Red Post Collection : Poppy Animations, All-Star Bundles, January Sale Schedule, Snowstorm Legacy sales, & more

Posted on at 11:12 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Challenger Ahri will be on sale for 50% off on 12/17 and 12/18!]

This afternoon's red post collection is HUGE and includes: a small Poppy buff pushed to live, January's champ & skin sale schedule, a reminder Diana will be receiving a FIRE themed skin due to TEAM FIRE's win at ALL-STAR 2015,  a dev blog on the new animations in Poppy's update, concept art for this year's Snowdown skins, introductory posts for Meddler and Pwyff, and much more!
Continue reading for more information

Table of Contents

December 14th Patch Update

The official patch 5.24 notes have been updated to reflect a small buff to Poppy's E that is now on live!
"Never skip leg day." 
E - Heroic Charge  
  • RANGE475 ⇒ 525, matching her passive-empowered attack range 
  • RANGE CHECK - Poppy and enemy hitbox centers ⇒ hitbox edges. This is a slight range buff in all situations (on top of the actual range increase) and is more impactful against larger opponents. 
  • NO ONE SAY CLARITY - Since this is a lightweight update to game values only, Heroic Charge's cast range indicator hasn't been updated. Sorry!"

January Sales Schedule

If the Snowstorm legacy and Snowdown sales aren't enough for you, Riot has released the January champion ans skin sale schedule! 
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this January. Like previous sales schedules, we’re not posting the exact dates for each champ and skin, but they’ll all be on sale sometime next month, so keep an eye out. 
Just a heads up – since we’re publishing these in advance, we won’t offer partial refunds on champs and skins purchased before they go on sale." 

Fire Themed Skin for Diana

After being voted by fans to received a new skin, Diana will be receiving a FIRE THEMED skin to commemorate TEAM FIRE's win at the ALL-STAR 2015 event!

When asked if it will be a fire theme or an esports themed skin like the SKT or FNATIC skin line, KateyKhaos mentioned:
"It won't be an esports skin, just a cool fire-themed thematics for Diana. :]"
When asked about when we might see this skin pop up, KateyKhaos noted:
"No ETA, but we just began concept ideas."

Meddler on Warwick, Shen, and Taric updates 

When asked if Warwick was coming up next on the rework list, Meddler commentedthat he is in consideration but Shen should be up next with the larger scope Taric update after that.
"He is not. Shen is almost certainly up next, with a primarily gameplay update. He'll probably be followed by Taric, who we're planning a full visual/gameplay/sound etc update for. Warwick's a possible candidate after that, and a champion we've talked about, there are some other really strong candidates too though (Yorick especially could really use the work)."

Dev Blog: The Animation of Poppy

Next up we have a dev blog looking at the modern animations in Poppy's champion update!
"Hey everyone! Paul “PartiestCat” Jarvis here. I was in charge of driving the style and direction for how Poppy moves and wanted to give you all a little behind-the-scenes look on how we approached the animation for Demacia’s tiniest hammer delivery service
Okay, quick animation history lesson. There’s a set of animation principles that most animators follow that dictate and drive the choices we make when building out the motion for characters and they cover topics like posing, exaggeration, and visual/emotional appeal. One principle in particular -- squash and stretch – is something we’ve adapted as a fundamental aspect to League’s in-house animation style. Broadly speaking, squash and stretch helps a character feel organic and alive. It’s used to emphasise weight, momentum, and speed of objects by warping and distorting their shape. When we use more extreme versions of these distortions to connect our most important “key” poses, we call them smears or “smear frames;” single distorted frames between broad actions. Using smears helps to sell impacts on spells, attacks, or any super-quick motion. A champion’s animation needs to feel awesome in fractions of seconds, and smears help by adding texture and flavor between exaggerated motions. 
Back to Poppy. 
Yordles are squishy. I don’t mean that literally, but their short stature gives them lots of wiggle room for us to exaggerate how they move. Poppy has a tiny frame, so it’s also important that we can make her motion broad enough to not be hidden under her big Yordle head. Ideally, she should never LOOK like she’s made of rubber, but her motions should have a certain extra snap to them to keep her feeling energetic and punchy.

We kept the same mindset with the motion of her hammer, but I’ll get to that below. 
Historically, League isn’t the kind of game that normally needs facial animation. The camera angle and distance from your champion normally means a character’s face only takes up a handful of pixels on-screen at any moment and extra detail actually makes it harder to understand what is happening. As animators, we wanted to challenge that idea, and our early tests actually showed us that her expression changes were fully readable and felt like they added a lot to her personality. 
In terms of her character rig (the set of bones that allow us to move our characters around), Poppy is the first champion in League to be built from the ground up to support such a wide range of facial expressions. Every champion has a budget in terms of rig complexity, so we had to be smart about how we fine-tuned her model and facial setup. Many high-end character rigs in modern games have more bones in the face alone than all of Poppy combined, so the challenge was to give us the widest control with the least amount of resources. 
Poppy’s facial rig
Just to get technical stuff out of the way, Poppy’s face is only 11 joints in all:
  • 3 per eye (pupil, upper eyelid/eyebrow, and eye shape)
  • 3 to shape the mouth
  • 1 for the upper bridge of teeth
  • 1 for the jaw
After working closely with our tech artist (and waves and waves of iteration), we landed on what you see above. We were able to get a surprising amount of flexibility out of such a simple setup!

Poppy face tests 
The first thing I did with Poppy was to carve out a set of base expressions to feel out her emotional range, and then develop them until that we all felt confident about the direction. Once we had a solid foundation, we were able to focus on the expressive timing – finding punctuated moments during and after her abilities and attacks where the expressions could be clearly seen. When you only have a fraction of a second to sell an attack, communicating a clear change in mood is really important. 
…Fool me twice… HAMMER! 
Poppy’s hammer is just as important as she is and we really wanted to reflect that in her animations. Why not give her hammer the same degree of personality that we give to the Yordle that wields it? We spent some time going back and forth about what kind of shapes we needed the hammer to make, which parts we wanted to push and pull, and which parts needed to twist, distort, or grow and shrink.

