Red Post Collection: Meddler and ZenonTheStoic on Champion Development, Community URF creations, and more!

Posted on at 10:23 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes ZenonTheStoic and Meddler discussing delays in champion development and the currently shelved Warwick rework, Smash Gizmo explaining why The Black Cleaver update is no longer builds from The Brutalizer, WizardCrab noting the upcoming Mystery Icon option will not include team icons, a look at the community's URFiest creations, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents:

Champion Development, Ao Shin, and the shelved Warwick Rework

The folks over on reddit have opened their 2014 time capsule - a collection of information on the LoL happenings from this time last year published to reflect back on now that a year is past. This time capsule post mentions the notorious Ao Shin, a storm dragon concept that was previewed way back in 2013 as an upcoming champion but yet to come to fruition .

In the discussion of what happened to cause such a delay between Ao Shin's original preview and his assumed future release somewhere down the road, ZenonTheStoic stepped in to clarify:
They said that the champion is super difficult to create, and they don't want to release him too quick like they did with Azir. They said his kit is not the usual and its extremely difficult to make it work.
We don't have a kit. We had a number of kits we were trying back in the day, but none of them worked out. This is completely normal for a champion (both Azir and Lucian had a number of kits previous to me starting work on them that didn't work out; my first kits for them also got scrapped, including Lucian's infamous homing missile ult and Azir's "just summon 7 fully controllable soldiers" ult). Game design is a highly iterative process. The only mistake we made with Ao Shin was that we talked about him way too early in that process, when we weren't yet sure how close to done we were. 
As for Azir, the additional time we would have needed on him was toward the end, when you polish and fix bugs. That's very different."
When asked if there is an expected time frame for Ao ShinZenonTheStoic  replied:
"We have absolutely no idea. Definitely not any time soon. I would not put money on it being this year."
[UPDATE] In a follow up thread on the topic of Ao ShinZenonTheStoic  reiterated:
[1] "This... isn't news? Meddler posted the exact same thing 5 months ago on our forums:[link]"
[2] "That was a coincidence. Look, guys, we announced a cool concept too early. We're not even sure he's going to be called Ao Shin at this point--maybe that isn't the best name for the concept? We got a bunch of people ideating on what to do with the champion, but there's no kit, no uptodate concept art, nothing at the moment. Curb your enthusiasm: there's a really good chance you won't see this champ this year."
As for what happened to the Warwick rework he was vocal about last yearZenonTheStoic noted:
"It got shelved when I moved on to Azir! I had a kit that was decent, but at the same time we had spun up a Reworks team that has since brought you stuff like the Sion rework, and we decided that that was the level of rework Warwick needed to be truly successful. Since I had fitted the WW rework between two other projects (Xerath rework and Azir) I didn't have the time (nor was I on the right team) to fully redesign him from the ground up. I moved on to Azir, and the reworks team did their own list of prioritizations, in terms of which champion needs a rework most. Sion obviously topped that list, and while we haven't had a rework quite as massive as Sion since, I think stuff like Soraka, Tristana, and Viktor have shown that we've leveled up what we consider a rework these days. Warwick will still get a full rework, and we may or may not use any of the stuff I was working on (with a tendency toward probably starting over from scratch), but other champions such as Poppy and Ryze are higher on the priority list."
He continued:
"No one is working on WW. I'm not working on Ao Shin. There's a whole team full of super talented dudes that work on reworks (Sion, Soraka, Tristana, Viktor, Ryze coming soon etc), but I'm on Champion team, a team that makes entirely new champions. Back when I worked on the WW rework, the Champion Update team did not yet exist."

As for what he is working on now, ZenonTheStoic noted:
"It's not the time to talk about that yet ;) Trust me, once it is time I will not shut up about it for a few months."
He continued:
"I can tell you that I have a champion in development. That's all I'm going to say ;)"
When asked a how many champions are currently in development, Meddler popped in to explain:
"We've got 6 new champs underway at the moment. Those range from close to finished to just some initial ideas on paper that may or may not work out."
He continued, commenting when ideas for Bard started being kicked around, noting:
"Depends on how you distinguish between 'initial ideas on paper' that are just 'wouldn't it be cool if we did X' versus 'we'd like to add Y to the game, let's make some paper kits and concept art to explore ways of doing so'. 
We started initial exploration on Bard late 2013. Kit didn't work out at the time though, so we put him on hold for a bit. Restarted him, with the same art, but different kit and story directions, early-mid 2014 on average (design started work a bit earlier, art was mostly done so they didn't need to do as much until later etc)."
He continued:
I thought the champion design process underwent way more ideas that get scrapped/beaten by the better ones. Is it really just limited down to 6, or are these 6 that you guys really really want to work out?
Yeah, a lot of different ideas get tried out and most of them then get discarded during the first couple of months of development. 
As an example, let's say we decided we wanted to make a new support. We'd then go and do a bunch of brainstorming on possible support kits, themes, personalities, visual appearances etc. If something showed particular promise (e.g. a cool playstyle or backstory) we'd then look at which of the other ideas we'd been looking at might pair well with it. Maybe we've got an idea for a roaming support for example, and someone has an idea for a vaguely pied piper travelling musician spirit, worth looking at whether we can combine those two if so. Over a few weeks we'll then pull together a bunch of different possible support options and then we'll narrow down from there to just the one we think's best."
As for what causes some champions concepts to spend so long suspended in development, Meddler explained:
"If we like the core idea of a champion, but can't quite get them right in game, we'll often put them aside and give them another try months or years later. See if, after a bit of time focused on other things or with a different group of people trying different stuff, we can hit on something we feel works."

