Red Post Collection: Origin of the Wharf Rat, Wrekz designer on next champion, Scruffy on Mordekaiser, and more!

Posted on at 11:22 AM by Moobeat
[NOTE: Following a day of glitches and interference, the end of today's LCS broadcast included a teaser for a new PROJECT skin - VOD at 5 hours & 5 minutes // gif // screenshot! ]

This afternoon's red post collection includes a look at the origins of Butcher Bridge's Wharf Rat,  Scruffy with discussion on the upcoming Mordekaiser champion update, Wrekz confirming he's the designer on the next champion, a keg full of Bilgewater community creations, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Origins of the Wharf Rat

Here's Glyceroll with a look at the origins of the WHARF RATS, the adorable little critters that scurrying around the the Butcher's Bridge ARAM map!
"As the dust settles from the explosive conclusion to the events in Bilgewater, let’s take a look back at a horrifying little critter who just wants to be loved: The Wharf Rat. Butcher’s Bridge introduced this brainchild of a few disturbed individuals, who are here to demystify the shark/rat hybrids. 
Also, if you’re too squeamish for the gory details on the Wharf Rats - check out the Origin of the Poros (!

First off, who are the insane people behind the Wharf Rat?

Mark Gibbons was the artist who created the original concept art. 
Max “Beezul” Gonzales worked off that idea and turned it into an in-game concept. 
Jue Wang took the concept and mapped it over the original poro models, which were then brought to life through Nick “Nickstravaganza” Matthews and Kevin Freeman’s animation.

Where did the Wharf Rat idea come from? 
The Bilgewater team knew they had a HUGE dilemma early on. They needed a replacement for poros on the Bilgewater ARAM map or the entire event would surely crash and burn quicker than Gangplank’s ship.
The main concern was that the creature had to fill the same niche the poro fills -- providing memorable interactions but not distracting from the actual gameplay. The team needed to bring this creature to life and make it unique enough to stand against the enormous poro fanbase. 
A few early iterations of the poro’s replacement were far too cute -- like an octopus that waddled around on its tiny tentacles and walruses. The team needed something adorable, but terrifying, while being aesthetically fitting for the run-down, waterlogged terrain of Bilgewater. 
Concept art of the wharf rat, shown below, was a product of early Runeterra explorations (deep dives on the people, flora, and fauna) done by Riot’s Foundations team. It was the perfect choice for Butcher’s Bridge.
How long did it take to create Wharf Rats? 
Much like the poro, a lot of the foundational work (the initial modeling and base textures) for wharf rats was done in a single weekend.

After that, the team started in on the long process of polishing and refining these horrifyingly adorable critters.

What’s the connection between Wharf Rats and Razorfins? 
Unlike poros, the rats grow and become more monstrous as they age. The full grown Wharf Rat is one of the four brawler minions within the new Black Market Brawlers game mode -- the Razorfin!

What else can you tell us about Wharf Rats?
  • Wharf Rats are equal parts contempt, agility, and sharp pointy teeth.
  • They’re more closely related to sea cobras than rats.
  • No one has survived long enough to see the underside of a Wharf Rat...but it’s probably not pleasant.
  • Wharf Rats have the capability of swimming like a shark or scurrying like a rat, so nowhere is safe.
  • Wharf Rats also enjoy Poro-Snax, but usually it involves eating actual snax.
  • If confronted by a Wharf Rat, make yourself appear large. And unappetizing. Or just hope you properly notarized your Last Will and Testament.
  • Dock workers sleep on raised cots to avoid being eaten by Wharf Rats in their sleep.
  • Wharf Rats are the mortal enemies of bilge-lions.
  • The Wharf Rats are armed with poisonous barbs in their tails... though most people don't survive long enough to see them.
  • They were once used to keep the wharf clean of debris. (Seriously, they'll eat anything.)

Born out of malice, blinded by hate;
Cunning, deceitful; lying in wait,
Malevolent, evil; oh god it’s free,
Coarse, drooling; please don’t eat me.

So, who do you think would be a better pet? A Poro or a Wharf Rat?"

