Red Post Collection: Save the Date, Zyra MYMU Direction, LCP Ep 14 - Putting the test in Playtest, and more!

Posted on at 1:41 PM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes a save the date for a surprise costume party on April 1st, 20thCenturyFaux with details on the direction of Zyra's mid year mage update, March Early Sales, Meddler on future mage itemization changes, a new episode of the League Community Podcast, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Save The Date! 

Enjoy cake? How about tears? April is right around the corner and we have a special reinvitation to a Surprise Costume party on April 1st
"Obviously everyone’s invitations were lost in the mail last year, so Amumu wants to make sure this year’s party reinvitation isn’t at risk of being forgotten, stolen, or accidentally thrown away. 
Clear your calendar and join us for a weekend of fun, games, and some light crying. Amumu’s party, to which everyone is 100% definitely showing up, starts April 1, 2016.
Hooray or whatever. *Blows into one of those party horn things*"
For those who may not remember, here's a look at last year's surprise party:
1)  You’re cordially invited to a soirĂ©e!2) The Curse of the Sad Surprise Party

Rumtumtummers continued, reminding that URF is not slated to return on April 1st:
"Oh geez let me get in here real quick... Like we said in the rotating game modes announcement, we're not bringing URF back on April 1 (but it will be appearing at least twice this year). 
Popstar Urf posts lots of stuff on the site :)"
When asked about it being a prank for the upcoming April Fools' Day, Rumtumtummers continued:
"We're trying :( I hope no one is too bummed out when they find out we're not running some sort of elaborate URF prank."

March Early Sales

"The March Early Sale is officially here! To kick things off, the following non-Legacy skins from the past 4-6 months are going on sale from March 18 00:00 PST through March 21 23:59 PST!"

Looking ahead, April's weekly sales and early sales have also been announced!

Mid Year Mage Updates - Zyra Direction

Here' 20thCenturyFaux with more on the direction of Zyra's mid year mage update changes!
"Howdy! It’s Zyra! Zyra the plant mage! 
The biggest thing Zyra players have asked for is more play around plants, and we completely agree. Her enemies feel the plant theme strongly, especially when they’re limping away from her burst combo under a hail of thorns. Zyra herself currently experiences plants as a way to invest more in a spellcast through W; we’d like to take this further. Her broader role as a counter-initiating zone controller is awesome so we’ll be looking to heighten it where we can. 
The next thing on the wishlist is the passive. Player discussion as well as our own internal investigations have shown it’s the weakest part of her kit, and we think we can do better for her passive. Rise of the Thorns provides some cool moments at a time when nothing else is going on since you’re dead, so we expect players will notice the absence at first, but we feel this ability holds Zyra back more than it helps her. The spell’s slow missile speed and long windup were required for it to be fair, but in the course of becoming fair it lost a lot of fun. 
On the upside, Zyra has a bouquet of good stuff. Her E is cool, satisfying, and very planty. Her squishy, defensive zone controller thing fits “plant mage” really well. We’re balancing her for the support role, but we do want to ensure that midlane stays fertile ground. Lastly, the gameplay of spawning seeds during spellcast may not be the flashiest thing around, but it isuniquely Zyra and provides some subtle play -- do I put my seed on their feet or where I think they’re going to go? Do I get two ranged plants, two melee, or one of each? They’re unique and they deserve to be preserved. 
Here’s where we think she’s at: 
Stuff that’s good
  • Strong identity as a counter-initiate mage.
  • Preserve her ability to catch and burst people who enter her domain.
  • You feel the plant theme strongly playing against her.
  • She dies quick if you catch her.
  • Her ult is powerful, distinctive, and satisfying.
Stuff that’s less good
  • She doesn’t have enough ways to play around plants.
  • Her passive isn’t as fun as a passive should be.
  • Plant behavior often feels inconsistent / buggy
Here’s what we’re trying to get out of the Zyra changes
  • Zyra’s playstyle has more opportunities to play around plants.
  • Players who attack an entrenched Zyra should be very afraid.
  • Zyra’s strategic nature as a counter-initiator is even stronger.
That’s all the thoughts for the initial post. I’m happy to answer questions and join in the discussion, I’ll be following the thread as it develops! 
Good hunting, 
Following the post, 20thCenturyFaux  hung around the comments section to answer questions!

When asked if they will tweak her current passive or make a new one, 20thCenturyFaux noted:
Does this mean you guys plan on keeping a revenge passive just tweaking the current one or are you planning on a new passive altogether
We're playing around with both, leaning toward the latter currently."

