Red Post Collection: Ivern Champion Insights, Ignite, Mechs vs Minions Podcast, Patch Rundown: Worlds 2016 & more!

Posted on at 6:02 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Ivern champion insights, a 6.19 mid-patch update to fix an ARAM bug, a new podcast on the upcoming Mechs vs Minions tabletop game,  the new Riot & Zedd collaboration IGNITE for Worlds 2016, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

September 26th Mid-Patch Updates 

The official 6.19 notes have been updated with a recent hotfix that went out to fix a bug on Howling Abyss!
Howling Abyss  
  • BUGFIX - Fixed a bug that caused the Howling Abyss fountain to regenerate mana"

Ivern Q&A Coming 9/29 

An Ivern Q&A is headed our way September 29th!
"Explore the wild unknown of the boards with Ivern's creators to learn more about the Green Father. Coming at 11 AM PDT on 9/29
Got a green thumb? Check out more Ivern news here. 

Champion Insights: Ivern, the Really Swell Guy 

With our Ivern currently testing on the PBE, here's the champion insights article looking into the development of our upcoming champion:
"In League, everybody is trying to kill everybody else. Despite their personalities or backstories, champs are all really on the Rift to do one thing: drain some health bars. 
So, what if we made a nice guy? One who, no matter where he is, just wants to do something super sweet like save all the animals? Enter Ivern, the druid with the heart of gold. 
Most great characters have a goal—an enemy to defeat, or a burning desire to fulfill, or some huge, grueling task ahead of them. Narrative writer Matt "FauxSchizzle" Dunn realized that, for Ivern to work as a character, he'd need to be a little more carefree. He'd need to be someone who's already fought his battles and overcome his demons: a character near the end of his narrative arc. So FauxSchizzle began sketching out the tale of the Green Father. 
"We struggled with figuring out a way to communicate that Ivern was "freeing" the monsters in the jungle, instead of abducting or vaporizing them: In early builds, his groves looked like flowery death machines which sapped the life force away from camps. He'd come prancing over, click on the grove, and the critters would fade away like little Jedi ghosts." 
"Ivern used to be a man, a long time ago," explains FauxSchizzle. "He was a sort of Freljordian conquistador, the first one to discover Ionia." While exploring the Ionian forest, he happened upon a sacred tree called a Godwillow. Back then, Ivern was a miserly, vicious man; seeking the tree's power for himself, he cut the Godwillow down. But as wood cracked and fell, the tree's magic essence lashed out and gripped the Freljordian, reaching deep within him and bonding with his troubled soul. Tree and man became one, and in that moment all of Ivern's violence, selfishness, and cruelty was drained out of him. The void in his heart was replaced with childlike wonder and gentle curiosity. He was filled with a joyful zest for life. 
"In the hundreds of years since then, he’s been wandering around the forest taking care of it," says FauxSchizzle. "He cares for all the creatures of the forest, and he has this strange, looming sense in his mind that, if he does his job well, one day he'll earn the right to become the tree he cut down." 
We realized that if Ivern was really in the forest for such a long time, he'd probably start to develop pretty weird insights into his natural surrounding. He'd develop relationships with the creatures that live in the forest, some which would stretch back for ages. Ivern has a wild, crazy history with the Brambleback (Red Buff), and he occasionally references it when he encounters his buff buddy in-game: "It’s the Kumungu affair all over again!" he shouts. "Run!" 
Ivern's a pacifist, and he loves the animals of the forest. So, an idea struck us: What if he's a jungler who frees monsters instead of harming them? It would work perfectly on a thematic level, but it'd also open up some really weird design possibilities—namely, we could make him a support-jungler.