Early tests to develop the hammer rig 
Squashing, stretching, and smearing is just as important for the hammer as it is for Poppy, so we needed to crank it up to 11. The head of the hammer scales to cartoonish sizes for single frames so you can really feel the force behind the swing, and the neck of the hammer bends to compensate. With a little sorcery and a lot of clever rigging we were able to build really clean smear trails for the hammer that gave us a nice, stylised alternative to motion blur. It’s a more traditional animation method that meshed really well with how we normally animate our champions. 
Lastly, take a look at the most extreme case that brings everything together: the swing of her fully-charged Keeper’s Verdict. 

That’s about it! We’re always looking for new ways to improve champion experiences and bring out the best in every single rework we do. The whole team is extremely excited and proud to see Poppy out in the world, and hope you enjoy playing her as much as we enjoyed making her! 
Thanks for reading!"

Snow day! The art of Snowdown 

With SNOWDOWN 2015 in full swing, we also have a look at some of the concept arts for this years new skins!
"League of Legends doesn’t need to be all grimdark, all the time. There’s more to life than slugging it out on the Rift; putting champions in less-than-serious situations is one of the things that makes League so uniquely… League. Where would we be without Pool Party Graves, Sinful Succulence Morgana, or AstroNautilus? 
We knew that we wanted to keep this sense of fun front and center with this year’s Snowdown. And since nothing is more fun than a snow day, artists and visual designers started with one simple question: What happens when League’s champs take a day off to engage in a little snow-to-snow combat? 
School’s canceled! 
“When I was a kid, I was all about snowball fights,” says visual designer Kelly Aleshire. “Snow days were awesome. There’s a sense of, ‘I was supposed to do something today, but now I get to have fun instead.'” Communicating that feeling to players was key goal for the teams working on Snowdown. Whether through Syndra’s oversized earmuffs, Bard’s penguin-ified meeps, or the somewhat-goofy snowplow super minions, the main focus was on making things feel uniquely fun. 
Bard’s Snowdown concept finalised and ready for production
Concept artist Wesley Keil explains, “It’s one of those light-hearted, zany things where you can step away from the serious stuff.” With this year’s Snowdown, “the team wanted to create something really playful,” emphasises Aleshire, “so the feedback was mostly centered on hitting that ideal without going too over-the-top.” Each concept went through several iterations as artists worked to find something that felt right for the overall theme but still fit the champion. Gnar might wear a winter cap, for example, but he still needs to feel like Gnar. 
Skins ideation often involves creating several concepts for each champion
This year’s Snowdown was made more complicated by the inclusion of Snowdown minions. While minions are less complex than champions, their simplicity brings its own flavor of difficulty. Says Keil, “They have to read clearly; there are a lot of gameplay ramifications -- what happens when there are a ton of them on screen, etc.” Just as the team needed to balance the skins between the Snowdown theme and the core personality of each champion, the minions needed to be clearly Snowdown without hampering actual gameplay. Fun’s no fun if it creates confusion in the game, after all. 
Early concept work shows different ideas for Snowdown minions
Finally, the splash is perhaps the most clear distillation of Snowdown as an idea, showing off the skins while capturing the personality of each champion and communicating the overall theme of fun in the snow. “Bard, for example, is kind of aloof,” says Aleshire. “He’s not super worried about humans or the universe as we see it, so he’s just in his own little world sharing some cocoa with a Meep. Gnar has a hyperactive attitude, so he’s distracted and chasing a Meep instead of helping.” Syndra, a more focused champion, is ready to start the next volley and/or claim victory. The splash bears the responsibility of bringing everything together in one image that tells the whole story. 
"We have this moment every now and then, where a bunch of serious characters take a day off and play in the snow." 
The result is a collection of skins and goodies that embody the idea of a laid-back winter hangout. “We have this moment every now and then, where a bunch of serious characters take a day off and play in the snow,” concludes Aleshire. “Hopefully we capture that and give players the same feelings I remember from tossing snowballs at my friends.”"
Be sure to check out the Snowdown 2015 post for previews of these and all the other holiday deals!

2015 All-Star Event Bundles 

To celebrate the winners of tihs year's ALL-STAR event, three limited time champion and skin bundles are available now through December 19th!
"Unlock bundles inspired by the four days of epic elemental battles and extraordinary mastery seen at the 2015 All-Star Event. These three limited-time bundles are available
from December 14-19.
All-Star 1v1 Champion Bundle - 50% off at 2399 RP (4787 RP if you need the champions) 
Level up your 1v1 skills with the champion pool of the winner of the 2015 All-Star Event 1v1 Bracket.
Skins included: 
  • Pool Party Draven
  • Striker Lucian
  • TPA Ezreal
  • Shockblade Zed
  • Battlecast Vel'Koz
Champions included: 
  • Draven
  • Lucian
  • Ezreal
  • Zed
  • Vel'Koz
All-Star Winner’s Bundle -50% off at 2699 RP (5042 RP if you need the champions) 
Unlock the winning team comp from the final clash of Team Fire vs. Team Ice.
Skins included:
  • Blade Queen Lissandra
  • Blood Moon Elise
  • SKT T1 Zed
  • Blood Moon Kalista
  • iBlitzcrank
Champions included:
  • Lissandra
  • Elise
  • Zed
  • Kalista
  • Blitzcrank
All-Star Playmaker’s Bundle - 50% off at 2211 RP (4047 RP if you need the champions) 
Add the champions from the “Play of the Year” award to your lineup.
Skins included:
  • Galactic Azir
  • Warden Sivir
  • Gentleman Gnar
  • Fnatic Janna
  • Battle Bunny Riven
Champions included:
  • Azir
  • Sivir
  • Gnar
  • Janna
  • Riven"
Don't forget that ALL-STAR ward skins, summoner icons, and more are available through Dec 16th.

Free Transfers to TR

Players from Turkey currently playing on others servers can pick up a free transfer to the TR server between now and the end of January!
"From December 15th to January 31st, players from EU West, EU Nordic & East, North America and Russia servers who log in to League of Legends from Turkey can transfer to Turkey server for free! This offer is one way only, and the transfer period starts at 00:01 EEST (23.01 CET, December 14th). Free transfers will be available under the Account section in the Store. 
Anyone that purchased a transfer to TR from December 1st to 15th will also be refunded the transfer cost. Sending a support ticket won’t be necessary; you will automatically receive your RPs before the offer ends. 
Important Note: Players with VPN or IP altering connection settings should contact Player Support in order to use the free transfer, since they technically don’t appear to be logging in from Turkey."

