Solo queue is coming back for players ranked Diamond and above; for more info on the upcoming Ranked changes, you can read Riot’s official announcement below:
Riot Pls is our ongoing effort to share our vision for League of Legends and to keep players in the loop as to what’s going on back at Riot HQ.
New001 here—lead producer on League of Legends—for the ranked edition of Riot Pls.
Dynamic queue is still failing to meet many of your needs. More specifically, it’s undermined competitive integrity at the highest levels of play. It’s taken us too long to get here and we apologize for the delay.
Let’s get straight to it:
TL;DR: For players near the top of the ladder, we’re bringing back solo queue and making a number of other changes focused on competitive integrity. For 2017, we’re developing a new ranked experience that offers legitimate competitive standings for all types of players. We’ll have details on the 2017 features in late September—you can read on for the short-term changes planned.
We’re focused on the top first because that’s where the 2016 ranked season changes have caused the most pain, and where we believe we can take immediate action to address player feedback. Accurate standings are critical when determining the top of the ladder, and we’re committed to addressing that with the following changes:
Challenger tier will shift to pure solo, and Diamond and Master tiers to solo/duo. We’re making this change first at Diamond / Master / Challenger because even minor levels of premade coordination have disproportionate effects on match quality at the highest tiers of ranked, given the limitations of the player pool and the sometimes massive skill disparities between single divisions.
We’re tightening the decay rules in Challenger and Master tier to encourage healthier competition at the highest level of play.
We want to raise the bar on how we recognize players who hit the top of the ladder at the end of the competitive season, so we’re working on new physical rewards for Challenger (more details coming soon).
We’re adding an autofill ‘grace period’ for all players and a guarantee that you’ll never be autofilled during a promotion series. Autofill is essential for ensuring shorter queue times during off-peak hours, but it can be pretty obnoxious if it happens back-to-back (this generally only happened at Master+).
These changes should serve as meaningful steps in the right direction, but we’ll be listening closely for your feedback. They will roll out over the next few patches and will carry forward next season as well.
We’re also currently closing in on our final designs for the 2017 Ranked experience, with the commitment to designing a system that provides legitimate standings for players of all competitive types. It’s clear we made too many trade-offs this year on the Ranked experience, but we think we’re now on a better track. Details are still being finalized, and we’ll have more in September, along with a reveal of our end of season rewards.
Finally, while we’ve heard some comments suggesting otherwise, it’s never been a goal for us to make League more casual. We believe League is for hardcore gamers, and mistakenly believed we could offer real competition to all parties with the same experience. Our long-term vision is to be a global sport, and our goal remains the same: to offer competitive experiences for all players, from solo competition to focused, competitive teamplay. Many things are a further ways out, but that’s where we’re headed.
We’re committed to continuing to improve League for you. Thanks for sticking with us.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m Pabro, a Product Manager, on the LoL Personalization Content Team (aka Skins team) and I’m here to give you all an update on Championship Riven as she will be hitting PBE very soon.
Worlds is a special time of year, and with the introduction of Championship Zed (surprise!) who rounds out a full Championship team comp, we wanted to look back to Season 2 where the championship line began. We felt this was a great opportunity to bring back the original Championship skin: Championship Riven for a new generation of players. And we damn well wanted to make sure she felt awesome for original owners. So we spent some time giving her texture some love and bringing it up to our current art standards.
We didn’t want to stop there though, and decided we were going to do something extra special for those who originally obtained her four years ago during the Season 2 World Championship.
If you are an original owner of Championship Riven, we are adding in some extra in-game recognition for you. Firstly, we will be making a custom vintage loading screen banner that is different than previous versions so people will know you’re an OG.
Secondly, we’re creating a “vintage” version of her in-game model that features an exclusive crown and a glowing particle on her sword when her ultimate, “Blade of the Exile” is activated. Original owners will get the “vintage” version of her updated model and the new version as well.
Any new owner of the skin will be able to obtain Championship Riven with an updated texture but none of the aforementioned extra goodies. The goal here was to ensure that vintage Championship Riven commemorated the start of the Championship skin line and people who obtained her at that time will get to celebrate that forever.
Championship Riven has been highly coveted by a lot of you for a looooong time. I mean, there was even a petition about it. Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of feedback, excitement and discussion around this skin so we felt it was important to do something different than what we’ve tried in the past.
