Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts July 4th & July 6th, ARENA: Pigeon Rising, & More

Posted on at 5:04 PM by Aznbeat
[Added in Update on Updated Spellblade VFX!]

Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for July 4th and July 6th, tweets from ricklessabandon on Karma & more, as well as an Esports blog on the LCS Pigeon, an update on the Spellblade VFX in testing on the PBE, reminders, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Update on Updated Spellblade VFX

Here's Riot King Cobra with an update on the spellblade VFX in testing on the PBE:
"Hey everyone! I posted here a couple of weeks ago asking for feedback about updated Spellblade VFX that the Game Systems team was working on. We read through what you had to say and made some slight iterations that I'd like to share with you! The changes aren't too big - we primarily tried to address concerns over clarity by adding some white glow to the center of the VFX and brightened them a bit (The Iceborn Gauntlet screengrab doesn't convey this too bad...). That said, we're particularly interested in what you guys think about the new differentiation between Sheen and Trinity Force. 
We're feeling pretty good about moving forward with these, but would like to give you guys an opportunity to provide your thoughts. See them below!"
Sheen/Trinity Force
Trinity Force In Action
Lich Bane
Iceborn Gauntlet

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: July 4th

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for July 4th, including a note on the icon collection page, 8.13 anti-snowball changes and where they landed, more on the Fizz changes testing in 8.14, 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: 
Icons collection page 
It got a little bit overshadowed by other stuff going on at the time, so for anyone who missed it, there's now an icons collection page in the client. It includes information about how you unlocked an icon, what proportion of icons for each category you have (e.g. Harrowing or Game modes) and rarity values for icons (e.g. Ultimate for things like the Dominion 100+ games icon or top 500 in LoL Beta). 
8.13 anti snowball changes 
We've been digging into the effects of the 8.13 anti snowball changes and have seen a pretty decent reduction in early game snowball following them. Still a bit elevated, so not quite down to what's been standard historically standard yet, quite a bit better though thankfully. Likely we'll have some further smaller tweaks to reduce early game snowball at some point, any solutions that are really disruptive would wait until preseason though. 
8.13b mini patch 
At time of writing 8.13b (mini patch around halfway through the 8.13 three week cycle) is being finalized and should get patched out shortly. You've probably seen patch notes for it already, TLDR if not though is buffs to Stormrazor, Brawler's Gloves, Varus, Trist and Caitlyn, plus nerfs to Nocturne and Taliyah. We're using this mini patch to address things that we've changelists ready for that are clear enough issues they shouldn't have to wait until 8.14 itself. Goal with the marksmen side of things is to help the marksmen in the worst states, still with a goal of getting them all back to reasonable spots without pushing non marksmen entirely out of bot lane. 
Latest W changes for Fizz have been testing pretty well in terms of how the pattern plays and how the ability feels. Still working on final numbers, so those might or might not change. Likely, given 8.13-8.14 is a three week period, that we'll be able to get them into 8.14 as a result. We'd originally expected it to take a bit longer, but fairly optimistic at this point they'll be ready soon."

Meddler commented on how the Aatrox hotfixes were doing:
"We're starting to see Aatrox post hotfix buffs do fairly well in some circumstances. He certainly went out too weak, going to hold off on adding power to him beyond this point for a bit though, already got some caution we may have put enough (or in some respects possibly a bit too much) power in. Will see where he's at next week and assess again."

On ADC power after the anti-snowball changes, Meddler noted:
Is there any worrying about adc power post compensation buffs if games become longer after snowballing is tuned down?
There's some risk there certainly. Power of specific champions and classes will fluctuate somewhat as the overall state of the game changes. We feel some ADCs are too weak even accounting for that variation though, hence buffs to a number of them and some item paths. Possible we need to take a bit of power out again someday, but feel better to risk that than letting them sit in too poor a state."

On GarenMeddler commented:
"I don't think we've got any room to buff Garen right now. Would certainly be interested in adding a bit more skill expression at some point. Not confident a burst of MS on the Q would so though, given it's a pretty reliable and consistent effect. Swapping to Slow immunity, instead of cleansing slows on cast, likely makes timing of Q press more forgiving while also adding noticeable power."

