Red Post Collection: One for all LIVE, Data & Champion Balance Part 2, Note about Harrowing, Zombie Nunu VU, & much more!

Posted on at 4:42 AM by Moobeat

This morning's red post collection includes a heads up that ONE FOR ALL is available through October 26th at 2 AM PDT, part two of the Data & Champion Balance dev blog, discussion on this year's Harrowing, a look at what went into the Zombie Nunu voiceover, a new "What is LoL?" video aimed at introducing new players to the game, a reminder Lulu's price has been reduced, sheet music for the Kindred theme, and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Spin, spin, spin, spin, spin to win: One For All returns!

[UPDATE: Karthus and Teemo disabled for ONE FOR ALL.]

Here's L4T3NCY with details on the return of ONE FOR ALL featured game mode, which will be available between now an 2:00 AM PDT on October 26th!
"As the very first featured game mode, it’s been awhile since we saw the original One For All on Summoner’s Rift (two years ago this month!). We’ve released a number of new champions since, so what better time to return to the mayhem?

Over the next few weeks, head to the Rift for 5v5 One For All madness. Once you get into champ select, you and your team will vote for the champion you’ll all play before jumping into the game for inevitable chaos. Whether you’re chaining an endless string of Gangplank barrels, assembling a Tahm Kench matryoshka, or covering the map with ten (or twenty) Kalista sentinels roaming through every choke point, One For All is basically five times crazier than when you’re the only one playing your champion. Or at the very least, there’s five times the lasers.

In case you were frantically Googling release dates, here’s a list of the new faces to the One For All scrum:
  • Kindred
  • Tahm Kench
  • Ekko
  • Bard
  • Rek’Sai
  • Kalista
  • Azir
  • Gnar
One For All returns from October 15 until October 26 at 2:00 AM PDT, so join the attack of the clones with your friends and we’ll see you on the rift!"

October 14th Patch Update

The official 5.20 patch notes have been updated to reflect a small Kindred bug fix that went out on October 14th:
  • BUGFIX - Kindred no longer sometimes gets locked out of marking enemy champions after disconnecting"

Data and Champion Balance – Part 2

Next up we have Riot Jag with the second part of a dev blog series on Data and Champion balance: 
"Click here to check out our first Dev Blog on data and League Balance! 
Hey guys, Jag here from the Live Gameplay team. We’re back with another dev blog, this one addressing our balance strategy a little more broadly. While the last blog covered some of the metrics we use in assessing champions performance, in this article we’ll talk about the more subjective, value-based decisions we make with this data: these are balance changes we make to change the state of League of Legends in ways that are more consistent with our design values
Before we get to it, we’d like to clarify that this article is meant to give an understanding of how we tend to view champion power in regards to how we change them. To emphasize, these are tendencies; not hard rules. Some of the trends we discuss here will not always apply to every champion or in every scenario.

Let’s start with an easy concept: the underlying counterplay of a character. Generally, if a character has low counterplay, then they also tend to be more binary on the champion strength scale (either oppressively strong with no answers, or incredibly weak with no agency), whereas the opposite is true of champions with lots of counterplay. The best example here is Blitzcrank: if a Blitz is particularly successful, he’s highly impactful to the point of virtually winning games outright by turning them into 4v5s. That’s a champion with a lot of power. That said, most of the play around dodging Blitz’s hook seems pretty fair as an opposing player. If Blitz’s hook was a targeted spell instead of skill shot, he would feel pretty oppressive while consistently winning games, so ensuring champions have good counterplay makes it fairer for them to succeed. This is one of the many reasons why we pursue having counterplay options against every champion; even when they’re strong, they don’t automatically tilt over into oppressive territory.

