Red Post Collection: IronStylus talks VU ideas, Olaf vs Frozen Heart, Pentakill Timer, and much more!

Posted on at 8:46 AM by Moobeat
[ 3/3 Update ] Added in some addition posts regarding Cassiopeia and Evelynn VU ideas

This morning's red post collection features IronStylus sharing his thoughts on various VU topics ( including Cho'Gath and Evelynn ), RiotScruffy commenting the team is working on a Darius rework but he is not in the immediate future, Meddler discussing the interaction between Olaf's ult and Frozen heart, vLemon on the elongated timer for pentakills, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

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IronStylus Talking Visual Upgrade Ideas

As he is known for, IronStylus popped up all around the community beta to chat about various different VU related topics!

When asked about a potential VU for Cho'Gath, IronStylus shared a few comments from an earlier reddit post:
"Actually here's something I posted on reddit that relates to this pretty well. Reposting: 
I want to say that Cho'Gath might be relatively close to the top, though I can't remember off of the top of my head. He's not in the top immediate 5, but maybe a bit after that. What I think the best thing about the prospect of a Cho VU is that we just got Vel'Koz out there. We have a defined look for the void due to that champion. While in the past we were sorta like.. "Well what is the void? Just bugs and purple?" we at least have a more refined precedent with Vel'Koz. Yes, actually, the Void is very much "bugs and purple", and maybe that's not really touching on what the void is in and of itself, but it's a reliable trope set we're now sorta locked into. 
I'd like us to go back and reexamine Cho now that Vel'Koz is complete. I think there's a lot of form language, color and other notes that we can incorporate. Right now Cho is preeeettty much Violator from Spawn crossed with a giant Zergling, or at least was highly inspired by back in the day. I think we need to dive back in and come up with some more unique things to work into him. 
Right now, he's a big confusion of arms and protrusions. I don't know if that'd change (I've seen a couple of concepts lying around where he has fewer than current) but I don't know if we could get away with lopping off any arms/claws. At the very least, we have to reduce some of the noise. That might come from just giving his various appendages a bit of differentiation in terms of size. We'll see. Nothing concrete yet. I do consider him an "easy win" however in that a) he's a pretty straightforward character b) he doesn't need to be thematically re-defined and c) we've got some great standards set by Kha'zix and Vel'Koz to refer to in terms of quality and style."

When asked about a potential VU for Veigar, IronStylus commented:
"He's not really a top priority at the moment. In terms of Yordles Poppy and Tristana are more likely to get a VU/Relaunch befor Veigar."

Speaking of Poppy, he also briefly mentioned that she's a possible candidate for a VU later this year:
"She's not actively being worked on. We're possibly considering her as a candidate for late this year, but no guarantees. Here's pretty much what I'd want to see:
That's some fan art done by one of our former, and sorely missed, artists Kienan. 
It would roughly equate to solidify Poppy in the Yordle space and give her (as I think is what's appropriate for all Yordles) slightly more animalistic features. I'd say she could skirt slightly more animal in an official version, but I generally like where this is at. 
I think it's ok that we could say male Yordles get scruffy, almost puppy/rodent sort of vibes to them, while females have much less hair (maybe a peachfuzz amount) and are a bit more divergent from the males. 
Also, this gives her actual anatomy! That's a plus. We did the same thing with Heimer and will have to do such for the rest of the Yordles."

As for Evelynn, he commented:
"The question is.. what the hell is she? 
Right now she's a dominatrix, I guess. She's also this sorta wraith/assassin/seductress. Whatever she is, it's not clear. I think we can dig into her a bit and see what tidbits are there that can really make a compelling character. I think there's potential, but right now the whole thing about her back-story is "mystery". To me that's actual fertile ground. Oh, she's from the Shadow Isles? Cool, we can use that. Maybe she's the product of some curse given to her parents. Maybe she's half human, half a product of the Shadow Isles. Plenty of possibilities. We'd like to explore those and get an idea then execute from there. Whichever creative direction we take, it'll explain the way she looks. My hunch is that whatever we do she's probably going to need a traditional skin. I don't see us being able to rationalize how she currently looks now."
He continued:
"Mysterious is great, but we tended to use that a lot back in the day. I feel it's sort of an easy way out of explaining how she does or doesn't fit into the world.

Either way, yes, I agree, there are a lot of opportunities. I'm sure she'll stay on the sadistic side of things. I do like the Daarkin/half-Daarkin/whatever idea, I also like her being of some sort of relation to the Shadow Isles. Either way, I think her core themes will remain in tact, it's more about how we express and support those when we do an overhaul."

