Red Post Collection: January Sales Schedule, Lessons from Preseason, /DEV on Champion Diversity, and more!

Posted on at 5:23 PM by Moobeat
Tonight's red post collection includes January's champion & skins sales schedule, a /Dev Diary on lessons from preseason, a /DEV article on Champion Diversity, Fizz Enthusiast discussing Anivia in 7.1 & Azir's E bug, how to make your own delicious poro snax, a reminder Camille price down to 6300 IP, & more!
Continue reading for more information!

January sales schedule 

The champion and skin sales schedule is out for January, including the normal weekly sales, as well as early sales for recently released skins and chroma:
"Check out all the champs and skins on sale this January! Like previous sales schedules, we’re not posting the exact dates for each champ and skin, but they’ll all be on sale sometime next month. 
Just a heads up – since we’re publishing these in advance, we won’t offer partial refunds on champs and skins purchased before they go on sale."

December's sale schedule is available [here].

/Dev Diary: Lessons from Preseason

Here's Meddler with a /DEV Diary discussing the lessons learned from 2017 Preseason:

"What have we learned from this year's preseason?"

/DEV: On Champ Diversity 

In the newest /DEVGhostcrawler sat down to talk about Champion Diversity in LoL:
Fan Art Source
"Where and how does Riot prioritize champion diversity? 
League of Legends has, of this writing, 133 champions, with more on the way. But at times, you might feel like not all of those champions are available to you. Maybe the champion you want to play is legitimately underpowered during the patch you want to play her. Maybe there’s a different champ that you enjoy playing, but even though his numbers are tuned to the right place, he just doesn’t quite bring enough to a team comp to really handle current strategies — a situation often referred to as “being out of meta.” 
This situation is particularly true of esports. About 40% of League champs made an appearance in Worlds this year, and of those several only got a game or two. 
With esports high on our minds (and probably yours as well) after the fantastic final showdown between SKT and SSG and all the pre-season roster changes/rumors, it seems like an opportune time to share some thoughts on champ diversity. Do we think diversity is important to players? Is it important to Riot? Why? How does it stack rank with the rest of our goals? 
From a game design perspective, having a variety of healthy champions that are viable picks does a few nice things for the game. For example, the ability to swap champs around from game to game can help prevent player burnout. Many of you may very well have mains, and that’s fine, but almost everyone can play at least a few champs. If your matches start to feel like they’re playing out the same way every time, swapping to another champion can help keep the game fresh.

