Red Post Collection: Evolution of a Dragon Champion - Aurelion Sol, February Bundles & Mystery skins, and more!

Posted on at 6:35 PM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes an update that we'll have a dragon champion named Aurelion Sol released sometime in the first half of 2016, a set of February bundles and mystery skins available through February 25th, a VOD of Ghostcrawler's recent Q&A stream, a new episode of the LCP, and more!
Continue reading for more  information!

Table of Contents

Evolution of a Dragon Champion

First up we have Inquitee with a follow up on the long announced Ao Shin concept, noting that we WILL have a  new dragon champion released the first half of 2016 but it will not be the same concept previewed years ago - this new dragon is named Aurelion Sol.
"Hey folks, 
Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon
named Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years
that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. We’ve seen the question of “Ao Shin where?” pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China. 
Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol. 
We can’t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years.  
First: Ao Shin’s kit just didn't pass muster. This is a pretty common problem we run into in the initial stage of champion creation, and while sometimes we can adjust on the fly (a useable ‘paper kit’ might have two or three core abilities that make things click), other times we need to shelve the entire concept and take a step back. Internally, we call this ‘ice boxing’ a champion until we can revisit with a fresh perspective. 
Second: delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragon’s body - long and powerful - in a game where instantaneous turning is key presents some unique technical challenges. Given enough time, we were confident we could solve the turning problem, but because Ao Shin’s abilities weren’t coming together we were reluctant to commit to engineering work that might just end up scrapped. 
Finally - and this was the big one - we committed too early to Ao Shin’s premise without really developing his thematic roots. Around the time we announced Ao Shin, we were in the process of slowing down our champion pipeline to figure out how to continue delivering resonant characters that feel unique to the League universe. We learned a lot during this time (still learning!) and when we examined Ao Shin with these new lessons - Why was he in Runeterra? What were his motivations? - we unearthed a fresh thematic that really set us off running.  
So in the end, while we’re sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, we’re still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope you’ll love. Aurelion Sol’s got some big shoes (claws?) to fill, but we still like surprises so stay tuned - any of our next few champions could be him!"

Few reds hung around the post to answer questions!

As for why they chose to make this announcement, Meddler explained:
"We felt talking a little bit about Aurelion Sol early was the appropriate thing to do given we'd previously shown early parts of Ao Shin but hadn't been clear in the years afterwards as to what was up with him. 
Aurelion Sol's massively further along than Ao Shin ever got though, we're extremely confident he'll come out in the first half of this year. Ao Shin by contrast we didn't have much more than concept art and some possible ideas for when we talked about him the first time."
He continued, explaining why the original Ao Shin announcement was handled the way it was:
"We had a lot of confidence in the general idea of a full dragon champion. It was also a pretty experimental reveal that we felt was worth trying. There was some risk to doing so and it was something we'd normally shied away from, but trying to find appropriate ways to be more open about how we work's something we're interested in.

Not in retrospect a successful move, particularly looking back with hindsight at the various problems we ran into above and beyond those most champions encounter. We're still of the mindset that taking some risks is definitely worthwhile, always looking to get better at choosing which ones though of course."

As for if Aurelion Sol is male, Meddler added:
"Yes, Aurelion Sol is male. Too early to talk any gameplay details though sorry."
He continued:
"Generally we'll aim for a roughly even split between male and female champions on average. For any given concept though we'll go for whichever option makes the most sense for the champion in question. Looking back over our last 10 champions 3.5 read as female (Illaoi, Rek'Sai, Kalista, half of Kindred), so that does under index a bit. Going back quite a bit further to the last 30 champions it's 13.5, so still slightly under half though by a lower proportion."
When asked for more details on Aurelion Sol, Meddler noted:
"That post's the best info available at present. I expect we'll talk a bit more about what did and didn't work around the time of Aurelion Sol's release as well though."
He continued:
"We're not ready to talk details of Aurelion Sol right now sorry. We wanted to give some advance visibility into him given Ao Shin's concept posting years ago, going forward though we'll want to treat him just like any other new champion though with the usual pre PBE reveal process."

When asked about the original Ao Shin design and what will happen to assets, Meddler explained:
"We never built a fully functioning model, let alone animations, sound effects, visual effects etc for Ao Shin. We did do a bunch of early prototyping, that involved reusing existing assets from other champions or very rough draft work (grey blocky model to test turning animations sort of thing)."
He continued, replying to another player asking about his assets or if Ao Shin would persist as something in the lore:
"If we had an actual Ao Shin we could include in game then it'd be worth discussing. He simply never got to that stage though so it'd be a case of building something just for that purpose, not reusing existing work. 
I don't believe Ao Shin specifically's likely to crop up in lore in any form, he was an idea we ultimately didn't feel worked in LoL."

For anyone concerned this might be some sort of elaborate joke for April Fools, Meddler noted':
"Aurelion Sol is not at all related to April Fool's or any form of trick. He's a champion that'll be coming out sometime in the first half of this year in the same way other champions come out."

