Red Post Collection: Meddler Gameplay Thoughts for 3/28, Ask Riot, MSI Schedule & Ticket info, EU Slumber Party, & more

Posted on at 11:20 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: Added a few more quick hits, including brief mention of a new champion starting with R!]

After a long weekend, today's humongous red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 28th, a look at the recently released MSI 2017 schedule and ticket information, an upcoming Slumber party event exclusive to EU servers, and much more as we catch up with recent news!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 28 

Here's Meddler with a set of Quick Gameplay Thoughts for March 28th, including context on Shen, Lissandra, and Bard changes as we move closer to 7.8!
"Morning all! 
Some thoughts below. Next time (Thursday?) should be ready to take a look at what some more of the things we'll be working on in 7.8. 
Magic Damage Shield UI 
During Galio's development we identified that on tanky targets it was too difficult to tell how much damage they were taking if they had a long duration magic damage shield up, because of the similarities in color and tone between the enemy healthbar red and magic damage shield purple. As one of the steps to improving that we tweaked the magic damage shield bar color. Internal feedback on that change was that it read better. PBE feedback, as is often the case for changes that go out mid PBE cycle, was minimal. After the patch went live however we started seeing a lot of feedback from players who felt that the new color was too close to the regular shield UI, resulting in a different mislead instead. We'll be adjusting magic damage shield color use again as a result, both to find a point that avoids overlapping enemy health bars/regular shields and to put in some specific tunings for colorblind mode. 
Things moving to 7.8 
A couple of things that have been in testing during 7.7 will be moving to the 7.8 patch cycle instead: 
  • Lissandra - Testing a new passive (tear style mana stacking and enhanced auto attacks post spell cast). We'll either ship that or, if it's not working out, the backup changes (Q AP ratio, maybe something else) next patch. Needed more time to test that passive properly. 
  • Shen - We've been looking at making some adjustments to Shen's kit to make him more balanceable in organized play versus regular match made games (if balanced for one ends up pretty unbalanced in the other, a long running Shen problem unfortunately). Those won't be ready for 7.7 as originally targeted though. 
  • Bard - Changes to Bard's passive (adjusting which rewards at which Chime counts, more possible meeps) look promising. We've got some concerns the numbers in testing are too strong a power boost however, so we'll probably be taking another patch to look into those too (chance this does still ship in 7.7 though depending on how testing goes).  
Unusual Playstyles Update 
For anyone that hasn't already seen it we posted a runthrough yesterday on how we'll be approaching unusual playstyles like Smite Support Nunu that come to player support's attention going forwards. From the gameplay side most important thing there is that trying to win is what counts. Link below which is well worth a read, we'll be talking more about how we distinguish between intent to win and trolling soonish too."
When asked about Udyr changes, Meddler noted:
"We're going to try and target Udyr changes in 7.8. Work on him in 7.7 got delayed by other higher priority tasks for the team."

As for hints on the next new champion, Meddler commented:
"Completely understand the desire for hints, that's something I'll avoid though. The teams that work on new champs spend a lot of time on them and their teaser campaigns/promo materials and I hate to undercut their chance to do a cool introduction."
When asked about the Graves changes they had settled on, Meddler commented:
Have you decided on the MR route of nerfing Graves, or are you still testing? You said you had 2 routes but only one is on the pbe.
We'll be going for removing the MR bonus from True Grit."

As for thoughts on the tentative Lissandra PBE change that adds a mana restore to her self cast R, Meddler commented:
"The heal's specifically only available on ult self cast because in order to get access to it you therefore have to give up ult enemy cast. That trade off's helped make the choice between the two options richer and resulted in less 'just go in and burst a target' as the dominant team fight play (some of that's fine, want other options as well though).
On direction for potential Ryze changes he added:
What are your thoughts on ryze? Obviously he's having similar shen/azir type issues, but do you think it's as simple as less power in the ultimate or is he also just too complex to fight with for most players?
Not sure on Ryze direction frankly, need to put some extended thought into that when time permits. Agree he's certainly a Shen/Azir style of problem. I think there's a lot more to it than just the ult though (highly reliable and responsive hard CC, significantly better improved performance at low latency than most champs, lack of ult CD dependence for optimal damage pattern etc)."
Meddler continued:
Do you think that maybe if you added a travel time to Ryze's W (i.e. like the E) that it could help improve the health of his kit?
We tested that as a change a few patches back. It had much higher feel costs, including to average skill Ryze players, than we'd hoped. Would like to revisit it as a concept at some point, given how difficult Ryze has been to balance, it's not the clear improvement of a change we'd been hoping it was though alas."
Meddler added:
Mid-season stuff as in updated items (tanks and crit items) and maybe some tank champion updates?
More likely systemic stuff like items than champion changes (again, if doing anything early)."
As for when we could expect the Urgot rework, Meddler said it would be after next new champion.
When we can expect Urgot rework? Before NEXT new champion? or later?
Not before the next new champ."

When asked about the mid season patch timing, Meddler commented:
When will the mid-season patch update be?
Almost certainly 7.9."
As for when we might start to see those changes in detail, Meddler commented:
So are you expecting to put things up on the pbe during patch 7.7? or first at patch 7.9?... A week worth of testing seems too short for mid season changes.
We might put some mid-season stuff on the PBE during the 7.8 PBE cycle, but still not ship it until 7.9. Depends on what's ready when though."
He also commented on recent Zz'Rot changes, noting:
How do you guys feel so far about the ZZ'rot changes that hit a few patches back? Did it meet your goals, or do you still think it needs some tweaking?
Personally I would like a small buff to the distance the voidlings can travel -- even if it comes at a cost of reduced damage to minions or something.
Zzeems reasonable. Wouldn't swear it was at the perfect numbers, but close enough other things are much higher priorities. ZZ'Rot's intended to be a somewhat niche item, so seeing it used less now makes sense (if it's being used by everyone its numbers are likely way out of line in part)."

