Red Post Collection: Ultra Rapid Fire Q&A, Casualties of War Bundle, Lyte on Tribunal, and more!

Posted on at 6:13 AM by Aznbeat
[10 AM PDT Update: Added in more info on the new bundle and the returning legacy skins.]

Tonight's red post collection includes Lyte elaborating on why the Tribunal was taken down for updates, a look at the "Casualties of War" bundle, a Q&A with the team behind U.R.F, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Why does balancing take so long?

In a boards thread asking why it seems like balancing champions takes so long, Meddler explained:
"Fair question. 
The actual process of entering balance changes can be almost that quick for something really basic. Changing a spell's base damage for example probably takes 5-10 minutes (find the right file, change a few numbers, make a note of the change for the patch notes, create a ticket to ensure the changes get tested, submit the changes to the internal server). Some stuff's much harder to adjust than changing a couple of numbers though, so can take quite a bit longer (modifying Bard's Magical Journey so that clones could use it too in the last patch for example). 
Generally though, implementing the change isn't the time consuming part. Most of a balance designer's time is spent on analyzing the state of the game and testing changes that have already been implemented. Changing stuff quick's not the bottleneck, it's getting sufficient confidence that we're changing the right things in the right ways (and even with a lot of time put into that we'll be wrong sometimes of course). 
One small side note - while we do get interns each year, they're not here to do menial data entry to make things easier for other people. Goal of the internships is basically to offer a couple of months of work experience as a normal Rioter. That means that interns on design teams for example do the same analysis, testing, implementation etc that other designers do (though with a chunk of extra support and mentoring of course, since they've got less experience to draw on usually)."

Lyte on Tribunal and other projects

In a reddit thread inquiring on why the Tribunal was taken down nearly a year ago for updates and asking for continuous updates through the downtime, Lyte popped in to comment:
I seriously understand everything... I'm just asking for updates. Rather than "Oh yeah the tribunal will be back blah blah blah" I wanna know why it went down in the first place. 
I honestly wouldn't care if the tribunal gets delayed 6 years, I have no expectations beside riot telling us why, updating us on it rather than leaving us in the dark for months on end.


We try our best to stay on the boards (and Reddit) and bring players along for the journey, but it's tough. Game development is tough, and building anything for 67+ million players makes even trivial tasks pretty hard. Often I'll see a thread like this, and I'll think: "Should I be jumping on right now and responding? I can't. I have to keep working on getting this feature out the door." So, Rioters end up posting updates after work like I'm doing tonight. We care, even if it doesn't look like we do sometimes, we do. We have jobs because players love this game, and we don't take a single day for granted.

When we brought the Tribunal down, we made a statement that you can read here: [link]

However, if you read my post history, I'm often explaining and re-explaining the choices and updates that led us to where we are today where the Tribunal has been delayed for an unacceptably long time. The short story is:

1) The Tribunal worked pretty well. A lot of academic institutions and PhDs had done analyses on the Tribunal for their theses, and the results were always pretty good. However, the system was focused entirely on punishments. This meant that most cases that entered the Tribunal were severe enough that they were likely to be punishable, which biased voters unnecessarily. We needed to add the ability to review positive and neutral cases as well to match our player behavior philosophy of improving the whole spectrum of behaviors and mixing up the cases so that you had to read each case and vote positive, neutral or negative.

2) The Tribunal was too slow. It often took days to a week or longer for a player to receive feedback about their behavior, and even with chat log evidence in Reform Cards, players sometimes didn't remember doing the behaviors shown in the cards. The reason the system was slow was because of the core tech we were using at the time, and this needed to be re-made. There is a huge difference in player behavior change when you deliver feedback in near real-time versus 1 hour versus 1 week. We are striving to do near real-time. It's going to be crazy. We don't know if it's possible, but we're trying.

