Red Post Collection: Nexus, Depth vs Accessability, Riot Impact Challenge, Ivern Price Reduction, & more!

Posted on at 5:53 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Ivern's price reduction to 6300 IP, the debut of a new editorial hub called NEXUS, an article from Ghostcrawler on Depth vs Accessibility in design, a rundown of the upcoming 2016 World Championship Quarterfinals, Riot's impact challenge, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Ivern Price Reduction

It's been a week since his release and Ivern's IP priced has dropped from 7800 IP to 6300 IP. For more on Ivern, be sure to check out our release article! 

Welcome to the Nexus Beta 

Riot has launched the NEXUS, their new hub for editorial LoL content!
"For the last few months, we’ve been playing with the idea of making more editorial League content. Basically, we wrote a bunch of stories and published them with no clear understanding of whether you’d A. read them or B. like them (or C. care). 
If you’re not up to speed, here’s a quick glance at some of the pieces we’ve run so far: 

With the test cases out of the way (thanks for reading!), we’re ready to move to the next phase: Nexus. This is the new home for stories about the whats, whys, and hows of League of Legends, straight from the people who spend their days (and nights) keeping it running. 
We’ll be publishing new stuff every week, including dev blogs from League’s leaders alongside longform stories exploring the ins and outs of a wide range of League topics. We’ll also be making an effort to draw attention to the most interesting stories coming out of League, whether it be something from the tech blog or the Riot Games homepage. Our first post, live right now, is an in-depth look at "casual" vs "deep" game design, penned by League’s game design director. 
Future posts should fall in the same general area -- individuals and teams just talking about their work and thought processes. 
What you’re seeing right now is the beta version of Nexus. We’re starting small and hoping to scale up as we go, keeping the site fresh with tons of cool stories to explore (and not just via text). In the meantime, thanks for hanging out. And let us know if there are any stories you’d love for us to tell."
Click here to visit the NEXUS.
As for the frequency we might see new articles here, Tummers  added:
""every week" is the goal. I can't say for sure that we'll hit it out of the gate, but we have lots of cool stuff in the works :)"
Tummers continued, noting:
We're working on adding it to the bar today! Nexus articles will maybe pop up on the main timeline as well (most of the time).
When asked if these articles would be English only, Tummers noted:
is this gonna be english only?
Hey! So here's the deal on that -- Nexus itself (this web experience or whatever) is launching in English only. HOWEVER, all of the posts/assets are also being provided to regional Riot teams, so they should be popping up in all languages on the regular for each region. 
Over the long-term we're looking at how to optimize Nexus for global, but that's the short-term solution."
You can easily access the NEXUS by clicking the new link at the top of the LoL website:

/Dev: on Depth Vs Accessability 

Speaking of the NEXUS, here's the first article from Ghostcrawler on Depth vs Accessibility:
Summoner's Rift Refined
"In the wake of our recent and ongoing updates to ranked, I wanted to talk a little about how we think about League’s design and, more specifically, who exactly we think we are designing League for. 
Game designers use a lot of jargon about depth and interesting decisions, and Riot talks a lot about the never-ending path to mastery. Why do we care about all of that? 
At a really basic level, you can think of a game as a player wanting to accomplish some goal. The game throws up a lot of obstacles to that goal (or else the game would be like 5 seconds long) and the player then uses various tools to try to overcome those obstacles. In League, the obstacles are mostly the players on the other team who want to prevent you from meeting your goals, but also things like towers, creeps and jungle camps—the tools are things like your QWER, summoner spells, items and so on.
Red Towers
When there is always a safe, “right” answer to solving every obstacle, you may feel smart in the short term because you know the answer, but in the long run that challenge may get stale or boring. The decision isn’t interesting. What designers call interesting decisions are those to which there aren’t obvious right answers. “Which champion should I play?” in general doesn’t have an obvious right answer. “Should I try and last hit?” does have a right answer, but the task itself isn’t easy, plus the answer is often determined by a bunch of other competing priorities, so it’s still reasonably engaging. “Which rune build should I use?” has a right answer, but it isn’t an obvious one, which leads to most of us just Googling it (more on runes in a bit). 
When a game has a lot of interesting decisions, it has depth. There is always something new to learn. You suspect there is always a better way you could have handled a given situation (“Should I have saved my Teleport? Should I have even taken Teleport at all?”) When you’ve played a few games of League in an evening and then play another one, ideally it plays out differently because the different choices all of the players make lead to different outcomes. 
Having a lot of depth frequently leads a game design to being complex. This doesn’t have to be the case. The game of Go gets cited a lot as something with pretty simple rules, but a lot of depth. By contrast, a board game like Monopoly has some complicated rules, but there isn’t that much depth because sooo much of the outcome is decided by the dice roll itself. 
One of the initial thesis of League is that it wasn’t going to sacrifice depth for accessibility... League wasn’t going to go after being a super easy to learn game for fear of losing the depth that the team wanted League to have.

