Red Post Collection: Next Champion not Support or Assassin, LIVE/PLAY Documentary, Scruffy on Yorick, and more!

Posted on at 10:52 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Meddler commenting on the new champion release rates and that our next champion will not be a support or assassin, Scruffy briefly commenting on Yorick's future champion update, a look at Ghostcrawler's recent responses, the LIVE / PLAY documentary, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Meddler on New Champion Frequency & Next Champion

With Tahm Kench's release over a month ago, Meddler popped on to the boards to comment on the new champion release rates and note that our next champion will not be a support or assassin.
"We've shuffled a couple of champion releases around during the middle of this year. Tahm Kench got pulled forward a bit so that he wasn't coming out at the same time as the Bilgewater event (if pieces of content don't have a relationship that means releasing them together makes sense we like to space stuff out a bit). The next champion by contrast's been pushed somewhat, with the benefit that that lets us focus on the juggernaut stuff in 5.16 and then balanced for Worlds in 5.17 and 5.18. Effective outcome of that is that the gap between Tahm and the next champ's going to be longer than average. 
As far as said next champ goes too early to really talk any details, and that's something the team working on the champ/the reveal, should do themselves of course. Will say it's not a support or an assassin though (no big surprises there given Bard/Ekko/Tahm I'm sure, but just in case anyone was wondering)."
When asked about a double champion release, Meddler noted:
"I don't think we'd want to do two new champ at once, we do like the way people have time to experiment with a champ, learn how to play against it etc, plus the way each champ gets to be at least a brief focus point on release. I'd imagine we'll see some cases of closer releases at times again though, like the shorter gaps between Gnar/Azir and Kalista/Rek'Sai last year."

Riot Wrekz also added:
"I'm not going to give away anything (promo team should be the ones offering the best exposure to what the new champion is). Just be ready to be surprised."

Meddler on Gunblade, Lucian, and Lulu

Next up we have Meddler with discussion on Hextech Gunblade, Lucian, and solo lane Lulu!

When asked if they've thought about converting Hextech Gunblade's spell vamp into a heal based on damage dealt similar to Will of the Ancient's, Meddler commented:
"We've been talking about shifting Gunblade to that sort of approach. It's worked pretty well on WotA, cleans up Gunblade's presentation and would let it work with some fun, even if not necessarily effective, stuff like Sunfire Cape and Red Buff. 
We're at the point where we want to shift to smaller, balance focused patches though, as we polish for the World's patch, so item updates like that are most likely preseason material at this point."
He continued:
would caution about it working on true damage, could see that getting out of hand.
Think we should be safe, spell vamp already applies to a lot of true damage abilities since their damage type is 'spell' (Cho ult or Olaf E for example). This would cause Gunblade to heal off true damage procs like Corki's, Vayne's, Garen's, Fiora's etc, can't off the top of the head think of any champs with both true damage procs and a decent Gunblade affinity though (Corki's probably the closest), so not worried there."
As for his thoughts on Lucian's balance, Meddler noted:
"We think he's a little on the weak side, so are putting some small buffs to him in 5.16. Most significant one is that his W movement speed bonus is stronger and, while its duration has been shorted, it can now also be procced for Lucian by his allies."
 You can check out the specifics of these upcoming Lucian changes in our 5.16 PBE megathread.
Meddler also popped in a thread to comment on the team's thoughts about solo lane Lulu:
"We think solo lane Lulu's in a reasonable spot at the moment. She has been pretty overpowering at times in the past, when she's brought solo lane damage + support levels of utility (rather than a appropriate degree of both), doesn't seem to be an issue with her current state though. Would be nice to see her a bit more in a duo lane again, wouldn't want to bring that about in ways that break her solo laning though."

