Red Post Collection: Ivern Bio, 6/22 Mid Patch Update, Ask Riot, September Bundles, LoL Esports Now and in the Future, & more!

Posted on at 4:09 AM by Moobeat
[9/23 News: September Early Sales / Clairvoyance Blog: Player Design World-Saving Champs]

Tonight's red post collection includes Ivern's champion bio, September bundles now in shop, a new Ghostcrawler edition of Ask Riot, , All Random URF headed our way Friday in RGMQ, an article on the future of LoL Esports detailing changes to event prize pools, team revenue,  & new digital good, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

6.19 Mid-Patch Updates - September 22nd 

The official 6.19 patch notes have been updated following a recent hotfix for Singed's Q:
  • BUGFIX  - Fixed a bug where Q - Poison Trail was dealing way too much damage to Baron Nashor and Vilemaw
  • BUFF FIX - Poison Trail's damage from AP scaling now properly applies to Baron Nashor and Vilemaw"

Ask Riot the Ghostcrawler edition 

It's Thursday and we have a new edition of ASK RIOT, this time looking at top Q&A from Ghostcrawler's recent Reddit AMA.
"Welcome to Ask Riot, where we focus on your questions and give you answers. 
This time we are doing something a little different. Last week, League design director Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street took to Reddit for an AMA about, well, anything League-related. Redditors asked and Ghostcrawler answered with his thoughts about the future of League, problems he sees with the game, and his past as a designer on games like World of Warcraft and Age of Empires. We've collected ten of the best questions and answers for you here, in case you missed it. Some questions have been edited for style and brevity. 
Have a question (or two...hundred) yourself? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Do’s, the Don'ts, and then ask us something. We’ll archive the answers once we’ve accumulated a few of them. One thing to note: Asking the same question over and over again won’t help your cause. 

We’re committed to reading every question but can’t guarantee we’ll answer them all.
“Okay, why not?”
Some questions may already be answered elsewhere or won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new products or features here and we might skip conversations on issues which we’ve already gone into more depth elsewhere (but we can clarify individual points!). Even if your question isn’t the one being answered, we’re listening, and we’ll be sharing your questions with the Rioters who are working directly on the things you’re curious about.

Top 10 Qs and As from the Ghostcrawler AMA

1. Do you ever think Summoner's Rift will get another huge Visual Update? Will themed maps (a Halloween-themed map, a winter themed map, etc) ever come?

Ghostcrawler: I'm sure it will get another update when it needs it, but probably not for several more years. We've discussed the idea of skinning SR for limited windows. If you recall Butcher's Bridge for ARAM that we did during the Bilgewater event, that's kind of the idea. We haven't yet figured out an efficient way to do it—SR was basically hand-painted by a bunch of artists. It's not an easy map to skin.

2. Where do you see League of legends in five years? Where do you see Riot Games in five years?

Ghostcrawler: I don't think League will look that fundamentally different in five years. We'd really like to come up with a game that stands the test of time, like Dungeons & Dragons or Magic the Gathering or even soccer. We will keep updating the old, janky shit (like the map, or even the client, and certainly old champions), but I think League will always be recognizable as League. For Riot, my biggest hope is that in five years, we have multiple games and you guys are struggling to decide which Riot game to log into that night. :)

3. What is the hardest balance issues you've had to deal with in your years at Riot?

Ghostcrawler: At the highest level, it's coming up with one set of numbers that work for both pro and Bronze. A lot of our balance issues arise because we try to keep winrates within a narrow band for all tiers of skill.

4. What do you think of the current item system overall and how it can lead to homogenization among champions? Specifically, how do you feel about the fact that tank items make all characters equally tanky, leading to balance problems like tank Ekko, tank Fizz and recently, tank Yasuo? Thanks for all the hard work and, unrelated, did you do any work on Age of Mythology? Loved that game as a kid!

Ghostcrawler: The fundamental problem with the item system, and this is mostly my opinion so the team might disagree, is that it is trying to do two competing things. First, it wants to reward you for gold earned. Buying items is the main way your champ gets more powerful as a result of your playing well (champ leveling is the other significant way). So if we had an item system where it was easy to make mistakes and purchase items that didn't really make you stronger, then the item system fails on that axis. The other axis is that the item system wants to let you customize your character, and that includes trying out weird builds. 
If I could just snap my fingers and make it all work, then the best result would be that each champion has multiple build paths with interesting decisions along the way, but without a real risk of making such bad choices that earning gold doesn't help you win. That is hard to deliver on in practice. 
I worked a lot on Age of Mythology. I designed several of the units, did almost all of the random maps, wrote a big chunk of the script, and named most of the characters. It will always have a place in my heart.

5. What's your take on Crit chance? Is it healthy for the game?

Ghostcrawler: I think having some level of unpredictability above and beyond not knowing what the other team is doing is healthy for the game. I don't think crit chance has played out well as that thing though. We have had a ton of meetings on what we could do instead, or even what we would do if we were launching League today, but unfortunately we don't have an awesome solution yet.

6. What's your favorite pokemon?

Ghostcrawler: Magikarp.

