunity to work on a Champion I thought could use some love, partially as a way to ramp myself up with the tools and processes of the team. Since I'm so new to the company, it didn't make sense to upend everyone's existing pipelines and schedules to accommodate my experimental side project. While we obviously feel like there are plenty of Champions who could use larger scale reworks, this was a low risk, low scope way of helping Malphite out with the resources I had available to me. 
VFX Updates- One of our amazing VFX Artists was nice enough to sneak some Malphite work into his existing work schedule. He hasn't gotten to all of them yet, but it's already looking awesome and should be on the PBE next week. Keep in mind that you'll only see these on the BASE SKIN for the time being. 
Next Steps- I'm going to put together a revised proposal later today- stay tuned!"

The Latest on Little Demon Tristana 

Check out the latest details on Little Demon Tristana - "We have a lot to share today, including updates on her model, recall animation, SFX, and VO."
"We’re cruisin’ through Little Demon Tristana’s development, and today we have updates on her model, recall animation, SFX, and VO. Check out the video at the end of this post to see how everything’s coming together! 
Hand-Painting the Little Demon 
Trevor “EdBighead245” Carr, Senior Character Artist: Hi again! In the last update, I talked about how we sculpted Tristana’s model and created a low-poly version of it for in game. This time I’d like to share how we added colors to that model through a process known as texturing. 
The first step of texturing is making UV coordinates. You can think of it like peeling an orange, where the “orange” is the character model (kinda weird, I know). After it’s peeled, you can paint on the peeled surface, and then it automatically goes back onto the character model. To “peel the orange,” the modeler does selections for each piece and then projects them flat, and then lays all of those pieces out into a square. 
Little Demon Tristana’s UVs and Work-in-Progress Texture Map
Now that we have a model with UV coordinates, we can use the 3D sculpt we made earlier and simulate lights on it and bake down our UVs. League doesn’t have dynamic lighting—meaning the champions aren’t lit from the surrounding environment—so we bake lighting into the texture instead. League is lit roughly from the top, so that’s how I’ll bake in the lights to get something I can paint over later. Most of what you’re seeing when you play League is coming from the texture itself, and once everything is baked down, the light isn’t able to move. This is what gives things in League that hand-painted look. 
Here’s what Tristana’s face looked like when we first started this process. It was posted in our team chat for all to enjoy, so now we’re sharing it with you. 
Anyways, next we take all that fake lighting we baked out and add color and paint over the whole thing to make it feel more high-quality. At this stage, we’re thinking about things like, “Is the top brighter than the bottom? Can you tell what each material is? Can you see where one material ends and another begins? Does it have strong focal point? Does it look like who it’s supposed to?” And in the end, “Is it colorful and fun to look at?” 
Early Gradient Map Overlay
The above image shows the light bakes from the high-poly model with what’s called a “gradient map” overlay for each color section. It’s an early pass to block the colors out, and this one turned out pretty neon! Some of the early feedback from the team (and from players!) was that her skin was way too pink, which I think is totally true. I heavily referenced Demon Vi to try and keep Tristana feeling like she was in the same thematic, but it turned out a little too vibrant. 
After toning down the pink skin, I did one last pass where I painted over the whole thing and finalized the look for the in-game read. I may make minor tweaks right up until she ships, but for the most part, here’s the final texture! 
(Mostly) Final Texture for Little Demon Tristana
Angels, Devils, and Mischievous Yordles 
Einar “Riot Beinhar” Langfjord, Associate Animator: There’s a huge amount of diversity in the types of recall animations we have in League: some tell a story, others are cool for the sake of being cool, some use plenty of props, some use none. It’s often very hard to decide what to do because there are so many options. This is why brainstorming with the team and testing out ideas is a big part of finding out what’s best for the character. 
After plenty of brainstorming about potential recalls, we landed on a direction we were all excited about: A story of choosing between good and evil. Little Demon Tristana would have to choose between the path of the divine angel Teemo or the Little Devil himself. Here’s what the recall looks like now, and then we’ll break down how we got there:

Once we find an idea we like, we have to make sure it works with the character and the game. We start by creating a “blocked” version of the animation. A recall last for 8 seconds, which is a very short amount of time to tell a story. We have to isolate what’s important to understand, and we used an early blockout version to convey these story elements. Animation blocking allows us to quickly find out if an idea is worth pursuing and creates the foundation which lets us make our animation.

If the story makes sense and everyone understands what’s happening—and we’ve added enough storytelling poses in the blocked state—we’re ready for the next step, which we call a “spline pass.” This is where we add life to the characters by creating motion between each keyframe and storypoint. For Tristana’s recall animation, we played around with giving each character a unique personality and movement pattern: The devil moves in quick darts, the angel moves more like a floaty dance, and Tristana is excited about the prospect of doing more misdeeds.