3) The Tribunal was unavailable in foreign languages. Most players don't know this, but there was never a Tribunal on most servers because it couldn't handle other languages. It was unacceptable at the time to have such a prominent feature be simply unavailable for the majority of the players, so we had to build a new platform. It's surprisingly difficult to make this new platform work for all servers because at the time, each server was a pretty unique snowflake and required custom work for a system like Tribunal.

So, here we are. We're working on Ranked Team Builder, and Tribunal, and during these projects we worked on stuff like Suggested Players, the new LeaverBuster, Party Rewards and Chat Restrictions and are still doing stuff like positive Mystery Gifts of 2014. We're doing everything we can, every single day. We want to play with these systems as much--if not more--than you do because we see them coming to life internally and we understand the impact they will have on the game.

I've been talking with our teams to see if we can do more regular "behind the scenes" looks at development, to give you a glimpse at the everyday challenges we deal with, but it's really up to the players if they are actually interested in that or just want to believe we're sitting around wasting time."

Honor those who fell to Omega Squad Teemo - Casualties of War Bundle

[Update: New post is out, coalesced information! ]
A new 13 champion & skin "Causalities of War" flexible bundle is now up in the shop through April 13th.

Here's Riot Paradox with more information:
"We’re memorializing those who fell to Omega Squad Teemo by taking their skins out of the Legacy vault and putting them on sale from April 7 through April 13
Remember forever the casualties of Omega Squad Teemo.
Casualties of War Bundle - 6126 RP (10,409 RP if you need the champions)

All thirteen Legacy skins and champions for 50% off.
  • Matador Alistar
  • Crimson Akali
  • Pharaoh Amumu
  • Caterpillar Kog’Maw
  • Safari Caitlyn
  • Toxic Dr. Mundo
  • Shamrock Malphite
  • Firefighter Tristana
  • Scuba Gragas
  • Alien Invader Heimerdinger
  • Red Riding Annie
  • Sailor Gangplank
  • Red Baron Corki

One week of 33% off sales
00:01 PDT April 7 through 23:59 PDT April 8
  • Matador Alistar - 650 RP
  • Crimson Akali - 346 RP

00:01 PDT April 8 through 23:59 PDT April 9
  • Pharaoh Amumu - 346 RP
  • Caterpillar Kog’Maw - 346 RP

00:01 PDT April 9 through 23:59 PDT April 10
  • Safari Caitlyn - 650 RP
  • Toxic Dr. Mundo - 346 RP

00:01 PDT April 10 through 23:59 PDT April 11
  • Shamrock Malphite - 346 RP
  • Firefighter Tristana - 1213 RP

00:01 PDT April 11 through 23:59 PDT April 12
  • Scuba Gragas - 650 RP
  • Alien Invader Heimerdinger - 1213 RP
  • Red Riding Annie - 346 RP

00:01 PDT April 12 through 23:59 PDT April 13
  • Sailor Gangplank - 500 RP
  • Red Baron Corki - 1213 RP

Each of the legacy skins listed in this bundle are also available in the shop separately for full price during the duration of the bundle. Each legacy skin can also be seen to be champions & skins who can be seen in background of  the Omega Squad Teemo teaser.

Ultra Rapid Fire Q&A

U.R.F is firing off on live and the team behind it has gathered on the boards to host a Q&A!

Here's L4T3NCY with an introduction:
"Heya Everyone ^o^/ 
Our latest Featured Game Mode, “Ultra Rapid Fire” is currently live (I was so looking forward to NURF mode), and the Play team is here to answer any questions or suggestions you guys might have! We make all the Featured Game Modes, so feel free to ask us anything about URF or any previous modes. Who are the OP champs in URF (apparently it's the whole roster :P)? Who is your favourite champ to play? Are those two questions even different? :P 
We’ll be online from now for 2 hours, from 11:00AM ~ 1:00PM PST. 
-Riot Terra 
As usual, I've grouped the Q&A responses into categories:

New Stuff In U.R.F 2015

When asked what inspired the idea of adding the icon linked finishers to U.R.F, L4T3NCY commented:
What made you guys think of finishers? BECAUSE THEY ARE AMAZING.
It was an idea we had when thinking about ways to 'double down' on the power fantasy of URF. I'm all about that Orbital Laser. :D
As for if these type of finishers might ever be available for modes other than U.R.FL4T3NCY continued:
Have you guys thought about making the death animation summoner icons for other game modes as well or just keep it with urf?
I think there could be a way to implement them beyond just FGMs. We themed the current finishers to URF mode specifically, so they're ridiculous, 'over the top' and totally not something you'd want noising up a Ranked game. There's probably a middle-ground though where we could do some awesome finishers without sacrificing gameplay clarity.
Once URF mode is finished we'll take a step back and analyse it to consider if this is something that could be cool to pursue."

As for the TONS OF DAMAGE increase to the numbers and health, BuffMePlz explained
What gave you the idea to increase all champion health and damage 1000 fold?

L4T3NCY also offered context on the new healing and shield reduction debuffs added this year:
"So URF is quite a snowbally mode. A team that gets ahead early can often steamroll. Last year champions with heals were ensuring early game safety with their unlimited risk-free sustain, which often translated into a few kills and potentially a snowball. By hitting the heals in early game only, we reduce the power of lane healers, while in late-game you can still feel like a boss healer. At that point though, it should hopefully be more of a fair fight, where your team isn't miles ahead just because you had unlimited risk-free sustain early game 
Shields are the opposite though. Late game shields, particularly self-targetable spam shields (EG: Morgana) were just providing too much defense. A Morg shield soaking 500 dmg every 3 seconds is effectively adding 2.5K health to a Morgana in a 15sec fight (not to mention the spell blocks), with no real gameplay required (hold Alt -> spam "E" key). The tuning this year still lets champs with shields feel cool and enjoy their spells, but avoids having a Karma 1v4 your team because she's unkillable. :/"

When asked if they had experimented with "Ultra Rapid All Mid" on Howling Abyss, BuffMePlz noted:
Will we ever see URAM (Ultra Rapid All Mid) in the future?
You can do this is custom games right now. I don't know if we would ever support a queue for it - we tried a couple of games with this internally last year and the lack of strategic options on Howling Abyss makes the champion selection even more dominant than it already is. Coupling that with the inability to heal and shop generally made the games very frustrating - either they were too long (with neither team gaining any traction) or they were too short (with one team absolutely crushing the other)."
He continued, commenting on having the Summoner's Rift version of U.R.F be all random:

What about an all random-SR queue?
This is much more interesting in my book. I wanted to do this for URF, but we ultimately felt that it was more important for players to have agency over the champions they were picking in order to fulfill the power fantasy that URF grants - it would be unfortunate for the player who really really wants to see what Yorick is like on URF to only have a <1% of chance of doing so. 
It's possible we might explore having multiple queues in the future (or at least having it as an option in custom games). We'll have to do some further investigation into this - but I'm definitely with you on this. =)"

U.R.F Balance

As for how long it took to do the individual adjustments for champions in this variant of U.R.F, Ponts noted:
How long did it take to come up with all the nerfs for the op champions in urf like hecarim
We worked on balancing for U.R.F. for a while. It took us about a month before we thought we had them all in line. We tried several different solutions for the sustain problem (sheilds/heals) before we found the solution that's we are using now."

As for the decision to leave all champions open for picks instead of auto banning a few out like last year,  L4T3NCY commented:
The biggest question I think is "why did you let every champion available this year, is it to let an URF meta take place?"
If feels kinda bad to have your favourite champ not be playable in one of our Featured Game Modes. Last year if you were a Ryze or Kassadin main, you would have been pretty bummed. :/ One of our goals for URF this year was to make sure all the champions were available to play. 
I think players will develop a meta regardless of what we do so, it's not something that factors into consideration."