Adding a new champion is one of the most exciting moments for League from a development perspective, and updating old champions has virtually the same impact. For these releases to feel relevant, you have to be convinced that these new or updated champions will find a niche in the current state of the game, and you have to be convinced that you can eventually rely on decent win rates with those champions once you’ve got some experience under your belt. 
This gets at a third benefit to having a lot of available champions: The never-ending path to mastery is one of our core design values. Having so many champions to master helps make sure League’s mastery curve stays truly endless. Seeing yourself get better at something is satisfying, and when learning a new champion, the mastery slope tends to be the least steep early on. You’ll see performance improvements almost immediately in your first few games. Even if you hit a point of diminishing returns on Yasuo, maybe you can see rapid improvement by trying to get better at a somewhat similar champ like Riven or Ekko.
Your first few games with a champion offer the quickest learning curve, followed by the long, steep climb to mastery.
From the point of view of players, diversity is important for a few different reasons (that are also important). As I mentioned, many of you do play mains, and it can really suck when your main doesn’t feel like a legit option. All that time you spent getting better at a champion can feel wasted if all of a sudden you feel like your only choice is to abandon your main and pick a new one. As I mentioned above, swapping your focus to another champ can be fun, but it’s better when you’re opting into that choice, not feeling forced into it. 
If we’re going to claim that League has 133 champions, then the expectation is that those are actually playable champions. As gamers, I think it offends all of us at a visceral level when we see a system not living up to its potential. It feels like visiting an amusement park when half the rides are shut down. Maybe you can still make the most of it, but there’s this nagging suspicion that you’re not getting the promised experience, and that risks tainting how you experience other parts of the game. I think this is the same reason why very experienced League players still get bummed about our tutorial experience, even though it doesn’t directly affect them. It just feels crummy. 
And finally, getting back to esports, it’s exciting when you see one of your favorite champions picked by pros, and disappointing if you realize that, for example, only Jhin, Cait, Ashe and Ez are going to see a lot of pro ADC play. 
So if having a lot of champions being played is important to us and important to you, then what’s stopping us? Why isn’t diversity near 100% representation all the time? Well, the TL;DR is that it’s a big thorny challenge. 
For starters, we do have a lot of champions. It requires a lot of bandwidth to focus on all of them, all the time. If you think about balance as a complicated mathematical equation, then consider that we are constantly adding more and more variables to that equation as we add champions, update champions, and change the game systems that surround them. 
It’s also worth stating that a lot of Rioters are focused on creating those new champions, updating the old ones, and trying to improve the underlying rules of the game, in addition to working on things like matchmaking, rotating game modes, new skins, better clubs, the new client, and a whole host of other things. In other words, while champ diversity is important, a lot of other stuff is important too, so we aren’t throwing anywhere remotely close to a majority of development resources at the diversity problem alone.
Champion Medley
Our balance philosophy for League is that we essentially use one rule set (high-skill players and those who aspire to be) when tuning champion balance from new players all the way to pro. This is different from say basketball, which has different three-point lines, or golf, which uses different tee boxes for pros. This philosophy can create convoluted problems when a designer wants to buff a champ for normal play without creating a 100% pick/ban monster for pro, or to nerf a champ for pro without pushing them out of normal play completely. We still think this philosophy is the right one: It lets League players follow League esports because we know the abilities and items are all going to work the same way, and inspires us to try and get better in our own games by seeing how the pros play. But it does make balance even more challenging to achieve (as an aside, I’m not convinced that being able to tune champions separately for different skill tiers makes the job any easier — now you don’t have to worry about affecting pro Gnar when you tune Silver Gnar, but you still have to tune all of those different Gnars). 
And following on to the topic of pro League, the pro experience is pretty different from the way most of us play League. Pros often pick champs with strong team synergy, while many of us need to rely on a champ with some amount of individual carry potential since we might not be able to rely on a cohesive team in a solo queue experience (though I will insert my soft pitch here to try the new Flex queue and see if it can provide you with a competitive experience that also includes team-building as a strategy). This difference between pro and non-pro can cause specific champions (say Elise, Orianna and Rumble) to frequently show up in pro even if their play rate for non-pro Ranked is much lower. Pros also have busy schedules. Investing a ton of time in getting good at an unusual champion may be lost time if the conclusion turns out to be that no, that champ isn’t going to really work. If they find a “good enough” champion, it’s probably more efficient just to practice and scrim with that champion rather than play the field. Then again, when crazy picks like Support MF show up, it’s pretty exciting. 
Most importantly, we’d rather have a fun, healthy game than a diverse game. Buffing very frustrating champions just to increase their play rates is irresponsible for developers who are supposed to care about the player experience. It has an icky “meeting quotas” feeling. On the other hand, the right solution is to address the source of their frustration, not just to leave them weak. So there will definitely be cases where we have to take a step backwards in diversity in order to achieve other goals. As an example, we made some turret changes pretty late in the pro season to discourage lane swapping as a strategy. We knew that change would hurt diversity and we knew we wouldn’t have any patches left to try and get some champs back into pro play. But we still felt like that change was worth it so that Worlds would be a good viewing experience (and I for one, feel like it really was). 
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that players, even pros, make their decisions about who to play for a lot of reasons. Individual champ strength is certainly a factor, but so is whether their mechanics are fun, whether the champ is on free rotation, their visuals, their backstory, and changes to other champs (talking about things like counters, team synergies, or even item or mastery changes) and so on. 
Some champions are strongest in coordinated play, where teams can maximize their strengths through communication, planning, and execution.
At the end of the day, we aren’t really looking for 100% champ representation at Worlds. Even though we were fortunate to have Finals itself go to five games, you’re still only talking about two ADC players, Ruler and Bang. How many Marksmen, realistically, can show up even in a best-of-five that goes all the way? Even when you expand that to all the ADC pro players, it’s still not likely that every Marksman will show up. Pros, like the rest of us, are always going to have favorites, and that’s not only fine, I’ll argue it’s good for esports. 
Equal play rates aren’t a goal. Players love Jinx and Ahri for reasons other than their win rates. Even though he desperately needs an update, Urgot will probably always be a niche champion, and we’re fine with that, so long as some players out there love them some Urgot
I don’t know if there is a magic number. Maybe it’s 60% instead of 40% representation at Worlds. Maybe it’s 80%. Some of that is going to take more extensive reworks on our part. We are going to have to lower skill ceilings and raise skill floors on a lot of champions before we see Garen played in the upper tiers of ranked, or see mere mortals playing someone like Azir or Kalista to their maximum potential. One thing that we do think will help, at least for esports and other forms of organized play, is expanding the number of bans to 5 per team, and having these bans made in two rounds. We think ban changes will make it easier for players to clip off the ends of the bell curve. The S-tier champions will dominate less and hopefully more of the A and B champions will get more regular play. While we don’t have a time frame yet, more bans is something we are actively working on. 
I get that topics like this are largely philosophical. I understand that for some of you it might be a no-brainer to balance pro differently than we balance Bronze, or to balance pro even at the expense of Bronze. We could have stronger champ counterpicks during champ select, or alternatively, we could move our more niche champions towards being more generalist picks so at least they’d get more play time. I don’t mind if you disagree with us on our goals – as I said, this stuff is highly philosophical – but at least now maybe you’ll understand them a little better, and help us to deliver on them."