20thCenturyFaux  on Zilean's Passive

When asked about a new or more interesting design for Zilean's passive, 20thCenturyFaux shared:
Have you considered implementing Rewind as a passive? For example, every few seconds Zilean would get to re-cast one of his basic abilities while it's on cooldown, which would work well with his time theme and streamline the double-casting process somewhat, while also opening up space for a new, potentially more interesting active. One of his biggest issues right now is the lack of power he can output onto other champions relative to other mages and supports, due to his lesser number of outwardly-oriented active abilities, and moving his kit around would open up the opportunity for him to make a greater amount of choices beyond QWQ and the occasional movespeed modfier alongside it.
We did indeed! Before the Zilean update was released, we had some time to tinker with broader ideas. In the end we didn't have the scope or resources to do more at that time, but the passive was definitely on our radar. At the time, I tested two main takes on the passive: 
  • Passive as rewind 
There are a couple potential versions of this. The one we played with was, "Zilean can reactivate a spell while it's cooling down to cast it again. Doing so puts the passive on the spell's remaining cooldown," revolving around the choice of which spell to get back. I could also easily imagine a version of this that works identically to current rewind. One caveat to this approach is that rewind means the other spells have to be such that they're strong within reason when cast twice. That's not too hard when you've got two other spells to play with, but when there's three it gets a little trickier to make them all still feel good. Not a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind! 
  • Passive as warp 
I tried a bunch of versions of this. Generally they involved Zilean being able to go to a place and mark it, then later return there by clicking on a thing there or by using his (targetable) recall on the spot. For example, one had it such that if Zilean stood still for a few moments, he'd leave behind a little ghost of himself he could click to warp back there. 
In the short range warp case, it was cool and timey but didn't fit Zilean's gameplay well--he doesn't have a lot of reason to want to dart around and be mobile, so all it really did was make him safer. It also didn't fit his feel well outside his theme--characters that dash around a lot tend feel frenetic, hyperactive and tricksy; Zilean's feel is more "above it all", fast but calculated and in broad strokes, almost godlike. The summoner teleport-y versions were kind of neat, but didn't do much that summoner teleport didn't already do unless the way the spots were generated was extra interesting. Generating spots where Zilean saved someone with Chronoshift or where someone died was kind of cool, but felt more necromantic than temporal. 
Generally I think using Rewind as the passive could work, but the idea I'm currently most interested is a spiced up XP passive. Things like more concentrated/interesting gameplay around XP, or potentially letting Zilean exceed level 18 are the things I'd like to look at if I get another chance to work on Zilean. Him getting some play in LJL was an awesome surprise, I really wanna see more of this guy on the rift."
He continued:
When people get to level 18 he has no passive. The only other champions to lose their passive is Quinn. And that's only in Valor form which lasts for about 20 seconds! That and you get to level 2 (Yes, ONLY level 2) ONE minion faster! After that it's practically useless. With the armor nerfs he won't survive in mid lane because Assassins will be somewhat dominant because tanks will be much weaker. It's easily the worst passive in the game. At least the triggered on death passives allow for people to take their killers down with them, or in Karthus's case get an uninterrupted ult off.
The other weird thing about XP mechanics on Zil is that he sometimes goes mid, sometimes bot, and supports often don't reach level 18 by game end. If his passive does something cool at level 18 - say, letting him go past level 18 for example - then there also probably should be something in there that helps supports stretch to that goal."

They remember Yorick Mori

Scruffy dug into a thread on the boards to remind that Yorick is indeed slated for a large scope rework but it won't be before Poppy or Taric's reworks go out to live.
"He's not been iceboxed, solcrushed is doing some early design work and he will go full steam on yorick once he finishes up with poppy. No dates are clear at all yet, but I can say that he wont ship before poppy or taric as we need that whole art/sound/engineering team to work on him when they finish those projects. 
High level we are gonna have to rebuild this guy from the ground up. The starting point of core elements to keep that we have in mind right now are "ghoul summoner" and "Imposing melee fighter." 
Are there any things we're missing on what makes Yorick Yorick?"
He continued:
"I'm seeing multiple "strong lane" comments. It will certainly not be in the same table flipping frustration sort of way that he has on live, but we will definitely consider that a strong lane is something Yorick players value."
He added:
"These early pillars are meant to be vague, so that we don't paint ourselves into a corner with a very specific idea that doesn't pan out.

We will definitely not be satisfied with "generic ghoul guy" and finding the secret sauce on his theme is a big part of what we're exploring right now."
Scruffy also noted Yorick won't be rising from the grave in 2015:
"Yea almost impossible that we could get him out in 2015. Doesn't mean we aren't hard at work on him tho. 
Sustain is something worth considering. I think we have some of that still on the kit but i'll run it by solcrushed too."

Axes on Defensive Itemization Changes in 5.16

In a thread discussing the upcoming defensive itemization changes coming in 5.16 and the PBE's 5 armor reduction to Dead Man's Plate, Riot Axes commented:
I mean really? Dead man's? Really? It seems the ONLY reason for nerfing Dead Man's is they went "man, fuck melee, thinking they're so cool."