L4T3NCY continued, speaking to the "popular picks" in U.R.F:
what are your thoughts on the still imbalance of champions? such as is there going to be further balancing or more bans available? urf is fun but not when everyone is "try harding" with blatantly overpowered champions just to win, not have fun. my experience turned quickly from "omg urf is back im gunna play all these fun champions again" to "oh look another alistar/blitz lane, oh look another shaco/zed/hecarim" where you can't have fun because of the power difference.
I don't think increasing the number of bans is a scalable solution. When we did Hexakill: TT, many players expressed frustration at the perceived strongest (and subjective) 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks. With bans in URF, many players are expressing the same frustration at the perceived strongest (usually subjective) 7th, 8th & 9th picks. Increasing bans to 10 for example, would only shift the focus to the perceived strongest (probably subjective) 11th, 12th & 13th picks. 
The bigger picture here is that FGMs are clearly not designed to be long term engagement modes. They don't have the our Live Balance team focused on them 24/7, working their hardest to keep the game as balanced as possible for players pro and otherwise around the world. Inevitably, an FGM will drift into a solidified meta state (as you guys will start to see towards the end of URF) and the mode either needs to be maintained for balance & patches, or left to stagnate in a terrible design state (which we don't want to do)."
 Riot DefaultChar also chimed in on ADCs on U.R.F:
Looking at win rates, it appears Marksmen are still far below their usual levels. Based on 95k URF matches, and not taking into account Ez or Kog as they are built mage, only Sivir (55.36%) and Graves (50.08%) are at or above 50% win rates. Any ideas to tweak the mode to help balance these out?
On a side note: We do not rely on winrates as an indicator of power, just because there's a large number of "baked in" factors to it that make it a frequently poor measure.
With that said: We were aware they're weaker, and did try to help them as much as we could (Within reason), specifically with the doubled bonus attack speed and the bonus critical damage, both of which are stats that are largely exclusive to AD carries. Being frank though, URF isn't really intended to be balanced. Our hope for this year was simply to get the worst of the worst up a bit from last year (Rumble, Aatrox), and nudge down the best of the best (Healing/ Shield debuffs)."

As for Volibear's passive specifically on  U.R.FBuffMePlz noted:
Was it intentional to leave Volibear out of the passive buff train for URF this year? Aatrox, Anivia, and Zac all had their passive cooldowns lowered for the spirit of URF, but volibear was left in the corner to cry with his 2 minute cd passive. In URF mode that just does not cut it.
It was intentional. It came up in conversations a few times, but he wasn't terribly out of line from a success perspective from last year, and his passive is unaffected by the healing nerf, plus he scales well with the bonus attack speed we gave melees this year. 
Of course, if it turns out that he is very unsuccessful this time around, we can definitely make this change in the future."

As for disabled items in U.R.F, BuffMePlz shared:
You've mentioned that you wanted to make sure everyone could play their favourite champions, but what about items? I have gone to try and purchase a Mejai's Soulstealer  in almost every URF game I've played so far. BibleThump
Mejai's Soulstealer and Sword of the Occult are far too gold efficient for what they give you in URF, where kills and assists are plentiful and easy. They don't add much to gameplay and are very difficult to deal with once someone gets ahead with these, so they're not available for purchase on URF. 
Typically these items are a risk/reward investment in that they don't give you a lot of stats early on. However in URF, the lack of stats early game is not a risk, as the lower AD/AP values are quickly overshadowed by the fact that you can cast your spell five times as quickly as before (and for free, to boot). However, the stats that DO scale up end up multiplying out with each spell cast, so while the lack of stats from the items doesn't hurt, the boon of stats from a stacked item does cause a huge power shift that is generally very hard to deal with. Turns out a risk/reward item with no risk is really, really good. 
Not purchasing these items doesn't change the power fantasy granted in URF - snowballing early is still incredibly powerful, we just removed the tools that cement it as the only winning strategy."