Fizz Enthusiast Grab Bag  - on Anivia in 7.1, Azir E bug, & more! 

Fizz Enthusiast / phroxz0n  jumped on the boards to discussion several recent topics, including Anivia in 7.1, Azir's PBE E scaling bug, and more!

Fizz Enthusiast popped on to the boards to give an update on Anivia as the next patch, 7.1, approaches in early 2017:
"Hey all, thought I'd hop in for a chat about where Anivia's ended up after the changes. 
Overall, we're pretty happy with where Anivia has landed after the changes in 6.23. 
To refresh, we first undertook these changes for several reasons: 
Reward vs Counterplay 
Reward for ER was very high for pretty low counterplay. If we continue to support ER being powerful (where the only meaningful play is to stay out of range), it means we have less power budget to make the rest of her kit cool and powerful. 
In the context of the changes, we wanted to play up the combo aspects of Anivia. 
- Wall -> R, then Q the side when they try to get out -> empowered E should feel powerful and worth the mana cost. 
- Putting down a storm on them when they go for a minion -> walling/Q'ing them into it -> empowered E should also feel worth and powerful. 
- Even R -> E should be OK, but you shouldn't expect to outtrade people as well as previously. It's tuned so that unless the opponent is greedy and stands in it for half a second too long, you won't be able to get an empowered E off without using at least one other ability. 
Obviously this can cost a lot of mana in lane, but we like that Anivia builds mana and can support these costs. (She also has high base mana and mana regen and can take some points in meditation if you want to go for a lot of trades) As the game goes on, mana costs become less relevant, as your mana costs are a smaller and smaller proportion of your mana pool. If she needed buffs, I would say that we would look to improve the reward she gets for landing her combo, so that she is more incentivised to contest minions with big trades. 
I also expect that at higher MMR's, the ability to throw down R and be a "waveclear bot" without getting pressured off the wave becomes harder, so I'm not too worried about her turning into that (it's not a winning playstyle) and I fully believe that an aggressive Anivia's laning is both effective and necessary in a lot of matchups (unless you want to give up a lot of CS). Her trades still hit very hard in laning phase, there's no question about that. 
Playing up the Controller/Disruptor 
By our class definitions, Anivia has the kit pieces to be the quintessential disruptor. 
We want disruptors to have good sustained lockdown, sustained damage and good counter engage and pick potential (think Zyra root and ult, Orianna ult, Anivia wall and storm). 
With the old storm at 3 seconds to ramp up, it was generally too unreliable to access and the reward was pretty low for how difficult it was to get empowered storm to actually hit people (in most cases). 
Wall is one of the most unique and powerful spells in the game and was on an overly restrictive cooldown at 25 seconds (without a cooldown rankup), so reducing this made a lot of sense. The cooldown is also in the range where you can opt to go for two different builds (CDR predominant build with wall at 10-12 seconds CD for lots of walls/stuns or the 0 cdr mana/burst build). 
By loading more power into the storm (making empowered storm happen earlier) and wall, we can play up the controller aspects a lot more. This power has to come from somewhere, so we took it from the ER, which as I mentioned earlier had game health problems and was an inhibitor to making the rest of her kit more functional and powerful. 
General Performance 
Our internal metrics have been showing Anivia performing well after aggregating for all regions and for our target audience. Our changes targeted her laning strength being down (she will be more vulnerable in some matchups) and her late game strength being improved. 
She now exhibits this behaviour with more of a scaling curve (increases over game time), rather than a snowball curve (spikes very hard early and drops sharply). 
Anivia is still a very difficult champion to play (she is in the top 10 for mastery curves) and as such, we still expect her to continue to improve slightly (but not hugely) over time (new builds will emerge and her playstyle has been pretty heavily shaken up). As such, we have decided not to buff her for 7.1 and generally think she's in a pretty good spot (she is in the top 30% for overall winrates and experienced players are finding a lot of success on her.) 
However, keep in mind that she is a champion that is mained heavily with a steep mastery curve, so this will skew winrates upwardly (experienced plays are a larger proportion of her total plays [compared to Syndra] and she improves much more by game [compared to Shyvana]). All things considered, I think it would be a mistake to rush into a buff and we would almost certainly regret it later. 
