Red Post Collection: Happy Valentine's, MYMU - Malzahar, League returns to PAX East, The Mix of DRAVEN, and more

Posted on at 7:59 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes discussion on Malzahar's upcoming update as part of the mid year mage update, a heads up that LoL will be returning to PAX East, Valentine's day fan art from artist Rachel J Corey, the mix of Draven, a grab bag from Meddler, the latest episode of the League Community Podcast with special guest Nicki Taylor, and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Happy Valentine’s! 

With Valentine's Day on the 14th, enjoy this lovely batch of art from artist Rachel J Corey
"Love is in the air! Teemo is blowing kisses instead of darts, Tahm Kench is slipping even more tongue than usual and - whether you’re in bot lane, jungle or top - there’s no escaping Fifty Shades of Graves. 
That’s right, it’s coming up on Valentine’s Day, and while nobody is expecting hostilities in League of Legends to cease completely, Summoner’s Rift is as susceptible to the romance of the season as anywhere else. 
That’s why we’re pleased to unveil a collaboration with amazingly talented community artist Rachel J Corey, who you may have seen featured in /ALL Chat’s Summoner Showcase last year for her amazing League of Legends fan artwork. Rachel has put together five unique cards so that you can celebrate your love of League throughout your romantic endeavours. 
So have a Happy Valentine’s Day - and if you see us on the Rift, feel free to give us a cuddle before you blow our brains out!"

Mid Year Mage Updates - Malzahar Direction

Next up is Repertoir with a discussion on Malzahar's future update as part of the mid year mage updates:
"Hi all, 
Though we're still a good amount of time from their release, I wanted to put up a quick post about the kinds of things you can expect from the mid season update to Malzahar. To start, I'd like to point out that this will not be an exhaustive list of the exact mechanics changes or numerical changes you can expect to see in the update, as that is all still pending. Instead, I hope that informs interested parties in the kinds of things they can expect to see. 
A few weeks back, Statikk put up a post introducing the mages we plan to address in the mid season update. From that post, and a variety of others (usually player created), we've been able to identify a bit more specifically the areas we'd like to work on Malzahar and the kinds of issues we'd like to address for him specifically. The community has been a big reminder to me, and I believe Riot more holistically, that these smaller scale updates cannot take a "one size fits all" approach, and that we need to be cautious about biting off more than we can chew, so to speak. 
With that out of the way, let's get into the directional plan for Malzahar, a plan that I hope is fitting to the community's vision for Malzahar, fitting to Riot's vision for Malzahar, and true to coolest and most beloved elements of Malzahar that players enjoy him for. Generally speaking, Malzahar is a relatively low agency champion by virtue of his limited range and mobility. In order for him to succeed as he is on Live, he's balanced around being able to pretty reliably drop a full spell combo on whatever's in front of him and watch them die. We'd like to make it so he doesn't necessarily feel quite so much like a burst champion, but in order to make that happen, we need to give him a bit of breathing room so that it feels like he can comfortably navigate the fast pace game that League of Legends is today. 
  • Here's some stuff we're happy with about Malzahar and are unlikely to change: 
    • Functions well as a reliable anti-mobility/anti-assassin via Nether Grasp (R).
    • Has really fun/unique farming patterns via Malefic Visions (E). 
  • Here's some stuff we're less happy with and are actively trying to resolve: 
    • A simple W>E>R is often enough to eliminate or remove enemies, leaving them little opportunity to act outside of not getting into his range.
    • Malzahar is inherently low agency, and is historically balanced in a way that means he forces similarly low agency situations upon opponents.
    • Voidlings are a cool and unique element of the kit that often don't play a large role in his success throughout the game (AD Malz aside). 
  • Here's what I hope (these designs are still in progress) will be true of Malzahar following his changes: 
    • Malzahar's kit will feel familiar to Malzahar players; he has a lot of cool spells/visuals, and we don't want to change that.
    • Malzahar will feel less like a burst caster to everyone.
    • Malzahar will continue to be low range and low mobility, but he will feel less vulnerable.
    • AP Malzahar players will care about using their Voidlings correctly.
    • AD Malzahar will still be a decent option.
    • Malzahar's kit will have clearer signals for how he could have played better and/or how opponents could have played better against it.
    • Playing Malzahar still won't be a mechanically intense/exhausting experience. 
I've got to get going. This was something I decided to do somewhat randomly, so if anything is unclear, please do let me know and I'll try to respond. I'm going to be away for the next several hours, but I'll check in tonight/tomorrow. If anything, I hope this post helps to inform everyone what our perspective on Malzahar is, so if there's anything that seems way off or overly concerning, please do let me know. 
Following the initial post, Repertoir hung around the boards to answer questions:

