Red Post Collection: Diana to receive ALL-STAR skin, Meddler on Various Champions, Scruffy & Jag introductions, & more

Posted on at 11:32 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Challenger Nidalee's splash art was shown on the ALL-STAR stream.]

Today's red post collection includes confirmation Diana will receive the ALL-STAR 2015 skin and a teaser for Challenger Nidalee, Statikk with another follow up discussion thread on Mordekaiser, a correction that Challenger Ahri will not go on sale as part of the snowstorm legacy sales but will be on sale in January, introduction threads for Scruffy and Jag, Meddler discussion several champions, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

December 9th Patch Update

The  official 5.24 Patch notes have been updated to reflect a small change that went out on December 9th.

  • SKINNY SPIRITS - Fixed a bug where spirits created by E - Test of Spirit were gaining their owners' bonus health stats as extra health on creation 
  • CLONE CHAOS R - Chaos Storm can no longer, under specific circumstances, instantly kill champion clones"

Diana to receive All-Star 2015 Skin

Riot announced that out of Diana, Nautilus, and Teemo players have voted Diana to receive either a fire or ice skin depending on the winner of All-Star 2015!

Challenger Nidalee Preview & Splash

During the All-Star 2015 stream we also saw a teaser image for the upcoming Challenger Nidalee skin!

[UPDATE] At the end of the ALL-STAR 2015 stream Riot previewed the full Challenger Nidalee splash art!
Check out our 6.1 PBE coverage or this preview video for more on Challenger Nidalee!

[ FOLLOWUP] Solo Lane Mordekaiser Update 

Following the Mordekaiser thread from last week, Statikk has returned to the boards to talk more about Solo lane vs Duo lane Mordekaiser and plans going forward
"Hey guys, 
As promised, I was able to sync up with the other design leads to align on our current assessment and thinking on Solo Morde. Unfortunately, this won't exactly be happy news, but it's important for us to be honest with you guys on our analysis and direction.
So here's our thoughts on Solo Morde: 
  • Solo Morde currently has a very brittle, unhealthy gameplay pattern
    • Majority of his gameplay is unavoidable and inevitable (especially for melee opponents) - Morde can often feel like a brick wall of statistics where neither sides' actions or skill matter
    • Morde has poor fallback patterns - he lacks effective ways to respond or contribute meaningfully when he gets behind due to his pure damage focus
  • Pushing Morde into the duo lane helps remedy a lot of these issues by adding teammate and enemy interactions into the mix
    • Morde's (or his opponents') success cases are much more nuanced and variable in a duo lane - many more elements are at play
  • Morde's kit naturally lends itself to duo lane interactions
    • Unlike champions like Garen who are completely self-focused, Morde has tools like an ally-shield and extreme dependence on ally utility like CC to succeed
    • Although very melee, Morde's E gives him some ability to engage with and shrug off ranged opponents
    • Morde's juiciest and primary R targets are Marksmen who he can consistently encounter in the duo lane
  • Morde will continue to be primarily balanced around his duo lane potential
    • Pushing Morde into the duo lane gives him a unique and interesting place in the League roster
    • We strive to keep Solo Morde viable as an alternative playstyle, and want to look for ways to add or improve his gameplay health in solo lanes
Currently, we see Morde as a bit on the weak side as a whole, so we're looking into potential changes to bump his power up a bit across the board in the near future. We are also looking at opportunities to experiment with giving Morde healthier ways to interact in the solo lane so that we can better tune him between the different playstyles. 
Once again, I know this is not the most exciting news for some, but it is our honest direction. I'll try to stop by to clarify or elaborate on any points that need it."
Following the post, Statikk stuck around the board to reply to player comments.

Statikk  commented:
So, I'm not a Mordekaiser player, and I have never particularly enjoyed playing as, with, or against the champion in any of his incarnations. My only interest in this discussion is that I am a support main (when I eventually, hopefully do finally reclaim a computer setup that is reliable enough to play the game for real again) and therefore the health of the duo lane impacts my enjoyment of the game. 
Just getting that statement out of the way. I have a couple of rambling questions I'd like made in regards to my particular perspective. 
1) I know it's probably not in the cards for the short term, but do you think Mordekaiser is going to need a more extensive rework to make him a livable experience in the duo lane? More precisely, do you intend to alter his "ball of stats" feeling in the long run? 
As a support player, I was overjoyed to see some new depth added to the marksman class recently. I guess this is the opposite side of the grudge which solo Mordekaiser players would feel being tethered to me, but it doesn't particularly excite me to have Mordekaiser as a lane partner. The "point your statball in a direction and help them not die" gameplay can be fun later in the game at sporadic intervals when this kind of champion which is usually found alone in top lane finally has some relevance on your life, but I think he feels like a bit of a drudge to play beside during the laning phase compared to who my alternative partners might be. 
2) If you did find that Mordekaiser needs a really hefty rework to the point of losing significantly more traditional elements to really feel healthy in the duo lane experience, would you instead be more inclined to try rebuilding the champion towards his solo lane roots or do you think there is a better opportunity to be explored in the duo lane?
1) That's a good point. We probably should have invested even more efforts into making the "playing with" Mordekaiser experience more enjoyable especially given how dramatic the shift was. I think in the long run, Mordekaiser probably needs significant work to get him into the exact right spot where he can be satisfying to play as, with and against all at the same time. Given the feedback I'm currently seeing in this thread, it feels like we may have missed on all 3 fronts, which frankly sucks if it's true.

