Red Post Collection: Update on Dynamic Queue, February sale schedule, Poro Icons available, and more!

Posted on at 8:47 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Three new poro icons are now available through February 9th!]

Today's red post collection includes an update on the 2016 ranked season and dynamic queue including the announcement of a solo only (no duo!) queue for the upcoming season, a look at the champions and skins that will be on sale in February, context on the recent Rengar PBE changes, a grab bag of red posts from Meddler, three new poro icons available through February 9th, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Poro Masters Collection 

A set of three new poro icons are now available through February 9th!  You may remember these icons as originally being part of a KR server exclusive contests!
"Hello, I’m Kranz Kippers, joined today by Marquis McDougal III. Welcome to the Poro Masters Collection. 
Today we have three select pieces from the collection, each one a soaring tribute to what many suspect is the poro’s true calling: the finer arts. 
That’s right Kranz; what you see here are three icons representing the divine trinity of poro artistry. These, of course, are: cosplay, webcomics, and artwork. 
Truly breathtaking, Marquis. 
Indeed, Kranz. They truly take the breath away. 
They are literally taking my breath away, Marquis. Senses...fading. 
Breathe, Kranz. Breathe. 
It seems my co-host is no longer conscious. Alas, such a shame. But fret not, you can pick up each icon for 250 RP in the League store until February 9 at 23:59 PST
Join us next time for our in-depth look at famous poro oil painters and their influence on both the post-industrial age and the ice age. This has been the Poro Masters Collection."

2016 Ranked Season: Updates on Dynamic Ranked and your feedback

First up we have an important update on the 2016 ranked season and dynamic queues! This announcement includes the addition of a solo only (no duo) queue being added in addition to dynamic queues for the 2016 season,  a look some data now that dynamic queues have been testing on NA/TR for about a week, and  several tune-ups and fixes coming soon!  
"Last week, we began initial tests of new champ select, dynamic queue, and a new matchmaking system in North America and Turkey. Driven by the desire to try new features, we saw millions of games played and more ranked games than any preseason before. Compared to last preseason, as a percentage of total games played, the rate of Normal Draft games vaulted by 264%, and Ranked increased by 45%. We’ve also heard tons of feedback, and had our fair share of issues. With all that in mind, let’s share what we learned and what we’re doing for the 2016 Ranked Season, which kicks off around the world over the next 24 hours.

Historically, Ranked Solo/Duo was the place where similarly-skilled players came together to express raw mechanical skill, encyclopedic game knowledge, and their own ability to carry. On the other hand, players told us over and over again they wanted a more competitive experience they could play with friends that lacked the rigid barriers to entry and low queue population of Ranked Teams.

This led us to Dynamic Ranked, where you can queue up with as many friends as you’d like, as long as all party members are within one tier of each other. This new approach to ranked adds team play and even team leadership to the mix of skills mentioned above.

So we had two distinct visions for Ranked play in League, Solo/Duo and Dynamic. The easiest solution might seem like just adding the new queue, but segmenting players can be extremely risky because of potential queue time and match quality issues. These risks compound on servers with smaller populations that can only sustain two queues (currently Normal Blind & Ranked Solo/Duo in those regions).

Because a broad majority of players have voiced their opinion through their engagement, we’re kicking off the 2016 Ranked Season with Dynamic Queues. But there’s a bit more to talk about.

We also heard from some players who prefer to solely measure themselves against all comers. We’re sensitive to any large swath of players feeling like they’re losing their place in League and while we firmly believe in Dynamic Ranked as the future, the game’s social features don’t offer enough support for players looking for like-minded, similarly-skilled players today. Because of this, we’ll launch a new Solo Ranked Queue (no duo’s!) in the coming weeks.

We need to work out a few implementation details, especially for smaller servers before we can roll out the revamped Solo Ranked alongside its Dynamic sibling. Because Dynamic Ranked is an indisputably better experience for playing with friends, the Ranked Teams queue skips the 2016 season while we begin work to integrate the full team experience into Dynamic Ranked. Expect more details about improved organized play later in the year. To be clear, ranked queues for the 2016 season are: 
  • Dynamic Ranked
  • A few weeks after season start: Solo Ranked

Some of you are probably wondering about Ranked Rewards, and because we’ve pivoted to supporting Dynamic and Solo Ranked, we’re still figuring them out ourselves. Expect most of the Ranked Rewards to shift to Dynamic Ranked and some concrete news in the first few months of the season.