When we have a good idea of what the end result should look like, we start the “polish pass,” which is where we add in the things that make the character feel more like a living, breathing being—kind of like a real actor performing. We’ll add in a lot of the small human elements, like eye darts, subtle head movements, ear and hair animation, and anything else that makes the piece feel like it’s a part of the real world. For Tristana, we also added in some details to clear up the animation, like moving the gun position, shooting earlier, and (most importantly) making the moment where Angel Teemo flies out of the gun feel like a bigger deal.

Once the animation is ready, we can combine with SFX and VFX in the game to get our final result. 
Turning Screams into Sound Effects 
Alison “semipriceysoap” Ho, Sound Designer: semipriceysoap here, back for some more sound design talk! 
After making a palette of sounds mixing screams, animals, and fire, it’s time to shape that into sounds that are recognizable as Tristana. Here’s a reminder of what that first collection of sounds were like:
[Link]
And here’s a sample from the audio “building blocks” I created:
[Link
As fun as it is to make epic bursts of flames and long, atmospheric spirit realm magic, these sounds are really the building blocks for the final pieces put into the game. These building block sounds are usually too long or designed to be very over the top—they’re much closer to sound you would hear in a movie, like the explosions in a big superhero fight sequence or the spooky sounds of walking through a haunted forest. However, these sounds in game would make it very difficult to tell when a player is actually using specific abilities. 
Because Tristana’s base weapon is more of a traditional cannon, I wanted to her SFX to have the same feel and punch of cannons while keeping them growly and creepy. Using a technique fellow League sound designer CyborgPizzaNinja showed me, I took the bigger impacts from library recordings of actual cannons and sidechain compressed and gated those sound effects to some of the building block sounds mentioned above. In other words: When the cannon sounds are played in my audio software, the screams, animals, and fire will sort of mimic what the cannon sounds like. This helps retain the feel of Tristana’s bomb or cannon gun without having it directly in the sound itself.
Here’s what some of those audio building blocks sounded like after applying this technique:
[Link
The last step is one that’s pretty standard in all audio—mixing and mastering! This is making sure that the volumes and frequencies all feel right for Tristana, gameplay in League, and the demon thematic. Using what I had above for Tristana’s R, I found that it needed some higher frequency elements in the middle of a fight. I added some higher-pitched screams and creepy chains to make it more recognizable as Tristana’s ult. 
Here is a part of the final SFX for Little Demon Tristana’s ult:
[Link
The Voice of a Spunky Demon Yordle 
Julian “Riot Zimberfly” Samal, VO Designer: Hi everyone! I’m Riot Zimberfly, the VO Designer for Tristana’s new Little Demon skin. My role in the skin is to craft the sonic fantasy of Tristana’s voice. One unique challenge that comes with reimagining the aesthetic of VO that’s been previously recorded—meaning there aren’t new voice lines—is that I have to find the delicate balance where a champion feels immersive in their new fantasy without making the processed voice feel at odds with the intent of their lines.
Here’s an example of what Tristana’s base VO sounds like:
[Link
In Tristana’s case, it was important to me to bring out the darker, edgier fantasy through her voice. To do that, I “harmonized” the voice (multiple simultaneous voices speaking at different pitches) with deliberately dissonant intervals to get it feeling slightly macabre. But I didn’t want to lose the core of who Tristana is, so I downplayed the volume and intensity of those harmonized layers to be more subtle and let her untreated voice take the priority:
[Link
Next, to crank up that smokey, underworld-y vibe, I gave it a slight dose of reverb that simulated a large, cavernous space. This is subtle, as I didn’t want it to physically feel like Trist was walking somewhere other than Summoner’s Rift.
[Link
Lastly I sneaked some of the spooky sonic textures used throughout her SFX into her VO to create a dark, ominous bed of sound for her lines to gel with. For clarity reasons, the bed is only audible in her local-player lines, like her moves and attacks, and disappears for lines that all players will hear, like spell efforts and emotes.
[Link
What Comes Next? 
We’re getting pretty close to the end of development, so our last two updates are going to be a bit shorter. Next time, we’re going to share a behind-the-scenes look at illustrating Tristana’s splash art, complete with the final version of the splash. We’ll also have a sneak peek of all the chromas we’re working on. 
But before we go today, we wanted to share a video of the latest progress on Little Demon Tristana. The whole team’s been fine-tuning the skin since our last update, and we’re nearing the home stretch.

Thanks again for coming along for the design process. We’ll be back in two weeks!"

Yuumi, the Magical Cat | Champion Theme


"The official champion theme for Yuumi, the Magical Cat."

Miscellaneous

"The dunk prophecies are true. Darius has arrived." Darius jukes his way into the Series 3 lineup as Special Edition #10 XL to introduce his own Dunkmaster Collection. 
Full Collection: https://riot.com/2vB660a"
    

Reminders

To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • MSI 2019 is happening and the Mid Season Trials event is in full swing! Now through June 2, you can choose your house, complete missions and earn rewards for your team! Check out out post for more details!

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