The Results of Marc Merrill's AMA!

Posted on at 11:00 PM by Moobeat
Here are the results of Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill's recent Ask Me Anything ( AMA ). While most of the answers tend to be less than revealing, he did provide a few glimmers of hope regarding thought lost subjects.

If you ask me, the answer regarding the 2 million fan Facebook reward requiring new technology points towards an upcoming Facebook integration, something that has popped up in the game files for a few months now.

Yesterday, our fearless leader Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill hosted an Ask Me Anything thread on the League of Legends subreddit. Over the course of a few hours he answered over 30 questions related to current and future development here at Riot Games. These questions spanned topics ranging from eSports to the future of League of Legends, and gave more than a few inside peeks into what goes on behind closed doors here at the studio.

You’ll find a full transcript of President Tryndamere’s Ask Me Anything thread below. We hope that it answers some of your questions, and provides you with some insight into development here at Riot Games!

Is your wife's name Ashe?
It's actually "Ashley", and the funny thing is that our creative design team had Ashe and Trynd marry because they both were from the north and had no idea that she was actually named after my wife (Ashe was one of the first characters we made). So it was fate!

I remember an interview a while back saying that once you hit 100 or so champions you'd slow down the rate at which you release new champions. With new champions coming out every 3-4 weeks lately instead of every 2 are we beginning to see that happening, and will this be the norm from now on? Or have champion patches been being delayed recently for other reasons?
To clarify, I don't think that's ever officially been said, but, our goal is to create amazing content - and however long it takes to do that, we will do it. Hitting the super high quality bar is the main reason that some times our content releases are a bit varied.

League of Legends is quickly approaching its 100th champion. Are there any special events planned for reaching this momentous milestone?
We're excited to reach this milestone - it's fun looking back and remembering the early days in beta and how far we've come. For those that haven't seen it, check out our LOL timeline:

This is why I wasn't excited for this AMA. You tend to do a lot of these PR speak non-answers, from what I've seen. That or empty "everything is gonna be all right" or "I love the community!!!11" posts.
When we accidentally "pre-announced" our Dominion announcement on twitter, that didn't turn out so hot. We'd rather wait until we have awesome to give you.

Fair enough. "Excited to reach [the 100 champion] milestone" could mean anything though; including "we're doing nothing." A simple "we'll [probably] do something" is really all that's asked.
Ok, fair enough. We'll probably do something 

When are we getting that 2 million Facebook subscriber thing? Soon(tm) had been announced months ago. For the record, I'd be fine without getting anything, but I'd rather be told.
We wanted to reward you guys at 2 million and the reward is still coming. We made a development mistake of "tying" the delivery mechanism to this to something that took a lot longer to develop. This IS on our radar though, and we plan on giving you guys more info on this topic in May. We're also sorry for the radio silence on this stuff - we'll learn from this and do better going forward.

Marc, did you play a game as riven today and get firstblood on a lulu top lane? If yes, I just want to let you know that was me. I also want to let you know that it was rude. RUDE. RUDE RUDE RUDE.
Yup! Ended up going like 7-1

Do you plan to implement an incentive system for good behaviours as opposed to just punishment systems for bad behaviours? Alternatively: Is there going to be a follow-up for the Tribunal? Or is that it in terms of policing the community?
Player behavior is one of the most important "initiatives" that we are focusing on as a company. We believe that no company has addressed this effectively, as most companies just make a game and then say "we can't influence how people behave online".
We disagree with that perspective and really believe that we have an awesome opportunity to create the most "sportsman like" online game community in the world. We have a team called the Player Behavior & Justice team (PB&J ftw) hard at work making some very cool features and improvements (including minor ones like defaulting /all to off).
We're actively seeking your guys feedback and input here, and we need your help to make this happen. Have faith that we're committed to being amazing here, it just may take us some time.

Not that I am complaining, but how do you guys get away with getting the game for free and playing for free? Do people really spend that much on RP and IP boosts? I know I'd be certainly willing to pay more if it means more support!
Appreciate that! Our philosophy is that if we deliver an amazing online game experience and deliver great value, then our community (you awesome people) will reward us by playing the game, bringing your friends and supporting us through skin purchases, etc.

Hello Mr. Tryndamere, Do you have time to play League of Legends, are you too busy to actually play? If so, who do you play most?
I play the heck out of League of Legends. I'm roughly 1600 in ranked Elo. My favorite champion varies over time - right now I'm on a huge jungle Riven binge, but haven't been doing super well with her - but she's just way too fun to not play her.