2) Mordekaiser was definitely a lesson in picking the right scope for the right project. In a lot of ways, we over-reached on the Mordekaiser project and it's bitten us pretty badly. If we are limited to doing smaller scope explorations, work is probably best suited towards optimizing the duo lane experience that he is directed towards. If we were to consider a large-scale rework, then anything is a possibility - we would have to consider pretty heavily which direction we would ultimately push him."
When asked about the current PBE change that allows Mordekaiser to cast his W on allied minions,
Statikk commented:
On the pbe, looks like Mordekaiser can w on minions again. Any additional context ?
This is one of the explorations we're doing to open up play opportunities for Solo Morde. Enemies can choose to focus-fire the minion to shut down his W - we think this could create interesting gameplay and give Solo Morde more options."
Statikk continued. commenting on solo vs duo lane Mordekaiser:
"Mord isnt healthy in a solo lane so we will make him unhealthy in a duo lane instead."
It's probably fair to say that Mordekaiser isn't "healthy" relative to many other champions in the duo lane, but it's also fair to say that Morde is ultimately healthier in the duo lane than in the solo lane as it stands. 
I guess it's true that in a way we chose the lesser of 2 evils, which I admit isn't great. Our ultimate vision and desire was to make him feel healthy in the duo lane, and clearly we haven't accomplished that just yet. 
Morde's perma-ban status at Worlds is not a great rationale for concluding that he will never be balance-able or is innately unhealthy in the duo lane. Power and tuning are very temporal and constantly in flux."
Statikk also commented on Mordekaiser's transition from solo to duo as the intent of the rework:
Taking the intentions stated at various points in the Mordekaiser affair at face value: 
The objective from the outset of the rework wasn't to make Morde into a duo lane carry. The design team tried different things and believed they could preserve the original feeling of playing Mordekaiser better by placing him in a duo lane. 
My own guess is because both Tryndamere and Nasus offer more dynamic interaction by relying more heavily on windows of opportunity than original Morde, Riot thinks they have enough workable elements to keep them acceptable in solo lanes. At least Nasus in particular they have historically stated being okay with from a gameplay perspective. I'd guess there's enough strong identifiable aspects of Tryndamere that they may eventually lightly rework him without feeling the need to drastically play around with his role. 
At least that's my interpretation of it.
Well said. 
To reiterate, Morde was and is defined almost completely by just raw damage and durability which heavily limits the way he can interact and be interacted with. It might just be a mistake to allow any champion to lack some significant form of utility or flexibility."
Statikk continued:
"Morde has poor fallback patterns - he lacks effective ways to respond or contribute meaningfully when he gets behind due to his pure damage focus"
When you say fallback patterns do you mean ways that he can farm and function in lane if behind or ways that he can contribute to team fights if he's behind? If the former I find this a strange comment given how much top lane champions lack falllbacks when behind and when someone does have fallback patterns (eg: Gragas farming with Q) they get nerfed (hence how he got pushed out of top and into jungle).
Fallback patterns can refer to both - what to do in lane when you're behind, what to contribute to your team at large when you're behind. 
Fallback patterns are really a matter of degrees. Champions need to be able to fail in lane and in a game, but to literally having nothing you can do once behind is not desirable.
Morde's pattern is just extremely inherently snowball-y, primarily due to his shield passive. The more damage he deals, the harder he is to kill. If Morde gets advantage in the lane, he becomes nearly impossible to kill while simultaneously being a high damage threat. Morde's passive is as "feast or famine" as it gets, and is honestly so central to why he is so problematic."

Challenger Ahri not in Snowstorm Legacy Sale; Will Be on Sale in Jan

While the legacy skins will still go into the shop and daily sales start on the 16th, the Snowstorm Legacy skin sale post has been updated to note that Challenger Ahri was mistakenly added to the list and will not be a part of the upcoming promotion.
"Note: Challenger Ahri erroneously appeared in a previous version of this article. We apologize for the confusion but she will not be participating in this sale. She will however be available in January for the launch of the 2016 Season." 
WizardCrab elaborated on the mistake on reddit, noting she will be going on a 50% off sale for at least one day in January to make up for the error.
I'm really sorry I messed this one up guys. Challenger Ahri is a special skin reserved for eSports-related events, but the list I pulled retired skins from mistakenly included her and I didn't catch it. I didn't notice until it was live and for that I apologize. 
I know it really sucks if you bought RP during Extra Bonus RP specifically because Challenger Ahri was returning (and even at a discount). I can't bring her back into the Snowstorm sales but I will make sure she gets at least one full day at 50% off when she does return in January - just like she would have in Snowstorm. I know waiting another few weeks is less than ideal but hopefully you find it acceptable. 
And if it makes you feel better, if I didn't mess this up she wouldn't have been discounted at all - so you've got that going for you, which is nice. 
The Legacy sales start up on December 16th! A full list and schedule of daily sales can be found here. Check out this post for more on the other Snowdown sales!