Tencent repurchase remaining Riot Games Equity 

Riot Games has announced that Tencent has purchased the remaining equity Riot Games, having formerly owned 92.78%!
"Riot’s approach to compensation has always been about aligning the incentives of the company with Rioters, and also about ensuring that we compensate our talented team of professionals well. 
As a result of our continued growth and changing circumstances, we're shifting to a new structure to recognize and reward Rioters' contributions - and that first involves a big change to our existing equity program. As part of this effort, our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games. This allows us to move away from a Riot equity program towards a cash based incentive program that allows Rioters to share in Riot's success. This program comes in addition to our highly competitive salaries, open PTO, learning and development programs, 401K match, subsidized medical plans, and kitchens stocked with snax (poro and otherwise) all full-time Rioters get
We’re excited about the flexibility of this new approach to comp and believe it’ll help us continue to ensure Riot remains a great place to work."


Next up we have an article by Christokkies looking at ping, win rate, and how they relate to each other!
"Nothing quite kills the joy of online gaming like latency. At one time or another we’ve all experienced the pain of lag spikes during a pivotal, game-deciding moment. 
One thing that I’ve been mulling over when it comes to latency (or lag) is how champions in League of Legends might be affected differently by slow communication between a player’s client and the game server. 
My brother, who lives in Japan, plays on the NA server so we can play together. He intentionally avoids playing AD carries because, his logic goes, this mechanically intensive role is not conducive to being played in conditions of high latency. 
But just how true is his supposition? Are certain roles (or champions) more susceptible to a drop in performance from increased latency?

To test this, I went all out. I created a series of statistical models that attempt to predict a game’s outcome (win or loss) based on one’s ping. As it turns out, the use of latency as a predictor of a game’s outcome is contingent on the champion being played. In other words, the outcome of a game with bad ping is easier to predict with certain champions more than with others. 
"The use of latency as a predictor of a game’s outcome is contingent on the champion being played." 
Classical linear regression models make predictions about continuous variables, where numbers have a logical order (such as age or or number of wins on a champion). Because the outcome variable in this case is categorical and binary (win or loss), a type of regression known as logistic regression was used to determine the estimated probability of an outcome given latency. I analyzed over 95 million different occurrences of a champion appearing on Summoner’s Rift. To emphasize relative differences in latency between players, I used difference from the average in-game ping (which we’ll just call ‘ping difference’ going forward) as the predictor variable rather than the absolute ping values. For example, if a player’s average ping during a game is 75, while the average ping of the game for everyone else is 70, that predictor value will be 5 (rather than 75). 
It appears that more mechanically intensive champions are more affected by latency, while tankier champions or those with point-and-click abilities are less affected by latency. 
The graph below shows the estimated probability of Vayne being on the winning team as a function of ping difference. As the graph demonstrates, the lower the average difference in ping, the better chance this champion that relies on extremely precise positioning will tumble into victory rather than the enemy team. 
The estimated probability of Vayne being on the winning team as a function of her difference in ping from the average in game.
coeff. = -.0014, z-value = -41
This relationship is similar for Xerath. The higher a Xerath’s latency is relative to other players in the same game, the harder time the Shurima demigod has landing skillshots on his opponents. 
The estimated probability of Xerath being on a the winning team as a function of his difference in ping from the average in game.
coeff. = -.002, z-value = -20
I believe this intuitively makes sense. Landing a Xerath ultimate or a Vayne condemn when your opponents’ movements are more responsive than your own is difficult to put it mildly. 
Certain champions, however, do not exhibit a strong relationship between latency and estimated probability of winning. 
Looking at Warwick, for example, differences in the average latency between other players in the game is not a strong predictor. 
The estimated probability of Warwick being on a the winning team as a function of his difference in ping from the average in game.
coeff. = -.0002, z-value = -4
Similarly, Singed’s probability of landing on the winning team does not seem to be affected much by latency. 
If a Singed has 30 less ping than the average champion in that game, he has a roughly 50 percent chance of being on the winning team. And if that Singed has 30 more ping than the average champion, the chance of him being on the winning team is...well… still around 50 percent.

My interpretation is that the skills necessary to excel at Singed are what I would consider more strategically focused. When and where do I ward? When do I split? When do I TP or group? 
"Latency should only be affecting the outcome of a match to the extent that it differs from that player’s normal ping."
Further, I am reluctant to rule out any effect of lag on Warwick’s or a Singed’s ability to win. Matchmaking is designed with the intent that players are matched against other players in such a way that they win 50 percent of their games on average. If high latency is systematic for a player, then the effect of lag on a champion’s ability to win should be muted. For example, if a player who normally has good ping suddenly has bad ping, then that player will probably be far more likely to lose that particular game than if that player consistently plays with bad ping from game to game. In other words, latency should only be affecting the outcome of a match to the extent that it differs from that player’s normal ping. 
Finally, I would like to caveat these findings by noting that the interaction between latency, champion, and the estimated probability of winning may not be causal. The models shown here only have a single predictor variable, and it’s possible that if we throw other variables into the mix that the effect of latency disappears. Having said that, I think that the data support the hypothesis that the effect of latency on the outcome of the game differs by champion. A future analysis using more complex models could perhaps provide more evidence of causality. 
The estimated probability of Singed being on a the winning team as a function of his difference in ping from the average.
coeff. = -.0003, z-value = -2
Let’s come back to the question of whether my brother is correct to avoid playing as an AD carry because of his high latency. To answer this question, I ranked the champions by the extent to which their estimated probability of winning was affected by latency (for the more statistically inclined, I ranked the champions by the normalized regression coefficient given by the Z value). I then took the median of the rankings for each champion by role. For example, Yasuo appeared to be the most affected by lag, so he was rank 1. Vayne was the second most affected—making long-distance duo-queuing with a Vayne main somewhat ill-advised. 
"We do see a difference in the effect of latency on the estimated probability of winning based on role. "
As it turns out, we do see a difference in the effect of latency on the estimated probability of winning based on role. Champions categorized as ‘AD carries’ (median rank = 21) appear to suffer the most from latency, followed by the mid role (median rank = 50). Finally, support, top, and jungle all had relatively higher rankings (70, 79, and 93 respectively). 
These findings are in line with the notion that roles are differentially affected by latency, and in fact, my brother is probably better off playing Top, Support, or Jungle over AD Carries or mid given his higher-than-average latency."

