Red Post Collection: QGT: November 15, Making Music With Sound Design, All Star Voting, & More

Posted on at 11:16 AM by Moobeat
Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for November 15th, including thoughts on Senna, kit updates, bugs, upcoming TFT patches (including new units soon), plus a dev blog on making music for K/DA and True Damage, the Expeditions Preview patch on Legends of Runeterra, & more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Quick Gameplay Thoughts: November 15 

Here's Meddler with his quick gameplay thoughts for November 15th
"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: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler 
Thoughts on Senna so far 
Initial thoughts on Senna below. It's still early days so these are more current observations than things we're extremely confident in.
  • Senna's looking a bit stronger than we predicted she'd be in her first few days. She's not sufficiently powerful to currently need balance changes however. She might end up being too strong in a while, depending on how her power grows as people master her kit, we'll wait and see before jumping to any conclusions though. We don't have any changes for her in 9.23, intent is to assess her again once we see where the combination of preseason changes and increasing player experience with her ends up.
  • From what we've seen she's effective as both a support and an ADC as hoped. Early indications are that both Lethality and Enchanter style builds are reasonable choices on support Senna.
  • Two of Senna's intended weaknesses seem to be present as hoped so far. She's vulnerable to getting jumped on and is more vulnerable to skill shots/AoEs while attacking, given how long her attack frame immobilizes her.
  • Senna's clearly too strong on ARAM. We're cutting her soul generation on ARAM back down to the same rates as on other maps as a result in 9.23. It was set higher for launch since other stacking champs have needed accelerated stacking on ARAM to avoid being excessively weak. That doesn't seem necessary in Senna's case now that we see how she actually performs in ARAM. 
Kit Updates and the dangers of creating multiple incompatible audiences 
A problem we've noticed with champions who've had their playstyles change really substantially is that we end up with multiple potential audiences for those champions whose needs can end up being incompatible. Karma's a particularly good example of that, with significant playerbase segments who want original Karma (1.11 to 3.4), initially reworked Karma (3.5 - 5.9) and current Karma (5.10+). While there's certainly overlap between what those groups want from Karma as a character there are also substantial differences. For cases like this as a result meeting the needs of one group can often come at the cost of excluding others. That's not a unique situation to kits that have been changed a lot, but it is a particularly amplified one. Other clear examples include Graves (bot lane players wanting a more standard ADC experience versus other players after the jungle/short range version) or Le Blanc (original/current kit versus the less bursty more clone focused kit the assassin update tried). 
Going forward there are two things in particular we're keeping in mind for the next time we get a situation with incompatible group needs like that. The first is to try and identify cases where we've missed the mark for existing players quickly and then, if feasible/appropriate, adjust things before a significant player group become attached to the new form of the champion. Reverts like with Kog, LB and Rengar are examples of where that overall went well in our eyes since they happened comparatively quickly. The second is to avoid splitting audiences again if at all possible. Trying to serve two distinct audiences is tough already, adding a third direction to the mix makes it much harder again and all but guarantees we’'ll be leaving a lot of players unhappy. 
Some significant bugs being worked on 
While I don't normally get into individual bugs here I figured these three had a wide enough impact that an update would be appropriate:
  • Camera locking sometimes even though you're playing with unlocked camera
We've got a fix for an issue causing this and will have it in 9.23 next week.
  • Client minimizing sometimes mid game when extra mouse buttons are pressed
We've got a lead on this one but don't have a fix yet.
  • Client Freeze/Crash in loading screen
This one's proven hard to track down a cause on. At time of writing we've just identified a possible cause and are about to start looking into what a fix would look like and what sort of timeframe that would involve. 
Upcoming TFT Patches 
Overall we feel the new TFT Set is in a pretty good place balance wise. We'll be making moderately sized changes only as a result as we head into the start of the ranked season for TFT next week. We're expecting that some strategies will become clearly strong once ranked turns on and people start playing more optimally. Overall though we're cautiously optimistic based off play so far that Rise of the Elements will be easier to keep a wide range of comps viable in at once than Set 1 was, due both to the pool size changes and the design of its traits. 
In patch 9.24 (last major patch of the year) we'll then be introducing a few new units to round out the roster a bit. Expect to see those on PBE next week, with two of those units being from a new class."

Meddler commented on Winter break and patch scheduling:
"Winter break - 9.24 is the last big patch of the year and is currently scheduled for December 10th. We're planning on then doing a 9.24b, probably sometime around December 17th at a rough guess. We'll then have the first patch of 2020, patch 10.1, about a week into January."

He also commented on how balance differs during the first and second week of the PBE cycle:
"We're generally doing simple changes in the second week of a patch now so that we've got a bit more time to see how the previous patch stabilized before adjusting anything. That means the first week of each patch gets used for more complex work like changing spell functionality meaningfully, preseason projects etc."

Meddler also noted the Zilean skin was aimed for the 9.24 PBE cycle:
"Zilean - currently aiming for patch 9.24, so mid December. 
Smaller updates - we don't have a list available to share. Generally we'll talk about each update as soon as its solid enough for discussion."