Meddler Grab Bag

Next up we have Meddler commenting on several different champions!
When asked about the team's thoughts on Poppy following her release in 5.24, he noted:
"Nothing too surprising so far, though it's still really early days. We're still seeing a lot of people playing the rework for the first time or two, so lot of initial mistakes being made and experimentation going on. No current plans for immediate changes, though we'll reassess on Monday as well."
As for if Poppy will be available in the free champion rotation going forward, Meddler noted:
"Poppy should be back in the free rotation now yes."
When asked about the team's current thoughts on Vel'Koz, Meddler noted:
We feel Vel'Koz is pretty balanced, generally feels fair to play against and has some solid points of mastery for the Vel'Koz player. Only real issue with him is that what he does isn't sufficiently differentiated from other mages/poke champs, so we'd like to find him a unique strength or aspect at some point.
As for the range of new Assassin mastery, Meddler noted:
"800 units, so it's not a great choice in a duo lane, but should get some use in team fights if you're diving at least a moderate distance in front of your team."
In a thread complaining about Tahm Kench's nerfs in 5.24 and how they hit his utility instead of damage or durability, Meddler noted:
"People tend to complain about the most distinctive things a champion does. Nerfing based off what people complain about can eventually end up homogenizing characters a lot, with everyone having a similar feeling kit and unique effects reduced from character defining to secondary sources of novelty. To combat that we instead map out what we think are appropriate strengths and weaknesses for each champion and try and nerf/buff to preserve (or accentuate) those. In this case nerfing the MS with an ally devoured was we felt the best way to do that for Tahm in 5.24. 
That's not to say player frustration isn't a really useful thing to monitor and understand, it's really valuable for helping to build or modify those intended strengths/weaknesses in the first place. Being really informed of player feedback, frustations, needs, wants etc's something we believe's really important. That's not the same though as believing that whatever a lot of people are saying is necessarily the right thing to do though."
When asked about his thoughts on Morgana at the moment, Meddler commented:
"She's got a distinctive playstyle, clear weaknesses, does things other champions don't, has gameplay that matches her theme reasonably well and has decent counterplay. There's room for a bit of visual improvement, though her texture and visual effects updates improved her a lot there. Expanded voice sometime would be nice certainly. Overall I feel she's in a really good spot and would rather see work put into an enormous number of other champions than into Morg, returns there feel like they'd be pretty low for the time."
He continued, mentioning the team still wants to get to Akali:
"Yup, though pick a champion at random and odds are high they'll be more in need of work than Morg. 
We'll certainly want to make changes to Akali whenever we tackle assassins though. We did do some initial exploration into possible kit changes, which showed some promise, we've put that on hold until we have a go at the class overall though."
As for what type of changes for Akali, he noted:
"Distinction from other assassins (Diana especially, Kat to some degree), better fallback/recovery options, better counterplay, more unique tools for her."
Meddler also replied to a thread asking about any potential Lissandra changes that may be in the works:
"No current plans on the gameplay side, alternative passive explorations didn't work out so we opted for the heal on self cast ult instead. 
Not sure on the Lore side, apologies, not my area of expertise. Would love to see advancement of that plot-line myself though, more revelations about the Watchers and the history there especially."
As for his thoughts on Sona and if she will be getting any buffs in the near future, Meddler commented:
"Overall basically still the same as per my post in this thread: 
Preseason's also increased her effectiveness a noticeable amount, so if we felt compelled to make balance adjustments to her I'd imagine they'd be nerfs not buffs. There are certainly some supports that are more dominant overall, we've either just nerfed, or are in the process of nerfing, those that are over the line though (some of whom will probably need further work too - looking at you Brand)."

[FAQ] Legendary Snowball - December 23rd - January 7th 

Legendary snowball starts up on December 23rd and here's KateyKhaos with answers to several commonly asked questions on the upcoming promotion!
"Hey guys! 
Just wanted to hop in and clarify that although Snowdown has officially begun, the Legendary Snowball doesn't begin until December 23rd. 
Legendary Snowball runs from December 23rd - January 7th. You can grab more info about the Snowdown and all the stuff that's going on here
TL;DR: When you buy a Legendary skin this Snowdown, you’ll unlock a free Mystery skin! If that Mystery skin happens to be a Legendary, it unlocks another Mystery skin and can continue to snowball from there. Ultimate skins also count! 
A couple things to note:
  • If your Mystery gift is a legendary or an ultimate, you'll continue to snowball and receive another Mystery Gift.
  • If you gift a Legendary Snowball, the person you're sending it to will also receive the Mystery Gift.
  • If you gift someone a Legendary Snowball and their Mystery Gift is a legendary (or ultimate), they'll receive another Mystery Gift. (TL;DR, you can snowball from gifting.)
  • There is no limit as to how many skins you can snowball with! Feelin' lucky?
  • Surprise Party Fiddlesticks and Primetime Draven, while priced as 975 RP, are legendary skins and are part of the Legendary Snowball. They're permenantly discounted as a thanks to players.
  • Legacy Legendary skins listed in the Snowstorm Sale are also part of the Legendary Snowdown.
  • There's a double legendary chance for the mystery skin you get from Legendary Snowball. Normal mystery gifting doesn't have this multiplier.
  • Legendary Snowballs bypass the normal 10 available skins rule. You only need to have one eligible skin. This only applies to the Mystery Skin attached to the legendary. Mystery gifting still has the 10 item restriction.
I think this covers all the odds and ends! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!"
More information on the Snowdown 2015 content can be found here. 

On Showdown 1v1 / 2v2

With all the ALL-STAR 2015 and seasonal buzz around the Showdown 1v1 and 2v2 game mode, L4T3NCY popped on reddit to comment on why it isn't just kept around a custom mode:
"Showdown 1v1 was famously unpopular when we released it. There is an old post here with some data for anyone interested in reading further (formatting is broken now but the images still work if you copy the links): [link]
RE just keeping it available in Customs: It's actually a non-trivial amount of upkeep to maintain gamemodes like this one patch-to-patch. League has a pretty fast 2 week patch cycle (which is one of the things I like about it as a game), meaning bugs are fixed, balance changes are made, new stuff is added, etc all the time. This also means that any permanent content requires constant upkeep/QA. 
For example: To get Showdown 1v1 ready for All-Stars this weekend, we've been working with the eSports guys since a few months ago. Sure, not all modes would require that much time (and Showdown exacerbates it a bit by being one of our oldest modes from back in 2013, meaning HEAPS had changed since last time), but it is non-trivial code, script and QA time that would impact other work. We took this particular mode on top of our other in-flight work, because All-Stars is cool and we wanted to see Pros play on it just as much as you guys! :D"