Force Multipliers
One of the more interesting balance challenges we face is how to properly calibrate champions that buff or empower allies. Internally, we have started to use the term "Force-Multipliers" to describe those (traditionally) support champs who express most of their power through their teammates (i.e.: Lulu). Since these champions invest in conditions that are more teamplay-centric, we’re inclined to give them a significant amount of power when they put themselves in the correct situations. Perhaps the best example of this is Janna; while she does have a few ways of making that “big play” that both teams can appreciate, most of her actions enhance her teammates' potential through low visibility influence, without a huge amount of power that she can express directly. So while a good Janna can flash ultimate a high value target into her team, a great Janna may also keep an eye on her friendly Tristana so she can shield her right when she hits Rapid Fire, leading to Trist landing a Pentakill (and getting all of the credit...). Ultimately, given that League is a team-focused game (and teamplay is one of our core design tenets), we tend to be more in favor of abilities that require good coordination or teamplay to fully ‘unlock.’ 
A consequence of empowering Force Multipliers is that when they become too strong, their power isn't appreciated in obvious ways. Another example might be pre-update Sona, who was giving her teammates a ton of hidden power that few were attributing to her. There would be many games where she was instrumental in her team's victory, but due to the nature of how she expressed strength, her teammates would be credited as the reason behind the victory (maybe she should speak up!). We may never truly ‘solve’ Sona’s invisible power problem because of her identity as an aura-focused support, but our recent updates have pushed her toward having more appreciable power. Ultimately, taking action in cases where the perception of a champion’s strength is significantly misaligned with their actual power level (one way or the other) is a large risk for us, as players can sometimes not understand why a change is necessary or even warranted.

Balancing champions who function in multiple lanes is another ongoing challenge we face. We have data that tells us how often a champion will win a game depending on if they’re in the top, mid, the jungle, or in a duo bot lane. Sometimes when champions become strong, we emphasize certain roles more than others if the character’s play pattern is healthier there. An interesting recent example is Sion following the introduction of Cinderhulk. While he was a very strong pick in the top lane where he was favored by the majority of the player base, most thought he was close to a balanced state and only needed a few small power reductions. On the other hand, we also saw that Sion’s strength as a jungler was absolutely monstrous (close to a 60% win rate), but this was not clearly visible to players since they tended to calibrate his strength as a top laner. Consequently we made changes that reduced his overall win rate but were targeted at his jungle power. While some players understood our intent, others were quick to register their confusion at nerfing a ‘balanced’ top laner. In the case of these types of changes, we need to be very proactive about providing the right context in places like the patch notes or patch rundown. Lastly, while we’re also trying to improve our design craft as to how targeted our changes are, there will always be some bleed with a change targeting one position to another.

Exploitable Weaknesses 

A final area I’d like to touch on is champions with distinct, exploitable weaknesses. In general, it is far easier to allow for high strengths in champions with clear weaknesses versus generically powerful characters with no exploitable counterplay. Certain strengths are very exploitable (range and mobility in particular), so when a champion can be easily attacked or their opponent has multiple methods to counter, we’re satisfied with that champion also having very distinct and powerful advantages. Take Sivir as an example; she has an extremely low basic attack range for a markswoman and has no teleport or dash moves, so she can be dealt with in many ways. You can pick Draven and beat her in a matchup where Spell Shield doesn’t give much help in; you can bring mobile dive champions like Irelia or Jarvan IV; or you can force engagements when she tries to siege with her low range. Because of this, we can allow Sivir to have very powerful strengths like top-tier waveclear and one of the most powerful ultimates any marksperson has in League of Legends. 
Hopefully that gives some insight into how the Live Gameplay team treats balance in League of Legends. With any luck, if there is anything these last two blogs have showed you, it’s that the power of a champion is a concept that needs a lot of context and investigation. Thanks for reading, Summoner."
Following the post, Jag hung around the boards to answer a few questions:

When asked about the possibility of having LoL become "perfectly balanced", Jag commented:
"I don't think there's a stable "balance" state that could ever exist in LoL, even theoretically. The landscape of the game is always being changed by new content we add (items, champions, reworks), so I'd say making sure the game isn't stale is one of our core values. That being said, we don't ever try to "over buff", sometimes we just miss."
When asked about Heimerdinger and his play patterns, Jag noted:
"With you that Heimer's lane play pattern can feel very oppressive. We pretty frequently have the discussion on whether he could use some adjustments there. There are still some major kit-level issues we could work to resolve (specifically, for both Heimer and his opponents to understand and appreciate the threat conveyed by his turrets), but they're definitely complex problems."

