Red Post Collection: 2015 Season Kick Off Sale, Riot API Developer Blog, Taric Rework Discussion, Snowdown community creations, and more!

Posted on at 4:16 PM by Moobeat
This evening's red post collection features a look at an upcoming sale - including 2 for 1 rune pages and discounts on tier 3 runes, name changes, and boosts - to celebrate the start of the 2015 season, a developer blog on the Riot API, discussion on the future Taric rework, a round up of Snowdown fan art, and WookieeCookie answering some common questions on the good behavior mystery gifts!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Prepare for the 2015 season with a kickoff sale!

With patch 5.1 wrapping up on the PBE and the 2015 season right aroudn the corner, Riot is having a massive sale! Beginning January 22nd and lasting through the 26th, you'll be able to score two for one rune pages, 30% off tier 3 runes, 50% off xp and ip boosts, and 50% summoner name changes!
"Soon, players will dust off their keyboards and dive into the queues for another year of competition. We want everyone ready for the coming battles so we’re putting some of the ranked essentials on sale to help you prepare.

Get two rune pages for the price of one
Grab two rune pages for the price of one on purchases made with both RP and IP
Head over to the Bundles tab in the store to find the 2 for 1 Rune Pagesitem.

Tier 3 rune sale
Fill out those newly acquired rune pages! All Tier 3 runes are 30% off!

50% off boost sale
Supercharge your IP and XP gains! All boosts are 50% off!

Summoner name change sale
It’s not competitive but hey, even LCS teams change their name sometimes before the new season. Snag one for 650 RP, 50% off the normal price. 

Prepare for the most competitive League season yet! This sale will go live on January 22nd and last until 23:59 PST on January 26th."

Dev Blog: The Riot API

Next up is a new developer blog from Riot Sargonas which offers an overview of the Riot API, an official system used to support 3rd party League of Legends websites and applications
"Hey guys, J. “Riot Sargonas” Eckert of the Developer Relations Team, here to chat with you about the place of 3rd party websites and applications in the League of Legends ecosystem. This has been a frequent topic of discussion amongst the community in the past year, and hopefully I can provide some insight into our vision for supporting developers in providing added value to both League of Legends and players, while at the same time protecting the integrity of the game and most importantly the player experience. Whether it comes in the form of moving 3rd parties off of scraping live services over the API for stability reasons, talking directly with 3rd parties to change the functionality of the apps to be more player focused, working internally to limit the effectiveness of cheating tools, or countless other initiatives, those goals will always be the driving factor.

Developing for League

As League and its community grows, so do the programs and websites created by third parties looking to add to the player experience. Sometimes these ventures provide fresh, fun ways to enhance the League experience, while other times they cross the threshold into providing unfair advantages that upset the competitive balance and integrity of the game, and in some cases harm the overall player experience. Our constant challenge in Developer Relations is to encourage and support positive growth, while trying to mitigate and protect against applications that cause a negative player experience.

With the League experience, there are opportunities that Riot can and should deliver to players, and ones that players should explore and build themselves. When it comes to ways that other players can help build on, there are all sorts of awesome ideas for expanding the League of Legends experience that are worth supporting, so let’s talk a bit about how help do this.

Supporting developers

When it comes to experiences that anyone can help craft for players, we want to do everything we can to empower passionate members of the community. To do that, we’ve created a suite of developer tools, including the Riot API. Over the course of the last year we’ve continually updated the API and Developer Portal with new features, with 50+ updates alone in the first 10 months, aimed at creating a robust toolset for great community contributions, and larger third party sites. So far more than 65,000 developers have created accounts that offer basic tool access suitable for testing, and we’ve approved around 1000 production keys that provide full-scale access. We’ve also put together policies and guidelines to help shape development using these tools in player-focused directions. The whole purpose of this is to see the community use these tools to create meaningful additions to the League experience, even in areas Riot hasn’t gotten to yet. But we also want to make sure they do so with the same player-focused approach Riot uses.

