Red Post Collection: Annie MYMU Update, 3/28 Patch Update, Rotating Game Mode Queue update, and more

Posted on at 4:31 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes a look at the March 28th patch update, an update from L4T3NCY on the upcoming rotating game mode queue,  Beluga Whale with a post on Annie's MYMU direction, and more!
Continue reading more information!

Table of Contents

March 28th Patch Update

The official 6.6 patch notes have been updated to reflect a recent hotfix to fix up bugs for Aurelion Sol, Ekko, Jhin, and Talon!
Aurelion Sol
  • TWINKLE TWINKLE - Fixed a bug that could cause Aurelion Sol to be visible to enemies through the Fog of War if he died while casting R - Voice of Light 
  • CRASH FIX - Fixed a rare crash issue caused by Ekko's Q - Timewinder 
  • DANCING DUD - Fixed a bug where Jhin's Q - Dancing Grenade could fizzle out before bouncing to four available targets 
  • GET ESSENCE REAVER? - Fixed a bug that caused R - Shadow Assault's second cast to cost 100 mana."

Rotating Game Mode queue update 

Following the original rotating game mode queue announcement, L4T3NCY has returned to the boards with an update including information on when they'll have the modes up, how often things will repeat, how champion mastery will work, and more! 
"Heya everyone, as we get closer to adding the new Rotating Game Mode queue, I wanted to give an update on where we’re at and some further insight into how it works. ^.^b 
What times exactly is the queue going to be active? 
We’re aiming to have the queue available every weekend starting around Friday afternoon and switching off sometime early on Monday morning. This will be in the local time for each region. The goal is to have it up once the weekend starts (that’s Friday night right?! :P) so we should get three evenings of fast game mode funtimes. This is just a first implementation, if the queue proves to be exceedingly popular, we can always lengthen the window. 
How often will we see modes repeat? 
This will depend on how many modes fall into the stable rotation. Modes will likely repeat every 1.5~2 months. Again, once we get started and see what modes come and go from the rotation, this could shift a little bit. 
This might feel short, but that’s compared to our previous cadence of “once a year”. Technically, “anything less than 12 months” is shorter than that! :P In short (see what I did there?), we’re looking forward to getting everyone more facetime with more modes, more frequently. 
How will champ mastery & loot work in the Rotating Game Mode queue? 
Much like regular SR currently, there will be 2 ways to get a loot chest:
--- Earn any S rank.
--- Be in a premade with a friend who earns any S rank. 
All the regular loot conditions will also still apply, so you need to have a chest available to earn, only 1 per champion, etc. 
Champ mastery has also been customised for each one of these modes, so you’ll need to perform well at the particular mode. This is obviously different to the current SR earning and might be a little difficult initially compared to SR as each mode has varying ways to excel. We’ll be keeping a close eye on it though and tune as the queue goes on. 
How do you choose what modes will go in the queue? 
We’re interested in capturing a wide slice of the different types of gameplay that each of the historical featured game modes embody. We also want modes proven popular with players, who voted with their valuable playtime and spent it in those modes. <3 
Specifically what modes will be in the queue? 
Poro King is already live on PBE and helping us test the new champ mastery algorithm. Later this week you’ll see Ascension go live on PBE to begin its tuning journey as well. We’ll announce more as we get closer to switching the Rotating Game Mode queue on live. 
That’s all I’ve got for now. Just wanted to keep everyone up-to-date on where we’re at. o^.^O Stay tuned for more news soon. I’ll hang out in here and grab questions for today too. 

Over on reddit, L4T3NCY  added:
"Haven't announced when the queue will go live just yet. We're still testing some things on PBE, making sure all the nuts n' bolts are in the right place, etc.
Soon (TM). <3"

As for which MMR these rotating modes will used, L4T3NCY  commented:
Will the MMR for each separate game mode continue on the next time it rotates through?
L: Yes. In fact, it already does! 
If you played Ascension, Poro King, URF, etc at any point back in the day, your MMR just carries over from where it left off last time. ^.^b"
 Riot Terra  added:
"Yep! Each mode will have its own MMR used for matchmaking, and it will persist across runs."

