Red Post Collection: Mid Patch Updates, Quick Gameplay Thoughts for 7/14, Kayn AMA & more

Posted on at 2:38 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes a set of mid patch updates for Singed and Nunu, Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 7/14, the Order ending for the Vs. Event comic, the Kayn AMA, and more!
Continue reading for more info!

Table of Contents

Mid Patch Updates

A few mid patch updates went out yesterday, hotfixing Singed and Nunu, and bugfixing an issue with trading champions in custom games:
"7/13/2017 Balance Update 
We're reducing Singed's durability since the movement speed from his new passive has added significantly to his survivability in skirmishes and fights.
  • BASE HEALTH 610 ⇒ 580
  • HEALTH GROWTH 90 ⇒ 85
  • INSANITY POTION COOLDOWN 100 seconds at all ranks ⇒ 120/110/100 seconds
Last patch's hits to Nunu's survivability weren't enough to stop the yeti from rolling over his competition. So, we've got a few more. 
  • BASE HEALTH 575 ⇒ 535
  • HEALTH GROWTH 90 ⇒ 85
  • MOVEMENT SPEED 350 ⇒ 345
Custom Games 
  • BUGFIX Players are once again able to trade champions in Champion Select for custom games

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: 7/14

Here's Meddler with his Quick Gameplay Thoughts for July 14, covering the approach to Worlds Qualifiers balance, the Singed hotfix from 7/13, and more:
"Hi folks, 
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: 

Approach we're taking with 7.15/Qualifiers 
First off, quick update, was talking with some of our Esports folks and they mentioned some of the qualifiers will likely be played on 7.16, rather than all of them on 7.15 (LPL seems most likely from the sounds of it). 
Secondly, wanted to talk a bit more about the approach we're taking with pro balance for the coming patch. We're looking at groups of champions more than usual, with a few observations driving a lot of our changes and then a number of one offs. What we're currently looking into therefore looks like:
  • Jungle - Belief is that it's more appropriate to bring the top junglers down a bit than trying to buff others up to their level. That means smallish nerfs to Lee Sin, Gragas, Elise, Rek'Sai and Zac are being looked at. That also has the added benefit of bringing jungler impact overall down slightly, in addition to hopefully being the better way to see some more diversity.
  • Mid Lane - Looks to be in a reasonable spot overall, so here we're targeting specific champs we think could get into the competitive pool. That means buffs to TF, Ekko, Ziggs, Xerath and potentially one or two more. We haven't seen artillery champs in pro play much for a while, Jayce excepted, so are hoping to get a bit of spot play on one or two. Buffs will be pretty light though, so that's more a hope than an expectation however.
  • Champs we've adjusted recently - We're watching, but not yet testing changes for, a number of champs we've recently nerfed. Those are competitive staples recently like Galio or Caitlyn. Want to make sure we've trimmed then down enough but don't want to swing at them again if that's not needed. On the other side of things also watching a couple of champs we've recently buffed who are getting a bunch of pro play, Gnar being the biggest example
  • Misc champs - Finally we're also just exploring some minor tune ups/tune downs for a few miscellanious champs we think are either a bit strong or could be pro viable with smaller work. Thresh (-), Nami (+), Jinx (+), GP (+) are good examples of that. 
Singed Hotfix 
As a lot of you will have noticed we hotfixed nerfed Singed yesterday. Buffs for him gave him much more power than we'd predicted so we felt it necessary to take some power off him quickly. Urgency there was particularly high given that high performance wasn't just experienced Singed players doing well, but happening even with a lot of people with limited Singed experience jumping onto the changes, indicating power when played effectively was noticeably higher again. We're glad to see Singed in a stronger spot, and that was one of the big goals of the recent changes, but that doesn't mean any magnitude of buff was appropriate and this one overshot quite a bit. More thoughts on his state to follow once the patch has been out a decent amount of time. 
Hotfixing in General 
For anyone unfamiliar with the term a hotfix is a quick change to the game outside of the normal patch cycle that often doesn't require the player to download a new patch (done on the server). They've got some added risk, so they're not a standard tool, with less time to test things both in terms of bugs and balance. If things are urgent they can be a good choice though. 
We're planning to do slightly more hotfixes, in particular because we recently saw some tools changes get finished that reduce the risk of bugs from hotfixing and the amount of developer time they take to do. They're still a riskier tool, so won't become the standard way of rolling out changes, but it's much more likely you'll see a balance change or two following up after a patch goes out. Goal with those is primarily to adjust anything that had a much larger or smaller effect than we expected (e.g. correct extreme cases of overbuffed or overnerfed quicker). Those changes won't be aiming to fully solve a problem gebnerally though, both because of the limited testing time possible and because it's not clear enough what that would require shortly after a patch. Instead they'll be aimed at moderating the most out of line cases a bit before we give them a more extended analysis over a longer period of time. 
Seems to be in an ok spot so far. We're seeing a lot of Kayns fail, that's very much expected for a new champ, especially a squishier melee one. Assassin Kayn seems to be struggling more than Darkin. That's somewhat expected off assassin being the harder to learn form, also possible there's too large a power difference between the two though. No immediate plans for balance changes, discrepancy between the two forms is one of the key things we'll be watching though."

When asked about the effect of the lethality changes in Patch 7.14, Meddler commented:
No comment on lethality is very concerning.
Yep. Watching Duskblade especially closely, item balance takes longer generally to assess than champion though."

On Lux, Meddler commented:
What was the plan with the Lux buffs that you mentioned on the 11th?
Overall buffs, but focused on team utility rather than comboing a target down (Q CD, W shield on allies)."