Over the course of the last week, even up to Monday morning, we’ve made matchmaking upgrades for normal and ranked dynamic queues and the new tech allows for better monitoring and on the fly tuning than ever before. Marked improvements in overall match quality and queue times should already be making themselves felt on live. Here’s what we know after nearly a week of live testing: 
  • Premade 4’s are now matching with other Premade 4’s in 98% of their matches, while Premade 5’s are matching with other Premade 5s in 96% of their matches. These numbers are up from the mid-80’s at launch.
  • We’re seeing queue times for high-skill and pro players drop dramatically and are working on further improvements.
  • Most players should now be seeing more competitive (where competitive means each team is equally likely to win matches compared to the Solo/Duo Ranked queue from last season).  
One pain point has been lock in failures in new champ select resulting in queue dodges. This issue compounded with the longer queue times of the initial launch for a pretty miserable experience. We believe the lock in requirement is worth sticking with because it encourages players to stay engaged with their team while drafting, and pushes overall time in champ select lower. Lock in failures are already trending downwards, but remind your friends to lock in during the first few days with new champ select! We expect to see this stabilize over the first two weeks of the system, and if it doesn’t, we’ll move quickly to address it. 
Finally, we’re also aiming at a number of updates to new champ select and all dynamic queues over the next couple of patches. We’ll keep you posted on each of these in the patch notes, as well as matchmaking tune-ups and bug fixes:
  • Chroma and ward skin selection
  • Skin purchase in champ select
  • Preventing pick intent from being displayed to opponents during the final pick phase
  • Allowing players to bring the champion grid back up after a champion pick
  • Further improving the dynamic soundtrack
  • Matchmaking will better prioritize your primary position

The 2016 Ranked Season kicks off in NA at 2AM PST on 1/20. GL HF in your placements!

EDIT ::: Other servers will all get their season start dates over the next 24-48 hours."
 EUW start time - 
"The 2016 Ranked Season kicks off at 11AM GMT on 1/20. GL HF in your placements!"

When asked if there are separate rankings for the new solo and dynamic queues, Riot NaKyle noted:
"Different rank for each queue, but your current ranked rating will influence your Dynamic Ranked placements. Your Dynamic Ranked rating will not affect your Solo Ranked placements after the queue launches later on."
Lyte added:
"Yes, the ratings are independent; however, doing well in the Solo Queue will affect your initial rankings in Dynamic Queue. 
Ratings in Dynamic Queue will NOT affect initial rankings in Solo Queue."

As for ranked play on Twisted Treeline (3v3), Lyte noted:
"TT Ranked is unaffected at this time."

Lyte also reminded you can still queue into dynamic queue alone:
"It just means queuing into Dynamic Queue. There will be 2 options in the queue selector, and you can queue up solo in Dynamic Queue for a chance at the rewards. We're still figuring out how rewards work, but that's the gist of it."
He continued:
"You can queue up in Dynamic Queue as solo, or with any number of friends as long as they are within the Tier Restrictions."

When asked about his comment on rewards favoring dynamic queue, Lyte explained:
"To be fair, Ranked Teams already has more rewards than Ranked Solo/Duo. We've always rewarded skill, performance and effort. It's much, much more effort to get people together and climb up the Ranked Teams ladder than simply queue solo, so it had more rewards to make it worth taking that extra time. It's a bonus that we also think team play is the best League experience. 
In saying this, we really don't have the plan for rewards ironed out yet, so we'll talk about it more later in the season."

When asked about the 2016 ranked season starting on other servers, Lyte noted:
"We're making posts in each region over the next 24 hours."
He continued:
"All servers will start the new Ranked season with the new Champ Select."