Ask Riot: Ranked Aram?

This week's new Ask Riot is covering visual updates, ranked ARAM, and the process the Ask Riot team goes through to pick out questions for each week's article.
"Do you plan to do a visual update on older champions? Not a rework, like Warwick and Galio, but just appearance upgrades for champs that look outdated (like Amumu, Anivia, and Volibear)?

While this may change in the future, the current answer is no. The Champion Update team does have the resources to do design, art, and narrative changes to champions. When it comes to our old champions, they generally can be improved in all three areas (as we can always improve over time). Since many of our older champions need changes to design, art, and narrative — as opposed to just a visual tune-up — it makes sense to do all three at once. 
Focusing on all three also increases the quality and scale of our updates. Some design changes require art changes, some art changes require narrative changes, and so on. By doing a full update we can change what we need to in order to bring the champion up to modern standards. If we limit it to just art, it puts a lot of constraints on what we can accomplish and how much we can truly upgrade. A pure VU on Warwick, for example, would have still not looked or felt like a modern Zaun champion. 
Another reason is that in the past when we did pure VUs, many players actually didn’t even notice them. For example, when we did the small gameplay update to Miss Fortune during the Marksmen Roster update, we actually got a lot of feedback from player surveys that they thought the VU we gave her for that update was awesome. Most players didn’t even realize we did the VU to Miss Fortune months before that. By packaging together art, narrative, and design, the update has a much bigger impact. 
This does mean that upgrades are slower, and that some players may end up waiting a while for their main to get attention, which we understand can feel less than ideal. At the moment, however, we feel like focusing on these bigger updates is going to be more beneficial over the long-term. 
Lead Producer of Champion Updates  
Would you ever consider making ARAM more competitive? For example: Unlocking all champions in ARAM, or creating a ranked ARAM queue?

I want to preface this by saying we have no immediate large-scale plans to change ARAM, so don’t look for this to show up in one of the next patches. But I can speak a little bit about the kinds of design discussions we have about ARAM. 
Overall, the game mode is popular and the queue is healthy (meaning enough players are participating that the wait for a game isn’t long), so we don’t want to do too much that might have the risk of making ARAM less popular. 
That said, we don’t think the way champion assignment is working out has aged well. We aren’t fans of the ARAM accounts that some players make in order to have a more limited champion pool, since that kind of defeats the purpose. So we do discuss whether we should have the pool apply not just to owned and free champions, but to all champions (or maybe even a large subset of all champions that we cycle through over time). 
Additionally, ARAM really isn’t filling the player need of having a way to play League with a shorter game length. ARAM can be short, but it can also be very long, and I’m not sure those long games really feel epic as much as just endless. ARAM can lack decisive moments that can push the game to a close. We’d love to see ARAMs that more reliably last 20-30 minutes, if we can do that without compromising the game overall. 
We know there are some champions whose mechanics don’t really port over to Howling Abyss since they are designed with the Summoner’s Rift map in mind. We’re generally okay with this, because the ARAM mode in general will probably always favor some champions over others, but we do try to take steps for champions that are just ridiculously broken – Bard for instance. 
It’s because of the random element that I’m not sure it makes sense to ever offer a ranked mode of ARAM. It just might be really frustrating to keep coming up with champions with whom you aren’t really familiar and lose important games, like promos. On the other hand, if we add more reroll mechanics and other systems to let you get a champion you want, then that kind of undermines the whole idea of being dealt a champion at random. It may be that the heart of ARAM just isn’t suited for ranked play without compromising what ARAM is. 
Design Director, League of Legends 
What is the Ask Riot process like on your end? 
I talked about this a bit in the comments two weeks ago, so this is good timing. I’ll walk you through the basic process (sorry for repeating some stuff from the other comment): 
  1. You ask a question (duh). Your question gets dropped into a big pile of other questions asked by players from around the world (Ask Riot is global!). 
  2. At the start of each week, we pull all of the questions and run them through a script that translates them into English.
  3. We run the questions through a tool that helps us spot trends in what players are asking about.
  4. We grab a bunch of the most-asked or most-talked about things, then compile them in a big doc. We also do a quick pass through the raw, translated questions themselves to see if there’s anything we can/want to answer, even if it isn’t “trending”
  5. We share the doc and questions out to people who can best answer them. A game design question would go to Ghostcrawler or Meddler, a funny lore question to Riot Tiger Lily, an LCU question to Cactopus.We work up the publish-ready Ask Riot post, in which we include a minimum of three answered questions. We also grab some light art assets for the client/Nexus.
  6. We send the post through our localization process, which ensures it gets translated and published in all regions.
  7. The post goes live! 
So that’s the rundown on the process itself, but a lot of players seem to be curious about how we choose which questions to answer. There are a few things that go into deciding whether we can answer a question: 
  1. Do we actually have an answer? A lot of the most hotly-contested topics in the League community are also hotly-contested within Riot. Most teams aren’t comfortable answering a question if the answer is “we’re still arguing about it.” Sometimes we’ll still answer these with something like, “we aren’t sure, we’re working on stuff but don’t have a specific update yet,” but overall those answers don’t feel great to give or receive.
  2. Is it a new feature? We don’t use Ask Riot to announce new features, so sometimes we just can’t answer a given question because it would reveal something we’re not ready to reveal. This was the case with Honor, for example—we see a lot of questions about it, but didn’t want to answer until we had officially announced the new system in the works.
  3. Is the question globally relevant? Though we do try to read every question, we can’t answer them all (we’ve received hundreds of thousands of questions since launching Ask Riot). We try to prioritize questions that are trending globally; often these questions aren’t reflective of the NA/Reddit topic of the moment.
  4. Is Ask Riot the right place? Some topics need more nuance or depth than Ask Riot can provide (a couple of paragraphs isn’t much), so the questions end up getting folded into a /dev blog or a video update. This means they can sit unanswered while we find the right way to answer them, and alongside “do we have an answer” is the primary blocker on questions that might be controversial.
There’s a bit more that goes into the process (have we answered it before, has the answer changed, can someone answer it, does that person have time to write something, are we about to launch a new thing that will answer it automatically, etc.), but that’s the gist.
As always, we’d love your feedback on how we can make Ask Riot better! 
Managing Editor 
Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Dos and Don’ts, then ask away. 
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. 
This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points). 
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."

