Red Post Collection: Details on Viktor's rework + New Splash, Soraka to PBE soon, Cassiopeia GU Discussion thread

Posted on at 2:55 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features Solcrushed with an in-depth look at the upcoming Viktor rework, Vesh noting Soraka's rework will hit the PBE very soon, Riot Stashu with a discussion thread on the Cassiopeia gameplay update, Runaan discussing Xerath's lore following the new Fall of the Empire images, and Ghostcrawler & ManWolfAxeBoss discussing Dominion.
Continue reading for more information!

The Truer Evolution 3rd - Details on Viktor Rework

The glorious evolution is at hand - Solcrushed has posted up a detailed look at the Viktor rework that will be hitting the PBE soon, as well as what appears to be a brand new splash art!
"Fleshlings, the time of the Glorious Evolution is nigh! 
Viktor will be hitting the PBE very soon (hopefully tomorrow). and I am here to give you the numbers & mechanics changes we have for the upcoming PBE patch. 
Here are screenshots of the tooltips, I will be adding notes for the changes that cannot be discerned from them. Are you ready? 
Basic attack frames sped up 
Passive: Glorious Evolution

Viktor starts with a Prototype Hex Core that he can upgrade 3 times for 1000 gold each. Each upgrade grants +25 AP, +150 Mana and +1 AP per level, cumulating in +75AP, +6 AP per level, +500 Mana for the Perfect Hex Core. 
Each upgrade will allow Viktor to augment one of his basic abilities and when Viktor has upgraded all 3, the Chaos Storm will be augmented also. 
Q: Siphon Power
Range changed to use bounding boxes (Effectively 100 range increase)
Cooldown changed to 10/8.5/7/5.5/4 
Damage reduced to 40/60/80/100/120 (+0.2AP) 
Empowered autoattack that deals 15~250 (depending on Viktor's level) (+0.5AP) bonus magic damage on next basic attack. 
NOTE: The entirety of the damage of the next basic attack is converted to magic (ex: Poppy Q) 
Shield amount changed to 30/50/70/90/110 (+0.2AP) 
Shield and speed boost (Augment) duration reduced to 2.5 
Shield, speed boost and empower all granted immediately upon cast 
W: Gravity Field
Range increased to 700 
Particle starts playing as soon as Viktor starts cast, time between start of cast and enemy being slowed is unchanged 
Stunned enemies are no longer affected by the slow 
E: Death Ray
Augment Explosion missile speed significantly faster than the original laser 
R: Chaos Storm
Cast time reduced to 0.25 (from 0.33) 
Cooldown reduced to 120/110/100 
Radius of initial impact increased to 325 (from 250) 
Radius of DOT zone reduced to 325 (from 350) 
Storm always moves at maximum speed when moving towards Viktor 
DOT damage changed to 30/60/90 (+0.2AP) 
DOT damage interval now 0.5 seconds (from 0.25) 
No longer silences on impact, interrupts channels instead 
  • How do you feel about his abilities working with each other, do they have a natural flow to them?
  • How enticing are the augments in various points in the game? When do you think is the best time to upgrade them?
  • Do you notice an improvement in the usability of Chaos Storm? / How does Chaos Storm feel to use for you as a player new to Viktor?
  • Is the damage on the empowered attack on Siphon Power adequate during all phases of the game? If not, when does it feel out of line?
  • What is the order you would upgrade his abilities?" 

Soraka Rework coming to the PBE

Speaking of things coming to the PBE soon, Riot Vesh also tweeted out:
"Soraka rework going to PBE tomorrow. Get ready for the astral ambulance."
You can read more on the direction of Soraka's rework, including ability tool tips and context, by checking out this thread. You can also find Morello discussing the rework here.

Let's Talk Cassiopeia

With Cassiopeia's gameplay update headed to live in the upcoming 4.16 patch, Riot Stashu has posted up a context and discussion thread for the rework on the general forums:
"Hey guys! Sorry for taking so long to move this discussion over to GD, finally made it though! So, let's recap. Cassiopeia's getting some changes soon. For a full rundown of the changes, check out my earlier post on the PBE forums. In this post, however, I'd like to address a few notable concerns that have come up here and there, and hopefully ease some worries. I'll highlight the main changes to her kit at the bottom of the post for those who are unfamiliar with them, but first, the issues: 
Most importantly, I'd like to reassure all of our Cassiopeia players that this is not intended as a nerf. If anything, these changes seek to increase her viability. That said, I know a lot of people have put significant efforts into crunching the numbers and comparing them to her old values, and I know her damage numbers may seem a little low. We are pretty confident that these changes have dramatically improved her effective damage output in the late game, though mostly through utility and usability.

For example, imagine if Kog'Maw could not use his basic attack unless he hit his target with his ult beforehand, and then we made a change to allow him to freely use his basic attack-- even if we reduced his AD, he would still be doing dramatically more damage. Now, the usability changes to Twin Fang are not quite on this scale, but we believe they really aren't too far off. Of course, it is fully possible that the damage is tuned too low. If this turns out to be true, we will definitely not hesitate to amp up her numbers. We want Cassiopeia to do tons of damage-- so, if her damage doesn't go crazy come mid-late game, don't worry, we'll fix that.

