Red Post Collection: Gragas Rework, Mad Scientist Ziggs and Syndra SFX, Yasuo Sheathing Reference, and more!

Posted on at 6:51 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features Solcrushed with details on the Gragas rework that will soon hit the PBE for testing, Phreak and ricklessabandon with a few comments on the upcoming Rune Balance Changes, BelligerentSwan discussing how Mad Scientist Zigg's and Syndra's Ult's SFX were created, Pwyff chatting about AP Tristana and the 4.4 Lich Bane Nerfs, and ohmikegoodness with an animation reference for Yasuo's sheathing animation!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:

[Hopefully 4.5] Gragas Rework

SolCrushed popped up on the PBE community to provide a heads up and context on his tentative Gragas rework:
Hey Summoners, 
Although Gragas in his inception was designed as an AP brawler mixing it up with the enemy, he has historically been played as a mid AP nuke/poker. While we were fine with this, the recent resurgence of Gragas as a top pick has brought to our attention the problems inherent in this playstyle. Gragas currently possesses strengths of long range burst, tankiness and disengage- carried by AP ratios on Q and R being so high that they will effectively two-shot you. This combination of strengths do not make much sense (why do you need tankiness if you are a sniper? Etc.) and are unhealthy for the game. 
However, since Gragas was never designed as a sniper, he does not have enough tools he needs to be a valued pick if he is not two-shotting people. Therefore, just nerfing his current damage numbers will ‘Olaf’ him (his win rates are already super low for most players). When we looked at Gragas as a character, it made much more sense to retain the tankiness while hitting the long range burst damage and grant him the tools to succeed while being in the thick of the fight, rather than turn him into a fragile long range sniper, hence the rework. We are attempting to reposition Gragas as more of a bruiser/tank that better reflects the fantasy of being a large drunk dude who gives no @#$@s while ramming into people. 
The direction of the important changes are below, along with the points of feedback (both playing as and against) I am mainly looking for! 
Barrel Roll 
Damage reduced, now slows Movement Speed instead of Attack Speed. Now deals more damage and slows for more as the barrel sits out. 
This lowers his effectiveness as a poke mage (since no one will be standing in the barrel radius for any amount of time) and gives more incentive to ‘combo’ his spells to knock people into a barrel. 
The coolest play Gragas makes is when he uses Explosive Cask to knock the enemy into a Barrel that has been sitting outside and we wanted to incentivize that. The new effect on Body Slam will also synergize with this ability. 
Feedback Point 
Do you feel that this ability gives enough payoff for hitting the charged barrel?
Is his prowess as a poke mage too strong for how much cc he brings? 
Drunken Rage 
Druken Rage will now have a much lower CD and duration, and grant a one time hit bonus instead of AD. Gragas can also move while drinking. No longer restores mana. 
The current Drunken Rage is a very dull spell that is simply a chore to upkeep. There are almost no cases where Gragas engages without this buff and there is very sparse gameplay associated with the trigger or the effect. 
The new iteration hopes to create a more windowed effect to his DR and damage so there is richer play and counterplay. Also a Gragas who is drinking more often is a more awesome Gragas. 
Feedback Point 
Does the spell grant appropriate defenses to allow Gragas to function in melee?
Is there a pronounced success/failure case when Gragas uses his W at the right time? 
Body Slam 
Body Slam now stuns and slightly knocks enemies back instead of slowing them. 
We have moved some power from Barrel Roll to Body Slam to give him the tools be valuable without needing to deal tons of damage. Gragas should be able to function as a mid-teamfight brawler that acts like a brick wall for enemies trying to get past him and gum up the fight. 
Feedback Point 
Does the spell offer a good enough incentive for you to duke it out in melee? 
Explosive Cask 
Deals less damage. 
Explosive Cask is already an awesome ability that requires mastery to use to full potential with amazing payoffs. However, currently it deals too much damage that dilutes its own strengths (You don’t care about where you knock the enemy if he just dies from the explosion). 
We wanted the spell to be focused on its cool and unique strength – a huge radius ranged knockback.

Runes Changes Follow Up

Following the announcement regarding upcoming rune changes, Phreak replied to a summoner curious why there were less rune changes than originally implied during the preason information posts:
"We did not go back on our word. We never have and never said we would give refunds for anything we nerf or buff. If you think we said that somewhere, please link it to clear up this confusion. 
We did say that we would refund things that we removed, like with Dodge Seals way back when. That's still true. 
As far as making less changes than we initially planned: 
There's always a balance to strike between telling you what we're working on super early so you guys can know what we're up to, or keeping total radio silence until something's about to be released. We like keeping you all informed. However, sometimes plans change. Sometimes, things don't pan out to be worth the effort, or aren't good ideas in general.

I can't speak to specifically why the rune changes are a bit scaled back to what we initially proposed. I do know that I personally like these changes and am interested to see some new combinations."

