Nidalee's Splash Art, Massive Update on Xerath, More on the 3.9 PBE Patch, Difficulties of New Skins for Some Champions

IronStylus on Nidalee's Splash Art

Originally Posted by Riot (View Reddit Source)

This is something I just spoke to the splash team about yesterday. RiotTeaTime is helping to re-prioritize Nidalee's splashes amongst the other splash reworks we're doing. Splash has done a crazy amount of catching up recently and the pipeline is stabilizing. We're taking some time to do our due diligence in finding what splashes hold the most player value in terms of reworked splashes. Nidalee's have been deemed as a high priority.

In the recent past, we've generally tried to up the quality of splashes across the board, as you may have noticed. However, it hasn't necessarily been completely synced up to what Relaunch team has planned or is doing. Therefore, we might get new splashes for characters which might get changed fairly soon(tm) in terms of VU. Now we're de-slotting some splashes where we know we're going to have a relaunch, as to have the work on a new splash coincide with any new Relaunch VU.

So, stuff is going to get fixed :)

Massive Update on Xerath

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

So what's happening with Xerath?
  • Basic VFX direction is solid
  • Design direction is complete
  • Ability design is basically locked in
  • Balancing phase is starting
We almost cut the auto-attack replacer, but after several playtests where playtesters insisted it was the most fun thing on his kit, we decided to keep it.

What is Xerath now?


Xerath's Q is still a line-nuke which instantly deals damage along the entire length.


Live Xerath only has 2 spells with an obvious flow. E->Q. W->Q. Then his ultimate combo E - R - Q - R - R. To resolve this, we "split" Locus of Power's play pattern into two parts.
  • The W -> Q poke combo has been baked into "Q". Arcanopulse (Q) can be charged, charging the attack takes slightly longer than W-Q, but you can move while charging.
  • The W -> R total annihilation combo has been moved into the new "R". Read down to see more.

New W)

We've given Xerath a new basic spell, name TBD, which works like 1 pulse of Arcane Barrage with a mild slow on a short cooldown. However, it has a "bullseye" effect in the center which deals bonus damage.


The new "E" has all of the old range W gave to Mage Chains baked in baseline, plus its now a skillshot missile that stuns, making Xerath's targeting paradigms line up smoothly.


During the new Locus of Power, you are immobilized and your spells are free, but you drain mana over time. You can remain in R as long as your mana lasts. Your spell ranges increase dramatically.

Instead of 3 huge pulses, you have a very large number of smaller attacks that bombard the target location with aoe explosions. R has a reasonable, but high cooldown.


Xerath's passive provides early game mana regen, plus bonus spell penetration as he purchases mana items. This gives him early game sustain, allowing him to farm into a large-game mage hypercarry if left unchecked.

Problem we've run into and their solutions:
  1. Major Mindshare during ultimate is insane
  2. Major 3000 range with nearly unlimited duration is overwhelming.
  3. Major Xerath is regularly unaware when he is under attack in locus.
  4. Minor Xerath E isn't reading naturally as a stun.
  5. Minor Xerath ultimate auto-attack replacer was impossible to land.
1) Mindshare

Old Xerath has 2 spells, plus a bursty moment when R was up. New Xerath (Xerath 2.0) has enough spells to keep him busy. So much so that during his ultimate, getting a free 5th spell has proven almost overwhelming.

One option was to cut the auto-attack replacer completely, but it was so consistently positively reviewed that we instead decided to make it cost additional mana during Locus of Power. This means that casting your spells is your primary task, but if you need to finish someone off, you can drain your mana pool to fire a rapid sequence of small attacks to finish them off.

2) 3000 range with unlimited duration is overwhelming.

When we made Xerath's R duration limited by his mana pool, it meant that the length of time he could remain in Locus was much, much higher, based on build. So to counter it, we are allowing Xerath to be knocked out of locus of power when stunned.

During Locus of Power, Xerath is immune to knockups/knockbacks and pulls. However, they will cause him to be stunned briefly and end Locus of Power. This gives enemy teams a strong objective. Get to Xerath and stop his ultimate!

His max rank range has been slightly reduced so that seeing Xerath attack you means you can reasonably reach him.