Anivia for 7.1 
- We will be adding a "flash forming" effect for both her base and blackfrost storms. 
- Fixing a bug where Empowered Storm usually takes 1.75 seconds to form instead of 1.5 seconds (this is technically a small buff). 
So just wanted to give my thoughts on where we're at; always open to having a good discussion."
As you likely noticed in the 12/16 PBE update, Azir's E tooltip has had the bonus health scaling removed from it, as the ability has been bugged and has not been properly using this scaling for some time now. With the tooltip change hitting PBE, Fizz Enthusiast explained:
"For Azir, there's been a bug on live for a while where the bonus health scaling from Azir's E hasn't been getting added to the shield. 
Instead of adding this functionality, we've decided to remove it from the ability."
 Fizz Enthusiast elaborated:
"So a few things here. 
  • It's not laziness. We can add the e functionality in (and we were considering just fixing the bug and adding it in). However, we looked back at when the bug was introduced and determined there was no impact on winrate as expected (given how infrequently 60hp off E shield is the difference between life and death).  
  • There's questions whether azir should even have the shield at all. It promotes strange laning patterns, such as when Leblanc is beating the hell out of you that the optimal play is to E at her to knock her out of W, get a big shield and out trade her. (One of the reasons we removed the knock up in season 5 to open up a wider range of champions that can fight him in lane and stop him scaling).  
  • Having said that, the shield does a lot of good things for incentivising azir to go for aggressive shurima shuffles. During development, one of the reasons the ultimate even has damage and the E has shield and knockup is to incentivise him to use it aggressively occasionally.  
  • We would prefer to buff Azir in places that we are happy supporting rather than adding power back into something we have a possibility of removing later (e shield). For example, his turret is unique and has strategic value, his soldiers are a big part of his base pattern and his ultimate damage would incentivise him to go for more risky plays. Having said that, we have problems saying what is the actual correct spot to put power without taking power from somewhere else. (A pure buff is bound to cause problems somewhere).  
  • For example, if we improve his ultimate damage to incentivise risky plays, we also improve his strength for normal team fights which can lead to a lot of frustration (Eg. I fight at range, get poked out and die, I fight up close, I get bursted and die.) An example solution would be to reduce Q range while buffing ult damage, but now we've added a nerf to the changelist.  
  • Having health scaling on the E sends weird optimisation messages. We don't want azir feeling bad about building zhonyas or abysmal because it's losing efficiency due to not having health on it. 
So yeah, kinda went on a tangent off that one, but just wanted to give the thoughts on what we were thinking and some of the considerations when working on Azir. We did give him a small buff in the hotfix on 14 December so he wouldn't be awful over Christmas, but not large enough that he solely dominates competitive again. 
He continued, noting again the bug went undiscovered until last week:
"We didn't know about the bug until about a week ago, but it's been on live since around August when we found the root cause."
When asked about changes for Fizz, Fizz Enthusiast noted:
"We are still considering buffs for Fizz. 
However we generally felt that ult hitbox frustration issue needs to be solved first (it's possible the hitbox is correct, but the representation is wrong, resulting in cheated feelings or just that the hitbox is too big). 
We were trying a bunch of different things, notably Q cooldown being flat low CD at all ranks [say 4 seconds flat] (more trickiness and Q is a cool conditional ability - however we were running into problems with Tri Force Fizz being insanely powerful), W bleed (AP Ratio up to add power to the hit and run Q pattern without significantly improving his training ability), E cooldown reduction if you hit a champion with it, etc. 
We generally felt that Fizz' all in with fish hit confirm is roughly correct/slightly too high (especially max range from fog), but his base pattern is feeling limp. 
Therefore, if we are to do a change, we will probably be reducing ult damage by a bit less than the amount we increase the base pattern damage (overall). (Imagine -10% to Ult all in, + 20% to base pattern). 
Can't say if/when buffs will come out for now - a lot of things to figure out."