[EUNE + EUW] EU Slumber Party on March 31st

With April right around the corner and a set of silly skins headed our way later in 7.6, an EU server only Slumber Party event is starting up soon for EUW and EUNE!
"Now that Alistar and friends have had their Slumber Party, it’s Europe’s turn to take part. This weekend, beginning Friday March 31 at 8:00 AM GMT until Monday April 3 at 8:00 AM GMT, EUW and EUNE will host a positively magnificent Slumber Party event, with fantastic prizes for those who join in. Simply click the enroll button below to get started."

Globally, look for the release of the upcoming Pug'Maw, Moo Cow Alistar, Super Kennen, Renektoy  skins later in patch 7.6!

Reav3 On Stories and and Champion Update

When asked about the Evelynn story The Shadows Beckon that was released in late 2016 and if it was made with her future large scope champion update in mind, Reav3 explained:
So was Eves color text written with her VGU already in mind? 
After all it only really shows us her stealth-ability(which was said to likely stay in the game in some form) and gives us just a glimpse of her personality,so I guess it could pretty much remain the same once Eve gets her VGU(maybe change a few parts where her appearance is described)
It was written before we started working on Eve's VGU. Much longer before. We acually had a lot of debates internally on if we should even publish it our not, being as her lore may change dramatically with her VGU. 
In the end we decided to publish it because it was a cool story and we felt it would feel bad if she was the only Shadow Isles champ that didn't get updated. We did add a little blurb saying that she will likely change in the future with her VGU though."
Reav3 continued, reminding Evelynn's update is currently in development:
Has her vgu already started?
Yes, it started like 4 months ago :)"

He continued:
We have "exploration" teams that start work on potential future VGU's that start WAY earlier then the main production team. This consists of a Writer,Designer, artists and producer. This is the point when a project can easily be canceled or "ice boxed" so we don't talk about it until we are sure we have a solid core to go into full production with.
For example, while we have Urgot and Evelynn in full production now, we have 2 exploration teams working on whats next after Evelynn & Urgot."

As for the recently released Zaun Dr. Mundo story and bio, Reav3 commented:
I was wondering about this when Mundo's new short story was released. The good doctor is definitely a VGU candidate, yet he got a full bio and story during the Zaun event. If Mundo's appearance and story change as much as Galio's have, those stories will be invalidated, (which would be a shame as they are hilarious). 
Maybe this is an indication that Mundo (and other champs in this position) will not be given big story and appearance changes in their eventual updates. Ryze is a good precedent for this. 
A lot of work must go into these lore updates, so the writers have had plenty of time to decide what characters fit and don't fit in the updated Runeterra. I really doubt they would release lores that would eventually be retconned again in future VGUs.
It really depends on how long in the future the champion will get a VGU. We want to get all Bios/color texts in the game updated at some point in the future and that will likely happen before we run out of VGU candidates (Which is probably never.) 
Since it would be pretty sad to have a bunch of champions without bios/color text we will have to live with the fact that some bios/color texts will have to be re-updated when they get a VGU. 
There will be some cases of course were the new bio/color text could work pretty well for the VGU and for those we would probably just update the Art/Design and add a cool short story or something like that instead of a updated bio/color text."