7. Is Riot Games already working on creating another game?

Ghostcrawler: We have multiple R&D projects in various stages. From experience, I know that not all of those games will make it into full production, but hopefully a few will.

8. Hi Greg! What's your take on how the League community has received you so far, compared to the community that you interacted with over at Blizzard?

Ghostcrawler: To be honest, I have found the League community to be pretty great overall. I know you may not accept that at face value, but it's true. I've found a lot of League players to be willing to accept a logical argument but also to call you on bullshit as appropriate. I think part of it may be that while some League players have mains, they don't have the same investment in their character that a WoW player has. If you nerf someone's warlock, you may be pushing them out of raiding that week or out of their Arena team, and while many WoW players have alts, they may not be as geared or skilled on those alts. 
Honestly, most of the static I get from League players comes from misperceptions about my WoW days. For example, I am sometimes associated with efforts to casualize or "dumb the game down." If you look at the things I championed on WoW, like very difficult five-player dungeons, my personal attitude was usually way on the hardcore side of things.

9. How does being a designer at Riot compare to designing at other companies? Is it largely the same, or does Riot operate in a way that makes them unique to work for compared to places you previously worked?

Ghostcrawler: At many companies, the designer is often in the position of telling other people what to do. You might craft a design document, fire it off to the engineer, answer any questions she has, and then move on. Riot works much more as a team, where everyone contributes to a design throughout the process. If you are a power-hungry individual who doesn't want to see their vision compromised (and to be fair, there are totally designers like that), then it's not a great situation to be in, because you are going to be challenged all the time. But I vastly prefer it. It is such a great experience when an effects artist or an insights researcher says "Hey, I've been thinking about that problem, and I have a potential solution I'd like to discuss." The end product just ends up being more cohesive and you have more people who really want to see the idea succeed. Morale tends to be higher too.

10. Hey Greg! As an aspiring game designer, I was wondering if you could give some tips to people that want to work in game design. I'm about to start working at a game studio in QA, and I wanted to get your thoughts on how to really stand out/get your foot past the front door and into the design space. Thanks.

Ghostcrawler: First, you need to absolutely crush your current role. Opportunities are given to people who excel and are extremely valuable, not to folks who are struggling. Once you have impressed the studio, and hopefully the designers, you can share that your ultimate career goal is to lane swap into design. What I do in those situations is to try and set aside some time to talk to the QA person from time to time, maybe invite them to a design meeting, or give them some design projects to work on on the side for practice. There is no guarantee this will happen because it is asking a lot of of the designer who is essentially mentoring you. 
It's also possible to have a lot of influence on a product, and even its design, no matter what discipline you are in, at least at some studios. Finally, most studios are more desperate for leaders than they are for designers. Becoming a QA lead or manager might make you more valuable, and therefore give you more options and influence, at the end of the day. Good luck!"
When asked why champions get skins, Ghostcrawler commented:
Unrelated to the topic but why do many of the older champions get ignored when it comes to new content? (volibear, cho'gath, Rammus as examples) I have seen these champs fall to the wayside of the game mainly due to the lack of new content or stale gameplay (Volibear doesn't even have a skin worth 1350RP and he is an old champion, Cho'Gath feels stale and repetitive, and Rammus is desperately in need of at least a visual update, he doesn't even have a taunt for ctrl+1). many people actually main these champions and play LoL specifically because of thses champs, all I'm saying is some TLC is needed for the older champs of league (they helped build and reinforce LoL and make the game the way it is today, you can't forget your older champs RIOT).
There is a lot that goes into which champion gets a new skin, including things like how many skins that champion has, when he or she last got a new one, and very importantly, whether or not the skins team has inspiring ideas for that champ. 
In terms of visual updates for the core champion, I agree that Rammus and Volibear and Cho could all use some love there. After we finish clearing out the really egregious champs (Poppy, Yorick, Galio et al.) I feel like that tier is next."
Ghostcrawler continued
O-O a riot person... so cool
do you think how flashy a champion is determines how much they are played? (cough cough, galio)
also i'm not sure if this is related but what are your thoughts on kindred?
Players choose to play champions for a lot of reasons. Flashy plays is one of those reasons for sure, but so is win rate, familiarity with how they play, resonance with their thematic, ban rates, and so on. I think Kindred is a great example of a champ with a really loyal following. They may never have the play rate of an Ashe, but that's not the goal. Having some players who love a given champion is the goal.
Ghostcrawler added:
when deciding to nerf a champion do you target their weaknesses and emphasize that? or target their strength and prevent it from becoming a pick or ban? take the shen nerf as an outliar example.
shen main bias ;)
Ideally, we try to buff them by enhancing their strengths and nerf them by enhancing their weaknesses. That's the formula necessary to preserve the sharp distinctions among champions. Otherwise everyone tends to drift towards being pretty good at everything.
Now realistically, we don't always hit that. You have to weigh a lot of things when making a patch-by-patch balance adjustment, including factors like the likelihood of you causing a bug if you refactor a complicated weakness rather than just reducing their Q damage by 4."

It’s time for September bundles! 