[INTRO] Mark “RiotScruffy” Yetter - Lead Game Designer, Champions 

Joining Fearless and Ghostcrawler from earlier this week, Scruffy has jumped on the dev corner boards to introduce himself!
Hey everyone, 
I’m Mark, but you can call me RiotScruffy here. I’m a totally obsessed video gamer (in the best possible way), and games like DOTA, WoW, LoL, and pretty much anything with the Star Wars brand have occupied the best years of my life. 
I’ve been a few places around the game industry before Riot, most notably I worked at Treyarch on Black Ops 2 right before I joined. They taught me some great stuff about how to make everything feel OP, and how to really sell a fantasy. 
I currently own: 1 cats. 
There’s kinda two sections here for me, the past and the future: 
The past (and present): I’m the Lead Designer of the Champion Update team, which has worked on many of your favorites (and unfavorites I’m sure) like Sion, Poppy, Gangplank, Fiora, Juggernauts, Marksmen updates and many more. I have a TON of history with this team, having helped build it up from the ground when I started at Riot almost 3 years ago until now. 
The future: I’m going to be moving over to be Lead Designer of the Champion team. A new set of challenges and a really talented new group of people there is really exciting. Building up the next generation of new champions and hopefully surprising you all with some great new innovations is my goal. 
Champ-Up has grown and changed so so much over these past years, and I can talk about so many things. “Why did we start doing group updates like Juggernaut/Marksmen?” “How do we decide how much to preserve or redo on a champ-up like Poppy?” 
Or even less specific stuff that is more related to our champion/game design philosophy like: “How have we evolved our strategy for making interactive gameplay without overusing skillshots?” “How do we build up a new champion from concept to completion?” “How did we go about categorizing our champions into archetypes so that we could better understand them (see juggernauts)?” 
I’d also like to bridge the gap - when I can - of how our general game design practice can carry over into good character mechanic design and vice versa. It might be cool to do some topics that explore how to apply our champ design principle to other systems or even games altogether. 

Anything about Champ design or Champion updates is definitely on the table for me. Get creative, I’m open to whatever cool topics you all would like to talk about."

Scruffy also hung around the post to answer several player questions!

When asked to share his top 5 personal list of problem champions, Scruffy noted:
Top 5 problem champions and why.
  1. Yorick - Both super unhealthy for the game and incredibly unsatisfying/lame
  2. Taric - So much promise with so little delivery. He has a ton of upside in making him more interesting, cohesive and higher quality
  3. Urgot - incredibly unclear fantasy and unhealthy gameplay
  4. Talon/Akali/diana - the trio of assassins with the potential to be great, but lacking so much in gameplay depth and interaction that if they ever are strong its the most frustrating experience
  5. Xin Zhao/Aatrox/Pantheon/Irelia - The grouping of fighter types with overly one directional gameplay patterns. This results in a "stat check" where they press their buttons in the right order and the rest is up to numbers not skill. (fiora used to be in this camp)"

When asked about champion reworks that don't include a visual update, Scruffy replied:
Why are there reworks being shipped without a VU (Mordekaiser, Ryze, etc.)
Some of your updated champions are in dire need of some Visual love and yet all they get are fancy looking VFX with a crappy model XD
The team is working at capacity on the visual front, we will release visual reworks as fast and high quality as we can. That said, we don't think it should stop us from doing gameplay improvements when we can on other champs."

Scruffy also replied to a question about about  fantasy/gameplay niche he feels are missing:
Hey Scruffy, congrats on the new role in the company. 
Quick question in regards to your new position, is there any fantasy or gameplay niche you feel is missing from League? Anything that you're looking forward to tackling?
I think there are a bunch of new fantasies that I'd be excited to explore. I'm especially interested in pushing for really really innovative ideas that will completely break the mold of what we currently consider champs can be. 
My pet project - The "branching future character:" A good warrior comes in contact with a corrupted weapon, his/her choices throughout the game will either keep them pure or cause the corruption to take over. By the end of the game you have transformed into one of multiple possible kits."

As for improvements to the tag system, he noted:
Could you see a future project happening that reworks how champion tags/classes are handled, to give a more accurate, detailed or nuanced picture of what champions are?
Might we see "Fighter>Juggernaut" -Tags rather than "Primary:Fighter>Secondary:Tank" -Tags, for example?
Yes, this is definitely possible. We have talked about redoing the tags and even possibly removing the secondary tag altogether."
When asked how often the community inspires champions, Scruffy noted::
How often do you guys use ideas/designs/etc from the players as a base or even directly on new champions or updates?
All of the time honestly, but never completely. We read the ideas constantly and use them as inspiration for what could be the seed of a character or a cool cornerstone ability. At the same time, there is 0% chance that we would end up with a 1 to 1 version of a player champ idea, it's just too iterative of a process for that to be possible."

