Red Post Collection: August Bundles, Ornn Champion Insights, Ornn AMA, Runes Corner & more

Posted on at 7:51 PM by Aznbeat
[Updated: Added context on balance changes this cycle from Riot Axes into Quick Hits]

Tonight's red post collection includes a look at the August Bundles, a champion insights article on Ornn, a new Runes Corner, an Ask Riot on Riven balance, Runeterran languages, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Mid-Patch Updates

A mid-patch update went out on 8/24 to fix an Ornn bug:
8/24/2017 Bugfix 
  • BUGFIX Mitigated a lag issue caused by Ornn's mini-shop UI updating after he purchased an item outside his base. Until 7.18, the UI will only show basic items and won't update as Ornn makes purchases.
  • BONUS BUGFIX This also solves an issue where the mini-shop UI told Ornn to buy things way too expensive for him to afford."

It's time for August Bundles

As August comes to a close, the August bundles are now available through 8/31:
"Grab these limited-time bundles now through 8/31/17 at 23:59 PT. 
??? Spam Bundle - 50% off at 2399 RP (4592 RP if you need the champions) 
Skins included:
  • PROJECT: Zed
  • Death Blossom Kha’Zix
  • Academy Ekko
  • Safecracker Evelynn
  • Cottontail Fizz 
Champions included: 
Catch Me If You Can Bundle - 50% off at 2396 RP (3900 RP if you need the champions) 
Skins included: 
  • Program Soraka
  • Order of the Lotus Karma
  • Groovy Zilean
  • Frost Queen Janna
  • Guqin Sona 
Champions included: 
The Extremely Large Bundle - 50% off at 2399 RP (4155 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included:
  • Meowkai
  • Prehistoric Cho’Gath
  • Dreadknight Nasus
  • Ironside Malphite
  • Worldbreaker Hecarim  
Champions included:
Just Wait, I Scale Bundle - 50% off at 2511 RP (4403 RP if you need the champions)
Skins included: 
  • Battlecast Kog’Maw
  • Mafia Jinx
  • Arclight Vayne
  • Warden Sivir
  • Gangster Twitch 
Champions included: 

