Red Post Collection: Pride 2021 Celebrations, /dev: Of Men and Monsters, TFT Skyglass Origins Event, & More

Posted on at 10:05 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes the details on Pride 2021 celebrations across Riot, a /dev blog from Reav3 on human vs. monster champions, an intro to the TFT Skyglass Origins event, a recap on balance team blogs, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Celebrate Pride 2021 Across and Beyond Runeterra

Here's MinionsRPeople2 with a look at Pride 2021 celebrations across and beyond Runeterra - "Join us in celebrating Pride with our LGBTQIA+ community."
"For the past five years we’ve been proudly participating in IDAHOTB, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (now known as May 17th), and in 2018, we began sharing our support with you all, in-game with Icons that have made way to homeguard trail animations, emotes and even a Guardian (Legends of Runeterra). 
Now, we’re continuing our support for LGTBQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Plus the rest!) folks and allies across all our games, in a whole new way! Through May and June we will be celebrating Pride with free personalization content across all Riot games! 
Here, we’ll be going over the what, where, when and how players can participate in Riot’s Pride celebrations, but to find out more on what Pride means at Riot Games check out our article on it here. 
There’s a lot to be proud of, and a lot of ways to rep your support for Pride, so let’s get into it! 
League of Legends

What: With the return of Rainbow Poro Icons (Rose Quartz Poro, Sapphire Poro, Catseye Poro, Obsidian Poro, Tanzanite Poro, Citrine Poro, Rainbow Poro) you’ll be able to activate homeguard trails that celebrate the diversity of the LGTBQIA+ community! The homeguard trails will be active until the end of June. We also have a couple of emotes and an all new Summoner icon for you to earn via Missions below.
How and When: Through Missions that’ll pop up in your client starting May 17th! While you’ll only have till the end of June to complete these missions, you’ll have all the time in the world to celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride!

Details Plz: You may have noticed the allusions to Diana and Leona in the missions. A narrative release, covering their temple education in Targon together, will drop sometime soon. As to what happens on the Festival of the Nightless Eve, you’ll just have to wait to find out.
But Wait, There’s More: One more thing to add, is the return of profile splash art customization. If you equip the core Rainbow Poro Icon from last year, you’ll get the old parachuting Poros splash, but if you equip any of the other Pride Icons, you’ll get the new splash art instead — ooh, shiny! 
Legends of Runeterra:

What: Tyari The Traveler stars in the Everybody Gets Love! Emote, Poro Icons for flags (Rose Quartz Poro, Sapphire Poro, Catseye Poro, Obsidian Poro, Tanzanite Poro, Citrine Poro, Rainbow Poro), and an adorable new Guardian, Ellie the Elephant (below). The Poro icons are the same for Wild Rift, so check them out in the Wild Rift section!
How and When: Pride is in the cards, May 19th for patch 2.8.0! Just pick up the 0-coin Jubilant Colors bundle in the store!
Details Plz: Just hop over to the shop and pick up the Jubilant Colors bundle for a whooping 0 coins! It’s got everything collected into one place, just for you — and everyone else too! 
Teamfight Tactics:

What: Look, TFT may be my mainstay, but believe me when I say our personalization content makes the biggest boom. For TFT, there’s a new Pride boom with seven variants to celebrate your victories! Accessible by equipping the Icons (see above) available for League of Legends and TFT players alike, there’ll also be Pride-themed Little Legends trails to hop, float, skip, and slide around the Convergence with flair.
How and When: The Pride booms drop in patch 11.10, May 12th, via a new mission.
Details Plz: The mission to unlock the boom and variants is called “Sun and Moon,” and is pretty simple. Just field a team with Diana and Leona and you’re good to go! In addition to the booms, you’ll also get an additional 200xp towards your Reckoning pass as well. 
Wild Rift:

What: The new kid on the block, Wild Rift, has plenty of Pride to go around, with seven Poro Icons to celebrate the diversity of love, a homeguard trail, and an adorable rainbow Poro emote.
How and When: Pride wilds out on the mobile Rift, May 24th, with two missions to show your support!
Details Plz: Here are the 2 missions of this event:
For those of you celebrating Pride outside of your favorite games, we’ve got a fresh collection of merch for Pride 2021 available from June 1st to July 31st with 100% of net proceeds going to the It Gets Better Project! You can sport and support the cause with 7 identity options across various items.
There’s no mean mugging these adorable Pride mugs.
Rep your Pride rain or shine, with Pride tank tops, crop tops, or hoodies— we’ve got you covered.
Check out the Riot Merch Store come June 1st, for sizing, pricing, and more. Did I mention there’s a Pride fan too? A LARGE hand fan that you can use to cool yourself down while reading the new Diana and Leona lore. It’s all in the store, June 1st through July 31st, so be sure to support your wardrobe and the It Gets Better Project then.
There’s plenty of ways for you to celebrate Pride 2021 across and beyond all our games! Whether you’re flashing your Pride emote as the (enemy) Nexus explodes, celebrating your victory on the Convergence, or being an awesome ally, from all of us at Riot Games, have a terrific Pride!"

/dev: Of Men and Monsters

Check out the latest /dev blog from Reav3 - "Why do we make more human champions than non-human ones?"
"Hi everyone, lately I’ve been noticing more players in various places talking about how we’ve been making more human champions and fewer monsters. This was an intentional shift on the Champions Team, so I thought it’d be good to go over our thinking so you can better understand how we got here. 
New Ways to Play 
First, let’s start with why we still make new champions, since for me “because we’ve always made new champions” isn’t really a strong enough answer. 
The main reason we continue to make new champions is that we believe part of League’s magic is its never-ending mastery curve. Learning new things is fun and keeps players excited to keep playing. Once you’ve learned everything about a game, it can start to become less engaging. While new players have plenty of new things to try and learn in League, we have millions of players that have been playing for years—some even since League first launched.

Preseason is one of the ways to majorly shake up and improve the game once a year, but champions are how we add new gameplay mechanics at a more consistent and regular interval. Every new champion we create adds new gameplay to learn to play as or against, which is one of the reasons why we try to ensure all new champions have a unique playstyle. 
The kicker here though is that for new champions to hit their goal, they need to be picked and played in games. If they aren't played much, then they don’t really achieve their goal of adding something new for many players to learn. This isn’t to say that all champs need to achieve this goal, as part of the fun in League is playing against that really niche champ you don’t see that often but that really mixes up the game when you do. Niche champions can also deeply resonate with a smaller number of players in a way broadly-appealing champions could never do. 
Theme is Queen 
With all that in mind, back in 2017 we made it a more explicit goal to ship more broadly-appealing champions. We did a lot of research into what makes a champion broadly appealing or niche by surveying players all over the world. What we found was that one of the major things that made a champion more relatable and appealing was when they were human. There are many other factors of course, like how attractive, dark, powerful, edgy, cute, fashionable, skillful, etc. a champion is. But with the exception of a few outliers (like Kha’Zix and Yuumi), almost every champion that’s broadly played is a humanoid of some kind. Humans just seem to be more relatable to other humans—it’s probably why so much fiction in our world revolves around people. 
I know some of you are going to say, “Doesn’t the gameplay matter more than the theme or visuals? If monster champs had better kits, then more people would play them.” While this is true to an extent, it’s only true for some players—in fact based on our data, it looks like a champion’s playrate is a combination of actual power, perceived power, and thematic resonance, with theme being one of the BIG parts of that equation.
One of the ways you can see evidence of this is by looking at the different playrates of some champions from region to region. Champions don’t have different gameplay in different regions, and yet Jinx is more popular in western regions (where the punk rock aesthetic is more resonant) than eastern regions. In contrast, Xin Zhao and Jarvan are more popular in China. Yasuo is popular everywhere, but he is extremely popular in eastern regions. And it’s not just those examples: Champion popularity varies between regions and a lot of the variance can be linked to how resonant that type of theme is in that region. 
We also see a heavy connection between champions that rate highly on the survey question,“Do you like this champion’s theme?” and their popularity. There are outliers of course, like if a champion’s kit is so esoteric that it hinders people from playing them, even if they like their theme. This can cause a champion with a broadly-appealing theme to have a much lower playrate than expected. Aurelion Sol, for example, generally gets very high scores for theme and visuals but very low scores for gameplay, and ends up a lot more niche than a dragon-themed champ ought to be.