When about about the comments on having better "signals", Repertoir elaborated:
The only thing I'm worried about are the stuff about 'signals'. This, to be, sounds like you're either changing his ult to be conditional or just changing it entirely.
As with most of these roster updates, there are likely to be numbers changes across the board to balance things out and make it all make sense, but we're aiming to keep Nether Grasp pretty similar mechanically."
He continued::
Doesn't this describe every assassin in the game?
Possibly, but we'd like it if Malzahar functioned more as a sustained damage threat than an assassin in the long term. He'll need some tweaks to make that a reality or worthy trade-off, however."
He continued:
So he will still be press-R-to-win?
Depends what you mean by that. A lot of ultimates could be considered that, I suppose. They are ults, after all. They tend to be the pinnacle moments of many champions' gameplay."

As for how Malzahar's minions interact, he noted:
does this mean he will do random burst damage if he use the random aggro of his minion combined with spell (similar to old zyra plant) or, on the other hand will the voidling IA be upgrade to the point the combo will it 99% of the time and thus force an overall nerf of his damage.
Hopefully it will mean more that you can expect Voidlings to act a certain way and respond to certain actions in order for them to do their thing, and that them doing their thing will have a meaningful impact on Malzahar's damage (or success, more generally)."

As for keeping Malzahar's R relevant, he :
THIS is the most important thing to me. Current Malzahar is so difficult to use effectively right now when his ult is a non factor. if 4 champs on the enemy team have a QSS, I'm essentially powerless, and if my ult is down the same applies.
It would be great if we could hit a spot where Nether Grasp still felt very impactful tor its strenghts without Malzahar feeling worthless while its down. Though that's a subjective assessment, I suppose."

When asked if they will be keeping Malzahar's silence, he noted::
Could I get any clarification on if you're keeping his silence and/or how much the ratios/base damages are going down?
Numbers changes are usually the last things we need to do to balance things out, so it's hard to say on that front. I'd like to keep the Silence on Call of the Void."

As for having Malzahar stay "safer" than other mages, Repertoir noted:
So I hope he'll be "safer" than other mages (if you go that route) but not a "safe champ".
I'd say this is what we're aiming for. I think it would be a pretty weird character mismatch (both thematically and from class strengths/weaknesses perspectives) if we turned one of his spells into some kind of on-demand lifesaver or something."

As for AD Malzahar, he commented:
No. Do not put AD ratios of any kind on Malz. Just make him AP and be done with it.
I wouldn't plan on us turning all his spells into dual scaling, but AD Malz has always used Voidlings extensively, and it would be great to keep that around."
he continued:
Though AP itemization right now doesn't work as well as AD for a Malz-voidling based style.
Perhaps, though Rylai's could give them some nice sticking power for the Voidlings given how well it is applied by Malefic Visions. We could also explore things like the Voidlings getting some of the Health and/or Resists that Malzahar builds, and there are certainly some good AP/Defense item options out there."

As for potentially letting Malzahar move while using R, he commented:
Do you plan to let Malzahar be able to move while ulting?
We've definitely thought about it, but there aren't any definitive plans to do so at the moment."

