Red Post Collection: May 4th + 5th Mid Patch Update, Gameplay Thoughts 5/4, Ask Riot: Cigar Edition, and more!

Posted on at 10:33 PM by Aznbeat
[UPDATE: 5/5 Mid-patch update out on live!]

Tonight's red post collections includes the May 4th mid-patch update including Sejuani nerfs and Zac buffs, Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 5/4, a new Ask Riot on Graves infamous cigar, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

May 5th Mid-Patch Updates

The official 7.9 patch notes have been updated to reflect several bug fixes that went out to live on 5/5:
"5/5 Updates 
"Shipping the Frost Armor changes we alluded to earlier."
  • BUGFIX-Fixed a bug causing Frost Armor not to break from instances of damage that were entirely absorbed by a shield
  • FROST ARMOR COOLDOWN-9 seconds at all levels ⇒ 15/12/9 seconds at levels 1/7/14
Gargoyle Stoneplate
  • BUGFIX-The cooldown of Gargoyle Stoneplate's active effect is no longer incorrectly reduced by cooldown reduction
  • CRASH FIX-Fixed a crash issue Warwick was causing
  • BUGFIX-Fixed a bug that could cause Sand Soldier attacks to sometimes not deal damage
  • BUGFIX-Venom Cask once again properly adds a stack of Deadly Venom as the cask explodes
Fullscreen Mode
  • BUGFIXES-Fixed a few issues regarding fullscreen mode, such as DirectX errors, offset screens, and framerate capping"

May 4th Mid-Patch Updates

The official 7.9 patch notes have been updated to reflect a mid patch update that went out May 4th, including Sejuani nerfs, Zac buffs, bug fixes, and documentation on animation changes that went out in 7.9:
"5/4 Balance Update 
A few firefighting changes based on early midseason trends. We'll have additional followup in normal patches once we've had enough time to properly assess how midseason has landed. 

Sejuani's hit the ground running harder than anticipated. We're tapping down some of her newfound strength. 
NOTE: A few of the changes we want to make can't be done with the tools that ship quick balance fixes. Expect another update soon with adjustments to Frost Armor.
Base stats
  • HEALTH 600 ⇒ 560
W - Winter's Wrath
  • COST -  60 mana ⇒ 80 mana
  • FIRST HIT DAMAGE - 30/35/40/45/50 ⇒ 20/25/30/35/40
  • SECOND HIT DAMAGE - 40/75/110/145/180 ⇒ 30/65/100/135/170
Zac's update introduced new mechanics to learn and make new decisions around. These buffs should ease the learning process a bit.
Q - Stretching Strikes
  • SLOW DURATION - 0.25 seconds ⇒ 0.5 seconds
E - Elastic Slingshot
  • BASE DAMAGE - 80/120/160/200/240 ⇒ 80/130/180/230/280 (reverting the original damage change) 
Rift Herald 
BUGFIX - Fixed a bug where canceling Eye of the Herald's summoning ritual at the very end of its 0.25 second wind-up (before the uncancellable 3-second channel begins) could cause the item to go on an extremely long cooldown, preventing it from being used before it expires
Support Attack Animations 
These missed the original round of patch notes so we'll call 'em out now. If something felt different in your first few matches of the patch, you weren't crazy!
  • Annie, Janna, Morgana, Nami, Sona, and Soraka have had non-gameplay impacting adjustments made to their attack animations
  • Janna, Nami, and Sona will now use their crit animations when doing empowered attacks
  • Janna and Nami have had adjustments to their basic attack visual and sound effects"

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 4 

Meddler is back with his quick gameplay thoughts for May 4th, including a few thoughts on how 7.9/midseason is shaping up now that it is on live servers,  new client features, and more!
"Morning all! 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped.
If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 