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 23

Meddler returned to the boards last week with his quick gameplay thoughts for 3/23, including context on several recent PBE changes, upcoming Mid-season changes, and more!
"Morning all, 
Few thoughts below, quieter week at present as we're still pretty mid-season focused. 
Stuff in mid-season 
Speaking of which I wanted to run through a few of the things we've already talked about as being in mid-season since I've been seeing some confusion as to why some things aren't being changed right now. In mid-season we'll very likely have some changes to AD itemization, the crit path in particular, along with some defensive item tweaks. Also think it's more likely than not, though not guaranteed yet, that we'll have at least a couple of support item adjustments too. Those will be alongside the Vanguard updates as previously mentioned and some other smaller stuff. 
Some context on balance changes on PBE
  • Jinx - we're exploring the concept of spell that can crit, but telegraphs that behavior heavily, with Jinx's W. Concept shows some promise, current numbers are certainly wrong though. Unlikely we'll ship any form of that change in 7.7, though it'll probably remain for a bit longer at least to get further testing.  
  • Lux - Lux still does pretty well in low Elo's, we see her struggle a fair bit in higher divisions however. We're looking to add a bit of power that's mastery based as a result, provide more power when used well, less that's pubstompy. Not sure yet if the ult partial refund on kill's the way we'll do that yet, though excitement from players using it has been high relative to the amount of power it actually offers.  
  • Graves - We're considering two different approaches for Graves. The first, which from memory is still on PBE, is removing the MR from True Grit, making him more vulnerable to some team comps (those with an enemy jungler with significant magic damage especially). The second is a reduction to Q damage early game (less base, more ratio mainly) looking at making his early game dueling in general weaker. 
Has just had his update go out. Super early days, so far we're seeing him perform better top and mid than jungle or support. In terms of balance it's too soon to judge much, looks like at minimum he's not weak however. Whether that means he's around balanced or on the strong side we should start to get a clearer picture on soon."
When asked about what's next after the tank update, Meddler commented:
After the Warden/Tank update, it's Divers next for class updates, right? Do you think this would be a good spot to look at Lee Sin's kit, or do you think he'd need more attention than that.
We haven't made a firm commitment to who we'll be looking at post tanks yet. Divers are certainly a very strong candidate though. If doing divers I think there are quite a few who'd benefit more from the work than Lee Sin (Aatrox and Wukong being top of my mind, Xin Zhao, Panth and others having good arguments for them too)."
When asked about smaller tank reworks (in the same vein of the smaller reworks we saw during the assassin and marksman updates) Meddler stated:
Hey Meddler do you know you guys are gonna release the list for small reworks since there are less this time around
We won't be doing small tank reworks for mid-season (weren't happy enough with our track record on mini-updates during class updates previously). We did hit on some Amumu stuff we thought was promising, we'll be trying to get that out in 7.7. instead though since it's stuff that's pretty standalone."
On masteries, Meddler commented:
Any news about your planned work on masteries?
Not yet, though we'll start talking details really far ahead of launch for runes/masteries work."
As for context on the Bard, Kassadin, and Katarina changes we saw in the 3/21 PBE Update, Meddler explained:
Since we're on topic of some PBE buffs, any context for the other changes to champions like Bard, Kassadin, and Katarina?
If nothing else for Bard, I like that he gets his damage boost scaling more consistently, instead of bigger powerspikes every X chimes.
Bard - Too weak early game in particular. Testing some stuff, likely to iterate on what's currently on PBE. 
Kass - Should be stronger than he is mid/late (weak laning phase is deliberate, payoff's not quite there). 
Kat - Looking at giving opponents more opportunities against her early/mid game, possibly with a shift of damage towards her ult late game (has better counterplay than some other spells by then). Likely to try other directions as well as what's currently on PBE."
Meddler also confirmed that they would be adding a small amount of MR to champions who did not have any:
Last week you said you're testing mr/level on champions that currently have no mr growth. Will you be giving Kassadin and Yasuo mr/level that other melee champions have since they are the only melee champions that lack this growth?
Yes, we'd be giving that 0.5/level MR to everyone without it, Kass and Yasuo therefore included."

He continued:
However, they won't gain 1.25/level MR even though they are melee champions right?
At least for now we're testing the 0.5/level."
Meddler also reminded that Sejuani, Maokai, and Zac would be seeing changes during mid-season:
While doing a pass of certain junglers, any consideration for Sejuani? Seems a tad on the weak side in general, impact in a game highly revolving around Ult with a kit which is basically a weaker version of Gragas's.
Sejuani, Maokai and Zac have updates coming in mid-season. We're not doing any non critical work on them now as a result."
On the current state of Aatrox, Meddler added:
What's about Aatrox ?? still need help right now ?
Need to assess 7.6 to figure that out. Top lane performance looks at least close ish to appropriate, jungle more likely to need help."
On the possibility of any Nami changes in near future, Meddler commented:
"We don't have any Nami stuff in progress that I'm aware of."
On the tentative Doran's Shield changes that were reverted on the PBE, Meddler commented:
Hey Meddler, can you tell me if you still going to but those doran's shield changes which where long ago? Just want to know.
It's fairly likely we do a version of those Doran's Shield changes in mid-season."
Meddler commented on when we would see Rek'Sai changes:
"Post 7.9 to be a bit more exact. Depends on how long some mid-season stuff takes in part."

Mid Season Invitational - Tickets and Scheduling

With April only a week away, LolEsports has released articles detailing how and when to purchase tickets  as well as the schedule of events happening at the 2017 Mid-season Invitational! MSI kicks off on April 28th in Sao Paulo, Brazil!

For more on each of these articles, check out the links below:

[2017 Mid-Season Invitational Tickets]

[2017 Mid-Season Invitational Schedule]

How to Revive a Dragon 

During Day 1 of Worlds 2016, Aurelion Sol was disabled for a serious bug. Check out this new NEXUS article to see what transpired and how he was fixed and made his triumphant return to the Rift:
On September 29, 2016, Day One of the 2016 World Championship, we disabled Aurelion Sol due to a serious gameplay bug. On October 2, Day Four of Worlds 2016, the Star Forger made his grand re-entrance to the Rift. This is the story of a spectacularly ill-timed bug and the teams who worked around the clock to find a fix. 
North America’s TSM and China’s Royal Never Give Up (RNG) begin the final game of Day One of Worlds 2016. Just two minutes in, TSM Bjergsen pauses the game due to a visibility issue with RNG Xiaohu’s Aurelion Sol. Aurelion’s passively orbiting stars had completely disappeared. 
LUKE RINARD, Aurelion Sol’s Designer: As Aurelion Sol’s game designer, I was really really excited to see him in pro play at that level. He’d been picked before, but like… it’s Worlds! And he got picked first day! Then the game was paused, and I thought, “Oh no… I bet somehow it’s Aurelion.” I do that a lot when Bard and Aurelion are in the game, I’m like, “I bet it’s him!” and it usually isn’t. This time it was. 
BRIAN BOSSE, Engineering Architect: I was at home watching the stream and saw there was a pause, and every time there’s a pause my heart skips a beat. I’m praying like, “Audio issue… audio issue… please god be an audio issue” because it often is (and usually a quick fix). This one was not. 
AMELIA VON HADEN, Gameplay Programmer: We were watching the event and we saw the replay happen and we were like… “Aaaaaah, noooo!”