We hope you enjoy the update and changes. As always, let us know what you think. We welcome it.
Riot Pabro: Hey Everyone,
This is Pabro, from the Personalization team here to talk about the slew of World Championship related skins, icons, and good stuff hitting PBE for Patch 6.18. We’re super excited to celebrate the 2016 World Championship with you, and we’re bringing a bunch of ways to show off your team pride in game.
First off, we’re bringing back World Championship summoner icons and temporary team emotes. You’ll be able to purchase and equip an icon for your favorite team which unlocks the ability for you to show your support with an emote. This year, you’ll also be able to upgrade emotes across three tiers to show your dedication to your team. Each tier has a different border for the icon and emote, and the final tier has additional sound effects and a special esports recall particle! The final tier of emotes is hitting PBE today, with the other tiers coming at a later time. More details on how the upgrade system will work to come later, but for now enjoy playing around with your favorite team on PBE. (Note, if your team doesn’t make it into Worlds they will not be featured on live. LEND THEM YOUR ENERGY!)
Secondly, we’ve added some extra art to Summoner’s Rift to commemorate the World Championship. The map will feature special textures to reinforce the spirit of Worlds in every game.
Last but certainly not least, we have some exciting news for the Championship skin line. We’re happy to introduce Championship Zed as the mid laner we’ve been waiting for since the famous Faker vs. Ryu showdown. Take him for a spin, and let us know how he feels.
In addition to Zed, we’ll also be bringing back Championship Riven, our first member of the Championship team. We know this has been long-awaited, so check out the full details and further info on her return here [link to Championship Riven PBE post].
Please hit us with your feedback and stay tuned for more details that we’ll reveal soon in anticipation of Worlds!
Here’s an Instagram preview of both the revamped Championship Riven and the upcoming Championship Zed:
Yorick has always been a practical man. He knew he’d need strength to destroy the Black Mist that corrupted the Blessed Isles, even if it meant fighting evil with evil. So he harnessed a whole world of evil in the cape that now clings to his shoulders; in the unknowable depths of the cloak swirls the essence of a thousand damned souls. When the Shepherd summons forth a being from that seething miasma of lost spirits, only he hears the wretched assembly’s great wailing and gnashing of teeth—this is his burden, and the source of his power. In his quest to free these souls, he’ll use them (and they’ll use him) to crush anything in their way.
PASSIVE: SHEPHERD OF SOULS
Yorick can have up to four Mist Walkers in his service at once. Mist Walkers decay if they move too far from either Yorick or the Maiden of the Mist. A grave is occasionally created when enemy minions or neutral monsters die near Yorick, and all enemy champions that die near him leave a grave.
Q: LAST RITES AND AWAKENING
Yorick’s next basic attack deals bonus damage and restores some health. If Last Rites kills a target, it creates a grave. If there are at least three graves nearby and Last Rites is on cooldown, Yorick can instead cast Awakening to raise Mist Walkers from the graves.
W: DARK PROCESSION
Yorick summons a destructible wall of corpses that encircles a target area for a few seconds.
E: MOURNING MIST
Yorick hurls a globule of Mist that deals magic damage, applies a slow, and marks a target. Yorick and Mist Walkers get a movement bonus when heading toward marked targets.
R: EULOGY OF THE ISLES
Yorick summons the Maiden of the Mist (at higher ranks, she’ll bring some Mist Walkers with her). The Maiden moves and attacks on her own. When Yorick attacks the Maiden’s target, he’ll deal bonus magic damage based on the enemy’s maximum health.
LANING AND MID-GAME
Yorick has lived longer than most men, and he’s built up a hell of a lot of patience over the years. The Shepherd of Lost Souls is never happier than when he’s able to quietly farm in lane, shovelling out a whole necropolis of graves as he prepares to lay siege to any structures or unlucky souls in his path.
Mist Walkers are great for sieges, but they’re just not that smart. Once yanked from the relative safety of the spirit-goop cape on Yorick’s back, they mostly want to hurl themselves (screaming and clawing all the way) straight down lanes. They’re fragile, so Yorick has a short window to enter a skirmish at full strength after he’s summoned a pile of Walkers. With his ghoulish army in tow, The Shepherd can encircle his lane opponent with a Dark Procession, then splatter them with some Mourning Mist as he closes the gap to deliver the trapped opponents their Last Rites.