When you have a complex game with a lot of depth (e.g. League), there is an inherent risk that the game itself will be overwhelming to learn, and I think most of us agree that League falls into that category. Accessibility (meaning the ability for a new player to pick up the game) is often in conflict with depth (which keeps engaged players from becoming bored and then unengaging). Developers can handle this conflict in a number of ways, such as doubling down on having a really good onboarding experience (like a stellar tutorial), or trying to keep complexity in check. League doesn’t do that. 
One of the initial theses of League (and this was all way before my time at Riot) was that it wasn’t going to sacrifice depth for accessibility. Yes, there are more complicated and probably even deeper games in the world. That’s fine. What I’m talking about is that as a strategy, Riot decided that League wasn’t going to go after being a super easy to learn game for fear of losing the depth that the team wanted League to have. As a developer, you could decide to walk the tightrope between accessibility and depth. Leagues does this at times, and some games do this really well. But it is an opportunity cost—the more effort you’re spending trying to hit both targets, the less time you have to deliver on one really well. 
For shorthand, we say that League is a game for core gamers. It’s hard to interpret that statement without defining what a core gamer is and by extension what a non-core gamer is (or even what a casual gamer is), and those terms get to be pretty imprecise, and even label-y. But what we mean by it is: We don’t want to try to grow the League audience by making the game easy to understand and pick up. Ryze (Riot co-founder Brandon Beck) often describes League as a niche product that just managed to land in a niche that ended up being pretty large. 
Summoner’s Rift moods
That was a lot of theoretical / philosophical talk, so I wanted to walk through some examples of features in the game to illustrate how this philosophy manifests in the game itself. 
  • Drakes : In patch 6.9, we redesigned the dragon to instead spawn one of several different elemental dragons, each with its own different buff. You can read about the specific reasons why we went with this design iteration, but overall it was an attempt to add depth to what felt like a solved problem (dragon felt either mandatory or irrelevant, depending on the exact stats of the dragon and baron buff at that moment in League’s lifecycle.) This change definitely added complexity to the game, but it also added depth. We feel overall, though tuning will continue for some time, that this was a good change. Dragon became an interesting decision again, even though the burden of learning League (or even the burden of adapting for existing players) increased. 
  • Dynamic Queue : In patch 6.1, we launched New Champ Select, which included Dynamic Queue. We’ve talked a lot about this feature (and heard even more!). What I wanted to talk about in this post specifically was our motivation for adding the ability to queue for ranked with larger premades. Again, one of our goals here was to add depth—not to add accessibility. Some players who were frustrated with the feature or what it did to the game thought it was an attempt to make League more “casual” by making it easier to play with friends (and thus, bring more players to the game). This wasn’t our motivation, though.
At the highest skill levels of League, the professional scene, teams are fixed, and teams play together A LOT. Different things happen in that situation: New strategies and even champ comps become viable, but even more importantly you learn to communicate with your team in sort of shorthand. Maybe there’s an acknowledged shotcaller on the team and everyone knows not to argue. Maybe it’s just that the team has been in similar situations before, so they know how to react as an organized entity, not just as five skilled players. Non-pros sometimes get to experience this in tournaments or the Ranked Teams feature. Many Rioters get to experience it in our internal Riot Rumble. That’s the challenge: having a premade team opens up a lot of new experiences for League players, but is inaccessible to almost all of them. 