As for her Q feeling a bit generic, 20thCenturyFaux commented:
I’m not a huge fan of the Q, it just feels like a generic AoE damage, nothing unique.
Agreed. Other similar spells tend to have little things about them that change situation to situation--Karthus Q trying for isolation, Ziggs Q's bounces, etc. Zyra's Q doesn't have as much of that as we might like."
 20thCenturyFaux continued:
I feel like a basic AOE is acceptable for Zyra's Q because it's not just a basic AOE, it has an interaction with her W that affects the way she uses it. Making the spell more complex would probably just be overkill considering Zyra's not really meant to be a super complex champ.
Agreed here too, actually. Whatever we do with the Q, we're going to resist adding what we'd call "mindshare" to it--we don't want Zyra to think super hard about her Q. Karthus Q and Ziggs Q are my favorite examples here; Kart Q takes a lot of thinking to get right, so while it does provide the moment to moment differences we'd want, it wouldn't fit Zyra's kit. Something like Ziggs Q is closer -- simple but has variety."

When asked about his feelings on her R's damage timing,  20thCenturyFaux replied:
Are you okay with the way her ult works ? isn't the "instant damage upon laydown" part a little weird ? I wonder what you think of it
It feels like the popup should hurt, to be sure, but we like how the spell plays. It's mainly about what would have to change--if we moved the damage to the popup, the ult would be a lot less reliable as a counter-initiate tool, for example."
As for her plants, 20thCenturyFaux noted:
Is there really enough play around which type of plant to have out? I'm more than willing to concede to not being a very good Zyra, but it most often feels like I'm focusing on landing my spells, and then just throwing out seeds when I can for extra damage. Or if I hit the seeds with E instead of Q or vice almost never really matters. The number of times I NEEDED it to be one or the other doesn't feel very high.
Enough? We'd say no. Our #1 goal with this update is to add more ways to play around plants -- not just in terms of the damage they contribute, but in terms of what you're focusing on when you play Zyra."
he continued:
Yes, finally! I've been waiting so long for this thread.
She doesn’t have enough ways to play around plants.
Can I get an elaboration on what you mean by "play around plants"? It's really vague right now.
Players who attack an entrenched Zyra should be very afraid.
Does this mean her burst damage will still be incredibly high? I don't play her often, but every time I do I get the most damage in the room and it's extremely satisfying.
For play around plants, we mainly mean the kind of decisions Zyra makes--what she thinks about while playing. It's a broad goal, to be sure, because there's lots of ways we could accomplish it -- we want a Zyra that does mainly the same things as live with extra plant stuff in there. 
Take the basic combo case of, "I want to E+Q this guy with 1 plant of each type and then ult". There's side stuff in there is about maybe casting E from brush, or hitting extra people with E, where the R is centered, etc. We'd like there to be bits about getting more from your plants because of doing X differently, or getting extra plants because of doing Y, that type of thing. 
As for burst, yep. We definitely want it to be something she's good at. Not sure on exact numbers, they're subject to balance etc."

As for potential ways to keep the plants relevant late game, 20thCenturyFaux  noted:
I love the way you're brainstorming this. I love you. I'm so excited!!!!!!!! I would love to see extra plants spawned because of doing Y! I think I just mentioned how multiple plants spawning would be amazing when the ult is cast. But, you should look into making the plants invincible for a period of time so that they don't POOF so quickly in a team fight, we DO want the plants to be effective afterall, right? :3 I guess I'd rather see a garden of plants rather than 2 invincible plants, so I guess that would be up to you guys to experiment with. ♥
Some kind of health scaling as the plants reach lategame is pretty likely. Lane's a different beast than teamfights, as we increase the importance of plants we need to make sure they can exist for a while lategame."

When asked about her current passive and if they'll make a new one, 20thCenturyFaux  commented:
hope this means that you're scrapping the passive entirely and going back to the drawing board creating a new one. There's nothing salvageable about Zyra's passive and it's honestly something that just needs to not exist. It feels terrible to use and I really can't see reworks to it making it feel better, you still have to die to use it after all.
Do I get two ranged plants, two melee, or one of each? They’re unique and they deserve to be preserved.
Right now there is never a reason to get two melee plants. The slows don't stack so having 1 and 1 is always better.
We've tried different death passives and brand new passives, currently we're leaning toward just making a new one. 
As for the two melee plants, that's... actually a very fair point. I'm used to thinking about it from before we made slows stop stacking, but nowadays there's not much reason to get two melee plants. My bad!"