[INTRO] Andrei “Meddler” van Roon - Lead Gameplay Designer 

Following with the others from last week, Meddler has jumped on the dev corner boards to introduce himself!
"Hi all, I’m Andrei van Roon. I’ve been at Riot Games for about four years now, prior to that though I was working in a pretty different field, helping design future transport networks back in New Zealand. To my surprise I ended up at Riot (and in LA) after I happened to spot a job posting on the LoL forums and decided to throw in an application for the hell of it. So far it’s been a fantastic experience :). 
Outside of work I’m a pretty big gamer, both video games and board games, with particular favourites including the Civilization series, Warcraft 3, FTL, Race for the Galaxy, Agricola, Star Control 2, Diablo 2 and Dark Souls. Also pretty partial to a bit of hiking, karaoke and travel. 
I started at Riot as a designer on the Champion team, working on Ziggs, Varus, Syndra, some of Elise, Lissandra and some of Gnar. After that I did a spell as the Lead Designer on Champion, working with the designers and other developers on the team to help create new champions from 2013 to 2015. Over the course of 2015, I’ve been spending a lot of my time on wider gameplay topics as well, such as the recent preseason changes. 
From the start of next year I’ll be shifting to a broader role, working with the four teams who focus on game health/balance, new champions, champion updates and game systems. My role these days tends to be more about helping teams build long term visions/plans, and offering a second opinion on work in progress, than on working directly on game changes myself. 
For these DevCorner posts I’ll generally be talking about the state of gameplay in League of Legends overall, in terms of where we currently are, where we’re hoping to go and what the philosophies behind our changes are. I’ll also jump into some more specific conversations too where possible (‘What’s up with X mastery or champion’ etc), though that’ll generally be pretty reactive rather than planned. 
I’d also love to get a better understanding of what you folks would like to talk about/hear more about. Types of topics in particular would be great (more about why we’re changing the game in the ways we are? more insight into our upcoming plans? more context on why we try and balance the way we do? etc). Riot’s direct communication with players was one of the things that made me want to apply here in the first place, so getting to contribute to keeping that going is something I’m really keen to do. 
Edit: I'll be in and out of this thread over the course of the afternoon, got a mixture of meetings and some time put aside for forum posting."
Following the introduction, Meddler hung around the boards to answer questions!

When asked about the hardest champion he's worked in balance wise, Meddler noted:
What was the hardest champion you worked on to balance?
Elise would be my pick. Form swappers have historically been challenging to balance, given their early game power in particular, and Elise has both minions and strong pick capability on top of that."

As for mages and immobile champions, Meddler commented:
Hi Meddler
I'd like to hear your thoughts on less mobile champions; particularly how you feel the Juggernaut update went, and going forward, how the immobile mage update is likely to go/may be influenced by lessons learned. Also I was curious if you could give any hints on the scale and/or scope of the mage update (which champions are priorities, and if it's more along the scale of the marksman update or juggernaut update, etc.)
I think historically we've undercosted mobility at times, which has made mobile champions feel like the clearly superior choice. We've been looking to correct that, through things like the juggernaut update where characters without strong mobility get other powerful tools, or through effects like Poppy's W, that add some more risk or cost to mobility. 
As far as the mage update goes that'll likely be a mid year thing. Number of champions changed will probably be closer to the Marksmen update than the juggernaut one, item changes probably smaller though (AP items don't need the same degree of overhaul AD itemization did). We'll talk details, in terms of which types of characters, and possibly some individual champions, sometime early next year."
 Meddler also shared what he feels is one of the larger problems in LoL atm:
What do you currently see as the biggest problems to the current state of the game? How do you hope to address some of these in the coming season? 
I personally find many of the recent champs to be quite frustrating to play against, like Ekko (very difficult to catch or fight him when you want to, and his kit is loaded with too many ways to outplay the opponent); Tahm is hard to get away from and does incredible damage building only tank items; Kindred is a late-game snowball monster who is also very hard to fight early (unless you're Lee Sin). 
Just my 2 cents :P
I think some games of LoL can sometimes feel a bit too predictable part way through, with team strats and optimal plays being clear to both teams. That results in risk adverse play, which can be less interesting to experience or watch. Currently planning to do some further analysis of options to deal with that early next year, see if we can find some approaches that are worth developing further (hidden information for one team, high risk potential comeback plays, greater team comp diversity etc)."

As for his thoughts on the current state of Dominion and 3v3, he commented:
Thoughts on Dominion and Twisted Treeline? 
How come they aren't played at events like All-Stars? One would think that promoting game modes that are already available instead of ones that aren't (1v1) would be common sense. 
Can you really say that there isn't a solo-q ranked option because the playerbase is too low? Because I think if there was - people would actually play them more often. Thoughts?
Not sure about how modes for events are picked sorry, that's something the Esports team handles directly. 
I certainly agree there's a bit of a chicken and egg situation with Dominion and TT, in terms of lack of support versus lack of popularity. At the same time though we do believe that what's best for LoL as a competitive game is a single map/mode that serious play happens on (Summoners Rift), with other options being complimentary experiences (like ARAM) or temporary different experiences (like One for All, URF etc). In particular that's to support a single, focused, competitive scene, rather than splitting attention, players, balancing, etc between multiple different formats. What that means for Dominion and TT then's something I agree we should figure out, they feel stuck in a limbo at the moment."

As for the current critical strike system and potential reworks, he noted:
Have you ever considered reworking crit? I am pretty sure RNG is an aspect most developers would want to keep away from.
At some point I suspect we'll do some work on crit, the degree to which random luck can help or screw you there, without any chance to interact or respond, is pretty high. I don't think the correct response to RNG is as simple as 'stay away from it' though. Randomized situations, if they create subsequent gameplay you can engage in with a range of options, can add a lot of variety to a game. Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone for example get a lot of replayability and unique situations from their randomized starting hands, in a way that still allows a lot of expression of player skill and fairness. Similarly base spawn location in Starcraft, or even the impact of weather on outdoor sports, add variability that creates, rather than removes, interesting play."