Once you add avenues for playing as a team, instead of as a bunch of random players who may not coordinate or even communicate, it opens up a lot of game depth. At launch, Dynamic Queue had a lot of problems, and some linger to this day. The intent, however, was noble: Solve the problem where strategies are necessarily more limited when you have to re-meet, reconnect, and re-establish communication and play style every time you queue for a new game.
The goal is nearly always to add depth to the game by taking a system that is largely solved and try and make it unsolved (and ideally unsolveable!)
  • Runes : Finally, I’ll take a softball example, but one for which we still don’t have a satisfactory solution (but stay tuned!). Runes were originally added to League for two reasons: as an incentive and reward for obtaining a new Summoner level, and as a way to customize your “character” before a game starts and in addition to choices such as champion and items. We can argue about whether runes are an awesome reward for leveling or whether leveling is even super relevant for League in 2016 and beyond, but that’s beyond the scope of what I wanted to talk about here. What I wanted to talk about is whether runes provide interesting choices in customization -- and I’d argue they do not. Very few players really try to come up with new rune builds, and when they do, they are largely inferior (or perceived as such) to established builds. This is largely because runes are passive stats and it’s pretty easy for a large and engaged player base with a lot of data at their exposure to figure out whether a flat MR or scaling MR Glyph is the better choice.
There is a lot of complexity to runes as a system (and this ignores retired mechanics like the Rune Combiner, and need-to-be-retired mechanics like the fact that runes still have tiers), but we don’t get a lot of depth out of it. It’s a solved problem at best, an ear flick at worst, and sort of deserves to either be updated to have depth, or completely retired from the game. We’re going to try to solve the former problem by making runes cooler, and you’ve probably figured out that the solution we want to try is to make them less solvable by having the individual runes be more situational champ to champ and game to game, and having the answer to whether you want A or B to more often be “it depends” or “whatever suits your play style.” The intent of this post isn’t to pitch or announce a new runes system, but I did want to acknowledge that it violates our overall philosophy of complexity being acceptable if the depth is there, because I think most of us would agree, the depth ain’t there in runes today. 
Game map
The goal is never change for the sake of change, nor to make the game easier to learn in order to rope in a bunch of new players who are frightened by League’s complexity. Instead, the goal is nearly always to add depth to the game by taking a system that is largely solved and try and make it unsolved (and ideally unsolvable!). Runes and Dynamic Queue are good examples of how we don’t always get things right, but still make decisions based on a desire for more meaningful depth. 
When I make arguments like this, there are always a few players who argue that this is a fool’s errand, that the community is clever and will always solve everything. They’re right to an extent, but I’d go back to champion selection as a decent bar. Yes, there are often some underpowered or overpowered champs in play, and we make constant updates to the game when it feels like that is happening, but most players still have a lot of agency in champion select. No matter which position you play, there are always multiple champs that you could choose and be able to bring a victory to your team (if there aren’t, it’s a design failure). If we can bring that level of freedom to many of the other choices presented in League, we’d be pretty happy, and we think players would enjoy the game that much more. And the new players who try League, well -- hopefully they appreciate the depth enough to bear the complexity. 
As always, I’m happy for any of you to ask questions, comments, or call me on my bullshit. I look forward to the discussion!"
Ghostcrawler also hung around the boards and reddit to discussion and answer questions!