UPDATE: When asked about the fate of ranked teams, Lyte noted:
"[1] "We have plans for Ranked Team type experiences in the future, and Clubs and Parties are the beginning of those plans #LeagueOfLegends"

[2]"For those wondering about Ranked Teams, we just need some time to figure out how it works in the future of #LeagueOfLegends""
On ranked teams in 2016, Lyte also elaborated:
"Going to expand on the points a little bit while waiting for food. 
It's been a crazy week. Back in March-April 2015 when we first started planning the new Champ Select project, Dynamic Queues and new matchmaker, it was a massive project that included future plans for Ranked Teams, Clubs and Parties too. 
In fact, since 2014, we've been working with eSports around the world to shift the Challenger Series/promos off the Ranked Teams System because the queue times and match quality were unacceptable for a significant chunk of players, and Ranked Teams had basically no players in most regions so the system wasn't doing a great job surfacing the next generation of TSMs and CLGs. In some regions, you could go entire days without a single game of Ranked Teams being played on the entire server and when matches were made, there were too many 15 minute stomps. We're not even joking, games would end before teams could surrender. This sucked for players. 
We're not quite ready yet to talk about Ranked Teams and what they will become or share more details about Clubs and Parties; however, we didn't want to start another season of the old system of Ranked Teams in 2016 just to massively change it or stop it randomly in 2016 especially when we know it's a really, really rough experience for players around the world and we believe that Dynamic Queues just existing will hurt the Ranked Teams experience even more. 
We do love the ability for players to play with friends of disparate skill levels and try their hand at something a bit more competitive, and we're going to let you do this in 2016. Our transition period just may not look the same as the old Ranked Teams system because we thought it was inherently flawed and had too high of a barrier of entry, bad average queue times and horrible match quality. Stay tuned--Socrates, Mirross and the Competitive Teams will have more details."

February sales schedule 

February's champion and skin sale schedule has been released! In addition to what will be on sale during the regularly weekly sales, this also includes several skins up on "early sales"! 
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this February. 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."

Regularly Scheduled Sales
Early Sales
As a reminder, early sales are when skins go on sale for the price of a skin one tier below four to six months after release! More info on that and other sale changes in 2016 available here.

Meddler Grab Bag

Next up we have a few posts from Meddler on various topics, including Evelynn & Shaco, Galio, and more!
When asked about any info on Evelynn or Shaco visual or gameplay updates, Meddler noted:
"We did do some exploration into a possible Shaco direction a year or two ago. That was a gameplay only update that didn't hit the mark at the time however, so got put on hold (it was some opportunistic work to see what was possible in some free time, rather than a prioritized project). Evelynn we haven't looked into a major gameplay update for since her rework years ago. I do think we'll need to take a look at how stealth/stealth detection works again sometime in general though (possibly as part of an assassin class update at some point). 
As far as VUs go I'd expect both to be pretty sizeable projects given the age of their current models/anims/VFX etc. Taric's our current priority, and Yorick's the likely full relaunch after that. After that it gets less certain. There's some argument for Shaco or Eve certainly, some other champs we'd really like to tackle too though (Urgot and Warwick for example)."
As for whatever happened to the previously discuss changes  for Galio that involved him getting a new passive, Meddler explained:
"We pulled those changes because they weren't hitting the mark, in terms of solving issues on Galio or making him more satisfying to play. For one thing there's not really any available power budget for an alternative passive. Galio's not popular at present, but he's pretty effective in the average game, so we don't have space to add power to him without pulling it elsewhere.
When asked if we'll see Galio changed as part of the mage update later this year, Meddler noted:
We'll be looking at more standard mages for the mage update mid year, rather than hybrids like Galio (mage/tank)." 

When asked if they had considered abilities that alter or destroy terrain in game, Meddler noted:
"We've talked about terrain destruction abilities a fair bit and do think there's some pretty cool gameplay opportunities in them. Making such abilities look good enough's the biggest challenge remaining at this point (still some technical and design issues to solve, but of a smaller scale). Given the way our maps are made there'd be a lot of work on the art side needed to support such abilities. I'm hopeful we'll get there at some point, definitely won't be in the short term though."
As for persistent flight or terrain passing, he noted:
"Some form of ongoing flight on a champion at some point's pretty likely, and mainly a question of finding the right gameplay fit, rather than technical limitations. Would be a really different ability though to terrain destruction of course (changing one characters options a lot versus changing both teams' options a lot)."

ricklessabandon tweets on Soraka PBE Changes

As you've likely seen, Soraka has a slew of changes currently on the PBE!