As for the old Ao Shin concept, Meddler explained:
Ao Shin?
We ran into both gameplay and animation challenges (serpentine body) with Ao Shin, which is why despite the reveal of concept art for him nearly two years ago he hasn't happened. We do still want to make a serpentine dragon at some point, we think it's a really cool space, can't offer anything more concrete than that at the moment though alas."

When asked about Yorick's large scope rework, Meddler commented:
Where do you see that potential from Yorick going? 
Also, will Yorick eventually get the same melee range buff that a few other champs recently got?
Raising and commanding the undead (necromancer or death knight basically) is a pretty strong archetype as far as champion fantasies go, that could offer some really interesting tradeoffs and distinct abilities."
He continued:
Besides Taric, who do you think needs a major rework the most?
Yorick's my personal pick for most in need with high potential, can see a few other reasonable candidates though too (Warwick and Urgot for example)." 

As for his thoughts on Junglers, Meddler commented:
Do you see junglers getting a keystone that impacts their play in the jungle in the future? It feels like other than strength of the ages, junglers didn't really get much to work with this season, while others have a lot of choices. Or possibly making keystones work on jungle creeps? I could see thunderlord's being pretty good for jungle clear.
I think we should try and aim for a state where junglers, regardless of which class they are, feel they have multiple good keystone options. Would probably want to avoid jungler specific/focused masteries though, lot of risk there of making a mastery feel mandatory unnecessarily."

When asked about the team's thoughts on Kog'Maw, Meddler  shared:
Hey Meddler, nice to chat with you!
I was wondering if you could tell us a bit about the team's vision with Koggy. In particular, are you guys planning on trying to stick to the 'Protect the Kog' niche rather than some more exotic builds like JuggerMaw or AP Marksmen Kog? If you guys are sticking with 'Protect the Kog' how do you plan on making him attractive when compared to champions like Miss Fortune who also benefit strongly from having a team built around them who can get results much easier?
We do think Kog's a champ you should feel rewarded for building a protective team around, given his lack of escape/hard CC and dependence on sustained auto attacking. That's a space that a few different champions should be able to exist in though, provided they're doing it in different ways (e.g. MF as the wombo character you want to pair with AOE lockdown for the duration of her ult, Kog as the one you want to protect for extended periods of time with AA enhancing buffs where possible, Trist as the one to protect if you want to push towers quick mid game etc)."

As for current thoughts on Poppy, Meddler  commented:
How has the team been viewing Poppy? I've been playing nothing but poppy, and I'm a little disapointed in her. She lost most of her damage dealing, and much of her tankiness. I don't expect getting the damage back but I feel her tankyness is really weak right now. Especially Jungle poppy (which I play the most). 
I think her W passive isn't doing enough for her. 
Also could smacking a champion with her shield let her immediately catch it after level 11 or something? I don't think the mini-game should really be extended to outside of the laning phase as well, where it just becomes frustrating. 
I also don't like how Poppy lost a lot of her movement speed (only 2.5 seconds on W active), and that her anti-mobility ability only stops a target once. It lasts 2.5 seconds, surely you can let it stop people however many times it can for the duration. If there's extremely strong mobility options, i don't think there should be a problem with having extremely strong anti-mobility options. 
It feels like you guys really undershot on the Poppy rework regarding her kit. I still like the direction, and i love the artwork and voice. But I feel the balance strength is way off.
We generally like what she's doing so far, though it's looking like she might be a bit weak, so we've been investigating possible buffs for 6.01. She's got a fair bit of learning curve though, much of which is pretty different to her old kit, so we've been avoiding any knee jerk changes while people are still experimenting and learning."

When asked about his thoughts on skill shots and point-click abilities as a designer,  Meddler shared:
Which do you prefer: skillshots or point-click-hit abilities? Is there an archetype that should have one over the other preferably? 
Thoughts on flash? Are there plans to add new summoner spells to the game? 
Do you think a champion can ever find true balance. But in all seriousness do you think that it is possible to perfectly balance a champion? 
How long do you feel it takes to measure a balance change's impact to the game? 
Are balance decisions based on a champions/item/mastery/whatever's maximum possible potential, the average potential, both??
As a player I really like skillshots. From a designer perspective I believe it's important to have both though, with which is used depending on the reliability profile appropriate for the champion in question (e.g. poke mages should be unreliable, diving fighters need reliability by contrast). The degree to which you want to test a player's mechanical skill, as opposed to decision making, strategic awareness or other skills, is also an important factor. 
Overall I think Flash creates a lot of interesting moments, both in its offensive and defensive uses. It also allows some characters to function without having to put mobility on their kits or items (e.g. Annie). No current plans to add new Summoner Spells, though sometime next year we do want to explore methods for rewarding a wider range of the existing Summoner Spells more often. 
I don't think perfect balance exists exactly. The balance state of a game that's just launched, versus one where people have been playing and perfecting skills/strats for 10 years for example's going to be pretty different. 
Some balance changes are apparent almost immediately (e.g. less damage on commonly used skillshot that drops a character from overbearing to a reasonable spot). Others can be pretty subtle and take a while (e.g. vision changes where it takes a while for players/teams to adapt, or characters who were previously poor choices becoming good ones as the meta changes and what they offer becomes more valuable). 
Some good context on how we balance can also be found here: 
[link 1] 
[link 2]"

