Red Post Collection: Composing Kin of the Stained Blade, Finding the Spirit in Ionia, & More!

Posted on at 9:08 AM by Aznbeat
[Added Riot Summer Break starting August 10 & New Universe Stories!]

Today's red post collection includes a new dev video on composing the music for the Kin of the Stained Blade animated video, the next dev blog in the Spirit Blossom series, Finding the Spirit in Ionia, DX 11 testing, new merch, and more!
Continue reading for more information!


Table of Contents


Riot’s Taking a Week Off

Here's details from Riot on a weeklong break the company will be taking! Look for more on how this will affect the PBE soon!
"TL;DR: Riot’s taking the week of August 10th off to disconnect, recharge, and reboot (we swear we’re not robots). To make sure we’re not just cramming more into the following week, we’re shifting some patches and release timelines a bit to accommodate. A few teams are also staggering their time off to make sure everything is running smoothly. Look for specifics on League, TFT, LoR, and VALORANT over the next few days. 
This has been a big year for Riot for a lot of reasons. Putting the ‘s’ in Riot Games was perhaps our proudest moment as a company so far, but tending to so many new games is a delicate balance. Add COVID-19, working from home, and everything else going on in the world, and it can be hard to separate the “work” and “life” pieces of the work-life equation. As game developers, we’re all hyper aware of the effects of crunch and project-based deadlines. We owe it to ourselves and to you to prioritize our health as a team (well, many teams) so we can bring you new experiences long into the future. 
Before we head out, we want to thank all of you for your patience and understanding while we step back from making games and take a little time to play them (among other things). We’ll see you on the Rift... or rushing A on Haven... or hyper rolling Xayahs on the Convergence… or grinding to 7 in a gauntlet."

Riot Scruffy added:
"For League we're still going to have a 10.17 balance patch, but it wont have a lot of other content like skins or new champs. (10.16 and 10.18 are slightly larger than normal sized patches)"

Riot Kami Banani added:
"Hi friends! I'll be your RM for 10.18. As noted below, we're taking a week off! This means:  
a) no PBE maintenance during vacation week
b) 10.18 will be on PBE for an extra week
c) there is no 10.17 as far as PBE is concerned  
Hope y'all enjoy the patch!"

Composing Kin of the Stained Blade | Behind the Scenes

Check out this dev video on composing the music for the animated video Kin of the Stained Blade:

"Torn apart by choice, reunited by fate. Learn how composer Brian D’Oliveira crafted the music for Kin of the Stained Blade. 
Follow the paths of Yasuo and Yone in this behind-the-scenes look at creating Spirit Blossom’s animated videos!
The Spirit Blossom Festival will enchant the Rift from July 22nd, 2020 at 1:00 PM (PDT) until August 24th, 2020 at 12:59 PM (PDT). Learn more about the event!"

