Red Post Collection: Vladimir MYMU direction, Response to LCU Leak, Meddler on Leveling, and more!

Posted on at 2:26 PM by Moobeat
This evening's red post collection includes Stashu discussing the direction of Vladimir's mid year mage update, a response to the recent League Client Update alpha leak, Meddler noting they are looking to reduce the amount of XP needed to level to thirty,  and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents 

Mid Year Mage Updates - Vladimir Direction 

Following up on the Brand, Cassiopeia,  Malzhar, and Vel'Koz discussions, Stashu has posted on Vladimir's direction for the future Mid Year Mage Update. 
"You know what time it is! 
[it’s Vladimir’s direction post time!] 
With all the other mage posts coming out, you probably already know what to expect here, so let’s dive right in: What sorts of things are we looking to do with our Crimson Reaper? Off the bat, we’ve heard you and we strongly agree that his sustain is what sets him apart both strategically and thematically, and we’re looking to keep it that way. With that out of the way, let’s get a little more specific: 
We’re not likely to change: 
  • Sustain -- Vladimir is the best sustainer in his class and likely the best in the game (Mundo might take that one).
  • Health costs -- Risk management in the form of his own HP bar has always been core to Vladimir, and we’d like to reinforce that.
  • Stat Affinity -- Vlad has always been the AP + HP guy, and we think that’s pretty cool.
  • Q Targeting -- Not everything has to be a skill shot, and we think retaining the old paradigm here is important to the spell’s feel.
  • Strengths / Weaknesses -- Vlad is the Mage who can out sustain low-damage foes but falls to teams with reliable gap-closing and burst damage.
  • Sanguine Pool -- An iconic ability that should be preserved. 
We’re looking to improve: 
  • Stack management -- We like the cerebral health cost management aspects of E, but we do not like the resulting unintuitive upkeep game.
  • Binary matchups -- Vlad is sometimes thought of as the king of stat checks, leaving his opponents (and often himself) with few options other than ‘be stronger,’ and that’s not a reputation anyone wants. A lot of this comes from unclear windows of strength and weakness (they exist, but are difficult to perceive), so a lot of our work will be in exposing those.
  • Counterplay -- Closely related to the above point, Vladimir’s opponents often feel there’s nothing they can do to avoid his damage once in range of him.
  • Satisfaction -- Mostly looking at E here (‘Tides of Blood’ inspires a much more powerful image than the current E delivers on, and we’d like to change that), though there’s a few other areas that can feel better. TLDR; Needs blood. MORE BLOOD. 
When we’re done: 
  • Vladimir’s kit should feel very familiar, and his overall strategy will be largely unchanged!
  • Vladimir’s windows of strength and weakness will be clearer to both himself and the opponent, giving everyone an increased understanding of how he succeeds or fails and allowing him to plan and set up plays.
  • Vladimir will continue to deal loads of DPS and heal buckets of HP, but in more satisfying and less diffuse ways. 
Anddd that about sums it up! I know I’ve been pretty abstract here, so please ask any question you may have -- we’re not through with all the nitty gritty details on our end yet, so I may not have all the answers you’re looking for, but I can definitely share our thoughts and the relevant guiding principles. Also, and most importantly, if any of the above breaks your expectations of what Vladimir is or should be, now’s definitely the time to let us know! 
Alright, that’s it from me for now but I’ll be around over the next couple days! See ya then, 

Following the post, Stashu hung around the boards to discuss the changes and answer questions:

When asked if Vladimir's R will be reworked, he noted:

Exciting stuff!
Will the ult be tweaked as well, or will it remain unchanged?
I believe Hemoplague (R) is a great candidate for changes, but we're focusing our efforts on his more moment-to-moment actions first (his base abilities), as those seem to be more at the heart of his problems and really can just be way more awesome than at present. 
Though it's not perfect, R has a unique effect and makes for some cool moments (I always enjoy getting those delayed POP!! kills), so we decided we'd look elsewhere first and tackle that one if there's some room at the end."
He continued, replying to a comment on Tides of Blood:
I definitely agree Tides of Blood feels lackluster. It's just something you tap every once in a while to make sure your spells will heal you more and to make that creep wave disappear. Anything you can add to your plans for that specific spell? I would expect health management to become a larger part of his kit, right now it's a minor issue until level 9, when it's completely eradicated from play through Transfusion's heal. 
You mentioned more blood, I think all of his skills require more blood. He is the Sanguine Sorcerer, after all.
Sure thing -- We're looking to make it more of a risky ante in the moment, rather than over 4-5 casts. We want Vlad to be thinking 'how much health can I afford to pay RIGHT NOW?' and we want the ability to enable him to pay a LOT if he wants to, or a little if he doesn't/can't, offering him a proportional reward to the amount spent.
he continued:
One thing that appears to not be brought up here that I've always enjoyed about Vlad is how good he is at diving into an entire team. His ult, his pool, a stacked-up E... you all get the best pay off for these spells by hitting multiple people with them, especially his E. I feel like this aspect of Vlad is actually what's helped keep his Q unchanged for so long; it may be a boring spell on paper, but by being Vlad's only single-target spell, it stands out on his otherwise teamfight-oriented kit. 
Even if this involved toning down his dueling abilities, is Vlad's "the more the merrier" aspect something you intend to hone in on a little more specifically, or is Vlad's preferred fighting space something you are okay with not putting too much thought into and instead seeing what happens with his changes? Not that that would be a bad thing - if Vlad is being changed along the guidelines you just listed above, I'm completely fine with whatever fight styles he ends up being best at.
Agreed- one of Vlad's higher moments at present in W'ing through the front line, R'ing the whole team and smashing them with a 'big' E. We plan to keep this general pattern, and E's AoE nature is core to it. The changes we're looking at are focused more on redefining what 'big' means and how to get it."