Mid-Season so far 
It's really early in 7.9's release, some preliminary thoughts though:
  • Sejuani - Is clearly too strong. We made some late changes just before the patch locked a week ago and internal testing between then and now left us pretty convinced we'd made her too strong. What we've seen so far supports that so we'll be hotfixing some nerfs out to her, probably later today. Likely changes are a reduction in starting health (600-560), higher passive CD (15/12/9 instead of 9 at all levels) and lowered base damage on W (20-40+30-170 instead of 30-50+40-180). Still locking down exact details though, so those could change slightly.
  • Zac - Is probably too weak by a noticeable margin. We'll be assessing him more today, depending on how he does we're considering some slight hotfix buffs however, which would be increases to his Q slow (0.5s per trigger instead of 0.25s) and E damage (80-280 instead of 80-240, thinking being that that change was an unnecessary nerf).
  • Rift Herald - Too early to say much yet. In most games so far people aren't optimizing with it, optimizing against it or even taking it consistently. Keeping a really close eye on how she does, given potential game impact's really high, no conclusions yet though.
  • New Items - Nothing seems too out of line so far. Having said that it often takes a while for adoption rates of new items to get to the appropriate level for their power, so it's possible there's some subtle but strong stuff out there we just haven't seen revealed yet. 
Zac's Voice 
We'll be looking to do a bit of tweaking to how Zac's voice pitch changes with his health in 7.10. Currently that'll probably involve adjusting the thresholds where the pitch changes kick in (probably too frequent right now). Feedback on that much appreciated if you've had a chance to play new Zac. 
Developing Features for the New Client 
While we've started swapping some regions over fully to the new client that's not the case globally yet. That means that until we've got all regions over (we're working on it) we'll still need to take the old client into account and can't release things that affect all players (like pick/ban changes) that only work in the new client. Getting there, but not quite there yet."

When asked about the support auto attack smoothing that was mentioned in a previous post, Meddler commented:
Meddler did the AA animation smoothening for supports went through, and does it include the skins that change AA for those champions?
Some of it is in 7.9, though we forgot to patch note it. A bit more should be in 7.10. All animation changes should apply to the skins as well. 
We'll get the list of what changed into an updated set of patch notes (probably with today's hotfix). 
Edit: Stuff going into the updated notes: 
"Sona, Morgana, Annie, Janna, Nami, Soraka have had non-gameplay impacting adjustments made to their attack animations. 
Janna, Nami, Sona will now use their crit animations when doing empowered attacks.
Nami, Janna have had adjustments to their basic attack visual and sound effects." 
7.10 should have some additional visual and sound effect updates. "

On the Ancient Coin line changes in 7.9, Meddler commented:
"Still watching Coin, can't get a clear read on something like that after one day, especially when people aren't all using it properly or even buying the correct items yet. Soraka so far seems to be pretty unchanged, though not yet sure how much of that's driven by Spellthief's use versus Coin."
Meddler also shared his thoughts on Maokai: post update:
Thoughts on maokai?
Seems ok so far balance wise, will take a bit longer to see whether playstyle changes we were targeting have worked as hoped or not though."
When asked about Kindred's changes that were previously mentioned, Meddler replied:
Hi Meddler! 
Are there any ideas for Kindred's crit scaling you've once mentioned?
Current thinking/work in testing looks more like rewarding AD itemization more, that then opens up but doesn't as explicitly call out crit options as something like passive damage critting would. I suspect we'll have something to ship sometime in the next few patches. "
On suggestions for Zac changes, Meddler replied:
Hi Meddler. Here's some Zac Mains' thoughts on the changes: 
About the voice, we like the pitch change, but we want it to happen around 30 or 35% HP left, not higher. And we also don't like how it also speeds up too, the pitch change is enough. 
Also, the main issue is the E CC nerf for us.
We'd been kicking around 25-30%, so that's a pretty good match with other feedback we've got too. 
E CC duration's one we're going to wait and see a bit on. It's certainly a noticeable power hit, at the same time though we need to ensure the E doesn't give a guaranteed R cast."
On the use of the champ main subreddits, Meddler commented:
Riot has been known to get input from the champ mains subreddits on more than one occasion.
Yep. They're a useful, though not comprehensive of course, source of feedback."
He continued:
It's a subreddit for Zac mains. Most of the best Zac players in the world congregate here. Also, the most passionate Zac mains reside here too.
Reddit can be a good source of feedback, like Boards though it's pretty heavily dominated by feedback from just a couple of regions so needs to be treated with caution."