Several limited time champion & skin bundles are available through September 29th!
"Grab these limited-time bundles now through 9/29 at 23:59 PT.

Situational Stunners Bundle - 50% off at 2396 RP (4333 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included:
  • PROJECT: Fiora
  • Frostblade Irelia
  • Battle Regalia Poppy
  • Dragonslayer Vayne
  • Sandstorm Ekko
Champions included:
  • Fiora
  • Irelia
  • Poppy
  • Vayne
  • Ekko

Frigid Frontliners Bundle - 50% off at 1981 RP (4138 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included:
  • Snow Day Gnar (Legacy)
  • Frozen Shen (Legacy)
  • Glacial Olaf (Legacy)
  • Poro Rider Sejuani (Legacy)
  • Festive Maokai (Legacy)
Champions included:
  • Gnar
  • Shen
  • Olaf
  • Sejuani
  • Maokai

These Wings Are Made for Jumping Bundle - 50% off at 2699 RP (4995 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included:
  • Demon Vi
  • Ironscale Shyvana
  • Death Blossom Kha’Zix
  • Mecha Aatrox
  • Redeemed Riven
Champions included:
  • Vi
  • Shyvana
  • Kha'Zix
  • Aatrox
  • Riven

Hired Guns Bundle - 50% off at 2699 RP (4901 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included:
  • Battlecast Kog’Maw
  • Urfrider Corki
  • Mafia Graves
  • PROJECT: Lucian
  • Debonair Ezreal
Champions included:
  • Kog'Maw
  • Corki
  • Graves
  • Lucian
  • Ezreal"

RGMQ - All Random URF & Updated Schedule

ALL RANDOM URF is live in the Rotating game mode queue this weekend! Look for the new mode to be enabled around noon server time and remain up through Monday night.

Following ARURF this weekend, next weekend will be Ascension followed by Definitely Not Dominion after that and Hexakill:Twisted Treeline added to the list October 14th - 17th.

ARURF custom games disabled due to bug

Speaking of All  Radnom URF, here's L4T3NCY with the unfortunate news that ARURF custom games will be disabled due to a bug:
"Heya guys, 
During ARURF's run on PBE, we discovered a bug that made the creation of bugged custom games possible (EG: non-ARURF). We investigated and have been trying to fix it, but unfortunately weren't able to in time for this weekend. Rather than blocking the release of ARURF completely (and swap in a backup mode) we've decided to still release it, but just disable custom games. 
I'm super sad that we couldn't get this fixed in time. :( I know a lot of streamers, youtubers, etc like to use custom games to play with subscribers. Our diligent PBE testers found it pretty early and let us know, but it's a complex enough bug that we couldn't fix it in time. We even discussed just leaving the bug in there, but the whole point of this weekend's RGM mode is for us to try out ARURF and give it a fair chance to succeed. 
I'm pretty confident that if ARURF ever comes around again, we'll have more than enough time to fix this bug. The mode will go live with the usual RGM timings for whichever country you might be in (usually around lunchtime Friday). See you guys in there on NA!"
L4T3NCY clarified:
Are you disabling ALL custom games or just ARURF customs?
Just ARURF customs."