When asked about the item QSS, Repertoir commented:
So with the mage update can we just remove QSS from the game?
We've talked about QSS a bit as we began exploring these mages. Hopefully we can either get the item to a spot where it's still useful but not quite so hard-counter-y, or at least get some of the mage kits to a spot where they're not so hard countered by it."

When asked if he considers letting Malzahar directly control voidlings like Mordekaiser R or Shaco R can, Repertoir noted:
Will the update allow you to micro the voidlings a la Mordekaiser ghost?
Unlikely. I think changing him to the pet micro guy would be a really big change to the way he plays now."

When asked about how they go about these sort of updates and matching views with players,  Repertoir noted:
Not a Malhazhar question specifically but how do you personally take on a challenge where maybe rioters and the players don't see eye to eye or where there's disagreement within the players about what a champ is? I've noticed individual champs can have a wide variety of definitions of what this champ means to me.
Personally, I'm just trying to do my homework on what players love about the character and what absolutely does/doesn't need to go, and then hoping that goes a long way toward making a champion that is more healthy/fun while meeting player expectations. I think a big part of this is the realization that since this isn't a brand new champion we're dealing with, moving him from a 4/10 to a 7/10 (or whatever the correct numbers would be) as far as game health goes can still be a really good update. I think in the past when we've overstepped and tried to make absolutely perfect champions, we've made some odd decisions that involved a lot of compromises to the existing champion. Being comfortable with the amount of change we're aiming for and the amount of resources we're putting into it (these aren't full kit overhauls) should help to focus on the stuff that's most important."
More discussion on the Mid Year Mage Update can be found here. 

League Community Podcast - Episode 9: Here Comes Nicki Taylor!

Next up we have a new episode of the League Community Podcast with special guest Nicki Taylor!
"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, we talked with Nicki Taylor, the singer of “Here Comes Vi” and “Worlds Collide,” to learn more about her musical background as well as her love for League and streaming."

League returns to PAX East 

Riot has announced they will be returning to Boston for PAX EAST 2016!
"April in Boston marks the return of warm weather, when we emerge from a long winter of non-stop gaming and get together for the biggest video game convention on the East Coast -- PAX East! This year, League of Legends rejoins the show with a collection of experiences intended to celebrate the evolution of both the game and the community that’s helped make League everything it is today. 
We’ve been incredibly fortunate to see League become a world-spanning community, one built painstakingly over the years thanks in large part to you, the players. Your support is what’s allowed League to grow, to thrive, to welcome more memories and friends than any of us ever dreamed possible. This ongoing journey is the inspiration for the League experience we intend to debut (that’s right, this show is mobile baby) at PAX East. 
Away from the hustle and bustle of the show floor, you’ll approach a mysterious overgrown facade before entering the expansive pathways of Summoner’s Rift itself. Join us for an immersive, interactive journey through League’s history, showcasing both memorable moments from the last six years and the community that’s made it all possible. Throughout it all you’ll find celebrations of seminal community content and personalities, as well as the chance to meet some of the contributors themselves! 
We’re so excited about this experience that we couldn’t possibly keep it to just one city -- stay tuned for details later in the year as this exhibit travels to further events around North America. 
While the exhibit should be awesome enough all on its own, it’s by no means all we’ve got in store for PAX East attendees. We’ve teamed up with the folks at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and 4 itchy Tasty! Cosplay to build what can only be described as the most Thresh-tacular of photo opportunities you’ve ever seen. Players will enjoy the terrifying privilege of seeing the world from Senna’s point of view -- the inside of Thresh’s lantern (too soon?)! 
Of course, it wouldn’t be PAX without the reveal of a new, larger-than-life statue produced by master creature artist Steve Wang, the guy behind previous Ryze, Katarina, and Ziggs statues, as well as the Annie & Tibbers who command the lobby here at Riot Games. Rather than hype it further, we’ll just reveal the subject -- Lucian -- and let you imagine the possibilities. Think about it. 
The League cosplay scene at PAX East is always awe-inspiring, and this year we’re happy to support it by bringing back the popular League Cospitality Room. Need to repair a foxtail? Mend a broken wing? We’ll have materials to address any cosplay needs that come up while you’re on the show floor. As always, the room is open to any and all cosplayers (and their handlers), regardless of inspiration, so whether you’re in need of repairs or relaxation just stop by Room #152. 
We're excited to be back at PAX and look forward to seeing you there! 
PAX East runs from April 22 - 24 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston, MA."