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: July 6th

Here's more of Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 7/6, including details on the impact of the 8.13b balance patch,  a look at a new passive for Lissandra still in internal testing, more 8.14 changes planned, 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: 
Impact of 8.13b 
We've been looking at the impact of the mini patch from earlier this week (8.13b). Looking reasonable so far, with moderate amounts of power as hoped added to Trist, Cait and Varus. We're keeping an eye on Aatrox, since we're starting to see some really strong performances from him on players who've got passed the initial learning curve. Also watching a couple of ADCs who were doing well before the changes who've benefited a bit from the Stormrazor change (e.g. Draven). No immediate plans to make changes to them, but want to make sure we haven't over buffed. 
As mentioned previously we've been testing a new Lissandra passive internally for a couple of weeks. It's been going fairly well, so figured I'd share a look at it as a result, despite some risk it still might not work out. Given this is still earlier in testing I've also omitted some numbers and those that are listed are more to give an example of how it works than because they're necessarily what could ship. 
When a champion Lissandra has damaged within the last 3 seconds dies they become a Frozen Statue. Frozen Statues slow nearby enemies by 30%. After 2.5 seconds Frozen Statues shatter, dealing X (+Y AP ratio) magic damage to nearby enemies." 
Intent is to help Lissandra's contributions to multi enemy fights after she's used her initial CDs. Use cases include getting a zone of control after diving in and killing a backline target and helping zone enemies after killing enemy divers or other front line. Doesn't have as much impact early game, but has proven useful in some early 2v2s when both junglers show up and early objective fights. If going ahead with it would be paired with some mana cost reductions to her kit. Statues also count as terrain, so they'll both block pathing slightly and can be combo'd with things like Gnar ult, Poppy E etc. 
In terms of time frame, we'll probably have a clear enough read on whether the gameplay's solid pretty soon, so will likely make a call on whether or not to go ahead within a week or two. One of the downsides of changing abilities like this however is that, where it's a big departure from previous functionality, there's a need for a bunch of art and audio work. Not sure yet what the likely timeframe on that would be, would take a while though. 
More 8.14 changes to hit the PBE today/next week 
For anyone wondering why the PBE's been pretty quiet and where followup changes to various mages stuff's still coming. Should be some more balance changes to champions getting into the patch today and in the first half of next week. Since 8.13-8.14 is a 3 week patch we've been taking some time earlier in the cycle to work on other things, champ changes still coming though." 

When asked about the Cursor update and if any more item icons would be updated, Meddler commented:
How's the cursor update going? 
Non-gameplay related, but think we might see some new button art for items soon? Always loved seeing those updates.
Cursor work's pretty close to finished, both the new cursor and the legacy version for those who'd prefer to just stick with it. Likely it goes out in the next patch. 
Items - we'll keep gradually replacing some of the old ones. When we've done a number at once we've got really strong negative feedback that it makes it really frustrating to try and tell at a glance on the scoreboard who's bought what. Icon updates are something we try to do gradually as a result."

Meddler provided context on the Teleport changes that went to the PBE in the 7/5 PBE update:
I feel awful asking again, because I know you're inundated by these requests every time you post, but did you land anywhere in particular on Syndra?
Additionally: the TP nerfs hit PBE yesterday. Those are big nerfs. Do you have some context? :)
And last but not least: do you think, if these Lissandra changes (which I like) are to ship, she'll have her mana costs tweaked a little?
I don't have details on any mages yet. Still expecting we'll do some mage buffs that should hit PBE sometime next week. 
TP's been something we've been concerned about for quite a few months, as some folks might recall from discussion earlier this year. At the time we held off on changes because, while it was having some negative effects (too hard to win lane against it, teams piling on into bot lane etc) top lane wasn't in the best of places and would be the primary lane affected. At this point it's both much wider spread and top's in a better state, so we're looking at changes again. What's on the PBE isn't necessarily final, still talking about what approach makes the most sense. Removing the refund for cancellation's looking like a pretty good approach though, given it doesn't penalize the 'get back to lane to try and catch up' safety net and it targets some of the least interesting uses of TP (the zoning TP you start to ward off aggression from the enemy team, then cancel, resulting in nothing actually happening and no real commitment)."