When asked about visual updates for Cassiopeia, IronStylus commented:
"She's on the list, but she's pretty far down. Yeah, she's got a nasty kink in her tail.
If we were doing a real surface analysis, I'd say we could do a model/texture update to her and could call it good, but I know that our animators look at her and cringe. I have a feeling that once she is a priority, she'll be thrown out and rebuilt from scratch. New model, new rig, the whole shebang."
As for her aesthetics, he commented:
"I don't know at this point. Right now she's just literally an Egyptian-queen-looking-snake-Medusa-lady. That's pretty arbitrary. I'd like to think we could find a reason to make her look like she does, or move her in a direction that makes sense."

He also briefly touched on  a Blitzcrank's VU retaining the idea that he 'isn't mean for combat', the idea of having a champion that is an invention of Viktor, and  making Caitlyn's hat full of gadgets:
"I like that term. Pretty cool! 
I think the idea of Blitz not looking like he's meant for combat is pretty key. There's an aspect that makes him sorta feel industrial in a way, not like he's some murder bot. He's somewhere between Commander Data and the Iron Giant, I think we can hit that home a bit better. 
Not really, at least not yet. There's some other holes in those stories with Viktor that we'd like to see filled first. I think there's more characters to add to that chunk of story before we insert a straight addition of a Viktor-bot, or whatever. That said, I think maybe we could add in some things that he's helped create, or people he's helped facilitate. There's some ideas I have there. Maybe somewhere down the line there could be room for.. basically Blitzcrank's nemesis.. or something.. which would be pretty cool. But I think we have some robot saturation with Battlecast stuff at the moment. 
While I think Cait needs an update, I really am not terribly fond of making her too gadgety. Some stuff on her that helps her reload, cool. Maybe some utility there and in the gun, but honestly, I think we need to move away from the "contraptiony" Piltover stuff, and really dig into that sleeker hextech look. Whatever it might be. I also think Heimer is covering gadget-stuff coming out of people's heads for now :P"

As for his overall experiences working on the relaunch team, he commented:
"It's a pleasure to work on this team, and I'm astounded at how pro these dudes and ladies are. It's very humbling. Not only in terms of craft, but also professionalism, speed, and smoothness of pipeline.
I think you're going to like what we've got in store for this year. We've recently changed some things up, gotten the team really in gear to take on some interesting challenges and get our release cadence running smoothly. A couple people have had to move off of the team and they will be missed, but we've got a real all-star lineup in this group. (one Ohmikegoodness will be joining the team as the Senior Animator on deck fanboy) I can't express how proud I am and how lucky I feel to be able to work with these super-stars.
I hope that we can meet and exceed your expectations this year. Like I said, there's a lot in store, we're ready if you are ;)"

Darius Rework Where?

When asked how the Darius rework is coming along, Riot Scruffy commented:
"Darius is still definitely on our radar. We are working on him but he's not in the immediate future. Rengar, Kassadin and Gragas are top priority right now, but we are continuing to make forward progress on the axe man."

Potential Updates Blast Zone Heimerdinger

Blast Zone Heimerdinger's VU, as seen in the 2/27 PBE Update
In the wake of Heimerdinger's VU hitting the PBE, IronStylus replied to feedback regarding Blast Zone Heimerdinger and the "tone" of Heimer's new VO.
"Cool, thanks for the feedback. Some of the things are great suggestions but at this point are a little out of scope. (VFX aspects are notoriously difficult to change heavilly at this point.) 
Right now I believe we have some plans to update Blast Zone a bit more so it's not such a stark transition and such a graphic one at that. That's texture and should be doable before release. It was noted as legit feedback by the team. 
I understand the "not quite sounding like" but in the end that's the direction we went mainly because of some particular direction on the voice acting itself. The "tension" that you might sort of get from his original VO wasn't something we were in love with as we reviewed the results. So he might sound a hint bit more calm this time around. Overall I think it's still a win. Again, good feedback, but it's unlikely something we'll be able to change at this point. 
Glad you're generally liking him so far!"

Olaf and Frozen Heart

Meddler confirmed that Olaf's ultimate prevents Frozen Heart's attack speed aura from affecting him
"It does. The Frozen Heart debuff's applied just like any other slow, so slow immunity or reduction effects will make you immune to it or cause it to fall off faster respectively."
He continued:
"We do split some debuffs precisely to allow that sort of control. Yi/Olaf can have their damage reduced by Exhaust for example, even though they're immune to the slowing part of the spell. Champions who are immune to movement speed slows also being immune to attack speed slows by contrast is an intended thing."