Meddler group questions 1:
I've also had a lot of fun asking (roughly) the same generic questions to all the devs, so you're the next one on the list :
  • What is in your opinion the best/worst niche in LoL right now in term of design (split push, mobile mages, tank supports, poke supports, all in mid laners, AP junglers, etc.)?
  • Who are your favorite current rioters and ex-rioters?
  • What would you say is the biggest pros and cons of the current way PBE functions?
  • Favorite champion?
  • What design from another game would you like to see in LoL (even if unrealistic) and why?
The bigger thing for me though than game time is game pacing. I think most games of LoL should feel like they've got an early, mid and at least some of a late game, since each phase creates different gameplay, favours different skills/champions etc, which are important in getting a good feeling game flow and narrative. In terms of time somewhere around the 30-35 minute mark on average seems reasonable to me. The occasional really short or really long game's good to mix in there, for the contrast and/or epic feel certainly. Generally though I think you should be able to roughly estimate how long you'll be in game when you click Play however, so most games should skew towards that average point, rather than being evenly distributed through a range. 
We feel the new Masteries system offers a solid framework that needs a bunch of further refinement to really deliver on the choice and satisfaction goals we've got for it. Some of that will get addressed as we add new masteries over the coming season, with the next new one likely being a T2 Keystone in Ferocity around 6.02. We'll also need to do a bunch of balancing work too though to the existing masteries, and there'll be a fair bit of that in patch 6.01 (which should be sometime early/mid January). 
Best designed champion space: Supports (balance on them's not necessarily all correct, but they do really cool, different things that cater to a range of playstyles). 
Worst designed champion space: Assassins (primarily because too many of them do similar things, also significant counterplay and frustration issues) 
Almost everyone I've worked with or dealt with at Riot's been fantastic, so can't really call out any favourites overall. Today's favourite however was definitely the unknown Rioter who left donuts in the kitchen however. 
The PBE tends to offer great feel, thematic and aesthetic feedback. It's a very poor source of balance feedback however, given the size of the player base there versus the regular servers (which makes matchmaking especially pretty poor). The other issue is that, because of the way we have to lock patches down to fix bugs from about a week pre launch, players often end up feeling like very legitimate feedback isn't being acted on for a patch (we're past the point where we're able to act for the next patch, but that's often not apparent outside the company). 
Favourite champion's a question I really struggle with. Purely to play, from an ability perspective, I really like Janna for the number of allied saves she offers, and I've played a lot more of her than any other champ. I find her theme, VO, appearance etc however fairly dull though. In terms of theme/appearance by contrast I've always really liked Kog'Maw, though I don't enjoy playing him myself. 
As far as designs from other games go I'd love to find a way to do Mechwarrior style jump jets at some point. I suspect that's al

Meddler Group Questions 2:
1)How does one go about applying for a job at Riot, or if that's not something you're particularly familiar with, how did you apply to Riot? I'm fresh out of game design college and would like to try applying if I can. If you want more of a way to turn this into a way to talk about how things are done at Riot, then what kind of talent and people do you guys look for when getting new designers? 
2)What's Christmas like around Riot HQ? 
3)Who would you say is your favorite champion that you didn't work on? 
4)If you were to make a League of Legends 2, right now where you could change and upgrade things about the game, whether it be macro gameplay, micro gameplay, the map, champions, ect. what would you change?

1. is the first place to start. I applied back in the day via an email in a forum post from Zileas, that was back when we were much smaller though and didn't have many folks focused on recruiting as their primary job.

For designers we're interested in:
  • Strong analytical ability (LoL, other games and other fields like hard sciences or engineering)
  • Broad creative problem solving (can you give a lot of possible solutions to a problem from a range of approaches and evaluate them appropriate)
  • Clear, concise communication skills, both written and verbal, particularly when it comes to conveying a vision or a nuanced concept
  • Good understanding of a range of game genres and player tastes within them
  • People with strong self drive, professionalism and pragmatism
2. Christmas is good fun, though tends to be really hectic as we try and get everything squared away for a bit before many people take a week or two off for the holidays. Generally a Christmas party or two (larger company one, smaller team one), sometimes plus something else (lot of us are going to see Star Wars VII on Thursday evening for example). 
3. I really like Kog'Maw overall, though I don't personally enjoy playing him 
4. Gonna have to mainly skip this one sorry, it's just too mammoth a question, particularly when it comes to topics like entire game systems. For a few quick small things off the top of the head though I'd want to look at a wider set of general action animations for all characters (e.g. use item, destory thing in world, cast generic spell etc), ensure every character had a clearly defined niche before they went into the game, get VO triggers for each champion for common actions."
Meddler Group Questions 3:
  1. The reds have been VERY silent on Karma for a while, despite all the various discussions about her that have taken place in the last few months. Is there a chance she might be looked at when the mages are updated? She's a great champ (my favourite), but since the removal of her Shield bomb she feels a little hollow.
  2. Are there any plans for Azir?
  3. What is your current position on champs with a lot of skills? Could something like Invoker ever work in League?
Mage work will likely focus on the more offensive mages, rather than those with some more supportive elements to their kits (Karma, Ori, Morg etc). Not saying that category of champs is necessarily perfect, but that the more traditional damage focused mages need the work more. 
We'll need to do some work on Azir to get him to a spot where he can be at least somewhat effective for the average player, without being excessively strong in top tier play. Unsure what methods we'll use for that yet, that'll be a project we deep dive early next year. 
If looking at a spell combining character (Invoker/Magicka style) I'd want to start by defining the purpose of having lots of spells. If there's something that offers, besides novelty for its own sake/a barrier to entry, then it could be worth comparing that value to that we could offer by creating other champions. Given the balancing and accessibility difficulties champions with ~7 spells currently create I'm somewhat cynical that'd be a fruitful direction for a LoL champion, certainly wouldn't dismiss the idea out of hand though of course."
Meddler Group Questions #4:
1) Do you plan on making FQC claim unviable for solo laners? I personally enjoy it, it gives diversity to the AP itemization and its pretty much the only item with impactful active that AP solo laners have except Zhonas. 
2) Any plans for spellvamp? The stat straight up sucks (good only for Vlad) 
3) Will you continue working in order to make Morde a viable duo laner, even at high levels of play? I will pretty dissappointed if not, since hes the only alternative for adc+supp duo. If yes, any plans on reworking other problematic champs to duo laners as well (like Yorick or Trynda) or new releases with that in mind? 
4) As far as a bunch of items are concerned, why dont you take away raw stats from them while making their actives more impactful? Im reffering to Randuins , Botrk, Aegis of Legion, Archangels (btw i want your opinion on Seraphs active, since i think that its very bland and doesnt serve any strategic purpose whatsoever) 
Thanks for your time.
Our current thought is that it's fine if FQC is an option for mid laners, provided it isn't crowding out other item options. We're also seeing FQC be more dominant than it should be on duo laners too, so current intent is to nerf the mana regen and change the slow duration so that it scales based off how far the ghosts have traveled (worse point blank, slightly better at really long ranges). Goal there is to reward the more distinct use cases (scouting/long range catch) over the mid combat extra CC. 
No immediate plans for spell vamp specifically, though we may follow up on some of the individual items with spell vamp like effects on them that were changed recently (Gunblade for example). 
We do want to keep supporting Morde as a duo laner, though are also looking at ways to add a bit of power back to his solo lane at present. Morde's been both an experimental and a challenging project, so I'm sure we'll need to put a bunch of further work into him early next year too. Longer term we do want to get some more variety into bot lane, approach I'm most interested in investigating myself is trying to allow some mages to take the place of the marksmen there if desired. 
For items and power in stats versus actives it depends on what the goal of the item is, the comparable options, who the users are, how windowed the power contribution should be versus always on etc. Seraph's Embrace has an active I personally think's quite well designed, since it gives strong, but very temporary, defence to a class that shouldn't be permanently tanky, presents a clear choice to enemies (wait out the shield or burn through it) and has some interesting interactions with other items/systems (increases value of other mana itemization, strong synergy with blue buff etc)."
Meddler Group Questions 5:
What roles do you typically main? 
Also, do you play any of the champs that you designed? FeralPony recently mentioned that he did not like to play Graves before his rework, because casting a Q spell 5 billion times in testing and development can really kill it for you. 
And do you have any interesting stories regarding Syndra's creation? 
As for things I want to hear about, I'l like to hear more about the ideology that goes behind balance changes! Like "we took X away from [champion] because we didn't like that they were good at X, and prefer their identity be tied to Y" (LB's silence is I think a good example of this. Silence removed because really burst damage is her identity)
I like high utility champions with the ability to help allies out, so I tend to play a lot of support, some mid and some ADC. I've also been trying to focus on a second position I'm not as familiar with each ranked season too though, get a decent breadth of experience (thinking top lane this year). 
I do play a moderate amount of most of the champions I've worked on, the mid/bot laners especially. Like FeralPony though I do sometimes find it a bit harder to play champions just for fun if I've worked on them a lot. 
Syndra's development was a lot of fun, though it did take a while to iron out the Dark Sphere generation and destruction details. One playtest in particular I'd messed up the Dark Sphere removal, and instead of being destroyed properly they were being removed and then recreated at the spawning platform . For most of the game that wasn't a big deal, until Syndra's team got pushed back to their inhib towers. At that point the ult was then in range to pick up on the giant pile of spheres sitting at the fountain, so the next cast threw 50+ spheres at someone, getting a giant 'WTF' reaction unsurprisingly. 
Thanks for the feedback RE more context on balance ideology." 

