Red Post Collection: 2016 World Championship +2016 MSI venues announced, March Sales Schedule, PBE context, and more!

Posted on at 6:59 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes the March sales schedule, venue announcements for the 2016 World Championship and the Mid-Season Invitational, discussion and  on recent PBE changes, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents 

March sales schedule 

March's champion and skin sales schedule and early sales list is up!
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this March. 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. "

As for when to expect February's early sales, WizardCrab noted:
"Right now they'll be over the course of a weekend sometime in the month. So Feb's will be this weekend or next."

2016 World Championship hits North America 

The 2016 World Championship venues have been announced - this year the WC will return to NA!

"Join us on the ultimate U.S. road trip as the 2016 League of Legends World Championship travels across North America on September 29-October 29.

We’ll be bringing top teams from around the world directly to North America to face-off for the Summoner’s Cup. The 2016 World Championship starts with the Group Stage in San Francisco, before moving to the Quarterfinals in Chicago, and then onto the Semifinals in New York City. For the epic conclusion of Worlds 2016, we’ll return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to crown our new World Champion.

From coast to coast, each city will mark a new milestone on the teams’ competitive journey toward the final battle for the Summoner’s Cup. We’ll be revisiting iconic stadiums along the way, including Madison Square Garden and Staples Center, and bringing live League of Legends action to fans in new destinations.
  • Group Stage: September 29-October 2 + October 6-9 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA
  • Quarterfinals: October 13-16 at The Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL
  • Semifinals: October 21-22 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
  • Finals: October 29 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA
We’ll share more information about tickets for Worlds 2016 this Summer. We hope you join us at one of our stops or tune in from home as we venture across America to see who will etch their names on the Summoner’s Cup among their fellow World Champions."

MSI 2016 heading to Shanghai 

The venue for the 2016 Mid Season Invitational has also been announced - MSI will be held in Shanghai China May 4th through 15th!

"Get ready to see how the regional champions stack up against each other at our international showdown in China. The 2016 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) is heading to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center on May 4-15. 
At our first major international event in China since 2013’s All-Star Game, we will see some of the top teams in the world representing their regions over two weeks of play. Blending the ultra-modern with the traditional, Shanghai is an electric urban backdrop for the exciting, cross-regional clashes at MSI 2016. 
After last year’s MSI, we wanted to see more region vs. region matches, so we’ve decided to expand the Group Stage on May 4-8 to a double round-robin format, meaning twice as many games. After Group Stage, we move to the Best-of-5 (Bo5) Semifinals and Finals on May 13-15. At the end of the tournament, one team will walk away with the title of MSI Champion. 
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Sports Center 
  • May 4-8: Group Stage
  • May 13-15: Knockout Stage
  • Group Stage - Double round-robin
  • Knockout Stage - Bo5, single elimination bracket
Participating teams: Spring split winners from NA LCS, EU LCS, LPL, LCK, and LMS, plus a wildcard slot to be determined at the International Wild Card Invitational on April 16-23 in Mexico City. 
Ticket information: We’ll share more information about tickets in the coming weeks on Lolesports. 
Which region will become our next MSI champion? Catch up on all the Spring Split action to follow the journey of top teams fighting for a chance to represent their region at MSI 2016."