Meddler answered more questions about Lissandra's tentative new passive:
Quick question about liss new passive: if an enemy ornn (or even ally) charges towards a frozen statue, does he destroy it or will he proc the shatter earlier and so taking damage (or pop damage on enemies if ally)?
Right now, not honestly sure, it's a specific enough interaction I didn't feel the need to check before putting it into testing. Intent would be that enemy Ornn's destroy the statue which would cause the shatter/damage to happen early though." 

Meddler continued:
Also, how will liss passive work on sion?
Statue happens if she's damaged him within 3s of his zombie mode expiring, instead of 3s of his regular death. 
Funnily enough there was a Sion in the first playtest we put this in. I hadn't accounted for that interaction at the time, so the passive went off and a frozen Sion statue appeared. Because of the way it's scripted however that's basically a copy of the killed champion, with the real one hidden from view until they respawn (avoids a lot of bugs doing it that way). In this case Sion's passive still went off however, which meant there was a frozen Sion statue sitting there while an invisible zombie Sion beat people to death who were very confused by what was happening..."

He went on:
The Lissandra passive is impressive. 
Holy this would make her so unique, she would be the teamfighting queen.
And it fits so perfectly omg. This needs to happen and I wanna try it ASAP. :)
You‘ve mentioned a few changes to W end E. Can we get some details?
Do you think it‘s possible to move some dmg from her E to her W?
Good Job! Honestly reading this made me happy.
W - been testing a somewhat higher base CD, with a significantly reduced CD if 3 or more targets are hit. Somewhat lukewarm on that change at present. Partial resets are sometimes noticed less, especially when they often still don't let you get another cast off during the same fight. Was looking for ways to incentivize more proactive casts, but not sure that's hitting the mark. 
E - Trying a decelerating missile, where the claw starts significantly faster than on Live, but moves slower than on Live by the end (takes same total time to get to the end position though). That's been testing quite well by contrast, with shorter casts feeling more useful but longer casts still valuable."

Finally, when asked about champion learning curves, Meddler replied:
Is the learning curve of a champion still important in today champion design?
Learning curve's something we put a lot of time into. Too low's bad, leaves champions unsatisfying, hard to balance across a range of skill levels usually, too consistent in their output. Too high's eventually bad too though, if it means people have to have miserable experiences until they've played an awful lot of games on the champion because we have to balance around the higher end too much."

ricklessabandon on Karma and Other Changes

ricklessabandon provided a changelist and context on some Karma changes that should be coming in the 8.14 cycle:
"putting together some karma buffs for 8.14 and still kind of figuring out what makes the most sense for right now (given that we'd still like to do a small update for her in the future) 
currently considering things like this:"

He also answered a few more questions on his Twitter!

On Irelia, he noted:
"we have changes in development, but after discussing her today i don't think we'll be shipping anything in 8.14 for irelia — team wants to have more time to assess her current state (in pro play, mostly)"
On Karma's W, he commented:
"i think W is something we'll want to significantly change in her "small update" so i'd like to avoid leaning on it too much right now (even if it does feel quite limited in application at the moment)"
He continued, explaining changes to Karma's RQ damage:
"tbh, it's because she's seeing spot play in pro in 2+ positions, so we feel a bit awkward about just straight buffing her 
r.Q explosion damage is mostly helpful for pushing waves early on, so nerfing it slightly is up for consideration (but doesn't mean it's for sure happening)"
On Ahri, he noted:
"i want to buff her, team wants to buff her

