Red Post Collection: Heimerdinger Bundle, Tentative 4.5/4.6 Summoner Spell and Enchantment Changes, 3/17 Launcher Outage, and more!

Posted on at 11:18 AM by Moobeat
This afternoon's red post collection features a heads up on a new Heimerdinger bundle to celebrate his VU,  Xypherous with an overview on tentative Summoner spell and Enchantment changes that will be hitting the PBE soon, Rincewind with context on yesterday's launcher problems, Morello with some quick comments on Nautilus and Darius, and Riot Sephyre noting the OCE server skin "hasn't been forgotten".
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

Heimerdinger visual update out of the lab: New Bundle!

In case you missed the Heimerdinger coverage post, Heimerdinger's visual update is out in 4.4 and there is a new "Complete Heimerdinger bundle" available!

Here's Riot NaKyle with more info:
"A good long tinker with the ‘Dinger yielded some epic upgrades to his turrets, rockets and grenades. Now the updated Heimerdinger struts out of the lab and onto the Rift. Because the diminutive inventor isn’t all explosions, a spiffy new do adds some style to the dangerous substances. For extra insight into Heimerdinger’s visual update, check out the lab report.

Celebrate the update with a bundle replete with every skin the Dinger has, that includes the legacy Snowmerdinger and Alien Invader skins. Snag the (25% off) Complete Heimerdinger bundle for 3810 RP."

[Planned 4.5 or 4.6] Summoner Spell and Enchantment Changes

Over on the PBE community, Xypherous has shared a list of tentative Summoner Spell and Enchantment Changes we can expect to hit the PBE in the near future.
Just a quick heads up on changes that we're planning for 4.5. We're working on some itemization recipe, enchantment retuning and Summoner Spell updates for 4.5. The recipe changes I'll post on a different thread at a later date since it's much lengthier than my usual PBE posts. 
Boot Enchantments 
Overall, enchantments were an interesting experiment. Despite the power or popularity of Homeguard, it didn't seem like the enchantment system was causing any particular problems in Season 3 for the most part. However, in Season 4, it's looking like the late late game often gets dragged out too long and is much more difficult to close than intended. 
I don't think that simply changing Enchantment: Homeguard will solve the problem of the errant late games but it's definitely a contributor to the overall state. We're going to reduce the power level of Homeguard to clean up a little bit of the end-game problem and power up some of the other options such that there's a better balance between offensive mobility and defensive mobility options. 
Enchantment: Homeguard
  • No longer fully regenerates you upon activation.
  • Instead, item restores 35% of your missing Health and Mana per second while at fountain.
We like that Homeguard can give you an instant satisfying burst when used well - enabling you to defend objectives almost immediately upon a successful recall. However, the speed of response is just too fast right now. By changing the mechanic to restore a percentage of your missing Health and Mana - we basically add a couple of extra crucial seconds if you want to re-engage or defend at full health. 
However, if you were severely wounded and you rush off the fountain with Homeguard, you'll only be at roughly 70% or so. Healthy enough to mount a defense of a tower but not quite so domineering. 
Enchantment: Alacrity
Movement Speed: 15 --> 20 
Alacrity has always been in a bit of a poor spot due to being off from a tuning perspective.
(As a bit of a followup, Boots of Mobility has seen roughly equal play / success numbers as before. There's been a bit of a dropoff in usage rates but nothing major overall. However, this change will make those players who were trying to compensate for the change by using the Alacrity Enchantment actually have equivalent Movement Speed in combat with the other boot options. 

Or you could just enchant Boots of Swiftness with it. SPEEEEED.
Enchantment: Furor
Price: 650 --> 475 
Furor is too expensive for what it brings to the table. While Furor is an excellent option for training or kiting your opponents, the price often made the practice moot because if you spent 650 gold training or kiting someone and you didn't have the combat strength to make it pay off - it was kind of pointless. 
This change will make Furor slightly easier to pick up when the mid-game or late-game fights start and players start to realize they need an extra bit of Movement Speed in fights - but can't afford to begin starting down a path to another major Movement Speed item like Zephyr or Phantom Dancer. 
Enchantment: Captain
Directional Movement Speed Strength: 8% --> 10% Price: 750 --> 600 
We've always been unhappy with aura effects as their relative power level versus visceral/intellectual satisfaction is always off. However, you could make a number of decent arguments that by overpricing and dampening the power level of the Captain Enchant, we never gave the aura a fair shot at being appreciated or recognized by our players. 
So, tentatively, we're increasing the power level and decreasing the gold cost of the Captain Enchantment. We'll keep an eye on whether people start appreciating the power of the effect or whether or not at this point it simply becomes overpowered and mandatory before deciding if it really needs further work. 
Enchantment: Distortion
  • Ghost / Flash / Teleport CD Reduction: 25% --> 20%
  • (NEW) Adds additional effects to the spells:
  • Ghost
  • Movement Speed: 28% --> 35%
  • Duration: 10 --> 12
  • Flash
  • Cast Range: 400 --> 480
  • Teleport
  • Grants 30% bonus movement speed for 3 seconds upon a successful Teleport
The Distortion Enchantment right now is most often used to enhance powerful initiation effects, especially combined with Flash. These changes are designed to augment all three of the spells in question to be a powerful offensive tool regardless of which Summoner Spell you are using to accomplish it. 
It's kind of crazy and potentially overpowered - but it's also exciting and it seems like there are enough levers on the item to tune it to a spot where it isn't if any one of the effects seem out of line. 
Summary: We're basically either increasing the power or decreasing the gold barrier to a lot of the enchantments that can be used to make interesting Team Fight plays for the mid to late game - with the exception of Homeguard which we're nerfing slightly to clean up the late game team fight defenses. 