ricklessabandon has tweeted out that these changes are an early version and will soon be pulled from the PBE to return with the 6.3 PBE cycle.
[1] "one more soraka update~

the version that's on the pbe right now will be up over the weekend, then we'll be pulling it until the 6.3 cycle."
[2] "so, if you were interested in getting your hands on this early version, this weekend is the time to do it."
He also noted he has a small mana cost buff for Karma that will hit the PBE soon for 6.2:
[1] "(btw, giving karma a small mana cost adjustment in 6.2)"
[2] "ah, the karma change will be a small buff"

Context on Rengar PBE Changes 

Next up we have phroxz0n with context on the current Rengar PBE changes, added in the 1/15 update! 
"It's very difficult for Moobeat to scrape the whole Rengar changelist, so here it is: 
[R] Thrill Of The Hunt:
  • Exclamation mark range notification range increased by 1250 >>> 1550.
  • While stealthed, you will gain the movement speed regardless of whether you are moving towards the target or not.
[Q] Empowered Savagery:
  • Bonus Physical Damage 50% AD >>> 30% AD.
  • Ferocity AD bonus increased from 10% >>> 20%.
[E] Bola Strike:
  • Adding a cast time to airborne E instead of instant cast.
  • Bola can now be cast outside of your cast range (like Jarvan E). It feels bad to jump on someone and have your cursor outside the E cast range and subsequently not have it cast.
  • Base armor increase 25.9 >>> 27.9
  • When Rengar dashes, he lands slightly short of the target (prevents you from throwing bola over their head).
Main intentions were to alleviate some of the "game is lying to me" concerns with the exclamation mark. Many times on live with sufficient movement speed (ie. Ghostblade), it serves as a notification that you're dead, rather than a "you should take action here" cue. 
Second part was to shift some of the power from the up front empowered Q one shot combo. Intention here is that if Rengar catches you alone, he has the tools to kill you (with primarily auto attacks) if he opts for empowered Q. 
One scenario we want to avoid are where people are stacking on top of the carries to block the bola and he just one shots the ADC with empowered Q despite the entire team standing there. 
Another scenario to avoid is the damage on the upfront ulti jump empowered Q, E, W is so high that he will get a carry so low, that can't re-enter the fight, while escaping with the bonus movespeed. 
Scenarios where Rengar is casting empowered E more than empowered Q in teamfights, generally have more gameplay value for both Rengar and the enemy team, especially with the cast time/blockability/difficulty of landing bola while jumping. 
Let me know guys, really appreciate the feedback."

Jhin Grab Bag

Next up we have several small comments on our upcoming champion JHIN!

When asked about the significance of Jhin's champion targets in the  "mysterious teasers", WAAARGHbobo explained:
"By design, the promo is not 1 to 1 with his lore (like the jynx video). The thinking by promo team was limiting it to lore champs wouldnt be as interesting visually. BUT Jhin is aware of those champs and this is how he would like to "work"with them. (He has been planning some performances for years) That said, Jhin does have a very, very strong connection to Zed in lore and i think he is going to shine some light on post invasion Ionia."
He continued, commenting on Jhin originating from Ionia:
"He's bad, but not a myth. We knew we wanted to do a new villian and from a place under-represented for badguys. With the intention of showing a different side of that society, while giving our characters an antagonist. Internally alotta people like his lore. I hope guys like it when it is released (soon)."

As for his appearance, Kindlejack shared:
"The Bravo Ray designed the appearance of Jhin (concept artist =/= gameplay designer) and was excited about the idea of a 'mystery box'. You see this creepy thin guy who is asymmetrical because of a huge shape on his shoulder, you have no idea what it is... until the final act. 
What it is is four huge magically infused artillery shells racked up on a hextech accelerator built right into his mechanical shoulder (he's sacrificed much for his art). When attached to Whisper (and the extended barrel for accuracy) it forms the final piece in the biggest, most powerful gun Runeterra may have ever seen! Kinda reminds me of Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2."
More on Jhin can be found here

30% off Hoodie sale in Merch Shop

All hoodies are 30% off in the Riot games merch shop through January 25th!

(Visit this page and select the appropriate region to view your shop. Countries they ship to available here.)

Japan added to service status page

As you may have heard, a Japanese LoL server is coming in the near future! Today the Japan server has been added to the Service status page !
While each bit currently only shows as red and offline, keep an eye out for updates!

For more on the LoL JPN server, follow the League of Legends Japan Facebook page! You can also check out our PBE coverage for more on the Japanese localization and  this youtube channel for previews of the Japanese champion voiceovers.

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