Ornn Champion Insights

With the release of Ornn in patch 7.17, his champion insights article is now on the Nexus. Continue reading to learn about his ideation and creation:
"Ornn’s like the endearing, grumpy grandpa you can’t help but hug even though you know it’s a terrible idea. Underneath that soft and fluffy exterior is a grizzled steelworker who doesn’t have the time or patience for your pleasantries. He’s a demigod who’s seen some shit, and all he wants now is to craft hammers and other practical things in the peaceful solitude of his volcano. 
Oh, and probably eat spiced cherries and drink ale—two things he certainly likes more than you. 
Most of what is known about Ornn comes from ancient Freljordian stories passed down across generations. Much has been forgotten, but surviving tales tell of a demigod who was born ready to tackle the world. Ornn never wanted to fight people, but he sure had it out for trees and icebergs and other natural landscapes. Nothing stood a chance against the young demigod’s barrage, until Ornn punched a mountain, and it didn’t move. 
It was on. 
Invigorated by the challenge, Ornn rammed his head into the mountain until it eventually yielded. Legend says all of the mountains and valleys of the Freljord were created during this kerfuffle. When Ornn later thanked the land for their good-natured throwdown, the mountainside opened up to expose its lava-y heart. The land had deemed Ornn worthy of its secrets and bestowed within him the power of fire. What he saw in the flames was a powerful catalyst of change, much like himself. 
Blessed with the power of fire and armed with his own flare for creation (and destruction), Ornn became the most legendary blacksmith in Runeterra. And as his prestige grew, so did the number of his followers. The most dedicated were a group of metalworkers—known as the Hearthblood—who settled at the foot of his mountain. Although Ornn never showed it, he respected the Hearthblood because they worked silently and diligently to forge the best tools and weapons possible. 
Unfortunately, the Hearthblood’s fate was not a happy one. 
When Ornn’s brother Volibear demanded Ornn forge weapons for Voli’s own brutish followers, Ornn refused. “Ornn has a much more humanistic approach for how gods should interact with people,” says narrative writer Matthew “FauxSchizzle” Dunn, “and he didn’t want to be a part of Volibear’s warmongering.” But Volibear wasn’t really the kind of demigod to take no for an answer. 
So all hell broke loose. For eight days, lightning streaked across the sky and lava spewed from the once-quiet volcano. The two brothers fought with a fury forged through a lifetime of sibling rivalry. When the smoke cleared, Ornn’s followers at the base of his mountain were no more than charred bodies in a smoldering village, destroyed in a battle meant for the demigods. 
Nobody has seen Ornn since. Some Freljordians believe he died at Volibear’s paw. Others say he still lives under the volcano, either maintaining the molten fires of the earth or crafting a super weapon. But really, Ornn chose hidden isolation in an attempt to preserve the lives of mortals. He sees how gods interfere with the destinies of humans, and he knows now that this interference can turn deadly. “Most gods’ lifeblood is their followers,” says art lead Chris “Skeeziks” Campbell, “but this guy is like, ‘Please, do not follow me.’” 
Beneath Ornn’s rugged persona, he’s actually a giant teddy bear who really cares…from a safe distance. 
Ornn may be rough around the edges, but he’s not a bad demiguy—his face needed to look gruff without seeming evil.
It can be difficult to identify a champion in their early concept art, since most champs go through a ton of iterations during development. But Ornn’s narrative and artistic direction after ideation were actually pretty close to the final result. About a month or two in, the team knew they wanted to create a powerful, animalistic demigod from the Freljord who makes shit and is connected to volcanoes. It’s specific, but it’s also the reason you can recognize Ornn in most of his early concept art. 
Perhaps the most heated element of Ornn’s design was whether he should have tusks or horns. In the beginning, Ornn had walrus-like tusks, which was fitting—walruses feel powerful and aggressive without being evil. But with walrus tusks, it looked like Ornn might be more of an ocean dude than a mountain one. Wooly mammoths lived near mountains, but their oversized, curved tusks would get in the way of Ornn freely swinging his hammer… and Ornn’s a man of practicality. 
Ram horns started to really seem like the way to go. For one, rams live on mountains, and Ornn lives in a mountain (close enough). Rams like to slam their head into things, and blacksmiths like to slam their hammers into things. Plus, Ornn now had an in-game ability inspired by the ram concept art, where he’d charge at enemies and smash them into terrain. In a strange way, Ornn’s ram horns became the hammer and the wall became the anvil… and the champion trapped in between became the malleable metal. 
Since Ornn is League’s first blacksmith champion, there were a lot of ways to approach his gameplay design. In other games, blacksmiths are often NPCs who only exist to supply the main character on their journey. Ornn was never intended to be a part of the supporting cast, in either meaning of the word. “We didn’t want to make a champion who focused on making weapons that buffed their allies,” says game designer Blake “Squad5” Smith. “Ornn was meant to be a powerful vanguard who could hold his own.”
Giving Ornn the power to craft weapons—aka items—anywhere on the map fulfilled the blacksmith fantasy and the top lane fantasy, where you can sit on an island while the rest of the map fiestas. It was thematic, new to League, and strategically interesting: What does it mean if one champion can shop without going back to base? 
The biggest concern for gameplay was snowballing, where Ornn crushes his lane opponent and can spend his extra cash without ever having to leave the lane. 
If Ornn were a skirmisher like Riven or Fiora, this passive would never work. They’d faceroll their lane opponent way too hard. “We felt comfortable going this route because if Ornn gets ahead, he’s more likely to just become unkillable than kill you on repeat,” Squad5 says. “He might push you out of lane, but I think that should probably happen anyways if a champion gets ahead.” 
Since all new champions need more than one passive (/s), Ornn is also able to unlock a small collection of statistically-superior item upgrades for his team. This means his team’s top-end gold value will always be higher than the enemy team’s, which matters a little early on, but a whole lot more in those intense games that push the hour-long mark. “I tried to make the items as cool as possible without having to sacrifice too much power from the rest of his kit,” Squad5 says. It helps that Ornn doesn’t just give away passive stats—he doesn’t believe in freebies, so you still gotta work to get the goods. 
The most primal and sublime element of Ornn’s power is his connection to volcanoes, so for a while, Ornn’s ultimate was literally a volcano he raised from the earth. He could channel power into it, causing it to randomly spew lava and boulders everywhere. This idea led to a different ult where Ornn basically created a reverse Nami wave of lava. “I’m not gonna lie, a lava wave was super lame and totally my idea,” says Squad5, “but then the team was like, ‘What else could that be? An anvil? Something different?’” 
Skeeziks took the lava idea and pushed it to its limits, drawing a massive, red-hot molten ram that Ornn could summon from nearly a screen away. Early feedback was pure hype. When Squad5 added the mechanic where Ornn could smash heads with the ram to redirect it, the team knew this was it. “We were making an ultimate ability for a demigod, so it needed to feel epic as hell,” Skeeziks says, “something that would echo through the stories of the Freljord for a thousand years.” 
If he could, Ornn would probably show his approval in the only way he knows how: 
“This is not wholly terrible. My hammer is better.”"