On Gangplank's passive, Meddler verified a change from the 7/11 PBE Update:
Is Trial By Fire still the part you're looking at? Just outa curiousity :P
Yep, +15 damage on it from memory."

On Caitlyn, Meddler commented:
Why do you keep targeting Caitlyn's attack speed? It feels bad to play her now with Berserkers and 2 Zeal items leaving her at 1.4 attack speed at lvl 18. Please just nerf her traps over this, she feels so bad to use. Please just nerf traps and revert attack speed changes.
We think one of Cait's main problems is that she's too much of a generalist. For a safe champ, who's a lane bully, with some decent utility her single target damage later in the game (a core strength of other, narrower ADCs) has been too high, hence the AS hit."

Ask for Jinx and Ekko, Meddler commented:
mind saying what are you planning for Jinx\Ekko?
thank you :)
Ekko potentially lower E CD at early ranks/same when maxed.
Jinx still discussing, though might include W CD."

On Sivir and Ezreal, Meddler replied:
Any changes planned for sivir?
What about the proposed rework to ezreal W?
Some extra Sivir Q damage at rank 1 is a possibility, her early game looks too weak.
Still aiming to do some Ez W work at some point, doesn't look feasible before Worlds however. Will be looking at a small other buff instead as a result."

Meddler continued:
Will Sivir see the buffs pre Worlds or only after them?
Likely before (could be 7.15)."

When asked about the Thresh base health nerf on the PBE, Meddler commented:

Just curious what made the team decide on a base health nerf to Thresh. His early game is already middle of the pack because of his low base armor and susceptibility to poke. Has the team considered a slight kit change at all affecting his team impact? Was thinking something like having the shield portion from Dark Passage apply after an ally takes the Lantern, rather than once an ally is near it. It's really small but would affect the ease of application for the shield making it something to be used a lot more for picks and less reliably for saving caught out allies. Or even lowering the slow amount on Flay slightly would be impactful.
Feeling he ought to be a bit more punishable early game, particularly if he misses Q, was the rationale. 
We've since found a bug where Flay's CCing people slightly longer than intended however (0.1-0.2s extra). Looks like that got introduced during the development of the Dark Star mode somehow. We'll be fixing that instead of nerfing Thresh's base HP, then reassessing his state. 

As for when we would see the next Champion Roadmap, Meddler commented:
When will Reav3 post the article about the champion reworks (and diver update)? I remember you said sometime this month.
Should be next week."

On diver updates, Meddler replied:
You are right but I remember Reav3 or someone else saying that they will update the divers but individually rather than in a group.
We'll do some work on a diver or two this year, unlikely to be as many as a class update would have contained however."

When asked about upcoming gameplay updates, Meddler replied:
Are there explorations for "Gameplay Updates" going on internally? Azir, Yasuo, LeBlanc, etc?
Azir/LB still being worked on, though progress somewhat slower at present with people doing Qualifiers/Worlds patch stuff as well. Regardless wouldn't be putting those updates out until post Worlds patch at a minimum (so 7.19 at the earliest, though could certainly be later)."

When asked again about the ability icon updates mentioned in past Gameplay Thoughts, Meddler replied:
Still no updates on abillity Icons? :/ I just want new ones for janna
Still in progress, slower than hoped though, artist we had polishing them's been pulled onto some other higher priority stuff as well."

In another thread, Reav3 commented on the future Aatrox rework:
When the aatrox rework will be released ?
Gameplay wise it's the scope of a full VGU so it is pretty far off as we just started on kit iterations." 

Vs.: The Untold Ending 

The Vs. Event has come and gone, with Chaos reigning. But what would have happened if Order had been able to overcome? Check out the Order ending to Unto Darkness, Unto Light:
It’s been a couple weeks since VS. ended and Yasuo supporters the world over basked in the blazing glory of a chaotic reign. 
That’s right, an era of darkness is here. And so, we shared one of two possible endings: the one where Dawnbringer Riven falls to Nightbringer Yasuo’s blade.
Enjoy your reign, Chaos followers. And to my fellow Riven supporters, we know how the world truly should have been reborn. Here’s the alternate ending we had in preparation of a Dawnbringer victory.
Dawnbringer Riven establishes a reign of order

Both endings may not have been as decisive as you’d expect. The last line of each ending reaffirms the prophetic first page of the comic: There will always come two. 
Despite Chaos’s win, one cannot exist forever without the other. Nightbringer Yasuo may have won this epic battle, but the war between these two forces will continue once more, perhaps in other forms…"

Kayn AMA on Reddit

With Kayn finally released, the team who created him took to Reddit to answer a range of questions, from his design and look, to how they named him. I've separated the questions into a few groups, use the mini navigation below to jump to sections!
"UPDATE 1:00pm PST: The AMA has officially ended! Some Rioters will still hang around answering questions, of course. 
It's your boy League of Legends back with more quality content. We're gonna do a little AMA right here from 11:00am PST to 1:00pm PST. It's about Kayn. He's got a scythe named Rhaast who is trying to kill him. If you have questions about that situation, we can provide you with answers. 
Below is a list of Rioters who did Kayn. Ask them questions, or just post memes idc 


Development & Design

To start off the AMA, Riot Brightmoon commented on what champion's model was used as a placeholder during Kayn's development:
What placeholder champion was used for Kayn when you guys were playtesting him? If you've got a video of it please do share! The rakan prototype was pretty hilarious.
Early prototypes used Tryndamere models - I think the Shadow Assassin form used King Tryn and the Darkin was Demonblade Tryn. It actually worked really well to describe to the player (at least in prototype visuals) what was going on"

Riot Cinder commented on the issues they had when they tried to implement the UI elements for when Kayn's transformation is ready:
Hey guys, awesome job on Kayn! He's awesome! 
It seems Kayn is the first champion who has ui elements on the champion portrait. What were the difficulties in implementing it there? any roadblocks?
:D I agree, Kayn is pretty awesome. We ran into tons of issues implementing a UI on the champion Portrait. As it had never been done before, there was lots of new work to do, but also trying to craft animations in such a way that brought attention to a part of the UI most people never really interact with was very challenging. Fortunately I work with incredibly talented people who knocked it out of the park."