You can't nerf all the full tank items, then turn around and nerf the damage items too. You're only giving melee two new items, one of which is a bargin bin discount mid game item that will have the same problem Tahm's shield does where it pisses low ELO off cause "omg scary big number!" but the rapidly decaying part actually renders it far less useful than it appears to be. The other is a side-grade to Hydra which ALREADY got nerfed to +5 damage on auto from +20.  
But why Dead Man's? It's barely been out for a patch and we're already nerfing it? Not Rylais which is being built every game on Viktor to perma kite/chase? Not BT which lets ADCs heal any and all poke you do to them? Not even a nerf to LW/VS as you're butchering all the tank items? Not Luden's which continues to be OP as shit?  
No, but we're nerfing Dead Man's. An item that has been out for a week. You know the last time Riot nerfed an item in a week? Literally fucking never. Innervating Locket lasted for months before Riot touched it. Sunfire lasted for like half a year. Luden's Echo took a month. Hourglass lasted 3 years. But dead man's? An item that the only person I've seen it on is me? Nerf that fucking shit after a WEEK. Athen's holy grail basically won the S2 finals, and then took another season to nerf.
To explain Titanic Hydra and Dead Man's Plate pretty quickly:

Titanic Hydra wasn't nerfed. One value (base amount of damage on hit) was reduced in exchange for a better build path (Giant's Belt instead of Ruby Crystal with no total gold change) and more health (increased from 250 to 400). This should leave it approximately equal or slightly buffed for ideal users, but much stronger for champions who are close to being ideal users but don't quite value on-hit effects enough. Basically, we want it to be a somewhat champion-specific item, but it had been an overly champion-specific item (pretty much just Shen and Shyvana).

Dead Man's Plate was originally tuned to be a good purchase in a world where Randuin's Omen, Thornmail, and Frozen Heart had their previous live values. With the nerfs to those items, DMP was a bit more efficient than it should be.

All that said, I'm pretty sure the real concern here isn't nerfing Dead Man's Plate - it's nerfing those other three armor items, and how we value armor overall. I don't expect this to be a popular decision, but I'll take a shot at explaining it:

Frozen Heart, Randuin's Omen, and Thornmail were insanely cost effective - they just gave more power than other items. If you're an ideal user of Frozen Heart, you get a pretty large power boost just because of the fact that you buy that item. That can be a pretty stable state assuming champions are balanced around their items - but only as long as we aren't setting out to solve other problems. If we want to better support different kinds of champions, introduce new items, provide better options for fighting back against particular types of champions, or whatever, it's a big problem.

In order to get you to buy a new item (Dead Man's Plate), I'd have to make that item about as cost-effective as your other options. When your other options are crazy efficient, DMP would need to be crazy efficient. That'd work out ok as long as you could never buy both Frozen Heart and DMP - but any champion able to buy both gets a huge buff, and even champions that just use one of the two could be left weaker by comparison. The same principle applies to all of the new items.

The big concern, obviously, is that Marksmen and a few Fighters/AD Assassins could go nuts. We are actively monitoring the situation. We've already buffed the per-level armor of a bunch of support tanks. I'm fairly confident that Juggernauts/heavy fighters/damage tanks (really, anyone who can use the new items well) are going to be at least as tanky as before albeit with more health/less armor, but we'll be keeping an eye on it. The other set of impacted champions would be the more mobile, dive-oriented fighters who have to build 1.5-2+ offense items to succeed - in internal testing they were largely fine, but if they're not fine we'll react. On the offense champ side, I'd expect Marksmen to be about the same as before or just a hair better overall, which I think is justified given their current state."

Ghostcrawler Ask.FM Roundup

Here's a look at some of the more interesting responses from Ghostcrawler's ASK.FM over the past day:
[1] Will you reconsider doing a Sandbox mode due to the recent feedbacks? 
[2] Do you know of other Rioters in other departments (ex. Lore, art, eSports, etc) that have or are interested in making askFMs? I think this is a really nice way for Riot to communicate back with the community. 
We have been talking about developing a system on our own website to do something similar. It would be great for players to be able to see it all in one place. It would be nice for us to be able to toss questions over to Rioters more equipped to answer specific ones or even to add on additional context for a question that has already been answered 
[3] Do you think there will ever be a time where people who are already level 30 can buy a smurf account that already level 30 so people who have already done the miserable process of 1 to 30 can just skip it? 
Usually when players want to smurf it's for one of two reasons (according to what they tell us): They want to play with friends, or they are bored and want something else to do. We feel like there are better ways to solve both of those problems, and we kind of owe you to solve them. If we feel like we've tackled both of those problems and there is still a huge demand for smurf accounts, then we'd consider it. I'm a little nervous that if we sold accounts or otherwise made them easier to acquire, we would have less motivation to solve the inherent design problems. 
We also agree that leveling 1-30 is a little miserable, even the first time around. We are exploring the right way to fix that.