Finding the Spirit of Ionia

Here's Riot Cashmiir with the next dev blog. in the Spirit Blossom series - "The videos that capture two brothers bound by one story."
"Editorial note: Welcome back! We hope you’re enjoying Spirit Blossom as much as we enjoyed making it. In case you missed them, check out the worldbuilding and Spirit Bonds articles, and be sure to come back next Tuesday for a look at the Spirit Blossom skins’ sound design. 
There’s a fine line to walk when writing new stories for champions in League. We want to move their lives forward, but at the end of the day they all have dedicated players who care, so we need to treat them with care. Yone and Yasuo are no exception—if anything, they’re more difficult to portray because of their complicated past. 
Kin of the Stained Blade and The Path, An Ionian Myth give us some insight into Yone’s and Yasuo’s stories. We witness their years of training, the moments when the honor-bound elder brother tempered the steel of the younger, and the fatal day that brought it all to a grinding halt. 
But that day couldn’t be the end of their story. Not when Yone has returned, Yasuo is still seeking redemption, and both can’t seem to shake their past. So how do we move their stories forward in a way that feels authentic to them both? 
A Broken Past, A Reforged Present 
“We had two really good stories to tell,” says creative lead Mike “Riot Grizzly” Berry. “There’s the story of Yasuo killing his brother and dealing with the aftermath—how it rips him apart and how he becomes disillusioned and has to find his path back. And then there’s the story from Yone’s perspective: How he goes into the spirit realm, ends up fighting his way out, and the changes he endures.” 
In The Path, Yone’s origin story takes on a more... interpretive approach. When the folklore version of Yone arrives in the spirit realm, he’s led by a certain spirit fox on the path to peace and rest. But he’s confronted with a choice: Follow the fox or listen to the spirit of obsession and dwell on the decisions he made in life. 
“Yone’s conflict in The Path is something every single person in the history of life on Earth faces eventually,” says publishing creative director Anton “Riot Manton” Kolyukh. “It’s the struggle to become overwhelmed by something that happened, or put it aside and move on. It’s really universal. We really wanted players to understand Yone’s struggle, and to empathize with his decision.”
YOU COULD’VE SAVED THEM.
Yone allowed guilt and rage to overwhelm him, empowering the azakana who’d been hunting him to strike. And while Yone survived the encounter, his path was forever changed. He found himself back in the mortal realm with a new look, new sword, and new purpose: Hunt down and slay azakana. 
That’s what led him back to Yasuo. 
“While I was writing the script for Kin, I talked a lot with Michael ‘Riot Pls’ Yichao, who was working on Yone’s character development,” says narrative writer Dana Luery “griddlebones” Shaw. “I initially was trying to understand who Yone is as a champion, but it became clear that this is the story of two brothers, and to understand them I needed to understand their relationship.” 
Kin follows Yasuo’s struggle to overcome his despair, but his inability to make peace with the past has dire consequences in the form of an azakana that comes to feast. 
The final chapter of the brothers’ story together is one of absolution. When Yone and Yasuo finally come face-to-face in Kin, they must choose to either confront one another for their past transgressions, or to move on, come together, and slay the azakana. It’s their choice in this moment that allows Yasuo to finally stop running from his past, and instead look towards defining his future. 
One Story, Two Tellings 
The stories within The Path and Kin are really just a single one split into two parts. “But why, Riot? Why wouldn’t you just tell the story from start-to-finish in a single video?” Good question. Like the story within these two videos, the answer is multi-part. 
“When we first began thinking about Spirit Blossom, Yone, and the campaign as a whole, we identified that there are two parts of Yone’s story,” explains senior narrative writer Phillip “KneecapPhilly” Vargas. “One, of course, is the story of who Yone is now—the champion in League of Legends. The other is of the brother who was killed by Yasuo, and how he became the Yone he is now. We knew The Path would be released first, so we decided to focus on that story.” 
Because The Path acted as the trailer for Spirit Blossom, it needed to tie into the broader event. And because Spirit Blossom focuses on Ionian folklore, the team felt it was fitting to take a more mystical approach. 
“We used the work that the thematic development team did on the Spirit Blossom skins as inspiration for the art style for The Path,” Riot Manton explains. “We really wanted to take players to a place they had never seen in League before. The whole feeling is supposed to be like folklore has come to life. The images should feel like a hazy memory of something that lives on the tip of your tongue, in your imagination but not entirely real.” 
Music is an incredibly powerful component for visual storytelling. It helps set a mood and can draw viewers into the story. To mirror the approach The Path took with art, producer Joe “Riot Joepod” Schlamme needed to find a composer who could hit the folklore style that the team was looking for. 
“It’s obviously really easy to go towards a traditional East Asian-inspired score, but we originally thought about using instruments and melodies from Slavic and Nordic traditions,” says Riot Manton. “But when Riot Joepod brought Yutaka Yamada to our attention, we realized we needed to go with what fit his musical style. He was showing us beautiful East Asian inspired music, and it fit with what we were looking for. So we ended up going a bit more traditional in the end.” 
In contrast to the mystical elements The Path’s team took, the team creating Kin decided to go for a more realistic approach. 
"It was tempting to just focus on Yone's journey. There's so much there. A murder, a fight through the Spirit Realm, even a cool new mask! But the beginning and the end of that path both lead you right back to Yasuo,” says Riot Grizzly. “I'm glad we were able to get both stories in front of people because while we don't know where they're going next, it's really impactful to know how they got here and the toll it's taken on both." 
Focusing more on Yasuo meant the team needed to dive deeper into his past and show how he ended up where he was. Which meant showing the moment it all went wrong. 
“We decided really early that we wanted to show the fight between Yasuo and Yone in the form of flashbacks, but we were concerned that it could get a little confusing for players,” explains senior video producer / Kin product owner Scott “RiotSkewt” Roukema. “We were working with Haoliners Group on the video, and they have a really beautiful 2D art style, and wanted to push their limits and do more 3D. We ended up using a blend of these two art styles to clearly show the transitions between Yasuo’s past and his present.” 
The end result should feel like a seamless flow between Yasuo’s storied memories and the stark reality of his present. 
“When approaching the score for the Kin, we really wanted to create a musical language that spoke to the real, organic, and natural feel of Ionia,” says Riot Joepod. “We felt Brian D'Oliveira's deep knowledge of a wide variety of world instruments, representing a huge array of cultural and stylistic influence was the perfect fit here.” 
Originally the music in Kin was going to take a more stylized approach. Yasuo as a champion doesn’t fit into Ionia, and the team wanted that to reflect in the music as well. But as they narrowed the story down to the relationship between the two brothers, and their struggle to move forward, the team felt that doing anything too modern and irreverent might detract from that. In the end, the final score evolved into something that reflected a much deeper story.
“In my mind Kin is the slam dunk to The Path’s alley-oop,” jokes Riot Manton. “This story is about how these characters begin their journey of growth and put the past behind them. We see that in Kin with Yasuo, and we see the same choice made earlier by Yone in The Path. The coolest things about each of these champions couldn’t be the other, and I think each of these videos serves to highlight the differences in them, and helps make them each stand apart together.” 
“So much thought went into the journeys that these two characters have gone on,” adds senior creative services manager Mike “fragilemk” Hunau. “I think for me, the most exciting part is seeing how the choices these champions made reunite them in the end, and instead of focusing on their past, they’re ready to continue their lives, no matter where it brings them.”"