Pentakill Timer

vLemon, a QA analyst, popped up on the forums to explain the elongated timer for pentakills works:
"The normal timer for getting multikills is within 10 seconds of the previous kill. For pentakill there is a special case where the timer can extend to up to 30 seconds, if the enemies you killed with a quadra haven't respawned."
He continued:
"It's not a new change, it's been like that for at least 6 months (6 months ago is when I learned about it, might have been there for year(s) without me noticing). 
As to your question, it's not my expertise :( I cannot speak to why this rule was introduced in the first place, but I can share my sentiment as a player. 
Personally, I don't think pentas are too often. I am really happy to see one (whether it's from my team or the enemy team) and I would like to see them more often. I also like the fact that when you are level 18 and your enemies have the ms and items to run away/ga from you, you still have one more chance (for cds to go down or for your team to help you) to get them and get that great feeling.

Yet again, not a new change and not my expertise."
and to clarify, he commented:
"If someone used revive during the first 10 seconds after the quadra, then the time period for getting the 5th kill would be 10 seconds (just like for the previous kills). If they use revive after the 10 seconds from the 4th kill, the multi-kill timer would reset imediately. I am not sure about the hexakill rules though :C"

Who Designed Vel'Koz

When asked "Who Designed Vel'Koz", Meddler replied:
"Subninja, who also worked on Zac, was the gameplay designer on Vel'koz. As with every champion though Vel'koz is very much a group effort, with a lot of people from a wide range of disciplines contributing to different aspects of his development."
He continued:
"Opeli was the writer on Vel'koz (bio, VO lines etc). A lot of different artists worked on him, including TheBravoRay on concept art, Reach4TheSkylar on animations, Troyzilla on particles and a bunch of other folks whose summoner names I don't know off the top of the head on things like final loading screen art, icons, rigging, model sculpting etc. Then there are other things like QA, sound design, login screen, login song, gameplay balance, production and almost certainly some other stuff I'm forgetting."

As for how he thought Vel'Koz is turning out balance wise, Meddler commented:
"It's pretty early days yet given people are still learning him/we've only got a few days worth of play to consider. So far though he seems to be in an ok spot.

That's just personal opinion though, the folks on the live balance team who are following him in more detail might be aware of some issues I'm not."

[ Continued ] Discussion on NA Servers

sonicdeathmonk returned to the NA forums to elaborate on the plan to move servers to central NA and how the servers in Oregon are affecting player experience:
"Moving servers more central for all NA players is a priority. As I mentioned earlier, truck loads of servers are purchased, we just need to lock down the data center contract and get the Internet circuits installed. In the meantime the servers near Portland, OR will see connection improvement for many players as the direct connections to the major ISPs and telcos get installed (more are getting hooked up every week). We were maxed out of quality space, Internet bandwidth, and power in the Los Angeles area so Oregon was the best choice at the time to get large amounts of servers up and running (Facebook, Apple and a few other major players are an easy drive away), it is technically only 7-9 msec further away from the LA area (if LA was the better place, it is not for all players) but we need to optimize the routing and circuit mix to really achieve the best possible connection for all players to the Oregon located servers. The team is working long hours to get this done. 
In the last few months many players were likely getting first routed to LA then to Portland through San Jose or sometime weirdly through Seattle. Now lots of players are taking a much more direct route to just San Jose and then Portland if you are not in the Southwest USA or you will likely pass through Seattle then to Portland if you are in the Northwest USA or coming out of most of Canada. So ping time for many players should have gone down in the last month (but not for all). This will continue to optimize for more players as we get more telcos and ISPs directly connected.

Another team is focused on getting game servers spun up more centrally which will then allow Oregon to become the fall back site if things go into the ditch in a bad way (something we have not had as option in the past). So net, Oregon is a temporary hop which has allowed us to significantly expand the number of game servers and other resources we have needed to help stabilize NA. Next step is to optimize ping time for as many players as we can in Oregon and then a more central to NA location which we will tell you about as soon as we lock it down.


Problems with Support Items

Over on the PBE community, Xypherous reiterated that the 4.3 support item changes were only a clean up and that he still feels there are more problems to be fixed with support itemization:
"There's a couple fundamental flaws with the support items right now - the changes to the support items recently are not intended to fix them - but merely clean them up and offer a bit more variety. 
We can't realistically make them parity because of a lot of factors (less AP supports / Haste active / etc.) We have some long term plans for this item line that we're working on - but along the way we discovered some fun mini-game cleanups and that's why we shipped the changes that we had in 4.3. 
We're aware that this i sn't a long term thing - but we're trying to work on some more fun stuff for AP support."

Hexakill Ending Soon

Here's Brackhar with a reminder that Hexakill is almost over!
"On March 2, we’re sending Hexakill back to the Featured Gameplay Mode workshop. Hop in and earn your pentakill plus one before it’s too late!"

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