3) When Xerath is under attack during R, he doesn't notice.

We're hoping that by allowing opponents to stop locus, it makes the moments where you need to turn and fight the guy attacking you more clear.

4) Xerath E isn't reading as a stun.

We're going to make the new effect more lightning "shocky" feel and perhaps steal some visual queues from Syndra.

5) Xerath's R is too hard to hit.

As an auto-attack replacement, Xerath's R attack was too hard to consistently time and land. We've since removed the effect from his auto-attack timing. Instead, during Locus of Power (R), he cannot auto-attack, but his right and left clicks will trigger a missile under his cursor every 0.5 seconds.

These attacks can be queued up by dragging your cursor across the screen while holding down right click.


I'm feeling *very* positive about this direction. His R feels like the same "blow up the world" feel, but less toxic and frustrating than his old R. It brings area domination on a good cooldown. His new "W" gives him a fun core experience without his ultimate. His new passive, while needing good tuning, makes him feel like the same strong late-game character.
Apologies for being behind in this discussion, but what exactly is the auto-attack replacement in his ult?
Basically, during his ultimate, he ceases to auto-attack, but when you right click you fire a missile barrage at the location below it. You can hold down the cursor to fire these as a stream, draining your mana rapidly, but dealing continuous damage.
holy ****... this sounds awesome, im in love with this kit.
one thing though. 3000 range on his ult seems massive, you could be quite a ways away from a fight and the other team may never even see that hey xerath really is a part of this fight but we cant even see him. I know you are not looking for any more suggestions at this time for his skills but i kind of want to throw my thoughts out there anyways.
why not have his ult start at a certain range say something like 1750 or 2000 range and have it expand the longer he is in his ult out to a certain point like 3000. like this you can start your ult closer to a fight giving the enemy team a better chance of either stoping you or possibly moving the fight away.
just a thought i guess, basicly i just think 3000 range is pretty darn big. id rather see something with a smaller range and a shorter cool down than something super long range with a long cool down.
That's a good idea. I'll make it start smaller and grow over time.
How do you feel about the complexity in this new setup, specifically in R mode? Beyond its basic effects, it has:
- An auto-attack replacement spell
- Immunity to forced movement...
- ...but forced movement converts to a stun...
- ...and stuns break the mode.
- Now maybe a gradual range increase?
Do you think this kit could have been released on a brand-new champion, or was it only the context of Xerath already existing that allows it to do what it does?
To be clear, this all sounds amazing. I just wonder if this is the only way we can get something that is so focused on feel that it comes with a lot of "extra" factors.
Only Xerath could do this - we don't have another long-range character whose defining quality is being immobile. Him being sessile has opened up several control paradigms that can't work on anyone else.
What is the cooldown on his R Xelnath ?
I would really like to know if its 90 ish or karthus like 180 !
Also, does his passive grants him bonus manaregen pr AP and bonus spell-pene pr mana, or just flat out 5 manareg or something. Manareg pr AP would make buying full AP not feel like you miss a ton of power from not getting mana.
We haven't finished the tuning phase, so numbers don't mean much. It is currently 90/60/40, but I'll double or halve those in a heartbeat if it means League is a better game afterwards.
Just out of curiosity do you think he will be ready for the PBE maybe after the next champion?
I believe we have a while to go before Xerath will be on PBE. There's a few other things which need testing there first. I need to talk to Pwyff about the timing of Xerath among other things.
go look at him commenting on my post about this idea. I feel like i was the first to think of it when it was brought up.
hey guys, maybe I used it because multiple people suggested it and I decided to try it. Play nice now.

More on the 3.9 PBE Patch

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

* Shyvana's ultimate CD does not get reduced with CDR or while she is dead, but with auto attacks only
* With the tweaks coming to her on PBE, can this change be implemented so that she doesn't have to buy BotRK and farm 4 waves of CS to have her ultimate up for the next teamfight?
To touch on this, the current changes aren't just to increase fury generation per auto-attack - Leveling Dragon's Descent also increases the rate at which you gain fury passively - thus lowering the maximum cooldown the spell can have. This should mitigate the feeling you have about her being 'forced' into attack speed, but Shyvana is also designed in such a way that basic-attacks benefit you immensely. Building fury is just the tip - Decreasing the CD of your double-attack, increasing the duration of your Burnout and damaging targets with Flame Breath are all pretty powerful when combined with even a moderate amount of Attack Speed.