Yorick’s true potential as a splitpushing demon emerges when he gains access to his ult, Eulogy of the Isles. Even without a decent-sized minion wave, Yorick and the Maiden can form a nigh-unstoppable army of Mist Walkers that’ll keep turrets occupied for ages while the Shepherd-Maiden duo pick apart the structure. Each Mist Walker can tank a tower shot, and the Maiden takes more than a few blasts of her own before giving up the ghost. Leave Yorick alone in lane for too long, and pretty soon you’ll have an army swarming your Nexus.
Yorick’s passive and ult give his team a unique way to press kill advantages in the midgame—with defeated opponents reborn as Mist Walkers, Yorick’s team will have a massive pile of friends to help quickly push down turrets.
TEAMFIGHTING AND LATE-GAME
The Shepherd of Lost Souls just isn’t very good at engaging fights due to his slow, shuffling movespeed and complete lack of gap-closing ability. And if he doesn’t last-hit a few minions to prep some graves before the fight, he won’t be at full strength when the souls and spells start colliding.
Once he’s in the fray, though, Yorick generally works like a juggernaut. He’ll want to build sustainability so he can survive teamfights long enough for his passive to kick in. With enemies falling all around him, he’ll have plenty of ghoul fuel to convert into more Mist Walkers.
Yorick’s pretty good at peeling and zoning thanks to his W, Dark Procession. The writhing band of corpses is great for keeping enemy juggernauts from making it to the backline, or for zoning the other team’s carry out of the fight entirely. But it feels best when you use it to trap an enemy mage or ADC. Unless the victim can quickly escape by destroying the wall with autos, your team gets to play a rousing game of ring-around-the-squishies.
The Maiden sticks around until her health is depleted, so if Yorick tanks for her, she’ll serve for long stretches as his own personal backline.
Throughout teamfights, Yorick has to pay close attention to the Maiden of the Mist. If she’s hitting a target alone, she won’t deal much damage, but there’s a multiplier effect when the Shepherd and the Maiden focus someone together. She’ll stick around until her health gets depleted, so if Yorick tanks for her, she’ll serve for long stretches as his own personal backline—his basic attacks are melee, but hers are ranged.
When both side lanes are unoccupied, the Shepherd has a chance to show off the most unusual ability in his kit: splitpushing two lanes at once. It works like this: the Maiden of the Mist is fairly intelligent by AI-companion standards, and she’ll continue to push a lane even if Yorick is no longer there. He can plop the Maiden into top lane, then TP down south to splitpush bot lane on his own. With adequate distance between the two, both are free to raise their own armies of Mist Walkers, up to four each, and push down two lanes at once (so long as the rest of your team can just hold mid for one minute). Of course, Yorick’s a lot weaker without his ghoulish sidekick, so split wisely.
Yorick is not a popular champion. We’ll admit it! Out of the 131 champions in League, the bedraggled green guy has almost always been the least-played, least-loved champ on the list. But why? Sure, he’s a not-quite-meta, hard-to-balance champ, but we think the biggest reason for Yorick’s unpopularity is simple: Nobody wants to be a gravedigger.
If you aren’t caught up on the latest Shadow Isles lore, here’s a quick summary: Long ago, the Ruined King travelled to a place then known as the Blessed Isles; He wanted to use the Isles’s eternal waters to bring his wife back to life. But the waters were never meant to reverse death, and when the King lowered her corpse into the magic waters, they became corrupted. The resulting Black Mist that emerged from the pool caused a magical cataclysm that morphed the Blessed Isles into the Shadow Isles—a place where the dead find no resting place. Yorick, a former monk on the Isles, is more-or-less a good guy, but he’s being slowly corrupted by the mist, which clings to his back in the form of a cape comprised of thousands of agonized souls.
Think about it. What image popped into your mind when you read the word “gravedigger?” Probably some hunched-over, half-dead lunatic who’s always shuffling around in the rain, only ever stopping long enough to wave a crooked finger and holler at trespassing children. And that’s pretty much who Yorick was. He was the modern stereotype of a cemetery attendant (a perfectly respectable job that, if we’re being honest, few kids actually aspire to have when they grow up).
But every culture, throughout time, has needed people to tend to the dead. And in some cultures, these custodians of the afterlife had to take great pride and go to extreme lengths to help lost souls get to the great beyond—or wherever it was they were supposed to go.