When asked about the most difficult part of creating Kayn, Riot Phoenix replied:
What was the hardest part of working on Kayn?
Well, for VFX a tough (but fun!) task was designing not one, but TWO large, champion specific effects for the transformations. It was SO AWESOME to watch player lab participants play the transformations _^ The excitement of their reactions motivated me haha"

When asked how Kayn's name was picked, a few Rioters gave their stories:

RiotBrightmoon commented:
"we always start with a temporary 'working' name. For Kayn it was Nemesis. He started early on as a character who was in direct conflict against Xayah and Rakan. But after awhile he grew into his own thing that no longer felt right to be so closely attached to them. His internal conflict with the Darkin became more interesting to us. To choose Kayn we knew we wanted a name that was punchy and could stand up to Zed and Shen in being Ionian and strong."

DanielZKlein also commented:
"In addition to what everyone below said, I remember being super opposed to Kayn at first. It just seemed so VIDEOGAME, you know? Then gradually I warmed up to it until I fell completely in love with it. Yes, the name is pretty obvious and straightforward--but so is Kayn. He's just not that complicated. He knows he's the best there is, he knows he'll break the Darkin, and Rhaast has nothing but contempt for this frail mortal. It's really that simple, and the champion deserved a simple name to go along with this.
I remember the Christmas party last year as my inflection point. I walked around Dave and Busters pitching the name to each and every designer in attendance, and the reaction reached from yes please to wait are you serious? Then a few months later we had a player lab where after having players play a very early version of the kit, we talked about potential names. I remember pitching them three names; Ukura, Tokata, and Kayn. With the first two names they just looked at me confused, and when I said Kayn they had this "why did you try to confuse us with the other names? OBVIOUSLY his name is Kayn" reaction. 
There were also many Kanye jokes."

When asked about why they chose Kayn's E, Riot Brightmoon replied:
Why did you give him the ability to walk through walls?
Walking through walls and has been a design prototype across a few champions for awhile - it allows for new gank paths and can create a lot of tension. the trick is making sure it's communicated properly so it's still fair, so we iterated on that a lot in Kayn's development. For awhile there was a big KAYN IS COMING message when he was near you in a wall for example :)"

With a new champion there are bound to be bugs, here's Riot Cinder with a few:
What are some of the weirdest bugs that came up for Kayn? 
When in development did the "walk through walls" ability get added, and how much of the kit was based around it? 
Any cool abilities that he used to have but didn't work out for one reason or another?
I'm sure some other team members have funny stories but bugs that stuck out to me in particular :
  • ulting someone who died soon there-after early on would just mess everything up.
  • ulting someone who Zhonyas'd early on would also mess things up
In general, on the first few iterations of the ult, there was a good chance something bad was going to happen if you ulted someone."

As for why we didn't get a traditional teaser for Kayn, Riot Grimtrigger commented:
Hello Kayn team! Thank you for doing an AMA for Kayn. 
In regards to champion releases, there doesn't seem to be much fanfare or build up anymore when it's come to the more recent champions (Kayn, Rakan/Xayah). I remember the huge Jhin teasers that were so intriguing. Are there any plans to continue these for future champions? Or was it more work than what was worth?
Hey SilentArchon - good question, been seeing a few threads about this topic over the past couple days. Just like there's no one way to skin a cat (gross), we've found there's no one way to release a champ (less gross). At the end of the day we want to highlight our new champs' power and personalities in the most engaging and exciting way possible. 
Sometimes that means a mood teaser like Jhin, sometimes that means a mysterious profile picture on Facebook like Xayah and Rakan, and sometimes it means just straight up dropping the edgiest half-man/half-darkin right into full view. Don't worry though, we're always looking to keep things fresh and not just fall into a standard formula, so I'm sure you can expect more "teasers" at some point in the future!"

When asked about Kayn inspirations, DanielZKlein commented:
Where does your inspiration to design Kayn came from? 
What made you guys decide that the lore would make Kayn a student, rather then a bystander who admired zeds power??
I can speak to the game design part of this! 
We were looking at underserved player segments, and we identified that there's a type of jungler we hadn't made a new champion for in a long time. Specifically this type is the aggressive melee jungler in the vain of KhaZix, Master Yi, Jarvan, Jax etc. Our most recent junglers before Kayn have been a pacifist (Ivern), an ADC (Kindred), and (at the time) a tanky knock-up provider (Rek'Sai). Our last assassin at the time was Ekko, so we thought a pretty straight-forward physical damage based assassin could be perfect. 
Looking at the archetypes of characters we'd recently released and had in the release pipeline at the time, we saw a lot of non-humans (Ivern, Kled, Aurelion). This means we knew half of the champs we'd release in 2016 would be non-humans. We therefore identified "human plus or human" as our ideal archetype; something recognizably human, maybe slightly corrupted / changed. This led us to thinking about the Darkin, and once someone (I believe it was RiotScruffy) pitched the idea of doing the Darkin transformation/corruption story in gameplay, we were hooked."