Champion Bio: Ivern Bramblefoot, The Green Father

"The cleverness of mushrooms always surprises me. 
Ivern Bramblefoot, known to many as the Green Father, is a peculiar half man, half tree who roams Runeterra’s forests, cultivating life everywhere he goes. He knows the secrets of the natural world, and holds deep friendships with all things that grow, fly, and scuttle. Ivern wanders the wilderness, imparting strange wisdom to any he meets, enriching the forests, and occasionally entrusting loose-lipped butterflies with his secrets. 
In the early days of the Freljord, Ivern was a fierce warrior with an iron will and unflinching resolve. However, he was powerless when the Iceborn rose to prominence and looked down upon Ivern and his kind as hapless mortals who dared challenge their will. He plotted with his kinsmen to overthrow their sorcerous masters. Ivern the Cruel and the battle-hardened battalion under his command set sail from the frozen harbors of Frostguard for a faraway land that, according to legend, was the source of all magic. If Ivern could seize such a power for his own, then he could break the Iceborn. As the fleet crested the horizon, they sailed out of memory and into myth, for they were never seen again, and faded from Freljordian history like tracks in the winter’s snow. 
The sea, in abject rejection of their noble goals, fell on them with waves like crushing jaws, and shook the resolve of even the heartiest of men. Ivern, after putting many mutinous cowards to the sword, landed his armada on the shores of Ionia and mercilessly cut down the native resistance. The Ionians surrendered, and led the Freljordians to a sacred grove known as Omikayalan, the Heart of the World. Most of Ivern’s men thought this a gift to the conquerors, a sign of loyalty. But it was there, in that strange and verdant garden, where they met the fiercest resistance. 
A mysterious new foe arose. Chimeric beings, half human, half animal, stalked the dwindling battalion, relentlessly cutting down the would-be conquerors. Undeterred, Ivern pressed on until the remnants of his army, battered and few, discovered what the Ionians held so sacred: the God-Willow, a massive tree, dripping with long gossamer leaves that shimmered with golden-green light. While his men were being slaughtered in a final assault, Ivern stood transfixed by the mystical tree. Seeking to shatter the resolve of his foes, he gripped his battle-axe, and swung at the tree with the force of ten men. He felt no impact. He felt nothing. There was only blinding light when he felled the God-Willow and extinguished all the lifeforce within it. 
What happened next was even stranger—his hands fused and became one with the battle-axe and God-Willow’s hardwood. His limbs grew in length, and became knotty and rough to the touch. He stood helpless as the rest of his body followed suit. Within moments, he was ten feet tall, staring down over a field of his slain comrades. He could not feel his heart pumping, but he was awake and aware. 
He heard a voice deep inside him. “Watch,” it said. 
In what felt like seconds, the bodies decayed under legions of colorful mushrooms and buzzing insects. Flesh fed the carrion birds and wolves alike. Bones rotted into fertile soil, and seeds from fruit eaten by the conquerors budded and sprouted into trees with fruit of their own. Hills rose and fell, like lungs gently filling with breath. Leaves and petals pulsed like colorful hearts. From the death that surrounded him, life exploded forth in ways too numerous to believe. 
Never had Ivern beheld such beauty. Life, in all its forms, was tangled together like an impossible knot that didn’t want to be untied. He reflected on the mistakes he’d made, the cruelty he’d visited on others, and felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow. 
He wept, and dewdrop tears sprang up on the bark and leaves that now covered his newly tree like body. Am I now becoming the God-Willow? he wondered. 
Then the voice inside Ivern told him something new. “Listen,” it said. So he did. 
At first, he heard nothing. Then: the whimpers of countless beasts, the bawling of rivers, the howling of trees and the dripping tears of moss. They lamented the God-Willow’s death in a symphony of mourning. Remorse washed over Ivern, and he cried out for forgiveness. A tiny squirrel snuggled at his legs. He felt the gaze of nearby animals. Plants reached out for him with their roots. Nature’s gaze fixed on him, and he felt the seeping warmth of forgiveness. 
When Ivern finally moved, over a century had passed and the world felt new. The violence and cruelty of his old self were echoes in his heart. Never again would he be the man who wrought so much destruction. He even asked the voice deep inside, why him? Why was he spared? 
The voice spoke a third time. “Grow,” it said. 
This puzzled him. Was he supposed to grow or help the world grow? He decided it was probably both; after all, who couldn’t use a bit of extra growth? Ivern looked at himself, his barklike skin, the mushroom on his arm, the family of squirrels tucked away in the area where his scabbard used to reside. This new body astounded him. He found he could dig his toes deep into the soil and commune with roots and insects alike: even the dirt itself had opinions! 