Ask Riot: Cigar Edition 

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for a new Ask Riot! This week covers the recent changes made to bring back Graves' cigar (in-game assets in 7.9!), Lulu's cupcakes, and more:
"Welcome to Ask Riot! 
The cigar is back. Mostly. Oh, and don’t forget: Ask Riot’s one-year anniversary happens soon; we are posing your questions direct to Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill and Brandon “Ryze” Beck, aka the co-founders of Riot and co-creators of League. If you’ve got a burning question for the guys who started this whole thing, ask away (use their names so we can find your questions in the pile)! 
So, Graves can have a cigar, but in some places he still can’t? What determines whether it appears in my region?

Graves’ cigar first appeared in a splash art update in October 2014, and helped show The Outlaw as the gun-toting, rule-breaking, line-ending badass that we all know and love. As explained by RiotSilver here, though, it was quickly removed the next month due to concerns about ratings changes in some countries (things like tobacco use, blood, skulls, etc. can impact a game’s rating depending on the region). 
After a long (probably too long) time, we’re finally bringing back his carcinogen-laden accessory to many regions, which poses an interesting technological challenge. 
Currently, we have one mechanism for displaying different content in different countries. Specifically, we can check whether the game is being run in China, by looking for a specific file in the LoL install (a .dll file that is used by our publisher in China). If that .dll exists, then we swap out specific particle FX for other versions. This allows bloody things like Vladimir’s trollpool to look red in most of the world, and black in China. We don’t have similar marker files in other countries, so we can’t use this technique anywhere else in the world. 
We used to have one other mechanism, where other countries could create custom versions of splash art. Then, we automatically copied those splashes over top of the Riot versions and built the entire game (a very time-consuming process) again, thus making sure that the new splash winds up everywhere we need it to. This is how all the “Chinese version” vs. “NA version” splashes that you see on wiki sites were published. 
Recently, some Rioters wanted to speed up our iteration process. If a designer or artist wanted to get their changes into testers’ hands for the evening, they would need to submit their changes very early in the day (typically by 12:30 or 1pm) in order to brave the hours-long gauntlet of being built into all the different versions of the game, and then published to our internal servers. This slowed iteration drastically, which in turn made it much harder to make LoL as awesome as we want it to be. 
Thus, (along with other build improvements) we undertook the global splash parity project that JxE talked about here, allowing us to simplify and speed up our build process substantially. But it left us without a good way to swap art for different countries. We don’t want to reintroduce a lengthy build pipeline to handle things, but we need some clean and reliable way to toggle the presence of the cigar. 
Therefore we’re packing both versions of Graves’ splash in patch 7.9, and the game will, by default, stick to the version with less nicotine. We’re adding some new data that says which types of content, like “Tobacco” or “Blood”, are allowed in each country. Then we’re adding some new data to each game server that says which region you’re playing in. If your region is tagged as safe for tobacco use, we’ll swap Graves out to use the edgier splash. Outside of the game, we’ll be adding similar technology as appropriate, always careful not to accidentally show restricted content in areas where that may endanger our rating (and thus prevent many players from being able to get on the Rift). 
Thanks for fighting for the vision of Graves that resonates with you. 
Engineering Manager, Champion Team 
Does Lulu ever eat the cupcakes she polymorphs when she’s hungry?

Lulu wouldn’t dare eat a cupcake that she polymorphed – it wouldn’t taste very much like a delicious cake. Lulu does maintain an array of delicacies on her hat for safekeeping. Indeed, one of her most beloved activities is magically altering the flavors of the candies on her hat and tasting them one by one. Purple is her favorite flavor, naturally, but cloud comes a close second. 
Pix, on the other hand, is known to nibble at polymorphed cupcakes from time to time — he loves the frosting. Those who have experienced this describe a strange tingling sensation, and upon returning to their normal form sometimes find that they are missing a fingernail or a shock of hair. 
Associate Writer, Worldbuilding 
Working at Riot seems to come with a lot of good benefits, but does the pet insurance cover boosted animals?

Our pet insurance covers animals without discrimination based on age, breed, or pre-existing conditions. For example, golden retrievers are still covered even if they really should be low silver retrievers. 
Benefit Specialist

Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, 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."
Prior to this Ask Riot when asked about the use of Graves's cigar splash in the shop and loading screen/in-game assets but not in the actual client yet, RiotLtRandolph explained:
"Yeah this was an interesting one. I've got an Ask Riot going up tomorrow with more details, but I can tell you a bit about this particular issue. The League Client experts were all busy improving performance and fixing bugs to make it so everyone can be playing on it. Thus, there wasn't time to get Graves' cigar plumbed through into all parts of the client. But we game engineers had a mildly less stressful patch. Thus we put in the tech to show it in game, but not yet in the client. 
As you've noticed, though, the store sale banner isn't a "normal" image from game data. It's an image that's made by hand in Photoshop or whatever. Thus they could put the cigar in the banner, even though it's not yet ready for the store, champ select, etc."