When asked about advanced scheduling for when the various modes will be available, L4T3NCY  noted:
will a schedule be announced for the which modes are when? will we be able to have tourneys in RGM's?
Yes, we plan to message a schedule giving everyone a 'heads up' on the coming few modes. Still figuring out details of this but, the goal is to let players plan events/tourneys/etc."

As for if Dominion would potentially return as a rotating game mode, L4T3NCY  noted:
Will Dominion back as one of the rotating game modes?
It's a possibility, as with every other mode we've ever done."

When asked if key shards will drop in the rotating game mode queue, L4T3NCY  confirmed:
Just to be sure as it wasn't specifically mentioned. Key Shards will also drop from those modes? Atm they don't drop on ARAM as far as I am aware.
Yes, key shards will drop in these modes. 
There is currently a bug on ARAM stopping them from dropping. Key shards are intended to drop on ARAM. We're currently working on this."

L4T3NCY  also added that each mode will be up in customs while available:
Will the game modes be available in custom games? Also do you have any plans on making all of the game modes always available in a custom game?
During the window each mode is live, they will also be available in Custom Games."

[NOTE: As of the 3/29 PBE update, Ascension is back on the PBE for testing! Check out our PBE coverage for more information, including a look at the updated Crystal Scar textures..]

Mid Year Mage Updates - Annie Direction 

Next up we have Beluga Whale with a context post on the direction of Annie's Mid Year Mage Update changes:
"Since the last update, we've thrown a couple mages into the pile beyond our original six as ones to tackle. Enclosed below is your one way ticket to Tibber’s Tea Party. Don’t miss it. 
One of League iconic duos, Annie and her bear Tibbers have gone through their fair share of updates as League has grown over the years. Throughout this, Annie has held on tight to her identity as a little pyro surrounded by gods and demons. Even the likes of Aurelion Sol is fated to die in a fire when matched up against a skilled Annie player. But while Annie has weathered well, her other half Tibbers isn’t living up to his fearsome potential. While Tibbers always makes a dramatic entrance, his contributions to the fight post-summoning aren’t always befitting the awesome flaming magic bear he is. 
Things we especially like:
  • The flash bear drop. Annie’s bread-and-butter burst combo is a threatening affair that’s more about skirting the edges of Annie’s range than dodging a skillshot. While League benefits a lot from the potential to outplay most abilities in the game, having Champions with reliable abilities is also good for the game as long as they don’t make less-reliable champions obsolete.
  • High accessibility, high mastery curve. Despite being one of the easier champions to pick up, Annie’s performance scales dramatically with experience thanks her limited but sharp windows of opportunity.
Things we are working on improving:
  • Tibbers AI and Control. The current state of affairs re: summoning leaves much to be desired, reducing him to be League’s cuddliest walking sunfire cape. Tibbers is certainly a powerful ally, but commanding him beyond tanking a turret or walking towards your enemies often yields a less-than-satisfactory experience. Often, he’s left cancelling his basic attacks while Annie is busy slings spells.
  • Hiding power behind poor threat communication. Constantly checking Annie’s buff bar should not be the correct, or only way to know if she’s hiding a stun behind her next Molten Shield.
  • Throw-away Passive stacking spell. We’d like Molten Shield to have a use past “Pyromania Stack”.
What we hope comes out of the update:
  • Annie players should feel connected to and empowered when accompanied by their summon Tibbers. This will mean shifting some power out from Annie’s direct abilities into Tibbers himself.
  • Players matched against Annie should have better communication around when she’s most threatening and when she isn’t.
  • Molten Shield should have value as a powerful defensive ability on a mage; especially one that’s often bear-dropping into the thick of battle.
With this update, we’re finally answering that age-old question: Yes Annie, we have seen your bear Tibbers. 
Beluga Whale"