Giants & POP/STARS: Making Music With Sound Design 


Here's Riot Cashmiir with a dev blog on making music for band skins - "A behind-the-scenes look at how we designed sound effects for the K/DA and True Damage skins."
"Dear Music, 
We love you. 
Sincerely,
Riot Games 
Seriously. If we weren’t making games, we’d probably just make music. We’ve released two metal albums, six Worlds songs, countless champion themes, a K-pop chart topper, and a hard-hitting hip hop/trap/EDM hybrid slapper. 
But when it came time to translate the music from K/DA and True Damage into in-game sound effects, we discovered a bunch of new challenges. We’d never made skin lines based off real-life music before, and we didn’t know what exactly we’d run into along the way. 
Before we get into all that, let’s take a quick look at how sound effects are designed for League. 
Sound Effects… How Do You Even? 
Sound design in League should be seamless. It should tell you how abilities work. Hard hitting spells and attacks should sound hard. Stuns should make players feel like they’ve been caught in a bear trap. More importantly, they shouldn’t detract from gameplay. 
Picture this: 
You bought a nice new skin for your main. Animations are clean and you smash lane. Now it’s time to teamfight. You’re greeted not with the missing pings of an impressed team and a prompt enemy team “ff20” in chat. Instead, you’re told that your new skin is too loud and now everyone’s deaf. Thanks. 
That’s what the sound designers want to avoid. It’s all about clarity and balance. But how do you maintain those while working within the confines of a song? 
The Realest Sound Design in the Game 
K/DA was uncharted territory. So in the beginning, sound designer Julian “Riot Zimberfly” Samal began exploring K-pop to understand what K/DA was and wasn’t before it even… was.
After hours upon hours of research (read: listening to tons of K-pop), he narrowed K/DA’s sound palette down to a list of adjectives that felt cohesive with the early cut of “POP/STARS.” Edgy. Glamorous. Bombastic.

Early version of “POP/STARS” 
“I really wanted to deliver something authentic,” explains Riot Zimberfly. “Sebastien Najand, the composer for POP/STARS, poured so much passion into the song. It’s a love letter to K-pop, so I wanted the in-game sound effects to deliver on that.” 
Riot Zimberfly also needed to make sure that he stayed true to early skin concepts. Not too bubblegum. Not too hard. Not too electronic. Like a bowl of porridge, it had to be just right. 
“Over the process, I learned a lot and the song grew and evolved. There were key modulations and adjustments,” explains Riot Zimberfly. “I had to go back to Ahri and Eve a lot, since they were the first two. And when I got to Kai’Sa, my sound palette had grown and changed to the point where there was a noticeable difference in the thematic language from Ahri to Kai’Sa, which required design cohesion passes across all four champions.” 
K/DA Ahri’s early E sound effect

K/DA Ahri’s final E sound effect

Ahri’s earliest iteration leaned a little bit too heavily into the realm of bubblegum pop, so Riot Zimberfly used the new, clearer design palette to give her SFXs another pass. Because her kit contains more “looping buff” than “hard-hitting impact,” Ahri’s sound effects are more heavily influenced by K/DA-inspired music rather than punchy musical snippets from “POP/STARS” directly. But a careful balance needs to be struck between music and sound effects. 
“It’s easy to try to inject music everywhere in these skins,” Riot Zimberfly explains. “Because you want to give players this wonderful musical experience, but you really don’t want to interrupt gameplay. It’s also easy to hold off and then leave the skin feeling empty.” 

K/DA Ahri’s early passive sound effect (which later became Akali’s shroud)

K/DA Ahri’s final passive sound effect 
Sometimes the sound designers’ earliest versions are their favorites, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. 
“You can’t design sound in a vacuum,” explains Riot Zimberfly. “Because in a game like League everything comes down to context and champ playstyle. Kai’Sa plays like an assassin, so she dives in and unloads everything. And that can be really sonically overwhelming if you’re not careful.” 
Early drafts of Kai’Sa’s sound effects were really satisfying… in isolation. But while watching some Kai’Sa mains use the skin, Riot Zimberfly realized that he hadn’t taken playstyle into consideration. After hitting an enemy with Void Seeker and diving into the backline with Killer Instinct, Kai’Sa would unload her arsenal of Void infused weaponry, bombarding her enemies with an onslaught of harmonic and melodic motifs that quickly became too much. 
Several rounds of tweaking and feedback later, and Kai’Sa found herself with snappy sound effects. They were flashy and bombastic, but more importantly they didn’t overwhelm the other players with a symphony of percussive hits. 
Kai’Sa’s full base kit sound effects

