[ Updated ] Red Post Collection: Let's Talk About Sona, Outdated Skin Splash Arts, PAX East Cosplay Round Up, and more!

Posted on at 6:15 PM by Moobeat
[ 4/20 - Update #2: Added in several more posts about Sona! ]

Tonight's red post collection features Fearless with a "Let's Talk About Sona" thread, IronStylus with a brief comment on updating out of date skin splashes,  RoamingNumeral with additional discussion following his "Making a More Human Bot" dev blog, Morello with a few notes on the direction of Soraka's rework, Riot Gradius with comments on the Heartbleed security bug, and an official community spotlight on some last weekend's awesome PAX East Cosplay!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

Let's Talk About Sona

Fearless, Game Designer, has started up a discussion thread on Sona, highlighting things he believes Sona does awesome, things that could be more awesome, and requesting an earful of player feedback.
"Hey all, 
With the continuing goal of making Support players have more meaningful gameplay and enjoy their choices throughout each game of League of Legends, we’re looking at making sure Sona feels as awesome as possible.

Things that are already pretty awesome:

Sona’s role as a buff/enabler support is solid and rewarding.
Sona’s ult is impactful and allows Sona players to make big plays that they and their team can appreciate.

Things that need to be more awesome:
Sona’s auras are powerful, but not satisfying to use, and create very little interaction.
Sona’s basic abilities don’t have as much skill expression as many other supports.

These are my current thoughts, as a dude who has been thinking about Sona gameplay a lot lately. I want you to tell me where I’m on track, where I’m wrong, and where I’m totally missing something.

Other things I want to hear from you:

What do you love about playing Sona?
What do you not like about playing Sona?
What decisions are most interesting to you when you play Sona?

What moments of a Sona game make you feel like you’ve made a play for your team?"

In response to feedback that Sona is "fine as is", he replied:
"The concern isn't that Sona is weak or strong, but that a ton of her power is in stuff that isn't fun. The goal would be to make Sona a lot more fun for Sona players, her allies, and her opponents with a lot more ways that everyone interacts with Sona's cool stuff."

Replying to feedback that Sona's ult tends to be her only high point, Fearless agreed:
"This is exactly the though that got this going. Sona deserves more high moments than just landing her ult."

When asked about her ( W ) heal, he noted:
"I very much can imagine changes that not only keep Sona's heal, but make it a skill that has more impact and a lot more gameplay. Currently, Sona's heal is really good at keeping an ally topped off, and really pretty bad at saving an ally. That makes it best at the situation with the least satisfaction, and worst at the situation with the biggest payoff.

We can do better."

Fearless also commented that he doesn't have specifics to share yet:
"At this point, I just want to make sure that my thoughts on Sona were in line with the rest of the players. There have been some talks about where Sona could go, and things we can do to make her much more rewarding, but there's nothing prototyped. We're not even sure that changing Sona would be worth the disruption to people who love Sona already. I wanted to make sure that if we did anything, that every change we made would be something that solved problems that our players cared about."

As for feedback that micromanaging your position is very rewarding as Sona, Fearless commented:
"I completely agree that a lot of Sona's identity has to do with being a champ, if not the champ, that requires great positioning to be successful. That is very much something that we want to maintain and that we think is a great trait of Sona.

I do however think that there is room for Sona to care about her positioning and still have abilities that feel more impactful. Sona should probably have more reward for great positioning."

[Update ~11:00 PM PST] 

In response to feedback about her ult feeling like her only real moment of power, Fearless commented:
"This is definitely a big problem. Sona's auras do have power, arguably a lot of power. The problem is that they are immensely hard to appreciate, and it makes Sona feel like she isn't contributing, even when she is.

Every change we've talked about has been all about maintaining the intent of each ability, but making Sona's contribution, and therefore the Sona player's skill, much more obvious and fulfilling."
On the invisible auras, he continued:
"Seeing lots of feedback that people do very much appreciate her flexibility and the distinct modes her different abilities provide. Those were definitely elements we thought were cool, and probably want to punch up even more if we were to make changes."