When asked why Annie is getting changes even though she was not a part of the original six they announced, Beluga Whale commented:
What's the reasoning behind adding more champions? Is it that Vel'koz was really easy to tackle and had extra room? Or is it that the big 6 are coming a long a lot easier then you guys had originally thought. OR. Is it that you decided she needed more to achieve the correct changes?
It was always the plan to look through the entire class and do small updates to more then the big 6. That's why they were called The "big 6." Some of the small updates have just become "medium" in scope rather the "small." Thus the direction posts. :)"
he continued:
I thought these threads were only for the big 6 :O. Does this mean you guys have decided on all the other mages who will be updated?
Not all of them - many are still in the works. However we have upgraded a few (such as Annie) to be around the same scope of changes as the big 6, so we felt we should do similar messaging on them and get some player input.
When asked if other smaller scope mage updates will also get posts, Beluga Whale noted:
I'm really interested to see how the new Molten Shield will work! Will a bunch of other smaller scope mages also get direction-posts like this?
Some of them will, yes. Depends on the scope. The ones that stay the same scope as Lucian/twitch from the marksmen update won't. Some of the smaller mages have ended up as large as the big 6 though, even without new art assets added to them. Those ones will receive direction posts."

As for some sort of "pre-impact" indicator for Tibbers,  Beluga Whale commented:
Are you adding a pre-impact indicator to Tibbers, a short one like on Orianna's R?
Edit: As in an indicator and ~0.2-0.5 delay before Tibbers drops down.
The delay on Tibber's spawn is so short that we don't believe it falls within the window of "dodge this ability". If you predict it and jump out of the way, that's great! But a pre-indicator could send the wrong message of "we expect you to be able to get out of this".
For context, Orianna's delay is .75s, compared to Tibber's .25s"
On the topic of Annie's E and R, Statikk added:
Oh thank god, so often I've summoned tibbers to do an AOE stun and then he'll just stand there until I spam R to attack someone.
Though a few things I don't understand.
"Throw-away Passive stacking spell. We’d like Molten Shield to have a use past “Pyromania Stack”."
The passive stacking spell is meant to be her 4 abilities to stun right? So what does this mean that the shield gets more uses, does it activate the ability to stun someone?
"This will mean shifting some power out from Annie’s direct abilities into Tibbers himself."
??? What ability could even be shifted, unless you're talking about the shield auto applying when he's summoned, because otherwise it's 2 attack abilites that can't really be done, unless tibbers will now breath a cone of fire onto enemies lol.
Thanks for the read, and if you respond, have a nice day.
Currently, Annie's Molten Shield is often relegated to just being a way to more quickly stack Pyromania to get towards a stun. We'd like for her E to feel more like its own spell rather than just a slave to the Passive.

As it stands, most of Tibbers' effect and value happens right up front as he drops into the world. We are exploring ways for Tibbers to be a more relevant and powerful presence once he's alive. This means we are looking to shift power away from Tibbers just being a generic instant AoE nuke and more into its original intended purpose - an AoE nuke + an iconic threatening minion."
Regarding Annie's flash + Tibbers combo, Meddler noted:
"We don't think anyone likes Annie flash ulting onto them and bursting them down. We do think LoL needs some champions that provide reliable CC though as a both a balancing lever against some types of champion and as one of the ways to make short range damage focused kits functional (other options including untargetability, inherent tankiness, massive temporary defense etc). As a result we believe it's worth accepting the limited counterplay you have once Annie's in range of you, or when she has Flash up, frustrating though that can be."

For more on the Mid Year Mage Update, check out these links:

MYMU Discussion

Speaking of the Mid Year Mage Update, we also have a bit of extra discussion on Zyra, Ziggs, the "Grounded" debuff from Cassiopeia's update, and more!
20thCenturyFaux popped back in the Zyra MYMU thread to comment on her viability both bot and mid:
"Update here! We’ve done some research and had a fair number of internal discussions on the topic, and we wanted to post about changes in our thinking. The #1 clearest thing that’s come from the conversation is that there’s a lot of passion about where Zyra wants to go and everyone wants the freedom to make their own way on the rift, without feeling like someone's telling them what lane they should be in. To that end, we think it isn’t smart to aim balance toward a specific lane. We feel we should update Zyra as a whole, not any given role for her. 
We want to improve the experience of playing Zyra without mind toward lane. When we update a champion, we try to preserve what’s cool and unique about a character—a lot of what makes Zyra cool and unique has found success in bottom lane and we don’t want to remove it. That’s always been our aim; extending that to balance philosophy is a bridge too far. In the end, that’s what these direction threads are meant for—to catch stuff like this and fix it. 
We’ve seen the poll and are doing our own surveys and studies etc, and the main lesson from them is that both roles have lots of players. Our goals for the update are to make Zyra feel more like a plant mage, enhance her strategic role as a counter-initiate mage, and help make her more fun. There’s nothing in there about lane, and it’s not our intent to tell either group where they should or shouldn’t play. Going forward, we’re putting her in more midlane tests and making sure we don’t leave a lane behind."
He also added:
"Currently we're playing with hitting Q and E on enemy champs giving the same plant commands that her autoattack does."

With Cassiopeia's MYMU going to the PBE early on accident, players learned they were trying a "grounded" effect on her W making it so players on top of it can not use movement spells like Flash or Ezreal's E. When asked if this is an effect they would consider on other spells in the future, Meddler noted:
"We'll probably use Grounded on other abilities at some point assuming it continues to test well on Cass. Grounded's a debuff that presents the use of dashes/jumps/blinks for anyone unfamiliar with the term and we've been trying it out on the Cass gameplay update currently underway. 
I wouldn't want to add it to Viktor's Gravity Field without making additional changes though. Gravity Field's currently a slow, that turns into a stun, that once upgraded also vacuums. Ability to Flash, dash etc out of it's pretty important counterplay given the impact of the payoff there. The thematic fit's really cool, wouldn't consider if appropriate to do it for that alone though."
He continued:
"We talked through a long list of terms, those included. So far Grounded's the one we're happiest with, in terms of conveying what specifically it applies against (movement, but not basic right click movement). Terms like Stagger, Paralyze, Disable and Stall all imply CC, but are pretty general (could all be alternate names for 'Stun'). Hamstring's pretty good, ties really clearly to movement, it's very physical though and carries more thematic expecations and in this case a widely applicable term's useful. 
Grounded stops all movement effects in part so it's not too Feast or Famine. Applying it solely to physical feeling effects both introduces some loss of clarity (are Talon or Ezreal affected or not?) and makes it much less applicable in many games. Ability to lock out Flash in particular by contrast gives a baseline level of contribution (and slightly encourages use of other Summoner Spells on champions they're almost good choices on if facing a Cass or other champion with a similar effect). 
As far as stopping dashes in progress goes so far we're targeting Grounded as a more pre-emptive effect, rather than an interrupt. Possible that might change, we do have a lot of abilities already that interrupt dashes though (every knockup and knockback for starters)."
Meddler also briefly mentioned they will be doing some small work on Ziggs as part of the MYMU:
"We're looking into some low scope work on Ziggs as part of the smaller mage updates also coming mid year. That'll be focused on encouraging riskier play on his part (use of passive to get him closer to danger, more offensive use of W etc) rather than buffing his ability to just clear out minion waves safely from long range."
As for items, Meddler commented:
Will there be any items added in or changed for the Mage Update?
Yes. Primarily modifications to existing items, we'll likely add a new component or two to help with build paths though."

When asked if they have any plans for Heimerdinger in the MYUM, Beluga Whale noted:
"We did some exploration on the Donger but unfortunately nothing seemed to really stick out well there. I don't believe we have any plans for him at the moment - sorry."

As for inquiries on why Annie and others are getting changes but others are not, Beluga Whale reminded:
"These Mid Year Mage Updates are similar in line with the Preseason Marksman or the Juggernauts update. They are separate from large individual champion VGUs - like what Poppy/Sion/Fiora/GP got and what Taric is getting. "Entirely useless" champions like Galio and Yorick are much more likely candidates for VGUs rather than being included within these more bundled group updates, where they couldn't get the full attention and resources they would need."