Summoner Spells 

It's always been a little weird that our pure defensive supports don't have a Summoner Spell that emphasizes their support / healing nature and they have to take things that are either highly aggressive Ignite or somewhat less aggressive Exhaust to get a similar level of effect. 
We're making a couple of changes to Heal and Ignite to help give them a bit more character, while also slightly retuning Exhaust to fit better on a larger variety of roles. 
  • Targets Affected: 5 --> 2
  • Now only affects you and the target nearest your cursor (within 700 range).
  • If it can't find anything near your cursor, it'll affect the most wounded nearby allied champion instead.
  • Cooldown: 300 --> 240
  • Heal Amount: 90-345 --> 90-495 (Scales non-linearly with level, more at higher levels)
  • Additional Effect: After healing the target, it then removes any healing reduction effects the target suffers.
  • Additional Effect: Targets healed also gain 30% Movement Speed for 2 seconds.
We've always had trouble with Heal as its narrow functionality and high area of effect characteristics has made it pretty much impossible to balance for the lane and the late game. We also wanted to retune Heal to be attractive to both characters with Heal and characters without innate Sustain. 
Heal will have natural synergies with strong Healers like Soraka / Janna as it gives them a way to ensure that their heal sticks - at least for a short time on a very very long cooldown. The Movement Speed now allows it to either enable you to heal lethal damage and facilitate an escape - or target it at an initiator under fire and allow him to rush through to the opponents. 
  • Additional Effect: Now also grants vision of the target over the duration (Non-Stealth only.)
Ignite, traditionally, has either overwhelmed Heal or been dominated by it. We've decided to make Heal simply negate 1:1 the effects of Ignite on a single target - and thus Ignite needs a little more sideways functionality. 
We've always wanted to make Ignite grant vision of the target so you can slowly watch them burn but this also better clarifies Ignite's use as either a signal to focus fire your target or a end-spell to help finish off your targets as they run by ensuring they can't evade you by dodging into a brush. 
  • Movement Speed Reduction: 30% --> 25%
  • Damage Reduction: -30% --> -50%
  • Cast Range: 550 --> 650
Tentative numbers on Exhaust right now. 

Exhaust has traditionally been powerful on initiators, mostly because the short cast range demands that you close the distance with some other spell before using Exhaust. Exhaust is center-to-center cast, so the 550 cast range actually falls short of most AD Carry attack ranges or other burst initiation ranges. 
This makes using Exhaust defensively against carries somewhat awkward, as you typically have to walk forward to Exhaust the target that is actually inflicting all the preventable damage incoming. 
We've reduced the slowing power of spell because you can cast it from a longer distance and we've made the spell much more powerful as a preventative reactive measure against the engagement burst so that casting Exhaust before the impact happens is more rewarding. 
Note: Probably won't be responding to this thread tonight in full vigilance - I'll hop on this thread more when I get confirmation that these changes are on PBE. Otherwise, again - this is just a quick heads up on what you'll seen soon on PBE."

He continued, replying to an idea bout an ignore collision enchantment, Barrier, and item recipes:
"Ignoring movement collision is a pretty interesting enchantment - especially if it also allowed you to body-block other ghost effects. However, I can't really make new enchantments at this point in time since it's actually fairly time consuming. :x 
Barrier is kind of the dominant pick right now - so any buffs to it seem like they'd be on sketchy ground since it's kind of in mandatory status right now. Granted, that's due to the meta - but it still doesn't leave us much wiggle room on barrier 
As for recipes - we're only looking at fixing up mid-tier and support AP itemization and figuring out better mid-tier recipes. We're not currently looking at fighter stuff (though your BC suggestion does make sense as BC's combine is like 120-ridiculous-0.)"

Launcher Outage March 17th

Rincewind, Senior Systems Administrator, has posted up a context thread regarding the launcher ( server's being listed as undefined" ) problems that took place yesterday.
"The details of today's outage does warrant a face palm. It is a typical tale that can be heard from almost every startup that goes big in a short frame of time.
How does one track systems that are in production and not in production? When you are a small shop, you do it on in a simple web page. Over time you add features to it, and one day you find it cumbersome, and replace it with new software that tracks your inventory.