He also replied to someone commenting that she could become more interactive without becoming more mechanically difficult:
"If we do start working on any changes to Sona, I think this would be a core judge of those changes. Sona wouldn't feel like Sona if QWE were now skill shots. Sona has to still be Sona, but I'm positive there is a more rewarding, more enjoyable Sona out there somewhere. So far, I'm really excited, because what you guys are saying is pointing in the same directions we were already looking.

Still happy to hear a lot more."

As for becoming fun but still remaining competitive, he noted:
"These aren't divorced goals, and in fact they do work together when we do our job well. A champion that is more fun needs lots of interesting ways for people to make choices and interact with their team and their opponents. A great champion has payoffs that reward these great plays. When the payoffs are built correctly, that results to a great deal of fun for our players. Those same payoffs are what give a champ a niche and purpose in high level play"

He continued, replying to a lengthy post concerning Sona being a "jack of all trades"
"Thank you for the super well thought out post. You bring up a very good block about the itemization dilemma especially, and that's something that at least I hadn't thought of as a core problem for Sona, that we definitely have to be aware of as we make changes.

We do have some ideas of how Sona could still have the experience of making her team stronger through her positioning and timing choices with her abilities. This thread isn't as much about trying to get all the answers from you guys, but making sure we have all the problems right."

He capped off the topic, saying:
"Alright, I'm heading out for now, so I'll probably be less frequent in posting, but I'll still be checking in, reading up tonight and over the weekend. Please keep posting your thoughts, and I can't say how much I appreciate everyone contributing."

Fearless also created a community beta version of the thread so EU players could also weigh in. Check it out here.

[Update #2 - 4/20 11:00 PM PST]

When asked if Pro play is a driving factor for Sona update, Fearless noted:
"If we decide to make changes to Sona, and her professional pick rate probably won't be a primary metric of if the changes are successful or not. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see more variety in pro play, and if our changes make that happen, awesome.

However, the main goal would be to ensure that everyone playing in a game with Sona has a more rewarding experience. Currently, the windows where she actually creates meaningful gameplay are a bit too limited."

As for removing Sona's invisible power and sacrificing her identity to do so, he noted:
Are you guys considering making her infamous "invisible power" more visible, or are you planning on stripping her off her identity because what she does is hard to appreciate?
If we make changes, the goal has to be keeping Sona's identity, while making her more satisfying to use while giving her more interesting interactions throughout the game."

When suggested they "un nerf" the balance changes Sona has received over multiple seasons, he noted:
"No, she'll be broken again. 
Sona wasn't nerfed because we thought she was too fun, it's because she stamped out other options, and especially because she was much too powerful through too little game interaction.

By making changes in where Sona's power lies, and by moving it to more interact game elements, we'd actually be able to put more power in the parts of Sona's kit that players appreciate. Sona isn't an ineffective champ currently, the problem is more that she's not satisfying."

When asked about being able to make plays outside of Sona's ult, he reiterated:
"Yes. I can't imagine making changes to Sona without making sure that Sona's individual casts have more impact, and therefore more potential to make a play. What sorts of plays those are exactly would remain to be seen."

Over in the community beta version of the post, Fearless also talked a bit about Sona being "the musical champ" and how satisfying her kit is:
"First off, thanks for the post. It definitely highlights a lot of the good and bad about Sona currently. One of the reasons this project is coming up is that Sona does have some really awesome parts of her kit, but they are sprinkled in with elements that are some of the most unsatisfying. 
You are not alone in thinking that she does have some cool hooks that play up her being themusical champ. That's also something I'd personally love to see more of if we improved her kit. 
You are also right, and it has been something that has been really present in this round of feedback, that many of Sona's problems are issues with what she does, but how we show that to players. We agree that some of Sona's choices in game as she exists now could be pretty solid if players were more aware of them."