Ornn AMA on Reddit

Speaking of Ornn, the team who created him hosted an AMA , answering questions on design, lore, gameplay, and more:
"THE AMA HAS OFFICIALLY ENDED (as of 1:00pm PST). As always, a few Rioters will stick around as time allows. Thanks, everyone! 
Yo, it's your old buddy League of Legends again. Let's do an AMA about Ornn. When? Right here, from 11:00am PST to 1:00pm PST. 
Below is a list of Rioters who worked on Ornn. They're here today! Ask 'em stuff. 

Once again, community user Stukov has gathered all the most interesting answers in a document for easy reading:

[Ornn AMA]

Runes Corner: Summoner Specialist and Hextech Freezeray

This week's Runes Corner is now out, covering two new keystones, Summoner Specialist and Hextech Freezeray:
"Hey all! Stashu here, and welcome to another Runes Corner. I have a double feature of keystones for you this week, and from our most unique path: Inspiration. Be warned, this reveal is not for the faint of heart, these are some spicy keystones and I cannot be more excited to finally be able to talk about them. 
The past couple reveals have gone deep into background and theory to give you guys a bit of insight into our iterative design process and explain how and why we’ve landed on certain runes. Now that we’ve laid the groundwork there, I’m going to give these runes a little more room to speak for themselves; and fortunately this duo has loud, beautiful voices. [W.I.P. note, names are temp and mechanics are subject to change as we continue playtesting. Temp icons borrowed from champion kits and beaten with my fumbling photoshop skills.] 
So! Without further ado, I present Inspiration Keystone #1 
Summoner Specialist: 
You start with 1 Summoner Shard and gain an additional Summoner Shard each time you cast a Summoner Spell.
Swap a Summoner Spell to a different one by exchanging 3 Summoner Shards at the shop. Additionally, gain 15% Summoner Spell cooldown reduction.
(You cannot have two of the same Summoner Spells) 
That’s right, you can now change summoner spells during the game. Ever wanted to take ignite as a jungler without giving up flash? How about taking exhaust/ignite to win lane, knowing you’ll need teleport later? Well, this one’s for you. 
I doubt we’ve even got past the tip of the iceberg in our explorations of how to use this thing, so I can’t wait to see what ya’ll can do with it. 
Worth noting, there are still lots of questions to answer here, like what cooldown is the swapped-to spell on? (Currently it inherits the remaining cooldown of the swapped spell.) How exactly does this interact with smite? Is the shop the right place for this? Is this sufficient power to compete with other keystones, or does it need other bonuses attached to casting summoner spells? Etc. But we’re confident that we can answer these in the coming weeks and deliver something new, crazy, and, importantly, balanceable. 
Here’s a quick gif of how our prototyped version of this works (expect better UI on launch. Also pretend it has a WIP stamp on it):

Got it? Cool. Let’s jump right to the next one, Keystone #2, 
Hextech Freezeray:
Your first attack on a champion slows them for 1.5 seconds (8-3 second per-unit cooldown). 