Ivern decided an excellent start was to get to know all the world’s inhabitants, and so he did. It took a few centuries—how many exactly, Ivern couldn’t say, because time flies when one is having such a good time. He wandered the world and developed close kinships with all creatures great and small. He observed their foibles, delighting in their little habits, and occasionally offering a helping hand. He shortened the inchworm’s path, played tricks with mischievous bramblebacks, hugged thorny elmarks to happiness, and laughed with wizened elder-fungus. Everywhere Ivern went, forests blossomed in perpetual springtime and beasts dwelled in harmony. 
On occasion, he rescued creatures unjustly wounded by careless predators. In one instance, he found a wounded stone-golem. Knowing the poor creature was on the verge of death, he fashioned her a new heart from a river pebble. Adhering to the tradition of all mineral beings, the golem became Ivern’s devoted life-friend. He named her Daisy, after the flowers that mysteriously sprouted from her stone body. Today, if Ivern is threatened, she races to his side. 
Sometimes, he encountered communities of humans, many of them somewhat peaceful. They called him Bramblefoot or the Green Father and told tales of his strange benevolence. But how they took more than they gave, how they could be cruel and human, unnerved Ivern, and he retreated from their company. 
Then the voice inside of him spoke for a fourth time. 
“Show,” it said. 
Ivern left the woodlands and journeyed out to meet a world blanketed in mankind. The resolve he’d once felt returned, but this time it wasn’t driven by malice or cruelty. One day, he hoped to replace what he took. If he was called to be the new God-Willow, he needed to cultivate humanity, help them watch, listen, and grow. Being human once himself, Ivern knew this would be difficult, so he smiled and challenged himself to complete this task before the final setting of the sun. He knew he would have the time. 
For most people, a hundred years is a very long time. In a century, one could explore the entire world, meet thousands of people, or complete countless works of art. Now, anyone could easily assume that standing in one spot for over a century would be a colossal waste. But during that time, Ivern Bramblefoot accomplished more than any could dream. 
For instance, he settled a longstanding dispute between a colony of lichen and their host boulder, helped each generation of winter squirrels find their forgotten autumn acorns, and coaxed a lone wolf to rejoin her pack, despite the fact that they once called her howling “shrill.” 
Ivern’s toes burrowed deep beneath the topsoil, curled between vigilant tubers and oblivious earthworms to mingle with the roots of older trees, and the forest around him bloomed. There was much more, of course, but those examples alone are proof enough of a good century’s work. 
Things were going swimmingly until the sassafras started murmuring about dark doings on the edge of the forest. 
Hunters! they cried through their roots, alarming half the forest. 
Ivern knew sassafras to be anxious trees, raising their leaves in panic over the slightest stray saltsnail, and after all, hunting wasn’t so bad, for nothing is wasted or senseless in the cycle of life. But the sassafras had worried the robins, who told the butterflies, and if butterflies knew a secret, so did the entire forest. 
So Ivern stood up, and after briefly soothing the clipper ant colony whose ancestral home he had just displaced, he stalked away, shaking off layers of crusty bark. With each flower-blooming step through the forest, the alarm grew more frantic. 
Three of them, nattered the squirrels. 
Eyes like twin blood moons, gibbered the scuttle-crabs as they hid in the river. 
More bloodthirsty than elmarks, proclaimed the elmarks. 
The peregrines swore the hunters were after their eggs. The ivory-wreathed chrysanthemum feared for her illustrious petals—that worried Daisy, who loved her flowers dearly. Ivern calmed each of them, and urged them to hide until trouble passed. He pretended not to notice Daisy following him, since she thought herself to be quite sneaky. 
He saw an eight-tusked shagyak dead in the grass. Three arrows were thrust deep into the thick hump of muscle at the base of its neck. As a sappy tear escaped Ivern’s eye, a squirrel he’d named Mikkus scampered up the Green Father’s chest and lapped it off his cheek in solace. 
“Hunters take meat for food,” Ivern said aloud. “Hunters whittle bone into toys and tools. Hunters sew pelts into garments and tan skin into boots.” 
The corpse was missing its eight shimmering, pearlescent tusks. Ivern touched the ground, and a circle of daisies bloomed around the dead shagyak. He saw a baby stonescale viper slithering away. Stone-scale vipers are wise beyond their years.
“Ssssssssafe?” the snake hiss-asked. 
Ivern knew snakes were embarrassed by their lisps and for a long time had avoided words with sibilant sounds. He’d challenged them to embrace the words they feared the most, but they took the lesson to heart and now spoke exclusively in words beginning “s.” 
Snakes; such overachievers. 
