Red Post Collection: Rek'Sai discussion, Meddler on displacements , Vesh on Tristana update, and much more!

Posted on at 4:02 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features a "hole" lot of discussion on Rek'Sai now that she is revealed and up on the PBE, Meddler explaining the popularity of displacement effects, Vesh briefly commenting on the upcoming Tristana update, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Rek'Sai discussion

With our next champion Rek'Sai's reveal and PBE debut going out yesterday, her designer Beat PunchBeef and a few other Rioters jumped on the forums and reddit to discuss The Void Burrower!
When asked to explain her playstyle, Beat PunchBeef explained:
"She's a fighter but her pattern operates more like an assassin. Her passive gives her the ability to enter a fight, mosh a little bit, back out and wait for cooldowns, and then go back in."
Meddler also added in:
"Our goal is that Rek'sai's be highly mobile, particularly in a strategic sense (pre-placed tunnels, ultimate, Tremor Sense) while lacking the ability to burst down a target. Her Q's damage is spread over a few hits, her E requires her to build up Fury to maximize its damage and a fair bit of her damage comes from auto attacking too. She's also got limited inherent crowd control or tankiness, so while she can be very mobile the intent is she's both paying a significant price for that and has her mobility gated by how well she's set up previously."

When asked if Rek'Sai needs fury to burrow or can do so freely, Beat PunchBeef noted:
"She doesn't need it to burrow. It gives her health based on how much Fury she has when she burrows."
ZenonTheStoic also commented that you can still interact with Rek'Sai in everyway while she is burrowed:
"You can totally see her and interact with her in every way you normally can: attack, hit with skillshots, hit with AOEs etc."
He continued, replying to a player commenting that being burrowed seems "useless":
"If you're calling regeneration, extra movement speed, and an enemy movement sensing ability with nearly a full screen's range useless, then yeah, totally! Also you only get to make tunnels while burrowed, and unburrowing knocks people up."

Beat PunchBeef also noted that Rek'Sai's allies can see her Tremor Sense while she is burrowed:
"Rek'Sai's team sees her Tremor Sense as well.
As for how many tunnels Rek'Sai can have on the map, Beat PunchBeef noted:
"Currently she can have 8 on the map at any given time."
ZenonTheStoic also chimed in with their duration:
"They last 10 minutes but enemies can destroy them. Numbers are not final."
He continued:
"Right now tunnels last 10 minutes. You can destroy them by standing on them as the enemy. You even get some gold."
and how long it takes enemies to destroy them:
"Yes, enemy champs can destroy tunnels by standing on them, currently takes 1.5s (totally subject to change). She is completely visible underground."
Beat PunchBeef also commented that each of Rek'Sai's tunnels has it's own unique cooldown after use:
"Yes, each tunnel has its own cooldown when used."
When asked if her allies can interact with her tunnel in any way, Beat PunchBeef confirmed:

Although ZenonTheStoic chimed in that one scrapped version of her ultimate was allowing allies to use her tunnel:
"There was this one ultimate once upon a time..."

As for if a knock up will un-burrow her and if she can still ult if her tunnel is destroyed as she is in travel, Beat PunchBeef noted:
"1) Getting knocked up does not un-burrow her. Tried this at one point but forced state changes just end up confusing the player as to which state they're in. 2) Her ultimate can be difficult to set up. It also has a global sound effect attached to it. Due to these reasons, we defer to the Rek'Sai player once the ultimate is cast."

Meddler also commented on why Rek'Sai's  R having a global range is not problematic:
"Good explanation by Envydragon here, free movement global ults are something we felt needed to be removed and something we don't have any plans to make more of. Those with conditions to be used by contrast, such as Shen ult or Rek'Sai ult, don't generate the same problems."
As for if you can see and target Rek'Sai during her ultimate, Beat PunchBeef commented:
"Yes you can see her movement but she's untargetable."
When asked what other champions Rek'Sai's designer Beat Punchbeef has worked on in the past, ZenonTheStoic shared:
"Beat Punchbeef also worked on Quinn together with Volty, and I believe he is to blame for the Katarina rework."