Any jungler needs three things: mobility, some utility for ganks, and the power to clear out jungle camps. It's this third requirement that makes it nearly impossible for champs like Thresh, Nami, or Bard to work in the jungle. Their kits are packed with teamplay-oriented abilities, but they don't do so hot when facing down a pack of wolves. Even if they manage to clear out a few camps, afterward they're unlikely to be in good enough shape to go toe to toe with an invading Yi or an Udyr. 
Our "free the animals" idea for Ivern was like a loophole we could use to bypass the damage limitations on supports. The Green Father's passive (Friend of the Forest) gives him all the power he needs to clear camps and level up, without making him oppressively strong in duels. This one ability freed up the design of the rest of his kit, allowing us to focus on abilities he could use to empower his team. 
"In early designs, Ivern had no way to give a buff to his allies—it's not like he'd be willing to leash it for them. But the whole idea behind the Green Father is that he wants to share the gifts of nature with others. "What are the gifts of the jungle?" asks champ designer Blake "Squad5" Smith. "Buffs!" The natural solution was to let Ivern create copies of buffs without causing harm to the camps." "
The one really big exception to this is Daisy, Ivern's boisterous bestie who comes running whenever he needs her (assuming his ult timer is off cooldown, obviously). Before we invented Daisy, Ivern always needed an ally; he felt nearly useless on his own. To solve this, we landed on the idea of "a defensive Tibbers"—a big, adorable A.I. friend who could lend Ivern some muscle whenever he needs to escape a bad situation. 
Unlike the other abilities in Ivern's kit, Daisy explicitly harms others instead of buffing Ivern's friends. This is partly a way to preserve Ivern's nice-guy mystique: even when he uses his ultimate to crush your backline, it's not really him doing it. It's his big, overexcited buddy!

We were keenly aware that Ivern isn't the first "tree guy" in League of Legends. Maokai and Zyra are the Rift's other nature-magic beings, but they differ from Ivern in a couple of ways. Maokai, unlike Ivern, was never actually a man. He's pretty much an angry batch of forestry brought to life. Zyra, too, is a sort of thorn monster taking on a human form. Ivern's human origin is the thing that makes him special. 
"Smash your taunt button while playing as Ivern, and you'll find he doesn't have too many zingers or insults to throw at other champs in League. Instead, he says nice things to everyone! When he taunts an enemy Maokai in-game, he makes a joke about cosplaying as a sassafras at next year's tree con. "
We leaned a lot on our visual designers to capture and communicate little storytelling details that hint at Ivern's former humanity. They gave him a ring hanging from his antler that was probably once a part of his ear—perhaps it stayed hitched into the flesh as it was morphing into wood.He's also still got his little gauntlet he wore when he was a freljordian adventurer, although now mushrooms have grown all through it. 
A big area of concern for our illustrators was Ivern's face. It needed to be human, full of emotion and personality. We realized that he ultimately needed to look like a very old man who's lived a life full of mischief and joy; we gave him a big ol’ crooked schnoz and put a kind twinkle in his eyes. "If you were to run into Ivern in the woods," says concept artist Chris "Skeeziks" Campbell, "how would you feel?" Would you want to A) give him a hug, B) take a picture of him, or C) run? 
In the end, we decided the best design might evoke a little bit of all three reactions. Ivern's a friend of the forest, and when those who will evil toward nature's bounty come around, Ivern is left with no choice. Even nice guys have to fight, sometimes. 
Ivern has emerged from the Kumungu jungles and is now freeing jungle monsters on the PBE. He'll prance over to the live servers soon."
For more on Ivern, check out his [champion reveal] and our [6.20 pbe coverage].

Inside the development of Mechs vs Minions

Next up we have a new League podcast on Riot's upcoming Mechs vs Minons co-op tabletop game:
"Welcome to the latest League 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 comments and ratings so we can keep striving toward a Challenger-tier podcast. 
This week, Rick “Mr. Piddlesworth” Ernst and Chris “Cades” Cantrell stop by to talk about Riot’s first board game, Mechs vs Minions."

[MvM] Dev Blog 1: What kind of board game is 'Mechs vs Minions'?