When asked about his thoughts on a Warwick rework, Scruffy noted:
What about Warwick ?
I know we all agree that he is in need of a rework. He's very linear and honestly, the most boring and least impactful champion pre 6.
My question is why isn't he higher up upon the rework list? He's in need of a rework as mush as if not more than othe rchaps currently in line for one.
Warwick is really really high on our future opportunity list. We're committed to Taric and Yorick in the immediate future, but beyond that we're trying to scope out which projects are most exciting."
As for the speed at which champion update are rolling out, Scruffy commented:
Is it safe to say it will literally take years to update the worst offenders when it comes to outdated design? 
Are there any plans to speed up this process and focus less on releasing so many new champions? 
Why don't we see more MTUs like Maokai's or MF's? I thought those take less time and work but they are more scarce than new champion releases.
Before we started doing the group updates like juggernauts and marksmen, I would say yes. I think our current combination of the really big updates like Sion mixed in with smaller but broad updates like marksmen gets us pretty good results. We did almost 20 updates in 2015 so at that pace we should cover pretty good ground in 2016 too."
Group Questions 1:
Couple of quickies:
1.) As Taric is now second on the champion update list is there a possibility we could get a couple of spoilers? (I'm assuming that you have probably brainstormed at least a little)
2.) Also I'm wondering why Shen is so high up in the champ rework spots. To me he seems like he is in a good spot. Is he just getting a couple of tweaks or is his kit going to be a full rework?
3.) Since you are now in the champion design team do you have any thoughts on Ao Shin? Is he in the vault permanently are there any spoilers of which we could get anything on?
4.) For S6 are you mainly focusing on designing new champions or updating old ones?
1) We want to solidify his role as a tanky protector type support with armor affinity. The gameplay is pretty nearly 100% and we are working hard on the new visuals. There are some really great surprises in his new kit/visuals but I will not spoil those.
2) The team is only really able to work on 1 "Big" project at a time like poppy or taric. To fill the spaces in between we use our extra resources to do other projects that have good value for less cost.
3) No comment on Ao Shin sorry, this was just a way premature reveal and there are a lot things in the pipe on the new champion team right now.
4) A lot of the work I've started on the Update team will be finishing in 2016, so I will still have a loose hand in it, but my main focus will be running and creating awesome improvements and innovations for our new champion team."

Group Questions 2:
Couple of questions:
1) Do you see a point in time where "ball of stat" characters aren't a thing in league of legends anymore and where everything has counterplay, or do you think the "i have more stats than you so I win" champions are necessary for the game?
2) What's your stance on instant spells like Annie's tibbers, instant teleports and dashes, etc etc where there's no startup animation and essentially the only way to avoid them is to stay out of that character's zone?
3) When designing, do you guys set out with a class that you want to make and build around that (IE Juggernaut, Marksman), or do you come up with designs and then build the kit around it that way?
1) I do see a time where that is the case (though itll take a lot of work) and I think it'll be a healthy and fun game to play. There is such a thing as too far though for counterplay, most champs need a mix of reliable and unreliable tools IMO. 
2) In a vacuum I don't actually have too much of a problem with them. The more power that is pushed into a super reliable instant spell means that the other parts of the kit will need to have pretty clear and accessible counters though. 
3) When a designer is starting on a champ they usually have a ballpark of what class it will be, you gotta be aiming for something. Sometimes throughout the early prototypes it will change because theres a really compelling new direction that has risen out of the stuff we didn't anticipate on paper."

Group Questions 3:
Hello Scruffy! Grats for your awesome new job! :) I'll drop my few questions here: 
Can you tell us which designers are developing new champions at the moment? 
Will the so far ignored, or less developed regions of Runeterra get new champs into their fold? I'm talking about the Kumungu Jungle, Mount Targon, for example. 
Void talk. Will we see Kassadin's daughter or Kog'Maw's Daddy anytime (or ever at all)? As a side question, what kind of Void champ you think is missing from their stable? Was mentioned waaaay back that Cho'gath is badly in need of a VU. Is there any development in his case? 
This will be a pretty detailed question. Would you ever consider making a champ in league that has multiple parts to control? In HotS, there were the Lost Vikings 1st: 3 characters, all controlled by 1 player. Now, there's Cho'Gall, a 2 headed Ogre who is controlled by 2 players at the same time. Do you think this is a possibility in League? 
Thanks in advance! :)
1) Some of the usual suspects like Gypsylord, DanielZKlein, Wrekz, Rabid Llama, and Beatpunchbeef are working on stuff. We also have some new faces like Jag and Harrow possibly taking on projects. 
2) Yea I think there is some exciting stuff to be seen in those more mysterious places in Runeterra. I hope we can even find new regions or forgotten ones to explore for the first time. 
3) Most likely no. There are a few void concepts that could fill pretty fun spaces that we have been bouncing around for some time but I don't want to spill any beans. For Cho, theres no current development on him but eventually when some of the really really rough ones are out of the way he will have his update. 
4) Yes, this is definitely something we've wanted to explore for a while: pet champ? multi character? There are a lot of interesting ways to make gameplay around those types of concepts. We know if we get into that territory we would want to do it right and make the controls both intuitive and accessible but allow for some of the unique play potential that multi characters could bring. 
Edit: forgot to include CertainlyT, whos helping out on some champ projects on the side (dun dun dunnnn)"

Group Questions 4:
How much involvement there is from the original developer when you rework an older champion? 
How do you see future point and click spells? 
Also, why every high level designer here has cats?! Dogs for ever man!
Whenever possible we get the original champ designer to consult heavily on the rework project, but it's usually a good idea to get someone fresh to actually own the project. (attachment too strong can be a problem) 
I think that point and click spells have a bright and consistent future in LoL, they provide a clear, satisfying, and reliable output. The key is making sure that the champ kit outside of the point and click offers enough places for interaction and counterplay. Take GP Q for example, which we kept point and click because the new E is so interactive. 
Bc cats are the best. Also, taking care of a dog in LA when you work a lot can be kinda tough."