Phreak also shared his opinion on what to do regarding the nerfs to Lifesteal quints:
"I don't believe LS was optimal on any junglers. With Madred's and Spirit Stone changes, you should have enough sustain regardless in the jungle. Clear speed has always been more important: Attack Damage or some other kind of offensive Quint would be more effective. 
For ADCs, you're likely still fine to run two of them. With the Feast buffs, you'll have very similar sustain in the laning phase, and by the time you've got a Bloodthirster, 1% life steal won't mean much.

However, I think it's also possible to just forsake them entirely and rely on Feast/Doran's and get a fast Vamp Scepter."

ricklessabandon also chimed in, clarifying his previous comments about runes & refunds:
"no, you're mistaken. the specific quote you're talking about was in regard only to hypothetically changing a rune's type (e.g., gold/10 seals changing into gold/10 glyphs) and not about altering the stats it provides.

we never promised or hinted at doing refunds for doing runes balance, which follows with our runes balance changes historically."

Making Mad Scientist Zigg's and Syndra's s Ult SFX

Here's BelligerentSwan, a Senior Sound Designer, explaining how he came up with the sounds for Mad Scientist Ziggs!
"Sorry for the delayed response... As for the Mad Scientist Ziggs, unfortunately I don't have any cool videos to show. :( 
As for your title question... for Mad Scientist I tried to focus a lot on the sloshing/swirling of the liquid and the impact of the glass to really sell the mad science bombs. Instead of re-creating a whole new set of sounds I made small some tweaks to the base set. This helped solidify the theme of the skin, without having a negative impact to the gameplay audio feedback. 
Looking over the sessions now (it's been a while :P) and some notes I made back then I ended up taking a bunch of source like bubbling/boiling water, sloshing sounds, liquids, etc... and put it through a Doppler plug-in and a few other frequency type plug-ins to give it some movement. I then layered this in where I could among the spells. Particularly more so on the objects traveling through the air.

For the impacts that didn't break (Q/Minefield), I took a bunch of bottle clinks/impacts and tried to focus on the initial clink/impact & pitched it down just a tad to give it some weight. I layered this in with his base sfx (removed some of the heavier metal hitting ground sfx the base used) to highlight the glass bouncing. 
For the impacts on explosions, I layered in some various glass breaking just at the front of the explosion sound as I imagined that would be the first thing you hear before the big booms. I pitched these layers up a bit to help make the glass sound a bit and stand out a bit in the mix. This helped to make it sound like a glass beaker type explosion vs his base grenade type traditional explosions.

This was definitely one of my favorite champs to create sound for. I guess you could say both Ziggs & the Mad Scientist skin were a blast to work on! :P"

He also elaborated on how he produced the sounds for Syndra's ultimate:
"Hey Logan Richardson, 
Thanks for the kind words! This champion in general was pretty challenging. Her overall thematic approach I took was that of this deep heavy tonal gravity type energy. Since this spell has very short buildup time, I tried to focus on a deep heavy impact that "sped" away. I started with a base of heavy metal door slams and some cool metal scraping building block sounds I created. Then through many iterations and steps I proceeded to tweak and manipulate it a little at a time. I ended up using a lot of track/effects automation to really nail the feel and timing on some of these layers. 
Some of the main things I did:
  • Impact - I have one effects track dedicated to giving the initial cast some snappiness. For this I used a plugin called Transient Master.
  • Reverb - The reverb on this sound is pretty crazy. I used combinations of different things including taking the tail end portions of a Crow sound and a Sonar Ping sound and used them as Impulse Response on a few layers. Additionally I used Reverb of big metal spaces like empty silos and metal piping to enhance the size and metal feel.
  • Size & Movement - A few other things I did were take some of the reverb output and a few other tracks and put it through a couple different plugins that helped give it more space/size (Echoboy) and more frequency movement (Tremolator, Morphoder, PhaseMistress), especially in the tails.
Overall this one was pretty fun, but very challenging to get it to feel just right. I went through a ton of iterations before getting to the one you hear in game."

AP Tristana and 4.4 Lich Bane Changes

In a thread discussing the recent patch 4.4 Lich Bane changes, Pwyff explained why nothing was done to compensate AP Tristana in light of the nerfs:
"AP Tristana builds DFG as a core start item first. 
The thing is, I think we looked at champions who typically rush Lich Bane as a first item because they need it to stay relevant past the power spike. If they don't, their effectiveness drops. 
For champions who build Lich Bane second or third, the concern comes from the fact that they may be strong when they pick up their first or second items (not LB) and then we buff their base ratios and they become even stronger during those phases. That's terrifying."
He continued:

So what we need to do is play AP Tristana and rush LB as our first item in order to change you guys mind? Ok, brb, gonna spam AP Trist and rush LBs. 
Alright, if we're going to pull out the straw men: 
Tristana building DFG over LB as a first item is an indication of the objective game health where in she doesn't need to build LB as a first item to function correctly. AP Trist's core playstyle is to blow someone up and if you build LB for the consistent damage spikes her current kit just doesn't support that functionality so giving her more base AP values to support it makes no sense.