PBE Champion Changes Discussion

Next up we have a series of posts on the current PBE champion changes, including a look at some things to come in the 2/17 PBE update!
phroxz0n popped on reddit to note the 2/16 PBE Kog'Maw attack speed reduction was using an older value for play testing and the changes that goes out in 6.4 will be still be a nerf but significantly less so:
"Just to clarify, the attack speed value that will be going to live is 0.665 >>> 0.625. (This value still allows you to achieve 5.0 attack speed fantasy if you opt into it - eg. Rageblade, BORK, Hurricane, PD, Greaves gives 5.0). 
The 0.565 (Caitlyn base AS) was just a number that we were using in a playtest to verify some assumptions."
When asked about Kog'Maw's Q feeling meaningless with the recent shift of the passive attack speed to his W, phroxz0n noted:
"We will be trying to address some of these issues in 6.5. 
We're on too short of a timeline for 6.4 to get any changes in that we are confident in that will address these problems sufficiently. 
For 6.5, we'll be exploring some Q/R changes as well as general W changes to convert Kog into more of a windowed AA based spell caster (think Tristana/old Xerath hybrid), rather than a traditional "hypercarry" like Jinx/Vayne/Ashe."
As for why they are doing this attack speed change, Meddler noted:
"In patch 5.22 we increased Kog's base AS from 0.625 to 0.665 amongst other changes. We're now thinking that change wasn't a good one afterall and are looking to revert it, dropping Kog back to a base attack speed of 0.625. We're also looking into whether there's now too little power in Kog's Q relative to the rest of his kit, given it looks like optimal builds may not rank it until forced to at 13."
ManWolfAxeBoss tweeted follow up to the earlier Rumble changes this PBE cycle for the 2/17 Update:
"PBE tomorrow: 
Rumble - 
-E ammo recharge to 5 seconds 
- fixed bug where you couldn't cast E while overheated"
Riot Asyrite shared tentative nerfs for Udyr hitting the upcoming 2/17 Update:
"Udyr nerfs should be in for PBE tomorrow. Base Shield for turtle down 20 at max rank, phoenix proc damage down 20 at max rank."
Meddler added:
"On one hand we are hitting three things that will impact Udyr in a single patch.
On the other hand Udyr's significantly out of line and the individual changes are all quite small: 
  • 3% less MS on Runic Echoes
  • 5 less shield/damage per rank on Turtle and Phoenix
  • 5 less MS on Boots of Swiftness 
If those changes are enough to take Udyr from one of the strongest champs in the game in solo queue to a terrible state then we must be in a situation where everything's so balanced even tiny changes have monumental impacts. Given we've got a bunch of other balance issues to work on though that seems unlikely alas, so I'm personally more worried about needing to look into follow up nerfs than that we'll hit Udyr too hard."
He also mentioned a few things for Urgot in the 2/17 PBE (remember, wont be going live until at least 6.5!)!
"PBE tomorow: 
- Fear radius increased from 325 to 375 and cleaned up particle a bit  
- Reverted P and W nerfs to focus on R testing"
He continued:
"To clarify, the W reversion is only the base values. Duration, casting while ult is channeling and removal of AP ratio are all still in."
As for the 2/16 PBE nerfs to Xin Zhao's W attack speed and AP ratio, ricklessabandon noted:
[1] "the changes are targeted at 'on-hit' builds specifically, so it's more about balancing out sated + rageblade"

[2] "ap xin shouldn't be too far off from net neutral considering the crit changes still benefit that build"

[3] "that said, once we ensure the outlying scenarios are all good, i think there's room to improve xin overall"

Warlord's Bloodlust Rework on PBE

The 2/16 PBE update included a rework to the Warlord's Bloodlust keystone master. When asked about how the Warlord's Bloodlust rework scales, Reinboom explained:
"Non-linear (word: increasingly) 
At 10% missing health, it gives you about 1% LS. 
At 50% missing health, it gives you about 8% LS. 
At 80% missing health (or... just past) it gives you 20% LS. "

To clarify, Reinboom also added clarified that it does not work on jungle monsters:
"It does not. 
Unfortunately, the pattern (even at 50% value) is extremely jungle defining if it worked on monsters. Meaning, this would become THE jungle keystone."

Context on tentative Soraka Q & W Changes

Over the last few PBE cycles, a set of Soraka Q and W changes have been testing on the PBE!