will very likely buff her in 8.14 along with a couple other mages, if plans stay on track"
On Syndra:
"syndra is in the group of mages that we'd like to look into for 8.14 buffs 
not sure how many we'll get to or what the priority order is, but syndra is on the list"
On Udyr:
"oh, i literally brought this up in a team meeting a little while ago. i don't think udyr is up for work in the immediate future, so i don't think it'd be up for consideration until closer to the next preseason? i'll try to bring it up again sometime soon just in case"
On Master Yi:
"unsure what the team's thoughts are regarding that, so i can't really say either way 
personally, i think it's a matter of whether or not pushing power is the most correct/healthy thing to give him -when- there is opportunity to buff (lane) yi. if it makes sense, sure. if not…"
On Katarina:
"i think she comes up occasionally, but it seems like assessment is mixed and she's somewhat volatile 
it's just generally hard to get changes through for assassins that seem stable/playable"
On Viktor:
"yeah, same 8.14 list along with several other mages (ahri, syndra, et al)"

ARENA: Pigeon Rising 

Here's RedRaptor5, Oniatserj, and RumbleStew with an Esports blog on the new NA LCS mascot, LCS Pigeon:
"On April 22, 2017, a star was born. A feathery hero descended to the stage at the 2017 NA LCS Spring Finals in Vancouver—and, simultaneously, into the hearts of hundreds of thousands of League fans. Quickly dubbed “LCS Pigeon,” he became the hero the NA LCS never knew it needed.

With LCS Pigeon’s sudden appearance causing an outsized fan response, the broadcast steam started to wonder if there wasn’t some way we could celebrate our new feathered friend. The most popular suggestion? Making him our mascot. It wasn’t unanimous; there was plenty of support, but also some obvious questions, like, “Why the heck would we make a pigeon our mascot?” Pigeons aren’t majestic, heroic, or badass—shouldn’t NA LCS feature something a little more intimidating? 
Eventually, our team realized something important: We don’t see LCS Pigeon as just any old pigeon. NA LCS Fans don’t see LCS Pigeon as just any old pigeon. And we sure as hell know that LCS Pigeon does not see himself as any old pigeon. He doesn’t let himself be defined by genus expectations. When he looks in the mirror, he sees a dragon, mixed with a lion, ascending like a phoenix. That’s what we decided to home in on. He’s majestic in his own right—bold, impervious to danger, and possessing an unquenchable thirst for the spotlight. Like NA, he doesn’t mind being an underdog, and he’s going to take his best shot at the big timers. Disrespect him at your own peril. He’s quite simply like the old gods: strong and wrathful. 
We decided to use him in some of our graphics, potentially to pair with sponsorships, but mostly to entertain and celebrate NA LCS fans. We thought about using him like Fox Sports uses Cleatus the Football Robot, or Disney uses Mickey. We likened his mentality to Looney Tunes’ Henery Hawk; he’s scrappy, and goes toe-to-toe with Foghorn Leghorn despite being 1/50th of his size. In other words, LCS Pigeon needed to be an appropriate blend of obliviousness and bravado. We wanted him to be gritty, determined, brave, and sometimes memey—just like NA LCS fans.LCS Pigeon made various other appearances throughout the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. He appeared in a social tease for the 2017 Summer Finals in Boston, made occasional cameos in the background of NA LCS Tonight, and even went toe-to-toe against Huni as a mid laner for Team America in the NA LCS Civil War event. But we wanted more. We wanted something tangible. Oh, and we wanted him to don a badass suit of armor. 
So, the team turned to 3D Motion Graphics Artist George “RedRaptor5” Ahlmeyer. RedRaptor5 is frequently seen in various locations of the esports back office, sketching animals of all sorts. He practices, he shares, he sketches, he posts. His affection for the craft is exciting, so the team decided to give RedRaptor5 first crack at modeling the LCS War Pigeon. 
RedRaptor5 doesn’t do halfway. He took the time to read through books about pigeon anatomy endlessly sketching pigeons and pigeon parts on post-it notes. Any visit to his desk and you’d see the makings of a mad ornithologist: beaks, feathers, talons, and eyes, every detail in perfect proportion. After seemingly lifetimes of practice, he was equipped to – theoretically – build an entire pigeon pixel by pixel. RedRaptor5 also tackled the question of outfitting our new warrior with a shiny suit of armor. 
As we sized up the shape and body structure of our pigeon, we had a constant design North Star: LCS Pigeon (who we now were calling “George”) needed to be badass and fully prepared for battle. Team Pigeon sat together and thought about what that would look like. We found inspiration in Demacian lore and the heavy armor Demacian soldiers wore, borrowing elements of both to help guide George’s visual identity. 
We were feeling confident about our designs, but how would we debut him? What would be his grand entrance? And could this pigeon fly?
When it comes to putting graphics into real and live environments, nobody on the esports team has the expertise or passion of Justin Restaino. Justin was the driving force behind the Elder Dragon that swooped into the 2017 Worlds ceremony in Beijing. We knew he was our guy if we wanted to get our war bird airborne, so the team enlisted him to be the wind beneath George’s wings. In addition to ideating on design, Justin worked with outside production partners to make our vision of an AR battle bird a reality. 
The best part of working with Justin is that he has no shame, just check out this video of him choreographing George’s flight path and behavior on the LCS stage.