When asked if they had any ideas to mess with the jungle for U.R.FBuffMePlz  noted:
Have you aver though of doing some crazy stuff with jungle in urf? or at least had any crazy ideas : for example ultra scuttle crab that would turbo rocket from 1 end of river to other? xd
One of the guys on our team actually had the idea to made the Rift Scuttler go into Zhonya stasis everytime you were about to kill it just for maximum troll effect. 
We didn't touch the jungle this time (or last time), which is why blue buff still exists on URF and does nothing except bling out your champion. We've thought about it, but I'm not sure the mode needs more crazy changes - the current buff is enough to mutate gameplay in a way that is very different from classic SR already. Drawing players into the jungle in a mode around skirmishing might not necessarily be a good thing either - even now, taking Dragon sometimes seems more like a chore than a point of strife in URF games."

As for the lack of "Revive" in this year's U.R.F, Ponts explained:
Last year you disabled Revive during URF, and gave it back afterwards. Was its recent removal tied to URF this year, just disabled ahead of time? I'd think the lack of context or explanation was to hide that URF was for sure coming this year, and you wanted the hype to be at full force when you announced it. 
If that is the case, can it come back after URF leaves?
Funny story about Revive. The LIVE team had planned on removing Revive prior to URFs launch last year. It was planned for removal just before the start of season 4 I think. We added patch notes about it and everything and then we just didn't remove it from the game. :) Oops! 
In U.R.F. last year this summoner spell was causing games to stalemate and last for way to long so we disabled it using some game mode specific restrictions. Once the game mode ended those restrictions also went away. 
This year we noticed in advance of U.R.F. that Revive was still a thing so we decided to make good on our patch notes from way back and actually remove the spell from the game. :)"

L4T3NCY also commented on perceived "unkillable champions" such as Fizz and Vlad, sharing:
Hi. Whats your guys's (?) opinion on unkillable champions like Wukong, Vladimir, Fizz, Shaco Etc. All of them with ridiculously short cds on stealth and invulnerbility. Is this something you plan on leaving open in future urf modes (If there are future urf modes) because it characterizes part of the game mode or do you plan on making tweaks to it as urf develops.
IMO, many players in URF mode tunnel vision hard on their item build path and don't really react. An upgraded Red Trinket is super cheap, and completely invalidates a Shaco. Many players are also enamoured with the 'Assassin power fantasy', so there's usually not much hard CC in URF games. 1 hard CC deals with a Vlad, Fizz pretty easily. I don't think player skill differences are something we want to specifically squash with design."

U.R.F and other Featured Game Modes

When asked why U.R.F can not be a permanent queue, L4T3NCY  commented:
Love URF its so fun! My fav champ in urf would be Evelynn! Is there a way that any type of game mode such as URF would become permanent? That way us players would have more choices of game modes to play instead of just aram, normals or rank which gets tiresome time to time. Would love if you guys could find a way to have more game modes! Other than that all game modes that has come out have been great! Keep up the good job :)
URF (like other FGMs) is not designed as a long-term engagement mode. It has play balance and pacing issues, which become clearer with increased engagement (as I'm sure you guys notice the more you play). We wouldn't be able to maintain the required ongoing balance of it as a new permanent mode, as we're focused primarily on normal SR. This means play balance would eventually collapse and the game would stop being fun, making for a pretty terrible experience. :( 
If you're interested, I go into a bit of depth here about the pros/cons of FGMs being temporary VS permanent."
When asked if they could replace Dominion with a permanent U.R.F queue, L4T3NCY replied:
Is it too much for rito to consider dissing dominion and replacing it with perma urf?
If we did Dominion again today, it would probably be a good candidate for a temporary Featured Game Mode. 
For reasons mentioned in other posts though, URF isn't exactly a great candidate for a permanent mode right now either. I think both are good examples highlighting the benefits of FGMs being temporary."

BuffMePlz continued:
I've always kind of imagined that one of the biggest reasons for not making URF a permanent gamemode was the amount of resources it would take to maintain it. All of the champion specific micromanaging that went on for this year's URF sort of gives credit to this theory (not to mention the fact that despite all of these changes, there are still tons of complaints about balance). Is any part of this correct? 
Shamelessly tacking on my opinion to this, I support the decision to make URF a temporary gametype. I'd much rather see time and resources going into managing and adding new content to the normal Summoners Rift gamemode that we all came to love from the beginning. That said, like Moobeat said, I hope you guys are looking forward to another year of "RITO BRING BACK URF PLS!"
Yep, you've nailed it right on the head - it is indeed one of the largest contributing factors."