Reav3 on Skin Splash Art Updates

With all this discussion of splash arts as part of the PBE's global splash art unification,  Reav3 popped on the boards to reminder everyone that skin splash art updates for champions who previously received champion updates are still in the works (just as Shen and Poppy has new skin splash arts with their recent updates!)

When asked which champions are on the list for this SKIN splash art updates, Reav3 noted:
Is Sona on the Champion VU list for splash art updates?
For the record, these are all the champions that are on the list for skin splash reworks right now. In no particular order. 
Nidalee, Trundle, Tristana, Sion, Miss Fortune, Alistar, Kassadin, Gangplank, Twitch, Fiora, Karthas, Maokai, Karma, Garen, Morgana, Sivir, Sona, Annie, Renekton, Nasus & Heimerdinger"
Reav3 continued:
I'm curious, the fact that a champion is on the list for a skin splash rework doesn't necessarily mean that all of their splashes will be updated, correct? Like for each of the champions you listed, skins that came out in the last year or two wouldn't need to be updated because they are already high quality right? (DJ Sona, Arcade MF, those Bilgewater skins from last year, etc.)
That is correct. Only the low quality splash art would be updated."
He also reminded:
"The purpose of the initiative is to rework splashes that don't match there model post-rework. It doesn't matter if they are legacy or not. 
The primary goal isn't to update old, dated splash art, that is just a secondary goal. The legacy skins can still be obtained when we open the vault or through Hextech crafting. And when they are obtained they should reflect the in-game model."

Reav3 continued, explaining Tristana, Trundle, and Nidalee will be the first sets and come out in complete batches but the others might not:
Will you guys be putting them out as whole bundles (The entirety of the updated splashes you did for one champion all at once) or as groups when they're complete (Some updated splashes from various champions who're finished now and ready to go)? Or maybe a bit of both?
For Trist/Trundle/Nidalee they will come out with all the champions splash art at once. Others might come out more piecemeal, as there are some almost finished splash art we have internally before we started on the Trist/Trundle/Nid ones. 
For example, we have a half way finished Night Raven Fiora Splash which we were going to finish we got around to updating Fiora's old splash art. Given the current situation we might bump that one up in priority and release it alone."

When asked about updated Warwick skin splash arts, Reav3 noted:
what about warwick ? is he getting any splasharts update ? or is that going to happen after he gets reworked (if he does get a rework)
Warwick is high on the potential VGU list, so we probably wouldn't go through and update all his splashes before that. If we did, then we would have to redo them all again when he gets a VGU."
Reav3 continued:
So, this one that was teased two years ago during worlds isn't going through then?
Sorry, I was referring to his skin splash art. We may update his base splash soon."

In case you missed it,  Ququroon posted a reminder of that over on twitter with a handy image to explain the differences between skin splash art updates, champion updates, and the current PBE  splash art unification (and a teaser for Lil Slugger Trundle's updated splash art!!)

Between Two Turrets - Come chat with concept artist Suke! 

Concept artist Suke has jumped on the boards for a Between Two Turrets Q&A session!
"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 Senior Concept Artist (dabbling in splashes and various other forms of illustration) Ke “hugehugesword” Su (aka Suke)!

NOTE - Things will be a bit different for this installment, as English is a second language for Suke. Myself and a couple other publishing types will be helping Suke identify questions and compose his answers. All sentiment will be Suke's; we'll simply polish a bit for clarity where necessary. Keep in mind that responses may be a bit shorter or take a bit longer due to these additional steps - thanks for your patience and understanding!

We want this feature to be a place for players to hang out with Rioters from all over the company, regardless of factors that might prevent them from more regularly chatting with you all on the Boards or other places online. Suke's worked with Riot's art department for almost five years and is super enthusiastic about getting to know players better, so we're very pleased to have him as a guest today.

My name is Ke Su, but I'm Chinese so I like people to call me Suke as its closer to the Chinese pronunciation of my name lol.