Scruffy on 5.16 Mordekaiser

With Mordekaiser's champion update coming in 5.16, Riot Scruffy jumped on to the boards to ease tensions and reiterate they are committed to post release support:
"Hey guys, I've been meaning to post some thoughts/plans on the morde update in one of these big threads, so here it is. CertainlyT, Meddler, Repertoir, Statikk, me, and a bunch of other designers have been paying a lot of attention to and discussing all of the morde feedback that we've been seeing on the boards this past week. 
The first thing I wanted to weigh in on is that the changes are definitely trying some pretty out there and meta breaking ideas (i've always admired CertainlyT for his innovation). This comes with a bunch of costs, but also what we think is more benefit. Making an immobile melee kit with no CC work in the bot lane is a really crazy task and from the experience that we have from internally testing it (and you guys are experiencing on the PBE), it takes some time to get used to. 
Introducing some new ways to break the meta while preserving the conventional solo lane viability of the character is our goal. When it hits live, try this new morde wherever you prefer and see what works/doesn't. We will be listening and responding to feedback in the following patches for sure. 
With these pretty new/untested goals we know that there is a pretty good chance that things aren't going to be 100% perfectly tuned when he comes out. We have already been planning a bunch of follow up plans for as many possible scenarios that might occur. 
Some things we would fix if we saw them on live: 
  • Morde not viable as a bot lane pick (this doesn't mean he has to show up in pro play) 
  • Morde not viable as a solo laner (same as above, pro play is not how we judge this)
  • Morde mechanics are buggy 
  • Aspects of morde kit are not fun for the majority of players after people have had a chance to try it out and adapt
Sorry that this post doesn't address any of the specific points people have been making, but I did want to pop in and give some context on our approach to making sure that the morde update is +fun +value for players, which is the #1 goal. 
Edit: if there are specific questions that you guys feel are really important to answer, go ahead and reply. I'll come back in (or repertior will beat me to it most likely) and give the context that I can."
As for Mordekaiser's solo lane ability being in jeopardy, Scruffy  continued:
"There's some truth in what he's saying about morde's kit not having the amount of healthy 1 on 1 interactions that a full top to bottom rework like Sion or Fiora brings to those lanes. CertainlyT is a super perfectionist and he's just calling it like it is here, morde is not the pinnacle of solo lane skill based matchups. 
That said, I think that we're taking a "do no harm" stance on morde's solo lane compared to live. The solo laner may not be getting to exploit some of the crazy new tools (duo XP, dragon, W) as well as a duo morde, but he should be roughly as powerful/fun as live mordekaiser."
He continued:
"If solo morde ends up nerfed, we will address it. I'm just spelling out some of the goals/stance on solo vs duo morde."
When asked how they might buff solo lane Mordekaiser without buffing duo lane Mordekaiser, Scruffy noted:
"Things like solo W case, bonus XP in duo lane, E damage (we suspect this is better solo when he doesn't have allies to help him land W or Q). 
There are plenty of options if that's how we end up needing to react."

Scruffy continued, replying to a few points of player concern:
1) Are there any plans on making Harvester of sorrow accessible as a solo laner since it practically makes more only have two abilities during laning phase. Tweaking the movement speed buff and heal are mandatory to inhibit him from becoming this immovable metal wall in top or mid. 
2) Ult range reduction seemed a bit wonky at the time since he'll probably be facing against opponents with higher range and making it 650 instead of 850 seemed rather harsh. I like the idea though since it makes him more of a close quarters combatants than a long range nuker. 
3) His Siphon of destruction just seems really weak on paper and I'd love to see some improvements to it as in a solo lane it would be his bread and butter ability to farm and get some nice poke off. Maybe even go the extra length and take a look at some of my earlier suggestions to make it similar to Rumble's flamespitter to get rid of its unfair bully nature. 
=> It just seems way too weak in its current iteration and to be frank I'd love to see some drastic changes made to it like the ones made to his Q and W 
4) His wave clear seems to have gone from being one of the best to one of the worst/mediocre. Adding a bit more AoE in his kit may help him push the lane faster and apply pressure in his lane as it seems that his identity of royally castrating minions seems to be left standing in the rain.
Few of your points answered here: 
  • The W not being available when alone is definitely the most risky change. I can totally understand how this ability being very situational for the solo laner can feel a bit weird. On the other hand, there is so much new power in things like Q, Passive, and E that his solo lane will probably stay viable from those buffs alone. 
  • If it turns out that most players are still favoring solo morde and that this version of W has too much of a feel cost, we would consider shifting some of his power out of P, Q and E to make room for some sort of "weaker but castable solo" version of W 
  • His power is so much more melee focused now that I honestly barely noticed it when playing. If he's underpowered, range is an easy number to buff. 
  • Similarly, numbers are an easy fix. We will see what needs adjusting after he goes live. 
  • Waveclear has still seemed pretty strong, and we've employed the "merciless pushing wave into enemy turret" strat for bot lane wins many times internally. Granted, this may be a nerf from a full AP morde on live, but I think he should still have enough waveclear to feel good."
As for Mordekaiser's new dragon control, Scruffy commented:
"We haven't been planning any alternatives to the dragon ghost yet, I'm pretty confident that it'll be a positive addition.