Another common concern is that Cassiopeia is no longer the DoT poison mage that she once was. Honestly, yes, there will be less cases where Cassiopeia throws all her DoTs on her opponent, walks away, and laughs as they slowly perish >=D. I know that this pattern was something that many of us enjoyed, but sadly there were a lot of problems with it. Damage over time is generally under-appreciated, particularly for poisoned the opponent who never has an easy time identifying what's killing him or what to do about it. Cassiopeia's abilities were particularly scary versions of this, with incredibly high damage and very low visceral feel--again, especially for the opponent. So, this had to be addressed, at least in some ways. That said, we really want to preserve Cassiopeia's poison identity, and that's part of what inspired the new passive. 
So, with the changes we arrived at, we believe poison will still do enough damage for the occasional turn-and-burn kill, be less punishing to unsuspecting opponents, AND be an even more important part of Cassiopeia's consistent engagement with enemies.

Those are the two big concerns I wanted to address here. I'd love to discuss these (and others) further, so please feel free to post below! I'm headed home now, but I'll take a look tomorrow morning when I get back in and likely hang around here tomorrow to discuss and answer questions. Thanks for reading, and change recap below:
Here are the main changes: 
Old passive: removed!
New passive: Cassiopeia permanently gains a stack of Aspect of the Serpent for each second that she has poisoned an enemy champion, for each poisoned unit that she kills, and every time she hits an enemy champion with Twin Fang. Caps at 400 stacks.
  • 75 stacks: 5% increased Ability Power. Twin Fang restores 6/8/10/12/16 (+0.1 ability power) health.
  • 200 stacks: 10% increased Ability Power. Cassioepeia gains 25% CDR
  • 400 stacks: 30% increased Ability Power.
Noxious Blast:
  • Cooldown increased by 1 second at all ranks
  • AP ratio down to 0.35

  • Damage and ratio down a little
  • Slow up by 10% at all ranks
  • CD up by 5 seconds, but scales with rank, down to approximately the old values

Twin Fang:
  • Ratio now scales with rank, overall increase by 0.05 at rank 5
  • Now checks for poison (and resets cooldown) on cast and on missile arrival
  • Added several smaller checks to make the reset less buggy feeling and unreliable

Petrifying Gaze
  • Now more accurately hits units directly on top of/in front of Cassiopeia (this is a pretty sizeable buff)
  • Cooldown down a little
  • Damage down a little"

If you are interested in specifics or even just a better look at Cassiopeia's texture/model updates, check out our earlier PBE coverage or the PBE feedback thread!

Xerath Lore

Following the "Fall of the Empire" images posted on the LoL Facebook earlier today, Riot Ruaan jumped on the forums to talk a bit about what these mean for Xerath's lore and the upcoming Shurima storyline:
"Hey, look! Stuff I wrote! :O Blast from the past. Xerath was actually the first character I wrote for entirely (Talon's judgment was my first), so this is a fun flashback. :) 
So, no spoilers, but look at it this way: the Shurima event is largely going to be Azir's story, from Azir's point of view. Events will be colored in a way that may paint Xerath as the "villain" in this scenario, but that doesn't necessarily tell you the whole side of his story.

Imagine what the mages who imprisoned Xerath in his original lore thought of him: a guy who more or less betrayed his people, nuked their civilization, all for what? For power? They didn't have all the information that you guys have from his Judgment, for example. To them, he was also a very clear-cut "villain."

We always wanted Xerath to have a sympathetic backstory, even if he does cross a moral event horizon at some point. Remember when you hated Severus Snape for most of the Harry Potter series, only to have "his side" revealed much, much later, and how game-changing that was? Keep in mind that a story isn't always told with 100% of the information front loaded. Just because it's not immediately there, spelled out, doesn't mean it doesn't exist within the character, or we've forgotten about it.
She continued:

Out of curiosity: Why?
Wouldn't it make sense for the lore to be presented in an objective fashion that lets us make our own judgements rather than letting one of the characters paint another as evil when they may not be? Aren't those who don't read deeply into the lore going to approach Xerath as a pure villain? 
I think the Snape example still applies - sometimes it's worth it to save character details for later down the story, where the reveal might hold more meaning. Snape was pretty much a bad guy for most of Harry Potter (as it was from Harry's PoV). Don Draper may seem like an excessively misogynistic jerk through a lot of Mad Men, but revealing details about his upbringing sheds light on why this is a part of him - something that's not done until much, much later in the series.

What you seem to be asking for is all the details on every character up front. That isn't a story... it's an encyclopedia entry."
"Err, stories are never really ABOUT facts, stories are stories - again, it seems like you're asking for super objective stuff when stories are subjective things. Also, it would feel clumsy (and again, more like an encyclopedia) to have a "list of points of view" - the story should imply that for itself. In this case, I'm speaking ahead of the story that's going to unfold for you guys. Hopefully it comes across that the story is primarily about Azir, thus colored by who he is as a character."
As for if we'll see more than Azir's side of things with the upcoming story, Runaan noted:
But, I ask again, are we going to get more than Azir's side of the story by the end of the event?
That would be spoilers. Geeze, you guys.