DanielZKlein continued with a story from before Kayn's development, and how his E fulfilled a dream of his:
"Thanks for your question, which I'm going to mostly ignore and use as an excuse to tell the story I want to tell! (Sorry) 
Walk through walls! Now here's a meme that learned to fly. 
Back in 2013, a Rioter named Fan Fang was working on a champion called Ao Shin (#NeverForget). Fan iterated frantically and came up with a cool, weird-ass ability or two every other week (including a global Lee Sin Q, a weather system, a wet / electrified buff structure; the man was nothing if not overflowing with ideas). One day he decided that dragons should be able to fly and thus made an ability he causally named "True Flight". 
This is basically Kayn's Shadow Step. My first reaction was "HOW?!? YOU MAD MAN! HOW DID YOU EVEN DO THIS!" Then I dug into his script and my jaw was on the floor. The idea was so brilliant: whenever the player tries to move somewhere, capture that movement command, suppress it, and instead issue a dash to that location. I couldn't believe it worked. Then we tested it and it was just the worst fucking thing ever. 
Dragon would just fly back and forth over walls while pelting you with spells. Fan I don't think ever found the correct balancing levers to make this okay, but I absolutely fell in love with the ability after playtesting it once. It felt so deliciously WRONG. You're not supposed to be able to do this, and yet here I am: fuck your walls. 
We took it off Ao Shin's kit way before we mothballed the whole champion (only to be resurrected a while later as Aurelion Sol; Comet of Legend was Luke's version of True Flight). I was distraught. True Flight was the shit! Couldn't we make it happen? 
While developing champions, a designer is often stuck for ideas and asks for brainstorms. These can be informal "sit on some bean bags and shout out any idea you have" affairs or "gather all designers you think would be good for this into a conference room and take meticulous notes" things. Now we're all professionals, but we're also IRL shitposters, like your good selves here on Reddit. When brainstorm sessions run out of steam, the memes come out. (One of my favourite early memes was when a designer tried to make a skill feel really impactful, someone would inevitably ask "okay but have you tried more damage?"). I started working in elaborate descriptions of an ability that somehow would make sense thematically for that character, and as I described it'd gradually become clear I was just talking about True Flight. I pitched it for literally every single character since Jinx or so. Eventually I'd abbreviate my shitposting by just saying "True Flight!" in a super excited voice. 
And yet, no one made True Flight! 
So on Kayn we had this mobility skill early on (codenamed "Swiggity Swooty") where he got MS toward enemy champions until his next auto attack (which did extra damage). 
It was a decent placeholder ability: you could either use it in combat for an extra burst or wait for them to use a skill to run away and then activate it for the MS. When it came time to give the two forms different versions of the spell, I went with something obvious for Darkin (something like more damage and some life steal?) but didn't have anything great for Assassin (I tried stealth during the approach, but man stealth is hard). Until suddenly I mouthed two words to myself: "true flight" 
The assassin form was so exciting and fun I reworked the spell to always be true flight in all forms and just gave Assassin something extra (more speed and slow immunity). 
Finally, the meme was dead, and Fan's legacy is in game: True Flight."

DanielZKlein provided some insight on transforming champions and how they implemented a transformation on Kayn:
Question for /u/DanielZKlein what are some issues with jayce style transforming champions and how did you solve it for Kayn. And can i ask for what was the design decision to give Kayn only one variation for his transformation for Q and E while ult and W have 2?
Sure! I think August nailed the problems with at-will transformation in his design article on Gnar: (scroll down the the header "Champion Insights") 
August solved this problem on Gnar by taking away most of your agency over when the character transformed. Sure you can (and should!) play around it both as Gnar and as the enemy, but you can't just press a button and instantly have access to the tanky, CC heavy big form. 
It's even easier on Kayn: the transformation happens once. It thus becomes purely a strategic concern, not a tactical one. Once you're transformed, that's it.
We knew that we had too much complexity on a version of the kit where every spell changed for every form. Looking to cut differences, I looked at two things: 
1) MECHANICALLY, which basic is the center point of each form?
2) THEMATICALLY, which of the two characters (Kayn / Rhaast) is most dominant in each form? 
2) was pretty obvious. Rhaast was dominant in the physical, primarily damaging spells that use the scythe. Kayn brings the Shadow Magic, so obviously walking through walls and jumping into enemies is what he brings to the table. 
1) also quickly began making sense. Darkin thrives on sustain and target agnostic repeated damage: that's Q, with its short cooldown and its % dmg in Darkin form. 
Assassin is all about how you get to the enemy backline to blow them up; clearly that's focused on the E, with its higher MS and slow immunity in Assassin form. W I'd argue is equally important for both: Assassin's W with its extra mobility and ranged slow further enables his approach, while Darkin's W with its knockup and AOE damage (which leads to sustain through his passive) serves purposes of survivability and team fight ability.
So we were lucky: 1) and 2) lined up. We gave Darkin the bonus on his centerpiece skill, which also thematically used the scythe he was housed in, while giving Assassin the bonus on the purest expression of Shadow Magic, which is also the centerpiece for his combat pattern. Love it when things line up like this?"

As for scrapped abilities on Kayn, a few Rioters chimed in:

Reav3 contributed:
"Well his R used to be a basic ability...that was fun times...."

DanielZKlein also provided:
"There was an ability were he left his body behind and sent out his astral form to fuck people up. If his astral body died, he snapped back into his real body and just kept trucking; but if the enemy found his real body wherever he parked it, they could kill him, and that would kill his astral form too. When that happened, I put debug text over his astral form that read "NOT LIKE THIS""

DanielZKlein also gave a look at an old kit from early in development:
"Here's a kit from the 8th of November 2016. Enjoy!"