When ask about diversity vs who Riot particularly balances around, Ghostcrawler noted:
Champion diversity typically isn't something that someone considering getting into the game will care about or even notice
We focus most of our balancing effort at high plat / low diamond. If it was a goal to have really high champ diversity for Worlds, I'm pretty confident we could achieve that (maybe not 130 champions, but a lot higher than today). It would probably come at the cost of Yi 70% win rates in silver though. 
While I'd love to have both, I'd rather have good games at Worlds with lower diversity, rather than high diversity but games that aren't fun to watch. 
Ghostcrawler continued:
"We really strive not to change things for the sake of change. We don't always nail that, but it's a goal. We try to take things that have been solved and make them harder to solve. I feel pretty good about the drake changes in this regard. (By contrast, I don't feel that Rift Herald at the moment is a very interesting decision.) But there is a reasonable chance dragons will feel solved in 2018 or whenever and we will have to look at them again. "
Ghostcrawler added:
It's not the goal to change things every two years. Ideally the most recent dragon changes stand the test of time. Ideally the Talon update means Talon is done and we never have to update him again. 
Realistically I know that probably won't happen. It's a complex game, and changes in one part can have ripple effects on others. A new champ design could shift Talon into or out of meta. The player base could evolve their strategies, and so on."

When asked about the recent decision to change over to duo/solo and flex queues for ranked in the 2017 season,  Ghostcrawler noted:
"We had a lot of players participate in ranked. That is a good thing. But we never had a meeting where someone said "We should allow for larger premades, because that will attract more casual players to LoL and grow our player base." It was more that [some] players had been asking for larger premades, and we know that players who form premades tend to stick with the game longer and report having more fun than those who play mostly solo. In the end though, those gains weren't worth the cost, which is why we are changing that design. 
Voice is something we're looking at, but in our research it seemed that most players who invest heavily in premades already had a voice solution (through Discord, Curse, Skype etc.) so it wouldn't make a massive difference compared to other features we could be working on."

Worlds 2016: Quarterfinals Rundown & Prize Pool Update

With the 2016 World Championship Quarterfinals starting up later this week, check out this rundown for teams, formats, and more!
"The Group Stage, the first part to the 2016 World Championship, is over and done. Only 8 teams remain on the road to the Summoner’s Cup as we head into the Knockout Stage. 
If you’ve watched all of Worlds so far or you’re just catching up on the action, here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Quarterfinals: 
What is the Knockout Stage? 
The 2016 World Championship is split into two parts - Group Stage and Knockout Stage. The top two teams from each group of the Group Stage move on to the Knockout Stage. 
During the Knockout Stage, the tournament transitions to a Best of 5, single elimination bracket. This means moving forward that if a team loses a series then, they’re out of Worlds. We kick off the Knockout Stage matches with 8 of the top teams competing at Quarterfinals in Chicago. 
Who is participating? What’s the Knockout bracket look like? 
Here’s the 8 teams participating at Quarterfinals: 
Group A:
Group B:
Group C:
Group D:
How were the Quarterfinals matchups decided? 
The Knockout Stage bracket was decided live after Group Stage concluded on Sunday, October 9. The No. 1 seeds were drawn to face-off against No. 2 seeds from another group. 
What’s the Quarterfinals schedule? 
  • Thursday, October 13: SSG vs. C9
  • Friday. October 14: SKT vs. RNG
  • Saturday, October 15: ROX vs. EDG
  • Sunday, October 16: H2K vs. ANX 
For the rebroadcast schedule, head over to our Worlds 2016 schedule page
What’s the format? 
All Knockout Stage matches including Quarterfinals matches will be Best of 5. 
Why does the it matter? What are they playing for? 
Only 4 teams will advance to Semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York and make it one step closer to the fight for the Summoner’s Cup. 
How can I watch? 
Stay tuned to Lolesports to catch all the Worlds 2016 action live or watch the rebroadcast of the games. If you need to catch up on what you missed, Lolesports will have the latest standings and VODs available of all the Worlds games. 
I want to come to Quarterfinals, can I still get tickets? 
Tickets are sold out for Quarterfinals at the Chicago Theatre. 
We will be hosting a weekend viewing parties of Quarterfinals on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 at Millennium Park. No ticket required to attend but there is limited space available on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 4:00 PM, simulcast starts at 5:00 PM, closes when matches end. Head over to our community events guide for more information and keep an eye on the Facebook event for any last minute updates. 
Don’t miss the start of the Quarterfinals with Korea’s Samsung Galaxy vs. North America’s Cloud9 on Thursday, October 13 at 5:00 PM CDT."
Speaking of the 2016 World Championship, Riot has published an update to the fan contribution to the prize pool - now clocking it at over $4,000,000!