RAVEN KEENE, Head Referee: The immediate reaction to bugs is always the same: just try to gather as much information as possible. In this particular case, the ref chimed in saying that Bjergsen was complaining because he was unable to see Aurelion Sol’s stars. We got the video recording from stage, which gives us the vision the player in question would have. I did not see an issue on my spectator client, but pulling up Bjergsen’s video file, it was very clear he was seeing an issue. 
We restarted the client and initially it was ok. We were saying “Oh, ok this might have just been an issue where the asset didn’t load in properly and we won’t have to issue a remake in this case.” But then within a minute the issue popped up again, and at that point it became clear the restart was not actually helping in this scenario. We had to move towards the next solution, and that’s when the remake was offered.

NICK TROOP, Esports Live Producer: To see a champion potentially disabled for the remainder of the event, that we didn’t know of ahead of time, in some senses feels like we failed, even though some bugs are unique and unexpected, like Aurelion Sol’s.
With Aurelion Sol disabled, the race was on to find the cause of the bug and identify a potential fix. A team of Rioters rushed to the Los Angeles office to dig into the issue. 
BRIAN BOSSE: I was on our internal chat at the time, and the channel started blowing up with “We have a problem with Aurelion Sol’s missiles.” I had some part in creating that system, so I’m like, “Ok, it’s time to get on my A-game. Here we go.” Once it was confirmed through the second pause that this wasn’t going away, I put on the bat cape, came into the office and started digging in. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: I hopped into chat right away just to see what was going on with the bug. Since I’m a gameplay programmer, I’m pretty familiar with the game code, so if it was a game-related issue, I thought it was something I could help with. I was also on the champion team for a short while as Aurelion Sol was in development, so I had a little bit of insight into his passive’s implementation. I ended up in the triage channel for Worlds where they were talking about the bug. Since it was something I could potentially help with, I thought, “What the hell, I’ll drive into the studio.” 
BRIAN BOSSE: I was driving to work and I was thinking, “What the hell has gone wrong in the esports environment, and is this systemic to everything?” Anything is on the table at that point. We’re outside of work hours, the normal reporting structure doesn’t exist, anyone who’s available has to go and jump, and I was available, so I jumped. 
With the day’s show over, the esports team in San Francisco immediately starts trying to reproduce the bug. This is a key step in identifying an issue and looking for a fix. At this point there are three teams across the continent working on the issue: the esports team at the event in San Francisco, the development team in Los Angeles, and a dedicated external Quality Assurance team in Montréal. 
RAVEN KEENE: We were there for hours trying to rule out every possible reproduction step we could get. We were just trying to mimic the scenario we were seeing on stage to the best of our abilities, and then trying to pull variables away. I don’t remember how many tests we ended up doing, but it was like 20+ instances of us restarting the game, over and over again and seeing what was causing this. 
NICK TROOP: The earliest repro that happened was an engineer using our single-player tool. He managed to repro it by having like nine Aurelion Sols in one game, which obviously is not possible, but they were able to work with that from an engineering standpoint and we were able to test outcomes on the stage. It’s one thing to disable the champion for the rest of the day until we understand the problem, but it’s another thing for Raven to be faced with making the call of disabling the champion for the duration of the tournament. We don’t want to be in that position — it sucks for viewers, and it sucks for pros. 
RAVEN KEENE: What made this case interesting is that it was so unclear. We began using the pro player accounts to look at it because our test accounts were not getting the repro we needed. That had us thinking maybe this is an issue related to accounts because everything we created and all our variables are constant, and the only thing we changed was the account itself. 
The team in Southern California successfully produces its first reproduction and begins working to reverse-engineer it to find the root cause. 
BRIAN BOSSE: The first thing to do in a case like this is to understand the facts—what you know and what you don’t know. At that point we had a video of Bjergsen’s screen and that’s all. We tried to reproduce it by loading up the client on our local machines and following as closely as we could to exactly where Aurelion Sol went, but it didn’t repro. Fuck. That would have been easy. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: We’d been sitting there for hours analysing the code, and I took our single-player tool and hacked it so it could have 20 zero-delay spectators instead of just 1. I was testing what the game was doing with multiple spectators attached. I had like 20 spectators going and my computer was chugging, while others were just trying to repro it. 
BRIAN BOSSE: By about 2 AM, we had a repro of the symptom but with a different cause. That was one of our developers running 10 clients and the server on the same machine very rarely reproducing it. Like 1 in 50 or 100, sitting there until it happens, and that only happened for one of the missiles. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: Finally we got a repro, and we were like “OH, SHIT, WE’VE GOT IT. CAN WE DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?” It was repro’d on a build that we couldn’t attach our debugger to, so immediately everyone went to programmers’ machines and started trying to repro it in the same way. After like 20 tries, I got it! It was only two missiles gone, but we had something. It was like defusing a bomb. As soon as I had the debugger attached, we had to call Brian: because he wrote the code, he knew it. If anyone was going to be able to step through this thing and figure it out, Brian would be the guy to do it. 