As for how long Kayn was in development, DanielZKlein commented:
how long did it take to make Kayn?
We started in August last year!"


When asked about Kayn's lack of character inking, RiotTokkelossie informed us:
"Thanks for asking :) there are 2 reasons for this. 
The current implementation of inking is performance intensive for what it does so we're exploring the possibility of phasing inking out in favor of a better solution. We wanted to ship Kayn without inking to get player feedback and get a sense of how noticeable it's absence was. 
The reason we chose Kayn to test this is that the Assassin form's hair uses transparency, which is something that inking interferes with (which is another downside of the tech)
Please give us your feels and feedback! Myself and Riot JxE will be keeping an eye on the feedback and he will be using it to determine what the best solution is moving forward."

On Kayn's shadow assassin form and it's damage, DanielZKlein commented:
Why is it that his shadow assassin ult was hyped up to be massive damage but in comparison to the Darkin form it feels like it does nothing?
Was it hyped? The champion spotlight does say "massive damage", and I'm not super happy with this, but I also caught it too late. I would have had to ask for a re-record for that line and didn't think it was worth it. 
As for the actual damage it does, its base is pretty low for an ult (150/250/350), but the scaling is quite decent at 1.1 Bonus AD. 
But you're right: for an ult, that's pretty damn low damage. The reason why should be obvious. Each skill has a "power budget": how much total power it can have. SO MUCH of Umbral Trespass's power budget is in its 3.5s of untargetability and the fact you move with the enemy champion. 
If Kayn could just kill an enemy with his ult after having to engage with them afterwards, I'd argue the champion would be less interesting and less interactive. 
Generally what happens is you have to W/Q/AA a champion, then R them, wait for your Q cooldown to come back, and Q/AA them again to kill them. Once you're snowballing that may no longer be quite as true, but I'm still happy that so much of his damage comes from Q/Assassin Passive. The R is a moment of quiet before he truly strikes, and I'm sure once players learn to optimize it, it'll feel truly terrifying. 
Or not! Maybe I'm wrong and we need to buff the damage of the R! I'm just saying, I wouldn't want to buff the damage at the cost of the untargetability and stickiness."

On Kayn's W, DanielZKlein commented:
His W feels very unsatisfying to use early on until he chooses a form. What makes the ability feel so unwieldy?
It has to be the right amount of counterplay for a gank-enabling ability on someone who can pretty much appear behind you. That means it needs to be dodgeable unless you're pressured by the laner. Once you transform we can unlock the ability."

And on Kayn's ult, DanielZKlein replied:
Was the intention with Kayn's ult for it to mostly be a "dodge the skillshots and wait for cd's" type of ult instead of a damage dealing ultimate? Because atm his ult doesn't really deal any major dmg and is therefor pretty much only used for dodging skillshots(atleast in my games)
The untargetability and more importantly the stickiness is the main point of the ult. It has to have damage, but damage isn't the point."


Interlocutioner gave insight on the ties between Rhaast and Aatrox:
Is the Darkin inside the Scythe old as Aatrox (they are from the same time/age) or is he older/younger than his brother?
All of the Darkin are ancient enough that discussions of age are a bit pedantic; they've murdered, reaped chaos, and sowed despair for centuries, long enough for an actual number not to matter anymore. So, I don't know if anyone has bothered to figure this out officially. :/ 
But as far as head canon goes, I kind of think of Aatrox as the oldest. He was a bit of a leader back in the day, and Rhaast wants to come out from under his shadow. "This is my time!""

Interlocutioner continued:
What is Rhaast's "history" with Aatrox?
In the dark and mysterious past, Rhaast and Aatrox were wreaking havoc across Runeterra as part of the Darkin invasion. It was all going so well, until it didn't, and they were bound to their weapons. That's the cliffsnotes version of a story coming in the future! Don't make us spoil it!"

On Kayn's personality, nickstravaganza commented:
Why did you guys decide to go with cocky/confidence Kayn instead of maybe emo/nihilist Kayn?
Why did you guys decide to give Rhaast sustain instead of CC? This could free up a jungle sustain in his kit BESIDE his E, and draw a game-play parallel where Shadow Assassin is mobile and Darkin as anti-mobile.
Also does this mean canon-wise, Darkin can be killed?
Why did you guys decide to go with cocky/confidence Kayn instead of maybe emo/nihilist Kayn? 
Earlier on he was more dour and stoic. We tried to play on the tension between dutiful, intense pupil and demonic influence, but it left him feeling a bit bland. His lines were all about maintaining focus and composure and it was hard to get a read on his personality. 
Once we started thinking of him as a prodigy who's a little too confident, he started to feel like an active player in the conflict. It became a clash of big personalities rather than some one being acted upon."

On the duality of Kayn, nickstravaganza replied:
Hi guys, thanks for the AMA. 
I personally feel that this is the first real 'duality' champion to really feel like a duality champion. Does this give you any ideas for the future or food for thought as far as Quinn or Kindred are concerned?
Do you think it's the fact that you can definitively choose one or the other to control? I think in the case of Quinn and Kindred, Valor and Wolf always end up feeling like situational support rather than full partners. 
Now I don't think every duo character needs to be fully duo in its gameplay of course. A flavor of duality can be a fun thematic touch on its own, but it helps to make sure it feels right and not like a missed opportunity."