Context on Sterak's Gage PBE Changes

In the 2/11 PBE update, Sterak's Gage had it's HP reduced to 400 from 500 and build path swapped out a ruby crystal for another long sword. In a boards thread discussing this change and if the sudden popularity of Graves was to blame, Axes noted:
"Just want to jump in here for a clarification: Graves is absolutely not the reason why Sterak's Gage is being nerfed - nor are any other Marksmen. 
Looking at usage on that item by Fighters and Tanks only, we're seeing usage rates spike dramatically - it's trending up right now the way Rageblade trended up in patch 5.22. That kind of red flag will get us to look at an item, though it doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong. However, in looking at it, we concluded that its stat efficiency is simply too high for its cost; it's worth getting even if you only marginally care about the unique stuff it does, even if you don't have great base Attack Damage. 
As a general rule, we try not to change items because of specific champions that change the rules of how stats work in the game (think Ryze with mana, Kog'Maw breaking the AS cap, or Graves devaluing AS and Crit for himself with basic attack rules changes). If we had to balance all of our AS/On Hit items around Kog'Maw, it'd be nearly impossible to make champions like Kayle feel good about their item paths. I won't say that we'll never do it, but it would be a last resort. 
Now, we do pay attention to how other classes use items. If Marksmen in general (not just Graves specifically) were the best users of Sterak's Gage, we'd have to balance around that reality. That's not what we're seeing right now - there is some fringe non-Graves non-Kalista marksman usage of the item, but not a lot and it's not 'breaking' the class at this moment."

Meddler Grab Bag

Next up is a collection of posts from Meddler on various topics, including a few of the current 6.4 pbe changes!

Over on the 6.4 PBE, Ezreal's R has a tentative cooldown increased to 120 seconds from 80 seconds. In a boards thread asking for context on this nerf, Meddler explained:
"Ezreals of multiple builds have ended up with much more frequent access to their ults after the preseason changes (Q shifting to a 1.5s reduction from 1s, Essence Reaver getting non blue builds to max CDR, IBG going to 20% CDR for blue builds). That's put Ezreal in a spot where he's got access to his ult significantly more often than intended which leads to plays like just throwing it down lane whenever it's off CD rather than using it more deliberately. Given that, and the way Ezreal's a bit too strong right now, we're thinking that increasing the ult CD's the right call."
he continued:
How do you guys feel about blue ezreal these days, you Ok with it being the dominant build again?
Blue Ezreal's a build we're happy to see and balance around. Some risk right now it's too strong, particularly given it adds an additional type of strength to Ezreal that he's traditionally lacked (safe, repeatable CC, that even just as a slow has major impact). Whether we should act on it at present's a topic of ongoing discussion internally."
When asked about the 6.4 cycle PBE change to add a note of 60 maximum damage vs monsters to Kog'Maw's W tooltip, Meddler noted this is only a tooltip update:
"That's just a tooltip change, it's been capped against monsters for ages."
He continued, noting they feel Kog'Maw is a little strong in 6.4 and will be looking to reduce his base AS:
"Regarding 6.3 it does look like we've overbuffed Kog in general. Looking into options at the moment, with base AS the most likely target."

As for the URGOT PBE changes currently testing, Meddler explained:
"We're targeting a soft buff with the Urgot changes overall. Adding an AOE fear to his ult's a decent amount of power though, so we're currently trying to figure out how much power we will or won't need to cut elsewhere to make that addition. For context that AOE fear is targeted in particular at allowing Urgot to ult without it being as suicidal as it often is in later game teamfights (bonus secondary benefit: strong thematic resonance)."