Also when I talk about play rate, I’m referring to all PvP game modes where players select a champion. In solo queue, the higher up the ladder you go, the more a champion’s power drives pick rate (rather than theme), but high MMR is a very small percentage of League’s total playerbase. Because having a champion you love is a major factor in whether someone continues to play League, regardless of rank, we tend to consider the entire playerbase when designing champions. 
The Rise of the Humans 
So now that we’ve covered that engagement is the primary reason we make new champions and that theme impacts engagement, let’s talk about how we got to where we are today.

We started to subtly shift our strategy back in 2017 as we began to make a clearer framework around broad and niche appeal. Then in 2018, the Champions Team made it an official strategy to target 70% broadly-appealing champions and 30% niche champions. We also include VGUs in the breakdown since they also drive engagement and usually bring new mechanics to learn. 
Going back to our main goal for champions (engagement), if we were to release two niche VGUs in a year, and also a few niche champions, then overall we wouldn't really be driving very high engagement. So the main reason for the shift to making more broadly-appealing new champions, and thus more humans, started officially back in 2018. 
Recently though, there’s been a second reason we’ve continued to make a large amount of human champions. That reason is that representation has been a larger goal for the Champions Team in the last couple years, and we’ve been trying to make more champions that are inspired by different cultures around the world. And while Runeterra isn’t Earth—so our goal isn’t to make champs that perfectly reflect real world locations—we have made a stronger effort to make champions inspired by regions everywhere. We want all players to be able to see themselves in the games they play, and League champs are no exception.

This is something we’ve become really passionate about on the Champions Team, which you’ll see reflected in some of our recent (and upcoming) champions. For example, Samira was inspired by Persian cultureViego by conquistador-era Spanish culture, and so on. To do good cultural representation though, you almost certainly need to make humans, or at least champions that are close enough to humans that people can relate to and identify with them. So this is another reason we’ve been doing more humans recently. 
All That Said… 
Even with all of this, we think we’ve leaned a bit too heavy on straight-up humans in the last couple years. Lately we’ve been making one non-human a year, but that also included human-ish champions (like yordles) or semi-human champions (like Lillia), as well as creatures like Yuumi. We reflected on that and decided to instead group champions into 3 categories rather than 2 (human and non-human). The three new categories are human, humanoid, and creatures.

Humans include any champion that is mostly human, or very close to it, like Lucian, Senna, Yone, Pyke, and Jhin. Humanoids include any champion that is half human, or at least are pretty close anatomically to a human, like Lillia, Urgot, Renekton, Aatrox, yordles, and so on. The last category is creatures, which includes any champion that doesn’t resemble a human at all, like Rek’Sai, Vel’Koz, Yuumi, Aurelion Sol, Skarner, etc. It’s worth noting that this isn’t an exact science (is Zac more humanoid or creature?), but the general categories are helpful. 
"Monster" isn't one of the categories because that's more about aesthetic than anatomy. Aatrox and Renekton are examples of monstrous humanoids, whereas Yuumi is an example of a non-monstrous creature. 
We have plans to make a new creature champion in 2022 since it’s been a while, the last one being Yuumi. While it made sense to make a cute creature like Yuumi since the game was lacking in cute creatures, we want the next one to be on the darker side. This doesn’t mean we’ll do a full creature every year, as they are pretty niche, but we do want to make more non-human champions going forward. 

I hope this at least gives some clarity as to why we shifted to creating more human champions, even if you disagree with the shift. If you’re a fan of monstrous champions, I think 2022 will have some champs that appeal to you, even in the humanoid group. 
Thanks for all the continued support you all have given us on the Champions Team over the years. We appreciate you all."


The Skyglass Origins Event

Check out the details from Riot Beernana on an upcoming TFT event, Skyglass Origins - " How you can help Pengu rebuild the Skyglass and banish the Black Mist."

"Reckoning has arrived, and the Black Mist has unleashed Chaos Pengu and their minions into the world.The Skyglass, a powerful relic contained in the Sacred Keep, has been shattered by the corruption. But not all hope is lost. Restoring the Skyglass will reveal hidden knowledge necessary to bring order back to this world. Pengu and the forces of Order are going to need your help to rebuild it. Once you do, they’ll be able to banish Chaos Pengu and the Black Mist once and for all. 
How it Works 
Play any game of Teamfight Tactics to complete special missions and rebuild the Skyglass piece by piece. Each mission you complete will unlock a piece of the Skyglass, which you can restore to learn about one origin from the world of Reckoning. You might even get some gameplay tips along the way!
The missions will be available from June 8th at 8:00am PDT to July 8th at 8:00am PDT. There are 15 missions total, each tied to a corresponding piece of the Skyglass.