When asked to expand on "more lane control",  20thCenturyFaux  explained:
What do you mean by "more lane control" ? More plants and control of a specific area ?
The current Zyra already has a good pushing power though. That's not her weak point at all.
Constant pressure and push doesn't mean "good" though. The thing is that ultimately her pushing power hinder her more than anything due to exposing her a lot to ganks and such, and in this scenario, you may be Faker or not, she doesn't have anything that would protect her despite her poor resistances due to her E being one of the most underwhelming CCs/Snares of the game in her case ( casting time, missile speed, direction ) and your R being not reliable enough in this specific instance.
Both! More plants and more control of a specific area. Also, she's definitely already good at pushing, but almost everything we do makes her better mid xD 
And agreed on the exposure to ganks--one of the things we're trying is an AI tweak to plants. Currently we're testing that if they hit a champion, they won't start hitting creeps again on their own unless Zyra tells them too--letting her control her push as long as she hits a champ." 

20thCenturyFaux  also replied to a large set of questions asking for specifics on some of the changes:
"I'll answer your questions as best I can! Please bear in mind these are direction posts--they're about our goals and thinking, not specific changes.
What do you intend to do with the passive ? Tweak the current one or add a complete new one ? In which direction will it go ?
We played around with both, but we're currently leaning toward doing a completely new passive.
In what way is the Q representing the "plant theme" for you ? Except for the "plant skin" ?
The Q doesn't have much plant theme on it. As other folks have pointed out here, there's not much room on the spell--Zyra has enough to think about, so the Q has to stay simple; the simpler it is, the less room it has. We're exploring what we can do with it, mainly around giving Zyra more ability to make plants with it.
Cool, how do you intend to do that ? Adding more interaction with her spells ? her passive ?
All these are options, and we've tried most of them! Passives that make plants, revenge passives that make plants, spells that make plants, different ways of using enrage, etc. That's the main reason these posts are about direction and goals rather than specifics--all this is subject to change.
Will we have a "fix" of the AI and the bugs we can often encounter ? ( Not attacking when in range, not attacking for 0.5sec after blooming, wrong target .. )
For sure. Plant behavior feeling inconsistent/buggy isn't great. As it happens, I was working on the 'not attacking when in range' bug earlier today xD
Do you intend to do something about her survivability despite keeping her fragile state ( resistances, HP ..) or is that a no go?
Base stats are definitely on the table. Something has to give, but a tanky Zyra would feel strange... we're thinking about things like base movement speed as a way to keep her feeling like Zyra while helping her live more."

On Zyra's post update viability in both support and mid lane, 20thCenturyFaux  commented:
"She gets played both lanes successfully and will continue to--we're committed to keeping her strong in both lanes. Balancing for support is about acknowledging that most Zyra players do play her there. Trying to force her into a new lane isn't part of our goals with the update, but if she ends up mid we'd still be happy with her."
He continued:
"Yep! We want her to be viable in both roles." 

20thCenturyFaux  continued:
Even if you say you wanna maintain Zyra mid good, seeing that you finally ended up balancing her primarily for a role that doesn't make her as glorious as she could be is sad. I really hope this doesn't make mid Zyra weaker than now in any way at all. So many champions who would have been glorious mid have been devoured by other roles like poor Ekko. Luckily Vel'Koz survived and most of them are mid and not support now. :(
Also, on the 'role gone astray' part, I think it's good to support whatever the players choose in some cases, but many times the original role a champion is designed for really is worth being optimized for by you guys and people are just gonna get used to it. Zyra mid could have been a spectacularly iconic mage, but just because she had CC and everyone got used to her bot lane, support absorbed her. I was hoping you would solidify her mid with this update, but now as I said I just wish Zyra mid doesn't get weaker.
Everything we've tested so far has made her mid significantly stronger. There's specific reasons for that which vary from test to test, but the central theme is "more plants = good for mid", usually because of pushing power and lane control. We're balancing for support, but there's a lot there for mid too ^^"

To add more on the support and mid lane both being viable options, he noted #1 & #2:
Zyra's theme makes so much more sense mid lane. From what I've seen a lot of players seem to want Zyra to be a mid laner. When Zyra support is viable it tends to force people like Sona and Nami straight out of the meta (like they need help with that). 
I'd say balance around Zyra mid and let Zyra support be a gimmicky thing. It seems far more desirable that way around.
1: We think she'll be successful midlane, absolutely. If Zyra mid ends up being the main way to play her, we'd adapt just as we did when she moved bot after her initial release. 
If we decided to force her mid, what would we say to all the Zyra support players? Support Zyra has been the main way to play her for a long time, and she has an awful lot of players too.
2: Mainly because a lot more Zyra players take her bot than mid and we've typically had a bad time trying to force roles into champs. We're open to balancing her for mid if that's where she ends up."
He also commented:
"There's some people here saying a lot of the Zyra support players only tolerate her being support and play her there because she's strong, rather than actually wanting her there--that's an interesting perspective. One of the things we're definitely going to do is look into how many people feel that way--if that ends up being the case for most Zyra support players, I think we'd want to reconsider what role we balance for. 
Our plan was to make her viable mid and balance around support, so we wouldn't be happy if she was a weak midlaner. What's more, given her strengths -- zone control, CC, damage etc -- most anything we give her will be good in both lanes. She's a mage who goes bottom lane, as opposed to someone like Nami or Sona -- we haven't considered "me + a friend" type abilities for her, we feel they'd be wrong for her playstyle and character."
Reav3 also noted  there will be a small texture update for Zyra's base with the update:
"We are planning a small texture update to Zyra, but just for her base, not her skins. No skin though."
For more on the Mid Year Mage Update, check out these links:

Meddler on MYMU Itemization

Speaking of the Mid Year Mage Update, Meddler also commented a bit on the itemization changes we can expect:
"We'll be looking to adjust CDR, Mana and MP5 on AP items as our primary focus, with some potential side changes to things like the Revolver/WotA/Gunblade line. Overall scope of item changes will almost certainly be noticeably smaller than the preseason so this will be much more about adjustments to existing items than adding new ones."
When asked what some of the goals are, he noted:
"There's a lack of CDR options for mages, forcing those that want to hit 40% CDR into some pretty limited build paths. We're also looking into the possibility of making mana more of a mage stat and MP5 more of a support stat, which amongst other things gives us a lever to tailor items more to particular classes."
He continued:
"We're currently considering shifting Morello's towards Mana instead of Mana Regen to get some more separation between those two items. Making mana more of a mage stat's also on the table and something we're testing."

As for thoughts on the powerful Zhonya's Hourglass, Meddler commented:
"We have no plans to remove Zhonya's Hourglass, we believe it both creates interesting gameplay around the stasis and fills an important niche (windowed powerful defense for AP champions)."
When asked if they have any plans to reintroduce a Deathfire Grasp type item, Meddler noted:
"We have no plans to reintroduce DFG or a functionally identical item. There might be a way to do a much more situational (like Duskblade) AP damage boost item that's healthy, we don't have one in development for the mid year patch though."

Putting the test in playtest 

Next up we have the latest episode of the League Community Podcast! Episode 14 is all about the playtest team, including special guests Afic and Sickoscott!
"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, Playtest Team Lead Adam “Afic” Cohen and Tester Scott “Sickoscott” Hong drop by to chat about how they recruit, testing balance at the highest level, and Zirene’s…influential time on the team."

Daily Key & Chest Purchase Limit

In a reddit thread discussing obtaining the rare Hextech Annie by owning EVERY OTHER AVAILABLE SKIN and combining 3 skin shards, Wingfield explained why there is a daily purchase limit on keys and chests:
"Yep you can get her this way! Good find :) 
Also, earlier someone asked why we limit the number of chests/keys that can be purchased per day. 
One reason we have purchase limits ties in with our overall eCommerce mission at Riot. We want players to feel good about spending before, during and after purchase. When it comes to randomized boxes, the purchase limits help ensure that players really wanted the boxes and enjoyed the overall process and purchase experience. 
While most players can make the best purchase decisions for themselves, some players get caught up in the box opening frenzy. We chose to err on the side of not encouraging players to spend money that they might regret later and make sure it's something they really enjoy doing. At the end of the day, we know the boxes represent great values for our players, but we try to pace them in a way that minimizes purchase regret."
As a reminder, Hextech Crafting is currently on NA and TR servers, with an estimated launch on other servers next week.  Check out this article for more information and Riot Support's Hextech Crafting Guide for a rundown on how the new system works!

/ALL Chat | League Ink 

We also have a brand new episode of /ALL CHAT focused on LoL related tattoos!

"This week, ALL Chat is ALL tattoos! League of Legends has clearly had an impact on people from all over the world, and we hope you will enjoy these tributes to favorite champions and memories as much as we did. From memorializing a trip to Worlds to just loving the way a character makes you feel, players have stories as diverse as they are. If you’d like to show off your own League tattoos, post in the comments! 
Also, special thanks and a big shout out to the League of Legends subreddit for showing off their awesome artwork and ink."

Spring Special: Cottontail Teemo 30% off thru 3/31

Last up the adorable Cottontail Teemo plush is now on sale in the merch store for 30% off through March 31st! Check out the shop for more and remember to use the flag in the top right to switch regions!

Aurelion Sol Q&A

[Just wanted to note that I'm still working on formatting and sorting up the recent Aurelion Sol Q&A! Be on the look for it in the next red post collection or check it out on the boards!]

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