L4T3NCY  also commented on the idea of rotating featured gamemodes back in more often, saying:
How about every 5th, 10th, 15th and so on every month we have urf? Or something like every Monday?
For the more popular FGMs, we're investigating the potential of bringing them back on a shorter rotation cadence. We're not sure what this could look like yet but, it's something we're considering."

While U.R.F has been on live for several days, it has yet to pop up on the PBE. When asked if it will be put on the PBE in retrospect, Riot Terra replied:
Will URF be on PBE?
Nope, PBE is used as a testing ground for features that are about to go live, so URF (or any other game mode for that matter) will not be on PBE. 
There were definitely challenges in releasing this year's URF mode without going to PBE first. PBE can often be a gut-check that everything is okay before going live. 
One example was "How will URF affect game server performance"? Of course we can do load testing, but can we be certain that our load testing scenarios will match the behavior of players in the real world? What about different hardware configurations around the world? How will play patterns in different regions affect our game server allocation? Etc..."

BuffMePlz also commented on if the team actually created a N.U.R.F mode and is they plan to bring Ascension back in the future:
  1. Where did the idea for the death animation summoner icon things come from?
  2. Could you consider implementing N.U.R.F. mode at some point? It seems like it would be hilariously stupid and would be very enjoyable.
  3. Do you guys have any plans on bringing ascension back? That was BY FAR the most fun mode in my opinion.
I've been having a lot of fun with AP Kog'Maw. His ult is on like a .3 second cooldown so that + e + q can pretty much instantly delete someone 5 minutes into the game, and then they type /all WTF just happened?

1) L4T3NCY's post on this: 

2) So...we actually did build NURF. This is a real thing...and it's TERRIBLE. We made it in order to capture the footage for the promo videos, and the act of doing so was quite painful. We are not going to inflict it on you guys anytime soon. =P 
3) We're definitely exploring our options for rotating game modes, and Ascension is definitely on that list - that was also one of my favourites to build and to play. =)"
As for how bad N.U.R.F actually was Riot DefaultChar shared:
I think nurf should be released for like 1 week and allowed to be played by people who really want to try those lovely buffs :)
If it help contextualize: 
-Graves' passive expires between autoattacks up until ~ level 6 
-It is mathematically plausible for some champions on that mode to cast their ultimate at level 6, and then not be able to recast it before it reaches Rank 2. 
-Many champions lose 1v1s with Creep Waves 
-Cassiopeia still has a .5 second cooldown on her E me, you don't want to :) "

Sweet U.R.F tunes

When asked where you can download the sweet Welcome to Planet Urf music, O2ymandias commented:
Will the intro music be available as a ring tone? It is so sweet.
The Login Screen music is available for download right now! [link]"
As for who worked on the URF login screen, Riot Terra explained:
Who was the genius that came up with the current login screen? No, seriously. They deserve an award. They deserve every award. Give it to them now. Not only did they create the most amazing thing to ever grace the login screen, but they had the courage to go in to the conference room and say "Guys, I just had a great idea. For the URF login screen, we see a mysterious blob-shaped shadow. Then, the screen zooms out and lights turn on to reveal Urf wearing a toga and sitting on a throne of gold behind 6 gigantic machine guns while dubstep plays, later revealing bubble machines and flamethrowers in his presence."
I'm not sure who initially came up with the idea, but typically it is a team of people that works on login screens (a splash artist may draw the image, a GFX artist does the animation, a composer comes up with the music, etc...)."


Lastly, L4T3NCY reminded that U.R.F will be rotating out on April 13th!
When is the URF mode going to be removed from live?
April 13th at 2 AM PDT."

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