As for Kayn's links with Zed, Interlocutioner commented:
"I wish CoolRadius, Kayn's writer, was here to answer your questions! I'll do my best though. 
Link to Zed: Functionally, they're master and apprentice. But in truth, I think they have a deeper relationship than that. Zed sees himself in Kayn. An orphan with a gift and a drive that others can't control, no matter how much they try. No matter how much Zed tries, in Kayn's case, lol. I think Zed might also see something he could never be himself in Kayn. Kayn's link to the shadow is deep, for whatever reason. Maybe Zed hopes this is a sign that Kayn could do better than him? Ultimately succeed him? And he may have other, darker motives as well. 
I think Kayn's respect for Zed is just as deep. Unfortunately, he's in the process of convincing himself that the only way he can prove himself to his father figure is by becoming something more than Zed wants him to be. Stronger than Zed. Strong enough to defeat him, if necessary. 
They have a bond, but it will be tested. 
No opinion on Akali personally, I'd have to do some digging into the lore. I'd never seen the theory she was Order of Shadow before but damn, doesn't that make sense. :D"

On possible ties to Syndra, Interlocutioner responded:
There was some talk - way back around the time of her and Zed's release - that Syndra could be an ally of the Order of Shadow due to some common goals and motivations, and indeed she's listed as a friend of Zed's. Syndra's another character who is all about honing her resolve to control her tremendous power just like Kayn. What would she think of him and vice versa? Gimme something Riot, I'm desperate for more in-universe connections for her.
I think what Syndra and Zed have in common is that, from their point of view, they've been denied power that is rightfully theirs. Held back and stifled by meaningless rules. What Syndra and Kayn have in common is that this power is STILL GROWING. And their mastery of it has fed into their sense of self-worth, to the point that it's become their purpose. And now, they are in danger of using their power just for the sake of using it—not thinking about the consequences. 
Given all the above, I think Syndra would see Kayn as a good test for her power, and vice versa. They'd try to destroy each other in a desperate attempt to measure themselves, to feel in control. Not bothering to get to know each other first. 
Power craves challenge."

Group Questions

Group Questions 1 - Interlocutioner
  1. How do you pronounce his first name? Shieda, and is that his birth name, or his chosen one - and why does he go by Kayn?
  2. Why go with a Noxian turned Ionian sympathizer of sorts? What was the compelling thrust behind that? I kind of liked the idea that Noxus wasn't evil, they just respect strength of arm and general strong will, but children are certainly not strong or self sufficient, so that seemed a little odd, but I wonder why Noxian by birth, Ionian by choice?
  3. Is Rhaast a weapon or a demon? Like I know this is sort of a chicken:egg situation, but is Aatrox a winged demon with a big sword or a creepy sword that took over a winged dude?
  4. Who was the fucking amazing specimen who designed Soulhunter Kayn's Shadow Assassin model? Because it is beautiful and I fucking love the hat and color scheme.
  5. Dunno if you can say, but who are voice actors?They did a marvelous job. (Both Kayn and Rhaast, extra wow if it was one person).
Hey /u/Carryusdarius , CoolRadius is the once and future Kayn writer, I'm just stepping in because he's on his honeymoon with his ex-girlfriend. But I'm here to answer what I can!
  1. I don't think good and bad is so clear cut here, especially on a national scale. You could view the child soldier troupe that Kayn was a part of as the action of one general or ruler, rather than the whole of Noxus. Same with Singed's chemical weapons. Noxus is gigantic, diverse, and organized by warbands which operate somewhat independently. Who's to say someone like Swain didn't assassinate the man in charge of Kayn's unit, at some point? Beyond that, I think the bio points out, the child soldier troupe was created to take advantage of Ionian honor. The Ionians would refuse to fight them. It wasn't about the children's strength, it was about exploiting an Ionian "weakness."
  2. Rhaast is a Darkin, not a demon. Darkin are sentient weapons who corrupt and overwhelm their host (though once they were more). Aatrox, the Darkin Blade, is the Blade; the body moving around in-game is his host, though its been twisted and corrupted in his image. The same with Kayn/Rhaast when you kill too many melees.
  3. Voice actors must reveal themselves. For reasons. But you're lucky in this case! Or, half lucky at least."

Group Questions 2 - DanielZKlein
Was there ever an iteration where Kayn was female? 
Why Mana as opposed to Energy (like Zed and the rest of the shadow ninjas)?
EDIT: Apparently I forgot there WERE femme-Kayn concepts! I'm an old man. Be that as it may, I already saw some super cool gender-bent fan art and really hope to see women cosplay Kayn! 
Mana serves a lot of important functions such as long-term pacing, itemization options (not in Kayn's case, but in general), and an overall understandable "weak" state for the enemy (Kayn's out of mana! Pounce!). Whenever you design a kit without mana, I think the onus is on you to justify why you WOULDN'T use mana rather than the other way around. If you look at my design history you'll see that every champion I worked on had mana. This isn't for lack of trying other things, but because I always ran into trouble when I didn't use mana. Mana is a good system with a lot of room for specific tuning (through max mana, mana regen, and growth over level of those stats)."

Ask Riot: Sexy Champ and Butcher's Bridge 

This week's Ask Riot may look familiar; This week covers the most asked questions on topics like a League movie, voice chat, sexy champions, and more:
"Ask Riot receives several thousand submissions per week — many of which have been answered in previous editions. This week, let’s take a look at some of the most-asked questions (and the answers that go with them). 
Will you ever make a League of Legends movie? Or maybe long cinematic episodes?