Why Rift Rivals? Exactly this: Rift Rivals is the greatest manifestation of the enmity between the NA and EU LCS, so the NA team decided to unveil George at Rift Rivals to give the NA players a serious competitive advantage. We want EU LCS fans to cower in fear. We want them worried. We want them to experience pigeon envy for the first time. NA fans understand George. He’s plucky, and like us, is resilient and built for the long haul. There’s a deep empathy and bond between NA LCS pros, NA LCS fans, and our dear LCS Pigeon. What better way to introduce a grudge match between NA and EU than with a ceremonial appearance by the most feared bird of prey we know? 
We are very excited to be able to bring in this strong personality to our broadcast team for our fans. In an exclusive interview, George told us that the fans were the main reason for his decision to move from Vancouver to our NA LCS studio. That, and the ability to beat down EU. 
REDRAPTOR5 Broadcast Motion Graphics Artist 
George Ahlmeyer
RedRaptor5 collaborates and creates motion graphic content between both esports creative services and the broadcast team for events such as NA LCS, MSI and Worlds. 
ONIATSERJ Realtime Graphics Artist 
Justin Restaino
Part of the Broadcast team for NA LCS and International events such as MSI and Worlds, Justin focuses on adding graphical elements to enhance the stream and user experiences. He recognizes no king but the Monkey King. 
RUMBLESTEW Executive Producer 
Dave Stewart
RumbleStew has mastered the use of biting comments as motivational tools, and often says things to his team like, “that could have been better,” and “you’re breaking my heart.”"

Quick Hits

  • Here's Riot NeuroCat with an update on the Fizz W changes in testing on the PBE:
"Hi folks, quick update.

Based on feedback and further testing, we're adding a bit more power to his W early. Plus, we're stripping out the bleeds that Q and R add to further streamline his kit and free up some situational power.

  • Removed the bleeds on non-primary targets of Urchin Strike (Q) and all targets of Chum the Waters (R)
  • W Active Bonus Damage: 20/30/40/50/60 + 40% AP >>> 40/50/60/70/80 + 40% AP
Also, we fixed some bugs where his W active duration before hitting a target was 2s instead of 4s and his on-hit damage was higher than intended."
  • Reav3 noted Crimson Akali's name would be changed when her champion update hits:
"Yes, we plan on renaming Crimson Akali to name that better fits the new theme we have given it. You will have to wait to see wait that will be though :P"
"The VS 2018 event ends on July 11, 2018 at 11:59 PM PT, so make sure to check out the following before the winning God-King is declared: 
  • VS daily missions, mission lines, and loot rewards, including orbs and loading screen borders
  • VS Chaos and VS Order emotes, which will permanently disappear from the store after the event
  • VS bundles with exclusive icons
  • ARURF game mode, embellished with tributes to the two God-Kings 
Learn more about VS 2018 event rewards, or revisit the Legendary skins trailer: Power. Thanks for participating!"


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • The free skins promotions on Riot social media are heading to the vault! Check out the full details on this page to redeem Riot Girl Tristana, Dreadnight Garen, and Unchained Alistar before August 1st!

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