Today's red post collection includes Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for August 10th, this week's Ask Riot, a note on Ghostcrawler's transition to a new role at Riot, and more!
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Table of Contents



Quick Gameplay Thoughts: August 10

Check out Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for August 10th, including thoughts on 8.17 balance changes, playing against Zoe, 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: https://twitter.com/RiotMeddler
Some 8.17 balance changes
We've just finished work on 8.16. A fair bit of time at the moment's going into exploratory work on preseason as discussed earlier this week. We'll be doing some balance changes in 8.17 too though. Some things we'll be looking at below, we're also expecting some champs will probably need follow up changes after the 8.16 nerfs to burst from runes. Waiting to see where those land though before picking targets.

  • Annie Buff - Getting back to this after other work delayed it. First direction tested will be increasing her AA range back to its previous values.
  • Garen nerf - Garen's too strong at this point. We'll be looking to take power out in ways that nerfs him more in lower MMR, less in high, given it's low MMR that he's particularly out of line
  • Yorick nerf - Same deal as Garen, targeting low MMR
  • Rek'Sai buff - Not sure on details yet, likely just targeting overall power
  • Lee Sin assessment - Our 8.15 changes to Lee were intended to be a slight buff, looks like they’ve potentially ended up being a slight nerf however. We’re considering some followup changes to add a bit more power to him as a result. We tested some stuff during the 8.16 dev cycle, but weren’t happy with it so concluded we’d hold off and assess again in 8.17, see where he was up to.
  • Yasuo assessment - Similar deal to Lee Sin. 8.15 changes (crit items in this case) nerfed him noticeably. We looked at a buff in 8.16, but weren’t happy with the specifics we had in testing. That was an increased AD ratio on his ult. That had the benefit of addressing cases where his ult was getting outdamaged by one of his auto attacks (some bad feels) and helped push him towards heavier AD builds (versus going tanky, which cuts into his counterplay quite a lot). Had the downside of also making more of his damage front loaded however. We’ll be assessing him again during 8.17 too.
The Zoe playing against experience
We’re also doing some work on Zoe, which is less about power and more about improving what it’s like to play against her. Not certain exactly which patch that will be in yet, or what the specific changes will be. Could be 8.17, more likely somewhat later though.
Smite in champ select
Something we're doing with Nexus Blitz is making Smite a required pick for both junglers (gets put on you automatically in champ select). That's not necessarily something that'll be the case forever, but it's how we want to have for initial testing at least. We believe double jungle's optimal, but that's easy to misunderstand when first trying out the mode. We'd like to avoid early testing at least being distorted by people who aren't aware you'll want two junglers per team, hence the forcing smite.
As a follow up to that we'll also be making it so, if you're put into champ select as a jungler on SR, you'll also have Smite as one of your Summoner Spells when you join the lobby. For SR you'll be free to change it should you want to swap positions with someone else, jungle without Smite or whatever (it's a default, not a mandatory thing). Goal there is to remove cases where a player forgets to check Summoners after playing a different position the game beforehand and loads in without Smite unintentionally, putting their team at a significant disadvantage. Still figuring out exact timing on that change, shouldn't be too far away, but will be a bit later than Nexus Blitz going live.
On My Way Pings
Speaking of things that are coming soon, though not in the very next patch, we've got some improvements to the on my way ping. We'll be making it so that the ping also conveys some information about how far away the champion pinging is (really close, kinda close, really far etc). That'll happen both through different chat messages and somewhat different ping sounds. It's something we've been testing internally for a while and as you'd expect have found is helpful in coordinating ganks especially."
When asked for details on the planned Morgana & Kayle reworks, Meddler replied:
"As with most VGUs we'll be leaving the specifics until close to their release. Directionally Kayle's likely to stay pretty similar in terms of what she does, but with some of the details being different (similar power curve and playstyle, but spells changing, kinda similar style to Akali probably in terms of degree of change). Morg's unlikely to change much kit wise, there are some small opportunities for improvement there certainly, but overall she's already in a pretty good spot."
On Pyke, Karma, Lulu, Sona, and Nami, Meddler commented:
"Pyke - Seems in a reasonable spot, though tankier builds are potentially still a bit too effective. Pretty happy with how he's gone overall, especially given support assassin's a trickier space to work in.
Karma - Mini update work on her's being tested at the moment. Current focus is on seeing whether we can bring back one of her old gameplay effects that got removed in a healthy, useful way. Early days still on that, but it's showing some promise.
Lulu - Seems ok. She doesn't have the same consistency of performance some enchanters do, but tends to be really dominant and must pick when she does.
Sona/Nami - No immediate plans, watching both though. They're on the strong side, but not oppressively so to the degree they're crowding out other picks or don't have clear ways of being dealt with."
As for next year's VGU schedule, Meddler noted:
"I can't confirm for certain which VGUs we'll have next year or in what order. Can say I think it's very likely Morde is one of them though."
When asked about death recap work, Meddler commented:
"We could skip skins for a year and it wouldn't help us work on death recap - the issue there's what expertise is needed for each job. Skins are mainly artist dependent. Death Recap by contrast primarily needs engineer time. That means the trade offs we'd need to make for Death Recap work are things like working on client bugs, FPS optimization, enabling new features for game modes etc. Completely with you that Death Recap isn't in a good state, our conclusion's been that other work like that's going to improve people's experiences more (on average, certainly not for every given person) though."
When asked for details on Yorick work, Meddler replied:
"Quote:
I am interested in how you intend to nerf Yorick for lower MMR games without impacting his ability to be useful in higher MMR games?
Not sure yet, investigation hasn't started yet. Couple of examples of possible approaches hat come to mind for me personally:

  • Could involve shifting some power out of his summons to something that's more dependent on the player's performance. Summoned minions generally don't scale in effectiveness as much with MMR, so they have historically contributed towards low/high MMR skewing (Heimerdinger's old kit being a particularly strong example).
  • Could make part of his play more dependent on mechanical execution, macro understanding or something else that tends to increase with MMR. Specific combo timings, more game state dependent pushing power etc.
It's also possible we end up just having to cut some power in general from him, depending on how things test and other demands on the team's time. Goal's to adjust power by MMR certainly, but do want to be open that, as always, it's possible we have to go with a simpler change."
Meddler noted more details on OMW pings:
"OMW pings will be back in chat."
When asked about work on starting items, Meddler commented:
"For Runes we'll be making it so you pick a stat, or possibly a couple of stats, while picking your Runes.
Starting items is a space we might revisit at some point, for this particular issue though we think we're better off just offering a direct pre game choice, avoid having to make so many different starting items to cover all the possible combinations."
Meddler gave more details on automatic smite in champ select:
"Quote:
For the automatic smite, is that getting put on D or F by default or is it going to try to be smart about it? (e.g. replacing not-flash if they had flash as one of their summoners previously.)
From memory:

  • Goes on the non Flash key
  • Can be swapped between hotkeys on Nexus Blitz
  • Can be removed entirely on SR (it's a suggestion, not a requirement there)"
Ask Riot: Victorious Skins & More


Here's this week's Ask Riot, including some of the most interesting questions recapped this week:
"It can be tough to keep up with every edition of Ask Riot, so this week, we’re recapping some of the most common, most talked about, and most… interesting questions we’ve seen this year.
Check out the previous recap post for more hot topics.
Is riot games going to follow the newest trend and add battle royale to the game?
I think to make a game in 2018, you are supposed to have some kind of Battle Royale mode.
Seriously, though, we had a really hard time even getting Hexakill to work. I’m not sure if we could get 100 or more champions in the game without a ton of engineering effort. We’d want to be pretty confident that level of investment would lead to something really fun.
On the other hand, there are some really cool things that Battle Royale does that we’d love to be able to bring to League. For example, the expectation that you probably won’t win—you’ll probably lose—is a really nice element. In League, statistically if matchmaking is working really well, you’re going to lose about half of your games. We’d love if there was a game mode where you’re there to kind of do crazy things and see how far you can get, versus just crush the enemy team, but whatever form that takes probably can’t be a Battle Royale.
GHOSTCRAWLER
Design Director, League of Legends
What method or criteria do you use to choose which champion gets the victorious skin each year?
We start looking at options for the Victorious Skin in the Spring. Making any skin takes time, but the Victorious Skin is also teased one month before it’s released. With this in mind, we need to plan ahead for the Victorious skin, especially in comparison to a normal skin.
To begin, we take a look at champions that had a big competitive impact so far that year—this is largely based on Ranked and Pro play. Once we have some ideas for potential champions, we narrow down that list by eliminating champions who:

  1. Already have a Victorious, Championship, or Conqueror skin. We wouldn’t do Conqueror and Victorious Karma in the same year, or Victorious Elise 2.0.
  2. Play the same role as a recent Victorious Skin. Since we had a top laner last season, we tried to avoid picking a top laner again this year.
  3. Have another skin coming out soon. We try to spread out skin content across our whole champion pool rather than drop a bunch of skins for one champ at the same time.
  4. Have a very small number of skins. Since the Victorious Skin can’t be attained by everyone, we don’t want that to feel like the only skin your favorite champ gets.
  5. Have a big balance change incoming. This is definitely the hardest criteria to figure out because balance can be fluid and we’re trying to predict the state of the game six months or so in advance.
IAMWALRUS
Designer, Competitive

With the new ranked system for the new year, are you thinking of implementing a ranked system for aram too? it’d be nice to have something to say like, “look, this player is good at this mode.”

ARAM is a weird beast. If you imagine a game of SR or even TT, the hope is that your individual skill has a big impact on the outcome of the game. There are factors other than your skill at play however, including things like the somewhat random effect of who you’ll get as teammates and how well you gel as a team. In ARAM, these “other factors” have a huge impact on your success rate because which champion you and the other players get can massively affect the outcome. This is the part of ARAM that some ARAM enthusiasts find really fun—you never really know what’s going to happen.
Additionally, we spend far less effort balancing champions for ARAM than we do for SR. Part of this is just a question of focus. We view SR as the core League of Legends experience and spend most our bandwidth on balancing it. But it is also an acknowledgement that in ARAM, whether you succeed or fail is often a lot more out of your control, so even achieving a high degree of game balance can only improve the game so much.
For these two reasons, we worry that ranked ARAM just asks players to take ARAM more seriously, which could be a really frustrating experience. The urge to dodge might go through the roof for example.
All of that said, while we’re focused a lot on improving the ranked experience this year, one of the questions we’re exploring for the future is whether League needs to offer more of a sense of progression for players who don’t play a lot of ranked. While leveling is uncapped now, and we have features like champion mastery, overall there isn’t much that a player who plays mostly Normals (including ARAM) can choose to focus on. They don’t really have a journey the way a ranked player can shoot for ending the season with a higher rank. Maybe that’s okay—maybe Normal players don’t need and aren’t looking for an end game in the same way. But the requests we get for things like competitive ARAM (or “look, this player is good at this mode” from the original question) maybe suggests that some players are.
GHOSTCRAWLER
Design Director, League of Legends
How often do you design skins as “let’s make a new super galaxy skin” versus “let’s make a new darius skin,” for example? Does it tend to be one much more than the other?