“It’s safe now, little one.” Poor thing must’ve witnessed the whole ordeal. “Coil up here and watch the shagyak for me,” Ivern urged the baby viper. “I’ll return once I get to the bottom of this.” 
The shagyak horns clacked relentlessly with each step Risbell took, so much so that she had to stop and repack the tusks lest the noise scare off their next kill. Upriver, those horns would earn them a fortune. City people paid well for half-cocked backwater remedies these days. 
Niko, the square-jawed hunter with one eye, uncovered another set of shagyak hoof prints. She beckoned behind her to Eddo, the rich city man with the whalebone bow, and grinned. Eddo’s toothy smile and malicious eyes made Risbell, the youngest of the crew, shiver. 
Up ahead, in a glade, another eight-tusked shagyak grazed on its very favorite variety of grass. Each of the three hunters approached slowly and quietly, rustling nary a dead leaf. 
In rehearsed synchronicity, all three readied their bows and took careful aim. The shagyak’s head was still bent low, as it dined on the soft mulderberries and scullygrass, obscuring the knot of muscles at the base of its neck. When pierced, the hump would keep the blood flowing while the hunters hewed off horns. It was very important that the shagyak still be alive when the tusks were harvested to increase their potency, Eddo said.
Sweat beaded down her neck as she waited for the shagyak to raise its head. Just as the beast’s head swung up, the glade of low scullygrass bloomed impossibly fast, from ankle height to over their heads in a moment. The stalks stretched toward the sun, flowers blooming instantly in an array of radiant petals. A flowering wall of scullygrass completely obscured the shagyak. 
Eddo dropped his bow. Niko’s one good eye looked as if it was going to bulge from its socket. Risbell’s arrow errantly soared through the air. She didn’t command her fingers to release the bowstring. She backed up against the nearest tree, terrified. 
“I told you these woods were cursed,” Risbell whispered. “We should leave now.” 
“I’ve dealt with sorcery before,” Niko said. “I will do this the old way.” 
She placed her arrow back in her quiver and pulled a long, mean-looking dagger from her belt. 
Eddo did the same. They both beckoned for Risbell to stay put with the tusks as they stealthily disappeared into the wall of grass. She waited and held her breath, but couldn’t even hear their footfalls. One day she hoped to be as silently deadly as her companions. 
Still, she couldn’t shake the unnerving feeling that the wall of vegetation was a warning to be heeded. Stories her grandmother told her, of the strange creatures of magic that wandered this world, came back to her. Just children’s tales, she reminded herself. 
An eerie and unfamiliar sound echoed through the glade. It wasn’t the shrieking of a shagyak, but the heavy sound of rocks smashing into ground with loud, splintery thuds. Whatever caused the sound, it was enough to make Eddo and Niko race out of the brush, running at full tilt. Their skin was pale and their eyes were wide. Then she saw what had caused her companions to flee. 
A flower, a simple ivory-wreathed chrysanthemum, was dancing on top of the grass. It was a rather curious sight. 
Then Risbell realized it was getting closer. The grass parted, and there stood a behemoth of stone and moss. A living incarnation of granite, massively strong, and moving with rhythm. In the moment it took Risbell to reconcile what was happening, she heard a calm voice calling to the creature. 
“Daisy! Be careful. And... gentle!” 
Risbell grabbed the satchel of tusks and ran after Niko and Eddo, trying to remember the route that led back to their camp. At each tree, a new wall of grass sprouted up. Something stalked within the grass, rustling through the leaves as it walked, giggling as Risbell spun in circles trying to find her way out. She was alone in a strange forest, and behind every infernal tree lurked more grass, springing up nearly instantly. 
Risbell realized she was being corralled the same way grandmother used to herd sheep. Knowing full well that she was walking into a trap, Risbell squared her shoulders and followed the grass. 
Ivern watched as the young hunter stepped out of the grassy maze and approached the shagyak’s body. The poor thing looked positively terrified. She clearly had never seen anything or anyone quite like himself before. He tried to be gentle, but humans tended to be so individual in their reactions. Unlike, say, the caterwauling of smug mewlarks. 
“Please. Don’t be frightened. Unless that is your natural state. In which case, fright away. I’ll wait. I really don’t mind.” 
It wasn’t Ivern’s intention to frighten anyone. But no one can account for another being’s experience. 
“Get on with it,” Risbell said. Her voice quavered and her eyes flinched. “I’ve trespassed, I know. I’m at your mercy. Just let it be quick.” 
“Be quick?” Ivern shrugged. “Certainly. It didn’t cross my mind that you might have better places to be. Very well then.” 
The girl closed her eyes and lifted her chin, exposing her throat. She reached her hand back toward the scabbard at her belt and wrapped her knuckles around the dagger. If he came for her, there would be a surprise. 