Speaking of Mechs Vs Minions, Kades also popped on the MvM boards to share the game's first dev blog:
"Hey everyone, 
Chris “Kades” Cantrell here, lead for Mechs vs. Minions. It’s been a long time in the making, so we’re really excited (and a little nervous) to be talking about it with all of you! We’re going to be doing a few posts about the process of making the game, but wanted to start just by talking broadly about the gameplay in MvM and some of the major decisions that went into it. First up: the decision to make the game co-op. 
It may come as a surprise that the game isn’t PvP. We definitely tried out PvP iterations of the game, but in the end, the co-op version of the game… well, it was just a lot more fun. We don’t have the luxury of online matchmaking, but wanted the replayability and depth that a good, online PvP experience would be able to provide, and we felt closer to those goals when the game was fully co-op. We also wanted the game to be fun for the experienced player as well as the brand new player, even if they’re in the same game. We went through a LOT of testing to get as close to that mark as we could, and we plan to spend the next post talking about those design—and testing—challenges. The design choices became a lot easier to make once we found a theme to match to these mechanics… 
In MvM, the players act as one of four yordles and “program” their mech with different ability cards. Each turn, the player can add one of these abilities to their command line, and soon the mech has a series of commands that it executes every turn. The idea is to build out a minion-stomping machine that you masterfully pilot through the mission—but it’s easy to run into technical difficulties, especially once you start taking damage. In our games, we kept driving into walls, or bumping into teammates, or wandering the wrong way altogether. We asked ourselves: what kind of champs would accidentally walk into lava? There was no other option: it had to be yordles. 
With a game set in the League universe, we took the opportunity to tell a story with familiar characters and have them go on a journey. MvM uses a modular board that changes as the story progresses and includes lots of dialogue (both written and recorded!) to deepen the story and give the game that distinct yordleiciousness that we wanted. 
We’re super excited for the launch of the game. We earnestly hope that everyone who plays MvM enjoys playing it, but we also know that it won’t be for everyone. Every choice is a trade-off, but we prized fun gameplay above all else. Even the most carefully painted miniatures can’t make up for a snorefest of a game, so we erred on the side of gameplay depth when in doubt, and we leaned on the full campaign to introduce that complexity over time. 
We really wanted to make a game for League players as well as core tabletop gamers, and choosing not to license the game out to another developer meant developing MvM entirely in-house. Once that decision was made, we were fated to learn a lot of lessons—the hard way—about what it takes to make a board game. We’ll be talking about that in the next post! 

Meddler Grab Bag - Shen, Preseason, and more!

In a boards thread inquiring on the balance team's current thoughts on ShenMeddler commented:
"Some thoughts. 
Shen's Current State: 
  • We nerfed Shen in 6.18. That was a nerf significantly driven by how dominant Shen could be for organized teams, Pro play in particular.
  • Shen's now too weak in regular play. That's not a new thing for Shen unfortunately. Pre-rework Shen was also difficult to balance for different contexts. His update did improve some of his gameplay issues (e.g. laning interactivity), it hasn't addressed that conflict of trying to balance for two different environments enough though. 
Our Plans for Shen: 
  • We plan on buffing Shen. What we want to avoid doing though is buffing him because he's underperforming in regular games, then nerfing him again because he's too out of line in top tier play, etc. Changes need to address some of the disconnect between his strength in those different contexts, otherwise we'll just get stuck in a buff/nerf cycle.
  • We think one of the problems is that Shen's performance has too large a gap between its highs and lows, because of some feast/famine effects on his kit. If he's able to engage in a fight and survive in the first place he gets significantly more access to his passive shield for example, pushing him further ahead. On the other hand if he's somewhat behind he loses the ability to usefully trigger that CD reduction. Since he lacks other inherent tankiness to fall back on (low base stats, no ongoing defensive mechanics) a Shen who starts having trouble can have too much trouble recovering as a result. We've generally seen organized teams be better at avoiding letting Shen get into those failure states to begin with, resulting in better overall performance in that setting.
  • We also think there are some other reasons for the disconnect between organized and regular play, but don't have strong enough conclusions on the exact nature of the problems or what direction we should be taking to address them. To improve the odds that the next work we do on Shen puts him into a good spot long term we're planning to look at how he performs at Worlds and then using that info, particularly on strengths/weaknesses shown, to help guide upcoming changes.
  • That means that buffs are likely during the pre-season period sometime (November, or potentially December)."