I'm an illustrator who works primarily on posters and splash arts. In the past I mostly created team fights for key art, from Season 2 key art to the 2016 preseason key art. I've worked with Riot for 5 years, but I was working remotely in China for the first two years. Before that, I was a concept artist and sculptor. I was a big fan of the original DotA mod years and years ago, and actually did two pieces of login screen art for it. Riot Games found me in 2011, and asked if I would be interested in doing art for League of Legends. I must admit, at first I was suspicious! As a big fan of the DotA mod so I wasn't sure I would enjoy League, but I decided to at least do some research and try the game out. As you can probably guess, I really enjoyed it haha. I actually felt tons of love and passion from it that made me want to be part of making the champions look cooler.
My first big project was the Katarina group image you see above, which was a great experience. After two years working remotely, I moved to Riot HQ in the US and became an in-house artist. This was an awesome move because it allowed me to work on a greater variety of League art, such as the base splashes for Ezreal, Kayle,etc.

Recently, I started to work on publishing my art more - you can check it out here. It's mostly composed of Arcade promo art, Project team fights, and the Lunar revel 2016 key art. Hopefully there will be more in the future!

I'm passionate about creating cool/serious/intense battle scenes, and I love choosing the coolest champions to build them up. But when I play League, I prefer a relaxing game with funny-looking and tanky champions such as Dr.Mundo, Volibear, and Udyr (only April Fools skin). These champions are tanky and fast, so its easy to go in, take some damage, and run out without dying too fast,and its no pressure even if I do die. I'm silver btw :D"
Be sure to check out Suke's Artstation for more of his art!

Context on Aurelion Sol PBE Nerfs + Q Cast Delay

In the 3/29 PBE update, Aurelion Sol's Q stun duration, R slow amount, and R slow duration were all nerfed. When asked why he has been nerfed, Meddler shared:
Why has Aurelion Sol been nerfed?
People aren't complaining about him and at present there are a lot of people still figuring him out. We're seeing players with a moderate number of games under their belts perform quite a bit better than appropriate though so we're trimming a bit of power off him."
He continued:
"There's certainly some learning to play against him going on. So far from what we've seen though, and this is a pattern that's been true of every past champion release with at least a moderate learning curve, learning to play as has a steeper curve than playing against. 
We are trying to avoid overnerfing here, discussion here today was on whether we should be nerfing additional parts of his kit at this point or going for these changes and then reassessing."
When asked about Aurelion Sol's Q and the small delay between using Q and being able to reactivate it to detonate early, Meddler commented:
"Aurelion Sol's Q has a bit of a reactivation delay on it because we don't want it to be too effective against champions who've managed to get on top of him. He's got his ult as a occasional reliable peel option, overall though vulnerability to people in his face is an intended weakness - positioning's one of the primary skills he tests."
Meddler continued:
I understand that it's an intended weakness, though what i don't understand is why this kind of thing isn't explicate in any way, in game.
Riot has harped about game clarity in the past, but doesn't not having this information explicate, either in the description or by the ability indicator, actually reduce in game clarity of the champion?
I mean for a more specific example, why is it that zed  ult states in the description that there is a delay before reactivation, but it's excluded from the description of aurelion sol
There should be some form of indication on the Q icon during the brief window you're unable to recast, yeah. At present we can either show time until recast or allow you to buffer a command for a spell, not both. I'll hit up one of our engineers, see what would be involved in improving that. 
As far as mention on the tooltip goes there's a lot of stuff we don't mention on tooltips because it's not relevant to the primary tooltip user, which is someone playing the champion for the first time or two. We've seen a pretty consistent pattern where putting small information the player doesn't immediately need to know into tooltips reduces people's ability to learn a champion because it draws attention away from the key points. As a result there are a number of things we choose not to mention there, especially if the things in question will either be naturally learned, are better observed than stated, or aren't particularly relevant unless theorycrafting (in which case outside of game sources are a good alternative)."
For more on Aurelion Sol, check out his release post! Remember he'll soon be reduced to the 6300 IP!

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