“But I only want to know why,” Ivern said in a voice filled with merriment. He gestured with his branchlike fingers to the shagyak’s body. His arm stretched longer than it should, to the dead beast’s back, where he lovingly stroked its blood-mottled fur. 
Risbell drew her dagger and then felt a sharp pain in her ankle. A cold sensation spread up her leg. When she looked down, she saw the culprit: a stone-scaled viper, the most venomous asp in all the Aulderwood. 
Out of anger and instinct, she lashed out at the snake. 
“No!” Ivern shouted. 
Viney roots sprouted up from the soil and caught her arm, preventing her strike. They wrapped around her wrists and ankles and knees. She dropped her dagger in her struggles to break free. 
“I’m going to die!” she cried. The venom’s coldness spread up past her knees. 
The serpent slithered to Ivern’s feet and coiled up the outside of his leg, climbing up and around his body until it vanished into his armpit. It emerged from the back of his head, curling around one of the branches, and licked its forked tongue at Ivern’s ear. 
“Sssssssorry,” hissed the snake to Ivern. “Ssssstartled.” 
“Please,” Risbell said. “Help me.” 
Ivern thought for a second. 
“Ah yes!” His honey eyes twinkled with an idea. “There’s one thing that loves shagyaks. Especially dead ones. 
“And please, forgive Syrus; he’s only recently hatched and doesn’t know how to control his venom. Gave you a full dose, I’m afraid. He’s asked me to tell you that he’s awfully sorry. You startled him and he reacted purely on instinct,” Ivern said. “Now, watch.” 
The tree man knelt before the shagyak’s body, closed his eyes, and hummed a deep, earthy tune. His hands were in the soil, fingers splayed out. Twinkling green pops of light cascaded from his rune-carved head, down his arms, and into the dirt. Odd purple mushrooms popped up from the carcass. They were tiny at first; then their stalks rose as rot overtook the shagyak’s corpse. Soon there was only fur, bones, and an army of violet mushrooms. 
“Ah, stingsalve fungus,” Ivern sighed. He plucked one delicately. “Always so punctual.” 
The vines retracted from Risbell’s body. She collapsed in a heap. Her hands immediately shot to her heart. The icy pangs of stone-scale venom had reached her chest. 
“Eat this,” Ivern said, offered the purple mushroom to the dying woman. “It might not taste like salamander dew or sunshine, but it’s not as bad as lippertick apples.” 
Risbell had no idea what the strange treeman was on about, but her options were severely limited at that moment. A voice came back to her from the past. Her grandmother’s. Trust in nature; the Green Father never leads you astray. 
She grabbed the mushroom from Ivern’s hand. It tasted like bitter tea and mulch; a disappointing final meal. Then the icy grip around her heart thawed and retreated. Within minutes, her legs worked again. 
As she recovered, Ivern made her a tincture of odd leaves, tree sap, and water from a spring he’d discovered with his toes. He served it to her in a bird’s nest cup that a peregrine dropped into his hand. 
“You’re him, aren’t you? The Green Father.” 
Ivern shrugged as if he didn’t know. “You know what we could do here?” he said, turning his attention to the shagyak bones. “Moss always loves to pretty up the place.” 
As soon as he said it, a thick carpet of moss crept over the bones. With the mushrooms, what once had been a grisly sight was now beautiful. 
“Sheldon would love how beautiful his bones turned out to be. Badgers will use his ribs as shelter from the autumn storms. Nothing is ever wasted,” Ivern said, turning his attention to Risbell. “It seemed so senseless, but it makes perfect sense. If it wasn’t killed, you wouldn’t have lived.” 
“We wanted its tusks,” Risbell said. She fixed her eyes on her boots in shame. “Rich people clamor for them. Willing to pay a lot.” 
“I remember money. It’s rarely a good motivator.” 
“I knew we shouldn’t have killed it. My grandmother used to tell me that if one must kill, one must use all parts to honor the beast.” 
“I would love to meet your grandmother,” Ivern said. 
“She is gone to the ground.” 
“Returning to the soil that which the soil gave is noble.” 
“I’m sorry,” Risbell said after a long moment of silence. 
“All life is precious.” The gentleness and warmth and forgiveness in Ivern’s voice moved Risbell to tears. Ivern patted her on the head. “I probably couldn’t have handled the whole thing better myself. I’ve so much to remember about humans, and so much to I had forgotten to ever learn.” 
Ivern helped Risbell to her feet. 
“I must be off now. I promised the tadpoles of Southern Pond that I would monitor their elections for the king of lily pads. It’s quite the contentious race.” 
A while later, Risbell emerged from the tree line near the river. After gulping down some water, she dug a hole on the banks and tenderly placed the shagyak tusks inside. She scooped up a handful of dirt and recited the prayers of honor her grandmother had taught her. She repeated this ritual until the horns were buried. Then she bowed her head in reverence and left the site marked as a grave. 
From the depths of the Aulderwood, Ivern smiled at the gesture. The shagyak herd would be proud."
For more on Ivern, check out these links:

Nemesis Jax Chroma for IP through October 6th

Over on Twitter, Wizardcrab shared that NEMESIS JAX CHROMA will be available for IP since they were bugged and unavailable during the sale last month:
"Nemesis Jax Chromas are currently on sale for IP, since they missed the original IP sale last month. Get each for 2000 IP until 10/6 23:59PT"

[VOD] Q+A & Viewer Games with Live Gameplay Designer, PhRoXzOn!

Scarizard returned Thursday evening for the weekly League Design livestream, this time with guest designer PhRoXzOn!

LoL Esports Now and in the Future

With the World Championship right around the corner, Riot has published a large article on the state of LoL esports now and in the future. The article includes mention of expanding out into different sorts of in-game esports and team content, scaling prize pools based on digital item sales, team revenue options, and more!
Back in 2012, one of our founders Brandon Beck talked about the five-year vision for what LoL esports could be. He described a future where events and broadcasts matched the production quality and excitement level of traditional sports and where pro players could build legendary careers based on their skills on the Rift. While this felt ambitious, even in 2012 we knew that those milestones were part of a larger journey to build a global esport that could last for generations. We’re still walking that path today, and want to talk about how we’re building towards the future.
The Future of LoL Esports​ 
As we move into 2017 and beyond, we’re continuing to take steps towards a future where top LoL players have very well paid, long careers doing what they love - and where LoL esports team organizations are thriving businesses led by empowered owners who share responsibility and accountability for the long term prosperity of the sport. To help get us there, we’ll share LoL esports revenue streams and collaborate with our partners to develop new business models and actively shape the league. We want these partners to have permanent stakes, to be invested in a stable future and to profit from the continued success of the sport. 
We’re committed to leading LoL esports to this future. 
How We Get There 
At its core, LoL esports succeeds by following a three step path: 
  • Fandom
  • Economics
  • Stability 
These three steps build off each other - and not all of the 13 LoL leagues across the world are at the same stage of maturity. Some of the more mature leagues (LPL, LCK, NA LCS, and EU LCS) have strong fandom foundations and are working to improve their economics, while other leagues are still working on some of the more developmental stages that Brandon described in 2012. Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps. 
The fandom that we’ve always believed in is about much more than the number of viewers watching a match. Fans are communities bonded together by the shared experience of supporting their favorite teams, players, and leagues. These deep connections are forged in both the euphoria of a late game ace that seals victory and the agony of a Worlds upset resulting in a favorite team’s elimination. 
We also believe that fandom is best when shared with others who share your passion. Whether you cheer in arenas, at home, or at a viewing party, we hope to give LoL esports fans the chance to share every experience with their community. We’ve been thrilled to see the growth of shared viewing experiences all over the world and have loved the amazing entrepreneurs who have gone to great lengths to build communities around the world to support LoL esports. We greatly appreciate all of your efforts and look forward to doing even more to support you all. 
Let’s be clear - none of this works without you. Millions of players tuning in to a Worlds Final isn’t just a number to us - it’s the foundation upon which all of this is built. 
Once we’ve seen the growth of fandom in our regional leagues and across the globe, we believe it’s our responsibility to then unlock the sport’s sustainable economic future. Our esports fan community - and your ongoing engagement with the sport - has tangible value and gives us the opportunity to build a profitable and thriving ecosystem for owners and teams. To continue to attract the type of healthy, long-term investment that has helped mature the scene to date and will support the long-term evolution of the sport, we need to unlock new revenue streams. We need to grow the pie so that there’s more for teams and pros. At the moment, revenue can be categorized into several major buckets - with more to come as the scene matures: 
  • Media / sponsorships
  • Merchandise
  • In-game content 
Media/sponsorships are a vital part of LoL esports’ economic future. We've been working for over a year to restructure and expand our approach to media distribution and ad/sponsorship sales. Unfortunately, we can’t share more details until deals are inked, but we believe this is an important component to long term success. 
Merch requires much closer collaboration with teams. Recent tests have shown strong interest from fans, and we’d like to work with teams more closely to help them amplify their efforts to get cool stuff to those that want it. 
Finally, selling in-game content has always been an important part of our economic plan for both teams and the league. We started with summoner icons, and have been working with teams to explore new items and increased revenue sharing. For specific details on some key changes to in-game content we’re making soon (not ™) we have a detailed section below. Stay strong and keep reading! 
Nailing fandom and strong economics is important for a thriving sport - but stability, with partnered organizations and the right structure, helps create a healthier environment in which our sport can grow and evolve over the longer term. 
We’re not yet at the stage where we can describe exactly what long-term org partnerships will look like; we’re not sure how they’ll work, or even if there will be the same structure in each region. Creating long-term partnerships across the globe is complicated - legally, financially, operationally. That said, the first step is securing those partners and putting the right structure in place. We will be looking to make this step in 2018. 
LoL Esports in 2017 
As we invest and build towards the future, we recognize that the current ecosystem isn’t consistently profitable yet for team owners or for the league. Costs have risen - namely in the form of player salary increases and support for those pros - mainly as a direct result of significant external investment and interest in the scene. For example, motivated owners in the LPL have been trying to be more competitive globally in part by importing star players at high salary, which has led to a similar increase in salaries in leagues like the LCK as they try to protect their homegrown talent. That investment is a positive thing, especially for pros, but we understand it creates pressure for teams juggling costs in the short-term and we want to help them avoid cutting pro salaries and support. 
This part of the journey isn’t unusual; escalated investment is a natural occurrence in a growing ecosystem, and is a sign that our initial approach has been working. However, we recognize that we can help rebalance the scene by accelerating some of our longer-term economic tactics to help address short-term pain felt by many of our partners. 
Unlocking digital revenue 
Starting with Worlds 2016, we’re making some changes around in-game content which will create additional revenue streams for players and teams. 
  • Championship skin & ward - From now, 25% of revenue from each year’s Championship skin and Championship Ward will be added to the Worlds prize pool. That means every purchase of Championship Zed will directly increase the prize pool for Worlds 2016. For context, had this been applied last year, it would have more than doubled the prize pool. 
  • Challenger skin - Similarly, going forward, 25% of revenue from each year’s Challenger skin will be added to the MSI prize pool. 
  • Team Championship skins - Beginning with the winning team from this year’s Worlds, we will be sharing 25% of the revenue earned on skin sales in the launch year of each set of Team Championship skins directly with the players who inspired them, as well as their team and league (because it takes a village to make a champion). In the spirit of celebrating past champions, we’ll also be sharing revenue from past Team Championship skins with the previous winners - players, teams and leagues (Fnatic, TPA, SKT, Samsung White and SKT again) 
  • New (and improved) digital goods - Next year, we’ll be introducing new revenue sharing opportunities, such as team-branded in-game items and esports promotions, as well as improving revenue sharing on summoner icons (World icons increasing from 20-30% and regional league increasing as determined by each league). We believe the potential for revenue is extremely strong for committed teams building strong brands - but given that these are new and untested products and we’re looking to address an immediate gap in team revenue, in 2017 each league will set aside a guaranteed minimum to each of its teams as it determines appropriate based on regional needs. For example, the EU LCS will have a minimum revenue amount of €100,000 per team for the full season, of which 50% will go to players as supplemental income on top of their existing salaries 
Even without counting the retroactive payments to past champions, this will contribute millions of dollars in additional revenue to teams and pros each year. 
Moving Into the Future 
We believed the future was bright for LoL esports in 2012 - and it’s even brighter today as we take our most significant steps yet. As we face additional challenges and future unknowns, we’ll continue to stick to our core beliefs; to put esports fans first, to build a great ecosystem that keeps the sport you love around for the long-term, and which fans, pros & teams all aspire to. 
Thanks for making our sport what it is. See you at Worlds!"

[REMINDER] World Championship Tab in Client

Just in case you missed it, the World Championship tab is up in the live client. Be sure to check it out all throughout the month for a countdown to 2016 WC, news, and more!
The 2016 World Championship starts on September 29th.

Explore the History of Worlds

Speaking of the World Championship, Riot has recently launched an interactive History of Worlds promo page, detailing each championship leading up to 2016! Check it out for more on participating teams, storylines, locations, and more.


To round out tonight's red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The 2016 World Championship starts on September 29th!
    • The 2016 Worlds Pick'em is available now through the 29th! Earn summoner icons and more by participating and guessing correctly!
    • New Worlds merch available September 28th.

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