[INTRO] Chris “Pwyff” Tom - Communications dude 

Pwyff also jumped on the dev corner boards to introduce himself!
"Hi fronds, 
Quick introduction here - I’m Pwyff. In previous lives I’ve played video games competitively, ghost-wrote college essays for tuition, wrote terrible movie scripts for free dinners, and did the whole video game journalism / editor-in-chief bit before arriving at Riot Games. 
I come from a mixed competitive gaming background of: FPSes (CS 1.6, Natural Selection, TFC), MOBAs (DotA, HoN, Bloodline Champions), and MMORPGs (Ragnarok Online, FFXI, vanilla + TBC WoW), so my favorites tend to fall along those. 
In between games of League, DotA 2, and Duelyst, I was trying to speedrun Fallout 4 before dropping everything for the new Bloodborne DLC, but did not get very far. I think I rerolled twice, explored fifty million supermarkets, recruited Nick Valentine, decided to forcibly set my carry weight limit to 20,000 so I could hoard more things, realized I opened Pandora’s Box of cheat codes and shortcuts, set my melee stats to five billion, punched a few Deathclaws, and then couldn’t go back to a normal life. 
Outside of those things, I read, write, walk, and talk a lot (often at the same time). 
I currently own: 0 cats. 
A tl;dr would be that I’m a communications lead, working on all things to do with… communicating. One of my first big projects was to improve the way we talk about change in League (particularly in design), and you may have noticed the experiments we’ve run over the years, especially with the patch notes. 
These days, I’m focused more broadly on how we talk about what we do and why we do it. With the preseason just shipping and the 2016 season update on the horizon, I’m in the process of helping with our next Riot Pls update, getting this Dev Corner to a functional place, and thinking about what people actually want to hear about. 
I’ll probably use my monthly slot as an open forum to talk about what new things you’d like to hear from other teams. If there’s a pressing topic you’d like to see discussed, feel free to chuck them in and I can understand what we should be thinking - or talking - about. Or if it’s just a miscommunication, I can talk about that as well. 
Honestly? Let me know. I can tell you stories about life at Riot, or how teams work together, or about the cat I don’t own."
Following the introduction, Pwyff hung around the boards to answer questions!

