Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: August 15, Play the Nexus Blitz Alpha, & More

Posted on at 1:51 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for 8/15, details on the Nexus Blitz alpha that is now live for testing, 9 fun facts from Nunu's development, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: August 15 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for August 15th, including details on his change in roles at Riot, Nexus Blitz, 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 delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 
My role at Riot and these posts 
As you might have heard a few weeks back Ghostcrawler has moved to a new role at Riot (Head of Creative Development for Riot) and I've taken on his previous role as Design Director on LoL. My day to day work has changed noticeably, my intention is certainly to keep doing these posts however. They'll probably change at least a bit though. The first thing is that there'll be at least the occasional post from others instead of my regular ones, RiotScruffy who's taking over as Gameplay Lead especially. The second is that I'm going to try and find chances to talk at least a bit about things we're working on, or thinking about, that aren't just in game gameplay. Might be some other changes as well, will see how things go and keep you folks in the loop about it. 
Judging Success in Nexus Blitz 
As you've probably seen by now we're trying something new starting this patch, with a playable Alpha for a new experimental mode. It's a prototype, rather than a polished release, so some things will look pretty rough or repurposed (e.g. Mecha Sion ult graphics reused as an explosive cart you push into enemy towers). 

We're putting it out like this as an early test to help figure out if there's an audience for a mode like this before we sink lots of time into making it. Assuming there is an audience, we also want to gather a lot of feedback around which bits particularly resonate, and which players aren't excited by. Initially at least we're planning a 4 week run, during which we'll assess whether to keep working on Nexus Blitz or look at other possible experimental modes instead. To do that we'll be considering things like: 
  • How many people try Nexus Blitz
  • What proportion of people who try it stick to it
  • Survey feedback from people who've played it
  • Whether it scratches a different itch to other LoL modes (do people feel it's providing a slight variant on existing experiences like SR/ARAM, or something meaningfully different enough to be worth spending ongoing development time on?)
  • How much better we think it could become (based heavily on feedback from people who play it during the trial, including to some updates we'll make to it over the course of the trial)
  • Etc 
We've had a lot of fun developing and testing Nexus Blitz. At the end of the day though what matters is how you folks find it. Really interested to find out over the next few weeks. 
Working on some Co-Op versus AI fixes 
Not sure when it'll be done yet, we're looking into some issues with Co-Op versus AI bots not functioning properly though. Biggest issue involved is bot AI logic breaking, normally after an update to the base champion's gameplay, resulting in the bot just freezing and staying on the summoning platform."

When asked about being able to choose stats in the Rune tree in future seasons, Meddler replied:
"Early days yet, so nothing's confirmed. What we're currently testing is the current rune tree stats (AD/AP, AS, HP) plus a couple of extra defensive options (Armor, MR)."

On Karma and Lissandra, Meddler noted:
"Both are still a way out. Visual effects work on Liss has started, but is a rough draft. Once that's done we'll then need to get some audio done too to go with it. 
Karma's still at the testing different possibilities stage, so will be further out again. Expect we'll share details about Karma plans before they're live once we've got a direction we think's promising."

On the Electrocute changes and Zoe, Meddler replied:
"We'll see where champs land before considering possible compensation buffs. Those who were struggling beforehand and being propped up by Runes burst might be good candidates. I think it's unlikely Zoe's hit harder than most though so would be surprised if she fell into that category. 
Work aimed at making her a less frustrating opponent's still being looked at, no specifics or timeline yet though." 

Play the Nexus Blitz Alpha

Here's SpaceNorth with a rundown of the Nexus Blitz alpha, coming to live for testing in 8.16:
"Starting sometime in patch 8.16, we'll be live playtesting a new experimental mode: Nexus Blitz. The test will run for four weeks and everyone can participate—no invitation needed. If the community loves Nexus Blitz, we'll keep developing it after the alpha ends, but we need your input to make that call! 
Welcome to the (double) jungle