BRIAN BOSSE: It wasn’t even the same thing happening on stage. But we were able to, with an instance of that, dig through a debugger and figure out what state that missile had been in in order to cause that symptom. And that was enough to, over the course of the next five hours, trace back through to the actual cause here with the spectators. It took… 12 hours, end to end, including a small period in there for sleep. The last member of the team left at 4:30 AM and the first member came back in at 9 AM. 
The root cause had been identified, and Rioters started filtering into the office for work the next day. 
LUKE RINARD: The next day I went into work and found out that Aurelion was probably disabled for a day or two, but we have a fix. I was surprised, because it was before lunch, like… how do you have a fix? Brian had been there all night, and his desk was entirely full of soda cans. He looked a little haggard but he was still up and working, and he was excited to fix the problem. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: Brian’s castle of soda cans was pretty hilarious. 
RAVEN KEENE: A picture was sent around showing the desk full of cans. We’re talking dozens! 
LUKE RINARD: I walked over to Brian’s desk, and he was explaining the issue to someone—he was doing the engineer thing where he was just gesticulating. We tried to ask him what was going on, and one of the engineers next to him was like, “Whoah whoah, shhhh, he’s gotten to something important here. He’s had an epiphany.” 
BRIAN BOSSE: We were always suspicious of the spectator issue since that is the fundamental difference between the esports environment and the live environment, because esports uses a different kind of spectator system. While this was going on, they were doing repros on stage with Bjergsen’s account, with the actual situation that was going on, trying to narrow down, “When does it reproduce? When does it not reproduce?” With the information we gleaned from that, plus the information gleaned through debugging the bizarre symptom repro that we had, eventually we were able to draw a causal line between start and finish. 
With the issue discovered and a fix identified, the esports team made the call to re-enable Aurelion Sol for Day Four of Worlds. 
RAVEN KEENE: Our first reaction to this was “Thank god,” and the second was praising the Bosse god for the work he did. It then became a question of looking at the fix. Was it an easy fix? In this case it was, because we were able to adjust the accounts accordingly. Then it was about communicating this to every person at Riot who could have a potential impact on this bug. In this case, because it was related to accounts, that included all the spectators and our international spectators, so it took a lot of work with our Live Production team to communicate with all of them. We had to make sure the competing teams knew asap when it would be available, including looking at when scrim blocks occurred because we needed to get this out before any of the scrim blocks were played. 
BRIAN BOSSE: Big relief. We went from everything being on the table to this very contained mitigation and it’s all going to be fine. It was almost an unbelievably favourable end to this. 
LUKE RINARD: I went and said very nice things to everybody that I could find who was involved, and told them it really mattered to me. The folks that helped out were just total bosses. Their reaction to me saying “Thank you for doing this” was… “Well yeah, of course.” Almost like saying, “What are you thanking me for? Of course I’m going to come in in the middle of the night on Thursday for hours.” 
BRIAN BOSSE: I want to emphasise that nobody was called in for this—I had a couple of engineers, a handful of QA folks, and some production staff volunteering their time to do this. Nobody was forced to come in and work on this. It was amazing to see those people stay for those ridiculous hours to fix this. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: I guess it was my duty to help. It was late, so most people were home, and there were new matches the next day. I knew about the issue, and they could use my help. I just kind of felt like… it was the right thing to do. To get the best Worlds experience, it was the best thing to do. I know a lot of teams had been practicing Aurelion and everybody had been hoping to see that played. To think that we would have Worlds without him, it was like… shit, no way. 
Aurelion Sol is re-enabled on Day Four and picked by Counter Logic Gaming’s Huhi in their match against ROX Tigers. Huhi dominates the Korean champions on his favourite pick, helping CLG steamroll the Tigers. 
AMELIA VON HADEN: We felt kind of similar to people who make a champion; when they see it being played, they always have a knot in their stomach thinking it’s going to have a bad game, or it’s going to break… With this Aurelion Sol thing, when we saw him being played we all had that same feeling, hoping it wouldn’t break this time. 
RAVEN KEENE: When he initially got picked again, it was one of those “Hold onto your butts” moments. We held our breath for those initial couple of minutes. Once it hit that point where the game started flowing and you started seeing the plays, the entire atmosphere changed; internally, externally, players, fans, everything. It changed the story from Aurelion Sol, the disabled champion, to Aurelion Sol, the Destroyer. 
LUKE RINARD: After he got picked, and CLG just completely wrecked with him… I was like, “maybe this character is too powerful, maybe he’s a little strong.” Seeing him at Worlds, and seeing him be powerful and successful, was hugely gratifying to me. After that game on Monday I went in and thanked everybody again! I went through and just told everybody how that made my month to see him played that Sunday. Then seeing him get played in game three of the Final, in such a pivotal game—that made the rest of my month. 
Worlds is the pinnacle of international competition in League, and losing a champion as important as Aurelion Sol at Worlds would have been absolutely devastating for players and spectators. The Rioters who came together to fix this bug worked around the clock, ensuring all the champions were available to the world’s best players during the fight for the Summoner’s Cup.If you’re interested in the technical details behind the bug, check out Brian Bosse’s breakdown of the cause behind it."