In ancient China, for example, travelling Buddhist monks would often bring along a Moon Tooth Spade: a double-sided weapon with a shovel-like scoop on one end and a crescent-shaped blade on the other. The tool had multiple uses: If the monk happened upon a corpse on the road, he could properly bury it and deliver all the necessary Buddhist rites. And, if he encountered bandits or wild animals, he could bust out the crescent blade to beat the holy hell out of his attackers.
It was here, in the story behind the Moon Tooth Spade, that we began to see our opportunity for Yorick. What if he was more like that older style of gravedigger—one who cares for the dead with one hand, but isn’t afraid to bring death with his other? Narrative writer John “JohnODyin” O’Bryan began to outline a new, way more heavy metal vision for Yorick’s backstory. “He isn’t just a gravedigger,” says JohnODyin. “He’s a custodian of life and death. Whenever someone is close to death, Yorick can decide to bring them back using a vial of holy water around his neck, or he can send them on their way to death.” He’s a twisted combination of Death himself and a guardian angel, bringing judgment from above.
With his new backstory, we’d turned the Gravedigger into the Shepherd of Lost Souls. But then came the tough part: translating that into the game.
SCOOP SOME GOOP FROM THE GHOUL JACUZZI
Despite longstanding issues with Yorick’s design, we felt we had a pretty clear idea of exactly how his kit and visual thematics needed to change. He needed to remain a necromancer, so we knew he’d be summoning some sort of wraiths or ghouls. The new story about the cape of souls on his back gave us the perfect explanation for his ability to bring forth Mist Walkers into the world—he just reaches into the mist and yanks out a handful of ghoulies.
The Mist Walkers, once raised, aren’t necessarily the soul of any particular dead person, because when Yorick adds a soul to the soupy miasma of his cape, it works sort of like pouring a cup of water into a swimming pool. When Yorick performs Awakening in-game, he’s actually just filling the corpses of his enemies with a cupful of the black mist, scooped fresh from the ghoul jacuzzi on his back. The mist animates the body, creating a Mist Walker.
The monk spade gave us a starting point for Yorick’s visual update, but it wasn’t hard to find other areas to improve. For one, Yorick’s new role as the Shepherd of Lost Souls implies that he should probably be dressing in some sort of ceremonial garb, not just a gnarly pile of rags. “Most of his new getup is made out of stone, sort of like something a weight-training monk would use,” explains concept artist Gem “Lonewingy” Lim. “It’s decorative, but it’s also indicative of how disciplined this guy is.”
When viewed from the back, the Shepherd’s rocky costume also makes him look a bit like a tombstone shuffling around on the Rift. This was intentional, partly because it fits so well with his persistent, deliberate gameplay pattern. When he sets his eyes on a goal, he gets tunnel vision—he wants to just push down a lane with his army. Slowly. Certainly.
He’s ultimately a character that tests your ability to adapt to predictable AI actions,” says Solcrushed. “Mist Walkers are a pretty simple AI. It’s like you’re a shepherd leading sheep.
The slow-and-steady approach to his animations and design worked particularly well since we’d always wanted to capture the feeling that, as Yorick, you’re moving an army. This, says champion designer Sol “Solcrushed” Kim, means Yorick’s update had to retain his A.I. horde. “He’s ultimately a character that tests your ability to adapt to predictable AI actions,” says Solcrushed. “Mist Walkers are a pretty simple AI. It’s like you’re a shepherd leading sheep.”
The biggest game design challenge when building Yorick, says Solcrushed, was figuring out how the ghoul raising process works. At first, any minion who was given their Last Rites immediately turned into a Mist Walker. Yorick raised a walker, his enemy killed a walker, rinse, repeat. The system was pretty unsatisfying from everyone, because Yorick never gained a real army, and his enemy had a constant, obnoxious workload to deal with.
At another point in the design process, the Shepherd’s ult gave him global ghoul raising. He’d blanket the whole map in darkness, turning everything that died during the cold night into a ghoul. The ghoul army would push every lane at once, and the reanimated corpses of freshly farmed monsters would come streaming out of the jungle. “It was pretty cool, but it was also batshit insane and totally unpredictable, so we cut it,” says Solcrushed.
The ultimate goal for Yorick’s rework, Solcrushed says, was pretty simple: “I just want players to feel like they finally have a necromancer that’s actually cool.”