ricklessabandon once again jumped on reddit to offer come context on the changes, including why the latest version has a movement speed boost instead of a mana restore on the new Alignment mechanic:
"ah, sure. i'll answer as best i can right now (don't have a ton of spare time this afternoon) and hopefully will be able to revisit later this evening.
why [does alignment have] the three second timer on soraka?
the idea behind 'deferred benefit' is to preserve/accent soraka's weakness to focused all-in attacks while keeping her strength in a prolonged engagement sharp (e.g., siege, kite, tanky metas, etc). this setup should add to the ways we can tune her healing in the hope that both the output and gameplay around it can generally feel fair to both sides. still working out the specifics of how this buff gives its benefits, but that's the idea behind the delay at present. also, i like how it interacts with windspeaker's blessing and ardent censer but that's more of a pleasant happenstance than a motivator.
Why isnt it just a strong heal over the three seconds?
part of the goals behind these changes is to increase the interest/satisfaction of starcall's isolated gameplay loop. that is to say, make starcall feel more meaningful beyond a servant to astral infusion's health cost engine. if the only benefit of alignment is health, then the decision tree is much the same as it is currently and starcall doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of soraka's output unless we tune her health cost/refund very aggressively. that said, i'd still like to keep the benefit to something that feels appropriate for a dedicated healer's kit which is why there have been experiments with things like siege and kiting utility. part of me wanted to try out mitigation stats, but it already activates windspeaker's blessing and i'm not sure what amount of burst mitigation is healthy on soraka at this point so i'd rather not venture down that path in these iterations."
When asked why the mana restore was removed from Soraka's alignment in favor of a move speed boost, ricklessabandon commented:
"mostly due to the performance variance of that mechanic in combination with the desire for alignment to give a potent and appreciable benefit. basically, for mana gifting to accomplish the goals it would have to be tuned higher than mana gifting probably should be. after playing around with it, i think the best hypothetical place for mana gifting (in terms of power budget) within soraka's kit would be wish…though i think that would likely taint an ability with a rather clean use case."

Wrekz on PBE Muramana changes

As you may have noticed, there is currently a set of Manamune and Muramana changes on the PBE focused around removing Muramana's toggle for an automatic application on champion hits.
When asked if these changes were ended to be a nerf to Ezreal, Wrekz noted:
"Changes to Muramana are not an Ezreal nerf, they are accessibility improvements to remove management gameplay from an item."
He continued:
[1] "The gameplay and decisions generated by Zhonya's is good. It is a single contained decision that results in good play. (1/2) "
[2] "Gating Muramana's power behind people FREQUENTLY forgetting to turn it on at the right time isn't good gameplay."
He continued:
"It still does the same it did before (spells and autos) you just don't turn it on and off and it only affects champs."

He also confirmed Manamune now also retrains tear's 1 mana per second passive!
"Yeah manamune just doesn't lose the tear passive now."

Over on reddit, he elaborated:
"The gameplay that comes from you working to be good at toggling the item on and off is not good gameplay, and due to how difficult it is to manage after an item that already has the stack->transform paradigm it detracts from the uniqueness from the item. Let me explain with an example. If you look at Zhonya's Hourglass that item has a lot of decision making around when you use it, it is a long cooldown, exceptionally powerful effect and it has real tradeoffs. It CC's you, saving you in a number of cases and allowing you to make risky plays with the understanding that by the time the self-CC expires that situation won't be certain death anymore (TF I'm looking at you!). Hitting Zhonya's at a bad time has consequences, hitting it at a good time has consequences. That is gameplay. 
Muramana doesn't have that. The toggle had no effective cooldown because it isn't really having you make a choice. All it did was add a keypress before you attack champions. Due to weak feedback when you hit that key the item resulted in a lot of situations where you thought you hit it but it didn't turn on (and you don't notice) or you thought it was off and now you dumped half your mana pool. Those aren't consequences of making a decision, those are unintended side effects of not having clear feedback on whether the item is on or off. 
But, even if all we did was go in and improve the feedback the item gives you and now you know with 100% certainty that Muramana is active or not, it still isn't actually producing gameplay. The consequence of turning it on or off isn't there. All it does is still add a button press before you do PvP actions. 
Why is Muramana unique? The core of the item is the stacking, its buying into the idea of "I'm going to buy this tear now and be weaker for a while, but when this turns into Muramana I get to be extra strong for a bit." That's where the gameplay is, because you made a real tradeoff in sacrificing power right now for power later. When tons of people (even in extremely high ELO brackets) fail to do that extra keypress before hitting champions and aren't getting the power out of the item it undermines the core decision they made. You traded power early for more power late, but if the item is too hard to use you aren't getting anything for that decision, it is a violation of the promise the item made to you in the beginning. 
Yes it makes the game easier. Hopefully you can use the extra mental space this change frees up to think more about what plays you are making, what targets to hit, what objectives you can do, and what plays you can make with your team. Those decisions are the depth of league, not "oh no I didn't hit 1 before I dueled that guy"."