Fizz Enthusiast also took to the boards to talk about Preserving fun after a rework:
"So fun has been a hot button topic over the last few days, I thought I'd give my opinion on what fun is and preserving fun after reworks. 
Generally speaking, when Fizz could WQ and just instantly kill people that was fun and as a Fizz Enthusiast, that was some of the most fun I've had in League of Legends. Unfortunately, that has consequences. 
If playing Fizz like that is a 10/10 and assuming everyone else on your team is having 10 amounts of fun. If Fizz having 10/10 fun is causing everyone on the enemy team to have 2/10 fun, then your holistic fun is 60/100. 
Now imagine if Fizz post rework is 6/10 fun, but everyone on the enemy team is having 3/10 fun, then you're having more fun 61/100. Obviously a very contrived and marginal example, but that is the holistic benefit of doing a game health driven rework. In this case, if the thing we were trying to fix was both unfair and fun it's going to be very difficult (but still possible) to replace that "thing" for the Fizz player to give them 10/10 fun - the rework has to be exceptional in that "doing a fair thing" can produce that extra 4/10 of fun. 
For this reason, reworking popular champions is always going to be difficult - if they're popular and need a rework, they are almost certainly doing something that's unfair and you'll have to add something exceptional to make them equally fun. If they are less popular, mains will almost always have more fun after the rework, because their gameplay was probably just bad and unfun to begin with and anything will be better - eg. Taric. 
This is one of the reasons why I personally think the Katarina rework was good (some of it still needs ironing out, but I believe it can be solved) because the daggers system added that 4/10 fun back for Katarina, while increasing fun and play against for the opponent.
Now to the clunky argument, this is more of a theoretical discussion, so bear with me.
The reason why clunkiness exists is because we can't have 133 Lucians. If we keep making Lucians and Yasuos who are extremely smooth, everyone will only play Lucian and Yasuo and every other champion will feel clunky and bad by comparison. Lucian and Yasuo are both amazing and unique designs, but their mere existence can cause us problems. 
Do you remember the time 6 months ago where there was a Yasuo and Lucian on both teams in every game in blind pick (no bans)? Because I surely do and it was horrible - not because Lucian is awful to play against - he's pretty fair, but just because there was no variety in the games. The bad thing about that situation was that Lucian wasn't even powerful by any objective measure (he had a sub 50% winrate and subsequently drew relatively few bans). People eventually just started banning him, because they were so sick of seeing him in every game. Some of my friends who only play normals even stopped playing as a result. 
If Jinx and Lucian are the same strength, who would want to play Jinx who is slow and has no escapes when they can play Lucian or Ezreal or any of the non-"clunky" characters? The thematic or alternate gameplay hook has to be really strong to overcome this for Jinx to get played (and luckily it is). This is why designers get triggered by people complaining things are clunky, because they know clunky = sustainable. Imagine if Jinx (our most popular marksman by thematics and gameplay) was also the least clunky character. You would see Jinx in every single game. 
Imagine if the game had no cast times on all of our champions (of course that would make every character more fun to play and less clunky), but suddenly half the roster becomes unplayable because they have no dash so they can't dodge any abilities. Lucian suddenly becomes picked every game, because he's the only character with an instant dash that can dodge Malphite ultimate or skillshots without flash or maybe tanks and AP mages become the only things that are playable, because even Lucian can't dodge the damage that Annie can shit out in 0.05 seconds flat with no cast time on QW or R - she wouldn't even have to aim. 
As a lot of people know, Dota has turn speed. Turn speed is clunky as hell, but you know what? In TI6, 104/114 heroes got picked. The very first thing that would go out the door if turn speed got removed is hero diversity, because Garen (and melees) can actually be played in high ELO in Dota to great effect - in part because their ranged carries cannot fluidly auto attack and move at the same time. There is a movement cost to be paid every time Drow Ranger attacks. 
And even after having played Dota for so many years of my life, I simply can't go back to it without craving the smoothness of League again. 
My worry is that having clunk-less champions is just not sustainable and the game will eventually die or become a shell of its former self. Maybe this is a pessimistic outlook and maybe there's a way to make every champion not clunky without alienating half the roster, but I don't want us to take that risk without knowing exactly what we're doing and see the game I love die. 
So yes, just general musings. As always leave comments. 
EDIT: Of course where optimal, we'd like to add gameplay without clunkiness. Cast times and projectile speeds are a way that we can add gameplay without making the character feel overly clunky and unresponsive. 
Camille is a good example of where we can have a lot of gameplay without having the kit feel unresponsive using travel times and lockouts (on Q) that feel natural and Jag did a good job on those."
Fizz Enthusiast added:
I think you need to define "clunkiness" 
The context within which you use it does not seem to line up with my view of that word.
I would say clunkiness means things that prevent the character from being smooth and doing what you want/expect instantly. Eg. Cast times, cast paradigms (vector casting), stopping while casting, form swapping canceling your auto attacks, etc. 
But I would say mainly cast times and auto attacks. Some we want to have, some we don't (Eg. Form swap auto cancel or no spell queueing)."
He continued:
"Hard to say, if we made then more clunky it would be easy to brute force, but is the absolute last resort solution. We want to add Gameplay without adding clunkiness when we can. 
For Lee Sin, he is just overpowered, so we're bumping him down slightly next patch - junglers are performing very well at the moment and he is the best jungler. (He adds a lot to competitive play though, so we don't want to hit him too hard). 
EDIT: Want to bring him down without bricking him for normal and competitive play. Ie. He can be played but he's not in every game. It's not about playing favourites, but just balancing. 
Lee is different in that he can be playable in competitive while being fair in normal. Whereas for Amumu and Sej, usually if they're playable in competitive they will probably be unfair in normal play (probably 55+% winrate). We also have some jungle changes that may be going in in the future that disproportionately hurt Lee Sin compared to other junglers. Also I believe that when Lee sin is balanced (but still playable in competitive) he doesn't disproportionately harm jungle diversity in competitive. 
Yasuo I'm uncertain on the best course of action, but for sure his laning is very strong, so we could safely take that down and he would end up in a reasonable spot. Not to say for certain he needs nerfs (he is pretty frustrating to play against while being incredibly fun - negates a lot of the things you can do to him). It's interesting that one of the reasons Yasuo needs to have so many tools in his kit is because we don't have turn speed."