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at email@example.com.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that LAG SUCKS. Plenty of players experience ping spikes, lag, and full-blown disconnects all the time. But what if there was a quick fix for all your connection issues? For some players, there might be: switching from WiFi to an Ethernet connection when you play could have drastic results for your in-game experience.
I’m Viscarious, a product manager on Riot’s live services team. About six months ago, I lagged out of a game so hard that I decided I had to do something about it. It was the last game of my placement series, and I was playing as Sona supp. Our jungler was thundering into bot lane for a gank, and my Jinx ADC landed a sick double trap on our opponents (Leona and Ezreal). First blood was guaranteed. I was just about to follow-up with my ult when the lag gods smote me. The next thing I knew, Jinx was dead and the enemy Ezreal was snowballing. All I could do was apologize and resist the urge to kick my router.
I had to wonder: what if my problems were caused by my WiFi connection? What if, to claim my rightful spot as a true PC gaming god at the top of the challenger ladder, all I had to do was switch to Ethernet? To understand the problem as deeply as possible (and because this is a Clairvoyance blog post) I dug into some data to find out.
TERMS TO UNDERSTAND
PLAYING PING PONG AND LOSING SOME PACKETS
WIFI VS. ETHERNET: AVERAGE PING DELTA IN MILLISECONDS
When you look at League players around the world, the average ping for players on a WiFi connection is between 6.7ms and 11.7ms higher than for those using an Ethernet connection.
However, this usually doesn’t manifest as consistently higher ping. Instead, increased ping is frequently experienced as ping spikes; your ping increases significantly over a short period of time, then goes back down a few moments later(usually after your whole team is already dead and the enemy Yi is dancing around your nexus). The chart above doesn’t show the severity or duration of ping spikes—just the average ping difference over the course of many games.
WIFI VS. ETHERNET: AVERAGE PACKET-LOSS DELTA
IN PERCENTAGE POINTS
Similarly, we found that players on WiFi had between 1.9 and 3.7 percentage points higher packet-loss than players on Ethernet. While this may not seem like a lot, there are two things to consider:
1. Every time a packet is lost between your computer and Riot’s servers, a request has to be made for that packet again. You want your packet-loss percentage numbers to be as close to zero as possible because, depending on when the packet-loss happens, you could miss a last-hit, fail to activate your ult, or even whiff the smite on Baron (that’s definitely what it was, right junglers?).
2. Similar to our ping chart, this doesn’t show the magnitude or duration of packet-loss when it happens. Players most commonly feel lag when there are big spikes in packet-loss. The 1.9 to 3.7 percent figure is just the average difference between WiFi and Ethernet players over the course of many games.
WHO’S PLAYING ON WIFI?
Out of curiosity, we analyzed who is playing on Ethernet and WiFi and came across some pretty interesting results:
Some regions rely on WiFi way more than others. While over 90 percent of games in KR are played on Ethernet, well over half of games played in NA and OCE are on WiFi.
PERCENT OF GAMES PLAYED BY CONNECTION TYPE
Part of this is likely due to the popularity of hard-wired PC bangs in Korea, but it’s also probably because we NA players are complete scrublords.
We saw a slight increase in Ethernet use in Ranked games compared to ARAM and Normal games across all regions.
PERCENT OF GAMES PLAYED BY CONNECTION TYPE
BY GAME MODE
But most interesting was the change in Ethernet vs. WiFi use by rank. Across all regions, a higher percentage of high-rank games were played on Ethernet. Although we’re not able to draw a causal relationship between playing on Ethernet and an increase in your rank, it’s clear that players at higher ranks are more likely to play on Ethernet. My best guessplanation for this is that highly ranked players are more likely to do everything possible to play on glorious, photo-worthy, wired battlestations.
PERCENT OF GAMES PLAYED BY CONNECTION TYPE
HOW DOES WIFI AFFECT GAME PERFORMANCE?
We now know two things:1) WiFi has an adverse affect on connection quality, and 2) it’s unlikely that Faker has ever played on a WiFi connection. So the next question is whether your WiFi or Ethernet connection affects your in-game performance in a measurable way.
For this analysis we decided to look at a range of gameplay metrics including: Minions Killed (CS), Gold Earned, K/D/A, Mastery Grade, and Win/Loss ratio. We decided to isolate our analysis to ranked games and players who played the same champion on both Ethernet and WiFi within the timeframe analyzed. Basically, we didn’t want to compare the same player’s Mastery Grade with Fizz on Ethernet to their Mastery Grade with Fiddlesticks on WiFi (since ping affects some champs more than others).