As for thoughts on Lee Sin and Mordekaiser, Jag noted:
"Lee Sin was out of pro play and had a pretty poor win rate when we gave him some buffs. Really he's a case of exactly what was being advocated for Sion/Sejuani - we nerfed this guy a lot, and we tried to give him something back. I think the trend has been similar for Thresh/Grag/Rek'sai, we've had a history of nerfing them a fair amount. If you'd like to call us out on getting to Lee Sin before Sion, that may be fair, although other factors that these two dev blogs have gotten into affect those decisions. 
There's a good chance we do more follow-up on Morde soon. Guy is stronk."
He continued, commenting on buffing up Sejuani and Sion now that Cinderhulk has been nerfed down:
"I get that it seems like we've forgotten about these guys, but the truth is that League has so many moving pieces that just because they didn't make the patch doesn't mean we didn't talk about where they're at. Sion/Sej maybe could use a tweak back upwards, but after having them be in such a dominant spot for several months it seems wrong to not give other champions some love too."
When asked about the balance team's usage of the PBE and feedback left there from testers, Jag noted:
"Don't think we're great at parsing PBE feedback. There's definitely been times where PBE have let us know of some impending doom that we didn't pay attention to; on the other hand, PBE universally regarded the Garen and Skarner changes as completely underpowered before they were released in 5.16. We need to step up our game a bit here."

Balance Team Q&A 10/16

Speaking of the balance team, they will be headed to the boards for an Q&A on Friday, October 16th!
"If you’re the type that loves design discussions about LoL, we’ve got you covered. For the month of October, the Balance Team’s hosting weekly Q+A’s starting at 12:30 PM PDT on 10/16! The folks behind the tweaking and tuning of League of Legends will be on hand to answer your questions, swap stories and share insights on the state of the game!"

A Note about the Harrowing & Content

Following the Zombie & Slayer skins debuting on the PBE yesterdayPabro has posted up a note on the PBE boards regarding The Harrowing and seasonal events:
"Hey everyone, 
We’re making a few changes around how we roll out seasonal events, story, and featured game modes. As you know, in past seasonal events we’ve released content together (i.e. the Harrowing or Snowdown). Going forward, we’re going to be switching that up a bit and releasing those different types of content separately — like you’ve probably seen on PBE with One For All, Zombie / Slayer skins, and the Shadow Isles champion bios. All of this means seasonal events like the Harrowing and Snowdown will roll out differently than you’ve seen them in the past. This lets us kick out cool stuff more often without being constrained by specific times of year. 
As always, let us know what you think about these changes in the comments below. We’re stoked to hear what you think."
When asked if this meant no more holiday skins, he clarified:
"We're still going to be releasing content during holiday periods, we're just not bundling it in the same way."
As for the story component of the Harrowing, Ant in Oz added we'll be getting one this month:
Does that mean that we now have the possibility of getting Shadow Isles/The Harrowing mist lore events any time of the year? Like we got Bilgewater a while ago? If so, I completely support and look forward to this change, not having it restricted to a week in october is really great.
Boom. Spot on regarding the story. 
In Runeterra, the Harrowing can strike any day of the year, not just on a certain night/month, so only being able to tell Harrowing stories in October felt a little restrictive. 
Having said that, we are still going to be releasing a Harrowing story this month... but the next one could come at any time."
He continued:
Question though Ant, does that mean we'll never again get events where we get lore inspired skins in tandem with a big lore happening and similar things? Because that'd be a little sad.
Not necessarily - but it frees them up from always having to be packaged together.
It means that we can just do a cool story, a cool game-mode, or cool skins whenever we want, rather than having to tie them all together. That doesn't mean that we won't tie ever them together in the future, though. 
For example, if the skins teams gets excited by a story in the works, they may make some cool skins based on the story - but they don't have to. 
Does that make sense?"
Pabro also added:
"Yes on story, no on lore events. We want the freedom to tell stories (like The Harrowing/Shadow Isles stories) at any time of the year, but they will not be paired up with big drops of content like during Bilgewater. That would keep us from releasing story more flexibly/often."
He continued:
"As Ant in Oz mentioned, we are launching a big Harrowing story this month. So to answer your question - the Shadow Isles will be out lurking this year."

