Red Post Collection: The Origin of Poros, Low Level Team Builder Experiment, and Riot Games Tokyo

Posted on at 7:02 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection features The Origin of Poros - history lesson on how poros made their way into League of Legends, Lyte with a new low level Team Builder experiment, and an announcement regarding Riot Games Tokyo!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News:

The Origin of Poros

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the release of the Howling Abyss, the team has prepared a special treat - a look into how our beloved poros came into existence!
Here's Riot Preeti with more info:
"In honor of the Howling Abyss' upcoming one year anniversary, we're opening our art vaults and delving into the mysterious and magical origins of the map's most-loved inhabitants: poros! RiotOtown, RiotEarp, and RiotCaptainLx have emerged from the art pit to shed some light on the adorable furballs and tell us how they brought them from concept to life!

First off, what do you guys do at Riot?

We're on the environment team! RiotOtown's a lead environment artist, RiotEarp's a concept artist, and RiotCaptainLx is a senior animator. We're just a few of the many creative minds that designed the Howling Abyss!

Where did the idea for poros come from?

While wrapping up the Howling Abyss, the entire team was on the lookout for something to balance out the Abyss' cold, serious atmosphere. Unlike our other maps, the Howling Abyss had a very structural, linear cadence--it was literally a bridge without any fantasy elements, which didn't feel very League. To counter this, the whole team brainstormed about cute and fun things we could add that would remain true to League and not take away from the map's epicness. It was sort of tricky because whatever we added had to be noticeable without being too distracting--we didn't want players confusing our little critter for a minion or monster they should kill!

We wanted to create something furry that looked like it could survive through harsh weather, so RiotEarp looked to mountain goats, reindeer, and polar bears for inspiration. He sketched the initial poro concept art based on a cuter version of all of those things and we ran with it! Howling Abyss is the coldest and harshest place in all of Runeterra, so you can think of poros as the manifestation of whatever warmth, happiness, and love that still exists. 
After RiotOtown modeled and textured the very first poro, he and RiotCaptainLx decided to add a super huge tongue because the little guy reminded them of a puppy. Then, during the animation phase, RiotCaptainLx took it a step further and had the poro lick its whole face in one shot! With the tongue mechanic in place, he also animated the poro to run around panting with its tongue hanging out. We totally agreed that poros should pant just like that--they radiate with love, so they're extremely hot despite the Abyss' bone-chilling temperatures!

How'd you decide on the name "poro"?

RiotCaptainLx needed a name for the animation file that went up on the Public Beta Environment (PBE), so we tossed around a few options until we decided on poro, the Finnish word for reindeer. It sounded cute! It was supposed to be temporary, but we were stuck with it thanks to a small oversight on our part. Basically, a player posted online that he'd discovered the file name after pinging a poro in-game on the PBE. Players liked it, we liked it... so we kept it.

How long did it take to create poros?

About eight hours from concept to in-game on PBE. No joke. We never expected poros to become so popular or we probably would've overthought them!

What else can you tell us about poros?

Hmmm...let's go over some fun tidbits!
  • Poros are equal parts truth, valor, and innocence
  • The color that best describes poros is "very light blue, like Freljordian snow" (Pantone P 121-3 U)
  • Poros have a heart-shaped underbelly because they're made of love
  • A poro's horns perk up when it's excited and droop down when it's scared
  • Poros paddle through deep snow with their front paws
  • Some believe that poros are indestructible--though at one point we animated poros to keel over and twitch if they ran into the Abyss' fountains
  • Poro-Snax are frosted with Freljordian ice crystals
  • Due to recent heroic deeds, Braum is a friend to the poros
Born out of love, blinded by glee; 
Innocent, pure, magic and free, 
Faithful, trusting; often na├»ve, 
Soft, furry; their hearts hold a key."

RiotCaptainLx, senior animator, chimed in:
"Hi everyone,

feel free to post all your Poro related questions here! We love to hear from you... share your questions, Poro stories, thoughts, and suggestions."

When asked for a champion that uses a poro as one of his skills, CaptainLx commented:
"I don't know about skills, but Braum interacts with one in his emotes =)"

When asked about the life span of Poros, he noted:
"There's an unconfirmed rumor that Poros can not die (only split into multiple)."

As for a poros only eating poro-snax, CaptainLx revealed:
"Let's say it's their favorite kind of food."

When asked if a yordle could rid a poro by sticking a poro-snax on a string at the end of a stick strapped to the poros head, CaptainLx commented:
"They are probably too small for that. You might have more success tying one each on to one of each of your feet. Truth is, though, that Poros are not smart and if each one seas a different poro snack they might run into two different directions."

As for if "poro milk" was a thing in the Freljord, he noted:
"Nope. You can't milk those!"