  • Ranged attacks slow by 25% - 40%
  • Melee attacks slow by 35% - 50% 
Additionally, your active item slows create an icy zone around their target for 5 seconds, slowing all units inside by 70%. 
Alright, alright, so this one’s a little more tame than swapping summoner spells, that’s fair. But even so, this is the first time we’ve ever offered this sort of power in the pre-game, and that’s pretty big. Now, every champion has the choice to opt out of damage or durability to add this new tool to their arsenal; and with the new power level of other keystones, that’s a LOT of damage/durability lost in this opportunity cost. Can you make that tradeoff worth it by clever use of the Freezeray, adding new synergies to your favorite kits and combos? 
And then there’s the active item slow mod. The on-hit-slow, if tuned high enough, may be enough for a rune to stand on it’s own in terms of power, but it’s a very isolated effect with few relations/hooks into other game systems, leaving it a little… uninspired. So there’s thematically a need for something else here, but it also serves a valuable gameplay need, allowing us to distribute the power of this rune between its reliable slow and its delayed/unreliable active item modification. Also, active item slows are well distributed between classes, offering decent options to marksmen, tanks, mages, and supports. The exact effect (slow zone, for now) is still under heavy iteration and might not stick, but we’re very confident in some form of ‘modifies active item slows.’ 
Here’s Teemo using the passive as well as the active with both Bilgewater Cutlass and Hextech-GLP. Note that AoE slow actives create slightly smaller zones.
And that concludes this reveal, thanks for reading! Please join us in the comments for Q&A, and while you’re there, we’d love to hear what you all would like out of a third Inspiration keystone -- now that you have a feel for what we’re working on in Inspiration, what creative and out-there tools have you always wanted but never had a place for? Keep in mind that inspiration does not offer direct damage or tankiness, or at least without extreme tradeoffs. We’re still trying out a whole bunch of ideas there, so now’s your chance to have your voice heard! I’m very excited to hear what you come up with, so, hope to see you in the comments! 
You can check the previous Runes Corner posts here:

Riot Stashu commented on a new item in the in game store as seen in on of the GIFs in the article:
I see that there is an entirely new alchemy tab in the store in that Bard gif. Are there going to be other masteries besides summoner specialist that utilize this tab?
Unlikely! Trying to reduce complexity and keep the 'rules breaking' component of each rune that does it special for that rune, but that said, it's always a possibility and if it makes the most sense to do, then we'll do it."

Meddler also provided context:
"Tiny bit more context - we were trying an Alchemy tab for a previous keystone. That didn't work out, we ended up reusing the UI from it as a way to prototype Summoner Specialist though."

When asked what the Inspiration path was all about, Riot Stashu commented:
Hey Stash these are some super dope Runes, can I ask how you feel these fit into the Inspiration path and what that path is all about. And on a side note, hear me out, you guys should rap about Runes Corner Thoughts?
Here's some notes that we use to describe the purpose of the Path amongst ourselves: 
Gameplay: Users seek indirect power through creative tools at the expense of direct damage 
Audience: Intended to be player type/preference bound rather than function/class bound. This player type is interested in indirect power because it lets them express mastery in novel/unique ways. 
Note: Nothing in here directly deals damage or grants you damage dealing power. There may be indirect contributions to DPS, like CDR, but nothing direct."

When asked about a rune that gives more control wards, Riot Stashu commented:
did you discuss adding a rune that allows you to store control wards in your boots?Maybe as a alternative to zombie wards or the activateable boots (sorry i forgot how you called it).I think it wouldnt be too weak or too strong compared to other runes of that category and would be a nice possibility to allow players to store control wards in later stages of the game, instead of not being able to get a component.Other possibilities i would like to see are boots you can activate just like yumuus that grant you a greater amount of movement speed for a little duration, maybe double movement speed for 1 s with a 45 s cooldown.A alternative for the flash rune could for example be a ghost rune that allows you to have kayns e-effect without the heal component on a separate 4-minute cooldown if ghost is currently on cooldown. I would really apprechiate to hear your thoughts on my ideas.Sry for my bad english by the way
The problem you're trying to solve here is a real one. Unfortunately, I don't think a rune is the best place to solve it. Ward slot restriction is a systemic pain that should be solved globally for all champions, rather than on an opt-in basis through a rune."