I posted in this thread because you won't see Xerath's side, in the very least, but I wanted to reassure you that we still remember the original depth to his character and wanted you to know that it's not lost. It's just that this particular story will focus on other angles to the events of Shurima."
Runaan continued:
"Hey guys, very quick responses to a few concerns that have come up: 
-What kind of stories have a disclaimer about the villain's (or any dislikeable character's) perspective eventually coming into play? Do people interrupt movies to let you know that, HEY man, in act 3, you're going to feel sympathetic towards this character you dislike right now - don't worry! This seems very silly to me. :( 
-When I said it's from Azir's PoV I didn't necessarily mean that in the pure literary sense (as in "he is the speaker all the time"), I meant that the story is shaped around him as a character. Others may "lead" at times, but the events of the story largely circle Azir. 
-The teaser isn't strictly in Azir's PoV, you're right, but it's meant to introduce the idea of Shurima's history (and specifically the history of its last emperor).

-With that in mind, to the majority of people in Valoran/Runeterra, Xerath is always going to seem like the "bad guy" - the guy who causes massive destruction because he seeks power, however secretly sympathetic his motives may be, is not going to go down in history as a hero."

Dominion and lack of Ranked support

With the Ascension  hitting live soon, Ghostcrawler jumped on the forums to reply to a thread concerning the health of Dominion as a permanent mode with a slew of support being poured into the featured gameplay modes:
"Hey guys,

We appreciate the passion, and we're going to try to address this with a one, two punch. I'm going to talk high-level League design philosophy and Manwolf will jump in with some Dominion specifics.

First, Dominion isn't going anywhere. Ascension is a new temporary game mode that we hope you'll enjoy, but it is just using some Dominion assets, not replacing the game.

However, this is a good opportunity to reaffirm why we like temporary game modes in the first place. League is largely centered around Summoner's Rift. That focus lets us design the game specifically for that map. We can make decisions about everything from movement speed to ult cooldowns with SR in mind. We constrain ourselves if we have to make sure a design change will work on any number of maps, and it bloats the game and introduces bugs when we make a lot of special case rules about items or abilities for the alternate maps. We still do it, but it's a last resort.

Now that's largely an argument for why it's easier for us to develop with a single map focus. But we think there is also benefit for players above and beyond our just being able to offer a better experience. The more maps and alternate game modes we offer, the more it subdivides the player population. We're at a state where that situation isn't too bad, but imagine what League would feel like with a dozen maps, and players split among all of them. It's one of the challenges of matchmaking that the more game modes you support, the harder it is to find a good game for anyone. Furthermore, it just divides up the mind share. Games like soccer and chess aren't played on a variety of "maps." There are some variant rules, and they serve similar goals as ours do: to give players something more when they've gotten a little bored of the standard way to play.

This is one of the reasons we spun up a team to specifically focus on temporary game modes, such as URF, Doombots and now Ascension. We feel like we can offer a fun and novel way to play League, without the commitment to eternal upkeep, especially for those modes that end being less awesome than some of the others. I mention this, because we think the future of alternate maps for League lies with alternate game modes (and I'm specifically talking maps with different rules -- cosmetic art changes to existing maps is a different topic). In the meantime, we do have Twisted Treeline, Crystal Scar and Howling Abyss, and we want to keep supporting them, recognizing that they aren't as central to the game as Summoner's Rift and therefore will probably never have the audience of Summoner's Rift. We also understand the perception of a vicious spiral here. Specifically, the less attention Riot pays to those maps, the less likely the audience is to grow, which means Riot is less likely to pay additional attention, and so on."
Then ManWolfAxeBoss followed up with a statement regarding Dominion and it's lack of a ranked queue:
"Hey dudes,

Let's chat.

First off, I want to reiterate what Ghostcrawler said. We won't be removing Dominion nor the Alternate Maps team. We've accomplished a lot this last year with both Dom and TT - They're both in a much better state of balance and overall health than they ever have been.

Secondly, I'll be frank. Dominion does not have the player base to support a ranked queue right now. It's not a matter of diluting the primary game mode or needing extra dev support, the population just isn't large enough to sustain a healthy queue. How do we know this? Well, we've actually done quite a bit of research on how many players are needed for a healthy queue. When it's not met, we see stuff like increased toxicity, higher turnover, decrease in queue size and a generally degraded play experience. Splitting the already small community into two queues would create a poor experience for both sides. Waiting 30 minutes to play with people with a 500 elo disparity is no fun for anyone.

tl;dr - Unless something changes, we won't be enabling ranked.

BUT - Let's talk about what ranked means to you guys and why you want it. Is it the end of season rewards? Is it quantifying personal skill? Is it about competition? Perhaps there's an alternative to ranked that can achieve that goal"

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