Meddler Grab Bag

Next up is a grab bag of responses from Meddler!
To start off, Meddler answered questions  regarding current focus for this season, the state of the game, and more:
Last season you had a clear goal, strategic diversity. What is the goal this season? 
What are you trying to do with the game this season and why? 
Are you happy with the current state of the game? 
What do you think of the negative stance the boards seem to have taken to the current meta? 
Apart from mages are there any other groups that you think need a rejuvenation? 
Last and more personally, do you have any plans on modernizing champions like Jayce who do not benefit from as many items as they once did due to there skills not applying on hit affects or not criting?

Lot of questions here so please forgive some shorter answers: 
Significant differences between the different champions in a class has been our biggest focus so far this season, with the changes to marksmen to give them noticeably more different kits being the clearest example of that. We'll be continuing to work on that throughout the year, though will likely introduce some other focuses as well at some point. 
We're fairly happy with the state of the game overall, especially as we start to smooth out some of the rough points from the preseason (we're starting to get masteries to a point of decent variety for example). Plenty that still needs work though, from individual champion balance (GP, Ryze, Udyr etc), to systemic game issues (low interaction strategies in top tier play early game, low significance of Rift Herald, player frustration with available options versus stealth champs etc). 
Boards skews pretty negative, compared to discussions on the Devcorner, results from in game surveys, discussions on third party sites like Reddit etc. That's been true historically too, though I'd agree it does feel like a more negative tone at present than usual. There's still some really great feedback and discussion here that illuminates things some of the playerbase are unhappy with. There are also a lot of posts that aren't constructive though which doesn't make for a great signal to noise ratio. 
We're planning on tackling another class in an update at the end of the year. Assassins, initiating tanks and diving fighters are the groups we're considering. We'll potentially work on one or both of those other groups next year, though will reassess closer to the time of course. 
Making sure champions have kits that support an appropriate range of itemization is something we'll continue to work on. Not sure about Jayce specifically though sorry."

When asked about AP itemization, towers, and death timers, Meddler continued:
"We'll be doing some work on AP itemization with the mage update, focusing on some of the mana, MP5 and/or CDR items. Concern over AP itemization actually leaves me kind of happy in a weird way, in that AP itemization hasn't changed that much over the past year but it's no longer in a clearly better spot than other parts of the item system, unlike this time last year when ADC and fighter items looked comparatively sad next to it. 
Towers we'll be talking about internally soon. It's possible some changes there might help out with the lack of early interaction in top tier play (lack of laning phases sometimes for example) and we're well aware some players want much more murderous towers. Need to talk about whether that's going to be something that's good for the game or not though, or whether given how much better players have got at juggling agro earlier tower diving's an appropriate and expected part of the game at this point. 
Death timers I think's a point we'll have to disagree on for now, in that we currently feel they're in the right ballpark, particularly given homeguards being available to everyone for free post 20 minutes."

When asked about Ryze's problems and why he is receiving another set of changes, Meddler explained:
"Ryze has been a problem champion frankly forever, starting in beta, where he'd kill you with just his ult at level 6 and continuing through the years. Shifting him to a mana scaling mage with a closer focus and sustained damage pattern a number of years back helped a lot in terms of finding him an identity. Making him healthy within it's been tougher though, in particular finding ways to make him balanceable for a sufficient range of skill levels. His rework last year didn't address his issues overall unfortunately, improving some things but introducing some other problems in the process. As a result he's still been in a state where he's effectively a terrible choice for people who haven't played him a lot, while being very overpowered and nerf worthy in the hands of experienced Ryze players."