The missions will need to be completed sequentially and will also give a reward. The initial missions will provide 10 Star Shards each, while the last three will provide a Magical Misfits Little Legends egg and two unique emotes.
Skyglass Origins is free to play. Just start by heading to the Skyglass Origins tab in the client, or checking out your missions tab. Remember: Pengu and the gang are counting on you to help them. So get playing, restore the Skyglass, and use its secrets to bring balance back to the Convergence!"

TFT: Reckoning Arenas from Concept to Life

Here's MinionsRPeople2 with a TFT dev blog on the making of the Reckoning arenas - "Behind the scenes of Chaos Pengu's chaotic lair and Choncc's island getaway."

"Whether you’re combatting the Black Mist in the depths of the Count Spatula arena, or avoiding it altogether while lounging at Splash Party Arena, we’re here to dive or spelunk into the details of these boards. 
Concept Art: Finding Reckoning’s Two Arenas 
Travel through a portal or two and you’ll eventually find yourself in Chaos Pengu’s lair! This dark yet homey space is the kinda place you’d take your hostages--I mean, friends--to bear witness to the glory of your minion metal band. That’s right, it’s the Count Spatula arena! But despite all the cool decor it boasts now, this place actually started from the early concept pulled from Concept Artist, Igor Artyomenko’s virtual notebook below.

But with time, and a little home improvement work, the Count Spatula arena now features household must-haves such as a rad chopper bike and a marvelous self portrait of our favorite baddie, Chaos Pengu. Details like these can turn an arena from barren cave to rant ‘n’ rave--but they also give insight into the personality of Chaos Pengu themself! Check two later concepts for the arena here:

Now, while the Count Spatula arena was crafted with Chaos Pengu front of mind, the concept for our other interactive arena, Splash Party, came from the desire to create a place where players could soak up the sun, kick back, and Choncc out. Concept Artist Gino Whitehall crafted the Splash Party arena concept to feel like a beach volleyball game, with sandy courts and teams starting in opposition. But the design for this arena took a couple turns before arriving at the beachside getaway it is today! Artists started with pool-related concepts. But anyone who’s ever looked at a pool can concretely say they’re not very inspiring. From there, the artists explored the idea of a water park with a lazy river (explorations below), which influenced the final version of the arena, the beach-side Splash Party that we have now.

Concept Art is also responsible for adding any interactable elements to an arena. For Splash Party, that includes the water slides, Scuttle Shack, and more--but I’ll get more into these interactables later. With the concept and locale locked, the next step for these arenas is Environment Art. 
Environment Art: Bringing the Arenas to Life 
Environment Art means creating a place to sell seaside snacks, or giving a secret lair teeth--er, I mean stalactites. But most of all, it’s where Jeremy Page, our Manager of 3D Environment Art, adds to a concept until it becomes a reality. But crafting that reality involves a number of phases, ultimately finishing with a beauty pass.
The beauty pass takes more time than any other phase of the process--not only because it requires constant feedback and reiterations, but also because the team has some pretty high standards for beauty. But these standards have paid off! 
Sound Design: Adding Beats ‘n’ Bops 
If you thought all that sounded cool, wait til you hear this. 
Those are the audio tracks for this set’s new Splash Party and Count Spatula arenas, courtesy of Alison Ho, the TFT Sound Design Lead. 
Sound design is the art of creating layers of sounds that blend with the aesthetics of an environment. For Splash Party arena, ukulele strums, the clamor of beachgoers, and sounds of walking over the boards at the Scuttle Shack not only match the visuals of the arena, but make it feel more alive and real. And there's a good reason for that! While some of these sounds can be found using a digital library, others (like the mellow waves and sounds of roller skating) came from audio captured by Alison and other sound designers. 
Using real-world sounds like these creates a more believable and immersive Splash Party experience. The ambient sounds of skating come from Alison’s own recording in Uptown, Chicago. And the soothing waves come from a recording Isaac Kikawa and his pup, Dixie, captured in Switzer Falls out in Pasadena, California, seen below:
Other sounds, like those for the Count Spatula arena, came from folks like League of Legends Audio Director, Matteo Stronati, rocking out on the drums or Brendon Williams, Composer, riffing on the guitar. Most sound design is a matching effort with VFX. But for Count Spatula’s minion band, it’s the other way around. Both victory and defeat trigger different auditory effects, where minions (who have feelings too) rock out in celebration or frustration. Speaking of VFX… 
VFX: Click, Spam, and React 
Making VFX for boards is sort of like creating a conversation with the player—moments where the game reacts to your choices, wins, and losses. When your loss streak makes your own motorbike abandon you in shame, it’s like the game is feeling your emotions right alongside you. But not all VFX conversations are about defeat. Some of VFX artist Riot iZac’s favorites from this set are the Splash Party arena’s clickable water slides, where you can uncover what happened to Choncc’s snorkel gear.