A while back, our strategy was much more, “Let’s make a new Darius skin, what should we make?” But once we started seeing how much players enjoyed getting skins in theme packs, and how we could use those themes to run bigger events in League, we definitely shifted in the opposite direction. It became more about, “Players would probably enjoy another VS event this year AND two Legendary skins to go with it, which champions would be awesome for this?”
In that model, there IS an extra step where we look at how many skins the potential champions have in their catalog, time since last skin, etc. Otherwise you’d have three Jhin skins in one year just because he fits in a bunch of cool thematics we have planned… oh wait…
Still, there are many times where we look at champs we want to make a skin for and do a little bit of both. I think the recent Galio, Illaoi, and Shen skins are all good examples of this. Even though Galio hadn’t had a new skin in quite some time, we felt we could give him a lighthearted April Fool’s skin (funny skins theme pack) because he has a fair amount of serious skins in his catalog. Illaoi on the other hand was a champion that hadn’t had a skin since launch. As much as we loved the community idea of “Used Car Salesperson Illaoi,” we were concerned that her first skin since launch being more on the trolly side would be disappointing to players who had waited so long for a skin. With her it became more about, “What theme really works for Illaoi, regardless of theme packs this year?” And then, as you know, a community vote.
And then sometimes, the stars align. Shen was way overdue for a skin and we found an exciting home for him in the Pulsefire universe as part of that theme pack for this year.
So… all of that to say both? It depends? Let’s go with 70% “let’s make a new skin for Darius,” and 30% “let’s make a new Darius skin.” But, don’t quote me on my math, despite my making this post completely quotable. : )
P.S. The skins coming out for Aurelion Sol and Urgot in the next few months are one of each.
SUPERCAKES
Product Manager
Would you ever create a game mode based on an old League patch? Like Season Two or old Summoner’s Rift, with the champs and items set up the way they were then?
We looked at doing this recently for a series of internal playtests, because we wanted to experience first-hand whether things like pacing or counterplay felt very different a few years ago. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to easily get the older builds running because so much of the game content and code has changed.
We can’t just pull in old data and expect the current game engine to play nice with it all. We could almost certainly make it work if we had a bunch of smart engineers working to make it happen, but then those engineers would not be working on other features that might be more valuable to you guys in the long run. Likewise, we could have designers create versions of existing champs that tried to mimic the old data (Season Two abilities, items, tuning, etc.) but that’s a mountain of work for something that might only be fun for a few games or so. In other words, the opportunity cost of that work is probably pretty expensive.
So philosophically, we aren’t opposed to playing an older version of LoL, and it might be fun for a short period of time (because we might very well discover that the reasons we made all of the Season Three, Four, and Five changes still exist), but there is a good chance it’s not worth the development effort that it would take.
GHOSTCRAWLER
Design Director, League of Legends

Does Xayah lay eggs?

No.
WAAAARGHBOBO
Narrative Writer

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. Have a question?
Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away.
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."
Quick Hits


"Hello friends,
I wanted to let you all know that I moved off the League of Legends team a few weeks ago to take on an expanded role. I am still very much at Riot, but I am no longer the lead designer on League. The new lead designer is Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon.
My new position at Riot is head of creative development. We don’t typically make a big deal about titles at Riot, however, I plan on still keeping up an active conversation with you all, so I wanted to explain a little bit about what this role means so you’ll have some insight into the kinds of topics I’ll be most effective at discussing.
We’ve been up front that we want to put the S in Riot Games, and I am helping with that effort. In addition, we have been taking Runeterra as a world more seriously, as you’ve probably realized with the release of the Ryze CG and the world map. While telling stories is really important to us (and I hope many of you), there is a limit to the kinds of stories we can tell in League of Legends without getting in the way of a competitive, multiplayer game. So, many of our stories will have to come through other mediums, and of course that possibly includes other games.
I look forward to all of the “GC was kicked upstairs where he can’t do much harm to LoL” memes. Let me know if I can help you with those in any way.
League of Legends is in great hands, arguably even better hands. I know it’s hard sometimes as players to have a full appreciation for how many people collaborate to make League happen. League development is very much a team effort (a large team effort), and it’s almost impossible to detect the influence of any single contributor, even a lead designer. The direction for League comes from a leadership team, to which Meddler is a great addition. He has been working on League longer than I have, and he knows all of the nuance, weird rules, and “tribal knowledge” of League design better than I do. He has a long memory of things we tried and why they worked or didn’t. He knows where the bodies are buried. I’ll also still be Meddler’s boss, so if he disappoints you, just let me know and I’ll take care of things. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be able to step away if the design team on League wasn’t so strong.
I’ll still be out there playing the game with you, and I promised the development team that I’d always let them know what I think, by posting on Reddit of course. I’ll keep an eye on Boards as well (and more attention to the lore Boards now), but the easiest way to reach me is probably on Twitter @Ghostcrawler.
In keeping with my reputation of buffing frost mages, Meddler promised to take good care of Lissandra."






Reminders

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

  • The pool is open! Make sure to dip a toe in the water of the Pool Party 2018 event which runs now through August 13th! With new skins, missions and rewards, bundles, and more, it's sure to be a great time!


  • Dark Star Cho'Gath is now available, with 100% of proceeds going to regional charities! From now until August 10th, you can grab the skin, border, new summoner icons, and an emote! Check out our coverage for more!




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