As for why they are aiming to bundle more class updates together like Marksman and the future mage update, Meddler explained:
"We bundle these class focused updates into patches for a couple of reasons in particular:
  • Working on multiple members of a class at once means we've got a number of designers all tackling similar problems at the same time. That means they're able to build up frameworks to work within together (e.g. what tools should a juggernaut have, which strategic spaces would it be healthy to shift marksmen into to differentiate them etc). That leads to a more productive way of working an helps avoid kit overlap (one of the biggest things we're trying to fix) as we map out space for multiple champions at once.
  • Doing batches of a class together mean we can then make more comprehensive item changes in conjunction with the champion updates that support and synergize with the kits. As above developing an understanding of the classes strengths and weaknesses as a group then also helps a lot with understanding itemization needs and restrictions."

Between Two Turrets - Come chat with Jaredan! 

Next up is a Between two turrets Q&A discussion with Scott "Jaredan" Hawkes, Narrative Lead! 
"Welcome to the latest installment of Between Two Turrets, a Q&A series through which we connect you with various Rioters to chat about League, life, and anything in between. You can expect an installment every two weeks or so, with Rioters from all over jumping in to spend some time with you on the Boards.

This week, we’ve got Narrative Lead Scott “Jaredan” Hawkes!


I'm Scott Hawkes, known on the boards (and by the unfortunate ADCs who play alongside my support) as Jaredan. I'm the Narrative Lead for League of Legends, which means I'm responsible for strategy, recruiting and overall quality for the Narrative Discipline on League. The Narrative discipline on League works on teams such as Champion, Champion Update, Voice Over and beyond with an eclectic bunch of talented folks form other disciplines to make new stuff for players.

Since joining Riot two and a half years ago I've worked on a bunch of things including a variety of Champs, Events, the Foundations team and some stuff you will hopefully see very soon. I can also be an awful tease.

Before Riot, I was an Editor-in-Chief at a couple of gaming-focused publishing networks, a teacher of English Language and Literature for nearly 10 years, and a freelance editor at the same time. I feel very old.

Outside the bonkers-in-just-the-right-way halls of Riot, I spend my time proving how patient my wife is while we raise our two joy-grenade kids.

My passion is for character and story and getting both into the hands of players.

So with that in mind, what would you like to know? Who is your favorite Champ? Why? Is this how it works? I don't know!"
Be sure to check out the boards thread to read through the responses, including Jaredan noting Jhin's story will be out  "in a week or so" and that Targon champion lore updates are up next! 

[EU] Introducing scheduled maintenance windows

Here's Riot tmx with information on weekly scheduled maintenance windows for EUNE, EUW, TR, and RU:
"Hey Players!

There's a lot of upkeep and maintenance that we need to do with our data centers and network infrastructure globally. Over the years we have been performing maintenance work in unscheduled but still repetitive time periods and it was quite inconvenient in preparation and management, as well as in advanced player messaging. We are leveling-up the maintenance process by establishing scheduled and recurring maintenance windows which will let us perform the necessary work on a regular cadence.

This new regular maintenance window will be set every other week on Wednesday mornings European time. This day will be the opposite Wednesday of the patch and it can shift if the patch needs to be re-scheduled. Depending on the scope of required work, the player impact can range from none, to ranked disabled due to expected reconnects, to full platform downtime. This maintenance window might not have definite downtime, and will only be utilized if specific work risks Player impact. Obviously when it's possible, we plan on doing maintenance without interrupting the players.

Having one standard time period for service impacting maintenance will both add predictability and help us reduce negative player impact. Here are the schedules for all EU shards, which basically are identical to patch times:

EUNE - Start time (GMT) - 02:00am; Ranked queues disabled: 00:30am
EUW - Start time (GMT) - 04:00am; Ranked queues disabled: 02:30am

Next maintenance: Wednesday, Feb 17th.

We will be performing our first maintenance tomorrow and it requires full platform downtime for EUW only. EUNE, TR and RU will be unaffected by this maintenance, so there will be no impact to those shards. This will be network maintenance affecting our Amsterdam backbone. Please check the Status Page for further updates and maintenance progress."

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