Over on the general boards, KateyKhaos also commented a bit on the current skins for this year and the other content coming our way soon:
"I'm on the skins teams, and wanted to pop in to clarify a few things from this post. 
This year's thematic is more geared towards zombies/slayers as opposed to the Shadow Idles thematic (Harrowing) we had last year. (We'll be posting some additional messaging explaining the change a bit more in depth super soon!) 
That said, there are no other skins coming for this event. The only skins will be Slayer Jinx, Slayer Pantheon and Zombie Nunu. 
Of course, more things are coming, but they won't be skins."
KateyKhaos also confirmed the new Slayer & Zombie skins on the PBE are NOT legacy.
"The Zombie/Slayer skins are not legacy, so they'll be sticking around in the store. :]"

Zombie Nunu's Voiceover

When asked about Zombie Nunu's new voiceover full of groans and sounds typical of a zombie rather than a traidtional VO despite his 1350 RP price tag, Galetta commented:
"Nope this isn't a legendary skin. We felt like this skin needed a few more bells and whistles to sell this thematic and we didn't want a "tier" to prevent us from doing that. Going forward you may start to see more 1350's with new VO and more new animations, but it will be on a case by case basis."
Vonderhams also jumped in the thread to talk a bit about how they created this ghoulish new VO:
I'm curious what it looked like, care to give us a taste?
I can't show the exact document, but I can give a taste of what the process was! 
The first step was trying to define the character. I still wanted it to feel like Nunu and Willump, but since they're zombies, we had to factor that into their personalities. One challenge that came with this skin, is in order to get it out in time, we couldn't localize the VO into other languages; so it couldn't contain anything that sounded like any word, in any language, hence the zombie speak. In order to help narrow down what personality each character should have, I gathered references from all over to see what's been done in the realm of big lumbering zombies, and smaller energetic zombies. I went from things like creatures in Gears of War, to L4D, to Evan Baxter reading the news in Bruce Almighty. 
In game, we have a bunch of different lines that are triggered depending on what the champion is doing, such as moving, attacking, spell casting, dying, etc. Since Nunu is really old, he only had 20 or so lines of VO. He has over 4 times that for this skin. For each one of these categories we had descriptions of the tone that the lines should be read back at. Attack lines should be aggressive, move lines should be more subdued. All lines should try and have some back and forth between characters. Aggressive and subdued sound different for both Willump and Nunu because of what the references and personalities are for each character. 
Once we had a script with a clear emotional state for each type of line, we brought in our magnificent Zombie Willump talent: the audio team's Riot Eno and had him record a bunch of stuff for each type of line. We also had a few other sound designers, myself included, try out some zombie vocals, but Riot Eno was the clear choice. The burps are a mix of a few of the sound designers :) Much seltzer was chugged. We had a similar process for Nunu (who was voiced by the same person that did Lulu!) 
Once everything was recorded, I went in and did a ton of editing and voice processing to make them feel like they're on the rift. Fun fact, Willump's breaths are from various large cats and camels! I'm actually still tweaking them, so they might change a little bit while he's on PBE. 
Final note: If you saw that video on youtube with all the Nunu VO one after another; the way it works makes no sense, but in game there's actually some neat interaction going on - When Nunu activates Bloodboil, he goes into what I call "rage mode" where he starts screaming and leaking goo everywhere. When rage mode is on, Nunu will only scream while moving, since he closes his mouth when idle. He even has sounds for his mouth opening and shutting! I got pretty fired up when I got that to work. 
If you do get this skin I hope you enjoy playing with it and may your counter jungles be strong, I had a lot of fun making it! "
He continued:
I'm always really intrigued by the amount of work that goes even into a seeminly simple VO like this. 
I also always love to hear the kinds of animals that are used so I can try to hear that stuff in the sounds. :P 
Do you often go inside Riot for voice actors?
Google some big cat sounds, you'll find some interesting stuff, they make crazy noises. Camels are probably my favorite animal to use right now, they crack me up. I'd expense a camel if Riot would let me. There's a compilation video of just crazy camel sounds out there too that always makes me laugh. In any sound design, animal vocals always provide a nice layer of organic depth to whatever sound they are added to since they are natural and have a neat texture, but can blend in pretty naturally with other sounds. So much sound design in games and movies use this trick. If there's a big explosion or something fire related I always like throwing a lion in there just in case. 
You know what goes great with Pool Party Draven's squeaky axes? Gerbils. What about the Shadowfire Lamb and Wolf's "W" cast? Wolves? NO. Obviously, like 3 or 4 camels. Walruses and various chimps are great too. 
If it's for something big like a new champ, we normally hold auditions to actors and occasionally a Rioter will audition and get the part. In this case, since we didn't have the time to audition a bunch of actors (which would be hilarious for a bunch of zombie noises... I wonder how the walking dead does it?) we reached inward for some talent we knew would be able to do an awesome job on it. 
Edit: For those of you that want to spend a few hours listening to random animals and the crazy sounds they make - 
9000 different species, 150,000 different recordings. "

Here's the VO again in case you want another liste--- BRAINS.