Updating Out of Date Skin Splashes 

As it comes up quiet frequently, IronStylus flew into reddit to comment on updates to old relaunch skin splash arts, such as Nidalee's or Trundle's , that no longer match their appearance.
"Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I'd rather you not be left hanging. While initially, on relaunch, it was our policy to redo the splashes for the skins which accompanied newly VUd' champions, I think we may have been a little too ambitious in our promises. 
Currently between new champions, champion launch skins, new skins, relaunch bases, existing base splash-redos, promo work, and other tasks, splash art is pretty darn busy. They do amazing work but it is indeed a LOT of work, a lot of REALLY HIGH quality work. I believe the splash team has found higher value in all the new content they're working on than going back and spending too much time in the 3-5 older skins. I'm in agreement that the newest content is where resources should be spent, especially when it comes to relaunch bases splashes. 
This has been an ongoing discussion but we all agree that all the work going into new content is really super important. Indeed, it does leave some older content in the dust, at least until we come around to it, which I don't particularly know when that might be."

More on "More Human Bots"

Following up on his developer blog "Making a More Human Bot", RoamingNumeral dropped off a few additional comments on bots and upcoming improvements.

When asked if bots will ever play on both sides of the map instead of only on purple side, he noted:
"This change is in testing on PBE now :). Bots have a 50% chance of playing each side."

As for bots warding, RoamingNumeral commented:
"Warding is on PBE now :). It's coming!"

When asked about bots moving to lanes automatically and that making it tough to practice a solo lane, he shared:
"In custom games, if you go to a lane bots will move to accommodate you. They try to balance to a 2-1-2 meta (sadly bots aren't forging new meta yet :P), so if you want a solo lane, mid is your best bet. Otherwise you can put 2 bots on your team and pick your lane, then you should end up with 1-1-1 lanes.

We're looking into ways to make this a bit clearer in-game because it's not very intuitive right now."

Direction of Soraka Rework

Morello dropped off a very brief comment about Soraka and where the team is headed with her rework:
"I don't think we'll remove her W entirely without bigger changes - that's a broken character, as you point out :) 
I'd like to start with new explorations on IF we can come up with ways for Soraka to provide healing that doesn't run into the principles and problems that our mental model is built around, but I find that to be a high challenge. If tht doesn't work, I think we'll ensure that Soraka maintains a "helping" support fantasy and not a kill-based or CC-based support fantasy (Janna or Lulu are that sort of thing). 
We're still in prototyping ideas, and Vesh is getting his feet wet there. No specific news yet."

Regarding the Heartbleed Security Bug

Riot Gradius has posted up a small announcement regarding Riot's security and the recent Heartbleed bug.
"There's been a lot of discussion surrounding the “Heartbleed” SSL security bug that impacted a lot of websites (this video does a good job of explaining the details). We dug into every League of Legends system and we're happy to report that no player information was exposed to this bug. 
However, some players use their League of Legends login information on other websites and, because of how widespread the Heartbleed bug is, their accounts may still be vulnerable. 
Just to be safe, we strongly encourage players to change their League of Legends passwords. Additionally, all League of Legends players should verify their email address for added security. 
As always, we'll keep doing everything we can to protect your information and will keep you informed of any updates."

[ Community Spotlight ] PAX East Cosplay Round Up

Here's Riot Preeti with a look at some of the awesome cosplay from last weekend's PAX East event!
"We’ve packed up our PAX East booth and said farewell to Boston, but we’re still in awe over the absolutely stunning cosplay we witnessed over those three amazing days! Here’s a poro-sized sample of legendary craftsmanship, menacingly-large weapons, and gorgeous skins from PAX East 2014. "
Lady Rengar
Arcade Hecarim and Kitty Kat Katarina
Steel Legion Garen

Full Metal Jayce
Dark Valkyrie Diana
Haunted Zyra
Debonair Jayce
Team Spirit Anivia
Aether Wing Kayle

Jinx and Fishbones
Lady Gragas

Siren Cassiopeia
Lady Mordekaiser

Lady Skarner
Lady Skarner
Armor of the Fifth Age Taric
Xin Zhao
Officer Vi

Battle Bunny Riven and Caitlyn
"For more awe-inspiring cosplay pics, check out our League of Legends Tumblr. Blown away by any other breathtaking PAX East cosplay? Share your favorites in the comments below!"

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