Nexus Blitz is a fast-paced (~15 minutes) experimental mode designed for those of you seeking fresh ways to play League and low-pressure fun. It emphasizes exciting and surprising moments over intense competition, while still rewarding the skills you've learned from other League modes, like Summoner’s Rift. 
In this 5v5 mode, each team consists of a duo jungle who share gold/XP along with three laners who flex across two halves of a split lane. The compact map makes for constant action, and a roulette of map-wide, mayhem-inducing events—like King of the Hill, snowball fights, or Bardle Royale— amplify the frenzy even more. 
Winning an event unlocks one of several powerful team-wide rewards, like a base cannon that shoots you halfway across the map or a one-time Guardian Angel. 
Additionally, racking up killstreaks lights you on fire, giving you tons of damage and shorter cooldowns but making you more vulnerable to damage in return. Champs on fire are worth a TON of gold to their enemies if ever they're shut down. 
Nexus Blitz also brings back some classic items from League's past. Jump to the primer below for a list of those, or keep reading for some more info on what to expect from the alpha (and experimental modes in the future). 
What exactly does alpha mean? 
It means Nexus Blitz isn't a polished, complete game mode. As a work-in-progress, you can expect reused models, textures, and music from elsewhere in League. At this stage, even the gameplay is up for iteration and development! 
Don’t take that to mean we won't be paying close attention to the state of the game. In fact, it's the opposite. Lots of champions and runes have had their numbers tuned to fit Nexus Blitz's pace of action—in particular, stacking mechanics on abilities like Nasus's Siphoning Strike and activation timers on runes like Magical Footwear have been sped up. 
We'll be aggressively patching Nexus Blitz across the four-week test to keep up with you and the global community of players who will define the first ever meta. These mid-patch updates could run the gamut from balance adjustments all the way up to new events and rewards, so make sure to check our weekly dev corner threads on the Boards every now and then. 
Which also means your feedback is crucial. We need you to play and tell us what you think about pretty much everything, from the core game loop to ideas for additional mechanics to map visuals and theming. If you see potential in Nexus Blitz, this is your opportunity to help shape its development! 
Beyond Nexus Blitz: Experimental Modes
Nexus Blitz is the first of its kind, but it won’t be the last. An experimental mode is basically a gameplay prototype designed to deliver a different kind of experience than Summoner’s Rift, Twisted Treeline, or ARAM. We're looking for something that could last a while—maybe even as a permanent addition to League. By sharing experimental modes with players early on, they’re also a great way to test the water and get an initial community response before delving into additional months of development for a final version. 
Experimental modes won’t happen super frequently. At most, you’ll see a couple in a given year. We’re designing them from the ground up instead of customizing and modifying existing modes, and the vast, vast majority of the League team is still focused on SR, with a much smaller group working on experimental prototypes. 
We’re very excited to share the first of these modes with you, and hope you have a blast playtesting Nexus Blitz. 
Nexus Blitz Primer 

Nexus Blitz - Week 1 Feedback and Patch Notes

Riot August also has a thread for any feedback or changes for Nexus Blitz! Make sure to post your feedback here to help the team:
"Welcome to the Nexus Blitz Live Alpha. If you missed it, our full announcement is here
This is the place where you can give us your feedback on the Nexus Blitz experience. Any and all feedback is welcome. Events, balance, fun, music choice. Tell us how you feel. 
Secondarily, this will be the home of the Alpha patch notes. As an Alpha, you’ll be seeing us patch Nexus Blitz more aggressively than Summoner’s Rift, up to 2-3 times per week. Notes can be found below, sorted chronologically. Check back often to see what has changed!

8/14 - Nexus Blitz Alpha begins."