The PBE and Experimental Content

With the tentative changes to Randuin's Omen reverted in the 4/14 PBE update, Scarizard hopped on reddit to reiterate that not everything that goes on the PBE is necessarily intended for the next patch:
"Many times we're using PBE to test things and gather feedback but need to pull the changes so it doesn't go out with the next patch (like we did so often with the Summoner's Rift update, as well as experimental items like Mandrake Ward, and iirc what eventually became Luden's Echo). 
I'll follow up with the team about Randuin's specifically, but as far as i'm aware it was never intended to ship in the upcoming patch. It's likely you'll continue to see iteration on this until we're comfortable pushing it out."
When asked if the changes for The Black Cleaver will be going out in 5.8, Scarizard noted:
"99% certain that it's going into 5.8. It could still be pulled for late-stage QA reasons, but usually by this point things that aren't reverted (like Randuin's was in this case) are usually ready for live."

The Black Cleaver no longer building out of The Brutalizer

When asked about the upcoming changes to The Black Cleaver (which are currently testing on the PBE and scheduled for release in 5.8) and why the build path no longer includes The Brutalizer , Smash Gizmo explained:
"There are a number of reasons for this, so I'll just try to ramble on it for a little bit and hopefully hit all the major points. 
Flat penetration is a stat that works best versus low armor targets, and thus, ends up primarily being bought on assassins and diving fighters who access the opposing squishies easily. When Black Cleaver builds out of Brutalizer and keeps the flat pen, it creates a weird item that can't make up it's mind about whether it's supposed to be for shredding tanks or for blowing up squishies and honestly has just always ended up being good at both because well, the item just naturally covers all your bases in terms of opposing armor values. Because of this, we've had to historically undertune the item and it's just left it in a somewhat unsustainable spot. So with this new version, we're trying to really double down on the tank busting aspects of it, and in order to do so, the flat pen just had to go. 
For whatever it's worth, we also toyed with the idea of still building out of Brutalizer and just losing the flat pen on upgrade, but ultimately, that didn't feel clean and the Phage stat line and unique passive felt like a natural fit for the types of characters we wanted to enable with this item (heavy midline AD fighters like Darius, Garen, Olaf, etc)."
When asked if the same wouldn't also apply to Liandry's Torment, Smash Gizmo explained:
"Yep, though Liandry's is in a bit trickier a spot due to the fact that it's a core 1st/2nd item on a small subset of characters (high base magic damage dealers with low AP Ratios), without any other items really available to them. It's definitely something we'll want to take a longer look at, but the problem space here is a bit wider and will probably require another item to be created or changed to fill the needs of these characters if we shift Liandry's into a more dedicated tank-busting item."

More discussion on these upcoming changes can be found here. For easy reference, here is the current iteration The Black Cleaver as of the 4/14 PBE update:

Solutions to Friend Request Spam

In a reddit thread noting the spam friend invites from bots and malicious users have died down recently,  Lyte chimed in:
"Limely, Drevarius, Drewlee and 0xDEADB33Fand (yes, that's actually his name!) have been working on a few solutions to the spam invite problem. 
The results do look promising, but the team is monitoring as we go to see if more needs to be done. Given the nature of the fixes, we can't go into too much detail about the specific fixes."

Mystery Icons will not contain Team Icons

With mystery summoner icons currently on the PBE and coming to live sometime this week, WizardCrab confirmed that eSports team icons won't be on the list of icons to obtain:
"They won't. Don't worry, we've curated the list to avoid most issues I think."

URFtastic community creations

U.R.F has come and gone but Riot Jynx is back with a round up of the community's URFtastic fan art and creations!
"From URF to The Curse of the Sad Surprise Party, April has proven to be another source of inspiration for the League community! Raise your spatulas to all the awesome fan art below, and click the artist’s name to see more of their work.

If you have more April-themed fan art, please share it with us in the comments below!"

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