We moved to a newer system. It is fast, it has all the features to image systems at a rapid pace, and it is reliable. However it is only reliable, as long as the data in the inventory system is up to date and can be

As part of migration to newer systems, we decommission older servers. That was the goal today, to decommission older servers. Unfortunately it turned out to be a nightmare causing a global outage.

What we call the launcher, the itty bitty little button that says "PLAY", that players hit to transition to the login screen within the client. We seed the state of the launcher for different regions from a set of central database servers. They also serve other content as well such as news, and the pages you see right after logging in. This part of the system is fairly static and doesn't change often.

The content is served out from the database, and it is cached in the web servers. Since the content is cached for quite a while, there is not a whole lot of traffic to the database. Today as part of the decommissioning of the older servers we shut a few servers down that were not in production according to the inventory tool.

You can guess what happened next.

A few minutes later, the launcher, the news, and pages in the client, disappeared. The launcher showed undefined instead of play. Players around the world experienced, a collective "We cannot login!!!!"

The caching web servers expired their content, and reached out to the databases to get fresh content, however they couldn't reach the databases, as they had turned off. We accidentally turned off servers that were in production, except these servers were mislabeled as not in production.

After a few frantic phone calls to the folks in the datacenter, the database servers were booted up. Database servers do what it does after an improper shut down, it goes into the mode of recovery and checks the integrity of the data. Depending on the size of the data and recovery process can take some time. In our case it did and we had to run our data integrity checks.

In parallel we started implementing a work around to get the play button fixed in case the databases took a while. The databases did take a while to recover, so in the end we used the work around to restore a working state, although not completely recovered. The players could now see “Play” instead of “undefined” and login again.

1) WTF Rincewind this sounds so amateurish, how could you turn off systems without verification? 
This is a training aspect and we are working on educating folks on how to use the tools efficiently, but also verify that the information presented is indeed what it is. It is also an artifact of an environment that is moving from an old process to a new process. Stuff like this does happen in shops that went from a small startup and made it big in a short time.

2) Ok, why on earth did you not fall back to the slave databases and bring everything back up. 
We accidentally powered down the slave databases too as part of the decommission.

3) Err, it sounds you have some single points of failure. 
Yes and we are fixing it right now. We are ensuring that no central database exists that seeds information for all regions. All the systems are being decoupled and becoming their own service so that they don't take out each other.

4) How can we trust you to not this repeat this again in the newer datacenters like the one in Oregon.

We are building the Oregon datacenter with a clean slate. We will not have the old tools or potentially stale information that would affect us. We have better tools to manage this environment without being affected by legacy servers or inventory information."

When asked about the "thereisnourflevel" code that can be typed into the launcher and seemed to bypass the problem, Rincewind commented:
"@Chess435 The code is embedded in the client. It is an override we used couple of years ago before we had login queue tech. We used it to control the ability of players being to login back in the day. For while now, we have used login queue to control the ability of players to login.

We decided not to change the code since it wouldn't be long before players could find out what the new one was. We have been using the play button as a simple indicator if the platform was up or not. I think it is time to revisit that decision and do it in a better way."

Nautilus Buff in 4.4

Morello briefly mentioned the recent 4.4 buffs to Nautilus' W, saying:
"We thought this one was a pretty clear win, as it give Naut a reasonable increase to early game (still not a good one, but that's not his jam) but much more doable now. This was a buff players have wanted specifically, too."

Darius and Punishing Mistakes

Morello also dropped off a few comments on Darius and his perceived identity of "punishing mistakes"

"Thanks a lot for the feedback so far - a lot of breadth in the types of desires and issues.

I'm off to GDC next week, but one tidbit:
  • Players have developed the identity that Darius punishes mistakes hard, and that's who he is.
I've notice this pattern too, but I wonder how that actually can work. Unless this identity can spread, doesn't it mean the enemy needs to play pretty perfectly, and Darius himself does not? This seems hard to shore up since you're asking the enemy to, potentially, be quite a bit better than the Darius player to win. That could risk Darius being accidentally the easy-mode champ or perpetually be weak because he expresses his power more easily/scales mostly with the badness of enemies, not his own skill in context to it."

OCE Server Skin Still Not Forgotten

Riot Sephyre popped up again to reiterate that the  MIA Oceania Server skin, a unique skin to celebrate the OCE server and culture such as Bear Calvary Sejuani for RU or Ghost Bride Mograna for LA, has not been forgotten:
"It hasn't been forgotten. 
We've worked many, many ideas through iteration with the skins team. The truth is lots of skins go through the process and are rejected, even when they've made it as far as production. 
We're still having lots of meetings about it, gathering ideas that are posted here, Reddit, other community forums, as well as ideas from Rioters, etc. 
I wish it was a case of 'just pick one' but the process is a lot more rigorous than that.

TLDR - This is still being worked on, it has not been forgotten, it's not coming soon though - it's quite a while off :("

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