Universe Update

Two new stories are now up on the Universe!
"The boy ran at a dead sprint, driven by terror. 
Under the sliver of a waning moon, darkness swallowed his surroundings with only the faintest starlight giving a silver sheen to the misty night. Silhouettes of trees flashed by. The lantern in the boy’s hand flickered and sputtered, in danger of snuffing out. But it was not the darkness he feared. 
It was the thing that stalked him in the darkness."
"The light is dying. 
Above me, the sky fades to black as the sun sinks beneath the horizon, leaving ripples of dappled red trailing above it, the last warm echoes of the day. There is red trailing from me, too, from my armor, my sword. The last warm echoes of the lives I’ve taken today. In the first days I would work in the aftermath to cleanse myself of it, to wash and scour the blood and death away, but was never truly able to. After a time, I stopped trying."
  • Finally, Bard's biography was updated!
It is said that most inhabitants of the celestial realm see their home as a wondrous and vivid tapestry, woven with prismatic threads of purest starlight. However, for one prodigious entity, the intangible and everlasting beauty of this dimension is not seen, but heard—for Bard, a troubadour as enigmatic as he is eternal, the wondrous firmament is a symphony of mystic, ambrosial music. 
In the beginning, Bard had drifted without purpose or perspective through a silent cosmos, but with a deep sense of anticipation that something miraculous would eventually come to fill it. Fate did not disappoint, and with the forging of the first stars, the silence was broken and the first rapturous notes of creation rang in Bard’s ear. 
He traveled the swirling harmonies between the stars, along with the tiniest wisps of residual inspiration and thought left over from their birth. These semitonal, incomplete motes of energy—or meeps—were drawn to him whenever he added his own voice to the cosmic opus, forever ringing in one perfect accord. 
This was not his masterpiece, yet he gloried in it all the same. 
But after a measureless interval, a dissonance began to creep in. It was so small at first, Bard might have missed it, but the ever-doting meeps drew his attention to a failed dynamic shift here, an unexpected syncopation there, and even the growing absence of sound where, before, sound had been. 
Bard scoured the celestial realm for clues, until he discovered the source. It was the most curious of things—a world with a song all of its own. 
Driven by unknown magic, the music produced by Runeterra was as primitive, unevolved, and chaotic as the mortal beings that lived there… and yet it had an inherent beauty, like the rolling thunder of a storm, or the melodious knocking of wooden chimes in the wind that precedes it. Bard would have merely appreciated it for what it was, but unfortunately this particular song had gone far beyond a mere counterpoint to the celestial whole, and was becoming destructive. Something had to be done. 
Touching down in the First Lands of Ionia, Bard and his attendant meeps crossed into the material realm. All at once, his ears became like eyes, and he fashioned himself a simple body from the trinkets and fabrics of a traveling shawm-player’s wagon, including a beguiling mask—circular, with three holes in the face. 
He walked the world for an age, confusing and delighting those he encountered along the way, and found the state of things far more complex than he had first imagined. Many objects of wild and unpredictable power seemed to have made their way erroneously into Runeterra, and were disrupting the natural cosmic order of things. Casting his gaze back to the heavens, Bard deduced that some other power within the celestial realm was at work here… though to what end, he could not guess. 
Regardless, he has taken to the role of caretaker, retrieving anything out of place and returning it to where it can do no further harm. Though this may be only the first step in bringing the universe back in tune, it may also be the only way this world can be saved from what lies beyond it. 
And Bard is not blind to the future. He can see a great conflict approaching—one fought not in any single realm, but in all—and awaits the time when he must finally pick a side."