The basic goal of the changes to R are to first allow her more up-time on Dragon Form, especially for how reliant she is on it for any meaningful late-game fighting, but to also increase the amount of time she can stay in that form while in combat. The counterplay to it is still present - kite her, and she'll run out of dragonbatteries - but now when a Shyvana's deeply entrenched into the front lines of a fight Twin Biting repeatedly (and on multiple targets) should make you feel like you're actually prolonging a window of power. People should -want- to blow cooldowns and make the decision to get you away from a battle, rather than just 'oh lemme ignore shyvana cause dragon form's just gonna time out anyways.'

tl;dr is that these changes -do- decrease the cd of dragon form passively (though not at rank 1 - the values are unchanged) but more fighting=more beastmodes

So shyvana loses her defensive stats for quicker ult cooldown? Does she still have a passive? I like shyvana a lot but don't play her in sr anymore
She still retains her passive mitigation, it's just taken the place of her passive. It's available at level 1, and scales throughout the game.
What about the effective nerf to stealth champs like Evelynn who already have low win rates
Evelynn reveals herself to champions within 700 units of her.

The new oracles reveals champions within 600 units.

Oracle Elixir has never actually been effective at combatting Evelynn from revealing her early and now effectively never actually does anything versus Evelynn.

-ward/oracles changes look very promising. Just to clarify, if you manage to kill a ward without the usual resources (basically if you manage to kill it right when it's placed), how does the gold distribution work in a solo or in a shared scenario? I'm guessing the same way as before, ward killer takes all? Or is it perhaps some of the gold is given to whoever provided the LoS for the ward when initially placed?
Basically, the ward bounty system simply checks for nearby Oracle holders and whoever placed a Pink Ward and credits them for a portion of the gold. If you kill a ward without the usual resources - it still does this check, because we didn't want to create weird pressure incentives where 'man - I shouldn't kill this ward as soon as I see it, because then the ward gold will be split.'

Are you sure this is safe against stealth like Akali?
Against Akali - if you can reveal her with Oracle's new radius - you have also put yourself deep in her combat radius.

IronStylus on Difficulties of New Skins for Some Champions

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

IronStylus says one is in the works.
YAY I used to main Diana and was going to start playing her again so I'm happy one is in the works.
REMEMBER! "In the works" can mean months out from actual release. We aren't yet to model with this skin yet, so depending on prioritization, could be a little while. However, we're cognizant of the fact that she hasn't gotten a 3rd skin post-release.
This makes me very happy.
I bought Diana during this most recent sale and I REALLY like her gameplay. I don't like her Dark Valkyrie skin, though.
Next skin will be a bit more.. pretty(?) than DV. Little less dark, a little more elegant.

That ok?
when is rumble gonna see some love again
So, not to derail this thread, but I can offer some insight on this. If we're going to make any skin for Rumble that involves anything that isn't his current wonky mech, we have to essentially completely remake his rig and animation sets. This is one of the reasons it's been difficult to get the bandwidth for a Rumble skin that isn't just a geometry shift.

There are tons of amazing pieces of fanart I've seen of Rumble skin ideas, and some fantastic ideas! The only catch with putting Rumble inside anything from a high-tech mech, to a Sherman tank, or any other contraption, is that he's almost a completely new champion in terms of rigging and animation. That aspect of a champion, or skin, is a lot of work. It's presented problems in the past when we had more restrictions on bandwidth.

Fear not though, we have something in the works. Animation right now is going to have the bulk of the work for any subsequent Rumble skin however.
Just from a development standpoint (not asking for timelines), are there any other champions that fall under the umbrella of "hard to create a new shell"? The third outlier in the "skin pls" threads after Udyr and Rumble is probably Skarner. Is it hard to give him something that isn't a scorpion body because of animation, or is it just hard to think up a skin for him that isn't spider/scorpion?
Oh, that's a really great question. Skarner isn't as hard as you might think. You can make him into pretty much anything, from a bug, to a lobster, to a robot. Not sure the particulars as to why he hasn't gotten a skin yet, though.