What works, and what doesn’t 
So what kind of experiences are we trying to foster? Every day we’re surprised with new and innovative things created by the community. And that’s really the point - we want players to be creative and cook up stuff we’ve never even imagined. The fact is, there are tens of thousands of players for every Rioter, so the math is simply in players’ favor when it comes to thinking up new ideas! Player creations like Ward Score and LSI provide some creative methods for players to engage with League in new ways or even level up their play. As a personal experience, I thought I had my warding bases covered until I looked myself up on Ward Score and found out I was actually in the bottom 5% of my peers. Now I’m in the top 98% and my ability to be an effective contributor on my teams has improved (well, in that area). These are the sorts of things we love seeing the community create, and we want to do whatever we can to help you make more of the same!

Offering an environment friendly to third-party development isn’t without its pitfalls. From time to time things pop up that we (often aided by the community) identify as not necessarily player focused, or harmful to game balance and fair play. When this happens, our first step is to engage the developer in question and attempt to guide them in productive directions where they can create value in line with our goals for League. Sometimes this works, sometimes not, and in the worst cases they may even ignore us and require us to take further steps to protect the player experience, such as revoking API keys or making use of such applications by players to be a TOS violation. At the end of the day though, our motives are always the same: player experience always comes before anything else, such as visibility for an up and coming developer, or the success (or failure) of a third party business trying to break into the industry. Our goal isn't to police applications with a heavy hand, but rather to ensure applications are aligned with our vision for player experience. We want to see these groups providing these experiences succeed, but not at the cost of the players.

We are especially protective of League’s core gameplay experience. We believe the best possible player experience comes from a fully featured competitive toolkit available as soon as you download and install the game. You should never feel the need to first go to a third-party website and download a suite of mods that are required in order to keep up with everyone else. Hence our key policy - “Nothing external should interfere with players’ experience from the moment they press ‘Play’ to the end of match screen.” This usually comes into play with programs that provide gameplay information or functionality not obtainable through normal game interactions (e.g.., everything from specialized overlays, hacks, etc.), which we take a consistently firm stance against in order to preserve a level playing field for all players.

Protecting the landscape

Third-party development in an ecosystem as expansive as League’s is difficult to stay on top of, no doubt about it, and even harder to predict. We can’t see or anticipate every project in development, and sometimes can’t reach out to help developers better align their work with player interests until an app comes to our attention. When we do interact with developers, however, we always seek to respond in whatever way best serves the interests of the entire player base. We are actively trying to foster ALL positive growth in this area, from small independent developers to actual businesses, but we put the players first and are always going to hold player interests above companies simply out to make money. On the flip side, we appreciate your patience as we seek to address the new circumstances and challenges brought about about by the continuing evolution of the third-party scene.

Lastly, it’s important to point out that we never officially support any third-party work. While we may provide tools to empower outside development, the results aren’t an official part of the League of Legends experience and we can’t provide support in resolving issues stemming from them. We’re unable to vet the code of every third party, and can’t adequately test all variations of their applications with our game across the myriad of user setups out there. There is always a risk that external applications may cause game (or system) stability, contain malicious code, or a variety of other potential issues. We always advise you to take the proper steps to protect your account security and computer stability above all else (and to especially *never* share your account credentials with any Third Parties), and forego the use of any programs or applications that cause you concern.

TL;DR - We’ll always take the steps needed to protect players and the integrity of the core game experience. At the same time, we want to help foster growth within and around the League of Legends community by empowering players and outside developers to create experiences that enhance your experience in meaningful, positive ways. The key to this is maintaining a dialogue with players around new stuff in the scene, so we will continue to engage with the community to learn your thoughts on issues like these, and welcome feedback in the comments below. The rest of the team (StillRampant and Riot Tuxedo) and I will be hanging out to answer any questions you might have for the next few hours."

When asked to clarify what exactly "3rd party programs" are, Riot Tuxedo noted:
"A third party application is a website, mobile app, or program that is not developed by Riot Games."
As for what exactly "API" stands for, Riot Tuxedo explained:

"API stands for Application Programming Interface. Really it's just a fancy schmancy way of saying a system that is setup for the primary purpose of making our internal data more accessible externally."

When asked why Riot doesn't make their own version of these types of sites rather than allowing third parties to handle things, Sargonas noted:
"No apologies needed, I spent half my life in Louisville Kentucky and I say "yall" all the time. ;)
As to your question, we touch on this a bit in the blog but I'd be happy to elaborate. Riot has only so much we can do in a certain amount of time, even with the resources we have at our disposal. If there are things that players can do that enhance the experience, we should help them do so! It allows them to work on those sorts of things while we can focus on the stuff that we are uniquely positioned to work on in ways that they can't. Also, the honest fact is people will ALWAYS try to build these tools. It's much easier, and more importantly better for the players, if we help guide them in the right direction towards the best player experience."