Group Questions 5:
Hello! I have a few questions, so sorry if this is a little lengthy!
  1. I'm curious about the champion "archetypes" that you mentioned before. We have the six standard classes (Fighter, Mage, Tank, Assassin, Marksman, Support), but we also have the Juggernauts who are...sort of a sub-class, I suppose. A class within a class. What are some other archetypes in the game and how did you group them up like that?
  2. Since you're working with the champ design team, I'm really interested in all the potential new ideas that could come to the Rift. Are there any cool mechanics that you'd really like to see in a new champion? Any sorts of spells, themes or abilities that you think would make something really interesting to play as (or against)? I'm not very good at kit ideas, so I'm not sure what would be considered healthy for the game.
  3. What about awesome concepts that haven't been used yet? Personally I'd love to see a champion based on a hellhound - we don't have too many champions that are outright bestial. Could we even see some more avian champions like Anivia or serpentine like Cassiopeia? I think that'd be some really cool diversity, though I'll admit I don't have too many good ideas myself. I'm mostly interested in all the possibilities (secretly hoping for another Void monster champion at some point).
  4. And speaking of concepts, how do you pick out the ones you end up working up? I'm sure there's thousands of concepts going around about new potential champions, so how do they make the cut? Are there any old concept ideas that you might consider revisiting?
lol I hope I didn't ask about anything too confidential.....but I'd appreciate any answers you could give!
  1. This is a great question, but one that can't be properly answered with a more in depth design blog. We will show you our outline of how we view the current role structure and where champs fit.
  2. TONS and TONS. My personal philosophy is that we can innovate the best when we start with something really really unique (gameplay or thematic) and boundary breaking. The details will often work themselves out from there. For example if we said "lets make a champion that is actually a swarm of ants" or "lets make a champion that has no auto attack" it would lead to really interesting results.
  3. Hellhound sounds cool, tho I wonder if a proper warwick update would fill that fantasy well enough. I think we have been hitting some pretty cool beasts recently (like reksai the land shark yo) and I think we will continue to.
  4. We usually go broad at the start and start narrowing as we prototype gameplay and do rough concept art. The more you dive into a concept the clearer it becomes if it is really exciting or unique. For a single champ, we usually start with dozens of competing ideas then it gets down to top 5, top 3, and our final direction."

[INTRO] Jeevun "Jag" Sidhu - Technical Game Designer, Live Gameplay and Champions 

Jag also popped on the dev corner boards to introduce himself!
Sup guys, I'm Jeevun Sidhu aka Riot Jag. I've been a competitive gamer my whole life, and before getting Diamond in League of Legends my video game mistress of choice was World of Warcraft, where I held onto a 9 consecutive season streak of getting Gladiator in Arena before I realized it may be time to do other things (will put away my horn now). I've also really enjoyed Starcraft, Super Smash Bros, the Batman: Arkham, XCom, and Metal Gear Solid series, and (might be dating myself a bit here) I have a soft spot for Goldeneye 007 and Mario Kart 64. I got into League through my WoW friends when the servers were down for maintenance. Someone in Vent said they just started playing LoL and it was really fun, and I replied that if I wanted to micro 1 unit for 45 minutes I'd just build a Ghost in SC2. I was a little ignorant at the time... 
Aside from Video Games, I enjoy Sports Cars and Motorcycles. I'm currently running a Ducati Panigale 899 that I keep under armed guard, seeing as the last two bikes I got after moving to LA were both stolen in a matter of weeks. I've also always loved sports, particularly Football (Giants fan for life) and Basketball. I listen to a range of music, but am mostly into Hip-hop and House/Electro. My Spotify has been blasting a lot Run the Jewels and Disclosure lately, although my boy Kanye is never far off the playlist. Before I was a professional nerd for a living, I was something totally different - a software engineer at Microsoft. 
Some of the fun stuff I've done at Riot include the Lucian rework, Runeglaive and Zeke's Harbinger, and most recently I lead the charge on Rift Herald. I've spent the last 2 years on Live Gameplay (aka the Rito balance team) nerfing your favorite champ, but I am moving to new Champion team to find new ways to add more anti-fun into the game. Until that happens, I've had front row seats to every balance and game health struggle that we've had in League for the past two years, so feel free to hit me up with anything in that area. 
I'd like to talk about interesting struggles with the live state of the game, ranging from the intricacies of preserving game health, to how to interpret win rate metrics, to how we handle eSports concerns. I might also get into what it's like for a novice champion designer to start taking on the task of building a brand new iconic experience in LoL. Finally, ADCs are my peoples, so if that's your passion, or if you just need help with that Vayne build, I'm down with the clickers."
Jag also stuck around the boards to answer several player questions:

When asked about the current ADC and AP item builds, Jag noted:
What are your thoughts on the current triple crit item builds? Given the nature of crit it seems awkward to stack that many items, especially since crit needs AD to back it up.Also what are your thoughts on the how the pre-season changes gimped AP itemization. The large gold increases, coupled with the accelerated game pace makes it hard for some AP mages to have time to scale into relevancy, before the ADC/AD counterpart outscales them.
I think triple crit builds seem optimal at this point, largely because they're bringing cool additional effects or multipliers (ER's CDR, or RFC's range increase) on top of pure damage. Crit needs AD to back it up, sure, but the nature of multipliers is that they can change in relative value as you get one or more of the other, so it's more like crit needs enough AD to back it up, it's not like your 3 item build is lacking AD with the 5.22 ADC base stat changes. 
I'm not so sure that AP items are gimped, but I do think the relative value of them has shifted who's strong. For example, building RoA or Liandry's has really high value now, since some of the other NLR items that had stat efficiency inflation has been brought back down to their level. Maybe this current patch haven't valued all of the item passives correctly. Keep in mind though that last patch the highest win rate champions in the game included Anivia, Malzahar, Brand, Swain, Twisted Fate, and a lot of strong AP mages."
When asked about his thoughts on the support & adc relationship, Jag commented:
As an ADC kinda guy, what are your thoughts on the current Support/ADC relationship? I don't just mean this in a "Should the Support always go bot with a Marksman" but what do you see as the more interesting elements of the relationship when a support and ADC work together? What new things would you like to see introduced through items and champ kits to create new interactions between the two roles?
This is a really interesting one. I think the solo Q Support/ADC relationship and the organized 5v5 Support/ADC relationship are so incredibly far apart they may as well be different games. 
What's really cool about a good duo is that they both have to constantly take "trust falls" in lane to be effective - you have to make a move KNOWING that if you eat a CC your partner will use a summoner at the right time to make sure the play works. The problem is that in solo q the communication is so sparse that this goes wrong fairly often, unless you're just on the same page because your game knowledge is deep enough (this is one major reason why playing ADC is so painful at lower MMR ranges). There's nothing worse than having a trust fall where your partner doesn't catch you, and it can reshape your approach to laning in a very negative way. On the other hand, when two of you are on comms together and perfectly on point, it's incredibly rewarding and one of the best experiences in League of Legends. 
So, to bring it back to the designer's perspective, where do we want to strengthen the experience? Do we want to create solutions that make a better play experience for the low communication solo queue game? That would lead us to creating mechanics and items that have low coordination requirements, low failure rates, and correspondingly low rewards for success. Do we want to reward the mastery of a competent duo playing properly? Well, then this is a mechanic that has a very limited reach, as the vast majority of players will not be able to enjoy it as consistently. When CertainlyT had to figure out how to balance Kalista's W passive, or I had to figure out how to reward Zeke's Harbinger properly, these are some of the things we had to struggle with. 
Personally, I'd really love if we made another Conduit-style item like Zeke's, but opened the space up a bit for different types of duos (maybe a double melee dive buddy item, for instance)."

When asked about recent nerfs to champions like Anivia or other less popular champions, Jag  replied:
Why are champions like lee sin getting buffed or kept relatively untouched despite a lot of people thinking they should be nerfed, while anivia whom very few compained about is getting nerfed?
Lee Sin did get a small buff in 5.16. The previous five patches that he received a balance adjustment before that were nerfs. I am a little puzzled that the assessment is that he is getting unfairly privileged to be at a high power level that is inappropriate. However, I get that he has been at at stable level of power for a long time, and my answer to that is that I think he is a fairly healthy champion. He has a high level of execution required to succeed on the part of the Lee Sin player, he has some major weaknesses (particularly towards the late game), and he has always felt like a somewhat risky pick, even when strong. 
I don't speak for Riot's future balancing strategy here, but for my 2 cents, Lee is a cool champion that still gives his opponent options when succeeds, which to me is something we can maintain as someone who appears in a lot of games. 
In regards to Anivia, I'd ask you a question first - if very few people complained about her, but she was still incredibly powerful, almost unfairly so, should we leave her alone? Would we leave balance decisions up to capturing the tone of broad player perception?"
he continued:
In regards to Anivia, (Swain/Malz/Karthus/ect...) if they are not dominating the game then having a higher win rate (being overpowered to some level) is okay. It's when we, as players, see a champion over and over again that we get frustrated. It's one of the reason people always seem to ask for more bans. They are just tired of dealing with the same thing over and over. When I see a Galio in game I worry. That is a person who, most likely, is good at that champ. That is a great feeling, to be and to fight against. But watching yet another Lee Sin/Yas/Azir/ect.. in a pro game makes me want to close the browser and look for something else entertaining.
I can understand that. 
Look at the dilemma here though. I believe you're arguing that diversity/pick rate variance doesn't always correlate to power/win rate (in this example, Galio has a high win rate but still isn't in a lot of games, which is okay). But then it is odd to contest an adjustment to their power if the reasoning is that it's ultimately harming diversity. We have seen people continue to play Lee Sin or Yasuo even when they're weak or strong - sometimes pick rate has very little to do with power, but instead is related to the thematics or fantasy of the champion."

When asked about his thoughts on Kha'zix's evolutions, Jag noted:
Whats your opinion on khazix's evolution path diversity? 
meddler said it was notoriously difficult to balance out meaningful choices for his evolutions, and making sure he isn't oppressive and always viable into everything you could pick him into
have you thought about maybe trimming power from his evolved E, and shifting it into his base E so his evolutions open up and E isn't such a must have by level 11, and gives room to change around his other evolutions, notably R and W?
he's never really been diverse in his evolution choices, it's just that the best path has shifted as he's been changed over the years.
Agree that he's never really been diverse. There's almost always one correct path and then a few wrong ones. 
We have played with that idea for E before, but it largely resulted in the same thing (one optimal path, this time never with E). I think for Kha'zix's evolution pathing to be in a state that isn't solved before game start requires each evolution to power him up along 4 distinct axes/contexts, each of which are likely to change in relative importance within the game. That's very very hard. Maybe not impossible though."