No Shen or Taric Rework in 2015 

When asked if Shen's previously mentioned rework will be released during 2015 as we are nearing preseason time, Meddler commented:
"Current plan is to do a mainly gameplay focused update, probably with some small visual changes, but certainly not a full VU. In terms of timing only thing I can say with confidence is that it won't be this year.''
As for Taric, he repeated the news from earlier this year that Taric's larger scope update will not be in 2015:
"No, Taric won't be this year either."
He continued:
"Neither Taric nor Shen reworks will be released in 2015."
As for Poppy, he noted:
"Should be out before Shen or Taric. I don't want to make any promises we can't be certain of beyond that, but she's getting a lot of focused work right now."

Context on Mordekaiser Title Change

In the 10/14 PBE updateMordekaiser received a new lore entry and his titled changed to "the Lord of Death" from "the Master of Metal."

Here's Ant in Oz with context on that change:
"Hey guys, 
This wasn't a decision that was made lightly. 
Mordekaiser had a lot going on with his thematic (he's a mage! He's in heavy armor! He's the first of the Undead! He can steal his enemy's souls! He's Magneto!). 
Now while all of that is pretty cool, we felt that having so much going on made him a little bit confused as a character. 
Looking at him more closely, it was the metal-mage stuff that didn't really seem to fit cohesively with everything else, or fit his background. Also, we made a move away from the metal-mage aspect in his visual effects recently, and as such, his "Master of Metal" title just didn't really seem to fit so well any more. We kept the metal references in his spells, though (which, as a metal fan myself, makes me happy). 
In his longer bio (which will be released soon!) we've delved a little into who Mordekaiser was before he became the undying revenent we all know and love. Having explored his background a little more than we have previously, we figured the "Lord of Death" was a pretty fitting title for him. 
Hope that gives a little insight into this change! 

Wizardcrab on Summoner Icons

Next up we have WizardCrab discussing the idea of both IP & RP paid icons and free summoner icons:
"I don't believe we've lied about IP Icons. We originally intended to provide icons with an IP price to help commemorate certain experiences and events. We wanted all players to be able to access these icons whether they spend or not, and I believe we're still operating with that idea. But what actually happened was that as we were making these icons, usually we just said "Why even charge IP? Might as well just give them away completely." This idea has completely overshadowed the IP icons because free feels like it's a lot better for you guys [but tell me if I'm wrong :) ]. The last icon we sold for 1500 IP was the Shadow Isles Crest in October/November of 2014, but here's a quick list of icons you haven't had to buy for RP since then, and how you got them (for free): 
  • Harrowed Puppet Icon - Give a gift of any kind to a friend during Harrowing [okay, not totally free]
  • Mark of the Betrayer Icon - Win 3 games in Hexakill: Twisted Treeline
  • SRU Stag Icon - Awarded for winning a game on SRU Blue side
  • SRU Owl Icon - Awarded for winning a game on SRU Red side
  • Up to 3 of 27 End of Season 2014 Reward icons based on placement in the 3 ranked queues
  • Glorious Evolution Icon - Gift your friend a Battlecast Skin when Skarner and Kog launched [also not totally free]
  • King Poro - Poro King game mode achievement
  • Flying Poro - Poro King game mode achievement
  • Lunar New Year Chinese Knot - Give a Lunar Revel Mystery Box/Chest to a friend [again, not totally free]
  • Nemesis Draft Ziggs - Play a game of Nemesis Draft
  • The Thinking Manatee Icon - Play a game of URF 2015
  • The 99,999 RP Icon- Sorry, this one was 2000 IP :/
  • 2015 MSI Icon - 1 IP
  • Pool Party Zac Icon - Win one premade game or send one gift during Team Up and Pool Pary
  • 3 of 6 Bilgewater icons
  • Worlds 2015 icon - 1 IP
  • Scrying Poro Prophet Icon - Fill out a Worlds Pick 'em bracket
  • Hungry Poro Prophet Icon - Get 34 points in Worlds Pick 'em bracket
Point is, yes, we haven't offered a ton of 1500 IP icons, but we've provided a lot of icons for you to commemorate your experiences without spending money which is always what we were after. With your feedback, we'll keep evaluating to see if we've missed the mark but I hope you've gotten the chance to get some of these 20+ icons without spending a penny."