As for if the API enables anyway to track normal game stats, StillRampant commented:
"You should check out the first comment to this post by MattEnth for some in-depth thinking about how we treat ranked vs normal game stats. TL;DR, We think ranked stats should be more public and accessible than normal stats. Highly encourage you to read the whole thing though!"

Riot Sargonas also replied to someone upset they couldn't use the API to make custom mods, game modes, or champions, explaining:
I was disappointed by the API, I wanted to make mods, my own game modes, make my own champion and stuff like that, not third party statistics tools :(
Unfortunately, those sorts of changes are the very things we're trying to protect against for the reasons outlined above. We truly love the enthusiasm and creativity you guys have around these things, but it doesn't mesh well with some of the overall core philosophies we have.

As someone once said "We're running a theme park here. Please don't try to take bolts off the roller coasters." ;)

When asked if there will ever be a way to "hide" yourself from 3rd party sites, Sargonas noted:
When are we going to have the option to hide from third party sites?
We don't have plans for that at this time. There is a topic on the developer forums where another Rioter, who has more insight, commented as to why a decision was made in terms of the data we make available through the API (specifically match history). You can view that topic here:[1]

TL;DR Normals are being protected under a player's personal experience and will only be available for you and your friends to see. Ranked games, as they are an opt-in experience and part of a public ladder, will remain visible for the public to see. At the end of the day, we strive to maintain a consistency between the information made available in the client/match history and that which is made available via the API."
Sargonas also commented on site's trying to figure out a player's MMR, saying:
"MMR is a number we intentionally obfuscate. It's been discussed in the past by other Rioters and it's not a subject I am an expert on so it's hard for me to speak to eloquently, but the long and short is we don't want players to focus on a single number being the end-all driving factor behind their playstyle. Because of that, we don't surface this information, and we actively work with 3rd parties to turns them away from building any form of replacement for this as well."
He continued, answering a similar question about premade data:
Hey, Can you explain Why Premade data can't be shown? and if privacy, how so?

This is an intentional choice that was made. The teams who work on player behavior have a lot of background on what kind of data is and is not ok to share, based on how it affects players. Based on that research they asked that this data be obfuscated." 

As for if the API will ever include data for LCS and competitive games, Riot Tuxedo noted:
"The API team had a discussion about this in the past and again, today actually. There's still work to be done in this area, but it is definitely a goal to eventually have LCS data in the API."

Riot Tuxedo also dropped back off a link to the API's dev portal and forums, a proper home for more complex questions and answers:
"For the Dev Blog we're trying to avoid diving into technical conversations, but these are exactly the kind of questions that the developer community engage in on theDeveloper Forums within the dev portal. If you make a topic there with the exact same question, I'd be happy to talk about a couple ways to attack this problem."

Taric Rework Discussion

In a boards thread about Taric's future rework that suggested it should include a charm mechanic, Riot Repertoir shared:
"Cool idea. We've actually tried a charm mechanic or two in his in-progress update, though none of them have proven particularly satisfying so far. It may be an idea we return to, though. He's definitely a charismatic gentleman."

In a reddit thread discussing this comment, Riot Repertoir explained:
"For what it's worth, we've experimented lots of random things for him to date. Most of them won't ever make it into the game. The good ones may or may not. When we get closer to locking things down and announcing what we've got in store for him (which is likely not for several months still), we can talk about some of the stuff we've gone through along the way with him and how we end up where we do."
Vesh also added that this would be charm has nothing to do with the "outrageousness" of Taric:
"Charm refers specifically to a gameplay mechanic that forces the affected unit to walk in the direction of the caster. I could just as easily play a "cyborg brain implant" particle on your character's head. 
This has nothing to do with flamboyance. It has nothing to do with theme, or hearts, or gimmicks. If repertoir puts a charm on his kit, it will be because the pattern needs a tool to bring an enemy into melee range or make them move in a predictable fashion."