We dream of films set in League’s universe and seeing our favorite champions come to life in movie theaters, but the track record on video game movies is a humbling lesson. For the most part, they aren’t great. And while the geek in us would love to rush into moviemaking, it’s definitely not something we should rush into. 
That’s not to say that we aren’t exploring. Cinematic storytelling just requires different muscles than storytelling for games, so we’re working on building those muscles and learning as we go. We have a ton of talented folks actively experimenting with different storytelling formats, and it’s definitely a hope that someday we’ll see the fruits of that experimentation on the big screen (or the small screen, or wherever it makes the most sense). We’re also looking at ways to better share all of the stories we’ve already told and will continue to tell, like with the newly-launched Universe. 
What’s most important to us is that any extension of League into other mediums feels authentic to the source and respectful of the passion we all share for the game and its universe. It’s a big challenge, but we think we can get there if we invest the time in learning how to do it right. 
Co-Founder, Riot Games  
If you value competitive team play so much, why are you against voice chat? It would really make games more coordinated.

In the past, our stance on voice comms emphasized the increased potential for negative behavior. We’ve since reconsidered our philosophy around voice chat and while there are some challenges we want to overcome (keeping it an opt-in experience, for example), we want to do it. 
We believe League as a team sport should reward coordination, and that voice chat is a valuable tool for getting teams (and strangers) aligned. We’ll probably begin deeper investigations once the League Client update is in a stable release so we don’t have to build the feature twice, but hopefully this is a clear update on our philosophy and where we stand. We’ll also give you further updates when the time comes. 
Senior Producer 
When will you make more sexy girl champions?

I talked about this recently on Reddit, so here’s a quick copy-paste: 
In 2013 we made a conscious effort to shift away from the “hourglass girls” we had been making for years. We just had so many women in our game that could easily be described by, “Syndra, but in a different cosplay.” We needed more variety. There are a lot of different ways to make compelling female characters that don’t revolve around raw sex appeal. IMO having a large variety of female and male characters is really good for us. Lets us hit a ton of different niches which is important with a roster as big as ours. 
That said, it’s been a loooooong time (over 3 years) since we’ve made a new first order appealing female character (like of Lux, Ahri, or Jinx). I think it’s important we make another, not because “OMG SEX APPEAL,” but because “I feel attractive” is a compelling character fantasy that a lot of players (men and women) really attach to. The key is the character’s looks HAVE TO MAKE SENSE. Visuals should support the overall theme of a character, not be there in spite of it. The way Caitlyn looks makes no sense for a prim and proper sheriff. The way Ahri looks makes a ton of sense for a succubus. 
It is also crucial to recognize that even within the “attractive character” space, there is huge potential variety in the ways that attractiveness can express itself (there’s a reason I used Lux, Ahri, and Jinx in the above example). As long as the character’s visuals serve and resonate with the its thematic we shouldn’t be afraid of going the “sexy” route. League’s got room for all kinds. 
Champion Designer  
Would you ever create a game mode based on an old League patch? Like Season Two or old Summoner’s Rift, with the champs and items set up the way they were then?

We looked at doing this recently for a series of internal playtests, because we wanted to experience first-hand whether things like pacing or counterplay felt very different a few years ago. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to easily get the older builds running because so much of the game content and code has changed. 
We can’t just pull in old data and expect the current game engine to play nice with it all. We could almost certainly make it work if we had a bunch of smart engineers working to make it happen, but then those engineers would not be working on other features that might be more valuable to you guys in the long run. Likewise, we could have designers create versions of existing champs that tried to mimic the old data (Season Two abilities, items, tuning, etc.) but that’s a mountain of work for something that might only be fun for a few games or so. In other words, the opportunity cost of that work is probably pretty expensive. 
So philosophically, we aren’t opposed to playing an older version of LoL, and it might be fun for a short period of time (because we might very well discover that the reasons we made all of the Season Three, Four, and Five changes still exist), but there is a good chance it’s not worth the development effort that it would take. 
Design Director, League of Legends  
Are you guys ever going to bring back the Butcher’s Bridge ARAM map?

This one is a bit more complex than it seems at first glance. It might look like just an asset swap for the art (take one thing out, drop another thing in), but there’s actually some underlying level scripts, foundation work, etc. that was forked from regular ARAM. This means that Butcher’s Bridge is a unique beast from the code’s point-of-view, even if it looks the same from a player point-of-view. 
Bringing it to parity with today’s ARAM (allowing it to be switched on) would require a non-trivial amount of work, and while we’d love to do that, we have to weigh it against the other stuff we’re currently working on, like new game modes and Practice Tool. This isn’t to say Butcher’s Bridge will never return, just that we’re currently more focused on other development priorities. 

Lead Designer, Rotating Game Modes 
Why are refunds capped at three per account? Would you ever raise the limit?

League of Legends content is intended to be permanent. However we want players to feel good about the content they purchase, so we developed the refund feature to give every player a solution for those rare situations where they purchase content and quickly regret it, and are sure that they will never want to use that content in the future. Many players have never used their refunds, while others have used one, two, or three of them over time. 
We established a limit of three refunds and still believe that is the right number (this gives players leeway to refund purchases but also protects the overall system from abuse). We’ve explored granting more refunds at times, but discovered that the majority of players would prefer free content instead, so each year we have steadily increased the amount of content players receive just for playing the game. Refunds and free content both come at considerable cost to Riot, so we have to carefully focus on which to prioritize to deliver value to players and protect our ability to operate as a business. 
That said, while we have no current plans to issue more refund tokens in 2017, it is something we will continue to explore in the future as more players hit the three refund cap. 