[4] I Dont understand the morde rework, u guys say he is going to be a botlane champ now as the adc??? I Dont get it because he isn't ranged and he isn't Ad and your putting him in the botlane. Please explain cuz I'm rly confused

New Morde isn't an ADC or a Marksman. He is a juggernaut, which is a type of fighter.
In terms of why we his rework works well bottom, our thought process went like this: Morde has really strong strengths and weaknesses, which give him a good identity, but meant that success or failure with Morde had much more to do with enemy team counterpicks (or maybe ganking) than the Morde player himself. 
The idea is that if he is playing duo in a bottom lane, he can use his W on an ally to buff them both and in return, the ally can help cover Morde's weaknesses. (You can still play him solo, but he won't be using W as frequently and will run into his old problems of not being able to hold his own in a lane.) 
Traditionally, melee bottom had to play really aggressively to have a chance against the opposite lane. New Morde doesn't play so much like that. He has the scaling and defenses to survive a more protracted engagement.

[5] Is this new Morde just a experiment?

It's not an experiment in the scientific sense that we're testing a hypothesis and using players as lab rats. That's not really fair or respectful to League players. It is a pretty radical idea so I'm not at all prepared to call it a huge victory or declare that we might do the same approach to other champions. 
We knew there was some risk involved. We were comfortable with that level of risk to go live with it, but we're not so arrogant that we don't realize that sometimes we just miss the mark on things like this.

[6] What happens when league gets too many champs. Is there any point in the future when you guys will be like "these are enough champions." If so, what benefits or what challenges will that bring from a design viewpoint. Do you think players will get bored of the same ol' same ol'?

We think there probably is a max number of champs, but we're a long way from reaching it, and we haven't shipped 12 champs a year in a few years, so we have plenty of time.
In addition, a lot of players consider themselves to main particular positions or roles. If you mostly play ADC, a new assassin doesn't affect you as much, and you may be waiting a long time for a new ADC. 
We know releasing new champions is exciting and players do start asking for them repeatedly when we go too long in between them. We think losing that completely would be detrimental to the game if we didn't have content equally as exciting to backfill. 
Yes, adding every new champion increases the burden for new or returning players, but honestly there is less of an impact of adding the 154th champion if the last time you played League was when we had 60 champions. In other words, if we were really concerned about the impact of new champs, we would have slowed down or stopped a long time ago. 
Every now and then a Rioter will propose some kind of rotation of champs in order to keep the current focus a little smaller. We could always dust off one of those proposals if we feel like 250 champions or whatever is just unmanageable. But we're a long way from that still.
[7] So if you had unlimited time and energy to improve the new player experience, what are your first thoughts on what to do?‎  
The key to a good player experience IMHO is not to bury them under hours of tutorials. It's to show them why your game is so f'ing fun and why they should want to invest so much time in it. Most new player experiences get that wrong.

[8] One visual element I'd like updated quicker is item icons. I know it's not your area, but I'd really have liked a bunch of them updated, especially the component-item icons; those are the worst ones, imho. 
Agreed. Our new icon artists are very strong. We still have a few original icons made, I kid you not, by Feral Pony.

[9] I'm a bit worried that there might be too many items in the game before long. Of course there's value in having a variety of items to choose from (as long as a few aren't just better than the rest), but still. Is this a legitimate concern, is it something you have though/talked about?

There are two different sets of "scary numbers." One is if the game itself just has a ton if items and you're scrolling through the list offline or something and feel like we aren't approaching item design with a critical eye. I don't think this tends to impact most players most of the time. 
The second is when you have a particular champion in play, how many items you have to really consider when making a purchase choice for that champ. I think this is a more tangible concern. Some amount of decision is fun and interesting here, and it doesn't even need to be for every slot. A ridiculous number of potential items for each slot is possibly a sign of a weak design. 
I'm also not the biggest fan of super-duper niche items. If an item gets picked once every 20 to 50 games, then it can be unusual and exciting when it shows up. If it shows up one in 500 games, then it probably has some fundamental problems IMO and needs updating.

Live / Play Documentary 

Last up we have the LIVE / PLAY, a documentary following the lives of five different League of Legends players with unique stories.

"Live / Play is a documentary that tells the stories of five different players from around the world, woven together by one unifying passion: League of Legends.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mariana transforms into Mafia Jinx during one of the country’s biggest cosplay competition, while over 10,000 kilometers away, Eyjo battles across Summoner’s Rift on a boat drifting off the coast of Stykkish√≥lmur, Iceland.

In Cairo, Egypt, Amin connects with other cultures through League just as Braeden, a pro League player known as PorpoisePops, hones his skills, practicing up to 12 hours a day, in Los Angeles, USA. Across the globe, robotics hobbyist Yong-Seung displays his latest creation, a massive remote controlled Baron Nashor, at Maker’s Faire in Seoul, South Korea. "

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