February Bundles and Mystery Skins

Several February bundles and mystery skins are now available though February 25th! 
"February brings in four new bundles to help you take towers with style. You’ll never enter the Rift unprepared with this special selection of skins! 
Mystery chests and skins are also available if you’re feeling extra daring. 
Mystery chest - 790 RP 
Mystery skin - 490 RP 
Mystery chests cost 790 RP, guaranteeing an unowned skin worth 975 RP or more. 
Mystery skins cost 490 RP, guaranteeing an unowned skin worth 520 RP or more. 
Grab these limited-time bundles and Mystery skins now through 23:59 PDT February 25
Flashy Fighters Bundle - 50% off at 2623 RP (4872 RP if you need the Champions)
Skins included:
  • Arcade Riven
  • Arclight Vayne
  • High Noon Yasuo
  • Shockblade Zed
  • Warring Kingdoms Katarina

Champions included:

  • Riven
  • Vayne
  • Yasuo
  • Zed
  • Katarina

Blast from the Past bundle - 50% off at 2323 RP (4182 RP if you need the Champions)
Skins included:
  • Prehistoric Anivia
  • Molten Rammus
  • Mythic Cassiopeia
  • Cryocore Brand
  • Jurassic Cho'Gath

Champions included:
  • Anivia
  • Rammus
  • Cassiopeia
  • Brand
  • Cho'Gath

Colorful Combatants Bundle - 50% off at 2999 RP (5340 RP if you need the Champions)
Skins included:
  • Pool Party Zac
  • Arcade Hecarim
  • Neon Strike Vi
  • Creator Viktor
  • Blood Moon Elise

Champions included:

  • Zac
  • Hecarim
  • Vi
  • Viktor
  • Elise

Kill Them with Cuteness Bundle - 50% off at 2587 RP (4387 RP if you need the Champions)
Skins included:
  • Academy Ahri
  • Kitty Cat Katarina
  • Order of the Banana Soraka
  • Star Guardian Lux
  • Dragon Trainer Lulu

Champions included:

  • Ahri
  • Katarina
  • Soraka
  • Lux
  • Lulu
Check out the February sale schedule for a list of other skins and champions on sale this month, including early sales! March's sale schedule is also up.

LCP Episode 10 - Scarra gets the reset

It's Thursday and we have a new episode of the League Community podcast, with special guests Jatt and Scarra!
"Welcome to the latest installment of the League Community Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with the people who help make League possible. Expect new guests and new stories every couple of weeks or so, and make sure to hit us with those sweet comments and ratings so we can keep striving toward a Challenger tier podcast. 
This week, Jatt joins us as a guest host while we get to know Scarra and chat with him about life as a pro, getting older as a gamer, and his latest project."

New Cho'Gath Ability Icons soon

In a thread discussing the new  Shaco ability icons in 6.3, Reav3 noted Cho'Gath should have updated icons in the 6.5 PBE cycle!
"Glad you like them! I'll pass that one to the artist. 
New Cho'Gath ones should be in the next PBE cycle!"

Warlord's Bloodlust Rework Discussion

Following up on Reinboom's recent comments on the Warlord's Bloodlust keystone mastery rework currently on PBE , Meddler shared:
"The revised Warlord's is intended to be attractive to champions that repeatedly auto attack who are seeking sustain rather than damage (contrast with Fervor) and in a way that scales with offensive stats like crit, AS and Armor Pen, rather than defense (contrast with Grasp). We expect marksmen to be one of the primary groups Warlord's appeals to as a result, though probably not the only ones. Fervor should be particularly appealing if you've got a team offering a lot of peel or are intending to grab lifesteal elsewhere, Warlord's if you want some build path flexibility and have other strong damage sources on your team. 
The strong crit synergy unfortunately felt like it restricted our ability to balance Warlord's for a range of champions more than it allowed cool interactions with specific kits. 
We also feel that masteries can't be too spikey in terms of early versus late game performance. Some masteries slanting towards strength in particular parts of the game is fine. Masteries that just don't contribute anything early game by contrast would need to be ridiculously powerful late game, given how the early game feeds into mid/late game." 
He continued:
"I think it's reasonable to believe that some marksmen might forgo a lifesteal item and take Warlord's instead, though we might not see that initially (or might see it too often if the launch balance is overtuned). 
The healing from Warlord's is going to be regular lifesteal but only against champions and minions. That will function against player summoned minions, but won't do anything against wards or jungle monsters."

Wukong W Tweaks

When asked if the team has any upcoming plans for Wukong, Meddler noted they are are currently working on quality of life tweaks to his W:
"We've got some tweaks to his W being worked on that should address some of the tells there that give the clone away in non intended ways (animation blending from run to stopped from memory). Power impact's unlikely to be significant, should be a nice little QoL buff for Wukongs playing against people that know his kit well enough to circumvent the intended mind game there via that method though. 
Nothing else currently planned as far as I'm aware."

Elise Movement speed and Runic Echoes

With the movement speed nerf for Runic Echoes slated for upcoming 6.4 patch, Sotere briefly commented on Elise in a thread asking if she'll have a her base movement speed reverted as well.
"We considered reverting the Elise MS nerf alongside the Runic Echoes nerf. We decided not to because we think she will be quite strong even with changes to RE. She was viable before the item, and will likely remain so after the reduction to its movement speed. 
If it turns out we are wrong and she's suffering, I don't think we'd hesitate to put back her Movement Speed."

Ghostcrawler Q&A Livestream Session

Ghostcrawler recently hoped on the League Community Twitch stream to do a Q&A answering player questions about all sorts of things! Join Greg and Andy as they answer questions on topics ranging from balance and reworks to Hextech crafting and PBE!

There is a League Community stream every week on Wednesday's and they will be doing one of these Q&A sessions every month!

Zz'Rot Portal Disabled until 6.4

In case you missed the service status announcement, Zz'Rot Portal has been disabled due to a bug and won't be available until 6.4 (which should be out to live next week!)
"We've temporarily disabled ZZ'Rot Portal due to an in-game bug and are working on fixing the problem. It will be disabled until the 6.4 patch."

Riot Engineering Blog Articles

Next up we have a few new Riot Engineering blogs for the tech savvy summoner:

/ALL Chat | Role Stereotypes 

Last up we have a new episode of /ALL CHAT!

"On this week’s /ALL Chat, all four hosts sit down on the new set to show off Konnestra’s cartoony champions, listen to League music on tesla coils and discuss what your role really says about you. Are you a hot shot ADC? Mid lane Rambo-style? Top lane loner?"

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