Fizz Enthusiast on Lee Sin and Competitive vs Normal

Following the above discussion, Fizz Enthusiast hoped on the boards to talk about Lee Sin, the jungle, and balancing relative to competitive vs normal play:
"Generally speaking, the junglers that thrive in competitive without destroying normal play are ones that scale very heavily with elo. Examples like Lee, reksai, nidalee, elise, rengar come to mind. Out of the junglers listed by OP, only kindred scales positively with elo (that I know off the top of my head). 
This means that it would likely be irresponsible to buff (as the only action) certain champions into competitive (Eg. Amumu, Sej), because for them to be at a power level that succeeds in competitive, their normal play power will be over 9000. Imagine if Amumu goes from 56% winrate at Silver to 48% in Challenger and we say a champion needs 52% (some arbitrary number) in challenger to be playable, then amumu is probably at high 50's% in normal play by the time he's viable in competitive. 
Contrast this to Lee who is 44% in silver, but 52% in challenger. Lee is now playable in competitive without breaking normal play. 
These numbers are not accurate, (but their relationships are roughly correct) and not the only factor that determines competitive viability, but it is definitely an important factor (another important factor is early-mid game priority and reliability). 
As such, accessible power and competitive viability are usually (but not always) at odds with one another. So the question becomes: which do we value more? Competitive diversity or accessible champions? Or are they equal? Can we accomplish both at once? If you're Lee sin, the answer is probably yes. If you're garen, the answer is probably no. 
Malphite and xin Zhao are amongst the most popular champions in the game. Would they still be popular if they weren't as accessible? Or would we ruin an easy and fun champion for a lot of players and still not see them in competitive? Do we want 133 ryze, reksai and azir's with notoriously low winrates (and low accessible power for the majority of players)? Champions like Ryze add diversity to the competitive game, but are also functionally useless for a lot of players. 
Design is a compromise and these are tough questions with no clear answer. But the obvious one is that we shouldn't just buff these champions with the explicit goal of getting them into competitive, because it is not guaranteed of working and it would likely backfire. (Eg. Sejuani threads from a year ago - "why is she the tankiest champion while doing the most damage and having the most cc?") 
If we want these guys in competitive, they probably require kit level changes to get there without breaking the game."
Fizz Enthusiast continued:
"Like I said before, Lee is just overpowered and we have nerfs in accordingly. I also said that in a balanced state, Lee doesn't destroy diversity in the jungle. 
There are a few junglers (Eg. Lee, Hec, Vi) that have been disproportionately benefiting from s7 jungle and we are investigating some systematic changes that evens up the playing field. 
These are the Champs that have the very efficient clear/gank cycle. If he still needs nerfs after this, then I don't see why we wouldn't do it."
On the idea of accessible power, he continued:
"Sorry, to clarify - I was saying these Champs perform poorly at lower mmr. If every champ is the same difficulty/accessible power profile as azir, then you are right - they all have 50% winrate at all mmr. The distinction here is accessibility of power; winrate by elo was just the Stat I was implicitly referencing, because most people associate azir and ryze with being weak in normal play, but strong in competitive. Like you said, if everyone is weak in normal and strong in competitive, then no one is an outlier, but the game mastery curve is holistically steeper. 
So yes, we could have all champions with an azir like profile and the game would work just fine, but given how the game is right now, that world is a long way away,but it works. (Eg. I can play street fighter as a beginner, access 5% of Chun li's power and still have fun. A pro will access 100% and it will be balanced at both mine and pros level, because everyone at my level is also accessing 5% power). 
It would require a lot of injection of hard to access power to get GAREN, voli, xin, etc. In competitive. (street fighter model - increase skill ceiling of individual champs). 
Alternatively, in the Dota model, skill ceiling is quite low for most individual Champs, but the game itself is insanely hard. In this model, being good at Dota is less about being good at skeleton King (he is literally sions old q and three passive at 58% winrate) and sven and more about being good at the base game. (there are of course some outliers like meepo and wisp at 37% winrate). 
The other strategy we've been employing is making Champion power more accessible (Eg. Removing resets from nidalee,making azir e more forgiving to chain on a q). (Dota model - reduce skill ceiling of individual Champs, high ceiling of base game). 
All of these adjustments are if we want more diversity in competitive play without breaking normal play and I think in an ideal world, they aren't mutually exclusive but in our current environment, they are. We can take steps towards either model though and they are both equally valid and sustainable."
Riot Axes added:
"Just so we are super, super clear: we agree that Lee Sin is too powerful right now and we ARE nerfing him. 
Our 7.1 direct nerfs aren't likely to make him completely fair for regular play on their own. He benefited a lot from jungle changes and we think there's more work to be done on the jungle itself - we have changes in the pipe for either 7.1 or 7.2 (purely a matter of timelines, if we can have it ready for 7.1 it will go in 7.1). We will be following up on Lee, the jungle, or both as needed. 
However we end up doing it, we will be balancing Lee for regular play. If that moves him completely out of competitive, then so be it - but as Fizz Enthusiast has said a few times, we believe that a Lee Sin who has been correctly balanced for normal play is likely to show up fairly often in pro play."
For reference, the 7.1 PBE  cycle currently includes a tentative nerf to Lee Sin's R, reducing the base damage to 150/300/450 from 200/400/600.