Riot Stashu responded to a comment on disliking changes:
Am I the only person that doesn't like this change at all?
Definitely not! Every change we've ever made to the game has met with at least some negative reception, even internally. But please believe me when I say we really, really don't want to intentionally make things that you dislike, we sincerely want you to enjoy the game that we put tons of hard work into. However, there will always be things about League that can be improved, and the answer should not be "don't change that, some people will dislike it!" to everything because then nothing would ever get done. This is not to marginalize you and others who dislike these changes -- I am really, really sorry that you don't like these changes. We strongly believe that Runes Reforged is moving League towards a better future in the long term, and are eagerly awaiting preseason to see how we did. Truthfully, we've been wrong about such things before (Dynamic Queue), and we will do our best to recognize those situations and revert if its clear we went astray."

Ask Riot: Pro Patches and Riven Balance 

This week's Ask Riot is now on the Nexus, covering Riven balance, creating the different languages of Runeterra, and why pro players play a patch behind:
Let’s talk pro play, Riven, and Runeterra’s languages.

We’ve seen a lot of questions answered about Yasuo, but what about Riven? Does the balance team feel like she’s overpowered?

We don’t think Riven is overpowered, though she has a lot of features that can make her feel hard to deal with. 
Riven is a champion with high execution requirements. She has a steep mastery curve (in the top 15% of champions), but is heavily one-tricked, which leads to both inflated win rate numbers and distorts the winrate curve pretty heavily (when a Riven player has to play something else because of bans or an opponent picking their champion, they are more likely to lose than the average player, which depresses their MMR). 
Additionally, her kit, at a structural level, has a lot of tools that help her succeed — in particular having a lot of mobility to both pick fights and escape. This, coupled with defensive capabilities that scale with offense (her E and lifesteal through Death’s Dance), leads to her high snowball potential and ability to capitalize on the scrappy nature of Solo Queue. 
All this stuff combined can lead to Riven feeling “unstoppable” when she’s succeeding. However, players aren’t necessarily translating the tools she has to succeed in tactical engagements into actual game wins at an unusual rate. 
Associate Game Designer, Live Gameplay

How do you create the different languages of Runeterra?

This actually came up really recently on ‘The Path to Hearth-Home’ folk song teaser for new champ Ornn. The lyrics were originally in English (as they usually would be for a Riot-produced song track) but we get a lot of feedback from players around the world that this feels like it favors NA over all other regions… so we decided to try something different, and have them sung in ancient Freljordian instead! 
If we assume the people of the Freljord now speak some modern Runeterran language, this had to feel like a much older root of it, probably one that’s not been widely spoken for centuries or longer (like Latin, Old English or Old Aramaic in the real world). 
Writer Matt Dunn and composer Kole Hicks worked on getting the tone of the song just right, with lots of imagery that ties into Ornn’s lore. We then sat down and discussed what kind of sound we wanted from the language — like when we name champions too, I guess? The word Freljord roughly translates as “frozen ground” in some Nordic dialects, so that was an obvious starting point. We worked in speech patterns and vowel sounds from Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, even a bit of German. It’s turned out nothing really like any of those, and yet all of them at the same time. 
Language and lore are a major part of what gives the champions and Runeterra a unique style and feel. It’s a great shorthand way of tying new lore to things we already recognise, and I’d love to explore this a lot more with the writers in future. 
The responses I’ve seen from players so far has been amazing! There are even a few cover versions already, with some very talented singers trying it in their own languages — yes, including English! 
Senior Narrative Editor, Worldbuilding and League

Why do pros play on an earlier patch instead of the most current one?