Hmm, actually it's sort of multifaceted. Because there's champions who are hard to make skins for logistically (lot's of assets/models/particles/etc to make), conceptually (base lacks large silhouette landmarks, "big hook", etc), or technically (older champions, outdated rigs, etc).

So, here's a list of what just comes to mind for various reasons:

Evelynn - Technical.; Outdated model/rig/animations/etc
Fiora - Conceptual. Lacking large visual landmarks, she's mostly just a lady in a costume.
Hiemerdinger - Technical. Mostly, outdated.. everything.
Lissandra - Logistical. Holy ****, so many particles! All of those particles are separate models with seperate, and possibly, custom animations on them.
LeBlanc - Conceptual. She's actually one our most standard of standard human females.
Malphite - Technical. Not so much unusable rig, but still has it's challenges.
Master Yi - Technical. Pizza feet...
Rumble - Technical and logistical. As stated.
Shyvanna - Logistical. Basically two champions in one.
Sion - Technical. Yikes..
Sivir - Technical. Outdated model/rig/animations/particles.. So yeah, rework first.
Swain - Technical. Outdated assets, basically also two champions.
Taric - Technically outrageous. Outdated assets.
Teemo - Existential. Every subsequent skin we make for him unlocks another gateway to hell.
Twitch - Technical. Very outdated assets, he's actually missing legs I think.
Udyr - Technical and Logistical. Fairly outdated, but pretty much 4 different champions depending on complexity.
Varus - Conceptual. Dude with a bow and purple pants.
Xerath - Logistical. Piles of particle work and strange rig voodoo I have no idea how to even describe.
Zac - Conceptually and logistically. Virtually no differentiated landmarks on skins, pretty much all texture or animation behaviors can be leveraged.
Zilean - Outdate assets, but not really an animation nightmare. He floats.
Zyra - Conceptually and logistically. On her body, not a ton of distinquishing landmarks. All of her plants require new models and new animations.

REMINDER! The above list doesn't mean these champions a) will not have a skin for them any time soon b) are huge challenges to overcome c) don't already have stuff in the works despite challenges listed. This isn't a blacklist, this is just what comes to my mind when I think of champions we've had challenges with. Each of these challenges can be solved in it's own particular way. Things are solved sometimes in just updating the assets, like in the case of Tyrant Swain or Battlecast Urgot, or sometimes with a complete rebuild like any relaunch/VU we make. Very much depends on the champion and what we have to work with.
Most important question: What will her hair be like?
The only reason I didn't get Dark Valkyrie is because I really am not a fan of her hairstyle. I don't mind of it's cut short or let loose/flowing, but the giant snake hairdo is just offputting.
Snake hair is one of the aspects about her we probably don't want to ditch just yet. It's a big read in game.
Soraka has snake hair.
ALSO IRONSTYLUS PLS, not to derail again but will Soraka ever see updated ability icons? PLS.
I'm not privy to anything to do with icons.
Will there be a helmet like the original dark valkyrie skin on Diana? I think that would be nice to have as well as some cloth armor instead of metalish
I didn't put a helmet on this one, but I gave some headdress stuff to it. And yeah, I wen't more cloth.
Yeah, yeah, this is dandy and all but what we REALLY want to know is how's that Sunbathing Leona coming?
It's coming along nicely
^you'd think those two would be some of the easiest to come up with skin ideas for.
considering they are pretty much average women, it means you have MORE freedom not less.
It's actually not. Blank slates and little to no silhouette landmarks or big geometry to glom onto leaves them in a very odd and nebulous zone where most of what we can do to them feels like color/model swaps. They also don't have any extremely compelling animations, particles, pose, etc. The closer it is to a standard human, the harder it can be to make skins depending on the champions. Women especially. That comes down to mostly costume change which doesn't always provide the most impactful of changes. Depends though.
^ would buy all of these
The first is just... a hooded woman...

The second has promise. I like the plant/druid thing.

The third is copyrighted :P
wouldn't that open the door to many 750 skins in the very least?
^something like this could turn out to be beautiful!
No idea about pricing, but I think potentially a "lower tier" of skins would be promising. Almost like the TPA skins. Mostly model changes. 


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