Reav3 Grab Bag - Lethality, Irelia, and more!

Next up is a collection of discussion posts from Reav3, noting potential buffs for lethality, thoughts on a few visual updates, and more!

When asked about potential Talon buffs following the preseason assassin update, Reav3 noted they are currently looking into lethality buffs.
"We will continue to monitor Talon going forward. The reason these buffs are so conservative is that the Live Gameplay Team is currently looking into buffs for lethality. If those changes do go through they should help Talon quite a bit so we are waiting to see what happens with that. 
Also Talon is the type of champion that is probably actually very OP in a experienced players hand if he was at a overall winrate of 50%. We do feel he is a bit weak though right now, hence the small buffs."
As for when we might expect these lethality changes, Reav3  noted:
"Not sure which patch they are targeting. It will likely require a good amount of internal testing since it will effect so many champions. If they do decide to buff lethality it will likely be sometime early next year though."

In a boards thread inquiring about a potential Irelia champion update in the future, Reav3  noted that she is high on the list for a full scope visual update but no details/work started yet.
"Not sure how soon it will happen but Irelia is pretty high on our list for a full VGU. Given the scope of a full VGU we would have plenty of room to solve the problems you have mentioned above."
He continued:
"Hmm not sure what I can do to alleviate concerns because I'm not sure what "funky stuff" means. What I can say is that right now Irelia is a very "Stat checky" champion. She is also not really delivering on the "Blade Dancer" fantasy that she occupies. We would likely try to make her much less of a "State Check" and much more of a "Blade Dancer" but we haven't started on a kit or anything yet so I can't say what the details of that would be."
He added:
"I think that we would want to preserve her ability to be good agaisnt ranged champions. It does make her unique and it also keeps certain top laners in check. By making her less "stat-checky" though it will require more skill to win vs them, but overall she we would likely wan't to make her still strong vs those types of champions."

Reav3 also briefly mentions several other champions on this list for a larger champion update at some point, including MordekaiserPantheon, Akali, and Kennen.

As for which class is next for a class update, Reav3 noted:
"We haven't fully decided yet. We should make a decision and announce something early next year."

When asked about potential Vladimir balance changes, Reav3 commented:
"The team is aware of his current state and are looking to do some buffs sometime early next year"

While vague, Reav3 also mentioned that Warwick's large scope champion update "should be sooner then 3 months ;)"

Riot Games joins forces with BAMTech 

Riot has announced that it will be partnering with BAMTech to create additional options for LoL esports content.

Here's the official post from lolesports: 
"Today we’re thrilled to announce Riot Games and BAMTech have entered into a first-of-its-kind long-term commercialization partnership to deliver professional League of Legends esports content in regions around the world. We will be working closely with BAMTech to grow revenue in our sport through various means, including sponsorship and advertising. Beginning next year, we’ll also be collaborating to push the boundaries of the esports viewing experience, leveraging BAMTech’s best-in-class technology to create additional possibilities and opportunities for fans to access, and connect with, League of Legends. 
This is a game changer for our sport. As we’ve said in the past, true economic sustainability is a critical means to ensuring a sport that lasts, and this represents a major step towards that goal. As an innovator in digital sponsorship and media sales, BAMTech will help us unlock long-lasting and meaningful value for our digital sport as it matures. In BAMTech, we have found a partner equally committed to building professional League of Legends towards the lasting future we believe in for teams, players and fans. We’re honored by their faith and belief in our sport. 
A leading technology services and video streaming company formed by Major League Baseball, BAMTech has designed, developed and distributed world-class fan viewing experiences to millions worldwide across its many traditional sports, news and entertainment partners. We’re proud to represent their first step in the esports world and in partnership plan to create innovative and rich ways to add to fans’ existing options for viewing their League of Legends esports content. We’ll be sharing news on important milestones and projects in the future. 
A development of this magnitude could only be possible with the kind of passionate fan base that supports League of Legends. Fans always will be the foundation for strong and successful sports. This kind of commitment to, and investment in, the sport we all love is a tremendous vote of confidence, and we believe this will unlock incredible things as we build our future together."