Meddler continued:
Can you give a hint on what these Shen buffs might consist of?
Also will the pre-season see a return of boot enchants?
Not sure yet. As above we need to do some analysis. If I had to guess, base stats seems fairly likely. 
Regarding boot enchants, I could imagine us reintroducing them some day if we had a version that both offered good choices and didn't raise average movement speeds to an inappropriate level. That's not something we're working on for this pre-season though."
Meddler added:
"If I had to guess base stats seems like one of the most likely things, stat gain per level in particular (survivability in later game team fights wanted more than early laning power)."
When asked if Kalista is very similar, Meddler noted:
Inb4 noone picks shen. 
Kalista seems to fall in the same category. Do you guys have any plans for her?
If Shen gets no picks at Worlds that'd simplify our work a lot, given it means we at least in part just overnerfed for everyone and could pump some straight power in. 
We've got kind of similar plans for Kalista, though in her case it'll be a bigger project probably. Assessment there is that she's good at too many different things, so we'll likely remove a strength from her and put its power into some of her other strengths."
Meddler continued, noting that Azir is also similar to this:
safe to assume Azir is in a similar place? Are these champions you want to tackle sooner rather than later? I'm hoping so, as they're really cool unique champions with a lot of fans. I'm in love with azir but not his win rate
Yep, same deal on Azir. He probably needs the most work of the three, so is likely to be done last. Possible we might be able to give him some general buffs before that, again Worlds performance will help us understand what sort of trade offs that would involve in terms of risk of seeing him just dominant mid lane again in organized play. That might be a cost worth paying, want a better understanding of his current state though before signing that cheque.

When asked about plans for ADC itemization in preseason, Meddler noted:
"We'll be making changes to Ghostblade and Duskblade in the pre-season, along with some other AD assassin items. Some of that will involve raw stat changes (e.g. shift some power to out of combat movement speed which assassins like much more than ADCs do given they roam/flank). Some of that will involve changes to the unique effects on those items (details still being determined, almost certainly involves taking the AS off Ghostblade's active though, given that's more an ADC than assassin stat)."
Meddler continued:
What will happen to Twitch in this case?
Don't know yet. We're currently trying to decide whether or not we should make any changes to the way his stealth functions. We're taking a look at all stealth users, since we're adjusting a few stealth effects already and tweaking some of the detection rules. Once we know what we're doing there we can consider his balance state."

As for if there are plans for Zed in the preseason's assassin update, Meddler commented:
While the topic of assassins has come up, are there any plans for zed? He's been the most/second most banned champion for months now.
Current plan is some smaller scale work on him. Part of that will involve making him slightly less universal a pick (so better against some comps than others compared to his current state)."

Worlds 2016: Zedd - Ignite

With Worlds kicking off September 29th,  Riot and artist Zedd have teamed up to produce the "Ignite" song and animation.

"Since its inception, Worlds has grown and evolved. Each unbelievable play and phenomenal match created moments and memories that will never be forgotten. In these iconic moments, players and teams reached for something incredible within themselves and brought it to life on the Summoner’s Rift... 
"Ignite" -- a creative collaboration between Zedd and Riot Games 
Written by Anton Zaslavski, Antonina Armato, Tim James, and TAS. Zedd Music Empire (ASCAP) administered by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP), Antonina Songs (ASCAP) administered by Downtown Music Publishing LLC, Akashic Field Music (BMI) administered by Downtown Music Publishing LLC, and Future Swag Music (ASCAP), administered by Downtown Music Publishing LLC."

The stories behind the Worlds x Zedd Music Video 

In addition to the new music video, we also have an article looking at the stories and inspirations seen in the animation!
"The League of Legends World Championship is the culminating event to a yearlong battle for supremacy. Only one team earns the right to stand above all the others. And that same pinnacle embodies the hundreds of hours fans put into League of Legends -- what esports does is provide a stage for all the fantastical moments the average gamer enjoys in isolation. Every timely Flash or kill. Every win. Every loss. We summon champions to experience something beyond what we are physically capable of. And the World Championship summons players who have pushed those boundaries the furthest.