The spammable interactives that exist on the Count Spatula and Splash Party arenas are completely new to TFT. We’ve had win and loss streak SFX and even interactables before. But for the first time ever, TFT has dynamic clickable interactives such as the runes in the Count Spatula arena or the water slide in Splash Party. They’re interactable elements that change with each click, but can also be influenced by your game state. As a player you can rapidly click to create your desired sand castle, only to have it destroyed by a wave upon losing. Unlucky.
As you can probably tell, there’s a lot to explore in Reckoning’s new arenas—more than I could get to here. So get to exploring, and let me know if you figure out how to get that motorbike to come back. Hmm... 
The TFT: Reckoning arenas bring many firsts to TFT. From the many clickable interactions to the home-captured sounds of water and metal, there’s lots to explore in these arenas. So be sure to discover more features and easter eggs by picking up the Count Spatula and Splash Party arenas while they’re still available!"


Balance Blog Collection

Check out this recap of blogs and videos from the balance team on how they work - "Buffs? Nerfs? New champions? Items? Pro play? This round-up’s got it all."
"Over the last couple years, we’ve released quite a few posts about our approach to balance. So today, we wanted to do a quick recap, complete with summaries and links out. You can think of it like a greatest hits album, except with no music and more text. 
League Balance for Bronzies Video
In our first ever animated balance explainer, we break down our balance approach ELI5-style. It features adorable doodles of Ornn, Amumu, Ezreal, and design lead Mark “Riot Scruffy'' Yetter. 
/dev: Balance Framework Update 
Ever since 2019, we’ve used a data framework known as the Champion Balance Framework to guide us in determining which champions should be buffed and nerfed each patch. It involves looking at the win rates of every champion across all roles and various skill brackets, then using that information to determine how to address balance outliers. This post breaks down the data thresholds and why we decided to use this framework in the first place. 

/dev: Balancing New Champions 
It takes time for players to master new champions, which is why we used to release new champs and VGUs slightly strong as a form of training wheels. This approach had some serious drawbacks, so ever since Fiddlesticks' update in 2020, we’ve started releasing new champs and VGUs at what we believe to be their long-term balance state. More deets on the pros and cons of this approach found in this post. 

/dev: Balancing for Pro Play 
Professional play makes up one of the skill brackets we look at when determining which champions to buff and nerf, but we also have some other balance goals that are unique to the professional scene. This post breaks down what we think a healthy pro meta looks like at a high level, both for the regular season and for major international tournaments (like Worlds). 

/dev: Updated Approach to Item Balancing 
When we updated League’s item system in late 2020, one of our goals was to encourage build diversity. To that end, we created an item balance framework to help us identify when items are too strong or weak, based on their build rates across champions and classes. You can read more about our approach to item balance and check out the framework here. 

/dev: Life of a Patch 
If you ever wanted to know what goes on behind-the-scenes when we’re making a patch, then this post is for you. It’s a summary of the project we did back in 2019, where we live-Tweeted our progress on patch 9.13."



Other Games

Legends of Runeterra
"New Event - Dark Horizon 
Prepare for unfathomable cosmic power - the Dark Horizon event arrives along with Patch 2.8.0! Travel along the infinite cosmos on the Dark Horizon Event Road, with rewards from the furthest reaches of the universe. A galaxy of new personalization items is also coming in the patch, including Cosmic & Dark Star champion skins, as well as our first Legendary-tier board, complete with its own Mega Guardian."

Ready to take your favorite champions to an entirely new dimension? Introducing Legends of Runeterra’s first champion skins!

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