We didn’t find conclusive evidence that playing on WiFi negatively impacts certain specific performance metrics such as CS, K/D/A, or Mastery Grade.
Our analysis included only NA region players, but the results should apply globally.After all that gloom and doom we found about ping spikes, the results surprised us. No matter how we cut the data, we didn’t find conclusive evidence that playing on WiFi negatively impacts certain specific performance metrics such as CS, K/D/A, or Mastery Grade.
We have a few hypotheses regarding this:
1. While lag experienced from WiFi can negatively impact gameplay, it usually only has noticeable effects intermittently, so it’s difficult to isolate the effects within the course of a game (i.e. it’s hard to find the signal among the noise)
2. Players on WiFi may be able to adapt to added ping and packet-loss (playing around it, effectively).
3. Since there are four other players on the team, the impact of one WiFi player may not significantly influence the outcome of a game, especially if there are other players on WiFi on the other team.
When we removed the constraint that players had to play the same champion, we found that the win-rate on Ethernet was 1.1% to 1.7% higher than on WiFI.
Surprisingly, when we removed the constraint that players had to play the same champion across WiFi and Ethernet, we found that the win-rate on Ethernet was 1.1 to 1.7 percentage points higher than on WiFi. This is pretty consistent across regions. We’re really not sure why removing the champion constraint had this result. One hypothesis is that by controlling for champion across connection types, we’re also focusing more on players’ main champs. If you main a champ, you probably get used to dealing with the ping spikes that come with WiFi, but those same spikes hit you harder when you’re just learning a champ.
ETHERNET VS. WIFI: DELTA IN WIN-RATE
IN PERCENTAGE POINTS
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
The same night I lost that disastrous promo game, I popped open a browser tab and bought a 50 ft. Ethernet cable. After untangling my cat from the wire, I ran diagnostics on my network and found some pretty drastic differences in the quality of my connection on Ethernet vs. WiFi.
CONNECTION QUALITY OF WIFI GAME SAMPLE
CONNECTION QUALITY OF ETHERNET GAME SAMPLE
PING ‘SPIKES’ (>2X LOWEST PING)
PACKET-LOSS ‘SPIKES’ (>15% PACKET-LOSS)
Sure enough, I was experiencing higher ping, more packet-loss, and more connection issues when on WiFi. Especially interesting was theway I was experiencing lag. While there were periods of stability over the course of the game, there were also short periods with large spikes in either ping or packet-loss. These were the times that I felt lag most acutely.
My experience was pretty extreme, but let’s throw this to the commenters: what’s your own experience using either connection type? What lengths have you gone to improve your connection (longer than 50ft?) and how many of you intend to switch to Ethernet after reading this post?
[Reminder] The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.
Arcade Ahri, Corki & Ezreal are coming to the PBE soon. Here are their splash arts (minus Ezreal’s):
New Chroma packs are also on the way! Here are their in-store cards:
Arcade Miss Fortune
High Noon Yasuo
Warring Kingdoms Xin Zhao
SuperCakes here. I’m the product manager on Personalization (aka Skins Team).
It’s been a little over a year since we launched chroma packs. And while we’ve always been excited about chromas as a product, after hearing from you, we realized we could make them better. Now we’re hyped to share some news with you about our changes to chromas which are coming out soon and are tracking to hit PBE next week.
Our first move was to go back to basics and revisit things from this perspective: Why would I, as a player, want chromas?
Here’s the thing. I love skins and have a lot of them. But there are certain skins I always go back to. Arcade Miss Fortune is one of my favorite skins, and looking at what you guys are playing, it’s one of your favorites, too. And if I can play her in a rainbow of options, that sounds pretty cool to me. Chromas are meant to deepen your experience with a piece of content you already own, love, and play the shit out of. It’s that simple.
Next step, How do we address your feedback? The things that were ringing loudest were around bundling, aesthetics, and the pricing of chromas, and that’s where we put the majority of our focus.
We’ve unpacked chromas so you can buy them individually. You can still buy them in bundles, though, for a discount.
Chromas are designed by the same folks that make skins, and we take our responsibility pretty seriously. We only want to introduce things into the game that improve the overall experience of playing League of Legends. We took a look at what we were making and found opportunities to improve with revamped color schemes, patterns, and textures.