Join in the Riot Impact Challenge 

Riot has launched the IMPACT CHALLENGE, encouraging folks to donate (with rewards for donating certain amounts) to selected non-profit organizations.
"Join in the Riot Impact Challenge and help us support four hard-carry causes in the coming year while unlocking unique rewards. 
After scouting potential allies working in social impact, we found four non-profits who care deeply about the same issues players and Riot agree are important. We’re kicking things off with $1 million in donations and a contribution of some of our more unique resources (like Rioter volunteers and industry best practices) to amp up the charities’ impact and tease out sustainable solutions. Join us now at the Riot Impact Challenge site and learn more about the potential rewards! 
CoderDojo is aiming to expand multilingual coding and educational content for their open-source coding clubs all over the world. To do this, they’re leveling up opportunities for kids & young people, enabling them to become the next generation of creators. 
CyberSmile Foundation wants to develop online education and support resources for gamers of all levels on the importance of empathy, behavioral awareness and positive online experiences. 
The Institute of Play plans to create a teacher training program and materials for STEM classes, using game design principles to engage students as they deploy 21st-century skills around critical problem solving, collaboration, and systems thinking. 
Mental Health America is developing a platform for anyone anywhere to receive community-driven support for anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues with possible next steps to get informed, get connected, and get care. 
To bring the Challenge to more players, we’ve partnered with Omaze. We’ve hooked them up with unique prizes to give away as part of their campaign. There are multiple reward levels depending on contribution, and Omaze is sending five grand prize winners along with their guests to the All-Star Event in Barcelona. 
This is kinda like an open alpha for community-facing social impact projects—we’re definitely not locking-in champs yet and there’s a lot of work to be done before we can start climbing the ladder (for example, Omaze is able to open the campaign to a ton of players, but due to local laws, players from a few countries are still ineligible for the grand prize--visit the official rules to check if you’re eligible). Read more about our long-term goals and the orgs we’re working with this year over on 
We’re planning to ramp up our efforts over time as we grow and learn, but we’re excited about the possibilities of helping to set the next generation up just a little better for the challenges to come. We hope you are, too. GLHF!"
More information available [here].

Heading over to the IMPACT CHALLENGE's Omaze page shows what rewards are obtainable with donation, including an exclusive summoner icon, tshirt, pin, and more as the tiers move up!
As for how you might redeem the icons or mystery gifts should you choose to donate, Kushnood noted:
If we donate do we need to do anything additionally to get the icon or anything else we pledged for? Or will Riot send out a survey/codes for the icons after the campaign is over :O Much love and thank you guys for doing this, it's an awesome campaign for awesome causes! 
Omaze will send you an email with instructions on how redeem the icon and you'll need to fill out a quick form so that we can credit your account with the mystery skin (which may take a couple of days to hit)"
When asked which donation tiers the exclusive summoner icon is included in, Kushnood noted:
If we "purchase" the mystery gift, will we also get an icon to go along with it, or are those two completely separate options?
The icon comes with every reward tier! You should be getting an email from Omaze with instructions on how to redeem both"

Reav3 Grab Bag - Champion & Splash Art Updates

Reav3  has also been all over the boards and reddit discussing champion and splash art updates!
On the timing of the future Warwick update, Reav3  commented that we should have Warwick's update after the next new champion but the assassin update would be before the next new champion:
Warwick should be coming out soon, yes? Do you think he'll be out before the next champion?
Things can always change of course, but as of now Warwick should be out after the next new champ. Assassins is the project that will be before the next new champ"
Reav3  continued:
i was hoping for a full revamp, but last time i checked they want to keep him as a noob champion, similar to garen. maybe even with the current ww ultimate. imo you can fully trash the current kit and deliver something interesting on the hunt, slash, beast transformation fantasies. its not like ryze where it was easy to see the potential... had a concept for a prison inmate warwick possessed by a dark beast spirit, with a shadow form and grabbing arms, but then kindred happened and later i read about riots plans with warwick...
He will have a full new kit. Just because we want him to have a similar skill floor doesn't mean he can't have a much higher skill ceiling"
Reav3  added:
Can you share what sort of style the new Warwick will have? Is there an existing champion that you think has a similar play pattern to what you envision the new Warwick to be?
Hmm, I'm sure the designer, certainlyT, could give a better answer on that then me. I will say that he will be much more capable at ganking pre-6 now."
Reav3 also noted that the Marquis and Count Vladimir splash art updates on the PBE are the only updates planned atm:
"Sorry there arn't more Vlad coming. We may get to the rest of his splashes one day but that would be much later"
As for how long it generally takes to make a brand new splash art, Reav3 noted:
How long does it take to create one splash and approx. how many hours of work?
There as a ASK Riot about this a couple weeks back. It takes roughly 4-6 weeks"

As for the next splash art update set has been mentioned to be for Twitch,  Reav3 teased:
"Real talk. Vandal Twitch is shaping up to be my favorite splash in the game."