[OCE ONLY] New Client Rollout - Phase 1 Starting Soon 

As stated in a recent LCU update post, OCE, RU, LAN, and LAS will be starting on Phase 1 of the LCU rollout. Check out the recent OCE server announcement and FAQ for more information:
"Four weeks ago, we shared our plans for rolling out the new client. Tomorrow, we’re going to start Phase 1 of this plan by rolling out the new client to a small number of players. This is important for us to ensure that players with a wide variety of system specs and connection quality are having a good experience before we move everyone off the legacy client for good. 
We’ve put together an FAQ to address some questions you may be having right now:
  • Why are you doing this? 
    • While we’re confident the new client update is ready for prime time, we want to make absolutely sure everything's working as intended before moving players off the legacy client for good. So, instead of just switching everyone over all at once, we're going to spread the update process across phases, each of them a patch or two apart. We’ve identified Russia and Oceania as ideal regions to start due to a variety of factors such as system specs and playing habits. This is important for us to ensure that players with a wide variety of system specs and connection quality are having a good experience.  
  • Who will be upgraded? 
    • We're randomly selecting players in some regions to participate in this rollout. If you’re selected, next time you launch League, you’ll see a new screen that will highlight the upgrade process. Once the upgrade process is complete, when you click on “LAUNCH," you’ll launch into the new client. Barring any issues, we will continue rolling out the updated client to more and more players while keeping you updated on our plans as we move forward.  
  • Can I go back to using the old client during Phase 1? 
    • Yes. You can launch the old client by clicking on the “Launch legacy client” text on the login page. However, to ensure we get good feedback, we recommend you give the updated client a fair try before going back to using to the old client.  
  • What’s the big deal about the new client anyway? 
    • The updated client has been built from the ground up to use newer technology that allows us to develop features faster. Most importantly, it gives League a strong foundation it can stand on for many years to come—because we will support League for a LONG time. The client also features the new visual style of League, Hextech, making the entire client experience visually consistent and easy to grok. Since the beginning of open beta, we've shipped two big new features on the updated client: Practice Tool and Replays. There are also a slew of quality of life improvements: 
  • Ability scaling info on champ detail pages
  • Pop out the message window, move it around wherever you want, and resize it freely
  • Automatically hide mobile or offline friends in a group on your friends list.
  • Drag'n'drop to rearrange rune and mastery pages
  • Shift click to assign 9 runes at once
  • Ability to change in-game settings from the client
  • More control on sound settings tunings than in legacy  
The work on the client’s not done yet. We’re hard at working on performance and stability improvements as well as new features. When we’re confident that it offers a better experience than the legacy client, we’ll upgrade all players to use the new client. 
Check out our latest beta update to learn more about why we're replacing the legacy client and our future plans for rolling it out." 
  • I gave it a try before and it was too laggy / slow, why should I try it again?  
    • Performance and stability has come a long way since the beginning of the year. We’ve also introduced a Low-Spec mode that automatically detects your specs and defaults to recommended settings to ensure a smooth experience. If you had trouble before, we're confident you'll have a better experience with our latest patch.  
  • I liked item sets—why isn’t the item set creator tool in the new client yet? 
    • Initially, due to the low use of item sets, we hadn’t planned to bring it back with the new client and focus on making other areas better instead. However we’ve heard a lot of feedback and reconsidered our decision. We now intend to rebuild the item set creator tool, but haven't yet started development work on it, so it could take quite some time even after we replace the legacy client. Of course, replacing the legacy client still comes first. In the meantime we still totally support item sets in-game (you don't lose your existing item sets when you update your client).  
  • I have feedback to share, how do I submit them to Riot? 
    • You can share your feedback with us by submitting a ticket. If you run into technical issues / bugs, please use the icon at the bottom right of the client to submit a bug report.  
  • What’s next? 
    • Assuming Phase 1 goes well, we will continue rolling out the updated client to more and more players while keeping you updated of our plans as we move forward. Expect another beta update in two weeks where we’ll talk about how Phase 1 went and our plans for Phase 2." 

Riot's updated stance on unusual play styles

Here's WookieeCookie with an update to the ban policy for unusual playstyles following recent community discussions surrounding specific cases of strange changes in support role:
"In the past, it was possible (although very rare) for players who caused an abnormal amount of pain to their teams with off-meta picks to receive a 14 day suspension from one of our manual audits. These audits were designed to compliment our PB systems by finding players who “fell through the cracks” of detection. We then feed the results of our audits back into our PB systems to improve detection so less and less bad experiences get missed in the future. 
We stand by these audits; upon review 99% of players audited were correctly disciplined. Intentional Feeders, Bots, cheaters, and rage quitters are all common offenses found through our audits. But in very rare instances players who chose extremely unusual picks could end up getting audited. When we dug deeper we found it was usually the result of poor communication with their team that caused extreme frustration and pain; players (and even the reviewing rioter) would interpret this poor teamwork as intentionally trolling. 
To be honest, it’s pretty rare to see bans of these type; every day we see thousands of oddball/unusual picks that don’t result in any reports or bans and go through matches normally. So in these weird and unusual cases (4 or 5 a year) where players were banned for going off the reservation, we dove in to see if the player’s behavior deserved a penalty and if they did, what kind of penalty. The thing that stands out about these edge cases are that their goal was to win; although their attempts were often muddled by unclear or inconsistent communication with their team mates. Doing crazy stuff and challenging the meta is something we want to enshrine in League of Legends. And although this may cause a higher burden on teammates and communication; after review we feel a 14 day ban for imperfect communication (when there is a clear intent to win matches) is too harsh. 
After a lot of talk internally we’ve developed a new policy that protects players who want to try new and unusual stuff while also ensuring that we shield all players from actual trolls and intentional feeders. 
Here’s how that process will work: 
  • Players who cause an undue amount of frustration and pain because of a crazy pick but are dedicated to winning (not trolling) will not receive a ban instead we’ll temporarily lock their account. The player will get a message to reach out to Player Support so they can unlock their account. Before you guys get too scared, given our review of past audits, we feel this will only apply to a few players a year. Seriously, last year thousands of these audits were performed, and we saw only a tiny handful of these cases appear.  
  • When contacted; Player Support will let the player know they’re not banned, but temporarily locked out of their account because of an audit. We’ll share in-game examples and reports of the kind of behavior that’s causing them to pop up on our radar.  
  • The player gets feedback on how they can communicate what they’re trying to do and how their team can win without ruining the experience of people they play with. After that Player Support will unlock their account.  
  • With their account unlocked the player is free to return to games right away.  
  • Player Support will reach out again if they find any actual behavior problems. If they’re flagged with unsportsmanlike conduct, or outright trolling, they’ll receive a penalty. If it’s just their style to try to win with weird picks and unusual plays then they won’t get a penalty.  
We want players who enjoy playing off-meta picks but massively disrupt their team to learn and adjust their communication on their own, without being banned. As long as a player is working towards their team’s chances of winning, we won’t punish them for non-standard play styles. That said, there are clear differences between meta breaking and straight up trolling. We stand firm that people who intentionally troll and disrupt games in League will end up banned. 
All this talk on the topic made us want to dig deeper into how players understand the meta, so we’ll be rolling out a Dev Diary to get into how we view the meta and what that means for you with Lead Gameplay Designer, Meddler. You’ll hear more on that soon."