Chromas will be priced at 290 RP each, and will also be available in discounted bundles for the collectors out there. For those of you who love a chance to spend IP, we’re alsointroducing recurring IP sales which will take place twice a year. The first IP sale goes from August 25, 2016 to September 8, 2016 and includes all chromas launched before August 2016.
Some of you also suggested that chromas could be a reward for mastery. We’re committed to improving mastery rewards, and with the release of Hextech Crafting this year, we’re thrilled to have a way to reward you for mastery across several of our content offerings, including a chance to get free skins. We won’t be launching chromas in Hextech Crafting at this time, but it’s something we’re thinking about for future iterations.
We’ll get into more detail when the first wave of new chromas launches in a few weeks. For now, here’s a sneak peek of some of the aesthetic changes mentioned:
What do you think of the changes? What would you like to see? Let us know!
Riot’s latest dev blog explores the creative process behind Kled and some early concept art of his:
If Noxian soldiers made memes, what would they look like?
A weird question, maybe, but you can find the answer by cracking open a history book and flipping back to the 1940s, when American GIs were tramping around Europe during World War II. Around that time, a pre-internet meme started to appear as graffiti across the continent—an image of a little bald man with an enormous nose peeking over a wall. His name was Kilroy.
It’s unclear exactly where Kilroy came from or who first drew him. Some say Kilroy was named after a man who worked as an American shipyard inspector in the ’40s, but a very similar drawing is said to have appeared among Australian soldiers as early as the first World War. Whatever the case, American GIs couldn’t resist doodling Kilroy all over territory they’d conquered, even if it got them thrown into the stocks for a night. To the soldiers, Kilroy was an icon representing their victories, their values, their identities. Kilroy was the spirit of those soldiers.
Just like Kled is the spirit of enlisted Noxians.
Life isn’t easy for the men serving among the lowest ranks of the Noxian soldier class. To survive in that job you have to learn to love war, hate cowardice, and seize whatever bloodsoaked glory you can get.
With this in mind, we began to imagine a character who would take those Noxian warrior values to the extreme—an ornery creature that relished riding into battle and chopping off heads. Someone who’d never back away from a fight, who’d always want to go HAM. Who better to represent the ideals of these troops than a murderous, mounted, yordle soldier?
We set to work developing a champ that would encourage hyper-aggressive gameplay. We didn’t yet have any real idea of what the character would look like, so our designers slapped together a prototype using existing assets. The first model was literally Gentleman Gnar riding around on a tiny Hecarim.
“When you got dismounted, the little Hecarim would run away and the Gnar would be left by himself,” says champion designer Iain “Harrow” Hendry. “Sometimes,” he says with a smile, “you need an expressive prototype to sell an idea.”
When it comes to nimble AD champs designed mostly for the top lane (we call them “skirmishers”), your options include folks like Yasuo, Riven, and Tryndamere. Each of these champs is designed for the kinds of players who like going in deep, usually a bit further than they should. All of these characters, says Harrow, are sort of tryhard champs. “These are super-serious people with super-serious swords,” he says. “The goal was to make Kled a little more playful than his skirmisher peers.”
When designing Kled’s abilities, we went out of our way to avoid giving him anything that felt defensive or “safe.” Everything Kled does is about incentivizing and rewarding aggressive, risky actions. He has to charge straight into battle to get the shield from his ult. Even when he uses his unmounted “disengage” move, Pocket Pistol, he’s firing a gun blast to knock himself back.
We’ve always thought about Kled as “light cavalry,” as opposed to Sejuani’s “heavy cavalry” role, but there are other ways we wanted to differentiate Kled from the boar-riding jungler. One thematic problem for Sejuani is that her mechanics don’t emphasize interaction with Bristle, her boar. If we removed Bristle altogether and Sejuani was just a big ol’ lady, it wouldn’t necessarily make a difference to her gameplay.
So, we wondered, how could we fix this for Kled? What sort of relationship might he have with his mount?
Kled may be a yordle, but that doesn’t mean he has to be cute. “Cuteness isn’t valued by the Noxians,” says art lead Edmundo “odnumde” Sanchez. “He’s sort of a weird little goblin, and that was the vibe we were going for. He’s supposed to look very wicked.”