When asked about continued item tweaks and potential changes for Zeke's Herald, Jag noted:
There was a Rioter (Meddler maybe, i can't remember) who talked about an overhaul to immobile AP mages. Would such an overhaul include an item pass, similar to the one done to AD items for more variety? As in creating multiple versions of Void Staff similar to how it was done to Last Whisper or revamping the CDR item lines (maybe replace it with the Lost Chapter line of items which was on Black Market Brawlers), which is one of the least interesting item lines atm.
EDIT: Also as a follow-up to the crit item discussion, where does the leave Zeke's Harbringer? With 3 crit item-builds, having a Zeke's is sub-optimal since crit chance is capped and the crit differencial isn't enough to justify building it.
I think there's item tweaks in the working. It's still at an early stage so it may be just readjusting stats for items these guys would like, or it could be something new. Not much info on that one yet. 
I do think Zeke's is a little underwhelming atm. I'm guessing it needs to have some sort of more generalist multiplier (%AD, %AS?) now that 50%+ crit itemization paths are so common."
He continued, commenting on Guinsoo's Rageblade
I think the problem is, Jax is a beast right now with Rageblade. Yet just minor love taps. Swain/Malz/Karthus have a LOT of weaknesses and yet were nerfed. Some really hard (Swain). Why is there such major disconnect between these nerfs/non-nerfs?
We nerfed Rageblade and may nerf it again, but I think we wanted to see Jax with fair Rageblade before we started whacking him too (we made that mistake in the past - refer to Sejuani/Cinderhulk double nerfs, for example)."
Group Questions 1:
  1. State on Bard? Also gave you noticed all the players picking up Bard?
  2. Why do you guys support zyra bot lane over midlane when she's intended to go mid. (Recommended items are for support)
  3. What are your thoughts on how the mandrake ward(It was released) would effect champions like Evelynn and twitch? (Your opinion)
1) Oh man, Bard. Rarely do I see data tell me one thing that so heavily disagrees from my personal experience. I honestly feel like a Bard main is absolutely terrifying, but he can so easily cause catastrophic failures for his own team that his effectiveness can vary incredibly hard. 
2) I'm not sure if she's intended to go mid. I know we've tried to give both Mid and Support Zyra paths to success, but most people play her in a support role so that's where we recommend items for her. 
3) I think it would be a fairly good thing for Eve to be honest. I'm not so sure her current form of favored counterplay (Pink ward + ward her jungle camps) is sufficient that we can leave in her tuning in a satisfying place. That's heavily speculative though."
Group Questions 2:
You've got a pretty good track record. I don't want to knock on your teammates, but of all the Rioters I've seen on the Patch Rundown you're the one who most seems like they know what they're talking about. I think the changes you've done are pretty good and I hope you go on there to speak again soon.
Anyways questions:

  1. We all know the various statistics you guys commonly cite for your balance decisions: playrate, winrate by elo, winrate by games played, etc. What are some less commonly cited statistics you guys use, that we might not think about on first thunk?
  2. A lot of balance outliers on the upper end feel like they have been hit pretty soft this preseason. I know Riot has committed to no longer "Olaf'ing"/"Eve'ing" champs but where do you draw the line between that and patches changing nothing about how the game plays?
  3. I was surprised to see nerfs to high-winrate low-playrate champs a.k.a "hidden op" champs like Malzahar this patch notes. How do you choose which champions will receive changes? Has this changed recently?
  4. You're probably not allowed to answer this but I've always wanted to know: which patch drove the most players away from LoL, temporarily or permanently?
Thanks for reading.
Thanks man, I appreciate that. 
1) A few metrics here that I really like are "win rate by game time" and "average experience level". The game time graphs will occasionally give us a very sharp idea of where to address a part of the character that is really out of control. For example, pre-5.18 Veigar tended to win a fairly small portion of games that ended at 20 minutes, and a fairly large portion of games that ended at 45+ minutes. After the buffs to his W cast time, we saw a fairly small change at the 45+ minute win rate, but a huge one at 20+ minutes, which was a large indicator to us that we had changed Veigar's power curve in a way that we were not comfortable maintaining. That directed us to looking at base damages instead of hitting the cool thing about Veigar that players really loved (the infinite scaling fantasy), and gave us a pretty solid foundation for doing so. The "average experience level" one is one that's really hard to convey to most players, but it basically indicates that if the vast majority of players on a champion have a huge amount of games under their belt, then we shouldn't look at a champion's win rate and be surprised if it's high. For example (these numbers aren't accurate, just using them to illustrate), if the average Riven player in your game has 70 games played on the champion, while the average Brand player has 15 games, it wouldn't be a unfair statement to say that Riven could have a higher average win rate than Brand and still be equally powerful. 
2) That's a tough one. I think for preseason in particular we're aware that the game is very volatile and unsolved. Optimal item builds can shift (or be nerfed...), certain exploitative strategies may be removed, and most of all, preseason is a time to just have fun and play - so I think we're reluctant to instantly smack a champion in the face unless they're fairly far out of line. Which leads me into... 
3) A lot of the decisions to nerf the "hidden OP" champs came from being fairly confident that these guys were WAY far out of line. We have a fairly significant amount of data demonstrating that these guys had pretty obscenely high levels of power in this patch. 

4) I don't know the answer to that question. I can tell you that I felt a lot of the same way as players did in 5.16, that the game felt pretty far off in terms of balance compared to what we've done historically. Everyone has taken a hard long at what went right and what went wrong there so we can improve on that in the future, which to me is something that's cool about how Riot - we definitely have failures, but we do our best to make them mean something positive."

/ALL Chat | Are You Switching Roles? 

Last up we have a brand new episode of /ALL Chat !

"On this episode of ALL Chat, we check in on the hosts’ preseason exploits and see if the fluctuating power balance on Summoner’s Rift has affected their main roles. On Summoner Showcase, we’ve got kindergarten cosplayers that are the most adorable Darius and Draven you’ve ever seen, plus depressing Dragon Trainer Tristana art that will have you huddled in the corner for hours! Yay!"

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