Reav3 also noted that Karma's splash art update should be after Warwick's champion update:
Is it true that Twitch is next and Karma is after? I'm especially excited for Karma.
That's the current plan, yes. Karma's will likely be awhile though since Warwick has so many skins and we aren't going to start on her until after WW."
In a thread discussing potential champion updates in the future, Reav3 made an interesting comment that Kayle and Morgana will most likely be updated together.
"Not sure about Kass and Malz but we would almost certainly update Kayle and Morgana simultaneously."
As for why, he continued::
"No, it's because there lore/theme are so intertwined that it would severly limit where we could take them if we only did one (without making the other make no sense at all)"

As for thoughts on a large scope Swain update, Reav3 repeated:
"He definitely needs a full VGU and is relatively high on our list for one. The small tweaks for the mage update were just to hold him over until then."

Meddler Grab Bag - Bans, Ryze, & Pre-season

Next up is a collection of posts from Meddler on more champion bans, Ryze, and pre-season!

When asked if they still plan to add additional champion bans, Meddler replied:
"Increased number of bans is something we're still planning to look into after the pre-season. Pick/Ban changes are dependent on the new client, so we'll be looking into them once that's more widely available."
Meddler continued:
Thanks for the info. 
Does this mean we'd see more bans JUST BEFORE Season 7 or SOMETIME DURING Season 7? I only ask because both situations could have a huge effect on ranked.
Sometime during next year's season would be most likely. Timing might be a bit different for ranked/normal draft versus tournament play though. We've been talking about whether tournament draft should have somewhat different pick/ban rules to regular draft, given the context's pretty different (in one case you're an organized team who've scouted your opponents, in the other you're usually a group of strangers put together against unknown opponents). If we decided to go for slightly different approaches for each of those two contexts possible they might be released at separate times (each would need to be developed independently, might not make sense to sit on one set of changes until the other's also ready)."
As for if the team has any plans for Ryze changes in the near future, Meddler noted:
"We don't currently have any plans for Ryze changes. He's somewhat hard to play, especially when it comes to coordinating his ults well with your team. That means his average win rate in regular play's probably going to be on the low side if he's balanced. As Requiemsfire below notes he also performs really well when played by an experienced Ryze player."
Meddler also noted that there will be a full preseason mini site in the near future:
Will there be a preseason info site like midseason? I'm eager to see the the break down of changes to the assassins as well as whatever else is changing.
Also, in your opinion, will this preseason be as much of a dramatic change as last preseason?
Yup, we'll have a site that summarizes the changes. 
In terms of amount of change I personally feel there's a lot in this pre-season. It's a wider spread of gameplay and non gameplay than in the past though, so rather than all being champion/item/map changes there's other really significant stuff coming at or around the same time (e.g. new client, return of Duo/Solo queue, replays, etc)."