Caitlyn Changes in Preseason

As previously mentioned, we know Caitlyn is up for changes as a part of the preseason marksman updates. In a  discussion thread about this, RiotScruffy noted:
"I wouldn't worry too much. The caitlyn changes are much less of a shift than morde. CertainlyT has focused on enhancing and emphasizing the cool elements that already exist on the character rather than pushing her in a new direction. A few notable elements that the update is gonna really deliver on IMO
  • Dat range
  • Headshot
  • Traps
  • Cool combos (like e->q)"
He continued:
"Yea, for a popular (and well made) character like caitlyn it's absolutely normal to worry that we would do something really transformative or out there. That's why I responded to the OP to explain that the nature of these changes are pretty close to what you would expect for a character like Caitlyn that is already well liked."

Discrepancies in Wolf between Game & Splash

When asked why there are differences between Kindred's WOLF appearance in-game and in the splsah, WAAARGHbobo commented:
"I wasn't on this pod, but I can probably answer this question. Champ creation ends up being a very iterative process. Little details like that will change often and frequently. Because of the various timelines for the products and promotions, the actual champ will often have lots of little details different than it's supporting materials. More importantly, we ultimately always strive to have the ideal depiction of a champion for the individual medium it is represented in. --Thus a splash or artwork will have more detail than the game model-- because your interaction will be different. I.e. what is a needed detail on the splash-- can often be visual noise on the in game model."

Kindred - the Eternal Hunters - official sheet music

As promised, Ed The Conqueror returned to the boards to share official sheet music for Kindred's haunting login theme!
"Hi everyone! 
I'm really excited to share with you the link for the Kindred sheet music:[click here to download the zip] 
Please don't hesitate to share this link on Reddit and YouTube, or direct people to this thread :) 
Here are a few things about the music people have asked me, and I thought I'd compile them here: 
"What influenced the music for Kindred? 
Throughout the process, I was in touch with the writers and promo team to shape the music of the champion. The art my colleagues worked on was also a huge influence on the music. The theme you hear in the piece was the very first thing I wrote when I sat down to work on Kindred. 
Why did you choose to use cello and piano? 
I wanted to portray Lamb’s agile and precise attributes, and Wolf’s aggressive character. At the same time, both sides of Kindred are intertwined, and it only seemed appropriate to have them dance together and around each other! 
Will there be more music similar to Kindred’s coming from Riot in the future? 
It’s not impossible, but very unlikely. The Riot music team strives to come up with unique music for each one of our champions. The music has to encapsulate the art, the lore and the gameplay of the champion within a short track. If we did our job right, that means that music is so specific to each champ that it probably wouldn’t fit another character! 
What are all these sounds around the piano and cello performance? 
These are actual recordings of blue magic! Powerful stuff." 
Please don't hesitate to ask any Kindred music-related question you'd like! 
Ed the Conqueror"

What is League of Legends?

Next up we have a new introductory video for League of Legends, aimed as covering the basics of League of Legends for players who are brand new to  LoL!

Worlds Collide: Quarterfinals

With the 2015 World Championship Knockout stage set to start on October 15th, we have a new WORLDS COLLIDE video!

"Unpredictable chaos and startling upsets defined the 2015 World Championship Group Stage. With the competition culled to the top eight League of Legends teams, who will stumble and who will rise? Their next trial begins in London on October 15th. Only four teams will emerge victorious from Quarterfinals."
Be sure to tune into the LoL Esports website for schedules and team information for the 2015 World Championship! Check your client for a count down to the start of the games or catch what is on!

Lulu Price Reduction

Last up we have a reminder that with Kindred's release, Lulu's price has been reduced to 4800 IP or 880 RP! You can always keep up to date on the next reductions over on Riot support's website.

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