When asked about his mobility and range, Stashu noted:
Are any changes to his mobility and ranges considered?
Some basic movement speed would help to make Movement Speed Quints less compelling for Vladimir.
Not specifically, but we agree that currently most of what Vlad has to do to be successful is simply be in range of the opponent, and so this reallllly favors MS quints. We'd like to change this dependency, so there's a solid chance we add a haste somewhere; but as there are multiple ways to solve this, no promises!"
When asked if Vladimir will received new ability icons, he noted:
Will Vladimir and some of the more dated mages that are being reworked receive updated ability icons, even for the abilities that aren't being removed? Some, like Vlad's and Malzahar's, are pretty dated.
The plan for Vladimir is to get all new icons! But we're not going to hold up his release if something falls through there, of course."
As for Vladimir's passive, Stashu noted:
Opinions about his passive?
Kind of similar to the ult, actually. I find Crimson Pact to be unique and thematic, though not particularly exciting, BUT not offensive either. Accordingly, it's low on the priority list, but not off the table."

On spell vamp, he noted:
What are your directions with spell vamp and his spellvamp afinity since you pointed "stat afinity"?
Oh boy... this is the thing of my nightmares at the moment. I love that Vlad is 'the spellvamp guy.' It's very thematic and is pretty unique to him. But... 
It's tough to make a damaging ability with a health cost when spell vamp exists, as the healthcost quickly fades to irrelevance (especially AoE spells in minion waves!) That said, we do not want to remove spellvamp, and we want Vlad's spells to do damage and cost health, so we're going to have to find some clever solutions here. 
Currently, for example, we're exploring reducing vamp's effectiveness on minions, but this is just one of the many stabs we're taking at trying to get these things to coexist."
he continued, commenting on Vladimir's passive:
What about game health? Having one stat for free when you buy another is not particularly healthy.
I disagree with that as a general rule, as buying a stat gives more benefit than just 'damage' or just 'healing,' the question is 'of what' and 'how much.' As a simple example, AP gives Lissandra more damage and more tankiness(her R's self heal scales with AP).
I agree that there are some unhealthy example of this, and Vlad might well be on the border there. If you get damage through buying tankiness, things can snowball out of hand very quickly as you improve both your defense AND your threat against your opponent while they only get to improve one of these. 
The trick is to build in some limiters. Looking at Vlad again, HP gives him tankiness inherently and damage through his passive and W scaling, but the %HP cost on his W makes this less abusive, since a lot of that tankiness goes out the window via his own kit. There are definitely ways to do this better or worse, and we're going to be aware of that going into it."

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

Response to League Client Update Leak Video

As originally announced on the 2016 season update website, a large scale update for the the League of Legends client is currently in the works. After a few months of silence, a video leak has been circulating

CapnBranFlakes took to the boards and reddit to comment on the LCU and the video, noting:
"As we're getting closer to opening up sign-ups for the League client update alpha test ([link]), we're conducting internal testing so we're prepped for players to participate in the alpha. This required use of a live, public environment, and we knew there was a chance of it being prematurely discovered. That's okay, and we'll be sharing much more context on the League client update and its alpha test as we get closer to the alpha's start, including some info on the PBE boards in the next week or so in regards to an upcoming tech test."
Here is the leak video in question:

Meddler on Leveling Experience

Meddler popped on the boards to note they are looking to lower the amount of XP it takes to get to level 30 by about 50%, "probably in the next patch":
"We're with you on the concept that leveling to 30's too long a process and the total number of games needed to get there should be lowered. Tying quicker progress to the first win of the day bonus results in people that only play a small to moderate amount getting to 30 in noticeably fewer games played than people who are playing a lot though. That's generally the opposite of what's desirable (people playing their games in a concentrated window will tend to pick things up quicker and be more ready to hit 30 rather than less). 
What we're going to do instead, probably in the next patch, is lower the total amount of XP needed to get to 30 by around half. That's an approach we investigated using the Russian LoL server as a test case last year as some people may recall. The results of that test looked positive, so we've polished the details a bit, in particular smoothing out some sudden large increases in XP needed at certain levels, and are now ready to apply those changes to all regions." 
He continued:
Have you guys ever considered just giving access to all 30 mastery points and rune slots (Maybe even having new accounts come with 2 prefilled rune pages with the standard runes for AD and AP)? Level 1 - 30 is important for learning the game before ranked, the only issue with the current system is that pre level 30 doesn't reflect what the game is actually like. Hell, you don't even have access to smite until level 10 or flash until 8.
We've talked about possible ways to improve the runes/masteries systems and how they can sometimes be pretty rough on newer players. Any possible work on significantly improving that would be dependent on the new client though, so it's an issue we'll revisit once that's out and existing features have been ported to it. Last year's permanent price reduction to various common T3 runes, and the substantial reductions to the costs of all tier 1 and 2 runes before that, were smaller scope measures we thought it was appropriate to take in the meantime. Might try and see if there are other cases like that that would also make sense, depending on the timing of any work done in the new client. 
Regarding Summoner Spell availability that's a much more deliberate thing we're happy with. Jungling's pretty hard to get your head around as a new player, given how different it is to laning and how only certain champions are good choices, so we want to gate it from people during their early games. Flash coming a bit later has the benefit of keeping some of the more lethal/APM demanding plays out of low level games for a little bit. Both of those can be a bit frustrating for people leveling smurfs certainly, at low account levels though newer players learning the game need to be the bigger point of focus though."

Where is Jhin's story?

With the Mount Targon stories and Shen's expanded introduction and story out, a few folks on the boards have been wondering where the rest of Jhin's champion story is. Jaredan popped in on the boards to note, again, that it is on the way:
"Jhin is not on the backburner, but I completely understand how it looks and the frustration it generates. We're frustrated too. THe issues that have arisen recently have shown that the system we had in place is not robust enough. With that in mind, we're looking to get Jhin out, as we did Shen, as soon as possible, and at the same time look at setting up a new process and tech to make things less prone to break. 
We agree it's getting old, and we're fixing it."
He continued.:
"The color text to round off Jhin's introduction is going through localization and will be live in the next week or two."
When asked why the Shen lore and Jhin lore didn't go up at same time, he noted:
"Yup, when the team tried to put them up there, things broke. Another part of the reason for a new process/tech solution."

When asked about updates to the Shurima champions lore, Jaredan noted:
"Final edits for the majority of them, I believe. I may be inaccurate. I've been a bit busy and couldn't give notes on the last round. Foundations has it in hand."

Hextech Crafting - New Player Chests to Replace 400 RP 

With Hextech Crafting testing on TR and the PBE, Socrates posted on the boards about a change to the NEW PLAYER 400 RP bonus changing to Hextech Crafting related rewards instead:
"TLDR: When Hextech Crafting and loot launch, we’re replacing the new player 400 RP bonus with a free new player chest. Read on for the details. 
A few years ago now, we started giving players 400 RP when they hit Level 3, as part of progression towards Level 30. With the launch of Hextech Crafting, we’re replacing the 400 RP award with a special new player chest that includes an Ashe champion shard, a Garen champ shard, and enough essence to craft both of them. We’re also including a semi-random skin shard for either Garen (Sanguine) or Ashe (Sherwood). 
We’re doing this to combat botting and the selling of leveled League accounts containing rare crafting items (such as Hextech Annie). Because loot chests and keys are under 200 RP each, it might create the incentive for less-reputable folks to try botting. 
By subbing in a unique chest that’ll provide new players with a pair of accessible champions and a path to earning a free skin instead of a fixed amount of RP, we can also potentially experiment with mystery gift promotions under 400 RP (previously, those types of promotions may have encouraged botters and even well-intentioned players to create smurf accounts for sending gifts to their main using the free RP). 
We’re testing the change on PBE now, but we’re planning to go live with new player chests when crafting and loot appear in an upcoming patch."
On Twitter, he also noted:
"Existing level 30s will get something during the launch event ;). Just not the new player chest."

As for potential timing of the world wide release of Hextech Crafting, Socrates noted:
"it's been 2 weeks in Turkey. We projected minimum 4 from Turkey to other regions and things are looking good so far."

/ALL Chat | Who Drew It Best? ft. Ross Draws 

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

"This week’s ALL Chat features a sexy pillow fight, an original Shurima trap anthem (whaaaaat!?), and our first speed art challenge with guest Ross Draws, a.k.a. Ross Tran. Play along at home with a piece of paper, a marker, and your own awful art skills, just like the hosts. Seriously. These are some pretty terrible drawings. Dash should be ashamed."

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