Where do you see LoL in the future? I see Riot games being a leader in the video games industry but where do you see League of Legends in 3+ years from now?
Hey Hotshot!
We think League of Legends is still in its infancy. There are SOOOO many awesome ways to enhance the game and overall experience that our team is still burning the midnight oil to make awesome for you all.
League of Legends is now one of the largest online games in the world and with our expanding global footprint, it is really exciting to put together massive events and build out an Esports ecosystem that has never before been seen. Lots of awesome coming your guys way!
Appreciate the comment re: our emerging leadership position.

Why is your right arm a lot stronger than your left arm?
Because I carry a big-ass sword!

Do you think the ability to gift RP to other players will be implemented?
Edit: Look, there are hackers in the world. There are also easy ways to prevent that from happening. What if it was an interface not connected to your account? What about making RP purchases a new purchase every time? The sky isn't falling and there are solutions to most problems.
We'd love to, but we'd rather focus on game features for now.

Spectator Mode is a pretty big success in my opinion, and with Riot it seems like there's always something awesome on the horizon.
My questions are:
  • What's the deal with Evelynn? She is still one of my favorite champions, but if I lock her in, I get raged at or threatened with reports.
  • What do you feel Riot needs to work on? Are there any things you consider failures, and what do you believe to be your greatest success?
  • Do you believe in ELO hell, and that below 1250 is pretty much a ragequit/afk-coinflip?
  • Supremacy? MAGMACHAMBER?
Thanks for the compliment on Spectator Mode. The team worked for a long time to deliver that awesome feature for you guys - and it was not easy to scale that to support such a large number of viewers in all of our global environments.
Evelynn unfortunately suffers from our "stealth remake" problem, where we are committed to figuring out a great solution to make her and Twitch viable. Our current solutions haven't worked in internal testing, but we'll keep on iterating until we get it right.
Riot needs to work on LOTS of things - and in fact, we do a huge amount of work in parallel. We are constantly working on great content such as awesome champions or events for you guys, as well as lots of features and behind the scenes work such as scaling our "backend" technology and improving the tools of our developers so we can deliver more awesome even faster for you all.
I play a ton of ranked and currently sit around 1600 - I think that often times people can get some rough streaks and bad luck, but over time, the best players always rise above the fray.

Any updates in "Achievements" and Summoner Icons? Thanks for the AMA.
We really want to do both of these, but we wanted to focus on things that you guys wanted even more - like Spectator Mode. And thanks for being here for the AMA!

As a mac user, I've got to ask: does Riot plan to provide support for a mac client in the near future? Or, possibly make Boompje's iLoL client officially supported?
We know this is a pain point for all of our mac users. Our original mac beta we had, simply didn't cut it. We've said in the past that we remain committed to the Mac - and we still are - and we think what Boompje and his team are awesome.
Look forward to talking more with you guys about this "soon(tm)".

What kind of (potential) plans/partnership does Riot plan to have with the Reddit community in the future?
We're big fans of Reddit and want to figure out other great ways to interact with the community. Let us know if you have cool ideas!

What is your favorite months-in-development feature released in the last week?

you, or does Riot, plan to develop any other game beside LoL? Or will you stick to LoL and Riot will cease to exist once this game is gone? Any ideas or wishes for such a game? Another moba or something completely different?
And how many champions do you think are too many champions? Will we ever see a stop of new releases?
We will definitely build additional games - and Riot as a company is really just getting started as well.
League of Legends is our FIRST game, so we've learned a ton and continue to improve - you guys see this in LOL as we polish little things here and there, and we have big plans in the future.

How many business went bankrupt for you before you hit the jackpot with Riot Games?
edit: don't know why the downvote many sucessful entrepeneurs don't make profit form their first business, he is now the Co-Founder of a billionare company, was just wondering if he had previous business where he learned from his mistakes.
Zero. Like a sniper we did one shot one kill 

When will Pulsefire Ezreal be released?
I'm not 100% sure when it's going to be ready, but we essentially had an opportunity to make Pulsefire Ezreal (in our opinion) one of the coolest and highest quality pieces of content we have done. We're still working on making him even more epic than the video you guys saw.

Can you explain the reason behind the all 6300/975 champion ideal for the last year?
Also, can you explain why there have been zero skins for less than 975 since the Harrowing skins?
I ask all the time on the forums, and no one from marketing exists on the forum, and no one else will actually comment.
Glad this came up, because I know this has been a hot topic in the community. 
With every piece of new content that we create, we try make stuff even cooler than anything we have done before. We spend a lot more time and effort building each additional champion and skin than we did in the past, as we continue to raise the bar with better animations, VO, visual & sound FX, etc.
We know that our new content has massive demand, and so our approach has been to price most of our new stuff at the 6300 level, while simultaneously lowering the prices on other content because we want there to be a large amount of stuff available for those who are more time / budget conscious.
Price is a sensitive subject for us, and we don't really like thinking about internally - we're all focused on making awesome stuff first and foremost and hopefully if we do our jobs well and you guys see value in what we create, then you will reward us for doing a job well done.