When asked about the scope of Taric's future rework, Riot Repertoir explained:
"This time around, Taric's update is not going to be a small one. The next update you guys see to him will be pretty substantial. Haven't locked down full details yet so we haven't established a release patch yet (and don't have too much to share as far as details go), but he's one of two projects I'm pretty actively working on."
He continued:
"I would say Taric will probably be a lesser degree of change compared to Sion, but that's mostly because Sion had such drastic thematic issues to deal with as well. To the response below, I'd expect Taric's update to be a significantly larger overhaul than Heimer's last year."

ZenonTheStoic also commented in on the charm that was tested and removed, explaining:
"To reiterate what Repertoire is saying: this mechanic has not proven itself. Compared to what dazzle currently is on the kit (and I will not answer any Taric questions--he's entirely Repertoire's baby) the charm was really underwhelming. The current dazzle? I can't WAIT for this to go live, again, if it proves itself. I played him yesterday in playtest and had a blast. 
Overall our champion update team has leveled up so hard it's not even funny."

When asked whatever happened to the planned Yorick rework, RiotRepertoir noted:
"Basically, the designer that was starting to work on him had to reprioritize different projects. He's on the list of updates we want to do, but he's a bit on the back burner at the moment. Sorry if that's disappointing :("

Vesh also chimed in on the experimental nature of rework development, sharing an insight from his work on Soraka:
"We experiment with a lot of things. This isn't any indication of what might be on a kit. Soraka used to have AoE mikael's crucible for an ult in a few playtests because I wanted to try something off the wall even though Wish was a fine spell."
He continued, explaining why it didn't work out in the end:
"Actually the biggest problem was that it was almost impossible to understand how well you did. If you cleansed a stun that had .4 seconds left, a slow that was 2 seconds long but only 30% and was reduced by your ally's tenacity, and got rid of brand's debuff incidentally because you were trying to cleanse the stun, how well did you do? How do you know when you did a good job vs an average job. 
Also, average reaction time is ~240 ms, and a lot of our CC is between .25 and .5 seconds long. This is a problem mikael's has already, and its already strong enough to totally keep Ashe arrow out of pro play."
Briefly continuing on Soraka, Vesh mentioned Soraka's old Q might eventually see a comeback on a different champion:
"Old starcall was indeed a pretty good tank skill. I wouldn't be surprised to see it make a comeback someday on a different character."

Snowdown Fan Art Roundup!

With Snowdown behind us, Riot Jynx has posted up a collection of the coolest Snowdown community creations around!
"As another Snowdown comes to an end, let’s welcome the new year with an awesome collection of seasonal community creations!
We know this is only a portion of the amazing work that you guys created, so share more of your favorites in the comments below."

Positive Behavior Mystery Gift FAQ

With the positive behavior mystery gifts rolling out now, WookieeCookie popped on reddit to answer a few common questions about the promotion:
"A lot of you have noticed by now that mystery gifts for positive behavior have started arriving on players' accounts. 
((If you don't know what I'm talking about then check out our announcement: -- this promotion is occurring on all Riot servers)) 
Don't worry if you have not found yours yet! Given the large number of positive players throughout the world the process will take a few days to complete. 
In the meantime, I figured I'd answer some of the common questions we've been seeing about the gift.  
How will I know if I received the gift?
  • There will be an animation in the client after the gift has been given to your account.  
How will I know if I qualify for the gift?
  • Player Support isn't able to check if you qualify for the gift until the entire process is complete. Hopefully you didn't drink too much on New Years' and remember if you were naughty or nice last year. But if you're on the fence you'll have to wait it out a few days to see if it arrives. 

What if my account does not qualify for a mystery gift due to a technicality? (ie: I own all skins and champions)
  • After we've completed sending the mystery gifts we'll be checking our list twice to see which accounts SHOULD have received it but did not. We will then grant a gift to these accounts; please keep in mind this likely won't occur until next week.  
I was a bad boy or girl last year and all I got were these chat restrictions! Is there any hope for me?!?!
  • Yes! It's never too late to change your ways. It's a new year so start fresh. Work hard at reform and adjusting your behavior and you may qualify for promotions in the future. That doesn't mean it'll always be a Mystery Gift... but really; isn't being nice its own reward?  
Help I received Panda Teemo, what do I do now?
  • I'm sorry."
He also elaborated on the time for all the gifts to go out, saying:
"Distribution is ongoing for all servers right now. 
But it's very possible some players won't get their rewards until next week due to the number of gifts being sent."

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