Kai’Sa full K/DA kit sound effects

And then we took everything we learned from K/DA and avoided all of the happy mistakes along the way and the process for True Damage was smooth sailing. …Right? 
Running It Back 
“GIANTS wasn’t finalized when we started,” laughs sound designer Jayvon “Riot Jirsan” Rymer. “We were building the plane as we were flying it, and we had no idea how to get to where we wanted without being too close to K/DA. We just had the rough song track. No vocals or anything. So we used that as a reference point and just went from there.”
SFX Inspiration Playlists
After deciding on True Damage’s genre mashup and overall feel, the core team created playlists with songs the True Damage champions would theoretically listen to. And while these helped put the sound designers in the right mental space to get started, they still relied heavily on early concept art and, eventually, the song’s rough track. 
“After I finished Yasuo’s sound effects, Ekko was given a really cool comic book aesthetic. So I had to go back and take another pass to make them feel cohesive,” shares Riot Jirsan. “Yasuo’s sounds were originally influenced by his base [skin], so they were more wispy. But after seeing Ekko, I realized Yasuo wouldn’t fit in and I needed to make him more True Damage-y. Ekko’s design helped inform the visual and sonic language on the rest of the champs moving forward.” 
True Damage Yasuo’s early W

True Damage Yasuo’s final W

Overall cohesion is one of the goals of any skin line, but for True Damage (and K/DA) it’s extra important because they’re supposed to have a singular aesthetic. Like with K/DA, the sound designers had to find a balance between song, skin line, and base champion thematic. 
Qiyana in particular offered up a sound design challenge when trying to strike that balance. 
“I sat down and was like, ‘Cool! We’re doing a music thematic. Here’s the sound palette. Now I have to apply it to three elements,’” Riot Strâtos jokes. “How am I going to break down ice, earth, and grass into music? What represents those?” 
So Riot Strâtos explored, ideated, and tried (repeatedly). Some iterations worked, and some didn’t. 
Exactly how many organic sounds and filters could be added to Qiyana’s kit before it started to pull away from True Damage’s thematic? Turns out quite a bit when you need four final versions for each element.
After finding a good balance for all three of Qiyana’s elements, Riot Strâtos focused fully on her ultimate with a singular goal: How many ears could he make bleed with her overwhelming ultimate soundscape? (In a good way, of course.)

The designers erred away from injecting too much of the song into the other skins. Some gameplay moments lend themselves perfectly to musical moments, like Akali’s shroud, Qiyana’s stealth trail, Senna’s mist, and Evelynn’s camouflage. In these places, the designers could highlight snippets of music that set the mood or build up to the champ’s hype moment.
But Ekko doesn’t have a stealth. And as True Damage’s frontman, he couldn’t be upstaged by the rest. 
“Ekko already has a lot of GIANTS in his skin because of his DJ Sona-esque music system,” says Riot Jirsan. “We wanted to give players the chance to make their own music when they use his abilities.” 
Not only did the musical prodigy’s sound effects need to have True Damage flavor, but they needed to work with the skin’s always-on music. Riot Jirsan found a balance by making Ekko’s abilities interact with the music in some very Ekko-like ways:

Finding Perfect Harmony 
Whether it’s raining K-pop-stardom or dealing true damage, we want players to feel like they’re creating music with big brain outplays. 
League’s a symphony of sounds and with up to 10 players at a time, the sound designers need to make sure one instrument doesn’t overpower the rest. At the end of the day, it’s about getting a Double with Icathian Rain or a Penta on True Damage Ekko and feeling like you’ve heard the roar of the Worlds Finals crowd. But without it sounding like you did."

All-Star 2019 Voting Live 


Between now and November 20th, you can head on over to LoL Esports to vote for your favorite Pro player to be included in All Star 2019!
"It’s time to pick your players for the 2019 All-Star event. Voting will be open until November 20, 2019, at 8:00 AM PT. 
You can vote for up to two pro players from each region. Any active player that played in at least five professional matches during the 2019 season will be eligible to receive votes. Cross-region voting will be weighted, so no more than 20% of the votes for pros can come from outside that player’s region. 
Some regions have been excluded from global voting due to visa timelines. Please check your local esports site for more information if the region you’d like to vote for isn’t available. 
We’ll announce the final All-Star rosters, for both pros and personalities, before the event begins.

Legends of Runeterra Expeditions Patch Preview

The next Patch Preview for Legends of Runeterra is now available for those who have access! Twitch drops are also back for those who don't yet so make sure to check out all the folks streaming on Twitch for a chance to receive access. The second preview patch includes the new draft format Expeditions!

Looking for the full patch notes including card changes? Check this article - Expeditions Preview Patch Notes
Have more questions on Expeditions or preview patch in general? Check the Expeditions Preview FAQ!


Miscellaneous 

"Patch 9.23 hits servers next week! The first patch since Rise of the Elements launched!"
  • Riot Scruffy noted a fix was found for the camera locking bug:
"We found the cause of a camera locking bug - fix is in for patch 9.23 next week. We are still investigating and working on fixes for loading screen freezes/crashes."

Reminders

To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
  • Worlds 2019 celebrations is underway! New skins, chroma, Worlds Pass, loot, missions, and so much more are now available! The celebration runs now until November 19th!

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