What is the general direction you want the game to head in? More aggressive early game or bigger emphasis on team-fights or what?
Also, can you share anything about this rumored "Supremacy" mode?
This is a better question for the design team - maybe we should send them in here for an AMA!
Re: Supremacy - we're working on a ton of awesome stuff all the time but are not ready to talk about this yet.

I'm sure this has already been asked, but are there any champions that you personally consider to be OP?
I do like the saying "Free win Lee Sin" - but one amazing thing about our game is how many viable champions we have. Having 73 champions banned or selected in our last tournament is awesome and sets a high bar for our genre

So..Magma Chamber..Working on it? Dropped it? Just want to know if it's still alive.
The original "Magma Chamber" concept essentially turned into Dominion. We were trying to find really fun ways to evolve the genre and in our thousands of hours of gameplay testing, we discovered that capture and hold was way more fun than a "bigger" map design we were gunning for with Magma Chamber.

Dear Tryndamere,
Some questions, if you will...
  1. If you could tell us, what is Riot's official status update on the three-year Stealth ability rework? Can we at least expect something to come up by the end of 2012?
  2. Why does it seem that Riot doesn't put much support (tournaments and tournament money, champ spotlights, ranked modes, etc.) behind their alternate maps (Crystal Scar & Twisted Treeline)? Will history repeat itself when Supremacy goes live?
  3. Why are certain champions (Trundle, Udyr, Soraka etc.) passed up for new skins when we have multiple skins for champs like Fiddlesticks, Annie, Teemo, etc.
  1. I referenced this a bit in another response, but to make a long story short, we're working on it and our current design solutions haven't been good enough to ship to you guys.
  2. It took us many months to really get behind Summoner's Rift after we launched from a tournament perspective, Season One started 9 months after launch. We will always continue to make improvements to LOL and part of our core philosophy is to do an amazing job supporting everything "around" the game as well.
  3. We have some cool stuff in store for all of our champs, so we aren't intentionally avoiding any.

What are your thoughts on how Dominion was received?
Dominion is a really fun change of pace to the traditional Summoner's Rift experience.
We think Dominion needs some work to become a real "competitive" experience, but tons of people play Dominion and there's a pretty large group that exclusively plays Dominion.
Dominion is a great example of how we have continued to evolve our genre and drive innovation.

What's the most unexpected consequence you've experienced from your game becoming so wildly popular?
*whistles* there have been a lot of unexpected consequences. The main one is that it is actually really darn hard to support millions of simultaneous players around the globe... it's been a really fun and exciting challenge for our team and a large part of 2011 was spent growing along with our community.
Seeing how passionate you guys are for LOL really fires us all up daily and makes us work super hard to continue to deliver awesome to you guys.

PAX Prime is sold out this year in record time - in about 5 hours compared to two weeks or so like it normally takes. Rumor has it that tickets were snatched up because of the LoL event happening then. In years before, Riot's involvement wasn't announced until after people had a chance to get their tickets. This reminds me of when Twilight was announced at Comic-Con and a lot of spots were snatched up by people only interested in one thing. While I can only blame myself for not getting tickets soon enough, why do you feel your events should take place during events designed around a more general audience?
As you saw in the Season 2 championship video, we are doing something special at PAX this year. But the great news is that there will be opportunities for people to attend who haven't gotten PAX passes yet.

Does anyone else feel that this response was basically a large preface instead of an answer?
Hotshot asked where Marc thought the game would be in 3+ years and got the reply "We've got a lot of awesome content in store!"
To make this a bit more tangible and to clarify how we see the future of eSports and what Riot will do to drive it, we’ve recently hired Dustin “RedBeard” Beck as our VP of eSports. RedBeard will be one of the driving forces in making sure the Season 2 Championship and future seasons shatter (yes, shatter) what the world currently thinks is possible within eSports.
Read more about the Forbes interview Dustin recently sat down for here:
For Season Three, we’re focused on taking League of Legends way past just being the best eSport in the world; we want to continue to revolutionize the portrayal, perception and execution of eSports as a whole.
From a product perspective, we're going to keep improving League of Legends from every angle. Awesome champions, additional game modes, events, visual improvements, videos & live shows - we're going to do a ton of awesome.
We aren't "announcing" anything specific and the AMA is really not the best place to announce specific things - just rest assured we are constantly working on great improvements across literally every dimension.

I played with you once, it really made my day. I hope you give other people as much enjoyment when they play with you as you gave me!
Thx! Appreciate the note - I love playing with you all too.
- Tamat, Lead Community Manager, via the official forums.

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