Shrieve on 7.9 Zac

Speaking of ZacRiot Shrieve also dropped by the dedicated Zac subreddit to reply to player concerns and talk about a few changes that might be on the way (in addition to those hotfixed in earlier!):
"Hey Squid thanks for the post. Sorry that it came to this guys; it's really shitty that everyone's feeling this frustrated. First I'll start by saying changes are coming. For the purpose of full disclosure this is on me. Internally before PBE there was a ton of concerns of what the power of Q and R could do to the state of the game. People pushed for nerfing certain aspects of his kit in compensation, and I took too many of the changes to heart instead of sticking closer to the original kit we were testing internally (changes like nerf to E damage and knocking its CC down to .5... it was .75 for quite awhile). That being said now we have the ammo for a lot of buffs! 
Let's knock out and the quick and easy stuff first: 
I'm pushing our sound guy to have the voice pitch kick in only under 30% health. Sound banks aren't updated in micropatches so I wouldn't expect that change till 7.10 
I'm glad the tweaks our animator did on the PBE smoothed things out. And I'm happy to see that the blastcone easter egg was noticed. 
Short Term Changes 
There's a patch hitting live servers later today, likely within the next hour: 
  • Q Slow durations doubled
  • E Damage nerf reverted 
Potential Patch 7.10 Changes 
So let me reiterate the following ideas are potential changes we'll be testing internally. Some/none/all might show up on live in the near future. If possible a few could show up in a micropatch like the 2 changes above.
  • Base Stats / P: The loss of health on all the tank items hit Zac harder then most of the other tanks (his tankiness/sustain relies on his health pool). Likely to bump up his health scaling in response. More blobs is one way to go, but I honestly prefer giving each individual blob a bit more oomph. Perhaps an increase in how much health they return might be necessary. 
  • Q: I'm potentially looking to add back in some scaling damage based upon Zac's max health. Q's damage can hurt at mid-levels, where you typically have a single point and making hits deal less damage than a basic attack. This should help smooth that curve out and make hits feels meaty at all levels. I'll probably bump the collision AoE splash size for jungle monsters too. On the subject of blob generation; hitting two unique champions already does spawn two blobs, but I might drop the "champions" qualifier. (hitting the same target twice will continue to spawn one blob) 
  • E: I can see a couple potential directions here. Bumping the duration up to .75 might work, but a flat 1 second is something most of us here aren't too keen on. One change I particularly liked was having the knockup duration scale from .5 to 1 second based upon how long you charge E before releasing (i.e. a quick snap of it would still be .5, but charge it up for full distance and you'll get your classic 1 second). Any changes here will mean increasing the threshold on R's kidnap though. 
  • R: Kidnap threshold bumped up to 1.3-1.5 (only done in combination with an E knockup change), potentially with a bump in slow speed to compensate. Zac's blob pickup radius while charging already does expand quite a bit (triples actually), but I might exaggerate it a bit more. I loved when grounding was on the spell. I think it fits the theme incredibly well and gave Zac some amazing zone denial. That being said the playing against case when was very frustrating for the opposing team, and it would require nerfs somewhere else on the kit. I don't think that's what people want. I'll look into the camera cursor thing. I know a ton of people like zoomout but the I can understand the disorientation. I'll look into the Flash R case as well.
I'll be sure to post here with any updates."


Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!

  • MSI 2017 in-game content is now available, including new icons, the legacy Conqueror Karma and more!  Conqueror Karma, returning legacy skins, and more available through May 24th. MSI 2017 continues off with Round 2 of play-in stage on May 3rd-4th. MSI Capsules are also in the shop for 600 RP on broadcast days!
  • As mentioned in the 7.9 notesDark Star: Singularity heads to the RGMQ from 5/4 through 5/15. You can earn two unique icons just by playing with friends and landing kills in the mode!

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