9 Fun Facts from Nunu's Development 

Here's BananaBand1t with a look behind the scenes of Nunu's champion update development:
"Nunu & Willump are probably the most wholesome duo in League of Legends, and they’re heading to PBE this week. While you’re waiting for your chance to roll the Biggest Snowball Ever!, here are nine tidbits about their development, featuring game designer Justin “Riot Xenogenic” Hanson, concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers, and narrative writer David “Interlocutioner” Slagle. 
1) Nunu and Willump’s new kit has two abilities that have been (basically) locked from day one. 
Nunu is one of League’s original 30 champions, which means his ultimate is almost a decade old. Absolute Zero is iconic to both Nunu and League, which is why his ult works the same as before—only now it also provides a shield for the duo to weather the storm of battle. Nunu’s Consume was important to his identity as a jungling objective controller, and with the update, Nunu’s yeti pal can Consume more than just monsters. At last, it’s time to live out your wildest fantasies of Smiting and Consuming enemy champions. 
2) Playtesting Biggest Snowball Ever! was a huge moment in development. 
“As soon as we tried out rolling a giant snowball in game, that was it,” says Riot Xenogenic. People in playtests were hyped—it made ganking and traversing the jungle fun, even when they missed the target completely and smashed into a wall. 
“I think that’s part of what makes playing Nunu special: I can have fun failing,” says Interlocutioner. “It ties into the sense of, ‘We’re here to have a good time,’ which is exactly what Nunu & Willump want.” 
3) Creating their E was one the hardest parts—it took nearly 20 spell variations to land on Snowball Barrage. 
Most of Nunu & Willump’s kit was ready pretty early, but it still took the full development time to finalize because creating their E was so tough. “We started with a couple of abilities that didn’t really synergize together, so it was hard to even know what we wanted E to do,” says Riot Xenogenic. “We ended up going for something with CC to make their ult more reliable and give them more tools to succeed as a Warden.” (Wardens specialize in keeping their allies safe and disrupting fights, like Braum.) 
Plus, Snowball Barrage is a true team effort: Nunu smacks the targets with snowballs, and Willump freezes ‘em into the ground. 
Nunu Concept Art
4) There’s a storybook about Nunu & Willump’s adventures hanging on the wall where the devs sit. It’s spectacularly hand-written and illustrated. With crayons. 
Nunu’s narrative writer Interlocutioner created this masterpiece early in development, and it helped everyone rally behind the playful tone of the characters. “The fact he made it with crayons just felt so right,” says Riot Earp. 
5) Willump could’ve been a scary behemoth, but people liked him more as a soft and huggable pal. 
A bunch of concept artists kicked off Nunu’s rework by taking a day to explore art directions for Willump. The result was a wide array of yetis ranging from adorable to abominable. “Whenever we’d dig deeper into the monstrous-looking guys, people would be like, ‘Yeah, but what if he was fluffy instead?’” says Riot Earp. “I’m pretty sure it was the huggable factor.” 
Concept art from Nunu-dome, the single day of exploration.
For the record, Willump’s soft fur and extra arms make him the best hugger in Runeterra. This is indisputable fact. “During their recall, Willump throws Nunu into the air and catches him in a giant yeti hug,” Riot Earp says. “I want to do that. I want Willump to catch me.”

6) One of the (unofficial) goals of Nunu & Willump’s rework was to give them the saddest death animation in the game. 
Yes, even sadder than Dragon Trainer Tristana’s. “Playing new Nunu has a lot of fun moments,” says Riot Xenogenic. “The really low note of their death helps ensure players don’t become numb to the constant stream of highs—that way those high notes keep feeling fun.” 
And no, we haven’t fully recovered from seeing this either.

7) Every sound Willump makes in-game has been translated into human words. 
“We know exactly what Willump is saying because he’s actually talking, Chewbacca-style. Only Nunu can understand him,” Interlocutioner says. The team gave the English translations of Willump’s grunts to his voice actor so he’d know exactly what inflections to put into the sounds. 
What does the pair talk about? “Willump has a different perspective on the world because he’s so ancient,” says Interlocutioner. “He sometimes tones down his wisdom so he can have fun with his best friend, but they have moments of mentorship, too.” 
8) All the trolliness associated with Nunu’s core character was siphoned out and put into Nunu Bot. 
Nunu Bot is troll turned up to 11. He honks a squeaky bike horn while rolling an electrical ball with a terrified robot inside down mid lane, all while saying classic lines such as, “We must tower dive,” and “Rito Plssssss.” And you can sleep soundly tonight—Nunu Bot’s laugh is exactly the same as before. “We used text-to-speech to record his lines again, and the new laugh just didn’t feel right,” says Interlocutioner. “We wanted to do good by players with this skin, which is why we also kept most of his original voice lines.” 
9) The AP Nunu dream is alive. 
Absolute Zero still scales with Ability Power, and their snowball hits like a snowtruck when you build AP. “I just had a playtest where I drove a snowball into a Lux and one-shot her,” says Riot Xenogenic. “I had Predator boots and came rolling in with like 900 movement speed—so basically a Sion ult—and then SMACK! Deleted.” The AP ratio and movement speed on Snowball were both slightly nerfed after that playtest, but the AP dream is alive and well. 
You can send us your one-shot montages in two weeks when Nunu & Willump roll onto the Rift. In the meantime, try not be too jealous of their perfect friendship."

Quick Hits

"Hey all, 
I'm conducting some research and would like to know what is everyone's favorite and least favorite champions running/walking animations are in League. Also how would people feel if we try spice up some of the worst? By spice up I mean, polish, add some improved animation tweaks. Whilst maintaining the essence of what is there already and how we identify with it and the champ. 
Ill go first:
Favorite - Kindred, I like the energy/hoppy-ness.
Least Favorite - Quinn, Lack of motion/feels very rigid. 
We recently did a very subtle polish on Jarvan cause his run was REALLY wobbly/janky. 
Cheers and let me know your thoughts!"


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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