VonderHamz on the Star Guardian Start of Game Music

VonderHamz  commented on reddit noting that the plan is to keep Star Guardian start of game music that is currently on live with the SG minions after 6.21 but likely only play for the skin owner:
"Stoked you guys are into the music! I had a ton of fun making it from the stems of the music video song that EdTheConqueror made. I'm going to make it so it stays in the skins (yes all of them)! I'm thinking it'll probably just work for the skin owner though, since it's a bit more complicated getting it working for everyone.
VonderHamz added:
Had a semi-related question you might be able to answer. What was the reason for the major shift in tone for how the star guardians were portrayed (music wise at least)? Lux's back animation had a very non-serious sounding score to it, but now with the rest of the star guardians they feel very different.
Solid question. So with Lux being the first skin in the line, the skins team went with a more classic direction with her. If you listen to some older magical girl anime music, a lot of it has really similar instrumentation, harmony etc. For the new SG skins, we wanted to dive a little deeper into their universe and find the story that was there. We got really into it and were watching a ton of different magical girl anime to get the vibe right (I was listening to the SFX the whole time, lots of cool synthy stuff in there that inspired Jinx's kit sounds).The one thing we noticed that was pretty consistent through all the different series stories, is that they all tend to go out really young in a blaze of glory. If you listen to the lyric in the video, they are actually really sad, but the music is telling you something else. It's trying to emphasize the themes of the genre in a different way. The ambient piece in the start of a round IMO is really melancholy in a sad beautiful way, which I thought fit the life of a Star Guardian. 
So I guess overall, that's why it's a different direction. We wanted to have some throwbacks and easter eggs pointing to that sort of style (check the synths in the video) but throw our take on it. Riot Japan released an awesome version of the star guardian that's a bit more in the traditional realm music-wise."
More on the recently release Star Guardian skins and content available [here].


Here's Kades with the second dev blog for Riot's upcoming MECHS VS MINIONS cooperative table top game!
"Hey folks, 
Making a board game is something many of us have always wanted to do, and we feel very lucky—and sincerely humbled—to be able to work in this space at all. We already have a lot of love for tabletop game makers, and through this process we’ve found a whole new respect for this craft and industry. 
Like pretty much every tabletop group ever, a couple of us had always thrown around the idea of making a board game. Around three years ago, we decided to really try our hand at it. The smart thing to do would have been to reach out to an established tabletop company that we know does this well, but we really wanted to take a full swing ourselves to see if we could come up with a game that made sense for League players. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of freedom to pivot when necessary, which is a rare luxury that we wanted to take advantage of. Going with a company that has done this before would have saved us a bunch of headaches along the way, but we wouldn’t have been able to keep asking “why can’t a board game do this?” at every step, and I believe (and hope!) that the game is better off for it. 
Riot happened to have an accomplished board game designer (Stone Librande), who frequently came up with new ideas for games. One of the ones we looked at had a compelling programming mechanic that we wanted to pursue. A lot of the game has obviously changed since that point, but that kernel was the center that the rest of the game was built around. 
The next step was to match a League theme to those mechanics. The story of MvM is within the League universe, so we had a lot of freedom to play with which champions would be involved and what we could put them through. With programming, it made sense to look at robots, and an early iteration featured Blitzcrank and Orianna. But the mechs are difficult to control, and they run into a lot of funny situations that way, and it didn’t feel right that Ori or Blitz couldn’t control themselves well. Then we thought of Rumble, who is easier to see slipping around on oil slicks, and we started to build the thematic aspects of the game from there. We wanted more yordles in the game but wanted to keep the mechs, so we had Rumble open up a mech-piloting school, and his personality helped us shape a story that we could tie the other four into. Once we had that theme, building the game felt much more organic; the theme and mechanics started to inform each other in ways that felt right, and progress followed. 
We spent the year working on it, figuring out artwork and models and any other kind of forward progress we could find, and landed on something that I thought felt pretty good. I’m a huge board game nerd, so I wanted to reach out to some of the reviewers and communities that I love: BoardGameGeek, Geek & Sundry, Shut Up & Sit Down, The Dice Tower, the list goes on. We ended up flying out Quintin Smith from Shut Up & Sit Down and Tom Vasel from Dice Tower, and they were awesome about giving us feedback. I remember Quintin telling us that he enjoyed the game but didn’t feel like he’d play it again, and he recommended doing a campaign with modular boards since that would keep him engaged. This change would represent a lot more work, since we would be taking that core structure and making/balancing around ten more missions around it, but deep down we all knew he was right. We went back to the drawing board and completely pivoted. We brought in another designer (Rick Ernst) to help work on crafting scenarios as well as damage and boss decks, and we pressed onward. 
Playtesting was a huge part of the process from there. Luckily, Riot is a place filled with core gamers, so we had lots of opportunities to do playtests with different types of gamers from the office. And we needed to do a lot of playtesting, especially for balancing the AI, since in co-op you really want the players to have to gamble on how to win, and get through by the skin of their teeth. The real solve for that, other than getting to work with great designers (which I’ve been lucky to have), is just playtesting over and over again, and then over and over again (and again), and then bringing in brand new eyes and seeing if your experience sticks. Then someone will say “we haven’t lost here in a long time, it should be a little harder” and we’ll make a tweak. It’s not sexy—just constant iterations over a long period of time—but it’s happy work, because it’s out of love for the game that you’re making and the players you’re making it for. 
One landmine we were particularly afraid of was quarterbacking: when one player basically solves the game, and that person ends up puppeting the entire group. It’s a scary risk for a complex co-op game, and we actively fought against it. We actually had a version that went too far, and it no longer felt like players could collaborate at all, and it wasn’t fun. We eventually found a balance we were happy with, with each player becoming an expert on their own mech’s command line. We knew things were going better when in-game conversations started focusing less on tactics and more on objectives: a player might see a minion squeaking through the gate and ask the team: “can you get there?” or “who can handle this?” instead of focusing on how that other player should build out their mech. It felt like a much healthier place for the game to land. 
The majority of this work was done by a very small team, starting with three or four people and then later having five to seven people. We’ve come a long way, and I’m super proud of this team for working out of love for what we’re doing. I’ve had the opportunity to play MvM a couple thousand times at this point and I still love playing it; I’m still proud of the gameplay and the work that was done. I’m also very happy to have worked with some of the external partners that helped us in the manufacturing of the game, which I plan to talk about in my next post! 
-Chris 'Kades' Cantrell"
Remember that MECHS VS MINIONS will be in the merch shop on October 13th at 11 AM PST!