Pocket Picks: Dardoch's Lee Sin

A new Pocket Picks is up featuring Dardoch's Lee Sin!

"Pocket Picks is a series where pro League of Legends players share tips and tricks to help you master their favorite champions. This episode features Immortals' jungler Dardoch showing you how to strike firm with his Pocket Pick, Lee Sin."

PAX East 2017 Cosplay Music Video | League of Legends Community Collab

"Riot Swimbananas and Riot Jynx visit these awesome League cosplayers at PAX East! 
Filmed by Beat Down Boogie: 
Music from Warsongs 
**Created in collaboration with Riot Games**"

Worldbuilding AMA on Reddit

On Monday March 27th, several Rioters on the Champion Update and Worldbuilding teams jumped on reddit to host an AMA on the recently released Demacian champion bios and stories!

Check out the responses here!

Monthly Q&A with Ghostcrawler 

Changing it up for the month, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street streamed on for his monthly Q&A. Unfortunately with the new streaming service, there is no official VOD available. Make sure to try to catch the stream live next month!
"This week, we’re trying something a bit different! Join us on later today at 5 PM Pacific Time for our monthly Livestream Q&A with Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, Game Design Director for League of Legends! 
To participate in chat, make sure you Create a New Account with beforehand. Sign-up is simple: Visit; click “Create a New Account;” choose your desired username, email, and password; and verify your email address. 
We’ll be taking questions live from chat or you can leave your question here in the comments below and we’ll answer them at the beginning of the stream. 
See you on Caffeine!"

Quick HITS: JPN Server Event, Urgot Update, & more!

[Quick Hits is our own collection within a red post collection, often including easy to digest stories, specialized information, and/or repeat info you may have missed in other posts!]

1) LeaoC stated on Reddit there would only be the one new batch of new Demacian stories for now:
"For Demacia? There is no new batch. We aren't doing every demacian champion this time, but we'll get to all of them eventually. What champions would you like to see?"

2) Reav3 on who is next for a skin splash art update now that Karma's art is on the PBE
"We currently haven't decided who is next after Maokai/Sej. MF has been tossed around as a good candidate for the next update though."

3) Riot MEMEMEMEME on why just doing animation work on a champion would take a lot longer than you would think:
"Animations are something we do with large scale VGUs (Visual and Gameplay Update/Reworks) or Class Updates since doing a full suite of animations take a long time, when I say long time I mean the entirety of a Champions Development Cycle. Older Champions like Jax and Udyr may also require more than just animation work, this would include some modeling and rigging work."

4) The Sakura icons we saw in the 7.6 PBE are part of a JPN server only event  花見 ON THE RIFT:

4) When asked about work on the future large scope URGOT champion update, Riot Repertoir noted he started the work but another designer is finishing it:

"I did the initial work on Urgot from the Design side, but another designer is actually finishing him, so... sorta :)"

5) Arcade Miss Fortune's auto attack sound effects should be fixed in 7.7!

6) Riot NaKyle  recently jumped on the boards to clear up confusion on punishments for folks demanding other people be reported.
"Hey all, 
Spotted a bit of confusion about whether or not we dish out penalties to players who ask for reports. Just to be super clear, we don't. If a player used asking for reports as a leaping off point for actual harassment, that's when we'd blow the whistle. When we think about updates to Instant Feedback, we think about solving problems that really distract you from what matters: Winning the game. And this issue just doesn't chart that high. 
To give a bit more detail, we don't need to penalize for this because Instant Feedback is quite good at filtering out BS reports, and really only needs one to accurately decide whether or not penalties are warranted. If you're looking to make an impact on the community, the absolute best thing you can do is submit earnest, thorough reports when you see some shit you don't want in your game."

7) In a lengthy post discussing Illaoi, Waaarghbobo hinted at an unreleased champion -
"Yeah, Braum is a certain pass. Jhin would not. The new champ i worked on named R__ would pass.... opps I've said too much."


Last up, a few reminders on promotions and sales ending soon!
  • A set of limited time March Bundles are in the shop though March 30th at 23:59 PT.

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