The dragon ult brings a few key things that we like:
  • New interaction with a known objective, game feels different with morde in it 
  • If morde is filling an ADC slot, the dragon is GREAT at pushing turrets and siege situations (morde isn't great at this alone)
  • Reliable but risky source of ghost, like you said above"
As for what Ghost Dragon's damage scales off of, Meddler noted:
"Dragon Ghost's damage is a combination of flat damage that scales with game time and % current health damage that remains constant. Neither component is affected by any of Morde's stats."

Wrekz is the designer of next champion

In a recent thread about the next champion, Wrekz -  Braum's champion designer - 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."

When asked on Twitter if this boards comment means he is the designer for the next champion, Wrekz confirmed:
He continued, denying any teasers! DRAT!
"Appreciate all the hype and kind words about Braum. Not ready to tease anything quite yet. When we are, I will be here to answer anything!"

Mirross on level 6 & 7 Champion Mastery

Over on reddit, Riot_Mirross briefly commented on the future level 6 and 7 champion mastery levels:
"We have emotes and loading screen badges already done for levels 6 and 7. We're looking now at what rewards would be cool and would make leveling your champs really rewarding."
When asked if players who have been earning points after level 5 will have that go to the future new levels, Mirross noted:
I've 356k mastery points as Ryze, do I instantly get the new mastery rewards unlocked?
Yes you will. If you have enough points. 
(spoiler - you have enough points.)"
For those interested, level 6 and 7 champion mastery assets were included in the March PBE update that originally introduced the champion mastery system. [Note: These are not necessarily final.]
[Current level 4 and 5 mastery emotes in-game plus future 6 and 7 emotes from game files.]

Mirross on Promo matches

Mirross also briefly commented they have changes planned for next season:
Once you go through your placements though, if they do come out inaccurate you will have to go through more promos in order to climb to where you otherwise would be if your placements were more accurate. I thing the frustrating nature of promos in general creates a desire for having more accurate placements.
Promos have some pain around them, i totally agree. We have some plans to address that for next season."
For reference, Riot Socrates has also commented on tentative future changes to division and tier promos earlier this year after a survey was sent around.

Repertoir on Taric's Future Rework

As the designer behind the gameplay update that will come with Taric's future "Sion level" champion update, Repertoir has been smashing a few question gems on the boards:
Here is a list of thing that I find core for Taric: 
- character (Sion's character changed completely in his rework),
- hammer and shield,
- bejeweled heavy, plate armor.
- heal,
- armor aura,
- stun of some kind,
- aoe boost for his team,
- armor scalings,
- lack of mobility,
- fighter (not a tank) gamestyle,
- solo top and jungle potential :D.
So here is my question, Riot:
What from this list you gonna keep in his rework?
Im not asking about his new kit, keep your secrets for yourself if you wish.
I think most or all of it."
He continued:
"This shouldn't come as a surprise, but we're aiming for his primary role to be support. 
However, I'm totally cool with supporting jungle/AP/top Taric if it isn't compromising his effectiveness as a support."
When asked how "serious" Taric is going to be, Repertoir noted:
"We don't want Taric to be too serious, at least not in the same way someone like Garen would be. We do envision him as somewhat of a handsome outcast weirdo, which I guess he is already currently in many ways."

As for his kit, Repertoir commented:
"His gameplay probably isn't changing as much as Sion's did insofar as taking on a brand new role, but many of his abilities will be new or altered dramatically. However, art, sounds, lore, splash, etc. should all be new."
When pressed for more information, he noted:
"Not revealing any gameplay mechanics yet, sorry :("

Master Yi's Dance scaling with Movement Speed

When asked if it was possible to make Master Yi's dance speed scale up with his movement speed, Riot Whist noted:
His dance doesn't scale off his movespeed. The R -> Ctrl + 3 combo could open up a new door of possibilities to Master Yi players.
pls rito
Okay sure. 
It's really only noticeable with homeguards but it's fun to watch it slow down as the movespeed wears off. 
EDIT: It'll hit PBE next week and go live ~2 weeks later."
He continued:
"The difference between boots and no boots is small, but once you load up dunk master style and ult, people will be amazed by your lightning fast dance moves."
As for how much effort such a groovy change took to implement, he noted:
"Very little.

We did have to pull out window's calculator though to get the proper multiplier value. That was the hardest part."

Bilgewater Community Creations!

Next, Riot Jinx is  back with a hearty round of Bilgewater themed community creations!
"Travel back to Bilgewater with these awesome community creations inspired by the Burning Tides! Click on the artists’ names to see more of their work.


Share more of your favorite Bilgewater creations in the comments below!"

Community Collab | Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - Singed

Last up we have a new the latest entry in the Helmet Bro animated series, a community collaboration between ehlboy and Hyun's Dojo.

"Don't chase me, bro. 
Animated by ehlboy:
In collaboration with Hyun's Dojo: 
**Created in Collaboration with Riot Games**"

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