2011 World Championship: The Queen’s Gambit
Finals Game 1 | against All authority vs. Fnatic 
In the inaugural League of Legends World Championship Final, aAa fought back from the loser’s bracket for a rematch against Fnatic. aAa held a commanding lead and only needed to hammer the final nail into the coffin. A win would erase their series deficit and send the series to its deciding game. But when YellOwStaR’s Ashe stepped too far forward and ate a stun from Brand, he could only watch as his health bar melted. No amount of clicking would undo his mistake. Two of his teammates followed him to their demise, and another was chased across the entire map. For nearly a minute, YellOwStaR watched from his grayed-out screen and waited to respawn. 
He settled down and took the time to re-string his bow. He pulled an arrow from his quiver. He took aim. And on his respawn, YellOwStaR shot his redemption across the entire map. Maybe he said a little prayer when he released it. Maybe luck commandeered its trajectory. But shots like that are fired with the intent to strike -- to pierce and unravel a game. And when they do strike, all the little hairs on the body rise and celebrate like they knew it was going to hit all along. 
2012 World Championship: The Little Giants
Finals Game 3 | Azubu Frost vs. Taipei Assassins 
For every valiant tale of David conquering Goliath, there are a thousand counterexamples where Goliath crushes little David beneath his feet. The Taipei Assassins had played the part of David throughout the 2012 World Championship -- the underdogs who again and again fired back at their daunting foes. In the Finals, though, they faced an Azubu Frost squad hailing from Korea -- the Mecca of esports. The same Korea that would go on to live up to its reputation and dominate the competitive League of Legends scene over the next three years. But that was delayed by the Taipei Assassins. 
Toyz was one of the major cogs in disrupting the system that year and remains a lasting symbol for the little-known might of the Taiwanese region. His memory would become synonymous with the origin of Orianna as a reliable staple pick in the mid lane. The proverbial ball was literally in his court as he rushed headstrong to the aid of his teammate in the river. The mere sound of his footsteps sent the Azubu squad fleeing back into their jungle -- it was akin to watching a mouse scare an elephant. Toyz’ pursuit wasn’t just a chest puff, though. He caught up to the enemy Shen, just barely, and reeled him in to his death with Orianna’s ball -- the very ball that little David had been slinging the entire tournament. 
2013 World Championship: The Spider’s Descent
Group Stage Day 1 | Oh My God vs. Team SoloMid 
Fights near Baron Nashor are some of the most exhilarating moments in League of Legends. You can hear the casters' voices crescendo. You can see the little steps of hesitation as players dance in and out and around the Pit. The whole air surrounding the moment feels thinner, as if everyone -- players and casters and audience alike -- have taken a simultaneous inhale. Slaying Baron can provide the final push a team needs to barrel into the Nexus. But it can also breathe new life into a team feeling beaten and keeled over. 
In the 2013 World Championship, China’s OMG, one of the tournament favorites, had started their assault on Baron and were quickly making worm-meat out of it. Enter TheOddOne -- Team SoloMid’s steadfast “General.” TheOddOne lurked nearby as Elise -- a spider far removed from the safety of its web. His task was less do-or-die and more do-and-die. Between his teammates being scattered and the large discrepancy in gold, TheOddOne’s only option was to steal the Baron with one quick gasp. And so he launched himself into the air before descending with a heavenly strike. A final smite in the face of his enemies. One last charge from the General. 
2014 World Championship: The Preying Mantis 
After a grueling back-and-forth game in the 2014 World Championship, Fnatic demonstrated their patented moxie by trying to circumvent OMG's base for a backdoor victory. It started with a Teleport from sOAZ’s Rumble. Then all eight legs of Cyanide’s Elise crept through the OMG base. And then xPeke’s Syndra. Together, Fnatic catapulted themselves at OMG’s Nexus in a seemingly unrelenting assault. 
Rewind to a few moments before, right as Rumble’s Teleport finished channeling -- OMG’s Loveling immediately caught scent of the peril and recalled back to his base with Kog’Maw’s slime dripping down his back. Rumble was lighting Loveling’s Nexus on fire. Every few steps, a little robotic thrust chiseled away at its health. And just as he put that fire out, Elise and Syndra entered the base. Minions were clashing at his feet. The small war raged on, but when the dust cleared, OMG's Nexus stood alongside Loveling. A single breath from death. 
2015 World Championship: The Demon King
Finals Game 4 | KOO Tigers vs. SKTelecom 
SKTelecom and Faker entered the 2015 World Championship with all sights locked on their backs. Every step they took was plagued by the hands of the fallen nipping at their ankles. But that didn’t stop them. Faker, the undisputed best player in the world for the last few years, surged his way to the top with Ryze. One of League of Legends’ most iconic champions took center stage. Faker embodied Ryze’s might and demonstrated that, sometimes, raw power can’t be outwitted. 
Faker returned to the top of the summit. One king to rule them all. He has been the undisputed best player in the world for the last few years. And whereas the other highlighted summoned champions battled through diversity, Faker strutted in with a king’s aura. His play showed how games can transcend the digital space. The crowd crescendoed as the Finals reached its conclusion. These last kills were the final death knell to another season. Now, Faker sits on the throne that has been coveted by anyone – professional or not – who has wanted to win. And he welcomes any new challengers.
The World Championship begins on September 29. Which champions will be summoned this year?"