Help Us Beta Test Dx11 Support For League

Here's Riot Aperoll with a new article on the upcoming beta test for DX11 in League!
"TL;DR: We're adding beta support for DX11 to League in 10.16. If you'd like to help us test DX11, you can opt-in by following the instructions in this article! 
We're in the process of rolling out DX11 API support, and starting in patch 10.16, we want to give players a chance to try out the updated API before we make DX11 the default option in the game. You should expect no changes to rendering quality or performance, so if you feel that either of these things have been negatively impacted for you, please reach out to us by submitting a player support ticket with DX11 in the title. 
Why is Riot doing this? 
Upgrading to a more modern rendering API like DX11 will help us make bigger changes and improvements to performance and rendering in the future. Right now, testing DX11 is optional but we’d like to ask for everyone’s help. While we’ve had multiple rounds of internal testing, it can be difficult to find everything since we’re limited to the hardware that we or our partners have access to. By opening it up to players we’ll have a much broader understanding of how DX11 will impact players from toasters to supercomputers. 
What do I have to do to opt-in to testing DX11? 
In your game.cfg file which can be found under Riot Games > League of Legends > Configs, you’ll need to add the DX11BetaTest=1 line to your [General] configs. This file can be opened with any text editor such as Notepad, and both the filename and the text to add are the same regardless of the region or language you play League in. This isn't an in-game toggle because outside of this short beta period, DX settings shouldn't be something players have to ever consciously think about.
How will I be affected? 
Based on a few patches of PBE testing, we’re expecting this change to be business as usual. The goal of this phase is to make sure performance is similar or improved for players switching from DX9 to DX11. If your hardware currently doesn’t support DX10 or higher and you have the config enabled, it will automatically fall back to DX9 so that your game doesn’t crash. If you are experiencing an issue with visual glitches, performance, or stability, all you have to do is remove the config from your game.cfg file. 
I found an issue that only happens when I'm testing DX11. How do I report it?
If you find issues specific to DX11, first remove the beta test config from your .cfg file or change the "=1" to "=0" to double check that the issue doesn't occur for you normally. If the issue still occurs, please submit a ticket to Player Support with "DX11" included in your subject line. Our team will be reviewing the issues as they come in. 
-------- 
Once we're confident in the results of the DX11 beta, we'll enable DX11 by default. Beta testers won't notice a change; no one else will either, since the point of the beta is to ensure the change won't cause disruption. Thanks for helping us improve League!

Miscellaneous 

  • Riot Xenogenic tweeted that Lillia's Eternals will be activated in 10.16!
  • Riot KDan tweeted out a thread regarding Rengar SFX Bugfix updates.
  • Another Draw with Riot stream featuring Riot Zeronis will happen on August 6th!

Other Games

"Your newest VALORANT Act has arrived! It’s true, it’s true. That means this patch comes with a new Agent (have you met?), a fresh Battlepass, and our new Deathmatch (beta) mode. 
Act Ranks go live—and you can dive into our dedicated post for more—but competitive changes also include matchmaking adjustments that hope to better pair solo and solo/duo players against similar groups. You’ll get more info on how your rank was affected after a loss, too. 
Raze’s Showstopper gets tuned and the Blast Pack damage drops."
"The Spirit Blossom festival continues! Patch 1.7 brings with it two new Epic quests and more event-themed items in store, as well as a brand new Lab and new tri-region deckbuilding rules for Singleton Gauntlet. 
Before we dive in, we’ve got some important timing info on the next few patches. As we just announced over on the Riot Games site, Riot’s taking the week of August 10th off to disconnect, recharge, and reboot. To make sure we’re not just shifting more work onto people in the following weeks, we’re adjusting timelines for the next few LoR patches.
  • Patch 1.7 will go live normally tomorrow, but will last an extra week (so three weeks in total rather than the usual two) before we update again.
  • Patch 1.8 will go live August 26 (rather than August 19), and will also last for three weeks. 1.8 will contain a couple minor card changes but won't be a full-fledged balance patch, though it may feature a few other things...
  • Patch 1.10 (yes, we’re skipping 1.9) will land on September 16, and will contain our next significant round of balance updates. This patch will last the usual two weeks and resume our normal update cadence."

Reminders

  • The Spirit Blossom event is running from now until August 24th! Check out new skins, chromas, loot, and more, plus build your Spirit Bonds with champions to earn rewards, and look for future skins and champions to join the festival!

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