eCommerce Director 
Sometimes it feels like Riot has no idea how to balance League. Why don’t you just hire Challenger/Pro players to help judge the impact of changes? 
Getting advice from players who are extremely good at playing League of Legends is really valuable when it comes to working on the game. We’ve got a number of Masters, Challenger or ex-Pro players at Riot who are constantly involved in the balance and testing process as a result. However, there are a lot of other skills that are also really important in addition to being good at LoL (in many cases more important), so our game designers are spread across a range of different divisions. 
We’ll take a look at a team-by-team breakdown below for the teams that work on balance-impacting content. Before that, though, it’d be good to do a quick runthrough of some of the skills we look for. This isn’t a completely comprehensive list (I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things), but hopefully captures the core concepts: 
Analytical ability and problem-solving 
  • Being able to assess a situation or element, break down what’s created it, propose different approaches that could be taken and their likely effects, etc.
Creativity and thematic ability 
  • Understanding what themes resonate with players and fit the LoL IP. Finding new ways to put a spin on broad archetypes. Recognizing the right matches for thematics and particular gameplay mechanics that are intuitive rather than forced 
Useability/accessibility and feel 
  • Making player interactions with the game (using an ability, navigating the shop, natural 
Vision building 
  • Ability to get others bought on and excited about an approach
  • Helping others grow, learn new skills 
Written and verbal communication 
  • Concise, able to generate excitement, clear, right method for the circumstances and so on
  • Ability to communicate well with other disciplines (this one is particularly important; e.g. forging strong relationships between art and game design). 
  • Managing others (performance, etc.) professionally 
Technical skills 
  • Scripting abilities, statistical analysis, writing code, etc. 
Organizational skills and reliability 
  • Being able to juggle multiple projects, deliver work on time, solve resourcing conflicts, etc.
So, looking at the individual teams then: 
  • The team responsible for quick changes to the game. Tends to be focused primarily on game health and balance
  • Values understanding of the current and past states of the game very highly
  • In ranked: Gold through to Diamond, average high Plat/low Diamond 
  • Systems focuses primarily on long-term work, working on the foundational rules that LoL runs by. Stuff like map layout, how runes/masteries work, how XP/gold are generated, etc.
  • Systems works in more conceptual/abstract spaces on average than the other teams. Design principles and theoretical analysis are especially important here
  • Bronze up to Gold 
  • A team whose primarily responsibility is to test upcoming changes throughout the day and offer feedback and analysis on them
  • This is where ability to play at a really high level is particularly important in order to validate in-game how things will play out in really high level play.
  • Mid-Diamond upwards, with some former Pro players (LCS). Some players who move in and out of Challenger occasionally 
  • Champion team makes new champions.
  • Thematic understanding, feel/useability tend to be particularly important here, along with game health understanding (strengths/weaknesses of kits in particular).
  • Pretty even spread from Silver up to Diamond 
  • Updates old champions, whether full VGUs, like Warwick recently, or class updates like the assassins
  • Similar set of skills to Champion, though with a heavier focus on game health
  • Silver up to Diamond, clustering in Plat 
Hope that’s been informative and offers some useful context on the range of different skills we look for and how the different teams compare. People who are awesome at everything are certainly ideal, realistically though there’s always some degree of tradeoff of different skills for any given role we’re looking to fill. 
Lead Gameplay Designer

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. 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."

Quick Hits

1) Riot Games Support put out a new support article on links for free RP, with an interesting video from RHRealism and CrazyBoris illustrating their point:

2) After the announcement of the Singed hotfixes so soon after the deployment of Patch 7.14, Riot August commented on his thoughts and experiences while working on the balance team:
"I can't really speak to Singed, it's been a long time since I was on live team, but I have two general balance thoughts for you based on my personal experiences from a year ago: 
Thought 1: Contrary to popular belief, perception wise it's actually harder for us to nerf unpopular champions. One of the issues we always have to deal with is that many players don't perceive that unpopular characters are OP because no one plays them. Nerfs just feel like kicks in the shins, even if the character is broken. Nerf Lee, everyone is like, "yeah that makes sense." Nerf Aurelion Sol or Skarner and you suddenly get a number of people saying, "WTF but no one even plays him, why nerf?!?!" 
Many players feel like play rate = strength. But play rate actually looks closer to something like: strength + how fun the kit is + how resonant the character is. 
Where you run into problems nerfing popular champs is when you hit them in way that feels like it destroys what people love about them. We didn't cancel the massive PBE Lee Sin changes we were testing a few years ago because we were afraid to nerf Lee Sin, we canceled them because player feedback told us we were altering what they loved about the character. 
Thought 2: Winrate isn't the only way to evaluate a character and sometimes nerfing a character purely based on "52%+ winrate" results in a worse off character. Based on the state of the meta, some champions should just win more. It's possible to win a lot without being OP. 
Examples: Amumu has historically been a 52%+ winrate character. That makes a lot of sense when you look at how the general flow of most League games go. Enemies group up in a ball because most players like teamfighting and then Amumu flash ults and wins the game. To me, Amumu is a character who's probably WEAK if he's winning less than 52% of his games because most games of League are about teamfights, and that's where his kit excels. I'd expect his winrate to drop if the meta shifted to things like split pushing or heavy jungle invades (which is what his kit is weak against). 
Example 2: Players are always blasting us for "nerfing the champ then nerfing the items." This is the idea that some characters are OP because of something broken in the meta that will eventually need to be changed. In this case it's bad to nerf the champion if the meta is the real problem because when we fix the meta the champion gets left behind. We've seen this a lot with Dr. Mundo. In season 3 or 4 we released a new set of masteries that had OP health regen values. Mundo skyrocketed to the top of the power charts and players were clambering for nerfs. We didn't massively nerf him though because we knew it was the masteries that were off and Mundo just happened to be a character who synergized with them. Once the masteries were nerfed he became balanced again."


Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!
  • As mentioned in 7.14 notesDark Star: Singularity returns to the RGMQ 7/14/17 12:00 PT to 7/18/17 04:00 PT and 7/21/17 11:00 PT to 7/25/17 04:00 PT.

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