TF, on the other hand, can pull off sustained AP damage and therefore rushes LB. If he wants to go raw wave clear he doesn't need to rush LB. This is a good indication of the objective game wherein he may need some love."
He continued, replying to more questions regarding specific champions:
On another note why havent you nerfed Leblanc yet?

Im not sure how taking 50% of an AP mages HP at level 2 with unavoidable damage is supposed to be balanced, maybe you can enlighten us?
LeBlanc is probably a little crazy. Honestly speaking, as an LB main for a year+, when she got reworked I thought she was going to see the same play as Zed / Fizz at S3 World's because she had roughly the same play patterns and threat levels as those guys. When it didn't happen, I figured maybe I called it wrong but then HERE SHE IS.

I don't know of any Diana that rushes Lich Bane...
Diana I believe was just a "this would probably be nice for Diana as she could use some love." Diana's big problem (in the overarching sense) is that she's super strong and when she gets even an inch ahead, there's not much you can do. That's a separate issue but I think she got folded in because Repertoire (however you spells it) looked through all champions who feasibly use LB and examined which ones might be a little too dependent on it to function.

Hey Pwyff, communications expert, how come the thread in the server status forum to talk about the Heimer disable is closed? How can we express our disgruntled feelings if it's closed?
I'm gonna get roasted for this, but I guess the first question to come to my mind is why :( We're trying to solve it, we're aware of it, you're aware of it. If we leave the thread open you yell at us and it's not even constructive feedback and everyone knows it. There's only so much you want to get punched. Plus it drowns out important information if we can get it out.

So when is Sona going to get compensated
I really see no downside at all to giving her back 0.1 on her passive
Mathmatically Sona is an insane champion with problems re: satisfaction. Auras are typically low gameplay high impact concepts that very few appreciate. Personally I think Sona is an... interesting champion. I'll leave it at that.

And for gods sake, we never even got the answer to this question WHO EXACTLY WAS THE LICHBANE CHANGES TRYING TO NERF? 
Ever heard of the saying "If it isn't broken, then don't fix it"

I dislike responding to these baits at all, but I'm gonna call you out on this because it's annoying. We want to have a dialogue and we communicated a ton on why Lich Bane was a problem space (we were looking at specific champions who were incredibly strong and soon realized LB may be the underlying issue). Like... AT THE TOP OF PATCH 4.4:
Our other big change is to Lich Bane, as it was skewing a lot of champion power in unhealthy ways. Specifically, there are champions who have a lot of their power tied to Lich Bane - we balanced them to compensate for the changes - and then there are champions who like Lich Bane for its high burst, low cooldown properties. High burst isn't unhealthy if it's timed and executed properly, but Lich Bane was just a pile of damage for something you're already doing, and it came up much, much faster than other burst damage focused items like Deathfire Grasp. Hitting Lich Bane means we can revisit certain champions in the future and maybe buff them up. We've already begun this process for a few of them as you'll see in this patch.
It's really hard to have a conversation with you if you get hyper aggro and hyperbolic while also demonstrating that you don't want to listen. If you had said "I understand your point and here's where I disagree," we can have a conversation and you demonstrate a willingness to listen but that's not happening."

Behind the Scenes: Yasuo Sheathing

It's been a while but ohmikegoodness is back with another animation reference video, this time for Yasuo's sword sheathing animation!

"Greetings Summoners! 
Video Here 
Today I have a small video of Yasuo's sheathing! While doing research I learned that you need to have a swipe before you sheath to remove all the blood from your sword. Badass. We wanted to give Yasuo that cool moment of putting the sword away after combat, and Griftrix developed new tech for us to do so! RiotLamz ended up animating the sheath, and I adjusted it to work with your shiny new sheathing tech! We shot this on the in the hallway by the kitchen leading to the PC bang. Sometimes you gotta make due with what you have available! And this hallway had good lighting hahaha


He continued, elaborating on the "shiny new sheathing tech":
"The animation itself was pretty straightforward! Making Yasuo able to know when he was in or out of combat and have that predicate what animation to call was the difficult part. Normally for a character like Shen, we have to have the swords in at the beginning of the animation, he pulls them out and attacks, then returns them to the sheath. With Yasuo, we wanted him to keep his sword out while he was in combat, and sheath it when he was out of combat for X amount of time. We felt that this would provide really cool moments when you cut someone down and leave battle. However, this creates many problems with the current implementation of animations. We had to create a new animation for Yasuo running with his sword out, because what if the player autoattacks, then decides to run? We also had to create sheathing while running. It would be easier if the player just stood still! But we had to create a sheath animation for standing, and then create an almost identical animation for him running. Because the player can potentially sheath during both the run and idle animations. We had to create a system that would know how far along the sheath animation was and to play the correct corresponding animation relative to the current state of the player (running vs idle) so that if the player stopped running 50% through the running sheath, he would have an identical version of standing sheathing and would play starting at the halfway point!


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