When asked about Ryze's 6.3 passive nerfs and tentative Q buffs on the PBE, Meddler noted:
"The 6.3 changes hit Ryze quite hard. Ryze has been a real problem champion basically forever, with issues the most recent rework failed to address. That meant that in his state pre 6.3, despite being extremely weak for new to average players, he was excessively strong when played well, to the extent we felt we had to limit his best case scenarios. We'll now look at where we can add power that benefits both new and experienced players, potentially starting with restoring the damage cut from his Q back in 5.14."
He continued:
"To be frank, I don't know, though expect we'll be looking at Ryze changes in more than just 6.4. 
Whatever the approach we decide on is though it'll need to be one where Ryze can be balanced to be at least tolerably effective for the average player without being way out of line when played really well."

Plans for Xin Zhao in 6.4

Speaking of balance, Sotere has also mentioned they have plans to tune Xin Zhao in 6.4 as well as changes for Fiora and GP that we've already seen iterated on on the PBE:
Then why have these problems the guy posted still going on for so long? I mean, go ahead. Nerf Zed and others more. Listen to us when we say not to go through with changes like the Xin Chao buffs, which you went ahead and did anyway. 
Can you see how we are so frustrated?
I do see. 
It's unfortunately easy to put together a list of things that frustrate you about the game. In bug chunks it is difficult to respond to all those opinions. Singurytas addressed a lot of the points in the original post with his separate opinions (below), most of which I agree with. 
To address the first points re : Gangplank and Fiora We have changes on the way for them. We probably went too far Xin Zhao with love and also have plans to tune him in 6.4."

Bouquet Ward Available through February 22nd 

Just in time for Valentine's, the legacy BOUQUET WARD has been added to the shop through Febraury 22nd!

Here's a few previews to get you in the mood!

For more on this year's new Valentine's Day content, check out this release post! 

Twitter Round Up

Next up we have a few tweets from Rioters, including SmashGizmo on an upcoming Ahri PBE changes and  ManWolfAxeBoss on Urgot's PBE changes.
SmashGizmo tweeted out that he has an Ahri E change hitting the PBE next week for 6.4!
[1] "won't show up on pbe until next week, but I'm changing ahri's charm to not interrupt dashes and it'll be impossible to find I think"

[2] "like all other CC with dashes. Dash will finish and the CC will apply all remaining duration at the end."

[3] "correct it's the same behavior we see with stuns, snare, fears, etc, where it applies after the dash"

[4] "Part of the intent here is a small nerf and the other is to make it consistent with other CC types."

Regarding the Urgot PBE changes, ManWolAxeBoss noted they wouldn't go to live until at least 6.5
[1] "FYI - Urgot stuff is 6.5 at the soonest"
[2] "i mentioned somewhere that the nerfs might be unnecessary. you can relax. or better yet, give feedback why you think so."

Hextech Crafting live on TR

With 6.3, the upcoming Hextech crafting system is live for testing on the Turkey server! Over on reddit, Socrates commented it will be up on TR for a minimum of 4 weeks:
"We expect to be running in Turkey for a minimum of 4 weeks before we enable this in other regions. This is to ensure the system works as intended and is stable. 
If you have other questions about the system be sure to check out the FAQ, podcast, or recording of livestream."

As Socrates mentions, check out these links for more on Hextech Crafting:

As for displaying champion mastery levels in champion select, Sorcrates added:
"We are looking at getting some CM info into champ select since with loot it would be a lot more convenient to see what champs you can still earn chests for there rather than having to go check the champ tab each time. 
Not sure it will make it for launch, but agree it'd be nice to have it there."

Riot Engineering Blog Articles

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

Community Collab: The Mix of Draven

We also have a new community collab mix - The mix of DDRRRAAAAVVVEEENNN!

Need more? Check out these mixes:

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