/ALL Chat | Your main champ got nerfed?! 

New /ALL CHAT is up - this episode asks "what do you do when your go-to main champion is nerfed?"

"The Baron Pit is ALL Chat’s discussion segment where we roundtable a question and then kick it to you for your opinions. This episode’s question: what do you do when your go-to main champion is nerfed? 
We’ve all got a champion or two that we love more than anything. But what happens when that special someone gets nerfed? Anivia mid taking you to gold and beyond suddenly silenced by the ruffians and rogues on the balance team. ALL chat hosts and special guest Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough discuss what they do when their main and favorite champions get whacked with the nerf bat."

Quick Hits

[Quick hits is our own mini news collection inside a red post collection - including shorter or easy to digest bits and repeat information you may have missed in other posts! Let us know what you think!]

"The plan is for the assassin reworks to be part of the pre-season patch (6.22). That will hopefully hit the PBE next week. 6.22 will likely be on the PBE a bit longer than usual. We'll probably do 3 weeks between 6.21 and 6.22, in part to give some extra testing time."
    "G'day all, I implemented this feature so I thought I should provide some context. Please note that this is a simple first step to see if it fixes some of the player pain you've been experiencing when the game locks up. It's not the most elegant solution and it won't fix all of your problems, but I hope you enjoy it!"

  • L4T3NCY noted that if the  recent removal of the older Clairvoyance spell from the Definitely Not Dominion RGMQ mode was felt greatly by players they'd likely look into adding vision to the mode's mechanics rather than reintroduce the summoner spell.
"Clairvoyance has actually been an unsupported summoner spell in LoL for a little while now. The DnD mode was just the last place it still existed and we hadn't gotten around to removing it (until now).
If the lack of Clairvoyance as a spell is felt greatly by DnD players, we'd probably consider folding vision into the mode's other mechanics some way, to free up the summoner slot."


To round out tonight's red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The 2016 World Championship group stages continue with quarterfinals October 13th - 16th! 
  • Championship Zed, Worlds 2016 summoner icons, legacy content, and more is available through November 6th! Don't forget to head to the shop to buy your championship jewels for IP to upgrade your 2016 WC summoner icons  during broad cast days!
  • The new Star Guardian content is now available, including new skins for Janna, Jinx, Lulu, and Poppy. Through October 19th you can earn a free summoner icon by taking the SG quiz.  SG summoner icon and limited time bundles available through October 13th.

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