Patch Rundown: Worlds 2016

Speaking of Worlds 2016, we also have a special edition of the patch rundown dedicated to each lane:
"The road to Worlds has diverted and altered its course throughout the year as League of Legends continues to evolve and redefine itself. Metas have shifted as champions have fallen in and out of favor. The teams who’ve managed to adapt the quickest have one final hurdle to overcome: the Worlds meta. 
As the regions begin to mesh and practice with each other, strategies will become more refined and more polished. To break down what's to come, Dash, Scarra, Sheepy, and Zirene have gathered to discuss the patches leading up to Worlds and how Patch 6.18 will manifest on the year’s grandest stage. 
The top lane is no longer affected by lane swaps as they have largely been eliminated from the game. The old island is back. As are its duelists. 

Junglers have largely stabilized around a couple power picks. With standard lanes making a return, major swings in the early game will revolve around the jungler’s every move once again.

Assassins in mid lane are a thing of the past, but some players still have tricks up their sleeves and bushes to hide in. The overhaul of mages has reintroduced a wide array of champions to the lane. Mid should feature a colorful roster of champions.

While Teleport has been nerfed, bot lane still serves as the prime target for hungry laners and junglers. The duos will have to be just as cautious as ever as the world’s best take their aim.

To see how these changes will come into play, tune into Worlds on September 29 as the best players from around the globe gather in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Theater to kick off the 2016 World Championship."
Remember, the 2016 World Championship will be played on patch 6.18.

Vonderhamz on Star Guardian Music & Login

When asked about the short Star Guardian Summoner's Rift music seen on the PBE, Vonderhamz  teased:
"I agree! This was not meant to be a piece like that, it's more of the end of a Guardian's journey. This music was actually made by doing an ambient remix of an upcoming piece of music that I think you'll enjoy. Sit tight!
Vonderhamz continued:
"It was actually made specifically for the SR in game music (since you can't really have anything but ambient stuff work on SR), just to enhance the Star Guardian-y-ness when heading out to lane, then made it to PBE with the login screen. EdTheConqueror is the guy working on it, and that guy always kills it with the music he's done!"
As for the music in-game, Vonderhamz noted:
"It'll be there for this patch where your whole team can hear it at the start of the round if there is a SG skin on your team, then after this patch I'll throw it on just the player's skin. Not sure if I'll throw it on just Jinx or all of them after, gotta ask around and see what the best move is..."

Quick Hits

[Trying something different in the interested of saving some space! This mini-round up section will include links and a short description of  miscleanous articles!]
  • Shantzilla noting the shop will soon be updated to note that revenue shares for this year's Worlds & esports cosmetic content. He also noted they'll be sharing the increasing Worlds prize pool number periodically via social media, on broadcast, etc. - source.
  • Early Insight into the OPL in 2017 - information on upcoming changes to the OCE league:
    • "TL;DR: Starting next year all OPL matches will be played at the Riot Games Oceania studio in Sydney, we’re increasing the pro player payments per match and introducing a co-payment model to give clubs access to more funding for things like gaming houses and coaches. To fund that, we had to scale down our Grand Final presence."


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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