Skaarl, meanwhile, needed to appear a bit more goofy to fit its “cowardly mount” theme. We went through a bunch of animals during early explorations of Skaarl’s design, including a rhino, a frog, and a buzzard. While all of these sound like Donkey Kong Country mounts, the design direction is sort of appropriate given the role Skaarl plays—it’s cartoonish, like a critter that could pop out of a barrel. “I don’t think the Donkey Kong vibes were intentional,” says odnumde, “but we were aiming for whimsical, so it worked out that way.”
There’s one exception to Kled’s “aggressive or nothing” design: the ability to re-mount Skaarl just by returning to base. This was a sort of compromise around player expectations. For every other champ in League, successfully recalling to base offers a complete reset; we felt it was important to preserve that with Kled.
Before working on Kled, Narrative writer Odin “WAAARGHbobo” Shafer had just finished writing VO lines for Jhin. After spending months writing gems like “Life has no meaning, but your death shall,” he was ready to move onto something a little more lighthearted. Yordles are lighthearted, right?
“We wanted them to be a comedy duo,” Shafer says. “The idea is that Skaarl doesn’t want to go into combat, but Kled REALLY wants to go into combat. So Skaarl will run off at some point, causing Kled to freak out. Their dysfunctional relationship is built directly into the mechanics.”
The process works both ways, with the mechanics informing the character as the character informs the mechanics. Once we were certain that Kled would spend time fighting both on his mount and off it, Shafer gave Kled two stages in his voice-over lines.
Kled always wants to go HAM, but once he gets knocked off of Skaarl he actually starts going more insane and more aggressive. Kled may have lengthy conversations with Skaarl, but Skaarl has the intelligence of a dog—mostly Kled is projecting onto his reptilian pal when he talks to it. He loses a part of himself whenever Skaarl runs off, resulting in some way crazier lines of dialogue.
The cantankerous cavalier is more than just a crazy old yordle. All the aspects of Kled’s character—the violence, insanity, and his refusal to back down from any fight—are things that would make him an icon for the soldiers of Noxus. Not just an icon, but a meme. The dankest Noxian meme ever.
Share your worst, most hastily slapped-together Kled doodles in the comments section below.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time for an update on what we’re shipping next! Today we’re talking about draft pick normals and the storeso you can ban wisely and shop smart. We’ve also got some early info on ranked, which is coming within the next few patches.
Little bits of extra visual flair have been added throughout the process to not only better highlight whose turn it is, but to make each stage of the champ select process (pick intent, banning, champ selection) feel meaningful and distinct.
Now, whenever you ban a champ, a beam of arcane banmagic rips through the OP champ’s portrait, splitting it in half and cracking the glass above the image. The banbeam then ricochets to the top corner of the screen, stuffing the shattered spirit of the banned champ into a cute little box, where it’s displayed for all to see.
As each player locks in their picks and bans, the hextech wheel in the center of the screen spins and morphs to highlight which player is currently banning or picking, and you’ll hear audible champion quotes depending on who gets banned.
These changes are purely aesthetic—not game design changes. If you were hoping for extra bans, the ability to buy skins in champ select, or any other much-requested champ select features, this might feel like a let-down, but hang with us. Remember, our big goal right now for the client update alpha is to rebuild and tune all the current client’s features. Once the alpha client is ready to actually replace the legacy client, our teams will be freed up to pursue new features and actual game design changes.
Before we talk about ranked, let’s cover all the other little changes coming during the next couple of patches. As teased in our previous devblog, we’re pushing out a mostly-functional version of the store.Mostly functional and not wholly functional because it’s still missing loot and the ability to purchase RP. You might be thinking “why won’t you take my money,” and the answer is that we totally will take your money in an upcoming patch. For now we wanna make sure everything is working the way it should, though.
Draft pick is coming now, but we’re waiting a bit to add in ranked; We’ve gotta make sure our draft pick champ select is stable before we start putting LP gainz and losses on the table. When ranked does ship, though, it’ll come with a slew of associated client features you’d expect, including ranked leaderboards, ranked stats on your profile, and ranked emblems.
With this patch, we’ll be opening up the alpha to hundreds of thousands of new testers, so if you haven’t yet signed up for the alpha, we need your help!
Our UI team really had some fun here designing effects that celebrate key moments in champ select. If you’ve been playing in the blind pick queue, you’ve already seen the flashy stuff that happens when you highlight and lock in a champ, but the ban phase is new to the alpha.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at email@example.com.