When asked if we will ever see an event that stands up to the Freljord event ( Launching of Howing Abyss + Big lore event + Lissandra release + Trundle and Sejuani relaunches ), he commented:
"We do have a really hard working story team here at Riot and there are all kinds of "events" they are helping with (like, for instance, the Poro animated bit you saw a few weeks ago). Story permeates our game but it's not on the forefront. If there's a great opportunity to tell story in the game or outside of it we will do it. I think the shopkeepers in HA were a great way of telling some story. And with every champion VU we are trying to refine the story of each character. Now, I can't talk about future projects and events but we do have a rich universe that we as devs also want to explore and talk about in all kinds of forms (website, game, forums etc.). I'm glad to hear you loved HA, and I'll pass it onto our team. These events take a long time to get right but it's great to see people enjoy(ed) them so much."

Low Level Team Builder Experiment

Following the recent level restriction experiment for Team Builder, Lyte has returned with a new experiment: a three week change in when different queues are available for low level players.
"Hey everyone, 
We recently restricted Team Builder to Level 25 after collecting some data on the low level player experience in Team Builder. We're now ready to try a new experiment in Team Builder, specifically for improving the low level experience. 
When you're a gamer trying out a MOBA for the first time, there's usually an overwhelming amount of information that you have to pick up; for example, a player might wonder what champion they'd like to play or what abilities a champion has. Some players may want to try mastering one champion before moving on to another. Team Builder helps players accomplish all of these things (without any time pressure!) while making it much easier to play with friends. We believe this is a great way for veteran players to introduce their friends to League of Legends, and allows them to play League the way they want, every time. 
In light of this data and the overwhelming feedback that low level players love Team Builder, we're going to change when queues unlock at the low level ranges. 
This experiment will run for 3 weeks, and will change when queues are unlocked in League of Legends.
  • Level 1: Tutorials, Battle Training and Co-op vs AI will be available
  • Level 3: Team Builder will unlock
  • Level 5: Howling Abyss will unlock
  • Level 10: Dominion (Blind Pick and Draft), Twisted Treeline (Blind Pick and Draft), and Summoner's Rift (Blind Pick and Draft) will unlock
  • Level 30: Summoner's Rift (Ranked) will unlock
Like the other experiments we've run, we'll assess the data after 3 weeks and determine next steps. We'd love to hear your feedback about how friends who are brand new to League enjoy the new leveling experience. 
See you in Team Builder, 
He continued, elaborating on the experiment:
"This experiment just tests some basic functionality of Team Builder at low levels; it gives us a lot of data to optimize the experience specifically for low levels in the future.

This is why we'll assess all the data in about 3 weeks when the experiment ends, and then use that to inform future design decisions that may make the low level experience much faster or easier to understand."

As for the order of the modes unlocking in this experiment, he explained:
"The current queue unlocks are temporary just for the experiment--they allow us to specifically test things like what happens when players play Team Builder first, then Blind Pick, and compare it against the previous data we have when players play Blind Pick first, then enter Team Builder.

Once we have the data, we can figure out where the common issues are, what the best order of queues are, and can map out what a more permanent low level experience should look like."

In response to a comment about Team Builder's long queues being off putting for low level players, he replied:
"This is part of the test. If queue times are that poor, we can immediately stop the experiment and try something else."
He continued:
"I completely agree, wait times should not be > game time. In fact, we want wait times to all be < 10 minutes at low levels."

When asked about Team Builder games still not adding to normal stats, Lyte noted:
"Team Builder matches and stats are still being recorded, so we'll just add it to Normal Stats in the near future. We wanted to finish the new feature that allows Solos to see what specs are in demand first, and will fix the Normal Stats issue afterwards."

As for long queue times for players on the upper end of the MMR scale, Lyte explained:
"If you were Diamond last season, your normal MMR is probably pretty high. Right now, the matchmaking doesn't handle high or low MMR players in any queue very well; in fact, Diamond players tend to wait pretty long in Ranked Mode as well.

We're researching a potential upgrade to the matchmaking system for this particular issue, and will keep you posted. Don't worry, you'll get fast queue times in Team Builder soon too!"

Riot Games Tokyo

Riot Games has put out a small announcement regarding their new office in Tokyo, Japan!
"Meet Tokyo: Japan’s capital and the most populated metropolitan area in the world. Home of Akihabara -- a sprawling mecca of manga, anime, electronics, and video games -- the gravity-defying skyscrapers of Shinjuku, and Tokyo Game Show. A city dotted with shrines, scenic views, and -- oh yeah -- the most 3-star Michelin restaurants in the world. It’s no surprise we ended up here. 
It’s the electric heart of Japan and now home to a growing crew of Rioters. As we build teams across Esports, Player Support, Marketing, Localization, Community, and more, we’re pushing the throttle into overdrive to create local in- and around-game experiences that delight players throughout Japan. 
We’re still assembling a crack team of Rioters in Tokyo, but we’re getting close to hitting that big green “GO” button. So hang around; we’re just getting started."

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