In a single patch, one champion might go from not having seen play in multiple splits to an unstoppable killing machine that is contested every single game (looking at a certain Terror of the Void…). Even changes that are very small could flip the meta upside down. To account for this we use a previous patch in competitive to give pros more time to adapt to meta changes. 
The extra week after the patch goes live gives pro teams the opportunity to evaluate the patch and adapt their strategies and playstyles accordingly before they have to compete. The current patch cadence provides teams with about 10 days to practice on a live patch before having to play a professional game on it. 
In the situations where something is significantly over-tuned or bugged, waiting a week gives us the chance to hotfix these outliers before they can have a negative impact on the league. 
Making pros play on the live patch would mean they would have to invest a significant amount of time into the PBE to prepare for these changes. We want pros to be rewarded for their preparation, and making them practice with some features in the PBE that might not even make it onto live feels bad (man). 
Pros have enough to worry about outside of queue practice (scrims, strategy, VOD review, etc.), so giving them some extra time to prepare for the latest patch hopefully makes staying competitive for them a bit more manageable. 
Senior Manager, League Operations, Esports

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 Time Wizard mentioned on Twitter the Eternum Cassiopeia splash will be updated in an upcoming PBE update:
"On PBE Soon: Eternum Cassiopeia Splash Update | Polished the face and made it more faithful to the in-game model!"
Old Splash

New Splash

2) Riot Supercakes commented on the amount of 1350 skins seen these days and mentioned an AMA on it was coming:
"Hi there! I spoke briefly in the State of Skins - and want to reiterate, that while the quantity of higher quality (and by extension, higher priced) skins may have gone up, our focus in the past few years has been on making skins that are most successful at capturing the rich alt-fantasy that we’re going after. When we kick off a skin, we’re thinking, “What’s the most awesome thing we can make for players.” That feels significantly better than, “Hey, let’s make something less awesome so we can charge 750RP for it.” This has lead us to invest our time in higher-tier skins. But at the same time we’re constantly looking for ways to get you the skins you want at a price that’s right for you with features and promotions like Crafting, Your Shop, and our recurring sales cadence. 
We’re going to be sharing more information on this in the near future and hosting an AMA - so keep an eye out for this soon."

3) Riot Scathlocke on why we don't see big bundles of Champion lore anymore these days:
"Updating lore in bundles means that we have to find links and themes, and everything gets packaged together. This actually makes it a much more complicated process, which engages our writers, editors and artists for a long time. 
Doing standalone updates more often would be my preference. A champion here, another champion there. Ironically, we can get Rioters assigned more easily if we don't do campaigns with a single release window for multiple pieces of content."

4) Riot Axes with context on balance changes this cycle:
"We think the Fiora nerfs did harm. If it was correct to nerf her at all, it should've been a simple damage or base stats tweak. Given the dramatic meta shift immediately after the nerf, and given we were shipping Bramble Vest, it probably wasn't correct to even do that much. This only isn't a total revert because we think we made some small game design gains on not giving the movement speed up front on the R - if this doesn't pan out, we'll likely just do the revert of the nerfs. 
The Ivern nerf was made when his itemization looked quite different. He's doing approximately the kinds of things we expect and he could use a little power, so a tap up here is appropriate. Trying to keep it relatively small, though. 
Jarvan isn't powerful for just one thing - it's how much damage while how tanky. We don't want to see his kill threat go down, particularly not while the meta's still jungle tanks, so we're tapping down the other side of the equation instead. This should still be a net buff as long as he's putting gold into defensive items, relative to before we touched him in patch 7.7. 
Ryze has been horrible for a long time; we're looking for a buff that might get him some spot Worlds play and doesn't do a ton otherwise. We think we need to a pretty meaningful tune-up (we are NOT planning any kind of rework), but it's too risky for pre-Worlds; hoping to ship something between Worlds and preseason."


Last up, a few reminders on upcoming and ending soon promotions and sales!
  • As mentioned in 7.17 notesHunt of Blood Moon returns to the RGMQ from 8/25/17 at 12:00 PM PT - 8/29/17 at 04:00 AM PT and 8/31/17 at 12:00 PM PT - 9/5/17 at 04:00 AM PT.

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