Make your own poro snax!

Get into the Snowdown season by making your own delicious poro snax! 
"Happy Snowdown! By declaration of the Poro King, the Royal Poro Snax Factory has released a simple and sweet recipe so everyone can enjoy poro snax from far and wide. 
❤ Simple Poro Snax ❤ 
  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2⅓ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
Sprinkles, ribbons, frosting, and any other splendiferous decoration you can imagine.
Bonus: Continue the celebrations at the Royal Poro Snax Factory, where you can make and send poro snax from your mobile device until January 9, 2017 at 23:59 PT."

Fan Artist Feature: InstantIP 

Here's a new fan artist feature showing off the work of InstantIP!
"InstantIP is a game concept artist and art designer in South Korea who is also currently developing a game. He also creates fan art in his spare time! Here, he talks about his influences, craft, and more! 
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. Can you introduce yourself and how you got into art, or when you decided to get serious about artwork? 
Hi, I’m InstantIP. I’ve been into artwork since I was young, and started to consider it as my professional career after graduating from high school. 
What do you play in League? 
I play Sona the most, since she is my favorite champion. Because of that, my main position became support, but I did play champions like Wukong a few years back. He’s not as strong in the current meta, so I play Sona the most these days. 
What made you start working in digital art? Do you remember any early pieces, and how your work has evolved since then? 
I started to teach digital drawing to myself since I was a middle school student, and it continues to this day. An early piece of work that comes to mind is the Nidalee fan art that I drew around pre-season 3 for a fan art contest. Frankly speaking, I kind of feel I’ve backtracked since then in some ways. I gave a lot of input and thoughts then, but I don’t enjoy the luxury of so much time nowadays. 
Do you have any particular artistic influences that come to mind? 
‘Rabbiteyes’ taught me a lot and helped me improve my artistic skills. ‘Skulit’ has been my great mentor. I received inspiration from the artwork of Gil Elvgren, Norman Rockwell, Moby Francke, and as for local artists, “Hyulla (??)’. 
What tools do you use? 
I use a general-use gaming computer for hardware with a Wacom Intuos4 PTK-840, G13 Gameboard, and Photoshop CC 2015 for software. 
Can you walk us through your process? 
I get inspiration from the works of the above artists, then reference artworks or pics on the web, sketch out a rough concept of the work and color it. I roughly color the work at an early stage, and use gradation or layer effects to smooth out the balance of color, then finalize it. The details of the work are actually finished early, but finalizing the work takes time. The finalization includes shading, color balancing and inserting visual effects.
How do you get better at your craft? What advice would you give to others? 
I am also constantly learning to master my work, so I believe I am not worthy of giving any tutorials to others. I take time to look at what other great artists do, and always try to use new effects to see whether or not it would fit into my work. Referencing the work of others and applying it is what I believe is essential in getting better at your craft. 
Thanks again not only for this interview, but for contributing to this amazing community. How can we keep up with you and your work? Anything else you’d like to say to anyone reading? 

Camille Post Release Price Reduction

As it has been over a week since she was released, Camille's champion price has been lowered to 6300 IP! Information, previews, and more available in our Camille launch post!

Quick Hits: /ALL Chat & Beware of Scams

[Quick hits is our own mini news collection inside a red post collection, often including shorter or easy to digest stories and repeat information you may have missed in other posts!]

  • Two new /ALL Chat videos - Summoner showcase featuring holiday LoL Cosplay and another visting the 2016 All Star event in Barcelona! 

"On this episode of Summoner Showcase, Josh and Sam celebrate the season with some adorable Lulu and Veigar art, Christmas cosplays, and more! Do you have any art, cosplay, or creations you’d like to see featured on Summoner Showcase? Comment below!"

"All Chat heads to the All Star Event in Barcelona for the first ever All Star Chat! Our heroes team up with Faker, Uzi, and more in some VERY SERIOUS competitive challenges. Mithy has NO idea how to draw Kha'Zix, Bjergsen does the Nunu dance, and Doublelift really needs to play more Fiddlesticks!"


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

  • Snowdown 2016 is here! Through January 9th, tons of content and deals are available - new legacy skins for Braum, Graves, & Karma, Winter Summoner's Rift, over 100 returning legacy skins, a ton of new summoner icons, LotPK, new chests, and more! Click here for previews.  Daily Snowdown chest content lists can be found here.

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