The Appeal Displacements Effects

In a thread asking why knock ups and displacement effects have been such a popular form of CC for newer champions, Meddler explained:
"Hey all, 
Wanted to throw in some of our thoughts on displacements here for a bit of context, given they're definitely a CC type we're using more that has both some costs and some benefits to the game relative to other types of CC. 
  • First off, some details on why we've been using displacements more/what we feel the benefits of displacements are:
  • Displacements are clear. Having the unit(s) affected move makes it clear who a spell's hit and, provided the displacement arc or knockback distance is understandable, helps all players involved track the duration of the CC as well.
  • Displacements are visceral. A knockup can often feel better for the caster than a significantly longer duration stun, leading to better satisfaction from the same power budget.
  • Displacements, if there's a noticeable amount of knockback included, add some extra play to how a spell's used, giving players more ways to optimize and more options to play around. Not all hits are equal basically (e.g. a great knockback, versus an ok knockback versus a terrible knockback that helps the enemy), giving another point of mastery for players of the champion in question.
On the cost side: 
  • Displacements over large distances can make it harder to track where champions, your own especially when moved suddenly against your will, are in a busy fight. Using relatively short range displacement helps avoid this being a significant cost however.
  • Displacements diminish the value of Tenacity and Cleanse. That means players have fewer responses against them.
  • With regards to Tenacity, item based counterplay tends to be relatively poor if the item's not one that changes your gameplay noticeably (e.g. Zhonya's via its active, Bloodthirster since sustain modifies how you look to trade/fight, Boots of Mobility significantly impact how you initiate, ward etc) since it's otherwise just a single decision, based off team comp and lane match up. Tenacity items don't have a particularly significant impact on playstyle however, so the loss of interesting gameplay there's pretty limited.Tenacity's also harder to access for many classes (deliberately), so often irrelevant, and the vast majority of the counterplay associated with CC is almost always to avoid the skill in question (whether by dodging, staying out of range, not being a tempting target etc).
  • Cleanses not removing displacements by contrast is a higher cost and one it's important to be aware of, particularly with regard to champions with burst who'll potentially kill a target within the duration of a single CC.
Some other notes:
  • CC durations on new champs/major reworks nowadays are generally significantly shorter than those used on the original 40 champs. In terms of raw numbers new champions will tend to have more displacements than the original lineup, but those will tend to be of shorter durations (we're trending away from abilities like Morgana's Dark Binding, Rammus' Puncturing Taunt or Fiddlestick's Fear with extremely long CC durations via a single skill).
  • Displacements do interrupt dashes/leaps in progress which gives them extra power relative to most other CCs. Having counter mobility options like that in the game as a common tool's got significant value however and as above that power's offset against shorter CC durations.
  • Like many other effects displacements do lose some of their value as a tool when used too often and we have certainly gone through a solid run of champions with displacement on their kits. The next champ up after Rek'Sai will almost certainly not have a knockback or knockup and it's highly likely that the champ after that won't either. We'll definitely continue to use displacements where, as above, it's appropriate, they're not something that should be found on every new character however."

Meddler continued, commenting on how to communicate status effects in-game:
"Oh definitely, good use of audio/VFX/animations does an enormous amount to communicate status effects. It's not an either/or situation though, displacements can offer some additional clarity when combined with those other tools. That's not a reason to necessarily use them of course, but it is something worth bearing in mind when assessing what tool's the best choice for the job. I certainly don't mean to come across as arguing 'displacements are the simple, easy solution to problems' - they're not. They've got upsides and downsides though and I feel it's valuable to discuss both of those, particularly given the costs tend to be more easily identified. 
On the animation side stunned and knocked up animations are something we've talked about. We are a larger team and able to get more done, as with VO though animation's also substantially expanded the scope of its work with new champions (more attack variants, multiple run cycles, more detailed emotes, higher overall quality etc) so that extra capacity is getting used for stuff we believe does a lot for the overall feel of the character. How that work compares to the value of stunned/knocked up animations is somewhat outside of my area of expertise, would need to get an animator's thoughts to dig into that a bit further."
As for how all these knock ups play with Yasuo's R, he noted:
"Increased use of displacements definitely impacts how accessible Yasuo's ult is. That's something that should be addressed via how Yasuo himself works if needed however, rather than potentially modifying large parts of the roster to balance around a single champion. 
Yasuo's able to ult off all displacements because we felt the clarity gains of that approach were substantial. In particular given most knockbacks include at least a bit of knock up as well we really wanted to avoid a situation where players (Yasuo, his target or others) were left uncertain as to which displacements were eligible for his ult and which weren't. Having to remember on an ability by ability basis what's valid's got the potential to be both confusing and punishing compared to the clarity of 'if an enemy directly moves you Yasuo can ult off it'."

Recently Released Champion Balance

In a reddit thread discussing the balance of newly released champions and why it sometimes seems to miss the mark, ZenonTheStoic jumped in to explain:
"There is no amount of pre-release testing that comes close to the level of exposure a champion gets during the first two hours after release, when literally millions of players who take winning seriously try to make the champion work. The numbers just don't work out. We can only ever get in the right ball-park, and for champions with game changing abilities (which is all we want to make now, of course) even that can be hard. We've erred on the side of undershooting since Braum, I think."

Champion Update Discussion 

When asked if  Tristana's upcoming champion update will "kill" AP Tristana, Vesh commented:
"There will be minor changes to Tristana that we will talk more about soon, but I promise I am making sure her AP build is still possible (but a bit more fair and less click-on-you-and-you-die). She's almost exactly the same except for a newer E spell with moar gameplayz"

Vesh also briefly commented on the status of Warwick's champion update, which was mentioned earlier this year:
"ZenontheStoic (Daniel Klein) was actually working on a WW kit but he ended up shifting over to Azir. Since then, the Champion Update team has been formed and we will be doing projects like this. There's so many champions that we want to update to various degrees that it's a careful balancing act of what we work on first. Some projects can be worked on simultaneously and some cannot. WW will need new visuals and animations even if we were just talking about gameplay because at the very least we will need new VFX for new spells. Some other characters like Trist have really clear spaces for improvement visually and need very little gameplay changes (or sometimes none in the case of Maokai)."

Meddler on Lissandra's Passive

When asked about the status of the potential  Lissandra passive changes discussed earlier this year. Meddler replied:
"Tried a number of variants on shield passives, didn't find a version that generated engaging gameplay for her however (just added tankiness basically). Would still like to find a more satisfying passive for her, want something that creates some interesting decisions though, particularly if its adding significant power. 
Not sure why her base mana wasn't changed with the standardization of other mages, will follow up on that, check if deliberate decision or overlooked."

Heat on Another Champion

Meddler also replied to a summoner asking if Riot would entertain the idea of reusing Rumble's Heat mechanic on another champion:
"We've talked about using Heat on another champion occasionally, it's not something we feel must remain a Rumble only thing. Would definitely want to offer a different take on it while retaining the same core rules (build heat through ability casts, at max heat lose some functionality) though, avoid just rehashing Rumble's gameplay."

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