When asked if LoL will ever have a better system to control multiple units, Pwyff commented:
I want to know if there are any plans for creating an RTS engine for LoL (or whatever is called, im not very familiar with these things), which will allow to control other units reliably and make the extremely few existing RTS-like interactions (Annies bear, Mordes drake, Shacos clone) less awkward to play 
I know that LoL wasnt designed with that mind, since the champ is always ''locked'' to the player, but what do you think now? I think that it would open up the game much more, in all aspects: new champs, reworks, items etc. It would add more depth to the game and it would help the current project of the rework department to make some champions more distinctive as well, since they will be given more choices
This is an interesting question. 
Up front: I don't think there are any plans to scope out pets into something deep and expressive. I believe the current view of pet controls is "tolerable," if not very exciting. 
You mention that adding pets / pet controls would add a lot more depth to the game while also offering more avenues of kit ideation (and skill expression), I wonder about that. 
You can add any sort of mechanic to a game to make it more 'complex,' but good game design is about the right combination of complex mechanics. If CS:GO suddenly added bunny-hopping into the game, it certainly becomes more complex from a movement-shooter based perspective, but it loses out on the type of game it wants to be. 
I'm assuming that adding a second unit to control beyond basic movement (aka the current system) will raise the mechanical complexity of the game, but if this assumption is true, should that be where League's design focus is on? Most designers would say there's a lot of really cool space to explore with single-champion kits. Perhaps there could be a champion designed with the 'illusion' of pet play - maybe a multi-unit champion with pre-defined positioning based abilities (hello, Orianna) - but the better question is what a complex pet system offers over other new systems. 
Now that I've laid out the conceptual space, I can offer my own opinion. 
I think there's room for some cool pet mechanics in a game like League, but probably not the likes of Chen or Meepo. There's this concept of transferable skills where if you learn, say, auto-spacing (heh) with Caitlyn, that's a transferable skill to Jinx. At the very least this allows you to build macro-mastery of League (positioning, map movement, etc) while also investing in the micro-optimizations of a champion. 
Looking at other games with pet champions, most characters with engaging multi-unit complexity reward the player for:
  • Cross-map macro play (Meepo teleports and movement)
  • Multi-unit micro-play (SC2 micro)
  • A really annoying radiance bear (Druid)
I do wonder if the skill investment for any of these is so different for League that a champion who rewards players on these axis just makes them a novelty. The issue with novelty champions who reward players on very unique mastery paths is is you end up with massive disparities between the haves and the have nots, and balance becomes a nightmare. Riven is a great example of this. Do we now balance Riven with the expectation that all players have learned to animation cancel? Or do we just allow this one champion who, when fully mastered, has access to more tools and more power than anyone else? I'm not saying Riven is objectively overpowered, but the more unintentional power a champion can access through clever mechanical manipulation, the higher chance a designer just didn't account for it. 
This paints a real black and white picture though. Could the pet system be improved even for the current pet-based champions? Absolutely. Is it an absolute priority for engineering to restructure how unit control occurs within League? I'm not sure."
When asked about how the current patch rundown conversations are handled, Pwyff commented:
I don't know how involved you are in its production, but the Patch Rundown is basically complete fluff. All I see is a bunch of Rioters patting themselves on the back over a change while the 4th guy awkwardly sits there and laughs. 
I was looking through old patch notes on a nostalgia trip and came across this old preseason 3 Patch Preview video. Instantly at the beginning of the video I know which changes are going to be discussed. Despite being less than half as long as the patch rundowns it easily covers just as much information, and I could skip to any part of the video and instantly understand what change they were talking about without having to sit through some stupid in-joke. 
I'm not saying Rioters shouldn't have any personality whatsoever, but your changes affect a lot of people's enjoyment of the game and if you're going to talk about them you better, well, talk about them. 
Sorry if I'm yelling at the wrong guy about this.
Nah, you're talking to the right guy. So I've got Scarizard directly trying to tackle this issue next year to get the Patch Rundown to a more authentic place. 
The question I'd ask is this: what should the patch rundown be for? 
Right now I think the larger issue is we have one piece of video content trying to serve multiple purposes, and ultimately failing at all. If I could flip back the curtain, our goals are:
  • Humanize the League design team
  • Discuss contentious changes, show our thought process
  • Engage in a meaningful discussion on changes
For others, however, the patch rundown is seen as a vehicle to communicate what's changing. Should that be our goal? Are players happier if we just tell them "this is changing and here's why" a la patch note format, or do they want to see discussion on the topic with people they trust? 
This is basically the space we're grappling with. In an ideal world, I'd love to have two streams of content - one high level TL;DR of the patch notes for quick, easy consumption, and another focused on deeper context. 
So what are your thoughts?"
When asked about communication channels between Riot and players, Pwyff commented:
Have you found a format for communicating back and forth with the players you are really happy with? And if so, what one?
What is the biggest thing lost when trying to communicate with players?
Not one that I'm super happy with, no. 
The issue right now is I want to demonstrate meaningful dialogue - find the most contentious topics that players are concerned about and, at least, reassure them we have considered the problem through. If I were to say a current favorite? Probably if we could just get visibility on good answers and not the inflammatory one. But even with you can't give additional context. It's tough, man. 
The biggest thing lost when trying to communicate to players is probably when everyone gets a weird interpretation of intent. Everyone attributes malice to what is generally just a misunderstanding >:{ "
He continued:
For a while there was a period where a lot of communication got pushed to other social media platforms such as twitter/reddit/ 
Do you feel that the platform used influences what questions someone is willing to answer?
The thing they teach every day in communications: the medium is the message. 
So yes. 
There's an issue we have of visibility, disparate communications channels, and audience expectations of a medium. It's very complex and I'm not entirely sure how to solve all of it without some serious dev work. "

Snowstorm LEGACY Sale live!

Over 100 legacy skins have returned to the shop! In addition to being available individually, each day through January 7th will have SIX skins on sale for 50% off!

Here's Popstar Urf with more information:
… A Snowstorm sale is forecasted to bring one-day Legacy sales everyday all through Snowdown...Details below... 
*HAZARD TYPE… Daily Legacy skin sales 
CONDITIONS… Six different Legacy skins will go on sale everyday, starting December 16 until January 7 at 23:59 PST.
Experts are recommending bringing all poros indoor while the Snowdown Snowstorm sale is active to prevent any confusion between massive amounts of snow and massive amounts of fluff.
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."

UPDATE: Challenger Ahri will be on sale on December 17th and 18th!
Here's WizardCrab with more information!
"Hey everyone, 
I wanted to explain why we put Challenger Ahri back into the Store for the duration of Snowdown. 
I know there are going to be a number of you who think this is awesome, a number of you whom this frustrates, and likely a larger group that is just kind of confused. I can’t speak to each group separately so I can’t directly address those emotions, but I can talk to why Challenger Ahri is back now. 
There is a very small likelihood that you can end up with Challenger Ahri as an option in your individual Your Snowdown Shop. But if the skin is not currently available in the store and you try to buy it, you get a big fat error. We don’t want that. And we‘re pretty sure you wouldn’t want it either. 
That’s why we feel the best thing to do is to re-include Challenger Ahri in Snowdown. That means she’ll be available for the duration, and will be included in the Snowstorm sale for 50% off on 12/17. We’ll also extend that sale for 24 hours through 12/18 because this is such short notice. And she’ll still be available when the season starts in January with a day at 50% off because we’ve promised that as well. Going forward, you should expect Challenger Ahri (and future Challenger skins) to only make appearances for particular esports-related occasions. 
Thanks for your understanding, and enjoy the rest of Snowdown. 
Note: You will be unable to purchase any skin - including Challenger Ahri - from Your Snowdown Shop if the skin is currently discounted in the store. Since Snowstorm sales each last one day, this generally means that if you come back the next day, the skin will be purchasable in your personal shop again."

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